Bible Topics In The Christian Library

    This article is titled “Can I Divorce” because many ask that question, and never truly seek the answer.  This question is asked to preachers and elders often times after spouses argue or simply disagree on things.  There are many instances were the couple just needs to find the truth.  To find the truth on such matters one must identify what truth is.  Truth is the inspired word of God and it can set you free.  (John 8:32)  “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 

    The Bible gives us the facts on why and when someone can obtain a scriptural divorce. (Matthew 5:31-32)  “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”  Christ informs us here in his famous “Sermon on the Mount” that one may divorce for fornication.  Fornication is defined by as – “Vine's Greek Dictionary Strong's Number: 4202 Transliterated: porneia 
Text:  is used (a) of "illicit sexual intercourse," in John 8:41; Acts 15:20, 29; 21:25; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:13, 18; 2 Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:5; 1 Thess. 4:3; Rev. 2:21; 9:21; in the plural in 1 Cor. 7:2; in Matt. 5:32 and 19:9 it stands for, or includes, adultery; it is distinguished from it.” 

    There is another instance that often is referred to, and it is very important in the study of this subject.  In the discussion the Pharisees sparked in Matthew chapter nineteen they were trying to tempt Christ (v3).  Christ answers the Pharisees in the way that those that pose such arguments this day and age need to be answered.  (Matthew 19:4-9)  “And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.  They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?  He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.  And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”  You may only divorce in the case of fornication, which includes adultery.  There are also many great lessons on the subject of divorce and remarriage in the book of I Corinthians chapter seven.  Great lessons are there such as in the case of a divorce that is not for such causes as stated above whom may remarry.  (1 Corinthians 7:10-11)  “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.” 

There is another question that is often posed.  What if the separated couple gets back together can they still divorce for the cause of fornication if it does not work out?  To truly understand this we must look at what Bible forgiveness is.  If a spouse commits this sin and the other spouse forgives them it can not be just until it is no longer convenient to forgive them.  Let us look at Christ definition of forgiveness.  (John 20:23)  “Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.”  Christ is stating that if we are to forgive, then forgive if not then not.  We cannot say that all is well then change our minds.  What if Christ was that way in forgiving our sins on Calvary’s cross?  He was not and is not.  When you forgive, you need to forget just as the Lord will and does.  (Jeremiah 31:34)  “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Copyright 2000 by Brian Yeager may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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