The elders & wives of First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, meet monthly for dinner and Bible study. Over the past year, we’ve been working our way through the Minor Prophets. I recently asked if we could meet for an extended study on a Saturday morning to work through the biblical passages on marriage, divorce, and remarriage. We would then put our conclusions into writing in a position paper on the topic.
To prepare for the study, I gave our team a study packet. (Click on the link to download a copy of the study guide.) It included:
Key Scripture passages on marriage, divorce, & remarriage (3 translations & 2 paraphrases)
- Genesis 2:23-25
- Deuteronomy 24:1-4
- Malachi 2:16
- Luke 16:18
- Mark 10:1-12
- Matthew 5:31-32
- Matthew 19:1-12
- 1 Corinthians 7:10-11
- 1 Corinthians 7:12-16
- 1 Corinthians 7:39 (Romans 7:2)
- Bible Knowledge Commentary (popular level, provides a good overview)
- New American Commentary (more detailed and sometimes technical)
Taking personalities, biases, and culture out of the equation …
- What does Scripture say?
- While the commentaries should help us, they should not be a substitute for the Scripture passages.
- Focus on the Scripture, not what your favorite author says.
I’ve written the first draft of the position paper, but we have not yet discussed it. In case you are curious, here are the bullet points of our conclusions.
- Marriage is God’s plan; a spiritual dynamic; lifelong and permanent; challenging and takes work.
- Divorce is not commanded or required. In fact, it breaks God’s heart. Rather than divorce, we should encourage couples to pursue reconciliation.
- Divorce is allowed under two circumstances–adultery; desertion by an unbelieving spouse.
- Where divorce is allowed, remarriage is allowed.
- If the divorce is not for biblical reasons, the individuals should either reconcile or remain single.