In this impromptu series on Marriage & Divorce, we look at some of the lies being bandied around to justify divorce, and challenge them directly using the Scriptures.
Firstly, it is important to make clear the Bible does not give women any permission or grounds to divorce their husbands. The “certificate of divorce” granted by Moses, and confirmed by Christ was only applicable for men – Matt 19:7.
The reason for this “anomaly” is well articulated in an article I wrote in Feb 2017 – PART 2: IS DIVORCE A SIN? I would urge you to read it (link provided below).
Some have claimed Paul’s articulations in 1 Corinthians 7:10-16 allow women to divorce their husbands on the grounds of “abandonment”, or if he is an “unbeliever”. They claim a man guilty of domestic violence automatically becomes an unbeliever, and thus gives his wife grounds to divorce him.
Whilst there seems to be some logic to this argument, it would have to apply to ANYONE (man or woman) who claims to be a Christian, and who does ANYTHING in their marriage that contradicts ANY of God’s commands – not just domestic violence.
You can already see how ludicrous that argument is going to be. And it is not backed up by the Scriptures. Anywhere.
Firstly, in his cogitations, Paul makes very clear when he is speaking under his own opinions, and when he is speaking for God.
Though I insert this caveat here for clarity’s sake, it make no difference to the conclusion of what Paul is saying; as any person who submits their intellect to God, will have opinions consonant with the word of God – as we will see.
Firstly Paul says –
“To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife MUST NOT separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband MUST NOT divorce his wife” – 1 Corinthians 7:10-11
Secondly Paul says –
To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he MUST NOT must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she MUST NOT divorce him” – 1 Corinthians 7:12- 13
And lastly he says –
“But if the UNBELIEVER LEAVES, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances” – 1 Corinthians 7:15.
So, let us extract the main points of what Paul has laid out here:
(1) A wife MUST NOT separate from her husband
(2) If she does, she cannot remarry (because she is still married and will have to go back to her husband at some point)
(3) A Husband cannot divorce his wife who is an unbeliever
(4) A Wife cannot divorce her husband who is an unbeliever
(5) The unbeliever can divorce the Christian – if they choose to
(6) The Christian CANNOT divorce the unbeliever
What Paul is saying here is very clear. No Christian – man or woman is allowed to divorce their spouse, EVEN if the spouse is an unbeliever.
He says if an unbeliever CHOOSES to divorce a Christian, it is ok. However he never tells a Christian to divorce an unbeliever. Not for “abandonment” or any other reason.
And he specifically makes this clear. Twice.
“And if a woman has a husband WHO IS NOT A BELIEVER, and he is willing to live with her, she MUST NOT divorce him.”- 1 Corinthians 7:15.
“If any brother has a wife WHO IS NOT A BELIEVER and she is willing to live with him, he MUST NOT divorce her” – 1 Corinthians 7:12.
The point of this article is to directly challenge the lies that Satan is earnestly sowing regarding Marriage & Divorce ACCORDING to the word of God. And here, these lies will be utterly dismantled and destroyed.
We are supposed to change our lives to fit with the word of God, and not change the word of God to fit our lives.