Matthew 19 – Bible Scripture on Divorce

Matthew 19:3 Some Pharisees approached Him to test Him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife on any grounds?”
Matthew 19:4 “Haven’t you read,” He replied, “that He who created them in the beginning made them male and female,
Matthew 19:5 and He also said: For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?
Matthew 19:6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate.”
Matthew19:7 “Why then,” they asked Him, “did Moses command us to give divorce papers and to send her away?”
Matthew 19:8 He told them, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of the hardness of your hearts. But it was not like that from the beginning.
Matthew 19:9 And I tell you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

These verses are not the only ones in the bible that discusses divorce. This passage is not the only one that talks about adultery. However, those who want to teach people that Jesus spoke against divorce, use this verse.

First. Let’s look at what this verse does not say:


Jesus never says in these verses that divorce is not permitted. Jesus never said, if you divorce and remarry then you are a sinner.

There is no place in this selection of verses where Jesus states that divorce or remarriage are the ‘unforgivable sin.’

Jesus did say that divorce is permitted due to the hardness of your hearts, but if you did divorce, you would commit the sin of adultery.

Jesus never said that remarriage was forbidden. Only that, if you divorce for reasons other than sexual immorality, then you will commit the sin of adultery.

Did Jesus say God was wrong when he permitted divorce?

Did Jesus say that God rescinded the Deuteronomy laws?

Did Jesus say that he came to rewrite the law?

Did Jesus say that God does not accept divorce?

Did Jesus say that God does not accept the second marriage?

No. Jesus did not say any of these. Men ‘add these’ to make the verse fit their cultural and doctrinal teaching.

We can challenge that, without a marriage focused on God, that the marriage doesn’t exist. Where there is no marriage, there is no divorce.

This is a stretch – but no more than saying that Jesus claims that God does not accept divorce when he said …

if you (a divorced man) marries another (remarriage) then you commit adultery.

God’s Perfect Plan

Jesus does make it clear that divorce and remarriage were not a part of God’s perfect plan ‘before the fall of man.’ God did not make man and women to be in conflict, but to create a union in harmony.

Marriage is the blueprint of a relationship with God. The marriage is between a man, a woman, and God. Without God, there is no marriage. Woman completes a man. God completes the couple. This was the first union. This is God’s perfect plan.

This Passage in Context

This verse applies to anyone who lives ‘by the law’ as the pharisees did. They threw Moses and Jewish’ law at him. He threw God’s law back at them. This is a political debate. Jesus was not teaching his children, or even talking to Christians.

He was talking to men who prided themselves – and valued above all – that they obeyed the law to the letter. Some theologians claim that they were so ‘lawful’ that they tithed to the last mint leaf in their garden.

The Pharisees went back to Deuteronomy for his law. Jesus went back to Genesis for his law.

Jesus is only concerned with God’s law. And, when taking God’s law into context it is important to remember that God’s law is for Christians. His children.

When I read this verse one theme resounds through Jesus’ words, “Let him without sin cast the first stone.”  The bible, and Jesus, has so much to say on our relationship with God and with others. It is wrong to pick one single passage and form an entire ‘law’ around it.

What Does The Bible Say to Christians

We are God’s Children. We do have a relationship with God. What does this phrase tell us. I believe that Jesus is telling the pharisees that they should worry more about their relationship with God then being ‘holy’ or ‘perfect.’

Jesus bypassed the law and went direct to God’s will. God’s will is not that a person should be abused or tormented. It was never his will that we should live in misery. Paul teaches directly on this.

Jesus did say ‘If you divorce’ – there were no negative or sinful acts here. It was the remarriage that resulted in divorce. God allowed freedom for his children..

Then wait

Wait on the Lord

Pray for his best

If an act of adultery is committed, then you have your answer.

If reconciliation happens, then you have your answer.

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