Does The Bible Allow Divorce? This is a question that many Christians ask, and it is a complicated one to answer. There are a variety of perspectives on this topic, and the Bible does not provide a clear-cut answer.
At the heart of the debate lies a conflict between two scriptures in the Bible. On the one hand, there is Jesus’ declaration in Mark 10:9 that “What God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” On the other hand, the Apostle Paul proclaims in 1 Corinthians 7:15 that “If the unbelieving partner desires to separate, let it be so.”
The question of whether a Christian should obtain a divorce can be heavily influenced by one’s personal belief system. Some scholars argue that Jesus’ words in Mark 10:9 imply that divorce is not an option, while others point out that Paul’s clarification in 1 Corinthians 7:15 suggests that divorce is permissible in certain situations.
While the Bible does not provide a clear answer to the question of whether divorce is permissible, there is a consensus among Christian leaders that divorce must be approached with care. Dr. Mary Collins, a professor at a Christian university, believes that those seeking a divorce should always seek spiritual guidance first. “[The Bible] is clear that Christ-followers should begin with prayer and godly counsel,” she says.
For those seeking a divorce, there are many roads to go down. Some theologians argue that divorce is permissible in cases of infidelity or abuse, while others maintain that any divorce can be justified if all other options have been exhausted. Ultimately, the decision surrounding whether and how to obtain a divorce is one that should be made thoughtfully and prayerfully by Christians.
The decision to accept or reject a divorce can be incredibly stressful for individuals. Even if the Bible allows a divorce, some struggle with the idea that they have failed spiritually. As philosopher and theologian Alister McGrath observes, “Those struggling through a divorce often experience feelings of guilt and estrangement, and may suffer spiritual pain as they grapple with God’s will and their own conscience.” He recommends that Christians who are considering divorce seek out support from pastors and spiritual mentors in order to come to peace with their decision.
Questions of Forgiveness
Some Christians question whether or not it is possible for a Christian to forgive a spouse who has wronged them and continue in the marriage. While this question could be interpreted differently depending on the individual’s beliefs, there is one thing that almost all Christian leaders agree on – the power of forgiveness. For example, Dr. Collins encourages Christians to recognize the value of forgiveness and to “extend grace even in difficult situations.”
This is why some Christian counselors urge people to take time to explore the possibility of forgiveness and reconciliation before moving forward with a divorce. In doing so, individuals can gain insight into whether continuing in the marriage is a potential option.
It is also important to consider how a divorce may be perceived by one’s church. While the decision to stay together or separate should be made solely by the couple involved, it is inevitable that the church community will be affected. Over the years, churches have experienced a range of reactions to divorce, from fully accepting it to rejecting it outright.
When deciding whether a divorce is permissible, it is important to take into consideration how it may be received by the church. This is especially true for those belonging to traditions that generally oppose divorce. For those in this situation, it is helpful to speak with a church leader or pastor before making a decision.
Regardless of the outcome of the decision, those in search of a divorce must prepare for life after divorce. This can be a daunting task, as divorce can cause a significant upheaval in one’s life. Dr. Collins urges people to focus on the task of rebuilding. “After a divorce, it is important to acknowledge the feelings of loss and to take steps to build a new life,” she says. This can include rebuilding relationships with family, finding a new job, or joining a support group.
The Bible does not provide a definitive answer as to whether or not divorce is permissible for Christians. Whether or not a Christian should accept a divorce depends on their personal religious beliefs, and it is a decision that should be discussed with a spiritual mentor or counselor. Ultimately, it is a deeply personal and complicated decision that requires thought, prayer, and careful consideration.