A Biblical Definition of Divorce

My wife Chelsea and I continue our series about marriage. In this episode we begin to tackle the taboo subject of divorce.

We open with some divorce statistics:

  1. About 44% of marriages in the United States end in divorce.
  2. The top three reasons for divorce roughly include “lack of commitment,” “incompatibility and growing apart,” and “communication problems.”

We then look at how divorce is defined and prescribed in the law of Moses and how things shifted a bit by the New Testament. We observe two interesting facts:

  1. The Old Testament only discusses how a husband can “put away” his wife. We talk about why the land promise to the tribes of Israel possibly explains the apparent patriarchal system of marriage, but also how the sphere of “marriage” may have been broader than we define it legally today.
  2. Jesus mentioned the concept of a wife “putting away” her husband. We look at three possible interpretations of this with some likely examples in the New Testament of women who divorced their husbands.

Sources Consulted:

Glenn T. Stanton, “What Is the Actual Divorce Rate?” Focus on the Family, November, 4, 2015.

Shawn, “(2021 Divorce Rate In America) How Many Marriages End In Divorce Statistics,” The Hive Law, May 21, 2021.

E.A. Gjelten, “What Causes Divorce? 8 Common Reasons Marriages End,” DivorceNet, Accessed October 31, 2021.

Scriptures Referenced:

Deuteronomy 24:1-4

Mark 10:12

John 4:17-18

Mark 6:17-18

Other episodes in this series:

How God Wrote our Love Story

Thinking Biblically About Marriage

Tips for Singles Looking for a Spouse (part 1)

Tips for Singles Looking for a Spouse (part 2)

What Does “One Flesh” in Marriage Mean?

Let’s Talk: How Communication is Key to a Healthy Marriage

Conflict Resolution in Marriage (part 1): Four Things You Should Never Do

Conflict Resolution in Marriage (part 2): Five Tips to Resolve a Conflict

Casting Pearls Before Swine (part 1)

Casting Pearls Before Swine (part 2)

Casting Pearls Before Swine (part 3)

A Biblical Definition of Divorce

The Biblical Grounds for Divorce


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