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Jerry's Christian jottings, Marriage, divorce and remarriage worksheet ma

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  • Jerry Blount
    Hi Since I started this email list I have gotten numerous questions surrounding the Bible s teaching on Marriage, divorce and remarriage. I had a few more
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2006
      Since I started this email list I have gotten numerous questions surrounding
      the Bible's teaching on Marriage, divorce and remarriage. I had a few more
      questions arise after forwarding Wallace Little's material on the
      Philippines. (Because of His teaching that, I do not endorse).

      I try to give a straight answer, even to difficult questions, so here is a
      fairly comprehensive study on this matter.

      Marriage, divorce and remarriage is obviously a volatile subject. It is not
      difficult to determine the Bible's core teaching surrounding this subject.
      Our greatest obstacle is just accepting what God has spoken.

      A fairly normal response after comprehending what the Bible says is to
      journey down an endless path of "what if's." I think that you will find most
      of the "what ifs" that you are likely to encounter are directed to some
      passage in the study that follows.

      The approach you'll find below is what I would label as "self help." I have
      given you the passages and then asked the appropriate questions. For the
      most part the broad questions aren't hard to answer. Some specifics get
      sticky, but that doesn't change the fact that most questions are easy to


      What the Bible says.

      About Marriage, divorce and remarriage

      Matthew 19:6.

      "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined
      together, let no man separate."

      Today our world is in the process of changing dramatically. Our great great
      grandparents for example, lived in a world where only one marriage in 34
      ended in a divorce (in 1870)! By 1900 that number had risen to 1 in 12, by
      1940 1 in 5, by 1970 it was up to 1 in 3. Recently a reporter in Wichita,
      Ks determined that in our part of the country, the number was actually 7 out
      of 10.

      Those numbers are a little deceiving because a few folks get multiple
      divorces to the point it skews the numbers a little higher than the real
      (across-the-board) odds. It is really hard to overlook the obvious,

      For the first time in our nation's history. a majority of the young men now
      entering marriage were not raised by their biological fathers. i.e. they
      are now attempting to build and live a successful family life. when they
      have not witnessed one. A tough call.

      If you were to choose a summary statement from scripture relevant to divorce
      what would it be? I think my choice would be..

      "For I hate divorce," says the LORD, the God of Israel, "and him who covers
      his garment with wrong," says the LORD of hosts. "So take heed to your
      spirit, that you do not deal treacherously!" Malachi 2:16

      Whether old or new testament this seems to be the basic attitude. Part of
      the reason may be that, for God, this is personal. God was divorced!

      "And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her
      away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did
      not fear; but she went and was a harlot also." Jeremiah 3:8

      This one infuriates Our Lord. One of the likely reasons is that He knows it
      just doesn't have to be this way.

      During the ministry of Jesus, the Pharisees tried to use this volatile
      subject divide Jesus from His followers. It is easy to see why, this one
      hurts! In divorce, there are no winners, only losers and pain.

      "{Some} Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, "Is it lawful {for
      a man} to divorce his wife for any reason at all?" Matthew 19:3

      Hmm, "any reason at all?" Does this mean every reason, or no reason? Do you
      remember the same word games with Satan in the garden? God had restricted
      one tree from the human race. The tree of knowledge.. How did Satan word
      this in his temptation of Eve?

      "And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from
      any tree of the garden'?" Genesis 3:1

      Have you noticed Satan's descent into plays on words in this subject? It is
      the same any time Satan manages to cross us over to making decisions rooted
      in base emotions rather than the intelligent thoughtful application of the

      Matthew 22: 42. "What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?"
      Jesus actually cares deeply about what you think. He asked this question in
      an attempt to get the people around Him to work with the Word of God and
      come to the correct view of His teaching.

      He was not inviting them to set aside the Word of God in favor of man's
      druthers. but trying to get them to respect and use the gift of revelation
      to know where they really stood before God. So in the same manner as Jesus,
      I would ask, "What do you think?"

      Read Matthew 19:1-12

      Let's observe the obvious. There are endless heaps of "what-ifs"
      surrounding this subject. That is likely the very reason the Pharisees
      brought it up. Their hope was to entangle Jesus into an endless quagmire.

      1) Let's note one what-if. "A Moslem presents himself for baptism. He
      wishes to obey the gospel and wash away his sins. He has only one remaining
      question (all others have been answered.). Which of his wives must he put
      away to obey the gospel? He has two. Eve and Jill. He has married two
      sisters on the same day at the same time. Choose!"___________________

      The reality is that every question like this is going to be devastating to
      someone. It will always affect someone's life. Dramatically!

      Now focus on Matthew 19:3. This question was asked of Jesus.

      2) From the following verses, can you answer their question?

      3) Is it lawful to divorce a woman for every reason that may come up?

      4) Is it lawful to divorce for any reason whatsoever?

      5) Does the fact that questions like number 1 are difficult, mean that
      every question that comes up cannot be answered? _________________

      6) "As each one has received a {special} gift, employ it in serving one
      another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, {is
      to do so} as one who is speaking the utterances of God".. I Peter 4:10-11a
      If we are to be good stewards where must our speech both start and stop?

      "Cry aloud, spare not! Lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people
      their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins!" Isaiah 58:1.

      Now focus on Matthew 19:4-6

      7) Where did Jesus go to answer the question? __________________ How many
      parties are a part of the marriage? _________________ Does a man marrying
      another man fit into Jesus' picture? _________ Give a direct basis for this
      answer ___________________

      ______________________ Does a man marrying two women fit into this picture?

      Give a direct basis for your answer. ________________________________

      8) If asked to use verse 6 as a summary statement of God's attitude for us.
      What would that attitude be?

      Focus on Matthew 19:7-8

      9) What is their objection? _________________ Does Jesus acknowledge that
      it in fact was this way? ________________________ What explanation does He
      give for this? ______________________ What terminology does He use to
      describe the time before Moses? ____________________ So should we look to
      the time of Moses as our example of fidelity and marriage?

      Focus on Matthew 19:9

      10) Formulate the general rule for describing divorce and remarriage.
      ____________________________ Is simply divorcing w/o remarriage described
      as adultery_____________________ Is there an exception stated here to the
      general rule? _______________ How many exceptions are there?

      "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses {that} of the
      scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew

      Focus on Matthew 5:31-32

      11) What famous sermon is this section of scripture a part of?

      12) What comment does Jesus make before launching off into this part of the
      sermon? Vs 20 ______________________________ What consequence?

      13) What was once said? (see also Dt 24:1ff) ____________________________
      Is it going to be different under the NT? __________ See Dt 22:19, 29 Were
      there some absolute prohibitions of divorce in the OT?

      14) If a man divorces his wife improperly (i.e. she is innocent of
      fornication) what is he guilty of (or responsible for) afterward?
      __________________________ If a man married the improperly divorced woman
      what would the "other" man be guilty of? ____________

      15) In any of the passages so far, does Jesus place a time restriction or
      waiting period on this behavior or it's consequences? ________________

      Paul's application of Jesus' teachings on this subject.

      But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife
      should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain
      unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband
      should not divorce his wife. I Corinthians 7:10-11

      16) Matthew 5:32 What is Jesus' teaching if "she" doesn't remain
      unmarried as Paul instructs? For her? ____________________________ For the
      "other man?" _______________________ Is the spouse who caused this
      situation guiltless? ________

      Paul's instruction where Jesus did not

      Bu t to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is
      an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her.
      I Corinthians 7:12

      17) Can a Christian divorce over "religious differences?"

      18) I Corinthians 7:15 If the other is determined to leave, is the
      Christian "bound" to the obligations of Vs 1-8? __________________

      "The wife is BOUND by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her
      husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in
      the Lord. I Corinthians 7:39

      19) Is the Christian still "bound" to the marriage in the same sense as vs
      10-11? See also Romans 7:1-3. ______________ How long is a marriage
      binding? _________________ As you compare I Corinthians 7:39 to Romans
      7:1-3 Is the message consistent? ________

      But what about the children of an "improper" marriage?

      (The innocent victims)

      I know of nowhere in the NT that the question is specifically addressed.
      The NT does describe propriety and marriage in a variety of ways. It
      forbids in no uncertain terms entering into marriages where one or more are
      already "bound" to someone else.

      Focus on Ezra 10:1-4.

      20) In this OT example, where there prohibitions against marrying certain
      folks? ____________ Would the particulars of that prohibition still apply
      if not also found in the NT? _____________ Can you think of any other sin,
      that God overlooks for the "good" of the innocent? _____________

      21) Now for the practical relevance of the story to us. Did the fact that
      children were involved nullify the commandments of God in the OT?
      __________________ Do the children of an alcoholic suffer for the parent's
      sin? __________ Doesn't all sin hurt someone? ____________

      22) What was the resolution for this matter when it was discovered? Vs 3?
      ______________________ What was the resolution relevant to the children in
      this instance? _________________What was the reaction of almost everyone
      involved Vs 1? _______________ Can you think of any NT passage that would
      make this otherwise for us, if found to be living in sin? ________

      23) What was the admonishment of the people to Ezra? __________ Did Ezra
      have a responsibility in this matter? _____________________ What was the
      general population's responsibility in this matter? ___________ Do you?

      Focus on Ezra 10:10-14

      24) What was the overall attitude of the population?

      Focus on vs 10.

      25) What term is now used to describe those who are guilty of this offense?
      _________________ What is the result or consequence to all?

      Focus on Ezra 10:15

      26) When you have something serious and destructive to the kingdom, what
      bad thing can you always count on? _________________________________

      Ezra 10:44

      27) Where does the verse stand in relation to the rest of the book?
      _____________________ Does the fact of children nullify the harsh things of
      God's laws? ____________________

      "My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds (preachers) have caused
      them to go astray," Jeremiah 50:6.

      John and Herod

      A case of illicit divorce and remarriage

      Historically we know that in the background of the these two passages from
      both scriptural and secular sources Herod had fallen in love with his
      brother Philip's wife Herodias. She had divorced Philip and married
      another. Herod.

      (I'll include part of Josephus' account of this affair at the bottom of this
      article. Josephus was a contemporary Jewish historian)

      Focus on Matthew 14:1-12

      28) Vs 1-2 When Herod heard of Jesus' miracles, what was his assessment?
      ___________________ Note that we have Matthew's inspired editorial
      explanation of events. Vs 3 Whose wife does Matthew (under inspiration )
      consider Herodias to be? _________________

      Focus on Mark 6:14-28 emphasis on vs. 17-19

      29) Note this is a parallel account of the above. Vs17 Is John Mark's
      editorial comment in agreement with Matthew's? (Matthew 14:3) ie whose wife
      is Herodias? _______________________ What detail does Mark add in vs 17
      that Matthew does not? ___________________

      Note: There is some legitimate discussion about whether the underlying
      problem is the fact that she was a "brother's wife" before or just
      "somebody's wife" before. We could bog down in technical theological detail.
      But, let's note some of the obvious questions that can be seen from this
      example regardless of the underlying detail.

      30) Mark 6:17 Even though men may recognize a divorce and a remarriage in
      the eyes of God is it a done deal? ________________ After her remarriage to
      Herod whose wife was Herodias in the eyes of God? ________________________
      What would God call the marital act each time they entered the marital bed?

      31) In the eyes of God, was the matter settled once they were officially
      married in earthly terms? Vs 18 ____________________________ What
      assessment is made of Herod's now ongoing marriage to Herodias (or Herod's
      possession of her )? ____________________________ Compare verse 17 and 18
      does the text tell you that she is "your brother's wife," or she was "your
      brother's wife?" ___________ Is this also similar to the ongoing question
      of our time? (Is she another man's wife, or not?) __________________

      32) Compare this situation to Jesus' assessment already studied (Matthew
      5:32) "whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery." Does John the
      Baptist's OT assessment of the situation accord with Jesus' NT assessment?
      ________________ Isn't this exactly what Herod had done?
      ____________________ So, is the adultery a one time or ongoing act (s)
      Mark 6:17/Matthew 5:32? ________________________ Compare all this with
      Paul's NT sermon illustration in Romans 7:1-4 Does Paul teach that this no
      longer matters after becoming a Christian? _____________ When are we
      released from the responsibility of marriage according to Paul? ___________
      Is this in conflict in any way with either Jesus or John? ___________

      33) Hebrews 13:4. "Marriage {is to be held} in honor among all, and the
      {marriage} bed {is to be} undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will

      Is the marriage bed NEVER defiled, no matter what? _________________
      Harmonize what is said here with question 32? ______________________________
      Is it possible to have a fornicator in a marriage bed and be bound for
      judgment (damnation)? _____________

      34) Matthew 19:6. "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What
      therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." Since John was
      obviously demanding Herod and Herodias separate, and lost his life for the
      truth.. What key is found in this verse to explain why?

      Ezekiel 16:48-52

      . "As I live," declares the Lord GOD, "Sodom, your sister and her daughters
      have not done as you and your daughters have done. Behold, this was the
      guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant
      food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy." Thus they
      were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them
      when I saw {it.} Furthermore, Samaria did not commit half of your sins, for
      you have multiplied your abominations more than they. Thus you have made
      your sisters appear righteous by all your abominations which you have
      committed. Also bear your disgrace in that you have made judgment favorable
      for your sisters. Because of your sins in which you acted more abominably
      than they, they are more in the right than you. Yes, be also ashamed and
      bear your disgrace, in that you made your sisters appear righteous.

      The Jews before us made this mistake. Have we learned anything from their

      "Shall not" vs. "should not"..

      How serious is this really?

      Focus on Luke 16:14-18

      35) Vs. 14 What are the Pharisees surrounding Jesus at this point doing?
      ____________ Do you suppose this put Jesus into a friendly frame of mind?

      36) Vs 15 they were the religious elite of Jesus' day. What part of their
      attitude destroyed their relationship with God? _____________ What does God
      know?__________ So if we were to try to appear devout, and justify ourselves
      before men. while refusing the part of God's law that we don't like. Will it
      work? _______

      37) Vs 16-17 Were others in Jesus' day wanting to come into the kingdom of
      God? __________ In the middle of this mocking of Jesus.. Jesus explains
      about the Word of God. Can you just throw out the part you don't like?
      ___________ What would happen before God would allow that?
      _______________________ How minutely is the Word of God protected?

      38) Vs. 18 What illustration does Jesus bring up to make the point you
      can't just shred the part of your Bible that you don't like?
      ___________________________________________ How significant does this make
      this subject overall? _______________________

      Think through this.

      Of all the things people have messed with in the Word of God..

      The one that Jesus brings forward as absolutely standing regardless of
      whether men want it to or not. . . is God's marriage law!

      If people were taunting you concerning your faith in the word, what
      illustration would you bring forward as the most devastating aspect of the
      Bible that people throw out? ______________________________________

      39) Vs 19 ff What famous story follows this subject to drive it home?
      ______________ What is the point of this story?_______________________ Vs
      1-13 What parable precedes this overall discussion and ridicule?
      _________________ What is the point of this parable? ________________

      So.. Be ready to die before. Be ready to die after. The Word of God stands
      whether you like it or not in the middle. And Jesus' illustration of the
      one thing they don't like but God will enforce it anyway is????

      God's law on marriage, divorce and remarriage. Hmmm..

      How important is this subject really?

      And He *said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman
      commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and
      marries another man, she is committing adultery."

      Mark 10:11-12

      Jerry Blount 11/06

      www.letJesusleadus.org <http://www.letjesusleadus.org/>

      As noted above here is the relevant portion of Josephus' account. He was a
      traitorous Jew that convinced the Romans not to kill him by writing a

      Antiquities of the Jews - Book XVIII

      CHAPTER 5.


      1. ABOUT this time Aretas (the king of Arabia Petres) and Herod had a
      quarrel on the account following: Herod the tetrarch had, married the
      daughter of Aretas, and had lived with her a great while; but when he was
      once at Rome, he lodged with Herod, (15)
      ANT_18.15b> who was his brother indeed, but not by the same mother; for
      this Herod was the son of the high priest Sireoh's daughter. However, he
      fell in love with Herodias, this last Herod's wife, who was the daughter of
      Aristobulus their brother, and the sister of Agrippa the Great. This man
      ventured to talk to her about a marriage between them; which address, when
      she admitted, an agreement was made for her to change her habitation, and
      come to him as soon as he should return from Rome: one article of this
      marriage also was this, that he should divorce Aretas's daughter. ....


      We are setting up a email list for members of the Churches of Christ (and
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      Yours in Christ

      Jerry Blount

      Www.letjesusleadus.org <http://www.letjesusleadus.org/>

      Pleasant Valley Church of Christ

      3317 Amidon

      Wichita, Ks 67204

      My mailing address is 131 n. Hillside

      El Dorado, ks 67042


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