A Brief Chapter Summary from Books At a Glance
by Steve West
Note: You may access the entire chapter (PDF) online here.
The issues of divorce and remarriage are complex, involving both legal and moral dimensions. God’s intention is that nobody should separate what he joins together; he hates divorce. Nevertheless, since we live in a world of sin and rebellion, the ideal and original design for marriage is not always upheld.
Deuteronomy 24:1-4 is an important text for these discussions. This passage acknowledges that divorce was occurring, but it does not command it. Toleration of divorce does not equal divine approval or sanction. The fact that there is a written bill of divorcement required means that the decision is not made in the heat of the moment, and thus there is some protection for the woman. It is made very clear that if she is divorced for some shameful thing, and she marries another man, she cannot return to her first husband.
Jesus explains the intent of the Law in Matthew 5:31-32. He teaches that fornication is the only legitimate reason for a man to divorce his wife. If a man divorces his wife for another reason if either of them remarries they commit adultery since the first union isn’t broken in God’s eyes. The man ought not to remarry since he ought not to have divorced. Where there is fornication, divorce is permitted but not demanded. The text does not say one way or the other if the woman guilty of fornication may remarry if the first marriage is ended by divorce. . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
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DIVORCE: A CONCISE BIBLICAL ANALYSIS, by Donald A. Carson