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I would like to share a 6-part course I attended on divorce and remarriage. (There are only 5 parts listed as the 6th was a review and not downloaded). As we all know, the Bible’s intent is found in knowing it’s original language, context, and intent. We can find this by using scripture to interpret other scripture. Please understand that this is intended to be one interpretation; and you may disagree; that is okay, but the lesson is backed up with other scriptural references. I hope this helps someone find peace who was not the author or the catalyst for divorce; and can still be made whole again in Christ.
(see comments for the rest of the study)
GOD BLESS< pryrwaryr<
BIBLICAL TEACHINGS ON REMARRIAGE
“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” Ps 119:18
Let us begin with an open Bible and an open mind.
This study is NOT designed for those considering divorce. Nor is it designed to be a divorce-care mechanism. Rather, our intent is to get a clear understanding of all that God says about remarriage, and how to apply it to our world today. In doing so, we will strive to accomplish the following:
- To closely examine the traditional teaching of the church in light of Biblical instructions.
- To help those who are considering remarriage, and those considering marriage to a divorced person, to fully comprehend their options according to the will of God.
- To instruct those who have been remarried as to their standing in the Church and in the Kingdom.
- To revisit the issue of qualifications for service in the church.
Society, and unfortunately the Church as well, have trivialized divorce. Marriage is under attack as never before. Approximately 3000 couples divorce each day. Today, 65% of new marriages will ultimately end in divorce, and sadly, the divorce rate is as high in the Church as among unbelievers. As a result, the Church must learn how to address, in a Biblical manner, the growing numbers of those affected by the tragedy of divorce.
Unfortunately, in most churches those who have been sorely wounded by the one they most trusted, come to church only to discover that the church views them as some sort of step-child in the family of God. They find they are reluctantly accepted in some areas and ostracized in others. The denominational condemnation and discrimination only add to their feelings of failure and lack of self esteem.
IV PRINCIPLES OF STUDY
Every passage must be viewed in light of three critical issues: context, truth, and grace.
God’s truth is revealed in historical context. It is crucial to understand the culture of the people to whom it is being directly addressed, and the circumstances surrounding the sharing of Truth. For instance, Paul says in 2 Tim. 4:13. “Bring my cloak and my books that I left at Troas.” Obviously, God does not intend for us to follow that instruction. Although this example is absurd, it nevertheless illustrates the necessity of understanding who the passage is addressing.
IV PRINCIPLES OF STUDY (con’t)
It is equally important to consider the complete context. For example, James 4:7 says “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Yet many of us can testify of times when we earnestly resisted the enemy, only to utterly fail. What was wrong? Did the Bible lie? No, a careful examination of the entire passage will reveal that James is rebuking worldliness. In verses 6-10 he discusses humility: “God resisteth the proud but giveth grace to the humble,” “purify your hearts,” “humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord.” In fact, the first part of verse 7 itself says, “Submit yourselves to God.” Now, in context, if we humble ourselves, purify our minds, submit ourselves to God, we can know with confidence that if we resist the devil, he will flee from us. Context is important!
We cannot develop doctrines based on isolated “proof texts.” Rather, every passage must be viewed in light of the revealed Word, the “whole counsel of God.” Paul says in First Corinthians 2:13, “we speak not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” In other words, let Scripture interpret Scripture.
Mark 16:16 says “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Taken at face value, this would indicate that baptism is required for salvation. Yet, Eph 2:8, Acts 16:31, and countless other texts clearly teach that salvation is by faith alone. The entire Biblical teaching on regeneration supercedes one isolated statement.
By grace, I mean far more than the “unmerited favor of God,” Grace is the essence of God’s saving act in Jesus Christ, flowing freely from his sacrificial, vicarious death. Grace is the basis for relationship between God and man, and not only brings us to God, but continues to operate after we are saved. Our Lord knows when we sin, but He chooses to relate to us, not according to Law, but through grace and forgiveness.
2 Tim. 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God…..rightly dividing the Word of God”
Note: Study takes effort, more than just reading, more than just listening to others.
If the Word can be “rightly divided,” then it can be “wrongly divided.”
We will STUDY nine different Bible passages that address divorce/remarriage.
Gen 2:24 Mt 5:31-32 Lk 16:18
Deut 24:1-4 Mt 19:3-12 Rom 7:1-6
Mal 2:6-16 Mk 10:2-12 1 Cor 7: 10-17
Since the Bible is a progression of revelation we will study these texts in order of their appearance in Scripture
- Scripture interpretation cannot be influenced by compassion for hurting people
- Personal experience cannot affect interpretation of Scriptures.
- Do not interpret these passages while misunderstanding the texts.
To understand remarriage in the Scriptures, one must first understand all that is entailed in divorce. To comprehend divorce, one must have a clear understanding of precisely what is involved in Biblical marriage. We begin in Gen 2:22-24, which incidentally was before the appearance of sin and before the giving of the Law. Three words describe marriage as presented in these verses.
- Leave “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother”
This involves a public act recognized and regulated by society. The man must first “stop being a son,” in order to become a husband. This new relationship takes priority over all others, except his relationship with God.
- Cleave “and shall cleave unto his wife”
The word “cleave” means “to adhere to.” It indicates a permanent bond— the relationship is intended to be life-long..
- Weave “and they shall be one flesh”
The word for one is “echad”, and is the same word used in Deut 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord your God is ONE Lord.” The very same word He used to describe the intimacy of the Godhead, he used to describe the marriage relationship! He wants the husband and wife to be one, just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one! Although the word in Gen 2 does include the sexual union, He wants man and wife not only to be one physically, but spiritually and emotionally as well. Marriage is not two worlds coming together, rather, it is the end of two worlds and the birth of a brand new world. A holy uniting of a man, a woman, and God almighty to produce a holy tri-union, a “three-fold cord.”
The Biblical marriage agreement is a covenant, not a contract (Mal. 2:14). A contract is based on suspicion, contains various conditions and limitations, contains certain “outs,” and is bound by courts. A covenant is based on trust, is unconditional, without limits, unending, and bound by character.
The Hebrew word for covenant is “beriyth” and means “a solemn agreement with binding force.” It comes from a root word which means “to cut,” and Bible covenants involve the letting of blood. For instance God’s covenant with Abraham was accompanied by circumcision; the Old Covenant involved animal sacrifices, and of course the New Covenant was accomplished at Calvary. A Biblical marriage covenant assumes the bride is a virgin, and therefore the consummation involves a letting of blood. Marriage is therefore a blood covenant and intended to be without end. God’s clear intention for matrimony has always been one man, one woman, as long as they both shall live
Therefore, divorce is not something to be considered lightly. Next week we will begin to study what the Bible says about divorce.
Week 1 – 1 –
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