03 – Bible Marriage Laws

Mark, Chapter 10

And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again.And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.


Divine Principles for MARRIAGE  –  DIVORCE

by Larry Hannigan

Although many people regard these as being parts of one sad happening, it is important to understand that these are two separate subjects and should be examined accordingly.

Today, it seems, that many “Christians” decide how they want to live, then desperately search the  scriptures, or seek some pastor’s ….. interpretation for itching ears … so they can  dismiss any uncomfortable Bible teachings that don’t suit them.  Often they will seek advice from a “caring friend” who is divorced and perhaps remarried and take that advice rather than the clear teaching of the Bible, especially the words of instruction and guidance from Jesus Himself. That “friend” will probably quote … we are not under the law, we are under grace … and proceed to live as they please.  One does not pray for things that are clearly contrary to God’s revealed principles. It is true that Jesus associated with adulterous people, but He didn’t ask their advice.

The  rules (laws) relating to driving on a public road have been designed to give everyone the maximum freedom (grace) to travel anywhere in the country. Those road rules = the Law.  If you do not break them, then  you are not (driving) under the Law. You are (driving) under grace. You are not subject to those laws, providing you don’t break them. Likewise, if you steal and get caught, you then come under the Law and must pay the penalty. You do not merely say “sorry” and continue being a thief.  Do it enough times and will be locked up. Your freedom and protections to live, which the Law gives you, will no longer exist


The first mention of divorce in the Bible is in Malachi 2.16. “I hate divorce says the Lord”  God also hates murder, but even ‘tho He permits it (our free will) God recognizes that divorce does happen.  Moses reluctantly permitted it  because of their “hardness of heart “. However, divorce is sin, (so is murder) but God did not, and still does not, approve of any sin, although he “permits” it.  Today,  many will use  “permission” by Moses, to justify a divorce and even remarriage. “ … “the hardness of your heart” … dear oh me  … I’ve got a hardness of heart, therefore it’s OK to steal and lie ?? “. Jesus said that to divorce and remarry, was, and still is adulterous, and that Moses only “suffered” (reluctantly allowed) divorce.  In Matt 19.7 and Mark 10.5 Jesus said – Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. The marriage of two eligible partners is indissoluble until death. The two shall be one flesh.  God alone can separate one flesh, and He does it by the death of one spouse.

divorce 3


Some use the “escape” verse in Matt 5.32, Jesus did not say “adultery” He said “pornea” which is best understood in the marriage laws as follows.  If, on the wedding night a man discovered his bride was not a virgin, he could choose to take her back to her father and that marriage was made null and void.  However, if he chose to forgive and keep her as his wife, they were then married for life in God’s eyes.  Jesus told us in Matt 5.28, that adultery is firstly a mental sin, (and may become physical). It is a sin committed by almost everyone older than puberty. Pornea is pre-marriage sex, but adultery after marriage is not grounds for divorce, it is grounds for confession, forgiveness and repentance.

Premarital Sex  – Some also say that premarital sex (with or without a resulting pregnancy) constitutes marriage,.  Certainly it was a sin which can be forgiven, but it is not marriage as there was no covenant nor ceremony of any kind.   If it constituted a true marriage, then Jesus would have included it in Matt 5.32.                                   



In Mark 10:11-12 Jesus spells it out  “And he saith unto them, Whosoever divorces his wife, and marry another, commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband, and marries another, she commits adultery”. The verb  “commits” adultery  that Jesus used is present active indicative, which is continuous action. ie is continually committing adultery. The adultery of re-marriage is NOT once only,  it began when the second relationship began and continues 24 hours a day as long as the proper spouse is alive.  One cannot honestly use 1 John 1.9 every 5 minutes forever.   Who is your teacher – someone’s opinion , or the authority of Jesus ?

Although the sin of divorce was “permitted”, no scripture can support re-marriage, because it is ongoing, permanent adultery against the former living spouse. In fact, all marriage scriptures forbid it. 

1st Cor. 6 is clear about the final destination of those who divorce and choose remarry to live in permanent adultery.  Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. … Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.  You do not pray for something that is clearly contrary to any of God’s written revealed  principles. 

Beware of people who say  “I prayed about it and the Lord said it was OK for me to walk away from my one flesh spouse so I could live with someone else, or even remarry so I can be happy.  Of course, I’ll get a divorce, that’ll make it OK”   Man’s divorce courts contradict Matt 19.6.   A divorce granted by a Magistrate, without a Jury, is illegal and invalid.  To marry another’s spouse is stealing.   Ex 20.17    Eph 5.31  

ANOTHER ESCAPE  verse often used is   1 Cor 7.9 … But if they have not control over themselves, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn.  This is for only those who have been widowed or have never married .. see verse 8

No scriptures support remarriage, and NO ‘living in sin’  is the clear teaching of  Jesus, who also asks this most important question in Luke 6.46   Why do you call me, Lord, and not do what I say? He also says in Matt 10.32 – Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will acknowledge him before My Father in heaven … But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before My Father in heaven.  To REPENT is to end the adulterous relationship immediately … go and sin no more …  To be cleansed of sin, one must forsake it, including re-marriage. Both the Old Testament and the New are clear, that to ask for forgiveness and remain in sin is presumptuous. God asks the people the searching question in Jer 7.9-10,  Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery  and come and stand before me in this house (a Church re-marriage ? ) which is called by my name, and say, we are delivered to do all these abominations ?  When the Pharisees came to John wanting baptism but not wanting to leave their sin, John minced no words about their presumption in Matt 3. 7-8 …… Oh ye generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance   (ie demonstrate your repentance for your sins by ceasing committing them)

Would a member of the Mafia find forgiveness simply by asking God, “Please forgive me,” but continue in his Mafia activities ? To get right with God, he would need to cease his Mafia commitments and practices – no more stealing, murder, extortion ?   What testimony would he give to the next man he blackmails or swindles –   ” I know it’s wrong to do this to you, but I can ask to be forgiven by the grace of God, and I hope He’ll pardon me. He could forgive you too if you just ask him … before I pull the trigger.”  Wow … How would that be for a testimony ?  So how can anyone, living daily 24 hours, in permanent adultery, witness to anyone ?  Is it any less presumptuous to say – “No one tells me how to live, I’ll stay in my permanent adultery remarriage, I know now it’s wrong while my true spouse is living, surely God will forgive me, and why can’t He leave me alone ?  God has the answer for that – He that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whosoever confesses and forsakes them shall receive mercy  Proverbs 28:13.  forsake = repent = stop committing that sin, and restore what you stole or damaged.

Is it OK for a thief to steal and say sorry, but keep the stolen goods ? Of course not, they must be returned to the rightful owner with apology and compensation.   Is it OK to say – I’m not happy with my motor cycle, it is unreliable,  it doesn’t make me happy so I’ll pray for God to give me a new one, I’ll dump my current motor cycle and look for another?  Later they boast  – I found this abandoned motor cycle, surely must be for me from the Lord, hallelujah !!  Now I’ll ride it every day and show all my friends. !!  All stolen goods, even another’s spouse, are to be returned to the true owner . When the laws of the land (divorce courts) contradict Jesus’ words, then … we must obey God rather than man. Acts 5.29   We are to be reconciled with anyone we have wronged.

WHAT THEN, AFTER DIVORCE ?   God wants us to receive His mercy and blessings and He and teaches us how to live after the divorce by a spouse.  YOUR CHOICE – rebuke God and remarry (permanent adultery), OR remain unmarried, OR (better still) be reconciled.  Today, some refer to their remarriage-mate-in-adultery as their partner, and justify that lifestyle by saying that they became single after divorce.  The reality is, a marriage can be ended only by God taking the life of a spouse. Until death do us part.  To remarry or live with someone in a pretend marriage after divorce, is permanent adultery and is a rejection of Jesus who asks in Luke 6.46  Why do you call me, Lord, and not do what I say? The greatest insult to a rejected spouse would surely be where one who walked out, then “re-marries” and mates to produce children. Mating with someone other than one’s true spouse is the ultimate adultery ?

GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS are clear and require no interpreting –   1 Cor. Chap 7. 10   And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord,  Let not the wife depart from her husband:  11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or  be reconciled  to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.     God’s promises of blessing on the marriage of those who remain faithful, or return to their rightful spouse after separation and continue to live as one flesh, are all through the Bible. Sadly, these truths are rarely taught from the pulpit, but God’s promises are true.  See  Jer 29.11,Isaiah 54.6, Gal 6.9 etc.

A Restored Marriage is a powerful witness to others who are watching.  Restoration also enables God’s blessings to flow on that couple to do His will in their lives .. These marriages are nearly always much stronger marriages than they were before.