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Divorce: What did Jesus say about Divorce

Jesus’ teachings on divorce are found in several passages in the New Testament, most notably in Matthew 19:3-9, Mark 10:2-12, and Luke 16:18. Let’s explore what He said, provide relevant Bible verses, and discuss three main takeaways.

What Jesus Said About Divorce

In Matthew 19:3-9, when Jesus was asked about the lawfulness of divorce for any cause, He referred to the creation account, emphasizing the permanence of marriage:

Matthew 19:4-6 (ESV): “He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.’”

Jesus acknowledged that Moses permitted divorce because of the hardness of people’s hearts but clarified that this was not God’s original intention:

Matthew 19:8-9 (ESV): “He said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.’”

In Mark 10:11-12, Jesus reiterated this teaching, making it clear that divorce and remarriage constitute adultery, a statement that underscores the seriousness of marriage vows.

Relevant Bible Verses

  1. Matthew 19:3-9 – Jesus discusses the sanctity of marriage and the conditions under which divorce is permissible.
  2. Mark 10:2-12 – Jesus repeats His teaching on divorce, emphasizing its connection to adultery when one remarries.
  3. Luke 16:18 – Jesus states that anyone who divorces and remarries commits adultery.

Three Main Takeaways

  1. The Sanctity of Marriage: Jesus emphasizes that marriage is a sacred union intended by God to be permanent. He highlights that God’s original design for marriage is a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman, reflecting the unbreakable bond and unity that marriage represents.
  2. The Exception Clause: While Jesus teaches the permanence of marriage, He also provides an exception clause for divorce in the case of sexual immorality (Matthew 19:9). This acknowledges the reality of sin and its potential to break the marital covenant, though it’s framed as a concession rather than a command.
  3. The Seriousness of Remarriage After Divorce: Jesus’ teachings make clear that remarriage after divorce, except in the case of sexual immorality, is considered adultery. This underscores the seriousness with which Jesus views the marital covenant, as well as the ethical implications for individuals considering divorce and remarriage.

In summary, Jesus’ teachings on divorce challenge believers to view marriage as a sacred, lifelong commitment, while also navigating the complexities of sin and forgiveness within that framework.


  • Greg Gaines

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