Marriage & Divorce

what the bible says about marriage and divorce
There are few areas of life where more harm has been inflicted on hurting souls by ministers themselves than in the turbulent and delicate area of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. A sound, biblical discussion of this important area of life.
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Marriage and Divorce

Chapter One:

Unmarried Believers

B. If You Are Widowed

Throughout the Bible, we see in God a great tenderness and concern for widows. God repeatedly commanded the Israelites to show compassion to the widows and orphans in Israel. One of the greatest indications of the righteousness of Job was that he “caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.” (Job 29:13).

In the main, the instructions for you who are widowed are the same as for those who have never married. You are permitted to remarry. The only exceptions concern who may marry the widow. Under the Old Testament, the priests of Israel were forbidden to marry a widow unless her previous husband had also been a priest (Ezek. 44:22). Only one person was absolutely forbidden to marry a widow: God’s high priest. He was required to marry a virgin from Israel (Lev. 21:14). These restrictions, however, were not for the widows. Widows were free to marry whom they would. The restrictions applied to the priests.

In one case, we find remarriage for a widow apparently discouraged, but it only appears that way. Careful consideration of that verse will show Paul was not forbidding a widow to marry. In 1Timothy 5, Paul is discussing the congregation’s care for widows. He states that the saints should support financially only those widows who were advanced in years and who had in the past consistently ministered to the needs of the saints. “But the younger widows refuse, for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry, having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.”

With this, Paul is not saying that if a widow remarries, she has forsaken the faith. He is saying that if a young woman is “taken into the number” of those whom the congregation supports financially, she would have excess time on her hands and, consequently, would be likely to fall into a pattern of living that would bring a reproach on the faith of Christ. That is, she would likely become “idle, wandering about from house to house. And not only idle, but tattlers also and busy-bodies, speaking things they ought not.”

So, contrary to what this verse at first may seem to teach, Paul was not saying that young widows must never remarry. In fact, he continues his discourse by saying, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion for the adversary to speak reproachfully” (1Tim. 5:13-14).

Paul would have thought it good if a young widow found a godly man to marry. Can we deny that it was a good thing for Boaz to marry the widowed Moabite girl named Ruth? Or did the widower Abraham sin after Sarah’s death by marrying Keturah? Or did the wise and righteous Abigail do wickedly by accepting David’s proposal of marriage after God had destroyed her evil husband Nabal? Time after time, God gives us examples of righteous widows remarrying, and of righteous people marrying them.

Just a little experience teaches us that a young person who has tasted the benefits of married life typically has natural urges for companionship that are exceptionally strong. To those who diligently seek it, God gives grace to control the natural passions, but it is a great trial of faith for a previously married young person to keep himself or herself pure. Acknowledging this fact of life, Paul writes to the unmarried and to widows, “It is good for them if, like me, they remain unmarried. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn” (1Cor. 7:8-9). Paul, then, permits and even desires that you who are widows and widowers remarry.