Bible Study Lessons

Divorce – What Jesus Says

Introduction

Luke and Crystal were only four when they decided they were a perfect match and Luke asked Crystal’s dad if he could marry her. Kindly, but with a smile, Crystal’s dad told Luke that they’d like to keep Crystal around a while longer. So, the waiting began… Have you ever noticed how long two decades are? School, life, growth – it can feel like it takes forever! Finally, everything seemed to be out of the way, but Luke had gone to leadership camp for the summer. Crystal told her dad that if Luke thought she was going to wait forever, he was wrong. But whatever Luke’s thoughts about Crystal’s capacity to wait, he felt he couldn’t wait much longer himself to marry her. After he got home from camp, Luke became quite a dashing version of prince charming (that’s what Crystal said), and Crystal seemed to have no objections to being the object of his special attention. Of course, the story ends as you expect. The pastor pronounced them Mr. and Mrs. and they lived happily ever after…but what about when happily ever after seems to have adopted a typo, and turned into happily never after? Study what Jesus says about divorce and marriage in Mark 10:1-12 to learn His thoughts about it.

Observation

Pray

Before studying His Word, ask the Lord to give you a willing, humble heart and great spiritual understanding to see how different passages in His Word fit together to teach us to think like He does.

Read Focus Verses

Read Mark 10:1-12 and notice the main theme of these verses.

Theme

What is the main theme of these verses?

Keyword - Divorce

Marking the word divorce will help you always see it as the main theme of these verses.

Divorce

Divorce

Mark the word divorce and related words in Mark 10:1-12.

Keywords - Jesus Christ

As we've seen all throughout the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is the main character in this passage.

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Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ

Mark the Names of and references to Jesus Christ in Mark 10:1-12.

Where?

Where did Jesus go at the beginning of this passage?

Often…

What did Jesus often do that He did again in today's story according to verse 1?

Who?

Who asks Jesus the first question in these verses?

The Question

What question did the Pharisees ask Jesus?

Intent

What was their intention in asking the question according to verse 2?

Jesus' Reply

What was Jesus' reply?

Answer

What was the Pharisees' response to Jesus' reply?

Jesus Explains

In verse 5, what does Jesus explain?

About People

What does Jesus say in verse 6?

About Marriage

What does Jesus say about marriage in verses 7-8?

Jesus' Conclusion

What is Jesus conclusion and instruction in verse 9?

Who and Where?

Who asks Jesus a question in verse 10 and where are they?

Jesus' Answer

What is Jesus' answer to the disciples in verses 11-12?

Interpretation

Map

This map can help you visualize where Jesus and the disciples are in this passage and how hilly the area is.

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In Moses' Law

Moses wrote down God's Law for the people of Israel in the Old Testament. The section about divorce referred to in today's passage is Deuteronomy 24:1-4.

If You Divorce

If a man divorces his wife, according to the Law of Moses, what did he have to give her?

Regulation

God tells us that if a Christian sins, they must confess their sin to Him and He will forgive them (1 John 1:9). Does this mean God wants Christians to sin? (Hint: If you don't know, you can find the answer in 1 John 2:1-2; John 8:12; Romans 6:1-2; 1 Peter 1:15-19 and other similar verses.)

Similar

In a similar way (like God tells Christians what to do if they sin even though He doesn't want them to sin), does God regulating what must happen if people choose to divorce mean He loves divorce?

Clarification

To further clarify that God was regulating divorce not recommending it, Jesus tells us why God included the command in the Law of Moses about divorce. The word often translated "hardness of heart" means "destitution of (spiritual) perception:—hardness of heart" according to Strong's definitions.

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Indication

If one or both of the people in a divorce lack spiritual perception and have a hard heart, what does that tell us about God's thoughts about divorce?

All the Way Back

Next, Jesus goes all the way back to creation and reminds us how God created people in Genesis 1:27.

Male and Female

What does this verse used by Jesus in the context of a discussion of marriage teach us?

Quoting

Jesus then quotes another verse from the Old Testament - Genesis 2:24.

Quoted Again

This verse is quoted again in the discussion of marriage in Ephesians 5:31.

Learning More

What does this important verse quoted by Jesus teach us about marriage?

What God Has Joined

Who joins a man and a woman into one in a marriage according to Jesus in verse 9 of today's passage?

Our Response

How should people respond to God's authority in joining two people together when they marry, according to Jesus in the end of verse 9?

Reinforced

This idea of the permanence of the marriage bond and covenant is strengthened in Romans 7:2-3.

Bound by Law

How does Romans 7 describe the bond between a husband and a wife?

Adultery

How does this help us understand why Jesus says it is adultery for a person to divorce their husband or wife to marry someone else?

More Info

In Matthew 19:3-9 we read the same account as today's passage from a different perspective. Notice how Matthew records a little more of what Jesus said (and leaves out other details).

Exception

Jesus gives the same exception in Matthew 5:32.

Except for…

What is the exception to what Jesus says about divorce?

Command or Permission

Is Jesus commanding divorce when there has been adultery or permitting it?

You Don't Have to Marry

Matthew records more of the disciples' response to Jesus' teaching when they wonder if it is a good idea to marry if you can't divorce unless one of the spouses has been sexually unfaithful. In your own words, what does Jesus say to them in Matthew 19:12?

Required?

Since Jesus told the disciples that if they didn't find someone they wanted to be married to for the rest of their lives they didn't have to marry, do Christians have to get married?

Clarity

In 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 we see instructions for a Christian who has been divorced (for reasons other than immorality of their spouse) and is not remarried.

Instruction

What is God's instruction to a Christian who has been divorced (for reasons other than the sexual unfaithfulness of their spouse) and is not remarried?

What If They're Unsaved?

God knew that Christians would wonder what to do if they were married to an unbeliever. Notice how God's Word answers that question in 1 Corinthians 7:12-16.

Saved and Unsaved

What should a Christian who is married to an unbeliever do?

Next Step

What if you are remarried and you realize you shouldn't have? 1 John 1:9 tells you the first step of obedience to take and God's promise to you if you take it. (Note: confession means to say the same thing about your sin as God says about it - to agree with Him about the nature and guilt of your sin.)

Full Forgiveness

What does God promise to do when a Christian truly confesses their sin?

Remarriage Question

According to what you saw in Deuteronomy 24, can someone who has been remarried after divorce marry the first spouse again?

Now That It's Settled

So, what should you do if you're in a marriage you shouldn't have gotten into? God gives instructions in Ephesians 5:22-33.

Marriage Instructions

1 Corinthians 7:3-5 gives more instructions for married couples.

Marriage Playbook

However a person's marriage started, what are some of God's instructions for it?

Once More

Read Mark 10:1-12 once more in light of what you've studied.

Marriage

What does God think about marriage?

Divorce

What does God think about divorce?

Application

Thinking About Marriage

If you are thinking about marriage, what are some things you need to think about based on what you've seen in the Bible today to help you decide if marriage is the right decision for you right now?

Married

If you are married, how should the way you think about your marriage change based on what God thinks about it? How will that specifically impact the way you treat your spouse today?

Divorce

If you are considering divorce, what are some things you need to think about based on what you've seen in the Bible? How will that change specific ways you think and talk about your marriage?

Thinking Rightly

How does your thinking about divorce need to change based on what you've seen in today's study?

Wrapup

Closing

We hope this study plan has helped you understand God's perspective on divorce and has challenged the way you think about marriage and divorce.

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