Jesus Teaching on Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage

Part 1

Part 2

TITLE: Jesus Teaching on Marriage , Divorce, and Remarriage


PROPOSITION: In this lesson we will do a textual study of Matthew 19:3-12. We will note: 1) A Personal Problem, 2) A Posed Question, 3) A Primal Principle, 4) A Perpetual Principle, 5) A Petrified Heart, 6) The Proper Perspective, 7) Pondered Repercussions.

OBJECTIVE: Each member should be able to explain to someone else the meaning of Matthew 19:3-12.

AIM: To plainly set forth what the scriptures have to say regarding marriage and divorce.


1. Read: Matthew 19:3-12

2. About the Text:

1) In Jesus preaching and teaching, he encountered those who opposed Him.

2) Subsequently we have various questions that were answered by Jesus preserved for us in the gospel accounts.

3) Here is one such account.

4) The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written well after the beginning of the church.

5) While the material within these books dates back to an earlier time, these books were given to instruct the church on how to deal with various issues in our life.

6) So the material under consideration this morning is directly relevant to how we live.

7) Let us examine this passage together.

3. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.

DISCUSSION: In this passage we have

I.   A Personal Problem

1. The text says “the Pharisees also came to him tempting him.”

2. The real motivation of these particular people was not to understand God’s word. It was to catch Jesus in a trap.

3. When we study God’s word our motivations must be pure.

1) Acts 17:11 “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

2) 1 Thess.2:13 “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”

4. We have no obligation to study with those who are merely seeking to destroy us.

1) Titus 3:10, 11 says “A factious man after a first and second admonition refuse; knowing that such a one is perverted, and sinneth, being self-condemned.”

2) 2 Timothy 2:2-5 “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

5. While their motives were impure, Jesus chooses to deal with their question.

II.  A Posed Question

1. The question posed is as follows: “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?”

2. In other words, can you divorce and remarry for just any reason whatsoever?

3. According to history, there were two schools of thought on this subject.

4. One school of thought said that divorce could occur for any reason. (Hillel)

5. Another school of thought said that divorce could only occur when infidelity was involved. (Shammai)

6. The question is given to Jesus to get him to come down on side or the other of the question and thus associate himself with a particular school of thought.

7. The question thus restated is as follows: Is it lawful (does the law of Moses teach) for a man (a man, not a woman) to put away his wife (i.e. divorce her) for every cause (that is, for any reason whatsoever).

III. A Primal Principle

1. In response to this question Jesus does not appeal to tradition, or to the Rabbis, nor to the Mosaic law proper, but to God’s aboriginal creation of man.

2. He says, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.”

3. This was God’s pattern for the home from the beginning. One man, one woman, for life. Jesus brings us back to God’s original plan for marriage. Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.

4. Jesus quotes from Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

5. Jesus comments that they are no longer two, but one because God has joined them together.

IV.  A Perpetual Principle

1. Jesus says, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

2. The answer to the question is thus given. It is a sin to divorce for just any old reason because what God joins together man has no right to put asunder.

3. Notice it is what GOD has joined together. This goes back to the example of Adam and Eve. They are the pattern. The words used in Genesis 2:24 state, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

4. When two are married like Adam and Eve were married, then God joins them together and no man can undo what God has done.

5. Notice Malachi 2:16. “For I hate putting away, saith Jehovah, the God of Israel.” (ASV).

V.   A Petrified Heart

1. The next question asked is, “Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? “

2. Jesus reply is as follows: “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. “

3. In this verse, Jesus addresses the real reasons behind the desire to divorce–a hard heart.

4. They refused to give their will over to the will of God.

5. Zechariah 7:12 “Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.”

6. Matthew 13:15 “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”

7. The times of God’s patience with hard hearts is over. Acts 17:30 “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:”

VI.  The Proper Perspective

1. Jesus next gives the eternal law of God regarding marriage and divorce. “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”

2. Jesus says, “And I say unto you.” Reminiscent of Matthew 5 and 6 where he contrasts his teachings with the Rabbinical traditions.

3. The person who puts away his wife and then marries another is committing adultery.

4. The person who marries the one who is put away is committing adultery.

5. The only exception is when a spouse is put away on the grounds of fornication in which case the innocent party may remarry.

6. Adultery is adultery in this context. It means nothing different than what we would think regarding adultery today when someone does it during marriage.

7. The basic idea that Jesus is getting across here is that when you divorce your spouse for some reason other than fornication, you really have done nothing but commit adultery–no real divorce has occurred.

8. God still holds you as married to your first spouse.

VII. Pondered Repercussions

1. The disciples have something to say regarding this teaching of Jesus. They say, “If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.”

2. The disciples understood the strictness of Jesus’ statement.

3. Jesus responds to this statement as follows: “But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”

4. What “saying” was Jesus talking about? He was referring to the statement in verse 9.

5. So to whom is the statement given?

1) To those who are considering marriage.

2) To those who are married.

3) To those who are considering divorce.

4) To those who have divorced due to fornication.

5) To those who have improperly divorced their spouses.

6) It does not apply to Eunuchs.

6. The statement “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”

1) This does not mean that if you don’t want to accept this teaching you don’t have to receive it.

2) Jesus does not say “IF you are able,” but he says “He that is able.”

3) The force of the statement is, if you are in this situation, then receive this teaching and apply it to your life.


1. We have looked at Jesus teaching on Marriage and Divorce.

2. Invitation