Does 1 Corinthians 7:10,11 Grant Permission For Divorce?
1 Corinthians 7:10,11: “Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.”
There are many people who wrongly conclude from 1 Corinthians 7:10,11 that this text grants permission for marital couples to divorce for any reason (other than the scriptural reason – Matthew 5:31,32; 19:9) provided they do not remarry while their former partner remains living.
Please re-read 1 Corinthians 7:10,11. Take note that these are the commands of the Lord. These are not strong suggestions. Any spouse who divorces his/her spouse for a cause other than fornication is sinning against God. Why? Because you are separating what God designed and joined (Matthew 19:6). God designed marriage to help prevent aloneness (Genesis 2:18-25), prevent fornication (1 Corinthians 7:1-5), and bring two persons (male and female) into a one-flesh union, enabling the procreation of mankind (Genesis 1:22, 28). By divorcing for unscriptural reasons, sexual temptation and/or the need for companionship may become strong, leading one or both spouses to become stumbling blocks of one another (study Matthew 5:31,32, “causes her to commit adultery”).
1 Corinthians 7:10,11 plainly states that these are commands of the Lord which apply to both the wife and the husband (“a wife is not to depart from her husband…a husband is not to divorce his wife.”).
Doesn’t 1 Corinthians 7:11 imply that divorce is permissible as long as remarriage does not occur?
No. 1 Corinthians 7:10,11 instructs persons on what their scriptural options are if they sin by departing/divorcing for unscriptural reasons. If a spouse disobeys the divine instructions of 1 Corinthians 7:10 (“not to depart/divorce”), then to receive forgiveness, they must (imperative mood) remain (present tense) unmarried or be reconciled to their former spouse. This is a command. If it is impossible to be reconciled, then they must remain unmarried.
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