Divorce for Any Reason at All?

The problem of divorce is one that is very obvious in our society. About half of all marriages end in divorce. Families are torn apart. Lives are ruined. We all know people who have been directly affected by this problem. As it has spread throughout our society, we have seen it more in the church as well.

However, this is not a new problem. In the days when Jesus walked on the earth, He was asked about this very topic. Some of the Pharisees asked him about the proper cause for putting away one’s mate. Of course, they asked him for the purpose of trapping Him in His answer. Their question was, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all” (Matthew 19:3)?
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Accepting the Exception of Matthew 19:9

Matthew 19 records an instance when a group of Pharisees came to Jesus to test Him. They did this on many occasions. This particular time, they asked Him about divorce: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” (Matthew 19:3). Some believed that a man could put away his wife for just any reason. Others believed the only lawful cause for divorce was adultery. They wanted to see which side of the controversy Jesus would take. Incidentally, we see from Jesus’ response in the following verses that when controversy arises, we need to side with the truth, not a particular party or sect. Therefore, we must look at each issue objectively, determining what God’s word teaches before choosing sides.

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