Divorce: Mark 10 Interpretation Sample Essay

Mark 10 Interpretation

Divorce is a topic that is widely addressed in both the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Bible. In the Old Testament, teachings about divorce are based on the Mosaic Law.  Different Jewish schools taught about divorce in the Old Testament as outlined in Deuteronomy 24:1-4. On the other hand, teachings on divorce in the New Testament are based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. Four different places in the New Testament outlines the teaching of Jesus about divorce. These are Mark 10:1-12, Luke 16:18 and Mathew 5:31-32; 19:1-12. Besides, Apostle Paul provides important allusion to teachings of Jesus about divorce in 1st Corinthians 7:10-12. Despite been in different versions, there are significant similarities among the teachings of Jesus about divorce from various scriptures. Significantly, Jesus’ teachings about divorce in the New Testament form an important explanation of Moses’ teachings about divorce in the Old Testament.

There is a significant comparison between the various sayings where Jesus teaches about divorce in the New Testament. In both sayings, Jesus terms divorce as an abomination to the will of God. He upholds that marriage is an institution that entails a permanent relationship between a male and female. However, the sayings differ in terms of what Jesus basis his teachings on. In Mark 10:1-12, Jesus refers to the commands of Moses on divorce. In verse 3, Jesus reminds the audience on the Mosaic Law, “What did Moses command you?”  In Luke 16:18 and Mathew 5:32; 19:9, Jesus refers to the Ten Commandments to teach about divorce. He explains how divorce leads people to committing adultery.

The audience to Jesus’ teachings were the Pharisees who sought to test him. They sought to challenge him to choose between the two views as taught by Hillel and Shammai in the main schools of thought in Israel. In Deuteronomy 24, Moses advocated for divorce in a case whereby the wife was indecent. In the easy school of divorce, Hillel interpreted Moses’ teachings that the husband could divorce his wife if she displeased him. Contrary, the school of Shammai advocated for strict restriction of divorce, allowing for limited cases under certain rigidly defined situations. The two schools of thought split the nation into two views of divorce.

Jesus taught that a divorced person who remarries commits adultery. “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery,” (Luke 16:18). In Mathew 5:32, a man is accused of making his wife a victim of adultery after divorcing her. Similarly, a man commits adultery on marrying a divorced woman. On an “except-clause” divorce is allowed if done for reasons of sexual immorality (Mathew 19:9). While the teachings in Luke affirm the Jewish practices of marriage, the teachings in Mathew address the practices of marriage among the Gentiles.

In Mark 10:6-9, God initiated marriage as a sacred institution whereby divorce is an abomination. The married are called to live together until death separates them. However, God allowed for divorce in situations where marriage could lead one to sin against God. It would be better for a person to divorce their partner in marriage but remain faithful to God. All the sayings about marriage in the New Testament were original with Jesus. Jesus advocated for the truth rather than abiding blindly on the laws. The church today should teach about the issue of divorce as addressed in books discussed. As much as the church should preach against divorce in marriages, divorce should be allowed at some situations. Significantly, the married should be given important tips on how to avoid sin which is the key result of divorce in marriages.


New International Version Bible

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