Mark 10:1-12

Sunday Morning Bible Study

February 13, 2005


Since tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, I’ve got some “Love Advice” from some experts.


John, age 9 says, “Like an avalanche where you have to run for your life.”

Glenn, age 7 says, “If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell, I don’t want to do it. It takes too long.”

Greg, age 8 says, “Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good too.”


Del, age 6 says, “Tell them that you own a whole bunch of candy stores.”

Camille, age 9 says, “Shake your hips and hope for the best.”

Alonzo, age 9, “Don’t do things like have smelly, green sneakers. You might get attention, but attention ain’t the same thing as love.”

Bart, age 9, “One way is to take the girl out to eat. Make sure it’s something she likes to eat. French fries usually works for me.”


Erin, age 8 says, “Don’t forget your wife’s name. That will mess up the love.”

Natalie, age 9 says, “Don’t say you love somebody and then change your mind. Love isn’t like picking what movie you want to watch.”

Dave, age 8 says, “Be a good kisser. It might make your wife forget that you never take out the trash.”

I find it interesting that on the day before Valentine’s Day, we are in a section that deals with marriage.

Mark 10:1-12

:2 And the Pharisees came …tempting him.

Matthew adds:

(Mat 19:3 NLT) "Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for any reason?"

:4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement

sufferedepitrepo – instruct; to permit, allow

bill of divorcement – a simple piece of paper that basically stated, “I divorce you”.

The Pharisees are referring to:

(Deu 24:1 KJV) When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.

The Pharisees had no problem with what Moses wrote.  The real question was, “What does it mean?”

There were two main views in Jesus day regarding divorce and remarriage. 

One view was held by Rabbi Shammai, and he taught that divorce was allowed only if the wife was guilty of immorality.  This was generally interpreted to mean that she either wasn’t a virgin when the marriage took place, or that she had committed adultery after the marriage.

The other view was held by Rabbi Hillel, and he taught that if the wife did anything offensive or disagreeable, it was grounds for divorce.  Another Rabbi went so far as to say that if another woman was more pleasing to the man than his wife, then that constituted grounds for divorce.

:5 For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept

Some of the Jewish rabbis suggested that the reason Moses allowed for divorce was not so that people could marry many times over and indulge their lusts.  It was to prevent a greater sin of spousal abuse and even murder.

I believe that the other aspect of this is that simply some times, in some situations, we just can’t get past the hardness of our hearts.

There can be a time in a relationship where you just can’t take it any more.  You no longer want to risk trusting them again.  This is the kind of thing that happens with adultery.  It’s hard to get over it.

And if that’s where you’re at, God understands.  God will allow a divorce.

:7 a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;

Jesus goes back to the beginning of creation.  His idea is that the first marriage was supposed to be the model for marriage.

(Gen 2:21-25 KJV) And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; {22} And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

An old Jewish proverb - God didn’t take woman from his head that she should rule over him, or from his foot that he should step on her, but from his rib, his side, that they should be side by side.

Note:  God did not make two wives for Adam, only one.  There was no possibility of there being another woman.  Some have tried to point to the patriarchs like Abraham or Jacob and how they had more than one wife.  But Jesus points to Adam and Eve being the ideal – One man, one woman.  One husband, one wife.


When Adam stayed out very late for a few nights, Eve became upset. “You’re running around with other women,” she charged.  “You’re being unreasonable,” Adam responded.  “You’re the only woman on earth.”  The quarrel continued until Adam fell asleep, only to be awakened by someone poking him in the chest.  It was Eve.  “What do you think you’re doing?” Adam demanded.  “Counting your ribs,” said Eve.

{23} And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  {24} Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

The “therefore” refers to the fact that since woman was taken from man, when a husband and wife cleave together, man becomes whole again.

{25} And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

One of the key ingredients to marriage – transparency – nothing hidden from each other.
You know everything about the other person and you are not ashamed because they love you anyway.
This requires grace.  Being kind to one another.  When we aren’t gracious to each other, it’s hard to be “naked”.  Instead we want to cover up.

:8 And they twain shall be one flesh:

This is the last phrase from Genesis 2:24.

:8 so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

Jesus now repeats this part because this is what He wants to emphasize.


Intimacy in marriage.

Physical intimacy – We often think of the “one flesh” being strictly physical intimacy. Sex certainly is a part of the equation. One of the unique elements of marriage is physical intimacy. Sex is not only a lot of fun, but it’s an expression of what has happened in marriage – two people become one.
But marriage is more than just physical intimacy.
Emotional intimacy – you put your fragile heart in their hands.
It’s knowing the joy of loving another person and being loved in return, yet also knowing that they could crush your heart as well.
Social intimacy – being the best of friends.
Being able to talk about anything. Enjoy spending time together.
You may not have all the same interests, but find ones you do have in common and spend time together.
Financial intimacy – you share everything, including money
I remember counseling one couple that had separate checking accounts.  They kept all their money separate.  They even took separate vacations.
A young man saw an elderly couple sitting down to lunch at McDonald’s. He noticed that they had ordered one meal, and an extra drink cup. As he watched, the gentleman carefully divided the hamburger in half, then counted out the fries, one for him, one for her, until each had half of them. Then he poured half of the soft drink into the extra cup and set that in front of his wife. The old man then began to eat, and his wife sat watching, with her hands folded in her lap. The young man decided to ask if they would allow him to purchase another meal for them so that they didn’t have to split theirs. The old gentleman said, “Oh no. We’ve been married 50 years, and everything has always been and will always be shared, 50/50.” The young man then asked the wife if she was going to eat, and she replied, “It’s his turn with the teeth.”
Spiritual intimacy – there is supposed to be a bond between husband and wife that’s closer than any other relationship. Being able to pray together about everything.
There are things you can accomplish together as a couple spiritually that you can’t do by yourself.
(Mat 18:19-20 KJV)  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. {20} For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Yes you can pray with brothers and sisters at church, but how much more could happen if you prayed together at home?

This is all very scary for most of us. It’s scary because when you risk opening yourself up to another person like this, you risk them hurting you.
Some people get married but they never taste the depths of intimacy that God has for them because it’s too scary.
Others simply don’t get married.

:9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

joined togethersuzeugnumi – to fasten to one yoke, yoke together

When Jesus said that divorce was only allowed because of the hardness of man’s heart, it was because God’s original idea of marriage was for two people to be joined together and stay joined together.  God didn’t want the intimacy to be shattered.

(Mal 2:16 NASB)  "For I hate divorce," says the LORD, the God of Israel

Why does God hate divorce?

For one thing, it ruins us.  Many of you have gone through the pain of divorce.  You know what I’m talking about.
Secondly, marriage is supposed to be one of God’s pictures to describe His relationship with us.
(Eph 5:25 KJV)  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

God wants us to know that He’s not going to “dump” us for another woman.  He loves us.  He’s committed to us.

Divorce ruins the picture.

:11-12 Whosoever shall put away …


Reasons for divorce

Matthew records an “exception”:
(Mat 19:9 KJV) 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.

fornicationporneia – this is a very broad term simply meaning “any kind of sex outside of marriage”.

If you are divorced because your spouse because of immorality, you are allowed to remarry.
Are there other “exceptions”?
(1 Cor 7:15 KJV) But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

The principle is called abandonment.  Technically, if you are married to an unbeliever and they want out of the marriage, you are allowed to get out.  Some have suggested that even if the other person claims to be a believer, but they walk out on the marriage, they are acting like an unbeliever.  I’m not sure I disagree with that view.

What about spousal abuse?
If you or your children are in danger, it’s time to take a break.  I don’t think that God’s idea of the permanence of marriage is supposed to be an excuse for you being killed or harmed.  There may be others who would condemn you for getting a divorce in those circumstances but you won’t find condemnation here.
What if I’ve been divorced and remarried and I don’t fit into one of these exceptions?
You need to consider that perhaps you’ve sinned.  But rather than ruining the marriage you’re currently in by walking out of it, you need to make a commitment to God that you’re going to be committed to this marriage.


Sticking it out

Though God allows for divorce in some circumstances, God’s first desire is that you try and work things out.
Even with the sin of adultery, God’s first choice is that we learn to see repentance, forgiveness, and restoration.
Hosea didn’t exactly have what you would call the “model marriage”.
When it was time for Hosea to get married, God told him who to marry. God told Hosea to marry a girl named “Gomer”, a girl who was a prostitute. God said that the reason for this was to remind the people of Israel how unfaithful they were in their marriage to the Lord.
Things went along fine in the marriage. They had a couple of kids. And then Gomer decided it was time to go back to work. She went back to being a prostitute. It was a lesson about how God’s own people have been so unfaithful to Him. And God tells Hosea to take her back.
God gives Hosea a clue as to His own heart towards His own bride:
(Hosea 2:19-23 NLT)  I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. {20} I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as LORD… {23} …I will show love to those I called 'Not loved.' And to those I called 'Not my people,' I will say, 'Now you are my people.' Then they will reply, 'You are our God!'"
One of the key ingredients to a lasting marriage is forgiveness.
(Eph 4:32 KJV)  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Has Jesus forgiven you?  Has He continued to be patient with you?