Here is a Sunday school lesson or Bible study you can use on the subject of marriage as related to the teachings in the Bible.
Leaving and Cleaving
Mark 10:7 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife.”
When Jesus said this, He was answering the Pharisees question of why Moses “commanded a certificate of divorce” (Mark 10:4), which by the way, Moses never commanded this but as Jesus said it was “Because of your hardness of heart” (Mark 10:5b) and it was not like that in the beginning (Mark 10:6). When God joined the first man and the first woman together, God said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). That is often referred to as “leave and cleave” which is what is meant by “hold fast to his wife” since the “two shall become one flesh.” You shouldn’t leave if you’re now both one flesh. As with any creature, taking half of it would result in its death and death or adultery was the only biblical reason for divorce or to remarry. One important point in the man leaving “his father and mother “ and then holding “fast to his wife” is that he is to leave his family to begin a new one and that means leave his father and mother out of his marriage as in-laws can create stress and strains on marriage. Naturally, the same would apply for the woman in regards to her family.
Why does God say the man must leave his father and mother?
Do these verses show that marriage is intended to be for life?
Do you “hold fast” to your mate in you’re married?
Two become One
Mark 10:8 “and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.”
After the man and woman leave their families to begin a new one, they are joined together and these two are now one. That means that the husband and wife are now one in the sense of being joined together in a marital covenant that cannot be broken except for death (or adultery). God created marriage to “till death do we part” and not “until I don’t love him anymore.” They are clinging together now because they’ve been joined together by God and what God joins together is not to be separated again. Can you even imagine repenting and trusting in Christ and becoming a child of God but God doesn’t feel like He loves you anymore and so He separates Himself from you? You’re not meeting His needs. I know that’s a poor analogy because God has no need of anything from us but the point is, God sees the two now as “one flesh” so what were two at one time; two individuals with different lives now have now joined their lives together and share one life as one flesh. That doesn’t mean that each won’t have a life outside of their marriage but it does mean that their lives are inextricably joined together and if one gets cuts, the other bleeds.
Does God recognize divorces by Christians who were not divorced on biblical grounds?
Is remarrying someone after a divorce sin in all cases?
Who do you know that’s been hurt by divorce as if the “one flesh” has now been torn in half?
Mark 10:9 “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Just over a century ago, getting a divorce was considered a scandal. Before that, divorce was almost unheard of. People took their marriage vows seriously through sickness and health, they stayed together; through poverty and prosperity, they clung to one other; and for better circumstances and bad, they never left the other’s side. They realized that it says what God joins together must stay together and so “let no man separate.” When someone gets a divorce for an unbiblical reason, it is separating what God has joined together and it is sin no matter how you look at it.
Do you know someone that’s divorced and regretted it?
Why is the divorce rate soaring in the last fifty years?
What can help couples from going through a divorce?
The Marriage Bed
Hebrews 13:4 “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
Jesus final answer to the Pharisees about divorce was “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (Mark 10:11-12). The very reason that the Pharisees were questioning Jesus about divorce was probably because they had so many of them. It was so very easy to get a divorce in the Jewish culture at that time…at least for the man. If the wife burned the man’s breakfast, said something in public he didn’t like, or anything else that bothered him, he could simply walk away. The Pharisees likely wanted to rationalize their own disobedience in divorcing their spouses by having Jesus condone their actions by what He taught but they were certainly disappointed because Jesus plainly said “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.” The author of Hebrews is pointing out that only the marriage bed is undefiled before God since He will “judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” and when the Pharisees heard Jesus say that divorced men who remarried were committing adultery, they must have made them very angry.
Does a onetime adulterous affair mean the offended party should seek a divorce?
Why has this teaching by Jesus been plainly ignored by society and even in the church for some?
What do the words “undefiled” mean to you?
I urge you in your study to look at all of the Bible verses and read them aloud in the class so that you can get the most out of this lesson on marriage because all too often I hear “he/she doesn’t fulfill my needs anymore. I don’t love him/her.” That’s plain disobedience because we’re commanded to love our spouse (Eph 5:22-33). If Jesus had leaned on His feelings before Calvary, He wouldn’t have gone to the cross but He knew it was the Father’s will and praying to have that cup removed from Him showed that He didn’t feel like it, but love is so much more than what you feel. It’s what you do. Love is a verb more than an emotion. Love in action was displayed on the cross, not by what Jesus felt.
Is love or a lack of love for someone the determining factor in getting a divorce?
Did Jesus follow His feelings before Calvary?
What have you learned about marriage in this study?
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.