Matthew 19:1-12

Talks for Growing Christians

Our Lord’s Comments on Divorce and Celibacy

Matthew 19:1-12

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Lesson Number 50

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The institution of marriage was the basis for the Lord’s position on divorce.
  2. The advance of the kingdom was the basis for the Lord’s position on celibacy.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t think God approves everything He allows.


  1. Was divorce common in Israel during Jesus’ day?
  2. Why did the Pharisees ask the Lord this question about divorce?
  3. What was God’s plan for marriage from the beginning?
  4. What is the only biblical ground for divorce?
  5. Why did the disciples make their comment in Matthew 19:10?
  6. Explain Jesus’ teaching on celibacy.


  1. Yes, divorce was a part of the culture, just as it is today.
  2. In that day there were two schools of thought regarding divorce. The Pharisees thought if they could get Jesus to express His position on divorce He would anger at least half of His followers.
  3. God’s plan could be expressed, “One wife, for life.”
  4. Sexual immorality
  5. Apparently they had been influenced by the more liberal view of divorce. They thought it would be better to remain unmarried than to hold to the “one wife, for life” plan.
  6. Our Lord taught that there was a place for celibacy. It is not the norm and it is not for everyone, but you can be celibate to the glory of God. Refer to I Corinthians 7.


  1. The institution of marriage was the basis for the Lord’s position on divorce. Discuss the institution of marriage. Marriage is not respected or honored in our culture today, but it was designed by God as a blessing for His creatures. Discuss what you personally can do to raise respect for marriage from those around you. Ideas include what you teach your children about marriage and how you discuss your marriage with your co-workers. God holds marriage in high esteem, do you?
  2. Review the different interpretations of the “exception clause.” Remember that reconciliation is always the best option. Although under the Law God allowed divorce, He did not approve of it. God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). Divorce shatters the picture that God intends to convey of the relationship between Christ and the Church.


  1. Marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church. Aren’t you thankful that God does not “divorce” us, even when we are unfaithful? Recall God’s faithfulness to you, and praise Him for it.

Key Verses

  • “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6
  • “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” Matthew 19:8

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