Matthew 19:3-6 (Jesus’ Teaching on Divorce, Part 1)

What question did the Pharisees pose to Jesus in Mat 19:3?  Were they sincere in really wanting to know His thoughts on the matter?  What word indicates their insincerity?  Where was Jesus at when the Pharisees came to him with their question?  See Mat 19:1.  What is the significance that this was the territory of Herod Antipas where John the Baptist had ministered?  See Joh10:40, Mat 14:1-4; cf. 12:14.  Recall that the Pharisees were among the most orthodox and devout followers of God in that day (cf. Phil 3:5); in the day of judgment when the Lord brings to light the things hidden in the darkness and discloses the motives of men’s hearts (1Co 4:5), will those who have embroiled others in controversy in order to destroy them by the agency of others be any less culpable than those who “pull the trigger” themselves, regardless of how “religious” they may appear to be?  Cf. Mat 5:21-22, 12:33, 1Jo 3:10-15.  What does this teach us about the importance of having a pure heart and pure motives, and the great danger of just being “religious”?  Cf. Mat 23:33.  What does it teach us about the great danger of politics, where the same tactics are regularly employed?

What was Jesus’ reply to the Pharisees’ question?  See Mat 19:4-6.  Was it the case that the Pharisees had never read the passage from Genesis that Jesus reminds them of?  Although they had surely read it, what had they not done that Jesus does for them as indicated by the first word in Mat 19:6?  In what way are many Christians today like the Pharisees in reading the Scripture but not seriously contemplating its implications for their lives because they don’t like those implications?  See Gen 1:27 and 2:21-24 from which Jesus quotes; what is the implication from these passages regarding marriage that Jesus makes clear in Mat 19:6?  What does it mean in Mat 19:5 to “cleave”?  Note that the word means literally to “glue”, and when used of relationships refers to the very closest of relationships which is a covenant relationship; see Rut 1:14, 1Ki 11:1-2, Job 41:16-17,23, Luk 15:15, Act 5:13, 9:26, 10:28; see also Isa 41:7 where a cognate word is used for the melding of metals.  In what way is that close relationship like the relationship we are to have with the Lord?  See Deut 10:20, 2Ki 18:6, Psa 63:8, 119:31, Eph 5:28-32.  What is the great danger of violating the terms of a covenant relationship wherein the participants cleave to one another?  See Deut 28:60, 29:20, 2Ki 5:27, Bar 1:20, 3:4[1], Hos 10:4.

In what sense do two become one flesh in the marriage relationship?  See again Gen 2:21-23 and think: are men and women entirely separate creations, or part of the same creation of “man”?  See also Gen 1:26-27.  How does this help us better understand the nature of God and what it means that “man” was created in the image of God?  Cf. Joh 8:42, 13:3, 16:27-28,30, 17:8[2].  What is the creative relationship between the Father and Son?   See Joh 1:1-3, 1Co 8:6, Col 1:15-16, Pro 8:12-31.  In what way is the creative relationship of the Father and the Son a pattern of the creative relationship between Christ and man, and a man and his wife?  See 1Co 11:3, Joh 15:4-5,8-16[3], Rom 7:4; Gen 1:28, 1Co 11:11-12, 1Ti 5:14, Joh 16:21, and compare Pro 9:1-6 with Pro 31:10-31 (esp. Pro 31:15-16,21-22,26).  What insight does this give us about the manner in which a woman is to be a helpmate to man?  Is her role in any way inferior to that of a man?[4]  How sinful must it be for anyone, whether man or woman, to deny the essential role of every person in God’s creation, including their own?  How does this help us understand the extent of the rebellion against God in western nations today as manifested in the feminist and homosexual/transgender movements?  Cf. Rom 1:24-28.

In what way is the marriage relationship even closer than that between parents and children?  See Gen 2:24 and Mat 19:5 and think: how close is the bond between parent and child?  Can they ever truly “divorce” one another, even when there are great trials?  And yet does a man “cleave” indissolubly to his parents?  If then a man leaves his parents to cleave to his wife, which is the stronger relationship, and what does this say about the possibility of truly dissolving the marriage relationship?  In what way then did Jesus’ response in Mat 19:4-6 answer the Pharisee’s question that they posed in Mat 19:3?  What was His answer?  See Mat 19:6b.  By “no man” does he also and not especially include the married couple themselves?

Matthew 19:3-6 (Jesus’ Teaching on Divorce, Part 1)
Matthew 19:7-9 (Jesus’ Teaching on Divorce, Part 2)
Matthew 19:9 (The Exception Clause to Divorce and Remarriage)
Scripture Passages Related to Divorce and Remarriage
Matthew 19:1-9 (The Spiritual Significance of Marriage)
Matthew 19:10 (The Disciples’ Response To Jesus’ Teaching on Divorce)
Matthew 19:1-10 (Answers to the Really Hard Questions Regarding Divorce)
Matthew 19:1-10 (Answers to the Really Hard Questions Regarding Remarriage Part 1)
Matthew 19:1-10 (Answers to the Really Hard Questions Regarding Remarriage Part 2)
Matthew 19:11-12 (On Celibacy)


1. Baruch 1:20 So to this day there have clung to us the calamities and the curse that the Lord declared through his servant Moses at the time when he brought our ancestors out of the land of Egypt to give to us a land flowing with milk and honey.
Baruch 3:4 O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, hear now the prayer of the people of Israel, the children of those who sinned before you, who did not heed the voice of the Lord their God, so that calamities have clung to us.

2. “Came from” and “came forth from” in these passages from John are literally “came out from”.

3. Notice that “friends” in this passage is a covenant term.

4. “Eve was not taken out of Adam’s head to top him, neither out of his feet to be trampled on by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected by him, and near his heart to be loved by him.”  Matthew Henry.

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