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Is Abuse Biblical Grounds For Divorce?

To learn more about God’s design and purposes for marriage, along with gaining a more concise understanding of the concession for divorce and the implications that should follow when it does happen, consider listening to the following series on Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage as exposited from the Word of God by Dr. Caldwell:

Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage Series, 2018 - 14 Sermons


Is Abuse Biblical Grounds For Divorce?

Is Abuse Biblical Grounds For Divorce?

This season on the Straight Truth Podcast, Dr. Richard Caldwell and host Dr. Josh Philpot will be before a live audience seeking to answer questions that are on their hearts and minds. The question brought today relates to Matthew 5:31-32, where Jesus is speaking about divorce. This passage seems to imply that the only reason for divorce is sexual immorality. Our questioner would like to know if this is true, is sexual immorality the only grounds for divorce, or can physical abuse of a spouse and or children be grounds as well.

Dr. Caldwell appeals to 1 Corinthians 7:10, where he sees the verse as indicating that there might be multiple reasons why marriages end. But before going on to explain or expound on it, he reminds us that we want to affirm at all times that God's will for marriage is one man, with one woman for life. No one should ever enter into marriage that isn't committed to be faithful to the marriage covenant, expressed by the marriage vows, for the rest of their lives.

However, because of sin, we meet with situations in this world that often make the continuation of a marriage untenable. He goes on to explain some of the reasons he sees and understands that are contributors to marriages ending in divorce. Yet he also reminds us that even in these situations, the aim is to rescue the marriages, not bring them to an end. The goal of the church is to see marriages preserved; in a way that transforms, that honors Christ and God, where the two people involved in the marriage flourish spiritually and in every other way.

1 Corinthians 7:10

Dr. Philpot brings up 1 Corinthians 7:15 and asks if this verse might relate to what Dr. Caldwell has just said. He asks if the words “in such cases” written by Paul could mean – some of these other reasons (marriages end) that Dr. Caldwell has just mentioned.

Without a simple no, Dr. Caldwell explains why he shared 1 Corinthians 7:10 and then includes verse 11. He explains that verse 10 points to the permanence of marriage. However, as he goes on to explain, this same verse also reveals that due to the hardheartedness of sin, there will be circumstances that result in marriages not continuing. So then, verse 10 most likely includes a whole host of things that would bring about the kind of separation of which it speaks.

It is verse 11 that expresses the resulting implications of the separating or leaving that may occur, despite the instructions given in verse 10. After explaining verses 10 and 11, Dr. Caldwell gives a clear and precise answer regarding verse 15. This verse he tells us relates specifically to that of abandonment in marriage and then discusses it in light of what Paul says in this verse and those surrounding it in the chapter.

Another question that comes up in light of this discussion is: how long should a couple wait or go through these difficult and trying times before pursuing a divorce? Dr. Caldwell says he wished that it were as simple as God to have given us a play-by-play blueprint, but it is not. Each situation and circumstance requires a matter of wisdom and judgment. He shares the importance of real honesty before the Lord and a genuine desire to please Him by all involved.

The Truth That God Has Given Us

There needs to be an honesty about the truth that God has given us regarding marriage, namely the recognition of permanence and the striving for it. Therefore, a real desire must be present in us to preserve our marriage. A part of this may include a willingness to even suffer in marriage for the cause of Christ. Dr, Caldwell does not mean by way of physical abuse and harm that could come to a spouse or any children in the home. He takes a moment to explain the differences he sees between verbal and physical abuse.

Dr. Caldwell encourages us about how we should think and process our thoughts if we find ourselves in a situation or circumstance where we are considering leaving our marriage. He suggests some questions we should ponder and truly contemplate: Do I really want to preserve this marriage?

Am I really wanting to please God more than I want to please myself? Have I factored in the calling to suffer for Christ, even in my marriage? Is it possible that Christ is calling me to suffer in my marriage? He tells us that this is the proper foundation for being able to weigh in on staying and leaving. He reminds us that hardheartedness is not the standard for the people of God and shares from the Bible how the concession for divorce came to be.

About The Straight Truth Podcast

The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at

The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo.  The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.

The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.

The Straight Truth Podcast is the perfect podcast for those seeking to strengthen their faith, to be informed on how to broach difficult topics with a Christian point of view, to share their faith with unbelieving friends, to challenge the status quo of their own beliefs by viewing them under the lens of the Scriptures, to interpret current news events from a Biblical point of view, and more.

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Season 14 Credits

Produced by
Juan Carlos Claveria

Executive Producers
Joshua Philpot
David Anders

Hosted by
Joshua Philpot

Social Media Descriptions by
Michele Watson

Graphic Design
David Navejas


Camera Operators
Cameron Malott
CJ Malott
Joshua Want
David Williams

Special Thanks to
El Centro Network

Music by

Motion Graphics
Szymon Masiak

Set Decorator
Molly Atchison

Walking In Grace Produces The Straight Truth Podcast - The Best Christian Podcast On The Web

1 Response

  1. Ed
    1 Cor 7:11 says that a woman who separates from her husband should remain single or be reconciled with her husband, and the husband should not divorce her. So how could the Christian husband in this case then find fulfillment sexually as a man, if the only way for him to find that fulfillment is with his wife?

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