Mark 10:1-12 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. When Jesus asks the Pharisees, “What did Moses command you?” how do they reply? See Mark 10:4 (printed below)

They replied, Moses permitted a certificate of divorce to be written and to divorce her. (Mark 10:4)

In answer to Jesus’ question, the Pharisees replied, “Moses permitted a certificate of divorce to be written and to divorce her.” The Pharisees are referring to Deuteronomy 24:1.

2. According to the Lord Jesus, why did God give the people a commandment permitting divorce? See Mark 10:5 (printed below)

But Jesus said to them, Because of your hardness of heart he wrote for you this commandment. (Mark 10:5)

Jesus informs the people that it was because of the hardness of their hearts that God wrote for them a commandment permitting divorce.

3. In Mark 10:6-8 (printed below), to what Old Testament passages is Jesus referring?

But from the beginning of the creation, “He made them male and female; (7) for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall be bound to his wife; (8) and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. (Mark 10:6-8)

Jesus is referring to Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:24, passages that outline God original plan for man and woman in marriage. Jesus is indicating that, even though man has now been affected by sin, God’s original plan is still His intention for man and woman in marriage.

4. List some of the things to be learned from the Old Testament passages (Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:24 printed below) Jesus quotes.

God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall be bound to his wife; and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

Marriage is between one man and one woman. A man and his wife are to establish their own new household, distinct from their parents. The marriage relationship creates an intimate union between the husband and wife. Marriage is sacred, having been ordained by God, and it is intended by God that a marriage should be permanent and the marriage bond not be broken.

5. From His teaching recorded in Mark10:11-12 (printed below), do you think Jesus is being stricter than the Old Testament law? Note Matthew 5:31-32 (printed below)

He said to them, Whoever shall divorce his wife, and marry another, is committing adultery against her; (12) and if she divorces her husband, and marries another, she is committing adultery. (Mark 10:11-12)

It was also said, Whoever shall divorce his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce. (32) But I say to you, Everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of fornication, makes her an adulteress; and whoever shall marry her after she has been divorced is committing adultery.( Matthew 5:31-32)

The Old Testament law permitted a man to divorce his wife if he found “some indecent thing about her.” Some type of immoral conduct, perhaps something short of the actual act of adultery, is in view. In Mark 10:11-12 Jesus is speaking about an arbitrary divorce out of convenience without the necessary cause stipulated in Deuteronomy 24:1. Matthew 5:31-32 indicates that Jesus was in full agreement with the Old Testament law.