Q&A: Does it actually say anything against divorce in the bible?

March 13, 2013 | By

Question by : Does it actually say anything against divorce in the bible?
I'm not religious, but I'm just curious. Does it actually say anything against divorce in the bible?

Best answer:

Answer by Immune to Indoctrination
Not sure the verse, but Jesus says: "What God brings together, let no man tear apart" (or something to that effect) when he was asked about divorce.

What do you think? Answer below!

"Early Printed Bibles in Europe" Case from "In the Beginning was the Word" Exhibit
divorce in the bible
Image by Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library
Christianity’s influence permeates western civilization, reaching into every nook and cranny of our history and culture. The Bible, Christianity’s scripture, is likely the best-selling book of all time. Even as American society has become more secular and many Americans turn away from organized religion, the Bible itself is available in an ever-expanding variety of languages, translations, and editions with all manner of supplements for its readers.

This exhibit explores not the history of the Bible itself but the history of the printing of the Bible. It begins with Gutenberg and other early printers in continental Europe, then moves across the English Channel to examine the publication of Bibles in England, Wales, and Scotland. The exhibit then turns its attention to Bibles and related scriptures, some in English, some not, in the American colonies and later the United States.

All of the Bibles in this exhibit are the property of Swem Library, except the Aitken Bible of 1782, which is the property of Bruton Parish Church but is normally stored at Swem. We thank Bruton Parish for permission to display it.


Johannes Gutenberg revolutionized the world of Bible reading when he printed Bibles in the mid-1450s. On his heels came numerous editions of printed Bibles, some the work of entrepreneurial printers and others the work of scholars. Their efforts enabled laypeople to read the Bible in their native languages and study it in its original languages, helping spark the Protestant Reformation.

Johannes Gutenberg and the First Printed Bible

Up until the mid-1400s, producing a new Bible typically took a scribe at least a year, copying the text by hand. That changed when Johannes Gutenberg (?-1468), a goldsmith and printer in Mainz, Germany, developed a printing press using movable type. He spent several years creating his masterpiece, a double-folio edition of the Latin Vulgate Bible used by the Catholic Church, then completely dominant throughout much of western Europe. By 1455, Gutenberg had printed approximately 180 copies, some on paper, some on vellum. Costing three years’ wages for an ordinary worker, the book was less expensive than scribes’ copies, but still not affordable for ordinary people. Most copies likely ended up in monasteries and other institutions rather than in private hands. An amazing 47 or 48 survive today, mostly in research libraries, a tribute to the key role the Gutenberg Bible and movable type played in spreading both the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation.

The copy on display here is a facsimile printed in 1961. Note how the blackletter text resembles that of the small manuscript Dutch Book of Hours (a medieval devotional book for laypeople). Gutenberg deliberately made his type to resemble manuscript letters in hopes of gaining acceptance for the movable type.

Anton Koberger, Modern Entrepreneur

These leaves are a fragment from the ninth Germanic Bible printed by Anton Koberger (ca. 1440-1513) in 1483 in Nuremburg. Koberger in the late 1400s printed about 1500 Bibles at a time. An excellent businessman, he ran an international printing empire, employing a network of printers in other cities and sold his books through agents and correspondents around Europe.

Scholarly Editions: The Complutensian Polyglot Bible

The more widespread availability of the Bible and the religious ideas swirling around Europe in the late 1400s and early 1500s stimulated interest in studying the Bible in its original languages and early translations. Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros (1436-1517) personally organized and financed a project at the University of Alcalá in Spain to produce a polyglot Bible, a Bible in which text in several languages would appear in parallel columns. The scholars worked from 1502 to 1517, creating what is known today as the Complutensian Polyglot Bible. The columns on the original leaf presented here have text from Hebrew, Latin Vulgate, and Greek Septuagint manuscripts. The columns on the bottom are Aramaic and a Latin translation produced by the project.

Scholarly Editions: Robert Estienne

Robert Estienne (1503-1559), also known as Robert Stephani, of Paris was a printer with a very scholarly mind. To make sure that the editions of the Bible that he published were as accurate as possible, he collected earlier manuscripts and compared them, studying carefully the changes in the text. His editions are known for annotations and margin notes with variants of the texts, citing his sources. To be able to connect the notes with the appropriate text, Estienne divided the Bible into chapters and verses, an innovation that gained widespread acceptance. On display here is his two-volume 1545 edition of the Latin Vulgate and Zurich texts in parallel columns; one volume is still in its original binding. The Zurich translation was associated with Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531), a Protestant reformer. Though raised a Catholic, Estienne increasingly favored Protestantism. Theologians at the University of Paris forced him to leave the city, and he relocated in 1550 to Geneva, one of the great centers of Protestantism.

Artistic Edition: Hans Holbein

This beautiful Bible includes woodcuts by Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543), some reproductions of which are displayed in this case. Holbein was a German artist from Augsburg who did much of his early work in Basel, where the Reformation spirit was strong. It likely was in Basel in the 1520s that he created a series of 90+ woodcuts of Biblical scenes. He painted the great humanist Erasmus, who recommended him to his friend Sir Thomas More. Holbein went to England from 1526 to 1530, painting More and the humanist circles in which More moved. After a brief visit to Basel, he returned to England in 1532. Holbein abandoned his former patron, who incurred the wrath of Henry VIII for opposing his divorce and was executed. Instead, Holbein gained the sponsorship of Anne Boleyn and Sir Thomas Cromwell, who themselves eventually fell out of favor and were executed. Holbein nonetheless became the great portrait painter of Henry VIII’s court. Over his career, Holbein worked for both Protestants and Catholics, and his religious views are unclear. This Bible, from Lyon in 1544, was one of a series of Bibles featuring Holbein’s woodcuts printed in the late 1530s and 1540s.

From the Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library at the College of William and Mary. See swem.wm.edu/scrc/ for further information and assistance.

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Comments (13)

  1. Tasha

    Divorce is never permissible.
    Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Matthew 19:6
    Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery. — Mark 10:11
    Whosoever putteth away his wife and marrieth another, committeth adultery. — Luke 16:18

    Only when the wife is unfaithful
    Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery. — Matthew 5:32
    Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery. — Matthew 19:9

    When the ‘unbelieving’ partner chooses to leave
    But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. — 1 Corinthinians 7:15

    When the husband is displeased with his wife
    When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. — Deuteronomy 24:1-2

  2. Mrs. Frankfurt

    Well marriage is sacred, so common sense dictates that divorce goes against the supposed sanctity of marriage.

  3. Vin


    Don’t do it! Except for Adultery.

    Jer_3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.

  4. Esther

    Yes. Jesus taught that adultery was the only acceptable reason to get a divorce.

  5. dr m

    yes it does. Jesus said if a married man divorces his wife and takes another, he is committing adultery.

  6. Damianek

    If you read the bible you’ll realize it’s against everything but God, obeying God, God’s “love”, God’s anger, God’s son, God’s power.

  7. Maurog IV

    1 Corinthians 7:10-11
    And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

    But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

  8. Gabby Little Angel

    Here is a link to a keyword search:

    Basiclly, Scripture says that God hates divorce, but allows it for certain reasons.
    He also uses it as an analogy when speaking of His relationship with His rebellious people.

  9. leon

    yes it does in the new testemant jesus says if a man divorces a women for any reason other than sexual imorrality and then marries another women it is adultry so yea it also says the same about women

  10. Savannah the Believer

    Yes it does. God hates divorce, however he understands that some circumstances grant one. Infidelity. If your spouse cheats, even God says you can get rid of them.

  11. Aryeh M

    And no one bothered to mention that Divorce is one of the 613 commandments (it is in Deut.) and Judaism encourages it when a marriage is no longer viable.

  12. capitalgentleman

    Yes. The Bible is against divorce. The writers realize it exists, and in one place makes provision for it for adultery. But, it pretty soundly condemns it.

  13. Victor Johnson

    yes, it is not good the man to leave his woman against her will