The D Word: A Proper Focus

When you talk to people about their personal lives and thoughts about life like I do, you learn interesting things. I’ve had a few conversations lately about Leviticus and Deuteronomy, which is generally stretching.

And that’s when we take time to talk about an important–may I say the most important–principle of Bible interpretation and application: we want to read and see Scripture from God’s perspective, not our own.

This is why many individuals, men, and churches fall off the wagon of biblical interpretation with the D word [divorce]. Take a moment to back out of cultural norms, fears, and misconceptions. I’m not promoting anything here except sound biblical thinking, so don’t raise your hackles (yet) or run in fear.

Divorce is the exception.

Marriage is the rule.

God’s focus is marriage: His covenantal relationship with Israel, Christ’s sacrificial love for the church.

Somehow, we’ve lost God in our thoughts and talk about marriage and made it about ourselves (no surprise). One woman said,

“When I don’t know what to do it’s because I don’t know who God is. He’s given us His Word so we can know who He is and what His heart is. If I don’t understand marriage it’s because I don’t understand God. I ‘ve become increasingly aware of what I don’t know–I don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong until I know God.”

There is no better, wiser way to think about life than through that lens.

Colossians says that Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. He is the manifestation of God. Yet, we struggle with Jesus in regard to marriage, because we don’t have a picture of a literal, physical bride. Correction: we do. We are the Bride.

Here are some “What would Jesus do” questions:

  • Would Jesus isolate and confine His bride, disregarding her design and gifting?
  • Would Jesus smash wedding cake in his bride’s face?
  • Would Jesus withhold resources from his bride?
  • Would Jesus use sarcasm in answering his bride?
  • Would Jesus make rude gestures and comments about his bride in public?
  • Would Jesus block doorways, scream at and belittle those in his care?

I could go on–those are just a few. And we know the answer. No. Why not? Because that is not the way Jesus interacted with His bride while He was here on earth.

He released those in bondage. He spoke gently. He gave generously of not just His resources, but His time and Person. He welcomed people and they came–to receive rest, life, and grace. He was present in each moment. He walked; He did not run. This and so many other instances are pictures of trusting His Father.

Jesus trusted His Father to meet His physical needs. His sexual needs. His social needs. His spiritual needs.

We need to spend a lot more time studying who God is before we make distinctions about what is and what is not “allowed.” When we do, there will be less contention and fear of the “D” word–not because it is or isn’t sinful or does/doesn’t exist, but because we have a clear understanding of how and why God uses it.

And perhaps, when we see God in the middle of it all, we will find it wasn’t worth hurting the people we did.

4 thoughts on “The D Word: A Proper Focus

  1. I thank you for this post. One question I have is the church my family has attended says that the Bible doesn’t use the concept of oppressed and oppressor. Could you give me some scriptures that support that God does indeed care for and protect oppressed women and men that are in abuse situations? They are accusing ones in the church who believe it to be true that they are believing the heresy of Liberal Theology.


    • Thanks for your question, Nancy! I need some clarification before I can answer your question. Are you referring to oppressed and oppressor within marriage or in the narrative and teaching of the Bible as a whole?


    • Thank you for this, Nancy. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this question and opportunity–if we need to have this discussion privately, please email me at Otherwise there might be others who benefit from the conversation. I’d like to learn/hear more from the perspective of your church.

      English translations of the Bible use the word “oppressed” and “oppressor” in the Old and New Testaments. Even if a different word was used, the concept is there (Exodus 1:12, Leviticus 6:2, Psalm 9:9, Luke 4:18).

      Perhaps your church is responding to the construct of social justice, critical race theory, etc. in our current culture.

      The definition, diagnosis and solution are dependent on the source. I have added the words, “oppressor” and “oppressed” to my writing because I believe, in a biblical sense, that is the context of some marriage relationships. Words used in the secular world for that dynamic are “abuse,” “abuser,” “victim, “survivor,” “target,” “agent.” None of those are particularly biblical words. Here are other biblical choices that represent the situation accurately: wolf, predator, false teacher, ungodly, wicked, perverse, dreamer, grumbler, etc. (see Acts 20:29-30, Romans 16:17-18, Jude).

      If I used those biblical words, I would gain the audience that agrees and understands, but lose the audience that thinks I’m being overly dramatic and exaggerating the situation. I am not.

      I would be interested in hearing or learning what I’m missing re: the the Bible not using the concept of oppressed and oppressor. What am I missing? I don’t mean to be dense, but it’s not obvious. Given, I live in a rural community, attend a relatively small church, and have my hand to the grindstone the better part of each day.

      Thank you, thank you! I so appreciate your question and insight, recognizing that your are speaking for others and trying to come to terms with it yourself.


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