After over 65 years of ministry, we have developed the top 27 questions people ask us so we would like to share these questions each week for our weekly blog and share the answers as a resource for you all to use in your ministry, churches, and family.
Top ? #14 What Does the Bible Say About Divorce and Remarriage?
Answer: God ordained marriage to be a permanent relationship between a man and a woman, however, there are certain conditions in which God permitted divorce. If the divorce meets those conditions then the individuals are free to remarry.
God created the institution of marriage at the time He made the first man and woman. He declared that they should be “one flesh” and thus implied that the union would last as long as both individuals were alive. Sin, however, tarnished every human relationship and the ideal of a lifelong marriage became much more difficult to realize. Nevertheless, the Christian needs to understand and accept that God’s plan for marriage is for one man and one woman to live together in a loving, lifelong relationship which reflects the love that Christ has for the Church (Ephesians 5:25-28).
God gave the Jews provision for divorce in Deuteronomy 24:1-4. This allowed for a man to divorce his wife if he found “something indecent” (NIV) about her. This probably referred to a moral shortcoming. However, after a proper certificate of divorce had been granted, both the man and the woman were permitted to remarry.
Jesus identified that the provisions for divorce in the Old Testament were given because of Israel’s hard-heartedness (Matthew 19:1-10). He states that the only legitimate reason for divorce is in the case of adultery. He identifies that an individual who divorces and remarries for any other reason is guilty of adultery.
The Apostle Paul gives further instructions for members of the Body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 7:10-17. In this passage, Paul adds the provision that if a Christian is deserted by an unbelieving spouse the believer is released from that marriage relationship and is free to marry another believer. However, if the non-Christian is willing to remain with the believing partner the Christian should stay in the marriage and not leave the unbelieving spouse.
It must be kept in mind that divorce is never the best solution for marital problems. When there is no adultery or desertion involved the Bible gives no provision for divorce and remarriage. It is always God’s desire that two people be reconciled to live in a loving and God-honoring way. Yet divorce and remarriage are very prevalent in our modern society and the Church cannot ignore this reality even in its midst.
If two believers are divorced for reasons other than those given in Scripture they should remain single and try to be reconciled. If one of the two remarries there is then no chance of reconciliation and the other partner can feel free to remarry as well.
Marriage was designed by God to be a metaphor for His great love for us. It is His will that we express that love through our relationship to our spouse and be a reflection to the unsaved world. For Christians, divorce should only be an option in the most extreme circumstances.
Please read the following verses: Malachi 2:16; Romans 7:1-3; Ephesians 5:22-33
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