Marriage is a sacred union intended to be a lifelong commitment. However, divorce is an unfortunate consequence of the brokenness that entered the world after humanity’s fall from grace.
If you have ever wondered ‘What does the bible say about divorce and remarriage?’, you are not alone. Divorce is a complex and sensitive topic that is mentioned in the Bible, particularly in the teachings of Jesus Christ. The Bible acknowledges the painful reality of divorce and offers wisdom on how to navigate this heart-wrenching process.
While divorce brings emotional and relational consequences, the Bible also provides hope and healing for individuals who have experienced the devastation of a broken marriage. In this blog post, we will look at the Bible’s stance on divorce and remarriage, and the restorative work of God’s grace and forgiveness.
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What Does the Bible Say About Divorce and Remarriage?
Within the biblical context, divorce signifies the legal dissolution of a marriage covenant between a husband and wife. It is essential to understand that divorce was not a part of God’s original plan for marital relationships. In the book of Genesis, we learn that God designed marriage to be a lifelong commitment, emphasizing the importance of unity and love between spouses.
However, due to the reality of human brokenness and sin, divorce can become a painful reality for many married couples, and the Bible offers some grounds for it. There are many reasons why married couples consider divorce, but God’s word offers wisdom to help overcome even the most difficult situations.
On the issue of sexual relations between spouses, the Bible teaches that the sexual intercourse within a marriage is a sacred and intimate union. It is an essential aspect of the marital bond, enhancing the emotional and spiritual connection between spouses.
In 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, the apostle Paul emphasizes the importance of sexual relations in marriage and warns against withholding it from one’s spouse, as it can lead to unfulfilled sexual desire and strain the relationship.
The Biblical Grounds for Divorce
What are the grounds on which a married woman can divorce a former husband is a reader question I hope to address. The Bible provides clear guidance on the subject of divorce and remarriage. The concept of divorce can be traced back to the Old Testament.
In the book of Deuteronomy, due to the hardness of heart Moses allowed divorce. However, Jesus later clarified that this concession was made due to their stubbornness, not because it aligned with God’s original intent for marriage. Two primary passages reference divorce in the New Testament.
One is found in the book of Matthew, where Jesus stated that sexual immorality (adultery) is a valid reason for divorce. This is known as the “exception clause” because it allows for divorce in cases of marital unfaithfulness.
The second passage is found in the book of 1 Corinthians 7:10-15, where the apostle Paul addresses the question of divorce in a marriage between a believer and an unbeliever. Paul advises that if an unbelieving spouse chooses to leave, the believer is not bound to the marriage and is free to divorce. This exception recognizes the need for separation when a non-believing spouse abandons the marriage.
It is important to note that physical abuse is not explicitly mentioned as grounds for divorce in the Bible. However, the Bible teaches that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, which implies a call to protect, cherish, and respect one another.
In cases of physical abuse, seeking safety and finding help through local authorities or counseling is necessary for the well-being of both spouses. Separation may be necessary to protect the abused spouse from further harm, and this decision should be made with the assistance of wise counsel.
In cases where divorce occurs, the Bible emphasizes the need to treat the former spouse with dignity and respect. Romans 7:2-3 affirms that divorced individuals are bound to their spouse as long as they are alive.
However, this does not prevent individuals from entering into second marriages if certain conditions are met. Divorce should not be taken lightly or pursued without sincere efforts to reconcile and seek guidance. Every situation is unique, and seeking counsel and praying for wisdom is crucial.
Can a Rightly Divorced Person Remarry?
When dealing with the sensitive topic of divorce, many people wonder if a rightly divorced can person remarry. To understand the biblical stance on the issue of remarriage, we must carefully examine biblical teachings, and the answer lies within the framework set by Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul.
In instances where the Bible permits divorce, it is fundamentally to provide an opportunity for the wronged or abandoned party to remarry. This is exemplified by the issuance of a “certificate of divorce,” a tangible acknowledgment of the termination of the marital bond.
In Matthew 5:31-32 (ESV), Jesus addresses the issue of divorce and remarriage: “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the grounds of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
Here, Jesus clarifies the legitimacy of divorce and, consequently, the legitimacy of remarriage. If a divorce is grounded in sexual immorality – a biblical reason – then the remarriage is considered legitimate.
Likewise, the Apostle Paul talks about divorce and remarriage in 1 Corinthians 7. Specifically, he addresses scenarios where an unbelieving spouse desires to end the marriage due to the believer’s active and obvious Christian faith. In such cases, Paul asserts that the believer is not bound, implying the freedom to remarry.
The Pillar Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7 emphasizes this point, stating that being “not bound” signifies the freedom to remarry. From these biblical perspectives, if an individual has valid biblical grounds for divorce, they are permitted to remarry. The emphasis, however, lies in remarriage “in the Lord,” as outlined in 1 Corinthians 7:39.
The Bible acknowledges that marriages may face challenges, and divorce is permitted in certain circumstances. In such cases, the wronged or abandoned party is not only permitted but also free to remarry. While some divorces may be permissible in limited circumstances, the Bible considers unbiblical divorce a serious matter.
Final Thoughts: What does the bible say about divorce and remarriage?
In Genesis, God created Adam and Eve and established marriage as the foundational relationship for humanity. This union is a profound bond, where two individuals become one flesh. It is a union meant to provide companionship, support, and a reflection of God’s love for His people.
Throughout the biblical narrative, marriage is portrayed as a symbol of the relationship between Christ and His Church. In the New Testament, Paul highlights this analogy, emphasizing the sacrificial love and selflessness that should characterize a Christian marriage. God ordained marriage from the beginning and He is very interested in seeing that institution thrive.
Divorce was never God’s intention for marriage. It is a deeply personal and often traumatic experience that affects individuals and families on multiple levels. In summary, the Bible’s stance on divorce and remarriage is that it is generally discouraged, as marriage is designed to be a lifelong commitment.
However, the Bible acknowledges that in some instances, divorce may be allowed on grounds of sexual immorality or abandonment by an unbelieving spouse. In the case of specific circumstances such as infidelity, the faithful partner is free to leave the guilty party and remarry.
In these instances, seeking healing, counseling, and God’s guidance is essential before considering a second marriage. The Bible does not explicitly mention physical abuse as grounds for divorce, but it does call for spouses to love and care for one another.
Forgiveness plays a crucial role in preventing divorce and fostering a healthy marital bond. The Bible teaches that forgiveness is a central aspect of God’s character and His dealings with us.
In Ephesians, we are instructed to forgive one another just as God has forgiven us through Christ. This command applies to all aspects of life, including marriage. Forgiveness in marriage is a reflection of the forgiveness we have received from God.
It allows married couples to extend grace, mercy, and reconciliation to one another, even in the face of hurt or offense. By choosing to forgive, we can release anger, bitterness, and resentment, and work towards healing and restoration. While divorce is permitted in certain situations, the Bible places a high value on the preservation of marriage and encourages reconciliation.
Throughout the Scriptures, God’s plan for marriage is depicted as a lifelong commitment, meant to be upheld through love, faithfulness, and self-sacrifice. While the Bible carries a divinely inspired message about the consequences of divorce, it also provides hope and guidance for those who have experienced its devastating effects.
Divorce and remarriage are sensitive topics we should approach with empathy, grace, and a commitment to upholding the principles outlined in God’s Word. By grounding our marriages on God’s word and seeking God’s guidance, we can experience the beauty and blessing of marriage as intended by God.