What Does the Bible Say About Divorce and Remarriage?

What does the Bible teach about this subject of divorce and remarriage? Today we are dealing with a very sensitive subject. Statistics show that over 50% of all couples will experience divorce, which means not only are they affected by it but their children are as well. While I recognize that there are a variety of different views on this subject, I want to provide a biblical yet balanced view on the subject of divorce.

The first thing that I want to point out is that divorce is not the unforgivable sin. (Romans 8:1) We’ve taken this one sin and have shunned and shamed people and caused them to feel worse than they already do about the deep pain that is associated with divorce. We need to be about the business of restoring people who are broken and reminding them that if God is big enough to forgive other sins, then certainly our God is big enough to forgive the sin of divorce.

The Bible provides for grounds for divorce with the assumption that the person would get remarried. The first is adultery. Jesus says that if a spouse commits adultery, then the other spouse has the option to divorce and remarry. (Matthew 19:19). However, we must always remember that reconciliation is always preferred if the offending spouse is truly repentant.

The second ground is what we call abandonment. This is the idea that if a Christian is married to a non-christian and that non-christian does not want to stay married to that Christian and decides to leave, then Paul says let them go and that Christian is free to remarry. (1 Corinthians 7:12-15)

The third ground is obviously death. Paul says here that if a spouse dies, then clearly they are not an under obligation to stay single and they have the option to remarry. (1 Corinthians 7:39)

Lastly, if your divorce happened when you were an unbeliever, the Bible says if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away and behold all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17). God does not hold us accountable or responsible for anything that we did before we became a Christian.

Unhappiness is not a biblical ground for divorce. “I deserve to be happy” has become the new god in our society. (Read Hosea 1)

There is one X-factor that we must consider here and that is the heart of God. I am convinced that even though there may be consequences to our decisions, God always responds to a heart of repentance with grace. There are several examples of this in Scripture. We see it in the life of David and the life of Jacob, Moses, Abraham. All of these are men who failed God miserably and yet they expressed true repentance in their heart and God responded to that repentance with grace.

Finally, my advice to somebody who has experienced the devastating pain of divorce is first and foremost, if there are children involved, go out of your way to shield your children from that devastating pain of divorce as much as you can. Secondly, never waste a failure. Take the lessons that you have learned and turn it around and help somebody else who may be struggling in their marriage because if you don’t, you are allowing the enemy to get the victory in your life on the front end and on the back end by causing you to hide behind your failures and to be too ashamed to share the lessons that you’ve learned with someone else.