Divorce and Remarriage

Divorce is not approved in the Scriptures, and therefore the possibility of divorce and remarriage as an option should not even enter the minds of Christian couples who face difficulty in marriage.

We are always on shaky ground if we begin to seek ways to ignore what the Word of God teaches on divorce and remarriage. There are at least eight relevant Scripture portions that need to be studied. See Genesis 2:24; Malachi 2:14-16; Romans 7:2-4; 1 Cor. 7:10; 1 Cor. 7:39; Matthew 19:3-8, Mark 10: 1-12, and Luke 16:18. These passages give overwhelming evidence for the permanency of God’s institution of marriage.

Concerning separation — the Scriptures say that it is best for the Christian not to separate from the unbelieving partner, but if a couple does separate, they are not free to remarry. The channel must always be kept open and clear so that the relationship can be restored in the event the parties repent and decide to make the marriage work (1 Cor. 7:10-16).

Concerning divorce — Jesus plainly says that divorce does not dissolve the marriage union as death does, for if it did, it would be unnecessary to say, “Whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (Matthew 5:32b). There are a number of Bible commands that divorce always violates. Securing a divorce violates Romans 12:18; Matthew 18:22; Eccles. 5:5; and 1 Cor. 6:6-7. It is unthinkable that the God who teaches us to forgive seventy-times-seven times (without limit), would then teach that we may divorce our wives and put them away if we can’t get along with them.

Concerning remarriage — the Bible in a number of places says that death dissolves a marriage, and that then it is not a sin to remarry (1 Cor. 7:39; Romans 7:2). The Word of God gives no license under any condition for anyone to remarry as long as he or she has a former living companion. The real solution for those who are already divorced and remarried is the voluntary separation of the married partners like the Children of Israel did during the revival under Ezra’s preaching (Ezra 10:31).

Marriage is a serious step. The vows are witnessed on earth and they are recorded in Heaven. The Bible teaches that marriage is a lifetime contract, never to be broken except by death. The Bible teaching on this topic needs to be clearly presented so that young people will be more careful in choosing a mate, and so that married couples will strive harder to make the adjustments needed to save their marriages.

–Harold S. Martin