What does the Bible say About Divorce and Remarriage?

This is a complex topic, so we hope this page is clarifying for you.

There are basically two views of what the Bible says about divorce and remarriage. The below video from Kevin DeYoung does a great job of explaining each (briefly) and providing a case for how we (and countless others within orthodox Christianity) have interpreted this issue from Scripture.

For a full manuscript of the above video, go here.

Another Take on the Matter

The below link goes to a document that outlines in great detail how one church handles this issue. While we don’t attend the church mentioned, we affirm their approach to the issues of divorce and remarriage among believers.

Read the statement here

Below summarizes what we believe to be a faithful interpretation of God’s Word on divorce and remarriage.

1: Divorce is never God’s best for any marriage, Christian or non-Christian alike. In fact, the Bible says that “God hates divorce” (Malachi 2:16 NASB). It’s never His best for any marriage.

2: As a last resort, and “because of hardness of hearts”, the Bible gives two clear grounds for divorce: (1) sexual immorality (Matthew 5:32; 19:9) and (2) abandonment by an unbeliever (1 Corinthians 7:15). There is nuance to what constitutes “abandonment by an unbeliever” that can only be discerned on a case by case basis, with pastoral care, prayer, and biblical counseling.

3: The two grounds above shouldn’t be construed as situations “requiring” divorce. Divorce is not required or even encouraged in the above cases. They’re exceptions made, not imposed requirements. Repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation are always the best possible ways forward.

4: If the divorce was for unbiblical reasons, there are no grounds for remarriage. If there are instances where divorce occurs and it’s biblically justified, remarriage is acceptable for the innocent party. (Matthew 19:9) But even then, we encourage couples to fight hard for their marriage (see #3 above) through prayer, counseling, and pursuit of each other.

5: Improperly divorced and remarried Christians should stay as they are, but repent and be forgiven of their past sins and make whatever amends are necessary.

6: There are other questions like, “can I remarry if I got divorced while I was an unbeliever”. This, and questions like it, are complex questions that are very hard to answer quickly. For that reason, we urge you to get biblical counsel from a pastor who knows you and can read God’s Word with you to discern the answer.

7: Finally, a divorced and/or remarried believer should not feel any less loved by God. This is not to condone sin, but rather, to reiterate that our being loved by God is a GIFT (“so that none may boast” Eph 2:9) despite our sin, and is good for our salvation in eternity and our sanctification until we get there.