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home > Marriage and Divorce

What does the Bible say about divorce?

"Now, for those who are married I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord. A wife must not leave her husband. But if she does leave him, let her remain single or else go back to him. And the husband must not leave his wife." - 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 (NLT)

Okay, so it's not as cut-and-dry as the above implies. So let's take a look at what the the Bible says about divorce. Are there any circumstances in which a marriage ends?

"For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband." -Romans 7:2 (NASB)

So we see that if a spouse dies, the marriage ends and the survivor is free to marry again.

In the next verse we see that there is no marriage in heaven (or hell).

"For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven." - Matthew 22:30 (NASB)

Matthew 5:32 gives another circumstance in which divorce is allowed.

"but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery." (NASB)

Several important points are made in this verse.

Divorce is allowed for unchastity. Don't try to change the meaning of this to say divorce is allowed for adultery. Jesus defines adultery as including lust of the mind. That's why this verse is specific in talking about a physical act taking place--that is what unchastity is.

If you get divorced you MAY NOT remarry. If you remarry, you and the person you marry are committing adultery. Anyone considering divorce, even as allowed here, should carefully consider their decision. In God's eyes you may NEVER marry again.

There is one other circumstance in which the Bible allows divorce--when a non-Christian spouse leaves the marriage.

"Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases..." - 1 Corinthians 7:15 (NASB)

Here again, however, the Bible makes it clear that remarriage is not an option.

"(but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife." - 1 Corinthians 7:11 (NASB)

The Bible makes it very clear. Marriage is between ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN. Not one man and one woman; then another woman; then another women. You only get married ONCE.

Some may say that God must be a harsh and unloving of God. Some may say that I don't understand the difficulties that lead to divorce. I do understand. My marriage survived my adultery, my unchastity, my depression and my addiction to pornography. My Christian wife refused to give up on our marriage. She also refused to give up on me, eventually leading me to Christ and freedom from my past.

What what about abusive spouses? If you or your children are in physical danger, get out now and contact the authorities. Don't go back unless you feel safe--with no doubts or concerns about your safety. Being married does not mean you need to subject yourself to an abusive spouse. Being married does not mean you must stay in a place where you will be physically harmed.

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