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Study Resources :: BLB Frequently Asked Questions :: Remarriage after Divorce

Christian Living :: Remarriage after Divorce

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According to Scripture, if a marriage partner commits adultery, can the injured partner remarry or should they stay single? Ideally, divorce, even in the case of adultery, is not preferred. Christ only begrudgingly allows for divorce (Mark 10:6-10) in such an instance, declaring that Moses allowed it (Deuteronomy 24:1-4) ONLY because of the hardness of men's hearts (meaning their unloving and uncharitable nature).

Paul, speaking of believers, though, says that a believer is NOT to divorce his/her believing spouse (1 Corinthians 7:10-11). He does make allowances for the believing spouse of an unbeliever, saying that though they are not to initiate a divorce, if the unbeliever departs, the believer is no longer under any obligation to the marriage (1 Corinthians 7:12-15).

The following is a very succinct statement of the basic scriptural position. So let us put it succinctly. However, this subject is a very emotional and complicated one. Situations do not always easily fall within these categories (e.g., physical spousal abuse, or what happens when a spouse's actions bring into question their statement of belief). Accordingly, we always recommend that pastoral counseling always be sought by persons faced with marital problems. In addition, we recommend the following book by Dr. Jay E. Adams, Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage in the Bible (ISBN: 0310511119).

1. BELIEVER & BELIEVER:
Divorce is not right. If divorce occurs, reconciliation must be sought (the alternative is to remain in an unmarried state). If the divorcing party does not seek reconciliation, he/she should be brought into the order of church discipline. If there is no repentance, the divorcing party should be ex-communicated as an unbeliever (i.e., treated as a heathen and tax-collector) and so the situation would change to...
2. BELIEVER & UNBELIEVER:
Divorce is not to be sought by the believer (under the new covenant, the grace of God is stronger than under the old; in the Mosaic covenant the foreign wife made her husband unholy - Ezra 10:2,3 - but in the new, the believing spouse sanctifies the unbelieving). If the unbeliever desires divorce, it can be granted. And then, the believer is free to remarry.
3. IN THE CASE OF ADULTERY:
If the adulterer repents and falls into the grace of Christ, his/her spouse is not obligated to stay, but is not eligible for remarriage (1 Corinthians 7:11). If the adulterer does not repent, he/she should fall into the hands of church discipline by which he/she will either prove Christian and repent (allowing the victim to divorce sans remarriage) or prove unbelieving, by which listing #2 comes into effect.
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.