What does the Bible say about getting a divorce and remarrying?

What does the Bible teach about remarriage and divorce?

To begin, it is vital to recall Malachi 2:16: “I despise divorce, declares the LORD God of Israel,” regardless of one’s position on the topic of divorce. The two are now merged into a single entity. Therefore, let’s not break apart families that God has united together (Matthew 19:6). However, God is aware that divorces will occur since they include two sinful human beings. He established statutes in the Old Testament to safeguard the interests of divorcees, particularly those of women (Deuteronomy 24:1–4). Jesus said that these rules were instituted not because God wanted them but because people had hearts of stone (Matthew 19:8).

Jesus’ statements in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 are at the center of the debate over whether or not the Bible permits divorce and remarriage. The only possible biblical justification for divorce and remarriage is the line “save for marital unfaithfulness.” It is often believed that “marital unfaithfulness” during the “betrothal” stage is what this “exception clause” refers to. According to Jewish law, a man and a woman are considered married even throughout the engagement or “betrothal” phase, and only adultery committed during this time can lead to a divorce.

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Nonetheless, the Greek term translated as “adultery” can refer to any kind of sexual misconduct. It can refer to everything from fornication to prostitution to adultery. If sexual immorality is involved, Jesus may be teaching that divorce is OK. As the saying goes, “the two will become one flesh,” which means that sexual encounters are an essential aspect of every healthy marriage (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Ephesians 5:31). Therefore, any breach of that tie through extramarital sexual activity might be grounds for divorce. If that is the case, Jesus also has second marriages in mind. Whatever the interpretation of the exemption clause may be, the wording “and marries another” (Matthew 19:9) suggests that divorce and remarriage are permitted in such circumstance. The innocent party is the only one who may remarry after a divorce. Remarrying after divorce seems to be an act of God’s kindness toward the one who was wronged rather than the one who committed the sexual offense, but this is not explicitly mentioned in the text. Possible exceptions exist when the “guilty person” is allowed to remarry, but they are not made clear here.

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Some interpret 1 Corinthians 7:15 as permitting a Christian to remarry after a divorce from an unbeliever. A believer is not obligated to stay in a marriage with an unbeliever who wants out, but the context makes no mention of remarriage. While the Bible does not explicitly include abuse as a ground for divorce, some people argue that it is still acceptable. It’s possible, but it’s never a good idea to assume anything about the Bible.

The fact that “marital unfaithfulness,” whatever that may imply, is just a provisional exception to the general prohibition on divorce rather than a necessary one is sometimes overlooked in discussions of the exception clause. Through God’s mercy, it is possible for a married couple to recover from an affair and go forward with reconciliation. God’s mercy extends to far more than we’ve done wrong. In light of His example, I think we may extend mercy to those who have committed adultery (Ephesians 4:32). But in many cases, the cheating spouse shows little remorse and continues to engage in sexual misconduct. That’s a conceivable context for Matthew 19:9. Many people also rush into remarriage following a divorce, even if God may have other plans for them. Sometimes, God wants individuals to focus on just one person, and that means they have to be single (1 Corinthians 7:32–35). While it’s true that getting remarried after a divorce is a possibility in some scenarios, it’s not the only route open to you.

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God despises divorce (Malachi 2:16), and a believer’s life should be marked by pursuit of reconciliation and forgiveness (Luke 11:4; Ephesians 4:32). But God knows that even His own offspring will divorce. A Christian who has been divorced and/or remarried should not doubt God’s love for them since their situation does not fall within the potential exception clause of Matthew 19:9.

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