What does the Bible say about Divorce and Remarriage?

1 Corinthians 7

In this lesson we will see what God says about divorce and remarriage.  There are two places in the Bible that deal specifically with this topic; Matthew 19 and 1 Corinthians 7.  The statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce has been thrown around for a long time, but according to George Barna survey and the US Government HHS statistics are the following:

  • 35% marriages end in divorce
  • Among those who “live together” before marriage and those who didn’t, divorces were 40% more likely among those who “lived together”.

Marriage is not man’s idea.  It is not a relationship man came up with.  It is a relationship created by God.  A while back the Supreme Court of the United States of America and some Americans were attempting to define or redefine marriage.  Well, marriage wasn’t created by any man, so the definition of a marriage doesn’t come from man, judge or not.

Let’s start with what God said a marriage is in Genesis 2:24.  It is changing relational priority – leaving father and mother, it is pursuit – cleave unto his wife, and it is mutual possession – the two shall be one flesh.  If any one of these three things is not being done properly it will put extra strain on your marriage.  In Matthew 19:3-9 Jesus Christ allows divorce for the case of fornication or adultery.  And in 1 Corinthians 7 we’ll see that abandonment is the other case where divorce is allowed.

In 1 Corinthians 7:1-5, Paul is dealing with marriage as a remedy to fornication.  Physically speaking, marriage is God’s holy way of dealing with the lust of the flesh.  To put it another way the physical aspect of marriage was created for a husband and a wife (Hebrews 13:4).

Benevolence is a desire promote the other’s happiness; good will.

  • 7:5 Defrauding has to do with the physical aspect of marriage.  Incontinency is the inability to control yourself.  Notice he says that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.  The flesh and the devil work together.  Husbands and wives can either be a great help to each other or put the other in a very difficult position.
  • 7:6 Speak by permission meaning there is no old testament precedent for this.  Notice 7:10 he speaks by commandment of the Lord and then in 7:12 he speaks again without an Old Testament precedent.  It all made it as scripture, so this is God’s scriptural advice.
  • 7:7-8 Paul would like them all to stay unmarried like himself, but he knows that isn’t God’s plan.
  • 7:9 Marriage is normal, Paul is not.
  • 7:10-11 Reconcile or remain unmarried
  • 7:12-14 If one spouse gets saved and the other wants to remain married, then stay married.
  • 7:15 If one spouse gets saved and the other demands to leave, then the believing spouse isn’t responsible in that case.

Some very common questions among believers are the following questions that we will answer in this lesson.

  • What if I got divorced before I got saved? Can I remarry? The recommendation is to stay single.  If God will bring you a husband or wife, let Him do it by being faithful.  You’ll find the spouse God brings you while you’re doing what He wants you to be doing.
  • What if I got divorced after I got saved? Can I remarry?  The recommendation is to stay single.  The recommendation is to stay single.  If God will bring you a husband or wife, let Him do it by being faithful.  You’ll find the spouse God brings you while you’re doing what He wants you to be doing.
  • Am I able to get married if I’ve been in another relationship before I was saved?  Read 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.  God says these folks cannot inherit the kingdom of God.  But after you get saved he says in verse 11 such WERE some of you.  The recommendation is to stay single.  If God will bring you a husband or wife, let Him do it by being faithful.  You’ll find the spouse God brings you while you’re doing what He wants you to be doing.
  • What if we both got saved while we were living together?  If you are currently in a relationship and now both saved you need to get married and recognize what you’re doing before God and others.

God does not seem to address marriages where neither party is saved.  The recommendation there is get saved!