Does God Permit a Divorced Person to Re-Marry? Let’s open up scripture and find out.
The first question we should perhaps answer is what God wants of us if we should decide to get divorced in the first place. Matthew 5:32 states, “32 but I say to you that everyone who [ae]divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a [af]divorced woman commits adultery.”
So we see it here in the first part of this verse. Divorce of a wife is only to be done for unchasity. Notice I didn’t say the divorce of a spouse, but the divorce of a wife. Does this verse indicate only men are permitted to divorce in the eyes of God? Not making the conclusion, just throwing the thought out there. Let’s look at the meaning of the Greek word for unchasity.
Unchasity (porneia) – harlotry (including adultery and incest), of illicit sexual intercourse in general.
So divorcing for unchasity means to divorce if someone commits adultery, incest, or illicit sexual intercourse. For those who don’t know what illicit means, it means forbidden laws, rules, or customs.
You’ll find the same Greek word is used in this verse in Matthew 19:9 for immorality, “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery”
Now that we know the confines of which God accepts divorce, we can understand the allowance for re-marriage. Based on the statements in the verse, it appears re-marriage can only occur if the divorce which occurred was on the basis of unchasity/immorality. But think about this. Does the verse permit the one who committed the immoral act and was divorced to re-marry? If the stipulation to re-marry is only given for the one divorcing, what are we left to conclude about the one who is divorced?
These are difficult questions, but important ones for the sake of us all glorifying God to the fullest extent.
One side-note question that might be in mind, what if one is being physically abused by their spouse? What is that individual to do? I think 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 perhaps gives us our answer.
“But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (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.”
So while it’s preferable if at all possible for a wife not to leave a husband, she can, and if she does, she must remain unmarried or reconcile with the husband. Interestingly because it states of the wife to remain unmarried, does that perhaps suggest she can choose to be the one that seeks a divorce? One can’t technically be unmarried if a divorce has not occurred. Nonetheless, should an abusive spouse choose to divorce without proper scriptural cause, then the divorced spouse can remarry it would seem. Does it seem that way?
What do you think? You can feel free to share all your thoughts with me in the comments so we can all rise in our understanding of this issue for the glory of God.
Peace to you all in Christ.