What does God say about a person marrying someone who has been divorced?
You will find a variety of important references for additional study at the end of this response. We would encourage you to read the study “A Biblical Divorce.” It is probably the most important study. The following table summarizes the biblical conditions under which God allows divorce. God allows divorce in two key situations: sexual sin was committed or a non-believer filed for divorce.
|A Biblical Divorce||Passage|
|Divorce is allowed if your spouse committed immorality. Sexual immorality includes sex with someone or something that is not your spouse. It includes heterosexual and homosexual acts, as well as, incest and sex with an animal (bestiality).||“Furthermore it has been said, `Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ “But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.” (NKJV) Matthew 5:31-32|
|Your spouse was a non-Christian and he/she filed for divorce.||“. . . If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him.” “But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases . . .” (NKJV) 1 Cor. 7:12-13, 15|
Can I Marry A Divorced Christian? If you are a Christian who has either 1) never been married or 2) has had a biblical divorce, then you have the right to remarry with God’s blessing. If you desire to marry someone who has been divorced, then you must consider two issues. The first issue can be answered with a question, “Is the person you are thinking about marrying a believer in Jesus Christ?” God warns us to marry only Christians. In the Old Testament He gives us the principle (see illustration in 1 Kings 11:1-8). In the New Testament He is more precise.
A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. (NASB) 1 Cor. 7:39
The second question is how does one know that the prospective spouse’s divorce was a biblical divorce? First, review the table above and ask questions. Second, if the prospective spouse says that his/her former spouse was not a Christian, then you have a sticky issue.
Can I Marry A Divorced Non-Christian? It is common for some partners to doubt the salvation of another partner in a divorce. This is to be expected, given the bad situation leading up to most divorces. Physical abuse, “emotional abuse,” verbal abuse, desertion, “incompatibility,” for example, are common complaints. It is understandable that one partner wonders if the other partner was a believer. Among Christians, this is a common reason given for divorce. It is dangerous to conclude the “offending” partner was an unbeliever and then declare that you have the right to remarry. This assumes we KNOW the truth about their salvation. Unless the spouse has done something very obvious or rejected Jesus Christ, we cannot know for sure that he/she left the faith. There are some key tests that one can apply that may reveal if a person is a Christian. They can be found at “The Evidence You Are A Christian Is . . .”
God’s design is that we marry one person and never separate. That was God’s desire.
FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE; AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’ Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate. (NASB) Matthew 19:5-6
God’s design wants our spouse to be our friend (Mal. 3:14). The Hebrew word for “friend” is a special word having the sense of a “magical friend.” That is what marriage should be all about – magic and friendship!
Reference Links:A Biblical Divorce
Biblical Divorce and Remarriage
If you are divorced and remarry, are you living in adultery?
Is it a sin to divorce if you profess to be a Christian?
Should Christians date non-Christians?