Bible Question:

If you get divorced and then get married again, aren't you committing adultery? I know God will forgive you, but what I do not understand is if you stay married are you living in adultery?

Bible Answer:

Here is the passage in question.

I have assumed from your question that the divorce was not a biblical divorce. The study “Biblical Divorce and Remarriage” describes what God considers to be a biblical divorce. A biblical divorce has the right of remarriage with God’s blessing. In brief, a biblical divorce is a divorce that occurred because the offending spouse committed sexual sin with someone else (bestiality, homosexuality, heterosexuality, or incest) or because the non-Christian spouse obtained the divorce. Anyone who has a biblical divorce has the right to remarry with God’s blessing. Any other divorce or remarriage does not have God’s blessing.

Committing Adultery

Now to answer your question, we want to turn to Matthew 5:32,

. . . but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (NASB) Matthew 5:32

The easiest way to understand that passage is to remove a key clause. Here is the same verse with part of it removed.

. . . but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife . . . makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (NASB) Matthew 5:32 modified

The Greek words for “commit” and “commits” come from the root words MOICHEUO and MOIXAO. The first word is in the aorist passive tense meaning that the act of committing adultery is completed and done against the woman. This would suggest that he subsequently has sexual relations with some other woman. This is the message of Matt 19:9; Mark 10:11-12 and Luke 16:18. The second word is in the present middle tense meaning that the woman commits adultery herself by marrying another man. Such divorces are unbiblical divorces. These passages reveal that the woman can live in a state of non-adultery as long as she does not marry someone else. If either former spouse marries someone else he or she remains an adulterer according to Romans 7:3.

So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man. Rom 7:3 (NAS95)

Why is she still an adulteress? Because God says they should never have been married in the first place. This is difficult. But Adam made us all sinners, and we never had a choice in that decision. Even though believers are forgiven of their sins, believers are still sinners. Adam’s original sin (just like one divorce) has resulted in all of us being sinners. Yes, adultery is forgiven, but that does not change what occurred.

A stigma is often attached to the terms “adultery,” “adulterer” and “adulteress” that is not biblical. God has not asked us to wallow in our sins after we have confessed it as sin and been forgiven. The term adultery, adulterer or adulteress describes the type of sin just as “liar” describes someone who has made false statements. We all do it, but no one seems to be upset about it. Many have committed adultery too! We must never forget that God hates adultery (Mal. 2;14) and He also hates lying (Prov. 6:16-19). He hates all sin (Ps 45:7).

Divorce To Correct A Mistake?

If a couple later realizes they made a mistake, does this mean they should get a divorce to correct their error? The answer is no, because the result would be another unbiblical divorce – another sin.


Divorce was not in God’s original plan. God only allows it because of the hardness of hearts. The effect of this sin is just like any other sin; there are always consequences that are unavoidable. But do not forget that God forgives this sin. He forgave King David who killed and committed adultery. There is no sin God does not forgive, except the unforgivable sin.

Reference Links:

A Biblical Divorce
Biblical Divorce and Remarriage
What does God say about a person marrying someone who has been divorced?
Is it a sin to divorce if you profess to be a Christian?
Does Matthew 5:31-32 say that even the non-adulterer is guilty of adultery?
Should Christians date non-Christians?