Bible Question:

I have just read your article “Biblical Divorce, ” and I find it interesting. I have just one question. In 1 Cor 7:10-11 God's Word says, “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. ” I understand the part about being allowed to divorce if there has been unfaithfulness, but I do not understand how you came to the conclusion that one has the “right to remarry” after a “Biblical Divorce”? Please explain this conclusion in more detail.

Bible Answer:

A “Biblical Divorce” is a divorce that complies with the conditions that God has communicated to us in the Bible. There are only two reasons that God has given us upon which He will approve a divorce. When God approves of divorce, He gives us permission to remarry; otherwise, remarriage is prohibited.

God’s first legitimate reason for someone to divorce his or her spouse is that the other partner has committed adultery. The Greek word that is translated as “adultery” in the following passage in Matthew 5:31-32 is porneia.

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

The Greek word porneia means that your spouse has had sex with another person, male or female, or an animal. The word refers to pre-marital sex, adultery, incest, homosexuality, lesbianism, and bestiality. For more information about porneia read “Porneia Definition — What is the meaning of the Greek word porneia in the Bible?” Therefore, God has granted us the right to divorce a spouse who has committed porneia. Notice, God says that divorce for any other reason will cause either partner who marries to commit adultery. For example, if a wife divorces her husband claiming that he no longer loves her, she will commit adultery (God does not recognize such a divorce) if she marries someone later. Not only will she commit adultery, but the one who marries her will commit adultery too! In our next example, we will assume that spouse A divorced spouse B because spouse B violated the relationship by committing sexual sin. In this case, spouse A is free to remarry, but not spouse B. Spouse B is not free to remarry because he or she violated the relationship by committing sexual sin.

The second basis upon which God will allow a biblical divorce is if one’s partner is an unbeliever who seeks and files for divorce. Please note that 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 does not allow for divorce because of a partner’s lack of faithfulness.

. . . 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 Corinthians 7:12-13, 15

If adultery is involved, you can file for divorce with God’s blessing; but in the second situation, it is your partner that must take the action. However, it is important to remember that God would prefer that divorce does not occur. That is the message of the following passage,


There is only one biblical basis upon which you can file for divorce and have God’s blessing. That is, your partner has committed some form of sexual sin with another person or an animal. Any other action that you take does not have God’s blessing, and God says that you cannot marry someone else with His blessing. If the divorce was biblical, that is, for the correct reasons, then you will have God’s blessing to marry one of the opposite sex if that one has never been married, or had a Biblical divorce.”

Suggested Links:

Searching For God
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?
If you are divorced and remarry, are you living in adultery?
Porneia Definition — What is the meaning of the Greek word porneia in the Bible?
How can the sin of adultery be forgiven? – Is the sin forever?