Home Marriage What Does the Bible Say About Divorce and Remarriage (KJV)

What Does the Bible Say About Divorce and Remarriage (KJV)

What Does the Bible Say About Divorce and Remarriage (KJV)

Divorce and remarriage is a complex issue that is examined in the Bible, specifically in key passages from the King James Version (KJV). Here, we will explore what the Bible says about divorce, remarriage, and reconciliation from a scriptural perspective.

Overview of Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible

The Bible addresses marriage, divorce and remarriage in several books and passages. Key verses on divorce in the KJV include:

  • Deuteronomy 24:1-4 – Allows divorce if husband finds “uncleanness” in wife
  • Matthew 5:31-32 – Allows divorce only for marital unfaithfulness
  • Matthew 19:3-9 – Permits divorce only for marital unfaithfulness
  • Mark 10:2-12 – No divorce or remarriage allowed
  • Luke 16:18 – No divorce or remarriage allowed
  • 1 Corinthians 7:10-16 – No divorce allowed between believers

Overall, the Bible promotes faithfulness in marriage and only permits divorce and remarriage under limited circumstances. There are also specific instructions for reconciliation and singleness after divorce.

What are Biblical Grounds for Divorce and Remarriage?

The Bible lays out specific reasons that may justify divorce. However, it unequivocally states that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). Grounds for divorce mentioned in Scripture include:

Marital Unfaithfulness

Several passages state that marital unfaithfulness or sexual immorality is grounds for divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1, Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9). This can include adultery as well as other sexually immoral behavior. Even in these cases, forgiveness and reconciliation are promoted when possible.

Abandonment or Neglect

1 Corinthians 7 discusses abandonment of a believing spouse by an unbelieving spouse as grounds for divorce. This would include physical or emotional abandonment and neglect. Still, reconciliation is preferred if the unbelieving spouse consents.

Threats to Life

If one spouse is endangered by the behavior of the other, this can constitute grounds for legal separation or civil divorce. For example, emotional, physical or substance abuse that threatens someone’s life could warrant action. Christian counselors often advise temporary separation in these scenarios while pursuing reconciliation. But safety should come first.

Unequally Yoked

Believers are instructed to not be “unequally yoked” in marriage with nonbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14). If both individuals are not committed Christians, it can strain the marriage. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul writes that separation or divorce may be permissible if an unbelieving spouse refuses to stay married.

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What Does the Bible Say About Remarriage After Divorce?

The Bible teaches that remarriage should be carefully discerned after divorce. Specific guidance includes:

  • Seek counsel from spiritual leaders. Their objectivity can guide decision-making (Acts 15:1-29).
  • Remember that God forgives all sins, including divorce, upon repentance (Isaiah 1:18, 1 John 1:9). Still, consequences may remain.
  • Victims of adultery or abandonment may be free to remarry (Matthew 5, 1 Corinthians 7)
  • Take time to heal before entering a new marriage (Genesis 29, Isaiah 61:1-3)
    -whoever divorces and marries again commits adultery (Luke 16:18, Mark 10:11-12). There are some exceptions, like marital unfaithfulness. But all divorced people must carefully seek God’s will before remarrying.

The Bible offers grace and redemption to divorced people, but also asks that they earnestly seek God’s guidance regarding any future relationships.

How Should Christian Couples Seek Reconciliation After Separation?

For Christian couples facing strain in their marriage, reconciliation should be pursued above divorce whenever possible. Here is guidance that Scripture offers:

Commit to Staying Married

Unless your safety is at risk, commit to both staying married and living in a healthy, God-honoring way (Matthew 19:6). Offer forgiveness freely (Colossians 3:13) and seek marriage counseling or mentoring if needed (Titus 2:3-4).

Be Willing to Separate Temporarily

There may be wisdom in living apart for a time, especially during intense conflict resolution or counseling (1 Corinthians 7:5-6). Set healthy boundaries and clear expectations for working on reconciliation.

Focus on Individual Spiritual Growth

Times of relationship strain call followers of Christ to deeper faith. Commit to practices like prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17), Bible study (Psalm 1:1-3), and Christian fellowship (Hebrews 10:23-25). Let God refine your faith (1 Peter 1:6-9).

Gently Restore Intimacy

As conditions improve, reconciliation includes restoring emotional, spiritual and physical intimacy. Make time to listen, understand each other and tangibly demonstrate love and commitment, just as God patiently loves us.

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How Can Churches Support People Going Through Divorce?

During divorce, individuals need spiritual and emotional support from churches. Here is how churches can thoughtfully minister to them:

  • Offer empathy, care and confidential counseling
  • Connect people with divorce recovery groups
  • Provide financial, legal and counseling referrals
  • Continue welcoming them in church community life
  • Wisely involve them in ministry participation
  • Direct to Bible study resources on healing from divorce
  • Encourage personal spiritual growth and obedience
  • Pray for wisdom, forgiveness and God’s intervention

The path through divorce is intensely painful. By offering humble support in appropriate ways, churches can demonstrate Christ’s love to hurting people.

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce, Remarriage and the Bible

Below are answers to some common questions about what the Bible teaches regarding divorce and remarriage:

What does the Bible say about getting a divorce?

The Bible suggests that divorce grieves God, but allows it in cases of marital unfaithfulness (Matthew 19:3-9). It should only be sought when serious circumstances irreparably damage the marriage covenant. Reconciliation should be attempted whenever possible.

Is abuse grounds for divorce biblically?

While Scripture does not directly address abuse, protecting human life is a priority. Temporary separation due to emotional, sexual or physical abuse may be needed while pursuing counsel and accountability. However, forgiveness is ideal and reconciliation should be attempted in abusive situations whenever possible.

Can I remarry after my divorce according to the Bible?

Whether one can remarry after divorce depends on the circumstances according to most Bible scholars. Victims of adultery (Matthew 5) or abandonment (1 Corinthians 7) are considered free to remarry. Those who pursue unbiblical divorces apart from these conditions should remain unmarried or be reconciled to their spouses.

What does “unequally yoked” mean pertaining to marriage?

Being “unequally yoked” means that believers and unbelievers share fundamentally different priorities and values, causing strain on marital unity (2 Corinthians 6:14). While challenging, Scripture encourages remaining married if possible under this circumstance (1 Corinthians 7:12-14). However, the unbelieving spouse may choose to leave, freeing the believing spouse.

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What should I do during the divorce process as a Christian?

First seek godly counsel about potential for reconciliation (Acts 15:1-29). If reconciling is impossible, trust Scripture’s reassurances of God’s forgiveness and healing of divorce’s wounds (Isaiah 1:18, Psalm 147:3). Seek support from Christian community (Galatians 6:2). Steward legal proceedings with wisdom and grace (Romans 12:18). Allow time to heal before considering dating or remarriage (Genesis 29).

Divorce and remarriage require deep discernment rooted in Scripture. While challenging, God redeems people going through divorce, writing new stories of hope and joy after this loss. Churches should surround divorcing members with compassion like Jesus demonstrated, rather than condemnation.


Divorce is undoubtedly a traumatic event, but the Bible offers hope and redemption to those experiencing it. By wrestling to understand scriptural teaching on reconciliation, separation, singleness and potential remarriage after divorce, Christians can move forward in godly ways. Churches also play vital roles through compassionate support.

Though divorce derails the ideal of marital commitment, God moves with people through winding roads of both justice and grace. Even after this loss, the Lord heals wounds, sparks spiritual growth and opens unexpected doors that lead to blessing. Jesus is capable of redeeming lives shaped by divorce when individuals walk in obedience to him.

So what does the Bible say about divorce and remarriage? In summary, it sets high standards for unity and faithfulness in marriage. But it allows grace for human weakness, both protecting victims and providing pathways to forgiveness. Most of all, Scripture reassuringly conveys that people touched by divorce are never beyond the reach of God’s miraculous redemption.

Also Read: What Does the Bible Say About Marriage and Divorce?


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