Many people argue about what God’s word says about marriage and its dissolution. This issue requires a lot of postural care mainly because if got wrong in one way, lots of negative consequences, especially for a spouse who stay in emotionally or physically abusive relationships, may occur, and if got wrong in another way, the name of the Lord may be disgraced.
Are Divorce and Separation Always a Sin?
One can find a lot of scripture on divorce and remarriage. When most people read it, they are very likely to end up thinking that no matter what is going on in their life, they must stay in an unhappy marriage at all costs. But what does God say about divorce and separation actually? It is time to consider the relevant biblical passages so that every reader can get a deeper insight into the issue and put any doubts to rest.
The minute God created Adam, He decided that the man needs a woman, and thus Eva was created. This is how a marriage, as we know it today, appeared: a man and a woman enter into a marital union and vow to love each other until death does them apart. And neither divorce nor separation was in His plans laid out for the union, and no one should doubt it.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.
That is why one can say that the Bible condemns any attempt to terminate a marriage. And if a divorce takes place, none of the parties involved in it are allowed to get married someone else again.
Mark 10:12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
However, it is not always as bad as it may sound: just like every rule has an exception, there are exceptions too when it comes to this issue. So, let’s set the record straight.
Scriptural Grounds for Divorce
To understand exactly when divorce is permitted in the biblical context clearly, one should start by considering a few divorce Bible quotes.
Matthew 5:31-32 It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Hebrews 13: 4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
In the Greek version of a popular Bible verse about divorce, we have the word pornea. The latter is translated as “sexual immorality”. Even though the Greek word can mean plenty of things, all of them refer to the forms of sexuality that are prohibited by the Holiness Code: adultery, homosexual relationships, bestiality, and incest. All of them are considered sexually immoral actions and thus are forbidden by God.
Therefore, everybody, whose spouse has been unfaithful, has had sex with the same gender or has been intimate with a relative or animal, can untie the knot without bringing any shame on the Lord’s name. The same can be applied to the situation when one partner is no longer willing to share space with his or her better half because of specific faith issues, but we will talk about this later. Given the said, other grounds that are often cited in divorce documents, such as irreconcilable differences, incompatibility, etc. cannot and should not be considered biblical.
When the Fact of Physical Abuse Allows Divorce
Even though violation is not listed as a biblical reason for a break-up, an abused partner can initiate a divorce process following the rules described in the Bible. In the Holy Scripture, there are so many things that can be of great help for those giving counsel to victims of abuse. And if any form of abuse, be it physical or emotional happens, abused parties do not have to keep their mouths shut at all.
The Lord gives to the government the authority to choose punishment for evildoers; therefore, if someone becomes a victim of domestic violence, the police must be involved immediately. The Lord gives police officers everything, including weapons and handcuffs, they need to protect others from abusers.
After calling the police, contacting a pastor is another important step to take. If an abuser is a member of the church, he or she is supposed to come under discipline immediately. If this doesn’t happen, this person gets excommunicated and thereby lots of serious faith issues arise. The latter one may be used by an abused spouse as a ground for divorce as we have already mentioned earlier
What is Said About Remarrying in the Bible?
It is time to talk about those who have already untied the knot and who are not willing to stay single to the rest of their life. So, what does the bible say about remarriage?
Everybody who is permitted to pursue a divorce has the right to find another love again. Consequently, if the Bible allows a person to get divorced, an abused party has the right to enter into another marriage any time in the future. That is why every time we deal with a permissible breakup, remarriage is permitted.
There is a lot written about divorce and remarriage in the Bible. However, it is important to note that the scripture neither commands nor requires any of them – it only gives permission and sets relevant rules and limitations. Since it is said that born-again Christians have the Holy Spirit in their soft hearts and thus are very forgiving, they have no reason to divorce simply because they can always find a way to save their marriage no matter how arduous it is.
However, as it happens, not all are born-again Christians. And because of the hardness of their hearts, they may live in sin.
1 Corinthians 7:15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.
Therefore, if one spouse has been unfaithful, the offended party is allowed to initiate a divorce process, although it is not required. If an unfaithful partner does not want to live under the same roof with his or her spouse, the latter is permitted to separate. In this case, a believer is allowed to make his or her own way shamelessly and enter into another marriage any time in the future with a clean conscience, thanks be to God!
Written By Emily Mitchell
Emily Mitchell is a happy wife, excellent mother, and great customer service professional currently working for OnlineDivorcer, a company that specializes in preparing documents for divorce. Except for delivering timely support to divorcing people, the author has a passion for writing articles on topics covering family and marital problems. Being a religious person and having a degree in Christian education degree, she tends to consider every issue in the context of religion.