Biblical Views On Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage

Marriage is an important event that The Bible speaks to as well as divorce. God has outlined definitions and requirements for marriage that should be considered before and after walking down the aisle.

Marriage is the most significant expression of the image of God where the union between man and woman is most intimately realized[1]. God established the institution of marriage for mankind’s benefit[2] and that began with Adam and Eve. The Old Testament has regulations that restrict people from marrying outside of their immediate family or tribe and looks down on those who married a foreigner[3]. The New Testament teaches that man and woman are equal in dignity and have become “one flesh” through marriage[4]. Obviously society has come a length away from the idea of marrying in one’s family and straying away from foreign ones.

Marriage occurs when two people make a declaration of the desire to be married, and a mutual intention of responsibility and fidelity towards one another[5]. However, some say that marriage comes about through sexual intercourse because God recognizes intercourse as an act only for the married[6]. Again, society has changed as promiscuity is rampant and intercourse is more frequent between friends or strangers. We cannot say a person is married by the actions of intercourse alone because man has warped the action to the extent that it almost lacks boundaries.

Divorce rates are climbing by the year and the institution of marriage is being held less and less sacred. From the Kim Kardashians, to the Britney Spears of the world, society has gotten the impression that divorce is acceptable and that marriages can be as numerous as the sands on a beach. However, The Bible offers a much different take on both marriage and divorce. As Jesus worked to explain, a marriage is to be a relationship where both people grow and mature over time and a harvest of the Spirit that displays something of God’s covenant relationship[7]. Marriage is intended to be a one time event and the people married are supposed to rely on God and seek Him during their struggles. The issue comes when sin intervenes and man does not allow God’s power to intervene and overcome it. Specifically, one should not pursue divorce in light of the commandment “You shall not commit adultery” which means “You shall not break the one flesh”[8]. Because marriage is considered becoming one flesh, it falls under this law.

However, divorce is said to be allowed in unique circumstances. These circumstances include adultery and desertion[9]. As a married man, my views on divorce are in line with the circumstances presented (including those permitting divorce). I cannot see a circumstance that God could not intervene and assist a couple through. God’s willingness to help does not imply a couple’s willingness to mend the issues.

If a divorce occurs, the church and Christian community as a whole are called to accept it and assist both people instead of rejecting them[10]. We are called to lift up one another because we all do sin and fall very short of God’s plan and His glory. As far as remarriage is concerned, it is permissible if divorce is sought as a last resort and the divorce does not occur with another person in mind[11].

Important to also recognize is because we are not perfect, marriages also fall apart for other reasons. Acceptance and assistance are essential elements to assisting those who may divorce for whatever reason. God’s redemptive plan and love is not restricted to people who have never divorced. We all have our faults.

In regards to marriage, The Bible says quite a lot. While society may change with what they deem permissible as far as who can get married, what good grounds for divorce is, and when remarriage is acceptable, it is important to recognize marriage for the gift from God that it is. God is not only glorified by marriage, but revealed through it. A marriage entered into with God in mind and lacking false pretenses is worth saving. Man must seek God during all trials and focus on His will for their lives and marriage.

[1] Elwell, Walter A.  Evangelical Dictionary of Theology.  2nd ed.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001. p. 743

[2] Ibid, p.740. Genesis 2:18-25

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., p. 744

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid., p. 347

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid., p. 348

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid., p. 1007.


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My name is Charlie Tinsley and I blog about The Bible. I post theology and have leaned towards an emphasis on domestic violence and forgiveness. I serve as Ambassador for the state of Virginia in the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse. I hold a Masters of Divinity from Eastern Mennonite Seminary and Bachelors Degree in Science in Religion Summa Cum Laude with a Biblical Studies Minor from Liberty University. I have studied in the two “major fields” of theological thought. I am married and have been for several years and I currently reside in Virginia.

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