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I was surprised to learn how much mystery and misunderstanding surrounds this topic.   I always assumed that everyone knew that a person who is a victim of divorce for legitimate biblical reasons is free to remarry.  However, I learned that many people feel a divorcee, regardless of the situation, you can never remarry.  So it is the goal of this thread to answer the simple question, can a "legitimate" divorcee remarry?



For the purposes of this thread, we will only be discussing the concessions God made for divorcees resulting from adultery and unequally yoked believers as this is the most clearest concession made in scripture.  If you are a divorcee from other circumstances (for ex. domestic abuse), please refrain from incorporating that topic into this thread.  I understand that God will be the final arbiter in those situations,  but this thread is geared towards the most obviously interpretation concerning divorce.


I will first start off by looking at what the bible says on divorce and then end with a quote from Ellen White.


It is clear from God's word that we should refrain from divorce, if at all possible, under all circumstances even in cases of adultery.  Jesus said,

Matthew 19:5-6:

And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

 6Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Matthew 19:8
He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

So from here we see that Jesus prefers people to stay married, if possible, at all cost save salvation.  Prior to sin, this was the standard held in the Garden and perhaps for many generations after sin entered the world.

In addition Paul says this on divorce:


10And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

 11But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

So there is strong indication from the Bible to abstain from divorce in all cases.  But what if your a victim of divorce in which the spouse is is an unbeliever or an adulterer?  What then?



The Biblical Concession for divorce

In the most obvious interpretation of scripture, the bible makes concession for divorce in only two instances:

Matthew 19:8 - 9

And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”


1 Corinthians 7:15:

15But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

So from scripture, concessions are made to those who have unbelieving spouses who divorced them, and who divorced spouses who committed adultery.

So now that we know when the bible allows for divorce, can we assume that the divorcee is free to remarry?  Or is remarrying forbidden altogether?  Apparently ,  this is where the confusion begins for some.



Can a legitimate divorcee remarry?

First we know that illegitimate divorcees, victim or otherwise, are not granted concession to remarry according to scripture. The verses already shown touch on that subject. See Matthew 19:8-9.  I would like us to take a look at the word used in the Bible for divorce:

The word divorce is translated in the KJV as to put away.  According to the Strong Concordance, the greek translation of the word is 

απολυω apoluo ap-ol-oo’-o

The actual translation can be any of the following:

AV-release 17, put away 14, send away 13, let go 13, set at liberty 2, let depart 2, dismiss 2,

The definition is
1) to set free
2) to let go free, release
3) a captive i.e. to loose his bonds and bid him depart, to give him liberty to depart

Free from what? Free from your marriage covenant.  But the question is, what does that freedom grant you?  Does it enable you to remarry?  Lets look at Matthew 19:8-9 again


And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

The context of this verse it is discussing remarriage.  To paraphrase, Jesus is saying if you divorce your wife for anything other then sexual immorality, you are not free to marry another.  Or to put it another way, if you divorce your spouse for sexual immorality, then you are free to marry another.

Jesus goes on to say about the person receiving the divorce:

Matthew 19:9 KJV:

...and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.


So in the same way, if you are the recipient of the divorce for illegitimate reasons, you cannot remarry.  But if legitimate, then you are free to marry.



The Unbeliever

In the case of an unbeliever, it is not biblical to divorce an unbeliever.  But if the unbeliever leaves, then scripture tells us you are free of your marriage bonds to him or her. See 1 Cor 7:15



Where it all began

Now we know the concession  for divorce was made by Moses in the old testament.  All the new testament writers simply are alluding to the verses found in Deuteronomy 24.



Deuteronomy 24

 1When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.

 2And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife.

 3And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;

 4Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.



So we can see here, even the person who committed the sin of adultery and was divorced is free to remarry.  We pray they would be genuine repentance, but you see that remarriage was not forbidden as some believe.



I would like to conclude with a quote from the pen of inspiration.  EGW does not contradict scripture in this regard.  BTW , this is not only council from Ellen White, this is a vision of Ellen White.  This is a thus saith the lord.  If she is wrong about this, then she is also a false prophet, which is an entirely separate discussion that I hope we do not need to have:) On to the quote:

Ellen White:



I saw that Sister _____, as yet, has no right to marry another man; but if she, or any other woman, should obtain a divorce legally on the ground that her husband was guilty of adultery, then she is free to be married to whom she chooses.9 {AH 344.3}





Brethren/singles, I hope you find this helpful in dealing with potential interests coming from divorced situations.  Do be careful in who you choose as your partner and always look for understanding in Gods word and the inspiration provided to us in these last days.  There are many divorcees who are women and men of God, do not disregard them just because of that with out a proper biblical understanding.    God bless you all.

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Nice point Kristina however Bathsheba was not a divorcee she was a widow and since David was the one that cause her to be a widow it was his duty to marry her under OT regulations.

Charlie, please site the OT text that supports your statement that David had to marry Bathsheba since she was a widow because he killed her husband.

AMB check out Exodus 22:16 and see the principle for David having to Marry Bathsheba.

My point was that again "Even if someone realized later that they had no biblical grounds for divorce and repented, go will accept that repentance and would not punish them with a life of loneliness, because they messed up and repented...." The point here was not in saying that she was a divorce, because she was not... The point is that while David willfully sinned by murdering her husband, and especially highjack his wife

(David committed adultery, stole, and murdered) God still accepted the marriage as lawful and binding in the books of heaven... ) Why? Because God forgave the sin committed in ignorance as if it had never happened just the same way He puts away all of our sins...... If someone were to be divorced, because they did something like say adultery, God is not going to punish the victim of such a crime by not letting them remarry, and if the offending spouse repents before God He would not take away their second chance at happiness either...

so how does thi s apply to 7 t h Day Adventists that marry and  cause their spouse  to leave by their sinful attitude?  To know what is  right and refuse to do it  making excuses why u do not want to be a loyal husband or wife in the full biblical sence  Cant   leave u open later to say I sorry now does it?

God expects us to be forgiving, compassionate...ect... and If a person is over a long period of time

"cause their spouse  to leave by their sinful attitude". I would question that persons Christianity...

But in answer to your question yes it does... There is no sin to grievous to repent to God of, and if your spouse is a good solid Christian they will have been able to forgive you before you even ask..

Am a Filipino retired ordained minister, whose wife died last April 13, 2008, and had a daughter, who, like my wife, had the same ailment, breast cancer, who was also praying to be allowed to sleep in Jesus at the time of my wife's death.  There is no question that I was free to remarry.  So I prayed to the Lord to please, please, help me find a former female friend who would be willing to marry me.  A female friend, Rachel, one whom I had known back in 1958 when she was still a fifth grade pupil in Mt View College, one afternoon called me on my cell phone.  She was calling me from Florida, was concerned about how I was, and we reconnected.  I knew she had married, had sent her wedding picture sometime in 1974.  She had been divorced earlier, in 1993, and was living with her married son's family.  We had known each other when we found ourselves in the same campus in 1961, my wife was my sweetheart at that time, and we were soon to get married, in December, 1964.  When Rachel finished high school, she flew to Canada, to be with her parents, and we lost contact, and I forget all about her.  When i graduated, with my wife, I served in several missions as accountant, mission treasurer, and youth director.  We had three children, all of them college graduates, and have families, soon we were only two with my wife, living together, when we realized she had breast cancer, of which she died.

      The time when we connected again with Rachel, and I found out that she had divorced her former husband, I asked her if he had remarried, and she said yes, her former husband had remarried.  (If he had not remarried, I would counsel har to return to him.  Finding out that she was legally free, I then proposed to her, and she accepted my offer, for, she admitted, that I was "her first love," during the times we were together in college.  She adored me, and she never was a romantic interest, I had a sweetheart, who became my wife later.

      I had inquired from fellow pastors whether I could marry her, the reason for divorce was not infidelity, and her former husband did allowed her to divorce him.  I was assured I can marry her, since she had been set free from her former marriage by her former husband marrying another wife.  Rachel and I were married, , by an Adventist pastor.  here in the Philippines, in the hospital where my daughter was a terminal breast cancer patient, whose cancer had metastasized to her hips and she could no longer sit, her bed was wheeled to the chapel so she could witness the wedding.  A few weeks later, she, too, passed away, leaving a grieving husband, and a son.

     Our case took place in the Philippines, Rachel now is a Shepherdess, and she's a jewel of a second wife, in many ways, she is almost a carbon copy of my first wife in her attitudes towards domestic matters.  We are living in Olongapo City, while awaiting the petition she had filed for me to fly with her to Florida.  (She's a U. S. citizen.)   I firmly believe that the Lord had orchestrated our second marriage.  How she got my cell phone number to be able to call me in August, 2008 could only be providential leading, and we are happily married.  As a retired ordained minister, at present we are living together here in Olongapo City, I help the local district pastor with his church visitations, and assiste whereever we can to serve needs within our reach.  I had gone to a local academy to do a week of prayer, which had resulted in baptism of 12 young people, and had helped in camps, and other activites as a couple.  I AM FREE, BOTH LEGALLY & BIBLICALLY, and based on our SDA church standards to remarry.  God is good, all the time.  We are looking forward to assisting a major crusade, which is sponsored by the Quiet Hour, this coming April, and I am one of the speakers in a satellite crusade.  Rachel has a gift of music, very much needed in many of the local churches. 


It was with pleasure that I read you story.  Not that you had to go thorugh these experiences, but that you found happiness.  I fully agree, from what you shared, that you and Rachael had every right to marry.  I'm so happy that you did not run into some legalist who, as the Bible says:

"But He said, "Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers."  Luke 11:46 NASB

Oh, these people are well meaning and in their way presenting what they believe is what the Bible says.  However, they have forgotten and fail to factor in: grace and mercy.  God made mankind to be "male and female," a complete whole.  When one is missing that other part, they are not indeed whole in many ways, but that is another topic.

May God bless your mininstry and retirement together.


Maranatha :)


Somehow regardless of how a person's marriage ended, whether there was/wasn't adultery, whether they remarried...somehow we have to let the people going through this know that God loves them and accepts them.  I may not have all the answers but I know that I have gone through years of pain from this subject.  Years where I and my first husband stayed together because we felt there was no way to be forgiven for straying, no way to marry and have a family if we divorced, no hope of forgiveness from the church.  When my first marriage broke up, I didn't leave the church entirely but I felt alone.  I married a non-adventist during that time and have a good marriage ( yes, I wish he was adventist but he is faithful to me and loves me).  We have a child together.  Would you make me believe that I should not have remarried because of sin so therefore this marriage should be set aside?  The sin wasn't with him, I was forgiven by God for sinning and the slate was clean.

Do I wish things had been different?  Yes.  But I spent years wondering how a God of love could sentence me to never having children or a family if I left and that God could forgive every sin but the one of adultery.  Yes, I was a sinner and yes, I hope I don't hurt anyone by saying it.  But I am tired of feeling like my sin is the ultimate one or that because I didn't keep trying long after I knew there was no hope of ever having a husband that loved me for me, that I don't deserve a future.  I hope my ex doesn't see this.  He too has been forgiven by God and by me. 

If there is one sin the adventist church sees as the unpardonable sin, it is divorce with or without adultery.  All parties are judged guilty with no hope of a future.  Even now, 15 years later, I am hesitant to talk about it to anyone because of being judged.  When do we give someone a chance to start over?  If you remarry while not in the church, is the second marriage valid?  What if you are still in the church - is there a difference?  Do we judge the person who tries to stay in a relationship with God more harshly than the person who leaves God and comes back?  I never have the courage to speak out on this but maybe I should have.

This is an area of human relationship and its failures, for which i would rather that the church begin to look into as one which we should leave to the JUDGEMENT HALL IN HEAVEN.  As mentioned when I lost my first wife through death, I earnestly prayed for guidance, because I realize I NEEDED TO FINE A SECOND WIFE IN A HURRY.  My daughter was nearing death, so I prayed earnestly.  The answer came when my cell phone rang, revealing an old female friend I had known more than 50 years earlier.  In my prayers, the one important factor was my need to get a second wife IN A HURRY.  in And when that cell phone call came through, and i found out how Rachel got my cell phone number, it definitely fitted the criteria I was praying for.  Rachel came to the Philippines arriving on July 4th, 2009, and one week after her arrival, we were married at the hospital where my daughter was a terminal breast cancer patient, she died about 4 weeks after the wedding.  This and many other things which occurred in connection with our wedding, is my INDICATOR of heaven's acceptance of our new relationship.  AND WE HAVE FOUND OUT NOW THAT GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME. 

Hello Dorothy,


I understand what you are going through even though I have never been in the same situation. I have seen friends - very close friends - go through this pain and it is unbearable.


The first thing I would consider is this - does my happiness come before God's law?

With this mindset, we can make more Christ-centered decisions. It's often the case that we look to God for His love, but not His law - this is dangerous.


God's grace is unfathomable and so I would not say that anyone in a marriage which God names unlawful is in jeopardy of losing salvation. We are a hard hearted bunch, and we think of our happiness first - this is just the human nature, unfortunately.


In the end, eternal life with Jesus will be worth it all - 60+ years of our wants, needs, desires will not. It is something I am considering now also. I would like to get married, but if God wants me to be single, would I sacrifice my desire to please Him? - it is not an easy one.


God never sentences us to anything - we choose our paths. He forgives all sins if we confess, but He will not forgive sins which have not been confessed. I hope you find encouragement in Jesus, Dorothy - look to Him and no other. But when looking to Him, please deny self.


Pray constantly about having God's peace because He is the only one who can give you true peace.I will be praying for you too.


In the end He will judge and judge righteously.

I have to agree with Osing....this a God call.  I do not judge you, Sis!


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