Adventist Online

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.

Views: 5656

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion


Just  check  the  grounds for  the  divorce  and  see  if it  is  biblicial.

God has not said one word against remarriage accept for the person who wants to go back to their former spouse, or a person who has cheated on their spouse... So it is pretty much fair game.


even when christians kick it to the curb


and its not our job to lord over others with it

people should be free to marry or not to marry


let me put it this way..

your marriage is sacred

forcing a belief system on others isnt


Having been married, divorced and remarried, plus doing a research project on the subject, I recognize most if not all of what you have posted.  I too was told I could not remarry, but God told me differently.  I choose to follow God's leading and I was given a girl who exceeded all of my expectations for a wife.  God blessed our marriage for some 38 years, before she laid down this life's burdens. 

We must remember that for those who live under the Old Covenant, they will try to make sure that everyone else confrorms to their standards.  However, those are not necesarily God's standards.  Let the Lord and God's word lead you.  He is abundantly merciful and gracious.  Far more so than man portrays Him to be by their strained ideas.

Maranatha :)

ray thanks for note

Hi Bryan

this is what I know from the bible

To me it is clear from The Bible esp in New Testament from Jesus. You cannot re-marry again unless your husband or wife has left you for someone else.

Or if your husband or wife has died.

Please read: Matthew Chapter 19 1-11

only adultery of your husband or wife - can one be allowed to remarry

READ 1 CORINTHIANS CHAPTER 7 VERSES 12-16.  -  It says if you are married to a non christian and your non christian partner wishes to leave you - then you have the right to re-marry

but we cannot re-marry if one's husband or wife eg. doesn't love you anymore or was abusive etc. If they divorce you for any other reason or you divorced them for any other reason except adultery - you cannot marry again

God bless you. Hope this helps

regards, irene

Ray, your message was very touching.   God truly blessed you with the wife you were married to for 38 years.  Don't ever let anyone give you a guilt trip for you marrying again.  

You were truly blessed to have a "love of a lifetime" which few people ever find....

I'm not sure bout this things and I need this topic I think.  In my country (Philippines) some pastors are already practicing divorce using BIBLE and they marry again. so confusing. But some are not. I don't know.

My question is... Do Adam and Eve have paper contract.  When this contract started?  As written in the Bible, you notice there KNEW which means married as Middle East specifically Muslims are practicing until now, a place which is BIBLICAL. Why we should have this contracts that makes our life like burning on fire for some?

When you have a certain level of authority in the church like a pastor, I think it is important that you step down from that position even if your divorce is "biblical".  I know of a few pastors here in the states who were asked to step down because of that situation. 

With that said, we know they had wedding ceremonies because Jesus first miracle was performed at a wedding. At least from Jesus time it seems that is when the contract began.  I am not sure in the old testament though.



Yes, I know that many feel the way you do.  However, I doubt seriously that you can support it from the Bible.  In fact I know you cannot.  Note this passage where Jesus is giving us a model prayer.  

       " . . . and forgive us our debts,
            as we also have forgiven our debtors."  Matthew 6:12 (ESV) 

    For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,  [15] but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."  Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV) 

Notice that the ONLY part of that prayer that Jesus comments on after the prayer, is the area of forgiveness.  No, Jesus did not insert any exceptions to that principle.  He does not list sins like murder, theft, drugs, adultery, or homosexuality as exception.  We are to forgive others in the same way that we want God to forgive us. 

It is of interest that if someone gives their testimony that God has forgiven them for drugs, sex, theft, even murder, that we will shout: "Praise the Lord!"  However, if one were so bold as to claim that God had forgiven them of aduletery that resulted in divorce, that we will silently listen and judge them harshly. 

Unless a sin is directly against us, such sins are to God alone.  And even sins directed to us are really against God, if we are His child.  So, if the party has asked for God's forgiveness, dare we as humans not also forgive? 

God takes this attitude:

    "He will again have compassion on us;
        he will tread our iniquities under foot.
    You will cast all our sins
        into the depths of the sea."  Micah 7:19 (ESV)

Should we not also take that same attitude?  To forever ban a pastor from seeking lost souls just becasue he has committen a socially unpardonable sin, is to tell God that we also are not available to seek lost souls, because we have an unforgiving attitude.  Who then will be left to spread the gospel?  And just what is the gospel?


Is the gospel just 29 doctrines?  Or is the gospel, the good news, that Jesus loves sinners, of whom I am chief, and will forgive us of all our transgressions?  That includes divorce and remarriage, if those sins are confessed and not repeated, that person has been forgiven by God. Even, if like Mary, they fall again, what did Jesus say? 

    "And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more."  John 8:11 (ESV) 

It is a fact that when someone has been forgiven this happens.

     "But he who is forgiven little, loves little." Luke 7:47 (ESV) 

 The opposite is also true, that he who has been forgiven much tends to love much.  For some, it takes a major fall to learn to love like God loves.  Those who are hard hearted towards others are the ones who feel that they are pure and that everyone should be like them.  While in fact, I know of some who hold that opinion; who have skeletons in their own closet far worse then what they refuse to forgive others for. 


One reason they are so unforgiving of another's failure is that in so doing, the spotlight is kept focused on the other person instead of themselves.  So, when I see someone with an unforgiving attitude, I wonder just what incident in their own life are they hiding?  So, being unforgiving is a most dangerous attitude to hold on to.


Maranatha :)


awesome! thanks for this clarification. Too much general and broad. If you won't mind we would love to know if you agree for a divorce and re marry or not. Thanks. God bless you


Site Sponsors


Adventist Single?
Meet other Single
Adventists here:
Join Free

USA members:

Support AO by
using this link:


© 2022   Created by Clark P.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service