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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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I   dont  understand,  never  seen  that in  the  bible.Whether  you  marry  unbeliever, it is  the  same  principle  my  sister.

HI Stacey

please read 1 Corinthians Chapter 7 - in particular verse 15

it will explain to you - that if someone's non christian wife or husband leaves them - the innocent person - is free to remarry!!

God bless you my friend

take care


oh i was meant to add - the innocent party is the christian in this case. that person can re-marry!

letas not get into legalism in this matter., what we should do is pray to God for wisdon and understanding in this area and not  the words of a mere man.

 wow   do  you know that in our bible study in at church this last  Sabbath this  issue was adressed pretty clear and yet their many that still wont let the hardness of their hearts melt away and think .Well  God does not want me to be unhappy?  It is unfortuniate that Guide magazine lately is printing more stories of Adventists divorcing also  and seemingly justifying 2 people that refuse to submit to one_ another and be forgiving of one anothers faults! . Is this not actually all divorce is all about anyway?   Is not divorce  based fully on selfish  desires and not being  or allowing love to take hold ?

  ok for Instance  ( an I  not  knowing what this book is) ..  TSB 55; 2     IMPERFECTION  NO REASON  FOR  Dissolving a marriage . My heart  heart  is sick when I  SEE  THE LOOSE WAY  THAT   the marriage  vows are  held.  We are nearing the judgement Iask  you to  consider carefully , candidly , your  position . Therir is ,perhaps,upon more thorough acquaintance , A dislike of your husbands ways and manners .  Will not  many people find the same , after the marriage novelty has passed?  But when you made your vows before God and holy angels you knew you were not perfect and your husband  was not perfect;  but this i s no excuse for breaking your marriage vows!    Their is a need  of Trianing the Mind and the Heart  that you should bear with another  TO  BE KIND  to  one another , and not  to Allow   Distrust  .And  Hatred to come in...

 M AY B E    this can help also t o those who thinK  Fraud is a n easy escape .. reread the account of Joshua and the Princes  handling  of making  a treaty with the  Gibeonites .. IT IS  A SOLEM VOW  U ENTER INTO JUST  as it is a marriage and even if a lie is told  u  are bound by  your word  ( Patriarchs  and Prophets  Page 506-1   OR ALSO READ IT IN YOUR BIBLE ;;Joshua  9 ;14-20 ..  Again  consider instead of looking for a innocent party to submit your heart and mind to loving your mate ..  . I  wont say everything will change if u do but you yourself will.    NUFF SED









































































What get's me is that scripture only gives two specific instances in which a person is not allowed to remarrie after a divorce, and many here want to act as if more condemning scripture exists on the subject, when there is none. Don't get me wrong I would not condone divorce, but all have sinned and fallen short.

Hey Kristina,


You are right - there are only two reasons - I have not seen anyone quote any more than these.

The problem is your last statement "All have fallen short" - how does this justify falling short again by remarrying when we are not at liberty to?


The problem is not that we do not understand the rules - the problem is that we are trying to work around them.

You have yet to show me where it states that we are not at liberty to under any unbiblical circumstances. If every unbiblical circumstance applied to this rule God would have said so, and not just give two specific isolated instances. Those two are so amazingly selfish and hurtful to the person you hurt that it would cause further injury if it was allowed, most other reasons like for example in the instance of domestic violence, no one is hurt by the remarriage. You need to look at the reason God made those two rules. It deals directly with the impact it has on the other party.

Show me the scripture that says a victim of domestic violence who had divorced her husband with bad judgement can not remarrie?

Hey Kristina,


This is what I mean by putting our circumstances and desires first. If we seek God first, we will have perfect peace. I hear the extremes a lot - usually because it pulls at the heart strings - but these are nothing to what Jesus suffered on the cross - for everyone!

Jesus makes it clear - no remarriage unless adultery has been committed or the spouse dies!


Our excuses -

Domestic abuse



God's Love (contradiction)


The Perfect *one*

Burning Loins


We can come up with many more - the point is, do we put what God says before all of these? Divorce was given because of the hardness of our hearts - look at what we want now! (give an inch; take a mile) It is typical human nature.


Nevertheless, He is full of compassion and love for us, but not at the expense of His commandments. If I am wrong and He will allow remarriage against His Word, I will stand corrected. But there must be strong Biblical evidence.


I've said it before, but I'll repeat it here - I don't shy away from the extreme emotional examples. God comes first!


You got it wrong and misquoted scripture right of the bat.

You said "Jesus makes it clear - no remarriage unless adultery has been committed or the spouse dies!" Nope He says no divorce unless someone cheats, or dies He made a statement separately from that to state the two sole circumstances under which one can not remarry. 

What He said pertaining to remarriage is that you can not remarry if you were the one in the marriage who had cheated, and that you could not remarry your former spouse.

I totally agree with you on Biblical grounds for divorce, I just don't agree with you on whether a person who has made that mistake can remarry. The scripture you are referring to doesn't say that.... Reread it, and you will find that you are unwittingly adding to scripture, and thus misquoting it.

Hey Kristina,

Jesus mentions remarriage. Read it very carefully

"And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." - Matthew 19: 9

Once again - I do not shy away. They are bold statements about adding and misquoting, but if you read carefully, you'll see I'm just upholding Jesus' Words.


You error in not knowing the scriptures.  Notice what the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write in 1 Corinthians 7:12-16

The word used for "unbeliever" can also mean:

     A) a person without a Christian faith, e.g. a heathen.

     B) an untrustworthy person.

     C) a person who is inredibe and the implication that they are very bad.

     D)  faithless or without faith.

     E)  Infidel

This would cover everything in the list you posted and then some.  This is in the Bible, while your statements are based on what you believe.  Which is the greater authority?

Maranatha :)


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