Marriage, Divorce, & Remarriage

By Ron Adema,  Pastor of Doctrinal Studies Bible Church

Divorce and Remarriage


It is reported that America leads the world in divorce and sending missionaries to the world. Does that sound like a spiritual contradiction? The divorce rate in America was under 2% per 1000 population until 1945. In 1960, there were 393,000 divorces. In 1970, there were 708,000 divorces. In 1980, there were 1.2 million divorces. While divorce has doubled since 1970, it has increased by 290% among baby boomers. “Baby boomers are committing themselves in masses to causes, but not intimate relationship.” (Baby Boomers by Carol Keeney)

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The number of single-parent households has increased by 100% since 1970. The mother heads 9 out of 10 single-parent households. One (1) out of four (4) will immediately slip into poverty because of the loss of the father’s income. One (1) out of two (2) will remain below the national family poverty line. (U.S. Census for 2000; “Portrait of an American”, Newsweek, Jan. 1983). These are typical statistics of a morally and spiritually declining nation.

“At the time when divorces were granted most frequently among the Romans, marriages were most rare and Augustus was obligated by penal law to force men of fashion into marriage.” (Pulpit Commentary, pg.384)

The historian Hume believed that frequent divorces “blunt the issue of the sacredness of marriage and leads to licentious living.”

Jesus describes divine institution of marriage

Some religious leaders in a similarly declining nation asked Jesus to explain why there was a divorce clause in the Mosaic law of Deut. 24:1-4 (Matt. 19:3-12). Jesus answered them in two parts.

Jesus began by explaining the divine institution of marriage to them. (Matt. 19:3-6)  Then He added: “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

They were not satisfied with the discussion on marriage. So they pressed Him on the issue of divorce (Matt. 19:7). Jesus explained that Moses permitted divorce because of “hardness of heart.” Then He added: “But from the beginning it has not been this way.”(Matt. 19:8)

His point?

When God instituted marriage, He didn’t institute a clause for divorce (Gen. 2:18-25).

Moses permitted divorce because of hardness of hearts towards marriage as a divine institution.

The key to marital longevity is a healthy spiritual relationship with God.


Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (Eph. 5:22)

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. (Eph. 5:25)

There are six passages on divorce and remarriage that should be studied before getting married or divorce.• Deuteronomy 24:1-4 teaches us about the Mosaic Law of divorce and remarriage.• Malachi 2:14-17 teaches us that the rise of divorce is a sign of moral and spiritual decline of a nation.• Matthew 5:31-32 teaches us that the exception and exclusion clauses of divorce and remarriage.• Matthew 19:3-12 teaches us that it is the 'hardness of hearts' that cause divorce and that marriage was designed originally under the principle of “until death do us part.”• Rom. 7:1-3 and 1 Cor. 7:39 teach us about death and remarriage.• 1 Cor. 7:10-16 teaches us that the desertion of an unbelieving mate gives us the scriptural 'right' to remarry.

Let me tell you that God can do the IMPOSSIBLE! ”For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)

Stop here for a moment and pray this prayer: “Father, my marriage is in trouble and my heart has become callous. I feel so embittered and emotionally numb. I want to surrender both my marriage and my heart to you, but I will need YOU to do the impossible. In Jesus name.”

Now read 1 John 5:14-15 and understand that it is God’s will to restore your marriage. “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matt. 19:6)

After reading, Col. 3:12-19, what things does Paul tell you to put on, before you put on LOVE?

• What will rule in your heart?

• What will dwell in you richly?

• What can you do in word and deed?

• What is the wife’s role?

• What is the husband’s role?

How much of this can you control? So don’t focus on what you can’t control!

A Biblical understanding of divorce

Malachi viewed divorce as breaking faith with the wedding vows (Col.2:10-16) “I hate divorce, says the Lord of Israel, and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garments, says the Lord Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.” (Col. 2:16)

The following five Biblical words are used to explain the dissolution of the Divine Institution of marriage.

1. The Hebrew word (kerithuth) refers to divorce as separating the unity of marriage (1+1=1) [i.e. one flesh] but divorce results in (1+1=2) [two flesh's] (Deut. 24:1-4).

2. The Greek word (apostasion) refers to certificate of divorce (Matt. 5:31; 19:7).

3. The Greek word (apoluo) refers to being released from marriage with rights for remarriage (Matt. 5:31).

 4. The Greek word (aphiemi) refers to legal separation with purpose of reconciliation (1 Cor. 7:10-11).

 5. The Greek word (chorizo) refers to unbeliever’s choice to leave giving rights for remarriage (1 Cor. 7:15).  When this word is used with Believers, it is not grounds for divorce or remarriage    (1 Cor. 7:10-11) [send away].

Therefore, great care should be used when entering or leaving the Divine Institution of marriage. Prior to the apostate Exodus generation, no certificate of divorce was issued. Moses permitted it because of the Exodus generation hardness of their hearts towards the teachings of God resulting in spousal abuse.

The subject of divorce and remarriage is always a big topic in a morally and spiritually declining generation.  It was true of Moses, Jesus and Paul and it is still true today: “Now concerning the things about which you wrote.” (1 Cor. 7:1)

How to reclaim your marriage for Christ

Let me encourage you to NOT throw out the baby (marriage) with the dirty bath water (marital problems). The baby is worth the effort of saving.

If you haven’t yet divorced, there are seven things I would like you to do: (1 Pet. 3:1-7)

• Remain in status quo until God changes it (1 Cor. 7:20-24).

• Seek out a good spiritual and marital counselor (1 Cor. 6:1-6; 7:1).

• Enlist confident praying warriors (James 1:5-8; 5:13-18).

• Study God’s word on the subject of marriage, divorce, and remarriage before you make any final decision (2 Tim. 2:15; Col. 2:6-8).

• Commit to a consistent walk by means of the Indwelling Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16-25).

• Commit to a consistent walk by cycling the Word of God through faith (2 Cor. 5:7; 1 Pet. 3:8-9).

• Place yourself under a solid bible teaching and nurturing congregation during this trying time (Matt. 4:4; Heb. 10:25; Eph. 4:11-16).


Five principles for divorce and remarriage

Here are five things that every Christian should understand about marriage, divorce, and remarriage.

 1. Fornication can be grounds for divorce with rights for remarriage for the innocent mate.

• Jesus gave an interpretation of the (erwah dabar) [some indecency] of Deut. 24:1 in Matt. 5:32: “except for the cause of unchastely (porneia)”

• And again in Matt. 19:9 “except for immorality (porneia)”. Jesus used (porneia) [illicit sexual behavior] as referenced in Lev. 18. Such biblical grounds for divorce gives rights for remarriage.

 2. There are four additional conditions that could give rights for remarriage.

• Death of an ex-mate (Rom. 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:39).

• Remarriage of the ex-mate (Deut. 24:1-4).

• Desertion by an unbeliever mate (1 Cor. 7:12-16).

• Being the innocent party of modern divorce gimmicks (no fault, incompatibility/ without your consent) (Mal. 2:14-17; Deut. 24:1-4; Matt. 19:3-12).


3. You would better off to live in single celibacy, waiting until you have 'rights' for remarriage, as listed above than to remarry without "the Biblical rights".(1 Cor. 7:10-11, 20-24).


4. Marriage, to an improperly divorced Believer is described as an adulterous remarriage (Matt. 5:31-32; 19:3-12; Rom. 7:1-3)

• It is called adulterous because it is directed against the mate of the first marriage. This means that God withholds institutional grace from that marriage (Gen.2:18-25).

• God’s grace must come to this marriage through the individuals personal spiritual relationship(Eph. 2:8-9; 2 Pet. 3:18; 1 Cor. 7:12-16).


5. Rights of remarriage carry the same responsibilities as all Scriptural marriages.

• Don’t marry an unbeliever (2 Cor. 6:14-18).

• Don’t marry an improperly divorced person (Deut. 24:1-4).

• Don’t be an immoral single because you were once married (1 Cor. 6:15-17:2:9).

• Marry a spiritually compatible person (1 Cor. 7:39; 9:5).


A wonderful Christian lady once told me that a wheel turns in two directions. It can travel forward or backward. It is up to the driver which direction it travels. Let me encourage you to travel FORWARD, in God’s direction for grace healing.

 “Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16)

Series on Marriage: Pastor Ron Adema
audio 1
audio 2
audio 3
audio 4

Marriage Conference 2014: Associate Pastor, Al Rosenblum
session 1, notes
session 2, notes
session 3, notes

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By Ron Adema,  Pastor of Doctrinal Studies Bible Church