Is it allowed marriage with a divorced person that has returned to God?


When a person turns to the Lord and is divorced, is she allowed to remarry with another person? I want biblical references!

Because each case is different from another, I can not just give a simple answer of “Yes” or “No” to this question. However, God gives us principles in the Sacred Scripture that can be successfully applied to each situation. The most important of these principles are found in chapter 7 of Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthians. Let us look at these principles …

1. Who has the initiative of divorce?

When a divorce happens, there is one that came with the initiative and maybe the other one wanted the same thing, but in most cases, the second part did not want the divorce and did not support this initiative. When he begins to address this issue, the Apostle Paul writes:

But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (1 Corinthians 7:10)(NASB)

The verb “leave” is active voice and shows that the woman is the one that does the action, i.e. the initiative belongs to her and she leaves her her husband. This epistle was written for a young Christian church that have recently returned to God. Among them were men and women with various problems in their families. The first thing that Apostle Paul says here is that the Christian should not initiate divorce, and if s/he has initiated it before returning to the Lord, s/he should …

2. Try to restore the marriage if possible

The Apostle continues:

(but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:11)(NASB)

So, if the initiative of divorce had come from the Christian before he repented, and the unbeliever did not remarry, but is open and wants to restore the family, God urges the believer to be reconciled. If in such a case, it is possible to be reconciled to her husband and he accepts his wife with her faith in the Lord Jesus and wants to restore the family and the wife, who is a believer, does not want to be reconciled, then she should remain unmarried. The same things applies to the man who is a believer and who does not want to be reconciled with the unbelieving wife whom he has divorced and who wants to keep their marriage.

3. If the unbeliever is remarried

Christian is free to marry whom he wants, but in the Lord. Moreover, if he comes up with the idea and initiative to restore the marriage that has ended in divorce, he will cause the former spouse to divorce again and to leave behind other broken hearts and another broken covenant. The same principle applies to the woman who became a Christian and whose husband is already married.

4. If the unbeliever does not want to restore marriage

Another case would be when the believing wife wants to restore the marriage and the unbelieving husband does not accept because his wife became a Christian or for any other reason. On this case, God says:

But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. (1 Corinthians 7:12-15)(NASB)

If you did everything you could to restore the marriage and the unbelieving spouse still refuses and wants to leave you or to remain divorced, then you do not have any other choice and you must accept this and live in peace with him without hating him, or preventing him from seeing his children, etc.

All along, God says in such cases “the brother or the sister are not under bondage”. What does this mean? We find the answer in the same chapter, towards the end, where it is used the same expression “bound” and also in the context of marriage:

A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 7:39)(NASB)

According to this verse, not to be under bondage means being free to marry whoever she wants, only in the Lord.

God give wisdom to anyone who reads these truths from the Sacred Scriptures to understand God’s principles and apply them correctly to their situation.

Translated by Felicia Rotaru