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Is there Life After Divorce?

By John A. Jenkins


The subject of divorce is one of the most misunderstood issues facing our society today. It has been difficult for people to gain a clear and systematic perspective on this controversial subject. With the divorce rate at an all-time high, the church needs to clearly delineate what the scriptures teach and that there is life after divorce!

  1. What Does The Bible Teach About Marriage?

    1. Marriage Is Not Mating (1 Cor. 6:16) (GNB) ~

      " … it is important to understand that marriage must not be equated with sexual relations ... A sexual union is not to be equated with the marriage union ... Marriage authorizes sexual relations."1

    2. What Marriage Is

      1. The purpose of marriage is to dispel the problem of loneliness.
         “... It is not good for the man to live alone. I will make a suitable companion to help him." Genesis 2:18 (GNB) ~

      2. Therefore, marriage is a Covenant of Companionship.2 "
        Yet you say, why? Because the Lord hath been witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously; yet she is thy companion, and the wife of the covenant."  Malachi 2:14 (GNB) ~

        Covenant: "A binding agreement between parties consenting."

        1. The marriage is sealed by a covenant agreement by two parties to live together for life in order to mutually and exclusively meet each others needs for companionship.

        2. God blesses and sanctifies this covenant agreement and "glues" the man and woman into "one-flesh" (Genesis 2:24) (GNB) ~, or as it is referred to in Malachi as "one body and spirit with her." Malachi 2:15(GNB) ~

        3. Marriage is consummated by the covenant and authorizes the use of God's gift of sex for ...

          1. Procreation: Malachi 2:15 a (GNB) ~

          2. Pleasure: 1 Corinthians 7:3 (GNB) ~

  2. What Does The Bible Teach About Divorce?

"Wherefore, they are no more two, but one flesh, what, therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (divorce)." Matthew 19:6 (GNB) ~

“All divorce is the result of sin but not all divorces are sinful.” (By Dr. Jay Adams)

    1. Scriptural Divorce
      (There are two (2) scriptural grounds for divorce)

      1.  Adultery" ... except on the ground of fornication (porneia: unlawful sexual relationships ... i.e. incest, adultery, Homosexuality). Matthew 5:32, 19:9(GNB) ~

        * Key: "We must remember that adultery always involves a violation of the marriage covenant in such a way that a third party is introduced into the picture claiming the right (or privilege) to do for one of the two parties (companions) what they have contracted to do for one another."3

      2. Abandonment (1 Corinthians 7:15)(GNB) ~

        * Key: In abandonment, one of the two companions deserts the other and forsakes the covenant agreement to provide Companionship for the other partner.


Where there is scriptural divorce, there is permission and privilege to remarry.

    1. Sinful Divorce

      1. In this passage, the woman is dismissed for "erwath dabar” or indecency, not adultery. The divorce is genuine (bill of divorcement) but the obligation is still to the original partner because "they have no right in God's eyes to be in a divorced state. They are obligated to be reconciled in remarriage so that they can contract (covenant) and continue to pursue their VOWS."4

      2. Because no adultery has occurred, they are obligated to be reconciled. In the case of Deut. 24:1-4 (GNB) ~, this does not occur and the wife marries another. She enters an adulterous (forbidden relationship) and is thus defiled toward the first husband and cannot return to him under any circumstance.

        * ADULTERY: "Adultery then is sexual sin with someone other than the one with whom one ought to be having sexual relations."5


        1. If a divorce occurs for any reason other than adultery or abandonment even if a divorce agreement has occurred, the parties are still obligated to each other because the covenant of companionship has not been violated.

        2. The companions have no right in God's eyes to be divorced and are obligated to be reconciled and remarry.

        3. The companions equally have no right to enter into a covenant relationship (remarriage) to another person. To do so is to enter into a perpetual adulterous relationship.

What am I to do if sinfully Divorced?

"For married people, I have a command which is not my own but the Lord's: A wife must not leave her husband; but if she does, she must remain single or else be reconciled to her husband; and a husband must not divorce his wife." 1 Cor. 7:10-11(GNB) ~

"But now I tell you: if a man divorces his wife for any cause other than her unfaithfulness (fornication; porneia), then he is guilty of making her commit adultery if she marries again; and the man who marries her commits adultery also." Matthew 5:32(GNB) ~


  1.  Is There Life After Divorce?


    1. God hates divorce. (Malachi 2:16) (GNB) ~. He hates it for what it does in destroying persons and His original intentions for His creation.

    2. Divorce is sin. Like other sins, we may carry scars and stigmas of our failures. But divorce is not unforgivable to a genuinely repentant sinner. (1 John 1:7, 1:9) (GNB) ~

    3. Repentance involves the admission of sin, the turning from that sin, and a complete submission to God's standard and His divine plan for marriage. This includes a willingness to follow God's plan and to take whatever-steps are-necessary to make-restitution for all wrongs occurred 'in the commission of the sin. (Proverbs 28:13, Matthew 5:23-24) (GNB) ~

    4. For the sinfully divorced, this may involve great detail and much humility. However God promises to supply grace greater than our sin that will enable us to accomplish His purposes. (Romans 5:20) (GNB) ~

* Grace: "The power and the desire to do God's will." "God's will cannot lead us to do what His grace cannot empower us to accomplish."

  1.  Just What Must I Do To Make A Sinful Divorce Right?

If you divorce for any other reason other than adultery or abandonment, you should ...

    1. Remain single and seek with genuine effort to be reconciled to your original companion relying on God's grace and friends prayer support.

    2. If the companion has entered into another marriage covenant, you are free from that relationship and cannot go back to the original covenant. (Deuteronomy 24:1-4) (GNB) ~

      1. Confess and repent of the sinful divorce to God.

      2. Confess, repent and make restitution when and if possible to all wronged parties; including the former spouse, family members, children and all others directly involved.

      3. God’s forgiveness cleanses us of all sin and obligations to the former companion at this point.

      4. Remarriage should only occur after serious and scriptural counseling by a qualified counselor and/ or Pastor. Any marriage should be entered into after all past factors have been disclosed and dealt with to scriptural satisfaction. Remarriage should only be to a genuine professing Christian.

1. Jay Adams, Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible"* (Grand Rapids: Zondervan,  1980). pp. 5,6.

2. Ibid., p. 11

3. Ibid., p. 67.

4. Ibid., p. 67.

5. Ibid., p. 67.

*This book is a highly regarded and scriptural treatise on the subject of divorce and
remarriage (JAJ).

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture on this website was taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION(r). Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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