Jon for President!!

Divorce and Re-Marriage for Christians

                                                  Overview
The  biblical passages about marriage and divorce are pretty clear and describe most situations. But grasping the “spirit” of these is necessary if one is seeking satisfaction from obedience. (As if obedience weren’t satisfying enough!)

Marriage is God’s idea. He uses it in both the OT and NT to covey a sense of the type of relationship He desires with His People. He uses the violation of it to convey a sense of the tragedy resulting from our unfaithfulness. Spiritually, and practically, we are either joined to God or separated from Him, both now and in Eternity. Earthly marriage perfectly reflects this.

Moreover, those who participate in it can understand at a felt level what God means when He uses it in Scripture. How complex, how frustrating, how enjoyable, how helpful, how fragile is marriage! What other earthly relationship can produce greater joy or anguish? Ah, yes, perhaps having children. But this too is a part of Marriage, and this too is used by God in prophecy and poetry and history for our edification. And, alas, this too can be torn by Sin and result in unspeakable sorrow and loss.

So then, knowing this, is Marriage meant for two people for life? Is Divorce a thing to be avoided at all costs? (This is presuming faithfulness to Christ on the part of both partners.) Do the Biblical injunctions about these make sense? Well, yes, how can they not make sense in this light?

(But what about singleness? If marriage is God’s supreme metaphor and divorce God’s supreme tragedy, where does that leave singleness? Does the Bible condemn or condone it?
If virginity is condoned in the Bible, then singleness is by all means acceptable, indeed a blessed state.)

 

 

Outline
(Note: Same answers with verses cited will follow below)


If you are a Christian and…  

Never Married
- must not have sex
- may marry
- may remain single

Married   
- may have sex, but only with spouse
- may refrain from sex, but only by mutual consent
- may not begin divorce proceeding, except for infidelity
- may legally separate

Separated   
- must not have sex or date others (dating implies freedom to
   re-marry)
- may reconcile with spouse (even if spouse was unfaithful)
- may remain single
- may divorce if spouse is unfaithful

Divorced   
- must not have sex
- may date and marry (another Christian) if former spouse was
   not a Christian, or, is/was unfaithful, or, has re-married
- may not date or marry if former spouse is Christian and
   celibate
- may reconcile with former spouse, but not if they have
   re-married and divorced again
- may remain single

Widowed   
- must not have sex
- may marry
- may remain single

?? Recommend virgins not marry widowed or divorced.

Re: Divorce and Re-Marriage with Verses

If you are a Christian and…**

Never Married   
- must not have sex
    > cp. Innumerable passages condemning adultery and
        fornication
    > also, I Cor 6:18-20 / I Tim 5:2 / I Cor 7:25-26
- may marry, but only another Christian
    > cp. Many passages enjoining Israelites to marry only
        Israelites
    > also, I Cor 7:8-9,28a  / II Cor 6:14 / I Cor 7:39
    > e.g., Peter and Phillip / Possible spiritual implication of
        Levirate Marriage
- may remain single
    > I Cor 7:8-9,25-26 / Matt 19:10-12
    > e.g., Paul and Jesus

Married   
- may have sex, but only with spouse
    > Prov 5:15-19 / Heb 13:4 / Ex 20:14
- may refrain from sex, but only by mutual consent
    > I Cor 7:5
- may not begin divorce proceeding, except for infidelity
    > I Cor 7:10-11,27a / Matt 5:32; 19:9
- may legally separate
    > I Cor 7:15

Separated   
- must not have sex or date others (dating implies freedom to
   re-marry)
    > I Cor 7:11
- may reconcile with spouse (even if spouse was unfaithful)
    > I Cor 7:11            > Jer 3: 1,6-7a,12-14a / e.g., Hosea / (?II Cor
       2:6-8 > I Cor 5:1-5) 
- may remain single
    > I Cor 7:11
- may divorce if spouse is unfaithful
    > Matt 5:32; 19:9 / I Cor 7:15 / Deut 24:1

Divorced   
- must not have sex    > See above
- may date and marry (another Christian) if former spouse was
   not a Christian, or, is/was unfaithful, or, has re-married
    > I Cor 7:15 / Deut 24:2 / Num 30:9 [note: divorced and
        widow are both autonomous]
- may not date or marry if former spouse is Christian and
   celibate
    > I Cor 7:11
- may reconcile with former spouse, but not if they have
   re-married and divorced again
    > I Cor 7:11             > Deut 24:3-4
- may remain single
    > I Cor 7:11

Widowed   
- must not have sex    > See above
- may marry
    > Rom 7:2-3 / I Cor 7:39
    > e.g., Abigail, Ruth
- may remain single
    > I Cor 7:8-9a,40
    > e.g., Naomi, Anna (see Luke 2:36,37), (Paul?)

** Note: A thorough reading of I Cor 7 is recommended as it covers most, if not all, situations.

 

 

Regarding recommending that virgins not marry widowed or divorced, see: Lev 21:13,14 / II Cor 11:2/ Judg 21:12 / Gen 24:16
(Exceptions – Ruth / Mary [if Joseph was a widow] / implied Judges 21:21 / Ezra 10 )
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