The Bible is packed full of helpful verses on marriage and divorce. Whether you are considering getting married, are currently in a difficult marriage, or are going through a separation or divorce, these verses can offer wisdom and guidance.
Here are some of our favorite Bible verses on marriage and divorce. We hope they offer you encouragement and strength as you walk through this difficult season.
What the Bible says about divorce?
When it comes to divorce in the Bible, Christians are divided between those who feel it is permissible and those who believe it is severely forbidden. They usually base their argument on Malachi 2:16 or Matthew 19:9, which can be taken in either conservative or liberal ways.
Bible verses on marriage and divorce
In the Bible, there are many verses about marriage and divorce. Some people believe that getting a divorce is always wrong, while others believe that there are certain circumstances in which it is acceptable.
We will explore some of the most popular Bible verses on marriage and divorce. We will also discuss what these verses mean for us today. Whether you are thinking about getting divorced or you are already divorced, these Bible verses can help you to understand God’s plan for marriage and divorce.
Matthew 5:32 – Biblical Reasons for Divorce.
But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. ~ Matthew 5:32 (KJV)
In this bible verse, Jesus displays God’s actual and original intent for marriage. God intends for marriages to last a lifetime in this scenario.
Rather than admitting that marriages can or should be dissolved for trivial reasons, Christ calls divorces for reasons other than sexual immorality invalid.
We are made to understand that a man cannot properly divorce his wife unless she has committed adultery or some other form of sexual immorality throughout the marriage.
Matthew 19:9 – Divorce because of Immorality
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 (KJV)
The Pharisees’ question is answered directly by Jesus in this bible passage. Jesus is addressing the issue of men divorcing their wives.
Adultery is committed by a man who divorces his wife for any reason other than sexual immorality and marries another woman.
In other cases except for sexual immorality, Jesus proclaims divorce to be unacceptable.
Deuteronomy. 24:1-4 – There must be a certificate of divorce.
When 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.
~ Deuteronomy 24:1-4 (KJV)
Divorce was not instituted nor prohibited by Moses.
Our Lord’s statements to the Jews capture the spirit of the passage: “Moses suffered you to cast away your wives because of the hardness of your hearts.”
Divorce was legal in Israel under these rules, although it was strictly regulated.
The marriage contract cannot be simply dissolved because one party wants out; there must be cause for a certificate of divorce, according to God’s law.
Luke 16:18 – Adultery as a reason.
Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.
~ Luke 16:18 (KJV)
After a divorce, Jesus appears to declare an absolute prohibition against remarriage.
You shouldn’t do that since you’ll be engaging in adultery. This is something we see in Mark as well.
God created marriage to be a permanent institution between one man and one woman for the rest of their lives, Jesus reminds them.
Mark 10:12 – What the Bible says about remarriage.
And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
~ Mark 10:12 (KJV)
Roman women were granted the ability to divorce their spouses in the second century BC, while Jewish women are still barred from doing so today.
Herodias was a noteworthy example at the time. Herodias divorced her husband in order to marry Antipas, his half-brother, who now reigns over Galilee and Perea, where Jesus now resides.
The statements of Jesus here are in response to a question made by the Pharisees in order to catch Him off guard.
He is chastising men who send their spouses away for petty reasons.
Romans 7:2-3 – Biblical Reason for Marriage is to bind couples together forever
For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
~ Romans 7:2-3 (KJV)
The link between the law and human sinfulness is explored in this bible portion in Romans.
Paul explains that the law of marriage binds two live people together. If a woman’s spouse dies, the relationship is no longer legally binding.
Death is the condition that renders that law void. After death, she is free to remarry without committing any sin.
Genesis 2:24 – Being Together as One Flesh.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
~ Genesis 2:24 (KJV)
This Bible passage speaks to men about what to be done before marrying. The man must be ready to leave his parents to cleave to his wife.
The Bible makes it clear that a man’s responsibility is to transfer his loyalty from his parents to his wife.
He must prioritize providing for, living with, and caring for his parents going forward.
Matthew 19:5 – Marriage is the joining of two people into one flesh
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.
~ Matthew 19:9 (KJV)
Jesus Christ demonstrates that marriage was established by God from the beginning of time in the garden of Eden.
It is part of humanity’s design as males and women. Marriage is the joining of two people into one flesh; it is more than two people coming alongside one other to do life together.
This is accomplished in part through intimacy, but also through the marriage bond’s commitment. And as one flesh, divorce should not be a part of it.
1 Corinthians 7:8-9 –
But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
~ 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 (KJV)
Here, Apostle Paul is talking about a single person who “burns with passion.” The context does not suggest a sexually preoccupied individual.
Rather, Paul is referring to someone who possesses the gift of celibacy. A person who has a strong desire for intimacy, like any other Christian, should pursue marriage.
In the same vein, persons in romantic relationships or betrothals (engagement) should pursue marriage rather than participate in sexual immorality due to a lack of self-control.
Marriage and divorce in the Bible
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
~ Ephesians 5:31(KJV)
Genesis 2:24 is paraphrased in this passage. Paul makes us understand that marriage unites two people into one flesh.
One man and one woman in a lifelong relationship was God’s original design for marriage.
Paul also quotes Genesis 2:24, emphasizing the purity of Christian sexuality.
1 Corinthians 7:15 – God’s plan for marriage is not bondage.
But 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.
~ 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 (KJV)
Paul teaches the Corinthian Christians that they should not divorce their unbelieving wives.
Paul is a proponent of submission among married couples.
“Don’t try to stop it. Allow them to leave.” But the Christian husband or wife will not be “enslaved” because the break-up was not initiated by them if the unbelieving spouse insists.
We are made to understand that if a Christian marries a non-Christian and the non-Christian divorces the Christian, the Christian is not in sin.
Ephesians 4:32 Forgiveness in Marriage.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
~ Ephesians 4:32(KJV)
Paul specifically instructs Christians to be polite. The emphasis is not solely on general usefulness.
Paul is explicitly considering compassion for the congregation’s fellow believers.
Believers should be recognized for their kindness rather than their harshness. The story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37) depicts Christ’s example of living with compassion for others.
1 Corinthians 7:32–35 – Marriage and Commitment.
But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord.
~ 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 (KJV)
Paul has made it obvious that staying unmarried isn’t a sin, but this is not a demand from God, and that individuals who marry do not commit sin (1 Corinthians 1:25–28).
In addition, he has made two exceptions to his personal preferences. Those who “burn” with sexual “passion” should marry instead of fighting immorality all the time.
Those who have been betrothed or engaged should keep their commitments. Everyone else, on the other hand, should consider staying single.
Malachi 2:16 – Husband responsibilities in marriage according to the Bible
For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.
~ Malachi 2:16 (KJV)
“Covering someone with your cloth” is a metaphor for protection in the Old Testament.
Ezekiel 16:8 is a typical example, in which God uses the symbolism of a man and woman to illustrate His love for Israel.
Men are required to “cover” their women as protectors and providers. This is not happening, according to Malachi’s two-part critique in this verse.
Here, we are told that God hates putting away (divorce), which means that we as Christians should always seek ways to resolve our marital problems rather than divorce as the solution.
Common Question about Marriage and Divorce in The Bible.
This section answers common questions with regard to marriage and divorce commonly asked.
What are marriage and divorce in the Bible?
Does God allow separation in marriage?
No, God does not permit separation in marriage. Marriage was established by God to be a lifelong commitment (Matthew 19:6). As a result, divorce is forbidden by God. Divorce is something that even Jesus Christ despises (Malachi 2:16).
While some people desire seclusion in order to find peace and happiness, the Bible states that “the wicked will not find peace” (Isaiah 48:22). In fact, we are cautioned that doing bad things and breaking God’s rules will lead to death (Romans 6:23). There is, however, some good news. Now and forever, we can enjoy true happiness and peace in our lives. How? We have the ability to obey God. Please read our page on “Is there hope beyond death?” to discover more about this life-changing revelation.
Does the Bible support separation in marriage
Although the Bible does not expressly address marriage separation, it does have a lot to say about divorce. The Israelites were not authorized to divorce under Old Testament law, but they were allowed to get a bill of divorce if they so desired. Jesus emphasized God’s prohibition on divorce, declaring that anybody who divorced his wife and married another was guilty of adultery.
Even when an unbelieving spouse wants a divorce, the New Testament urges Christians to stay in their marriages. While Scripture does not specifically prohibit divorce, it does state that God abhors it. Only when there is unrepentant sin and no other option for protection or reparation is a biblical separation acceptable.
It’s difficult to cope with marital issues, especially when one partner refuses to take responsibility for the problems and instead blames the other. Here are some biblically-based suggestions for dealing with marital issues.
Capture all unwholesome thoughts. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every mind to make it obedient to Christ,” the Bible states in 2 Corinthians 10:5.
The term “taking hostage” refers to a prisoner of war who has been captured on a battlefield. We are at battle with negative thoughts, according to Paul, and we must take those thoughts captive and make them obey Christ by replacing them with His Word.
You are loved by God. He created you in His image and desires a deep connection with you. That is why He sent Jesus into the world: to save us from our sins.
He is true and just, and if we confess our sins, he will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (James 1:19)