"As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him." - Psalm 18:30

Who Can Marry and Be in God's Will?

(Also see video link at the bottom of this page.)


A.   Scriptural marriage is right and ordained by God. Genesis 2:18,21-24; Hebrews 13:4; Proverbs 18:22

B.   Divorce was not in God's original plan and still will not occur when everyone involved is committed to following God's will. Matthew 19:3-9

C.   We are concerned about God's will; what does the Bible say?

D.   We are discussing a very important, complicated, and often painful subject.

1. Search the scriptures to see whether the things are taught are so. Acts 17:11

2. Let us all pray for and find God's wisdom in understanding and applying what we are taught in God's word. James 1:5; Psalm 51:6; Psalm 4:4; Proverbs 2:1-5


A. God's laws of marriage and divorce apply equally to men and women. Mark 10:11,12

B. Not everyone can marry and be pleasing to God. Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9

C. It is a sin to get a divorce for many reasons. Matthew 5:31,32

D. Fornication does not break the marriage; divorce does. Matthew 19:9.

1. One whose mate has been unfaithful is not obligated to dissolve the marriage.

2. He or she can forgive and continue to be married.

3. Fornication provides a reason for one to decide to dissolve the marriage in divorce.

E. People can really divorce in God's sight and not follow God's plan; they are not "still married in God's sight." Matthew 5:31, 32

F. People can really marry contrary to God's laws.

1. They are really married. Mark 6:17

2. But it is a sinful relationship. Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9

3. The word marry does not, in itself, indicate God's approval.

G. Let us notice who is authorized to marry and not sin. Colossians 3:17

1. We use unleavened bread and fruit of the vine on the Lord's table because Jesus authorized them. Luke 22:19,20

2. Other elements are eliminated.

3. Let us approach marriage with the same attitude.

4. Who has God -given, scriptural right to be married?


A. A single person who has never married. 1 Corinthians 7:8,9; Romans 7:2,3

B. A widow or widower. 1 Corinthians 7:8,9; Romans 7:2,3

C. A faithful divorcer, one whose companion has been unfaithful to the marriage vow and who has done his or her best to preserve the marriage. Matthew 19:9


A. A single person who has never married. 1 Corinthians 7:8,9

B. A widow or widower. 1 Corinthians 7:8,9; Roman 7:2,3

C. A faithful divorcer. Matthew 19:9


A. Do God's laws concerning the home apply to those outside the church?

1. Yes, God's law started with Adam. Genesis 2:24

2. Some in Corinth had violated God's laws before becoming Christians. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

B. But doesn't a person have to voluntarily agree for the covenant to apply to him?

1.    No. Adam made no agreement with God to be liable to the penalty of eating the forbidden fruit. Genesis 2:16, 17

2.    We are responsible to the laws of the land. I have never made an agreement with the U.S.A., but I am responsible to laws of this country.

3.    All are responsible to obey the gospel.

a. Those who obey are blessed

b. Those who do nothing are condemned. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9

4.    Our responsibility toward God does not depend on us accepting it; everyone is already responsible, and will be held accountable. Romans 14:11, 12

C. Does what Jesus said apply to us today since we are under the New Testament and the teaching of Jesus on marriage and divorce was before the cross?

1. If it does not apply today, only a small group of people were ever able to obey His teaching in Matthew 19.

a. What He taught in Matthew 19 was different from the law.

b. Matthew did not record what Jesus said on this occasion until 50 A.D.

2. A person writes a will before death. Hebrews 9:16,17

D. Doesn't baptism wash away all sin?

1. Yes, when preceded by faith. Mark 16:16

2. Yes, when preceded by repentance. Acts 2:38

3. Repentance is a change of mind, brought about by godly sorrow, resulting in a change of life. I Corinthians 6:9-11

E. Won't repentance of this sin work a hardship on everyone involved.

1. Yes

2. A man was converted who ran a store. His primary profit came from selling liquor.

In repenting he poured it out and refused to sell any more liquor. His income went down.

3.     A father who had been maintaining a high standard of living for his family by embezzling money from his boss will suffer a loss of income when he repents of  his stealing.

F. Does this mean that some people will have to live without marriage to be a faithful Christian?

1. Yes. Matthew 5:31,32; Matthew 19:9-12

G. Won't repentance of adultery and living right be hard?

1. Yes. Matthew 5:27-32

2. We sometimes have to live with the consequences of the sins of ourselves and others even after the guilt is removed. Proverbs 13:15

3. A drunkard runs over an innocent man. The drunkard's right arm is cut off; the man's legs are crushed and amputated. The drunkard becomes a Christian. All sins are forgiven. However, both have to live without limbs as a consequence of one man's sins.

H. Isn't it alright to divorce a wife or husband, just so you don't remarry?

1. No.

2. It is not right to divorce unless fornication is involved. Matthew 5:32; I Corinthians 7:10

I. Some say, "I don't believe there is any reason for one who has been married to ever marry again as long as the first mate is living." What would you say about that?"

1. Jesus did give a reason. Matthew 19:9

2. We must not make laws where God didn't. Revelation 22:18,19

J. My mate went out with someone else and committed fornication. After I found out about it, I started going out with other people too. Can I divorce my mate for fornication and marry someone else since my mate broke the marriage?

1. No. The question is: Does fornication break the marriage?

2. If fornication breaks the marriage, many people are living in adultery with a person to whom they think they are married.

3. Fornication gives scriptural reason for the faithful party to break the marriage bond, if the faithful party chooses to do so.

K. My mate committed fornication. Do I have to get a divorce if my partner is sorry and wants forgiveness?

1. No. Reconciliation would better.

L. My mate committed fornication ten years ago and asked for forgiveness. I forgave and this has not happened again. However, I am getting tired of being married. Can I divorce my mate for fornication committed ten years ago?

1. No. Forgiveness means letting the sin go as if it had never been committed.

2. God's forgiveness is to be a model of our forgiveness. Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:1.3; Hebrews 8:12

3. Would you want God or others to bring up your past sins? Matthew 7:12

M. My mate and I were divorced. Neither have married  since then. Can we remarry?

1. One or both of you need to repent of sins committed. A divorce does not occur without sin on the part of at least one partner. Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9

2. Yes. You have authority to remarry. 1 Corinthians 7:10,11

N. Is Paul saying something different from what Jesus said in Matthew 19:9 in 1 Corinthians 7:12-15?

1. No. He is discussing a seeming contradiction in commands where a woman is living with an unbelieving husband who demands that the wife forsake Christ or he will leave her.

O. Does Paul mean that those not under bondage in 1 Corinthians 7:15 are free to marry   again?

1. No. They are not under bondage to fulfill marital responsibilities if it means forsaking Christ will be necessary to live with an unbelieving husband.

2. In the original language, a different word is used for bondage in 1 Corinthians 7:15 from what is used in 1 Corinthians 7:39.

P. How can you say that repentance means leaving an adulterous relationship when Paul ways to abide "in that calling in which he was called"? 1 Corinthians 7:17-24

1. Paul was discussing physical and social relationships, not immoral ones.

2. Paul was not saying to abide in dishonesty, drunkenness, homosexuality, polygamy, or adultery.

Q. I have heard that adultery is the divorce itself - the breaking of the marriage contract - and not a sexual act.

1. Thayer, p. 417: to have unlawful intercourse with another's wife.

2. What is a man thinking of when he looks at a woman to lust after her and commits adultery with her in his heart? Matthew 5:28

3. What was the woman doing who was caught in the act of adultery? John 8:3, 4

R. Even though adultery is clearly wrong, should we not overlook it as Jesus did? He didn't stone the woman. John 8:3-11

1. Jesus didn't overlook it; He told her not to sin any more. John 8:11

2. 1 cannot find where anyone was authorized to stone a woman in adultery when the man was not stoned. Deuteronomy 22:23-27


A. Let us continue to search God's will in all areas of our lives.

B. Let us show as much interest and exert as much effort teaching about marriage and the home as about divorce.

C. If you have specific questions, please ask, study, and search for the answer.

D. Examine the Bible to evaluate all solutions to this and other questions. Acts 17:11; Proverbs16:25

This outline came from Jerrie W. Barber

Here is a video by Don Blackwell on this subject:

Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage