What Does the Bible Say About Divorce?

divorce in bible

The Bible addresses divorce in several passages, with the most direct references found in Matthew, Mark, and Corinthians.

Here’s a brief overview:

Matthew 5:31-32 and 19:3-9

: Jesus speaks about divorce, emphasizing the sanctity of marriage and permitting divorce only in the case of marital unfaithfulness.

Mark 10:2-12

: Similar to Matthew, this passage recounts Jesus’ teachings on divorce, highlighting that marriage unites two people into one and that what God has joined together, humans should not separate.

1 Corinthians 7:10-15

: The Apostle Paul advises couples to stay married but acknowledges that if a non-believer leaves a believer, the believer is not bound in such circumstances.

Christian vs. Catholic Views on Divorce

While all Catholics are Christians, not all Christians are Catholics. The views on divorce among different Christian denominations can vary, but here’s a general comparison:

Christian Views

: Many Protestant denominations believe that divorce is allowable in certain circumstances, such as adultery or abandonment. They also generally permit remarriage. The interpretation can vary widely among different Protestant churches.

Catholic Views

: The Catholic Church holds a stricter view, teaching that marriage is indissoluble. The church does not recognize divorce but does have a process called annulment. An annulment is a declaration that a valid marriage was never truly present from the start. In cases where an annulment is granted, the individuals are free to marry in the church.

Process of Getting a Divorce Recognised

In Protestant Churches

: The process varies significantly by denomination and local church. Often, it involves pastoral counselling and may require a meeting with church leadership. Some churches may have specific procedures or guidance for members going through divorce.

In the Catholic Church

: The process involves obtaining an annulment. This process typically includes:

  • Filing a petition for annulment with a diocesan tribunal.
  • Providing evidence that the marriage was lacking one of the essential elements required for a valid marriage (e.g., consent, intention to remain faithful, openness to children).
  • The tribunal examines the evidence and decides whether an annulment can be granted.
  • There may be an appeal process in some cases.

It’s important to note that these general guidelines and practices can vary based on local customs, specific church policies, and individual circumstances.

Christian (Non-Catholic) Views and Process on Remarriage

Counselling and Reflection

: Many Christian denominations encourage individuals who have been divorced to engage in a period of reflection and counselling. This helps them understand the reasons behind their divorce and to heal spiritually and emotionally.

Church Guidelines

: Different denominations have varying guidelines regarding remarriage. Some may allow remarriage in the church if the divorce was for reasons they deem biblically acceptable, like adultery or abandonment.

Approval from Church Authorities

: In some cases, especially with more stringent views on divorce and remarriage, individuals might need approval from church authorities before remarrying.

Pre-Marital Counseling

: This is often a requirement for couples planning to remarry, helping them to build a strong foundation for their new relationship.

Catholic Views and Process on Remarriage


: The Catholic Church requires an annulment of the previous marriage for a person to remarry in the church. An annulment is a declaration that a valid marriage never existed in the first place due to certain impediments.

Applying for Annulment

: This process involves submitting a case to the church’s tribunal system. The tribunal will examine whether there were grounds such as lack of consent, mental incapacity, or other factors that would make the original marriage invalid.

After the Annulment

: If an annulment is granted, the church considers the individual free to marry. They can then proceed with a Catholic wedding ceremony for their new marriage.


: Similar to other Christian denominations, the Catholic Church may also recommend or require pre-marital counselling before entering into a new marriage.

Read more: Rules of Remarriage After Divorce in Singapore

For both Christians and Catholics, the process of remarriage involves not just following church procedures but also a deeply personal and spiritual journey.

The specifics can vary significantly between denominations and even between individual parishes or congregations. Therefore, it’s crucial for individuals seeking remarriage to consult with their church leaders to understand their particular denomination’s stance and requirements.