For thinkers: Can a person remarry a former spouse after having married another?

One of the most unsettled issues in the Christian world (although most claim to have settled it -- but they have not) is the relationship of the Law to the believer, specifically what applies and how it applies.

This issue comes up when we deal with tattoos, for example.  But today's issue is about divorce and remarriage.  Some top commentators suggest that the main point of Deuteronomy 24:1-4 is to prevent someone who is divorced and remarried to return to the first spouse.  The concessions to human nature about divorce might be the secondary issue.

If that is the case, I have never heard or read a Christian statement on the ethics of remarrying a former spouse after having remarried another.  The text suggests that even if the new spouse dies, the former spouses cannot be reunited.

So, is this for Christians or no?


Deuteronomy 24:1-4 (ESV) reads:

“When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house,  and if she goes and becomes another man's wife,  and the latter man hates her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter man dies, who took her to be his wife, then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the Lord. And you shall not bring sin upon the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.”

Yes, this is Law and not relevant to the Christian
17% (3 votes)
Yes, this was never intended for gentile believers
6% (1 vote)
Yes for other reasons
6% (1 vote)
Unsure. Applications of the Torah to the believer today are tough.
28% (5 votes)
No, the principle applies and is part of God's moral Law.
33% (6 votes)
No for other reasons
11% (2 votes)
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 18
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There are 2 Comments

Bert Perry's picture

in light of Matthew 5, no?  Whether the divorces result from adultery or not, you end up with a situation of adultery on all parties.  Ick. Theoretically possible, I'd guess (like the governor of Indiana who went through it and appears to be our brother in Christ),

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Aaron Blumer's picture


I assumed that the 2nd marriage ended legitimately and went with "Yes, this was never intended for gentile believers"

For sake of simplicity (and also to better focus on the issue of the question maybe?) suppose the scenario is this:

  • Man's marriage fails, divorces his wife.
  • Man remarries. (Wife does not)
  • 2nd wife dies.
  • Man comes to believe he never should have divorced his wife in the first place.... 

Assuming she's willing, is there anything in Scripture that would make remarrying her wrong? In my view, no, so, to the poll question, I say "Yes... "

(I guess I could have gone w/"Yes for other reasons" because, the Mosaic Covenant being now defunct, it isn't really all that relevant who it may or may not have once applied to in the past. But I'm splitting hairs.)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.