If a Jew had divorced and married another prior to Jesus’ death, would he have to put away his new wife before being baptized?


Thank you for taking my question. If there had been Jewish men on the day of Pentecost who had previously given their original wives a Bill of Divorcement and were now married to other women, would they have to put away the new wives before they were baptized?

Thank you.


Repentance is required in order to be saved (Acts 2:38). To be baptized without repentance is no more effective than being baptized without having faith.

Implied in your question is a belief that remarriage was allowed under the Law of Moses for any reason. That was the question the Pharisees asked of Jesus. "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?"(Matthew 19:3). Jesus' response was that it was the wrong question because it focused on ending marriages instead of making a lifelong commitment work (Matthew 19:4-6). People then and today put far too much emphasis on divorce than on fulfilling God's expectations. When asked why Moses commanded divorce, Jesus replied that Moses only allowed divorces. Jesus then went on to say that remarriage is only allowed if a divorce was due to the fornication of the person's spouse (Matthew 19:9). In stating this, Jesus clarified what was meant by "When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, ..." (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). "Some uncleanness" is not referring to anything that makes a person unclean. The uncleanness, according to Jesus, was only sexual uncleanness (i.e. fornication).

Therefore, Jews who divorced for other reasons and then remarried were in adultery under the Old Law. They would continue to be in a state of adultery under the New Law. Just as a thief cannot continue stealing after he becomes a Christian, an adulterer must leave his adultery before being baptized.


Thank you, sir, for your reply.

If I may ask a couple of follow-up questions. If I understand you correctly, every Jew living under the Old Law where there was a divorce and where fornication was not involved was living in an adulterous marriage and therefore unsaved if they remained in that state. Doesn't the word "suffer" in Mark 10:4 mean in Greek "to allow, permit, let, liberty."

Please help me understand. Thank you.


"They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away." But Jesus said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment" " (Mark 10:4-5).

The Pharisees, who were trying to trap Jesus in an error, claimed that Deuteronomy 24:1-4 was permission to divorce for just about any reason. Jesus' response was that their understanding of the law was flawed. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 was only given because the Jews were too stubborn in their desire to sin. Jesus explained that marriage was to be for life (Mark 10:6-9). He then explained that divorce and remarriage leads to a state of adultery (Mark 10:11-12)

In Matthew's account of the same discussion, Jesus also explained that the "some uncleanness" in Deuteronomy 24:1 was referring to sexual uncleanness (i.e. fornication) (Matthew 19:9). Only in this case was a person allowed to divorce his spouse and marry again without it becoming adultery.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email