The so-called "God hates divorce" verse is from Malachi 2:16. The book of Malachi was written more than 2,400 years ago, nearly 500 years before Christ.

For the first 2,100 years, it was interpreted as an anti-treachery verse, not an anti-divorce verse. That’s how the great Bible translators Jerome and John Wycliffe, and Reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin viewed it. But then King James’s translators changed it into an anti-divorce verse for 385 years starting in 1611.

That ended in 1996 after the Dead Sea scroll fragment of Malachi 2:16 (the oldest known copy of Malachi 2:16) was published, and many scholars interpreted it again as an anti-treachery verse.

The New International Version (NIV 2011), English Standard Version (ESV) and Christian Standard Bible (CSB) have this anti-treachery interpretation, not the "God hates divorce" wording.

(Note: The old 1984 version of the NIV interpreted it as “I [God] hate divorce,” but the translators changed it in their 2011 update.)

"So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of

your youth. “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says

the Lord, the God of Israel,” does violence to the one he should

protect,” says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do

not be unfaithful." —Malachi 2:15b-16 (NIV 2011)


This infographic shows that NO Bible in the first 2000 years of Bible translation interprets Malachi 2:16 as "God hates divorce" or "I hate divorce" —not even close.  To see how it was translated in 18 major versions from the time of Christ to today, click HERE.


About 500 BC — Malachi was written

About 300 BC - 100 BC — Translated into Greek, the Septuagint, but NOT translated as "God hates divorce" or "I hate divorce"

AD 100-200 — Translated into Aramaic, but NOT translated as "God hates divorce" or "I hate divorce"

AD 382 — Translated into Latin, the Vulgate, but NOT translated as "God hates divorce" or "I hate divorce"

AD 1395 — Translated into English, Wycliffe Bible, but NOT translated as "God hates divorce" or "I hate divorce"

AD 1535 — Translated into English, Coverdale Bible, but NOT translated as "God hates divorce" or "I hate divorce"

AD 1545 — Translated into German, Luther Bible, but NOT translated as "God hates divorce" or "I hate divorce"

AD 1568 — Translated into English, Bishop's Bible, but NOT translated as "God hates divorce" or "I hate divorce"

AD 1587 — Translated into English, Geneva Bible, but NOT translated as "God hates divorce" or "I hate divorce"


So, basically the 1611 King James Version (AV) was a radical departure from the previous 2000 years of biblical scholarship. And guess what? The Dead Sea fragment of Malachi 2:16 does NOT support the KJV's interpretation.

This may explain why the New International Version completely changed its wording in their 2011 update. And why the ESV (English Standard Version) and the CSB (the Christian Standard Bible) do NOT translate it as "I hate divorce" or "God hates divorce" either.


Divorce should never be taken lightly or flippantly or due to general unhappiness or boredom. It is a commitment, but the misuse of this verse is spiritually abusive to those Christians who wish to honor God and are living in a physically, verbally, emotionally and/or spiritually abusive marriages.


To see how it was translated in major Bibles prior to King James Version (Authorized Version), click here.


Does God hate divorce or does God hate abusers?

Are you going through a life-saving divorce? I’d like to invite you to my private Facebook group, "Life-Saving Divorce for Separated or Divorced Christians." Just click the link and ANSWER the 3 QUESTIONS. This is a group for women and men of faith who have walked this path, or are considering it. Supporters and people helpers are also welcome.  I’ve written a book about spiritual abuse and divorce for Christians. Also, sign up for my email list below.



Start Here


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Does God Hate Divorce? No, Most English Bible Translations Don’t Say That


How to Find a Good Supportive Church


What If My Pastor Says It Would Be Wrong to Get Divorced for Abuse?


Divorce Saves Lives: The Surprising (Wonderful!) Truth About Divorce Nobody Told You

Will I Ever Find Love Again? Dating After Divorce: Good News

Finding Happiness and Health After Divorce


Thriving After Divorce: These Christians Tell their Stories

Self-Doubt, Second-Guessing Ourselves, and Gaslighting


Children and Divorce: Researchers Give Hope


High Conflict Divorce and Parenting


Recommended Reading List and Free Resources for Christians and Other People of Faith


Common Myths






GET THE BOOK! The Life-Saving Divorce is about divorces for very serious reasons: a pattern of sexual immorality, physical abuse, chronic emotional abuse, life-altering addictions, abandonment, or severe neglect. This book will give you hope for your future, and optimism about your children. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.



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