Can a man divorced and remarried qualify as a minister? Also, what if the divorce and remarriage occurred before baptism?
Paul in 1Timothy 3 and Titus 1 states that a minister (i.e., elder or deacon) must be a man of one wife. “A bishop [elder] then must be blameless, the husband of one wife…. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well,” 1Timothy 3:2, 12.
While the meaning of the phrase “man of one wife” is debated, it is generally assumed to refer to a man married only once or to a man who has not been divorced and remarried. As we explain in the Restoration Study Bible, “This expression denotes a man that has been married but once or a man that is not divorced and remarried. The New Revised Standard Version reads, ‘married only once.’ The New English Biblesays faithful to his one wife. The Jerusalem Bible says he must have been married once. Moffatt reads, He must be married only once. Smith-Goodspeed says only once married. The Anchor Bible explains, ‘Literally a man of one woman (1Tim. 5:9 contains a mirror image of the expression.)’ It has also been historically noted that both remarriage and polygamy were practiced during the time of the Messiah. OT priests were also prohibited from marrying a divorced woman (Lev. 21:7). This is also a standard found for priests in the Millennium, the one-thousand year rule of Yahshua the Messiah (Ezek. 44:22),” note on 1Timothy 3:2. Since baptism only washes away sin and not previous marriages, it would not matter whether the divorce and remarriage occurred before or after baptism in regards to ordination. In both instances, a person divorced and remarried, whether before or after baptism, would be disqualified to serve as an ordained minister.