On divorce Part 4

This post is a rere-consolidation and simplified explanation of the Scriptures on divorce. Previous discussions include several conversations and much of the same material from On divorce and On divorce Part 2 and On divorce Part 3. One of the reasons for this is the discussion of divorce on polygyny. Thus, if you’ve read them before or if you don’t care feel free not to read it again.

This is one of the original research articles that got me started on reading to understand what the Scriptures say myself. Read it if you have time.

The biggest thing that I learned from my discussions is that people don’t properly understand the background of all of the OT passages on divorce and putting away which set the stage for why Jesus is talking specifically about putting away and not divorce.

Table of contents

  1. Deuteronomy 24 — What is legal divorce according to the Scriptures?
  2. Deuteronomy 22 — What constitutes marital fraud?
  3. Jeremiah 3 and Isaiah 50 — The adulterous cases of Israel and Judah
  4. Malachi 2 — the background from the Old Testament to the New Testament
  5. Deuteronomy 24 and Matthew 5 and 19 — The synonymous terms of legal divorce in the OT and NT
  6. Matthew 19:3 — the Pharisees’ multi layered trap
  7. Matthew 19:4-6 — Jesus goes back to the creation
  8. Matthew 19:7 — The Pharisees’ confusion
  9. Matthew 19:8 — Jesus’ response on hardness of heart
  10. Matthew 19:9 — The heavily misinterpreted passage of Scripture
  11. Matthew 19:10-12 — the disciples actually understand the gravity of marriage
  12. Matthew 1:18-19 — the case of Joseph and Mary
  13. Mark 10:2-12 and Luke 16:13-18 — the unification of Matthew with Mark and Luke
  14. Romans 7 — understanding the context of Jewish divorce
  15. 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 — the Lord’s command to husbands and wives
  16. 1 Corinthians 7:12-15 — Paul, not the Lord, says to live with unbelieving spouses
  17. Conclusion

Let’s get started.

Deuteronomy 24 — What is legal divorce according to the Scriptures?

Deuteronomy 24:1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement (sêpher kerı̂ythûth), and give it in her hand, and send (shâlach) her out of his house. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. 3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement (sêpher kerı̂ythûth), and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth (shâlach) her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; 4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

Legal divorce is composed of two parts in Mosiac law. This will be important when we look at the passages in Matthew.

  1. Sepher keriythth — Writing and giving the wife a bill of divorcement.
  2. Shalach — Sending her out of the house or away.

Deuteronomy 22 — What constitutes marital fraud?

Marital fraud is found in Deuteronomy 22.

Deuteronomy 22:13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, 14 And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:

15 Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: 16 And the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; 17 And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. 18 And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him; 19 And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away (shâlach) all his days.

20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: 21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

From a historical perspective, very few if any women that were caught in marital fraud were actually stoned. What occurred is that when a woman was caught in marital fraud were simply put away without being legally divorced (put away + writ of divorce). Such a fraudulent marriage was invalid (no blood as proof), and therefore the couple was not legally married.

Distinguishing legal divorce from marital fraud is important because this outlines a case for which a woman could be put away (without being officially divorced).

Jeremiah 3 and Isaiah 50 — The adulterous cases of Israel and Judah

The Lord is shown to follow the laws he outlined in Deuteronomy 24 for legal divorce in the cases of Israel and Judah.

Jeremiah 3:6 The Lord said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot. 7 And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away (shâlach), and given her a bill of divorce (sêpher kerı̂ythûth); yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. 9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. 10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord.

Israel was not brought back out of Assyrian captivity. They were no longer physically or spiritually “Jews” because they have been divorced by God and intermixed with the surrounding nations. This passage in Jeremiah 3 shows that God Himself divorces the Israelites, gives her a bill of divorce, and sends/puts her away into Assyrian captivity. God abides by His own Law.

Don Quixote notes that in Jeremiah 3:14 the Lord claims to be married to Israel even after the bill of divorce and invites repentance. This is the nature of God’s forgiveness if she turns back to him, even though God plays by His rules in divorce.

However, the Lord speaking to Judah does not divorce her even though He puts her away.

Isaiah 50:1 Thus saith the Lord [to Judah], Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement (sêpher ‘êm kerı̂ythûth), whom I have put away (shâlach)? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away (shâlach). 2 Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because there is no water, and dieth for thirst. 3 I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.

In the case of Judah, we know that Jesus comes from the lineage of Judah and David. The Lord allows Judah to be put away into captivity for their transgressions. Afterward, He redeems and delivers Judah out of captivity as read in Nehemiah and Ezra and upholds  His covenant with them through the rebuilding of His temple. Then He brings full redemption to them through sending His Son Jesus to die bring forth the New Covenant.

Malachi 2 — The background from the Old Testament to the New Testament

Malachi is the last prophet for 400 years before Jesus. Malachi points out Israelite backsliding due to assimilation of the surrounding cultures much like today.

Malachi 2:14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. 15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.

16 For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away (shâlach): for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. 17 Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?

The main background behind this passage is that “divorce” in surrounding cultures was simply putting away (without a writ of divorce). Husbands sent their wives out of the house and that was a divorce. There are two main reasons why the Lord was saying putting away [without a writ of divorce] was treacherous:

  1. Selfish monetary gain. If a wife was legally divorced — put away with a writ of divorce — she would receive back the dowry that the bride’s father paid. However, if she was put away without a writ of divorce she would not receive back the dowry.
  2. Marginalized wives. A legal divorce — put away with a writ of divorce — would allow the divorced wife to remarry. However, if a wife was put away she would still be legally married to her husband, which allowed her unable to remarry without committing adultery.

This assimilation of the surrounding culture sets the stage for Jesus’ interaction with the Pharisees in the New Testament.

Deuteronomy 24 and Matthew 5 and 19 — The synonymous terms of legal divorce in the OT and NT

Since the OT was written in Hebrew and the NT was written primarily in Greek, we need to critically examine the Scriptures to see if there are synonymous terms that were used in order to understand what the Pharisees and Jesus were speaking about in the Law of Moses. There are.

Deuteronomy 24:1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement (sêpher kerı̂ythûth), and give it in her hand, and send (shâlach) her out of his house. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. 3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement (sêpher kerı̂ythûth), and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth (shâlach) her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; 4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

  1. Sepher keriythth — Writing and giving the wife a bill of divorcement.
  2. Shalach — Sending her out of the house or away.

Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away (apoluō) his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement (apostasion), and to put her away (apoluō autos)? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away (apoluō) your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, except it be for fornication (porneia), and shall marry another,commit adultery (moichaō): and whoso marrieth her which is put away (apoluō) doth committeth adultery (moichaō).

G630 — ἀπολύω — apoluō — ap-ol-oo’-o
From G575 and G3089; to free fully, that is, (literally) relieve, release, dismiss (reflexively depart), or (figuratively) let die, pardon, or (specifically) divorce: – (let) depart, dismiss, divorce, forgive, let go, loose, put (send) away, release, set at liberty.

G647 — ἀποστάσιον — apostasion — ap-os-tas’-ee-on
Neuter of a (presumed) adjective from a derivative of G868; properly something separative, that is, (specifically) divorce: – (writing of) divorcement.

  1. GREEK Apostasion and HEBREW Sepher keriythth — Writing and giving the wife a bill of divorcement.
  2. GREEK Apoluo and HEBREW Shalach — Sending her out of the house or away.

Note: I crossed out the two instances of “divorce” within Strong’s definition of apoluo because apoluo does not denote a legal divorce according to the Law of Moses. Hence, Jesus would not have used apoluo to mean “divorce” in Matthew because He does not abolish the law but fulfills the law.

Matthew 19:3 — the Pharisees’ multi layered trap

Let’s start delving into the line by line analysis given our solid background of understanding.

Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away (apoluō) his wife for every cause?

First, the key word “every cause” is another instance of background. The Pharisees, specifically the Hillelites, claimed you could legally divorce for “every cause” due to an interpretation of uncleanness in Deuteronomy 24 meaning any form of displeasure. (The article gets the conclusion wrong, but the background is important).

Deuteronomy 24:1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement (sêpher kerı̂ythûth), and give it in her hand, and send (shâlach) her out of his house.

Now, your spider senses should be tingling because the Pharisees use an interesting set of wording of “lawful” with “putting away” (without writ of divorce) and “every cause.”

The complexity of this trap is that the Pharisees are pitting Roman occupation law versus a specific interpretation of Jewish law. In Roman law you could “divorce” your wife by “putting her away” (apoluo). However, Jewish law in Deuteronomy 24 you could divorce your wife by “putting her away” (apoluo or shalach) AND giving her a bill of divorcement (Apostasion or Sepher keriythth). This is similar to other traps the Pharisees employed such as it being lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or God (Matt 22, Mark 12).

Thus, the trap. If Jesus answers that you can put away a wife without a bill of divorcement the Pharisees can call Jesus a blasphemer as He is not following Jewish law. If Jesus says that you need a bill of divorcement then the Pharisees can take Jesus to the Romans and say that He is subverting Roman law. The additional wrench of the trap is that “every cause” is thrown in so that they are not referring directly to standard Jewish law but solely one liberal interpretation of it.

Matthew 19:4-6 — Jesus goes back to the creation

Matthew 19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Jesus knows that it’s a no-win question. He neatly sidesteps the Pharisees’ trap by avoiding talking about Roman and Jewish law and instead discusses the creation of man and what God intended. He would know because He was there in the beginning (see: John 1:1-4).

This is Jesus’ answer on divorce: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” No divorce.

Matthew 19:7 — The Pharisees’ confusion

Matthew 19:7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement (apostasion), and to put her away (apoluō autos)?

The Pharisees see that Jesus has cleverly sidestepped their trap and now are confused. If God did not intended for any divorce then why was it written in the Law of Moses in Deuteronomy 24 (Putting the wife away AND giving her a bill of divorcement)?

The Pharisees quick acknowledgement that the Law of Moses declared that a divorce is composed of putting away AND bill of divorcement reveals their own trap. They knew that a divorce was putting away and a bill of divorcement, but they tested Him on putting away only.

Matthew 19:8 — Jesus’ response of hardness of heart

Matthew 19:8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away (apoluō) your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

Jesus responds to the Pharisees that this part of the law was created because human hearts are hard. Jesus doesn’t want “putting away” for any reason: valid divorce which is “putting away + writ of divorce” or simply “putting away” because of the hardness of hearts.

Matthew 19:9 — The heavily misinterpreted passage of Scripture

In this section, Jesus is answering the original question that the Pharisees posed which is “what lawful instances can a man put away?”

Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away (apoluō) his wife for every cause?

[…]

Matthew 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, except it be for fornication (porneia), and shall marry another, commit adultery (moichaō): and whoso marrieth her which is put away (apoluō) doth committeth adultery (moichaō).

Remember, from Malachi 2 to the current Roman occupation the Israelite husbands were putting away their wives treacherously. Thus, it is important for Jesus to answer this question in order to clarify the instances of which a wife can be put away.

  • Let’s walk through this part by part: “Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife.”

We recognize that Jesus knows what a writ of divorce is as He is familiar with Jewish law. Additionally,  the Pharisees had just asked him about putting away (apoluo) and writ of divorce (apostasion). Thus, Jesus is talking about putting away only.

  • Jesus specifically says “except it be for fornication (porneia). “Fornication” is any illicit sexual union including incest (1 Cor 5) and adultery. However, if Jesus was referring specifically to adultery here then “moichao” would have been used instead of “porneia.” Moichao is used later in the verse, yet it is not used here.
  • The combination of “putting away (apoluo)” and “fornication (porneia)” refers to Deuteronomy 22 where a husband marries a wife but it is fraud. If the passage was talking about “putting away (apoluo)” and “bill of divorcement (apostasion)” and “adultery (moichiao)” this would reference Deuteronomy 24 on rules of divorce.

If Jesus was talking specifically about a legitimate divorce for adultery he would have instead said:

“Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) with a writ of divorce (apostasion) his wife, “except it be for adultery (moichiao),

Instead, He says:

“Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, “except it be for fornication (porneia),

Therefore, the Greek wording is important because it tells us what passages Jesus is referencing in Mosaic Law. The answer is Deuteronomy 22 and illegitimate marriages as opposed to Deuteronomy 24 and rules on divorce. This becomes clear in the final part.

  • Jesus says: “and shall marry another, commit adultery (moichaō): and whoso marrieth her which is put away (apoluō) doth committeth adultery (moichaō).”

Let’s put all of the parts together now. Remove the “except” part for a moment. Jesus is saying:

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, except it be for fornication (porneia), and shall marry another, commit adultery (moichaō): and whoso marrieth her which is put away (apoluō) doth committeth adultery (moichaō).

Simplified:

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, […], and shall marry another, commit adultery (moichaō): and whoso marrieth her which is put away (apoluō) doth committeth adultery (moichaō).

Jesus is saying that if you put away your wife and marry another then you commit adultery. This makes sense because if you put away your wife under Jewish law without giving her a writ of divorce then you commit adultery as you were still married to her! This is similar to today’s culture because we have marriage certificates: if you put away your wife without annulling the marriage you commit adultery according to the law.

This also explains exactly happening in Malachi 2 and Roman times. Husbands were putting away their wives without a writ of divorce. The wives could not marry again because they were still married to their original husbands. If they did they were committing adultery.

Let’s continue the textual analysis:

  • What about the “except it be for fornication (porneia)” part? The Pharisees rightly understood that in Deuteronomy 22 that if a husband accused his wife of not being a virgin then the proof was the sheet with the blood stains on it. If the parents were able to produce that (gross, I know), then the husband must pay a penalty and could never put her away as long as he lives. However, if the woman was guilty, she was committing fraud by lying/deception by claiming to be a virgin when she was not.

Therefore, this “except” clause refers directly to the Deuteronomy 22 example. The man could put the wife away (without a writ of divorce) because the marriage was a sham. Thus,

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, except it be for fornication (porneia) [illicit/fraudulent sexual deception which forms an invalid marriage], and shall marry another, commit adultery (moichaō): and whoso marrieth her which is put away (apoluō) doth committeth adultery (moichaō).

Putting away (without a writ of divorce) and marrying another constitutes adultery because you are still married to your former spouse. The exception is for a fraudulent marriage because the marriage itself is invalid.

Therefore, Jesus makes two distinct statements in this entire passage:

On marriage and divorce:

Matthew 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

On putting away in regard to fraudulent marriages (referencing Deut 22):

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, except it be for fornication (porneia) [illicit/fraudulent sexual deception which forms an invalid marriage], and shall marry another, commit adultery (moichaō): and whoso marrieth her which is put away (apoluō) doth committeth adultery (moichaō).

In conclusion, Jesus says there is no divorce period. You can only put away if there is marriage fraud.

For example, in the case of fraud, a wife that lies about her past sexual history can be put away because it’s a fraudulent marriage. A covenant must be willingly agreed to openly and truthfully. Interestingly, though we often negatively critique him, Mark Driscoll has a episode like this. You can see the devastation of what this does to a man. That’s why God makes an exception for this.

Matthew 19:10-12 — the disciples actually understand the gravity of marriage

Matthew 19:10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. 11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. 12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

The disciples, despite how they are often mocked at not understanding things, readily understand that Jesus is saying that there is no divorce period. The only exception is that you can put away a wife if she fraudulently married by deception.

When Jesus fulfills the Law, it is always vastly more difficult than the former Law. For example, Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself (Matt 22) goes to a new command I give to you: that you love one another, just as I have loved you, that you love one another (John 13, John 15). Yes, obviously, it SHOULD be harder than what the Mosaic Law said. That’s why the disciples were so amazed.

No divorce period except for fraudulent marriages is a hard word. A really hard word.

Matthew 1:18-19 — the case of Joseph and Mary

This also agrees with Matthew 1:19 where Joseph was going to put Mary away.

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus [r]Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been [s]betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

Joseph marriage with Mary would have been fraudulent because he was supposed to be marrying a virgin. To him Mary was not a virgin because she was with child. It took an angel of God to convince him otherwise.

Mark 10:2-12 and Luke 16:13-18 — the unification of Matthew with Mark and Luke

 In Mark 10:

Mark 10:2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away (apoluō) his wife? tempting him. 3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? 4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement (apostasion), and to put her away (apoluō autos). 5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. 11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery (moichaō) against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away (apoluō) her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery (moichaō).

And also in Luke 16:

Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. 15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. 16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. 17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

18 Whosoever putteth away (apoluō) his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery (moichaō): and whosoever marrieth her that is put away (apoluō) from her husband committeth adultery (moichaō).

The background behind these passages is that Mark and Luke were mainly written to the Gentiles while Matthew was written to the Hebrews. Thus, there is no “except for fornication” within these two passages when Jesus repeats the same thing in Matthew.

The reason for this is that “putting away” was “divorce” for the Gentiles. The instruction is that they should not do that at all. As they were not under the Law of Moses, this goes back to Jesus statement of original intention: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” There is no divorce for  Gentile believers.

Romans 7 — understanding the context of Jewish divorce

Romans 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

Romans 7 does not speak specifically about whether you can legally divorce or not. Obviously, Deuteronomy 24, which Paul is quite familiar with being a Pharisee of Pharisees, states that husbands could divorce their wives.

Paul is instead speaking to the scenarios of being unbound by the law (in death) rather than about divorce because He is discussing our salvation and grace versus works. Husbands were allowed to divorce their wives in Deuteronomy 24, but wives were not allowed to divorce their husbands. Hence, when Paul speaks to the scenario of a wife being bound by the law to her husband until he dies as the example instead as a wife cannot divorce her husband.

1 Corinthians 7:10-11 — the Lord’s command to husbands and wives

The Lord speaks through Paul:

1 Corinthians 7:10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart (chōrizō) from her husband: 11 But and if she depart (chōrizō), let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away (aphiēmi) his wife.

G5563 — χωρίζω — chōrizō — kho-rid’-zo
From G5561; to place room between, that is, part; reflexively to go away: – depart, put asunder, separate.

G863 — ἀφίημι — aphiēmi — af-ee’-ay-mee
From G575 and ἵημι hiēmi (to send; an intensive form of εἶμι eimi (to go)); to send forth, in various applications: – cry, forgive, forsake, lay aside, leave, let (alone, be, go, have), omit, put (send) away, remit, suffer, yield up.

G630 — ἀπολύω — apoluō — ap-ol-oo’-o
From G575 and G3089; to free fully, that is, (literally) relieve, release, dismiss (reflexively depart), or (figuratively) let die, pardon, or (specifically) divorce: – (let) depart, dismiss, divorce, forgive, let go, loose, put (send) away, release, set at liberty.

It’s important to understand that the Lord is speaking to a Roman/Greek population in the Corinthians here and not the Jewish people. Hence, the Lord is speaking against the Roman law that “divorce” could be done through “putting away” or simply “departing” in the case of the wife.

Likewise, the Lord follows this up with the only correct path for those separated or divorced: stay single or reconcile. This is a hard word for most Christians because divorce and remarriage is not an option.

This agrees with Jesus’ original statements on divorce: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Jesus and the Father are one, and they are in agreement.

1 Corinthians 7:12-15 — Paul, not the Lord, says to live with unbelieving spouses

1 Corinthians 7:12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put away (aphiēmi autos). 13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him (aphiēmi autos). 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15 But if the unbelieving depart (chōrizō), let him depart (chōrizō). A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. 16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

This passage is also used as a so-called exception clause for remarriage. “Well, if I’m not under bondage anymore because my unbelieving wife or husband left me then I can remarry.” That is not what this passage says at all. It only says that if they depart then you’re not under the bondage of the marriage anymore. However, it does not necessarily condone remarriage either.

Overall, it’s not specifically clear so there is the possible that you are allowed to remarry. Although if this is the case I would personally recommend staying single.

Conclusions

Jesus talks about marriage, divorce, and putting away. Understanding which passages Jesus refers to is critical to unifying all of Scripture on the topic of divorce.

  1. Putting away is NOT divorce in the context of Mosaic Law and in the gospel of Matthew. It is a two part process of putting away and a bill of divorcement. – Deut 22, 24; Mal 2; Jer 3; Isa 50; Matt 5, 19
  2. Putting away is synonymous with divorce for the Gentiles. — Mark 10; Luke 16; 1 Corinthians 7
  3. God and Jesus’ plan for marriage is that “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” – Gen 2, Matt 19; Mark 10
  4. There is no get-out-of-marriage adultery clause. Who you are married to you should stay married to regardless of any sins they commit. This is a hard word as even the disciples said it was better not to marry. Separation seems to be an option if you can’t live with them. Reconciliation is ideal. – Matt; 19, Mark 10, Luke 16, 1 Cor 7
  5. Your marriage is illegitimate if your wife committed sexual fraud prior to marriage. Example: Claiming she was a virgin when she was not (Deut 22). Hence, you can put her away without divorcing her since it was a sham. – Deut 22, Matthew 5, 19; Mark 10; Luke 16,
  6. If a spouse leaves stay single or be reconciled. – 1 Cor 7
  7. If an unbelieving spouse leaves you are not under bondage. Note the wording: “10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord … [remain unmarried or reconcile]” versus “12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if [they leave you are not under bondage]. Given the context of the wording about the Lord saying versus Paul saying it would seem that stay unmarried or be reconciled is the ideal. Remarriage may be an option according to liberal interpretation. – 1 Cor 7
  8. Those already remarried in their second and third marriages are NOT to divorce and reconcile with their first spouse if they come to Christ (See: Note 3 for more details). The heretical interpretation is perpetual adultery with the new spouse. In this line of thought, divorce and reconcile and remarry with the first spouse. This view goes against what Deuteronomy 24 says in that if a first husband divorces a wife and another marries her even if she is divorced or her husband dies then she is not to remarry him again otherwise is it an abomination. – Deut 24, Matthew 19

Note 1: This is one of the original research articles that got me started on reading to understand what the Scriptures say myself. Read it if you have time.

Note 2: Hopefully this is the last ever post I make on divorce. The logic and continuity of the Scriptures on this topic is clear that I need not revisit. (It wasn’t, sigh).

Note 3: Divorce, remarriage, and perpetual adultery:

1. I agree that there is perpetual adultery if the participants are made completely aware of the roles and responsibilities and the everlasting nature of marriage. In other words, “sacramental marriage” affirmed by the Church.

2. However, those who were not made aware sinned in their ignorance. If I remember correctly those that don’t undergo the rites of the Church in the marriage ceremonies in both (?) Catholic and Orthodox tradition means that the marriage formed is potentially invalid. Hence, since the marriage wasn’t valid they are free to marry another.

3. This would also go along with the position that those in their 2nd or 3rd marriages and then come to Christ would not have to divorce and go back to their first spouse. They can get their current marriage affirmed by the Church with all of the details of the Covenant.

Final Conclusion

  1. No divorce period. Even for adultery. “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Your recourse is separation if you absolutely can’t live with them.
  2. If you are separated, stay single or reconcile. No remarriage.
  3. Stay with an unbeliever if they want to live with you, otherwise you are not under the bonds of marriage. Remarriage is potentially possible with a liberal interpretation of Scripture.
  4. Fraudulent marriages are not marriages.
  5. If you have a “Christian marriage” (or sacramental marriage) — both of you know that marriage is forever on earth and the accompanying roles and responsibilities — then any divorce and remarriage is perpetual adultery. 2nd or 3rd marriages that come to Christ can be affirmed as Christian marriages, and they would not have to go back to their first spouse.

This is why I believe (as a Protestant) that the Catholic and Orthodox methods of sacramental marriage are probably the best method to deal with marriage and divorce in a broken world. Protestant views on marriage are trash, and it is no surprise that they have the highest divorce rates of any denomination of Christianity and divorce rates almost as high as secular culture.

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58 Responses to On divorce Part 4

  1. SapphireYagami says:

    so if the husband or wife, you are not allowed to divorce them. Are you still allowed to have sex with them? i ask because of the sexual transmitted infections people can get today along with men being on the downlow.

  2. @ SapphireYagami

    Your question makes no sense.

  3. SapphireYagami says:

    I am asking if the spouse cheats do you still engage in sex since you can not divorce for adultery?

  4. @ SapphireYagami

    In general, the Scripture is pretty clear that you should forgive and reconcile if at all possible. Separation is an option if you can’t live with them, but you must remain single or reconcile (1 Cor 7).

  5. @ SapphireYagami

    Why wouldn’t you still be able to have sex with them? You are still married to them. Sex is one of the parts of marriage.

    STDs are caught and given by both sexes. I fail to see how this has anything to do with the topic of divorce.

  6. SapphireYagami says:

    1. what if the spouse catches an std? can you divorce them then?

    2. if the spouse committed adultery and the spouse forgives them but still refuse to engage in sexual activity, then can that person divorce?

    I’m asking cause for a majority of people, cheating is a very big no. So I do not know many marriages that stayed together once one of the spouses committed adultery. I have a family that divorce when he found out his wife was a lesbian.

  7. @ SapphireYagami

    I suggest you read your Bible.

    1. what if the spouse catches an std? can you divorce them then?

    No.

    2. if the spouse committed adultery and the spouse forgives them but still refuse to engage in sexual activity, then can that person divorce?

    No.

    Though both of these would bring into question the idea that they’re even a Christian.

    I’m asking cause for a majority of people, cheating is a very big no. So I do not know many marriages that stayed together once one of the spouses committed adultery. I have a family that divorce when he found out his wife was a lesbian.

    Clearly they did not understand the concept of a Christian marriage and/or were hard hearted.

    One man. One woman. Forever. Separation, not divorce, is the option if you absolutely can’t live with them.

  8. SirHamster says:

    Appreciate the article and the additional context of Roman divorce/”putting away”.

    Jesus responds to the Pharisees that this part of the law was created because human hearts are hard. Jesus doesn’t want “putting away” for any reason (valid divorce “putting away + writ of divorce” or not “only putting away”) because of the hardness of hearts. Jesus knows the difference.

    Is there a typo here? I understood it as all types of “putting away” includes the categories of “put away + writ” (legal Jewish divorce) and “put away + no writ”. (informal non-legal divorce).

    So perfect standard (don’t separate what God joins) excludes actual and effective divorce.

    What is the correct distinction between separation and “put away”? Live in same house/separate quarters vs. “go back to your family/fend for yourself”? As far as I can tell, “put away” would involve a decision to end the relationship and related rights/duties, where separation would just be physical distance.

  9. Art says:

    That’s a lot of information. I’m going to have to carefully work my way through it all.

    Still, I do have to point out something about your “conclusion #6”. There you say “If a spouse leaves stay single or be reconciled. – 1 Cor 7”. You also repeat that in final conclusion #2 “If you are separated, stay single or reconcile. No remarriage”.

    (This goes back to the issue of polygyny again)

    Please note that this is not quite what 1st Cor. 7:10-12 says. The woman is told two things, while the man is told one thing. (YES, God has a different standard for the man and the woman. Men and women are different, and they have different roles (and different rules for those roles) in marriage.)

    “To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.” (ESV)

    “But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.” (NASB)

    The wife is told:
    1. Do not separate from/leave husband.
    2. If she does, she must remain single, or be reconciled. She may not marry another man.

    The husband is told something different. He is simply told not to divorce his wife – Period. He is never prohibited from taking an additional wife.

    It goes back to polygyny. Paul knows that it is lawful for a man to have more than one wife.

    The Bible always explicitly prohibits polyandry, and likewise permits polygyny.

    If the separated woman married again, then she would be an adulteress (Romans 7:2-3)

    “For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.”

    If the man married again, then he would just be a man with two wives. The Bible permits men to have more than one wife.

  10. @ SirHamster

    Yeah, that was a typo. Corrected.

    I understood it as all types of “putting away” includes the categories of “put away + writ” (legal Jewish divorce) and “put away + no writ”. (informal non-legal divorce).

    For the unity of the Scripture, I believe that is the case. The context being:

    Luke is to Gentile believers, and Mark is more neutral. Gentiles would’ve understood the context of “putting away” as “divorce.”

    Jewish believers via Matthew would’ve understood putting away as “legal divorce with the writ” and “non-legal divorce without the writ.” That’s why Jesus clarifies the “putting away” statement with the fornication exception clause which refers directly to the instance in the law where putting away is valid: Deut 22.

    It’s only in Matthew but not in Mark and Luke which makes perfect sense given the context. Thus, also answering the Pharisees original trick question.

    What is the correct distinction between separation and “put away”? Live in same house/separate quarters vs. “go back to your family/fend for yourself”? As far as I can tell, “put away” would involve a decision to end the relationship and related rights/duties, where separation would just be physical distance.

    1 Corinthians 7 seems to clarify this: “10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.”

    Separation is departing. Putting away is forcibly removing them.

    In the context of today’s culture and housing and provision it seems to mean: you can move out of the residence, but you can’t force the other person out.

  11. @ Art

    In regards to divorce and polygyny: Yes, husbands can remarry according to the letter of the law in the Scriptures since they can theoretically take multiple wives.

    Though, I suppose the real question in this case is do you want to live by the Letter of the Law or the Spirit of the Law. Paul talks about the Letter and Spirit in 2 Cor 3. The essence of the Spirit of the Law being discussed here:

    2 Cor 5:16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one [b]according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ [c]according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, [d]he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and [e]He has [f]committed to us the word of reconciliation.

    This is why the word for those separated in 1 Cor 7 is reconciliation and not taking another spouse. We are to be Imitators of God… to borrow the phrase from Ephesians 5.

  12. Art says:

    Deep Strength
    There is no question that the emphasis is on reconciliation. I agree with you there. The couple should certainly strive for reconciliation.

    The situation here seems to be like it normally is with polygyny. God does not prohibit it. That does not mean it is a good idea or the best course of action. It usually isn’t.

    Likewise, we shouldn’t look for legal loopholes or technicalities to get away with not following the spirit of the law.

    But, likewise, we cannot bind the conscience of a man where the Written Word of God doesn’t.

  13. shredifier says:

    I am beginning to wonder on what basis you make your assertions
    You said that if 1 of the partners commits adultery is divorce allowed in that case? You said NO…..thanks for calling Jesus a liar when he explicitly told you that divorce IS PERMITTED when fornication/adultery has occurred
    I would suggest you spend more time being in subjection to what the scriptures actually teach than the rotten corrupt traditions of men and the Catholic church with their retarded and unbiblical hostility to anything sexual or divorce

  14. @shredifier:

    I always find it funny when the trolls claim things that were actually highlighted and in bold weren’t addressed in a post. It’s almost like they didn’t read the post before comment.

    Nah, couldn’t be!

  15. shredifier says:

    Looking Glass

    Can we stop with the sarcasm thanks ☺
    I ain’t no troll, I am a regular contributor to DS articles and even though we disagree at times DS is man enough to allow dissenting opinions on his threads
    I suggest you go back and read where DS is asked specifically if divorce is permissible on the grounds of adultery and DS replies with a NO so I countered that with my post
    So I would suggest you read things first before accusing others of being a troll

  16. shammahworm says:

    “Jesus specifically says “except it be for fornication (porneia). “Fornication” is any illicit sexual union including incest (1 Cor 5) and adultery. However, if Jesus was referring specifically to adultery here then “moichao” would have been used instead of “porneia.” Moichao is used later in the verse, yet it is not used here.”

    Jesus is referring to both adultery and falsely representing one’s sexual history as you know. Matt. 5 and Matt. 19 give a man the right to divorce for both adultery and for falsely representing one’s sexual history. You know this and it was explained to you in detail. Abortion is a type of murder the same way adultery is a type of sexual immorality(porniea).

    Saying otherwise is akin to saying abortion isn’t murder because murder is used instead of abortion. When the reality is they’re the same thing. One is specific and another is general. Jesus uses the general term porneia in order to indicate both adultery and falsely representing one’s virginity are grounds for divorce.

    There was no divorce option in Deut. 22. It commanded death for a girl who falsely represented her virginity. There is no case of a marriage that was consummated being able to be ended without a certificate of divorce or death in Jewish law. A man and woman who have had sex must be separated as one flesh either through death or divorce. All the people who accepted divorce instead of stoning back during the Roman occupation were violating the Torah. This is how we know for a fact Jesus wasn’t teaching what you say He meant.

    Jesus makes it clear a man may “put away” his wife and remarry in cases of sexual immorality(including adultery). So all your “distinctions” about divorce vs “putting away” are ultimately moot for our purposes. This is over the head of all later church writers, priests, bishops, cardinals and popes. If every single pope contradicts this(Christ’s direct words), than every single pope is liable to judgment in the same fashion as you will be if you don’t turn from these errors.

    There’s simply no equivalent between the Virgin Bride of Christ(the church) and an adulteress. At no point does she join herself as one body to anyone or anything other than Christ. And at no point is it possible to love an adulteress the way Christ loved the church because she was not, is not and never will be an adulteress.

  17. Geguard says:

    Excellent post, DS. Started following your blog a few days ago. A bit surprised you didn’t make any reference to David Pawson’s book on this subject: Divorce and Remarriage. He expounded on this nicely.

    You can have a look at this article on his website where he talks about “consecutive polygamy”: http://davidpawson.org/resources/series/remarriage-after-divorce

  18. Geguard says:

    Sorry, the name of the book by David Pawson is “Remarriage is Adultery Unless”: https://www.amazon.com/Remarriage-Adultery-Unless-David-Pawson-ebook/dp/B00564TNV2
    And, sorry, I shouldn’t have stated that I was surprised. Not many people know about David Pawson as he rarely teaches “popular opinions.” You may also be interested in his book on “Leadership is Male.”: https://www.amazon.com/Leadership-Male-What-does-Bible-ebook/dp/B00JN9T67W

    By the way, John Piper actually agrees with you. See http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/divorce-remarriage-a-position-paper. Unfortunately, since he was under employment by his church, he had to agree to a loose/popular but incorrect interpretation of those scriptures.

  19. @ Geguard

    Thanks for the links.

    1. Interestingly, Piper also got to the same conclusion using “put away” as “divorce” mainly because of the lack of clause in Mark and Luke. The part that the ‘you can divorce for adultery’ debaters ignore is that both Mark and Luke have no exception clause. It’s similar to the egalitarian interpretation of Eph 5 which ignores other Scriptures of submission in Col 3, Titus 2, and 1 Peter 3.

    2. It’s surprising that Piper only references Joseph and Mary and not Deut 22 too. Deut 22 brings the whole scenario into context, given that the Pharisees traps always involved tortured legalistic interpretations of Mosaic Law.

  20. shredifier says:

    I’m sorry but you’re dead wrong in this instance DS
    One of the fundamental principles of hermeneutics is you DON’T interpret an incomplete passage over the complete passage…..Both Mark and Luke are INCOMPLETE statements of Matthew 19 and you know it
    By doing what you’re doing you’re being dishonest and forcing the scriptures to be internally inconsistent. ….the scriptures are either all in agreement or they contradict and therefore cannot be the infallible, inerrant word if God
    You have been corrected now by me and others on this issue so please take seriously what we’ve been saying. ..Jesus says there’s an exception clause permissible for divorce and remarriage, please just accept it and move on as you’re defence against it is looking rather weak
    Also why would you use heretics like John piper for your material?

  21. Don Quixote says:

    Geguard says:
    September 17, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Excellent post, DS. Started following your blog a few days ago. A bit surprised you didn’t make any reference to David Pawson’s book on this subject: Divorce and Remarriage. He expounded on this nicely.

    You can have a look at this article on his website where he talks about “consecutive polygamy”: http://davidpawson.org/resources/series/remarriage-after-divorce

    HI Geguard, David Pawson’s book is an excellent choice, and there are many others in that genre, you might find the following list interesting:
    http://oncemarried.net/book-reviews.html

  22. @ Shredifier

    By doing what you’re doing you’re being dishonest and forcing the scriptures to be internally inconsistent. ….the scriptures are either all in agreement or they contradict and therefore cannot be the infallible, inerrant word if God

    My position is the most consistent on divorce. Read the original post.

    I showed fully how “putting away” is not “divorce” as divorce in Mosaic law is “putting away” + “writ of divorce.” Jesus knew this. The Pharisees knew this.

    Therefore, it’s clear that Jesus in Matthew 19:9 is not talking about “divorce” but rather “putting away,” which means he is referring to Deuteronomy 22 not Deuteronomy 24. An example of this in practice is Joseph and Mary.

  23. shredifier says:

    I’m truly sorry DS but like I said to you before YOU ARE DEAD WRONG on this issue….you have made a totally unwarranted distinction between “putting away” and “divorce” and made them similar but separate aspects of the same thing
    The bible makes NO DISTINCTION at all between the state of putting ones wife away and with “divorce” because it’s the same thing …in fact the 2 terms are used interchangeably in many passages like Deut 22 and Deut 24….why are you not able to see what myself, Art, Artinasal Toad, and others in here can clearly see?
    I think part of the problem is that you confuse the biblical term “divorce” with the modern day equivalent use of the term involving legal documents and Lawyers
    No, the fact of the matter is, to put away ones wife is to divorce her, but in mosaic terms it was to be accompanied by a “writ of divorcement” which made it official and protected the woman so she could remarry again
    But at the end of the day this is your blog and I respect that….I have learned much from you and your insights, especially about the evils of feminism that have infiltrated the church and marriages…..but on this case of marriage/divorce/remarriage we have to agree to disagree ☺

  24. @ shredifier

    The bible makes NO DISTINCTION at all between the state of putting ones wife away and with “divorce” because it’s the same thing …in fact the 2 terms are used interchangeably in many passages like Deut 22 and Deut 24….why are you not able to see what myself, Art, Artinasal Toad, and others in here can clearly see?

    This is where you lose me.

    The Deut 22 makes it clear that a woman may not be put away if she did not commit marital fraud. If she did she was to be stoned (but in reality, none of them were really stoned but instead put away for committing marital fraud). This clearly shows a case of putting away.

    Deut 24 references official laws on divorce. It requires a certificate and putting away.

    Matthew, being written to Jewish believers, also makes the distinction between putting away and divorce (putting away + certificate of divorce).

    Likewise, the Pharisees even readily acknowledge the difference themselves which reveals their own trap: “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for any cause” —> “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

    It should be clear, now, that Jesus speaks both on divorce:

    “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder”

    And on putting away:

    A husband may put away his wife is she committed marital fraud. Otherwise, if he puts her away then if they remarry both of them commit adultery.

    This is internally consistent with the fact that Mark and Luke have none of this so-called exception, and it agrees with Paul, by the Lord, in 1 Corinthians 7 saying there is no divorce: only separation and remarriage for believers.

    Basically, there’s no divorce, even for adultery. This has been the teaching of the Church from the disciples on, and I find it doubtful that the Church has been teaching this wrong from the beginning based on a weird reading of Matthew… when Mark, Luke, and 1 Corinthians say otherwise.

    Like you said though, if this isn’t persuasive then we will have to agree to disagree.

  25. shredifier says:

    DS

    “This has been the teaching of the church…..” the question behooves us at this point why do you or I care what the church teaches on any particular doctrine? The bible is MY final authority not the church nor will it ever be
    You keep repeating there is no divorce even for the sin of adultery? I believe I already showed you the proof texts where the greatest authority, Jesus himself says that divorce and remarriage IS PERMISSIBLE if 1 of the partners commits fornication during the marriage….since Jesus makes this exception, and you disagree with him, I think it’s safe to assume that he will be ok with me siding with HIM on this subject…..the only possible way you can get around the clear teaching of Jesus Christ is by maintaining that putting away and divorce are 2 different things entirely …in fact your entire tortuous eisegesis can only be maintained if you believe that divorce and remarriage is permitted for “putting away” but NOT permitted for divorce situations, which once again affirms your commitment to your strange belief that putting away IS NOT the same as divorce
    This is certainly a contentious subject, and I appreciate very much your tolerance for those who sharply disagree with you…..but at this point I don’t feel I’m eloquent enough with words so I would actually love to hear from others if they think I’m wrong on making the 2 terms mean the same thing or if there are any others who read this blog who think putting away and divorce are the same thing
    Once again, thanks for your patience with me DS, you earn my respect even if we disagree ☺

  26. Don Quixote says:

    shredifier says:

    <blockquote.

    September 18, 2016 at 12:07 am
    DS

    “This has been the teaching of the church…..” the question behooves us at this point why do you or I care what the church teaches on any particular doctrine? The bible is MY final authority not the church nor will it ever be
    You keep repeating there is no divorce even for the sin of adultery? I believe I already showed you the proof texts where the greatest authority, Jesus himself says that divorce and remarriage IS PERMISSIBLE if 1 of the partners commits fornication during the marriage….since Jesus makes this exception, and you disagree with him,

    </blockquote.

    Dear shredifier, I don't want to sound like a smart ass but there is at least one serious flaw in your thinking here. You said:

    “Jesus himself says that divorce and remarriage IS PERMISSIBLE if 1 of the partners commits fornication during the marriage”

    The ‘exception clause’ you have quoted is an exception clause for men only. It does not apply equally to both husband and wife as you have said. Your egalitarian thinking is a product of feminism. Please consider.
    According to the scripture the husband is only one who can initiate a divorce, never the wife. This is because the husband is the head of the wife, she doesn’t have such authority under any circumstances.

    Also if you interpret ‘fornication’ to mean adultery you have put Jesus in the school of thought of Shammai. This was exactly the reason why the pharisees asked the question in the first place, to see if Jesus was in alignment with rabbi Hillel or rabbi Shammai. You have put Jesus in the school of rabbi Shammai.

    Jesus was almost certainly talking about an example similar to Joseph and Mary where a man discovers his fiancee is not a virgin and he can get rid of her without penalty.

    I have a page on this topic if you’re interested:
    http://oncemarried.net

  27. shredifier says:

    Don Quixote

    I honestly couldn’t care less what “Rabbi’s” think on this topic, I’m only interested in what the SCRIPTURES say, and the bible clearly says there IS an exception clause for divorce/remarriage
    This destroys your entire foundation of death being the only thing that can break marriage
    I never once said that I defined fornication as being “adultery”. ..those are your words not mine…whatever the definition of fornication means, it doesn’t alter the fact 1 iota that divorce and then remarriage can occur without the death of the spouse
    Remarriage is NOT adultery no matter how many times you try to twist the scriptures to support your views
    In fact I’ll give you another circumstance where divorce/remarriage is possible and that is in cases of spousal desertion…..is don’t give 2 flips whether the couple involved are Christians or not, or whether only the man can initiate a “divorce” the verse in 1st corinthians 7 proves that remarriage is permissible WITHOUT a death of a spouse being needed
    Also God himself divorced then remarried oops!

  28. Don Quixote says:

    shredifier says:

    September 18, 2016 at 5:15 pm
    Don Quixote

    I honestly couldn’t care less what “Rabbi’s” think on this topic, I’m only interested in what the SCRIPTURES say, and the bible clearly says there IS an exception clause for divorce/remarriage
    This destroys your entire foundation of death being the only thing that can break marriage
    I never once said that I defined fornication as being “adultery”. ..those are your words not mine…whatever the definition of fornication means, it doesn’t alter the fact 1 iota that divorce and then remarriage can occur without the death of the spouse.
    Remarriage is NOT adultery no matter how many times you try to twist the scriptures to support your views.

    Many times Jesus described remarriage as adultery, I’m sure you agree with this…? But this type of teaching was unheard of because if there was one thing the Jews agreed upon was that a divorced woman could remarry if she had her certificate of divorce. Jesus turned that belief on its head, and they were shocked. Jesus began a new school of Jewish thought that taught, whosoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. This was amazing to His audience.

    In fact I’ll give you another circumstance where divorce/remarriage is possible and that is in cases of spousal desertion…..is don’t give 2 flips whether the couple involved are Christians or not, or whether only the man can initiate a “divorce” the verse in 1st corinthians 7 proves that remarriage is permissible WITHOUT a death of a spouse being needed.

    There are many reasons for separation in the bible, 1st Cor.7:15 is an example of that. Believers are not under bondage to live with an unbeliever if the situation is untenable or unsafe. I don’t believe there are grounds for divorce and remarriage in that verse. Although I’m aware many others teach as much.

    Also God himself divorced then remarried oops!

    The marriage metaphor you refer to is an excellent way to study this topic. Four of the OT prophets compared the covenant between God and Israel to a marriage covenant. But if you look at these examples you will notice a few things. Yes He divorced Israel [His wife] but He didn’t remarry. The New Testament church isn’t God’s second wife. The New Testament is engaged [betrothed] to be married to Jesus, and the same rules apply during this betrothal period. i.e. if we fornicate we will be excluded from the event. <== easy way to remember the exception clause.

    And if you are pre-mil there is an interesting spin off on this one… When the church is married to Jesus, the marriage of Israel and God will be restored. Don't ask me about the details I'm just sayin.

  29. shredifier says:

    Don Quixote

    I think it’s rather obvious we will probably never agree lol 😁 so tool avoid being overly contentious I will leave this blog with a summary of what I believe the Bible teaches on this topic
    1: The Mosaic law proved beyond any shadow of doubt that a woman who was divorced, even if she was divorced unjustly WAS indeed allowed to remarry, see Deut 24:1-3, this would be impossible if a marriage covenant was indissoluble except by death, since there was no sin charged to her account in her remarriage we must conclude that God permitted remarriage under the LAW
    2: God considers second marriages and remarriage as binding and legal as the first, there is no escaping that conclusion, so we are being legalistic in the extreme in condemning those who remarry as living in a perpetual state of adultery
    3: Jesus recognized in John 2 that the woman who had 5 husbands was married legitimately to each of them and NOT living in adultery by referring to them as her “husbands”, a term which would be impossible if he didn’t accept her remarriages
    4: Jesus said remarriages are entirely permissible if either partner commits fornication during the marriage
    5: God divorced Israel and takes up a second wife which is the church

  30. Geguard says:

    @ Don Quixote
    Thanks for the excellent link: http://oncemarried.net/

    I have a question for you and DS: considering this view/teaching, what should someone do who has remarried (once, twice, … you get my point?) Should they ‘divorce’ their current wife and go back to their first wife? David Pawson never wanted to answer this question to avoid setting a precedence… Rather he counselled a couple who asked such to go to God and hear Him.

    A follow-up question to this is: is adultery such a “big sin” that Christ or His Grace isn’t able to get rid of? I mean, can’t those in “adultery-by-remarriage” simply confess their sins, get forgiveness and move on with their lives without having to “divorce” or split?

    I find this teaching really “troubling” – not because I don’t accept it… I honestly do… However, I cannot bring myself to teach others because when they ask, “What next?”, I will have to take the David Pawson position of telling them to go to God. So, I have to ask myself, why open a can of worms that you cannot close again…. Hope you get my drift. God Bless.

  31. @ Geguard

    I have a question for you and DS: considering this view/teaching, what should someone do who has remarried (once, twice, … you get my point?) Should they ‘divorce’ their current wife and go back to their first wife? David Pawson never wanted to answer this question to avoid setting a precedence… Rather he counselled a couple who asked such to go to God and hear Him.

    No. The law seems to indicate that if the original husband takes back the wife after she gets married again it is an abomination. That’s even if she has been divorced by her second husband. That’s straight out of Deut 24.

    Deuteronomy 24:1 “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens [a]that 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 from his house, 2 and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3 and if the latter husband [b]turns against 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 husband dies who took her to be his wife, 4 then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.

    Since we do not have any NT instruction except this, then this is probably the best answer.

    Remember, Jesus said: “What God has put together let man not separate.” The wording indicates that man CAN separate (as is pretty obvious), but it is against the ideal and hence sin. The separateness obviously causes hurt, brokenness, and destruction.

    This is the reason why I think remarriage is a singular sin — as the Lord indicates in 1 Cor 7 that it is better to stay single or reconcile — and not a perpetual adultery. Also, as others have said, a man remarrying again is also potentially possible without being a sin either, but it is not ideal.

    A follow-up question to this is: is adultery such a “big sin” that Christ or His Grace isn’t able to get rid of? I mean, can’t those in “adultery-by-remarriage” simply confess their sins, get forgiveness and move on with their lives without having to “divorce” or split?

    No, it does not appear to be such a big sin that His grace isn’t enough, although if you take the position of perpetual adultery then it is.

    That would be my best educated guess based on the sum of all of the Scriptures. I do think if a marriage is confirmed as “sacramental” and all of the parties are aware and willing then it may potentially be perpetual adultery if one of them remarries. Those in ignorance and on their 2nd and 3rd marriage who come to Christ are not condemned, but if they are Christian and they do this then it might be like something out of Hebrews 6 because they KNOW better:

    Hebrews 6:4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, [d]since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. 7 For ground that drinks the rain which often [e]falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; 8 but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close [f]to being cursed, and [g]it ends up being burned.

  32. Pilgrim of the East says:

    Well, I don’t want to misrepresent you but I understood it like that divorce is possible for Jews (who can give a writ of divorce) but not for gentiles.
    Since there is no more difference between the Jew and the Greek, I am must have misunderstood you – where did I make a mistake?

  33. Don Quixote says:

    Geguard says:
    September 19, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    @ Don Quixote
    Thanks for the excellent link: http://oncemarried.net/

    I have a question for you and DS: considering this view/teaching, what should someone do who has remarried (once, twice, … you get my point?) Should they ‘divorce’ their current wife and go back to their first wife? David Pawson never wanted to answer this question to avoid setting a precedence… Rather he counselled a couple who asked such to go to God and hear Him.

    I’m not surprised that David Pawson didn’t want to get involved in such a situation. But it is a very good question. And there are some examples in the Scripture that address this issue. In Ezra 10 and Nehemiah 13. After the Babylonian captivity, when Jerusalem was in the process of restoration, it was discovered that many of the children of Israel had married foreigners, in direct contradiction of the Law. Deut. 7:3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them…
    So Ezra and Nehemiah insisted that the mixed marriages be separated.
    Ezra 10:19 And they gave their hands that they would put away their wives; and being guilty, they offered a ram of the flock for their trespass.
    Neh. 13:3 Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude.

    There was also the example of David’s first wife. David forced the separation of her second marriage before he would be king over all Israel.

    If a couple is convinced they are in an adulterous re-marriage then I would suggest if they want to follow Christ they should separate from each other. But what tends to happen is that only one person [husband or wife] gets convinced regarding the status of the marriage. This is where it can get really messy, for a multitude of reasons:
    1) Convinced party torn between what they are convinced is correct, and love of existing marriage/family. Puts enormous pressure on the individual and [second] marriage.
    2) Little or no support from church and/or other christians. I have seen this situation before where a twice married lady was convinced her second marriage was adultery and tried to separate from her second husband. She was opposed by church and family.

    It is a situation that nobody wants to be in, but it happens. Kathryn Kuhlman was a high profile example of this situation but with slightly different circumstances:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathryn_Kuhlman

    A follow-up question to this is: is adultery such a “big sin” that Christ or His Grace isn’t able to get rid of? I mean, can’t those in “adultery-by-remarriage” simply confess their sins, get forgiveness and move on with their lives without having to “divorce” or split?

    I find this teaching really “troubling” – not because I don’t accept it… I honestly do… However, I cannot bring myself to teach others because when they ask, “What next?”, I will have to take the David Pawson position of telling them to go to God. So, I have to ask myself, why open a can of worms that you cannot close again…. Hope you get my drift. God Bless.

    I know exactly how you feel on this. And for the sake of conscience I would encourage any person who is convinced their marriage is adulterous to get out of that marriage. But also make sure the person knows what they are getting into. In most cases it will mean life alone, and a turbulent transition time.

  34. Pedat Ebediyah says:

    One of the best posts and discussions – ever.

    I totally agree with you that the Catholics get this one totally correct concerning marriage.

  35. shredifier says:

    There is not 1 verse in scripture that even countenances that retarded phrase of yours “adulterous remarriage”…. Its simply a figment of your imagination and adding something to the word of God
    If marriage is as binding as you guys make out, what kind of semantic chicanery do you employ to come to the conclusion that second or third marriages are not binding so therefore can be dissolved with impunity?

  36. @ Pilgrim of the East

    Well, I don’t want to misrepresent you but I understood it like that divorce is possible for Jews (who can give a writ of divorce) but not for gentiles.

    If you’re talking about the OP, this is the basic summary.

    Jesus talked both about divorce and putting away.

    Divorce:’ What God has joined together let no man separate.’

    Putting away: ‘If you put away your wife, save for fornication, and marry another you commits adultery.’

    Putting away references Jewish law in Deut 22, and is shown in the case of Mary and Joseph. It does not reference Deut 24 on laws of divorce because of the specific wording of the passage (fornication and not adultery, no talking about writs of divorce). Additionally, the surprise of the disciples indicate that he was not agreeing with one of the Pharisee positions on Deut 24.

    Since there is no more difference between the Jew and the Greek, I am must have misunderstood you – where did I make a mistake?

    Since we are no longer under the Law (and thus Deuteronomy), only Jesus’ statement on divorce still stands:

    Divorce: What God has joined together let no man separate.

    AKA Don’t divorce.

  37. Don Quixote says:

    shredifier says:
    September 20, 2016 at 11:08 am

    There is not 1 verse in scripture that even countenances that retarded phrase of yours “adulterous remarriage”…. Its simply a figment of your imagination and adding something to the word of God.

    Dear Shredifier I can understand your objections to such a phrase and it’s connotations, I agree it sounds bad. But Jesus said the following: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery. And so the questions must be asked:
    1) If it is adultery to marry a divorced woman, how does one undo such a situation?
    2) If it is adultery to divorce your wife and marry another, how does one bear the fruit of repentance?

    This dilemma is faced by those people who enter second marriages and become over-burdened by guilt. If you follow the way of the cross to relieve the guilt then the only conclusion is to separate from the second marriage. Indeed this was largely the reason for the ecclesiastical courts during the middle ages. They would try to decide such matters.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecclesiastical_court

    If marriage is as binding as you guys make out, what kind of semantic chicanery do you employ to come to the conclusion that second or third marriages are not binding so therefore can be dissolved with impunity?

    Again, an excellent question. When John the Baptist told Herod “it is not lawful to have your brother’s wife.” John was relying on the Torah or law of Moses. When David forced the separation of Michal’s second marriage [2Sam3:13] he did it with the knowledge that he [David] had betrothed Michal with the death of 200 Philistines and there had never been a certificate of divorce issued by David himself. When Nehemiah forced the separation of mixed marriages he stood on the command of God.
    These examples are the basis for any decisions for believers regarding dealing with adulterous remarriages. If you object to the use of that phrase it is my choice rather than just say “second marriages” because I always like to think some second marriages are valid in the context of polygyny.

  38. shredifier says:

    I believe you are mis quoting Jesus here, He never said whoever divorces”, he said “whosoever puts away” and in the context of what the Pharisee’s said in trying to trap him, there is a world of difference between the 2 phrases
    To summarize, you ARE permitted to divorce your wife, you just can’t put her away without giving her a writ of divorcement, so please don’t conflate the 2 meanings
    Also, the sin here is “adultery” not the man made, fake term “perpetual adultery” which is the hidden underlying meaning behind that term “adulterous remarriage” because you’re implying second or third marriages are those who live in a continual state of adultery…. Not only is that nonsense in itself but the Greek doesn’t bear or support that term
    Also, wouldn’t breaking a second marriage be sinning because in your view (not mine) divorce is not permitted except death of the spouse? , in other words, you can’t commit sin I.E divorce your second wife, in order to rectify the first sin

  39. Don Quixote says:

    shredifier says:
    September 20, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    I believe you are mis quoting Jesus here, He never said whoever divorces”, he said “whosoever puts away” and in the context of what the Pharisee’s said in trying to trap him, there is a world of difference between the 2 phrases
    To summarize, you ARE permitted to divorce your wife, you just can’t put her away without giving her a writ of divorcement, so please don’t conflate the 2 meanings

    Thanks Shredifier, there are 2 problems with your approach here:
    1stly: I was using the word “divorce” to mean “put away”, in exactly the same way Jesus did in Matt.19:8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives… ‘Putting away’ is the final step in the divorce process, and when Jesus is talking with the pharisees they seem to both understand the process. If there is a world of difference here then the discourse doesn’t make sense.

    2ndly: You make Jesus sound like He’s more interested in the paperwork than the family members. From my limited experience I know that Jews and paperwork go hand in hand.

    Also, the sin here is “adultery” not the man made, fake term “perpetual adultery” which is the hidden underlying meaning behind that term “adulterous remarriage” because you’re implying second or third marriages are those who live in a continual state of adultery…. Not only is that nonsense in itself but the Greek doesn’t bear or support that term

    Just for the record I didn’t invent the term ‘adulterous marriage’, it was the title of a 2 small books published by St Augustine. He condemned all remarriage. Period.
    And I am not familiar enough with Greek ‘tenses’. Could you explain in layman’s terms how the exception clause could be put in a different perspective?

    Also, wouldn’t breaking a second marriage be sinning because in your view (not mine) divorce is not permitted except death of the spouse? , in other words, you can’t commit sin I.E divorce your second wife, in order to rectify the first sin

    The example[s] I have used are when a couple or individual is convinced by the Holy Spirit that they have made an adulterous [or incestuous] marriage. People in this situation need help, let me ask you this trick question…What would have been the best action Herod could have done in dealing with Herodias?

    Pro tip: The Bible calls Herodias ‘Philip’s wife’, even though she was remarried to Herod.

  40. shredifier says:

    Herodias was indeed Herod’s wife but it was an illegal union as PHILIP WAS STILL ALIVE , and it wasn’t technically a remarriage
    In fact the law quite plainly provides for the legal union of men taking up their brothers wife/wives if the brother had died , there was no sin involved in doing that
    The reason that Herod was reproved by John the Baptist was Herod was not allowed to marry Herodias WHILST Philip was still alive, he had to die first, so your argument fails at this point with the “trick question”
    As to the Greek tenses, they have been covered in here quite extensibly by others more knowledgeable than me

  41. Pode says:

    I’m reading both this thread and the polygyny thread at the moment, apologies if I’m crossposting between the two.
    Deut 22:21 seems to me to say that stoning is the legal way in which to “put away” the evil of a marriage fraud. The historical practice of using a different punishment also translated as “putting her away” is of historical interest only. The Law is what matters. There is no need to give paperwork to a woman after she has been stoned to death, so I am disinclined to accept the argument that Jesus is referencing Deut 22 instead of Deut 24 in the exception clause. However, as you point out, this does leave the question open of why the exception doesn’t appear in the other Gospels.

  42. @ Pode

    Deut 22:21 seems to me to say that stoning is the legal way in which to “put away” the evil of a marriage fraud. The historical practice of using a different punishment also translated as “putting her away” is of historical interest only. The Law is what matters. There is no need to give paperwork to a woman after she has been stoned to death, so I am disinclined to accept the argument that Jesus is referencing Deut 22 instead of Deut 24 in the exception clause

    Except we have a clear cut case of the opposite, which I addressed in the OP.

    Joseph is called righteous for his intention to put Mary away quietly when he could have made it public that she was pregnant and have her stoned (according to the Law).

    To paraphrase James 2… ‘mercy triumphs over judgment.’

    Also, the wording of the passage does not make sense in regard to Deut 24. Any sexual act of a married person outside of marriage is considered adultery: moichiao. If Jesus is referring to sexual acts in marriage, he wouldn’t have used fornication (porneia) but adultery (moichiao).

    The quote is: “Whoever puts away their wife, except for fornication,…”

  43. shammahworm says:

    “Joseph is called righteous for his intention to put Mary away quietly when he could have made it public that she was pregnant and have her stoned (according to the Law).”

    Reread Deut 22. The stoning takes place on the wedding night upon the man’s discovery his wife isn’t a virgin. He probably couldn’t have had her stoned(according to the Law) unless he’d tried to consummate the marriage and realized she wasn’t a virgin(which is what Joseph assumed would happen). Otherwise Mary could’ve claimed she was raped or that Joseph had slept with her prior(assuming she’d actually sinned). There was no divorce in cases of Deut. 22.

    “Also, the wording of the passage does not make sense in regard to Deut 24. Any sexual act of a married person outside of marriage is considered adultery: moichiao. If Jesus is referring to sexual acts in marriage, he wouldn’t have used fornication (porneia) but adultery (moichiao).”

    Don’t play dumb. You know exactly why this is the case. It’s because porneia refers to all manner of sexual sin including adultery and a man has the right to divorce and remarry in cases of both adultery in addition to finding out his wife falsely represented her sexual history(even if it’s decades after the fact). Adultery IS fornication in the same way abortion IS murder.

    Porneia is used to describe adultery in 1 Cor 5: 1. You know this. Stop lying to save face and stop laying up heavy burdens on your readers that they have no obligation to bear.

  44. donalgraeme says:

    A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
    but only in expressing his opinion.

    (Proverbs 18:2)

  45. podethelesser says:

    IIRC two or more witnesses are required for convictions, especially for capital crimes. So unless a husband’s friend is with him when he comes home to find his wife with another man, or in the stables with the horse, or messing with the kids, she cannot be stoned. Porneia covers all the forbidden sexual acts, so I read the exception clause from Matthew as Jesus allowing the husband to treat his wife as dead if she committed a capital sexual sin even though there were not enough witnesses to execute her according to law.
    I welcome you gents feedback and intend to reread and ponder more carefully everything in both threads as soon as possible.

  46. @ Pode

    The Pharisees say and Jesus say:

    Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?

    Matthew 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

    1. Looking at it from the other perspective if “put away” means divorce and “fornication” means any sexual act in marriage then the whole passage is logically incoherent because Jesus is agreeing with the Pharisees’ initial statement (e.g. you can ‘divorce’ your wife for any cause).

    By textual analysis, we know that Jesus is referring to Deut 22 instead of Deut 24 because of the words “put away” and “fornication” (instead of divorce which is put away + writ of divorce and fornication instead of adultery).

    2. If He was agreeing with the Pharisees then why would Jesus even make a statement about divorce was permitted for hard heartedness and what God has put together let man not separate? That’s not teaching them if you’re going to allow them to continue to live in hard heartedness. Jesus NEVER agreed with anything the Pharisees said.

    3. Likewise, the disciples response to Jesus statement tells us He was not agreeing with the Pharisees:

    Matthew 19:10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

    In other words, the Word that Jesus gives is so difficult that it’s better not to marry at all. What is that Word? “What God has put together let no man separate” and you cannot “put away” unless there was deception involved with creating the marriage covenant, which forms an invalid covenant.

    Therefore, it’s logically clear that the passage refers to Deut 22: the woman is supposed to be a virgin but she is not (and the sheets are proof).

    4. Joseph to Mary. The proof is not the sheets in this case but the pregnancy. This requires no logic at all and should be obvious, and only supernatural intervention (dreams) kept them together.

    5. This also unifies Matthew 19 with the passages from Mark and Luke which do not have “exception” clauses.

    6. It makes it logically coherent with Malachi, Jeremiah, Isaiah, on distinctions between putting away and divorce (putting away + bill of divorce).

    7 It also agrees with what the Apostles and Earth Church taught about marriage: no divorce period and if there are invalid marriages (like in 1 Cor 5) you were not married. The word “fornication” is used in 1 Cor 5 specifically because it was illicit/invalid sexual unions for the man. For the father’s wife it was adultery (if he was still alive), and even if he was dead it was an invalid sexual union (e.g. fornication) because it was incest.

    This is not difficult to understand given the whole context of the Scriptures by textual analysis and overarching theme, but it is a hard Word. A very, very, very hard Word. Many people don’t like it, so they try to deceive themselves that Jesus said you could divorce if your wife committed adultery (only using Matthew 5 and 19 while ignoring Mark, Luke, Joseph and Mary, Jeremiah and Isaiah distinctions, Malachi, and Deut 22).

    This is I compare the divorce advocates to egalitarians. Egalitarians hang on to “all one in Jesus” (from Galatians) and “submit to one another in fear of Christ” (From Ephesians) to say that the husband and wife are equal in marriage. However, there are many other passages in the Scriptures such as 1 Cor 11, Col 3, Tit 2, 1 Peter 3 that state wives should submit to their husbands. They radically ignore most of the other Scriptures to hang onto a fringe opinion.

  47. Pingback: Divorce advocates are the same as egalitarians | Christianity and masculinity

  48. Pode says:

    As I reads things, you’re begging the question. You seem to equate “is it lawful to divorce for any reason?” with “is it lawful to divorce for legitimate reasons?”, then claim that the fact that Jesus disagrees with the Pharisees means He does not in fact say what He plainly DOES say, that it is only lawful to divorce for a narrow subset legitimate reasons, i.e. capital sexual crimes where the woman would be executed if there were enough witnesses.

    In your own arguments you say the trap was a challenge to Roman law, which held that a man could divorce for any cause. “Bitch burnt muh dinner” is a legal cause under Roman law. Mosaic law said write her a certificate good for a remarriage before you kick her out for uncleanness. There are lots of different ways to become unclean, though burning dinner isn’t one, so there’s a conflict with Roman law that is the heart of their trap.

    Jesus answers no, unless she does one of the tiny number of things God hates even more than divorce (God hates divorce, but bestiality, incest, and adultery are abominations), you’re stuck with her. She can do almost all the things that render her unclean in Jewish culture. She can do all the evil shit that women do to men every day in our culture. Take the kids and run to another town, spend you into bankruptcy, lie about you abusing her, the standard divorce rape script, and you can’t divorce her. THIS is the hard word for all men, and modern men are reacting just like the disciples did, saying it’s better not to marry. Jesus follows that with another hard word, basically “well, if you want to cut your balls off instead of marrying, more power to you.” Later, via Paul, He commands His servants not to divorce even for those exceptions, because nothing should separate a Christian man from his bride just as nothing can separate Christ from His. So for Christians, you and I end up at the same conclusion of no divorce ever, but for different reasons.

    Separate question: You yourself say “This passage in Jeremiah 3 shows that God Himself divorces the Israelites, gives her a bill of divorce, and sends/puts her away into Assyrian captivity.” How can you reconcile the fact that God divorces Israel with your claim that divorce is always a sin?

    It seems to me a fair reading that non-Christian men are allowed to divorce for capital sexual crimes only. These were so rare, and the ruling so countercultural, that the disciples and other Gospel authors treated the exception as not worth mentioning.

    You’ve expressed fatigue with discussing the issue, so I’ll leave it alone.

  49. @ Pode

    You seem to equate “is it lawful to divorce for any reason?” with “is it lawful to divorce for legitimate reasons?”, then claim that the fact that Jesus disagrees with the Pharisees means He does not in fact say what He plainly DOES say, that it is only lawful to divorce for a narrow subset legitimate reasons, i.e. capital sexual crimes where the woman would be executed if there were enough witnesses.

    In your own arguments you say the trap was a challenge to Roman law, which held that a man could divorce for any cause. “Bitch burnt muh dinner” is a legal cause under Roman law. Mosaic law said write her a certificate good for a remarriage before you kick her out for uncleanness. There are lots of different ways to become unclean, though burning dinner isn’t one, so there’s a conflict with Roman law that is the heart of their trap.

    No. “Any cause” references the Hillel interpretation of “indecency” in Deut 24.

    Jesus answers no, unless she does one of the tiny number of things God hates even more than divorce (God hates divorce, but bestiality, incest, and adultery are abominations), you’re stuck with her. She can do almost all the things that render her unclean in Jewish culture. She can do all the evil shit that women do to men every day in our culture. Take the kids and run to another town, spend you into bankruptcy, lie about you abusing her, the standard divorce rape script, and you can’t divorce her. THIS is the hard word for all men, and modern men are reacting just like the disciples did, saying it’s better not to marry. Jesus follows that with another hard word, basically “well, if you want to cut your balls off instead of marrying, more power to you.”

    Later, via Paul, He commands His servants not to divorce even for those exceptions, because nothing should separate a Christian man from his bride just as nothing can separate Christ from His. So for Christians, you and I end up at the same conclusion of no divorce ever, but for different reasons.

    This is what confuses me.

    There is a clear interpretation of the passage regarding the Greek words used, that would logically reference Deut 22 and Deut 24. This would unify Jesus’ position with Paul’s position and makes everything in the Scripture internally consistent.

    But then you still think that Jesus is talking about Deut 24, and that Jesus says it’s OK to divorce for adultery.

    I don’t get it.

    Separate question: You yourself say “This passage in Jeremiah 3 shows that God Himself divorces the Israelites, gives her a bill of divorce, and sends/puts her away into Assyrian captivity.” How can you reconcile the fact that God divorces Israel with your claim that divorce is always a sin?

    God acts according to the Law He gave in the OT. In the NT, Jesus states that the Law won’t pass away, but He has come to fulfill the Law. Fulfilling the Law raises the standard.

    For example: “Love your neighbor as yourself” becomes “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13, John 15). The standard is not to love as yourself, but to love as Jesus does. It’s a higher standard.

    In regard to divorce, Jesus points back to creation when there is no sin: “What God has put together let man not separate.”

    This is the gold standard.

    It seems to me a fair reading that non-Christian men are allowed to divorce for capital sexual crimes only. These were so rare, and the ruling so countercultural, that the disciples and other Gospel authors treated the exception as not worth mentioning.

    Well, non-Christian men can do whatever they want. For Christian men, the gold standard is:

    “What God has put together let man not separate.”

    Even IF Jesus says you can divorce for adultery (which is false but let’s assume), that’s not what we should do given the gold standard. Those who divorce are hard hearted, as Jesus put it. It’s pretty clear from Jesus’ teaching that an sin against you does not mean you should act sinful against others, as He mentions later in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5).

    Note that separation with no remarriage and only reconciliation is allowed in 1 Corinthians 7, and is what early Church fathers also recommended if you absolutely cannot live with a spouse who has potentially committed great injustices.

    You’ve expressed fatigue with discussing the issue, so I’ll leave it alone.

    I’m willing to discuss with you, as you’ve shown you can put forth arguments with points (and not “liar” and “heretic” while repeating the same arguments that aren’t convincing given the whole of Scripture).

  50. Brad says:

    What is a husband supposed to do when his wife leaves him lives with another man , has a child with and wants to marry the other man? Is he just sol for life, even if he tried everything he could to make his marriage work? Can he get remarried ? Doesnt seem right he should be punished for being the victim…..

  51. @ Brad

    There are two lines of thought on this from the Protestant perspective.

    1. The strict interpretation of what Jesus says is one marriage.

    2. 1 Corinthians 7 states that if a non-believing spouse leaves, you’re not under bondage. Some interpret that as you can marry again.

    (There is a third, but this article was about disproving the third which is the “adultery clause”).

    Bear in mind the Scripture has never prohibited men from having multiple wives, although in most circumstances it tends to be a bad thing. If you do go with #2, I tend to not recommend that route — why would you want to subject yourself to the same thing again.

    My actual opinion is that I think the Catholic/Orthodox tend to have the best solution to earthly marriage which means affirming any marriage under the bonds of Scripture. If that marriage “fails” then neither of you can remarry since you were both under the bonds of the Scripture (according to 1 Cor 7 you can only reconcile or stay single). However, if a marriage was not formed or confirmed under such bonds of the Scripture, it may be annulled and you may be able to remarry again.

    This system goes along with the fact that both subjects in a covenant (which is what marriage is) need to be aware of the permanence of the marriage and the roles and responsibilities therein.

    That approach makes far more sense than the Protestant approach, and they have stuck to the tradition of what the early Church fathers have taught.

  52. Brad says:

    EX wife already has remarried….with children with other man….. thank you for the answer, reading this you are saying a man is punished for trying to do right…. ???? here, when a victim is blamed, and cant go on ……your saying that there is no way to live life, only stay single because you might be cheated by life, women, and now God…….

  53. @ Brad

    Two things.

    First, and the hard Truth, is that as Christians we are to become like Jesus. It may not make you feel better, but Jesus did only right and look where that got Him: only suffering and death on a cross. However, He still willingly for the joy set before Him (which is us). The world treats Christians like garbage, and we suffer because of it. This is not a bad thing, and it is normal.

    We CHOOSE to do what is righteous according to God because we know that suffering for Jesus will be rewarded in heaven.

    Second, if you did not have a sacramental marriage according to Catholic/Orthodox then you can get it annulled, or if you believe that 1 Cor 7 applies to you then you may remarry (as men can be married multiple times).

    What does not help your Christian walk is feeling sorry for yourself and playing the victim. It is a common human temptation though: David did it, Elijah did it, Job did it, Jonah did it, and so on, to varying results. Read their stories to see how they handled it both good and bad.

  54. Brad says:

    Thank you, it is about my cousin…… i have seen other men in my church where this has happened, and just dont see any help for the victims…..would might you do if this was you or your family…..

  55. @ Brad

    I don’t mind if men use this blog to vent or other men to vent about how certain situations are unjust. There are many situations in the world which are unjust. Obviously, most suffering should be taken to Christ.

    However, being treated unjustly should never turn into a pity party nor should it turn into unrighteousness.

  56. Pingback: Another divorce | Christianity and masculinity

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