On divorce Part 5

This post is a rerere-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 and On divorce Part 4. Also related: polygyny. This is one of the original research articles that got me started on analyzing the Scriptures on divorce. Read it if you have time.

The Lysa divorce fiasco thread that keeps on giving is why I took a look at this again.

The biggest thing 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.

This re-re-re-post removes excess verbiage and makes the controversial verse (Matthew 19:9) easier to understand.  To understand it fully, I would suggest re-reading the whole thing as all of the Scripture is tied together or at the very least starting from part 6 to understand the entire background of the Pharisees’ passage.

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. Arguments against divorce for adultery
  18. Conclusion

Let’s get started.


1. 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 later.

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

2. 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. Women caught in marital fraud were simply put away without being legally divorced (put away + writ of divorce) as the couple was not considered legally married.

Distinguishing legal divorce from marital fraud is important because it shows how a woman could be put away (without being legally divorced).

3. 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. By the time the NT rolls around, they were no longer “Jews” but “Samaritans” because they have been divorced by God and intermixed with the surrounding nations. The Samaritans were despised by the Jews because they were no longer part of the God’s chosen people.

It should be noted that the Lord still wants repentance in Jeremiah 3:14, even though He legally divorced Israel.

On the other hand, 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.

4. 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 passage only talks about putting away and not legal divorce under the Law of Moses. 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. Husbands mimicked the surrounding culture because of two reasons:

  1. Selfish 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 is why putting away is termed treacherous by the Lord. This assimilation of the surrounding culture sets the stage for Jesus’ interaction with the Pharisees in the New Testament.

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

The OT was written in Hebrew and the NT was written primarily in Greek.  There are synonymous terms in the Hebrew and Greek.

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.

6. Matthew 19:3 — the Pharisees’ multi layered trap

Line by line analysis, given our solid background:

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?

The 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). It’s likely that the Pharisees who asked this question to Jesus were Hillelites, which is why they threw in the “every cause” phrase in as well to challenge Jesus further.

Your spider senses should be tingling with the tricky wording of “lawful” with “putting away” (without writ of divorce) and “every cause.”

The trap is that the Pharisees are pitting Roman law versus a specific interpretation of Jewish law. In Roman law you could “divorce” your wife by “putting her away” (apoluo) much like the surrounding culture in Malachi 2. 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).

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 accuse Jesus to the Romans and say that He is subverting Roman law (like they eventually did before Pontius Pilate).

This is similar to other traps the Pharisees employed such as it being lawful to pay taxes to God or Caesar (Matt 22, Mark 12) which would pit Jewish law against Roman law.

7. 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 sidesteps the Pharisees’ trap by avoiding talking about Roman and Jewish law. Instead, Jesus 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.

8. 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 are confused. If God did not intended for any divorce then why divorce in the Law of Moses in Deuteronomy 24 (Putting the wife away AND giving her a bill of divorcement)?

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

9. 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 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” (e.g. Deut 24) or treacherous “putting away” (e.g. Malachi 2) because of the hardness of hearts.

10. Matthew 19:9 — The heavily misinterpreted passage of Scripture

Jesus answers the original question that the Pharisees posed: “what lawful instances can a man put away?” You can see the mirror of the verses which confirms this:

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).

We have established that Jesus is answering the Pharisees original question. Next, read the verse without the “exception clause” to understand why it makes sense.

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).

In plain English:

If you put away your wife and marry another you commit adultery and whoever marries her commits adultery.

The meaning is obvious. If you put away your wife without legally divorcing her — give her a writ of divorcement before sending her away — you’re still married to her. If you’re still married to her, both you and her commit adultery if you marry another.

Now to add in back the exception:

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).

What is the only case you can “put away” a “wife” without legal divorce? In the Law of Moses that would be Deuteronomy 22 where the marriage was invalid because of fraud. Since the marriage was invalid because of fraud, you can put her away without giving her a writ of divorce.

Porneia, in this case, refers specifically to invalid marriages because of marital fraud.

There is additional evidence why porneia does not refer to adultery here.

  • First, Jesus specifically says “except it be for fornication (porneia). “Fornication” is any illicit sexual union including incest (1 Cor 5) and adultery. If Jesus was referring specifically to adultery here then “moichao” is a much more accurate term than “porneia.” Moichao is used later in the verse, yet it is not used here. You would have to admit that Jesus doesn’t know to use the term “adultery” if he is permitting divorce.
  • Second, if Jesus was talking specifically about a legitimate divorce for adultery, according to the Law of Moses, He would have said (in reference to Deut 24):

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

Instead, He says in reference to Deut 22:

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

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.

  • Third, this also explains exactly happening in Malachi 2 and Roman times. Husbands were defaulting to the culture and putting away their wives without a writ of divorce contrary to the Law of Moses. The wives could not marry again because they were still married to their original husbands. If they did they were committing adultery.
  • Fourth, Jesus continues to avoid the Pharisees’ trap. Remember, “putting away” in Roman culture is synonymous for divorce. Jesus references the only part of the Law where “putting away” is valid, which would not conflict with Roman divorce laws.
  • Fifth, sacraments/covenants like marriage cannot be formed if there is deception by any party. They require that the full Truth is disclosed. This is similar to contract law and why there are annulments for invalid marriages.
  • Sixth, the nail in the coffin. If Jesus was saying you could divorce for adultery, then He would simply be repeating Deuteronomy 24 verbatim as it says a husband could legitimately divorce for adultery. Given the disciples response in the next section, we know that is not what Jesus is saying.

A preponderance of logical evidence backs the “exception clause” referring directly to the Deuteronomy 22. 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).

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. 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. Interestingly, though we often negatively critique him, Mark Driscoll experienced this. You can see the devastation, which is why God makes an exception for this.

11. 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. The only exception is that you can put away a wife if she fraudulently married by deception.

Additional evidence supports this. As mentioned prior, if Jesus was saying you could divorce for adultery (like in Deut 24), the disciples would not have responded like this.

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) is transformed 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).

The standards of the the New Testament always supersede that of the Old Testament.

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

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

Additional evidence is the case 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 (apoluō autos) privily.

Joseph engagement and 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.

13. 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).

First, there is no “exception clause” in both Mark and Luke. This would conflict with the passages in Matthew passages if it referred to adultery. As we now know, Mark and Luke do not conflict with Matthew because the “exception clause” refers to fraudulent marriages and not divorce for adultery.

Second, the background behind these passages is that Mark and Luke were mainly written to the Gentiles while Matthew was written to the Hebrews. 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.

14. 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. Paul is 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 because a wife cannot divorce her husband.

15. 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.

The Lord is speaking to a Roman/Greek population in the Corinthians 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 to another 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.

16. 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. “If I’m not under bondage anymore because my unbelieving wife or husband left me then I can remarry.” That is the “liberal” interpretation of this passage.

If you examine the wording closely, the passage only says that if they depart then you’re not under the bondage of the marriage anymore. It does not necessarily condone remarriage either. You have to make a leap of faith to do that.

Overall, it’s not specifically clear so there is the possible that you are allowed to remarry if an unbelieving spouse leaves.

17. Arguments against divorce for adultery

We’ve examined all of the evidence for the exception clause of putting away to refer to Deuteronomy 22 and marital fraud. Here is the evidence that the exception clause does not refer to divorce for adultery based on the text.

  • Moichao = act of adultery specifically. Jesus doesn’t use that word in the “exception.”
  • Putting away is not divorce according to the Law of Moses, which both Jesus and the Pharisees knew.
  • Disciples response (“it is better not to marry”) indicates that it does not refer to Deut 24 where you can already divorce for adultery.
  • Why would Jesus repeat and agree to what the Pharisees already stated which is the fact that the Law of Moses states you can divorce for adultery.
  • Precedent of Joseph and Mary where “putting away” is the righteous option for marital fraud (not killing her according to Deut 22).
  • Agreement of Mark and Luke. If Jesus made an exception Matthew, then Mark and Luke would not agree with Matthew and the Bible would contradict itself.

Overall, I can’t think of one piece of evidence in combination with looking at both theOld and New Testament that indicates one can divorce for adultery. The only circumstantial evidence that those who support divorce for adultery keep trying to stand on is that “porneia” can refer to adultery in some instances according to Strong’s. Ironically, it is never used to refer to adultery in the NT, especially when there is a more suitable word which is moichao.

There are also no Christian traditions that support divorce for adultery. The only exception is in the past century or so with the rise of feminism.

18. 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. Under the Law of Moses, a 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 1 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: Divorce, remarriage, and perpetual adultery:

1. 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. 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. A marriage can be affirmed sacramental in which case divorce and remarriage is a sin.

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 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.
  6. 2nd or 3rd marriages that come to Christ can be affirmed as Christian marriages. They would not have to go back to their first spouse and are not in perpetual adultery. Prior marriages are effectively “annulled” as you did not understand Christian marriage.

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.

I am 100% confident that God and Jesus said that there is no divorce at all for Christians according to the Scripture based on in-depth study on all of the relevant passages in Hebrew and Greek in accordance with Christian apostolic tradition. Divorce at your own risk to your eternal soul.

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65 Responses to On divorce Part 5

  1. earl says:

    Divorce at your own risk to your eternal soul.

    But my feelings, my emotions, you can’t judge me/her/them, Jesus loves everybody, you call yourself Christian.

    There got that out of the way before the fembots come in…it’s an excellent post. If God hates divorce, you should too.

  2. SnapperTrx says:

    An interesting article and one that clears up a lot of mess and misunderstanding, though I take issue with some of it, I don’t think I have enough knowledge to make my issues well known, but they are in regards to re-marriage. Perhaps I will give them some additional thought and pose some questions on them later. Beyond that, I think a lot of Christians would be wise to better study their bibles and understand the difference between the two actions: “To put away” and “to divorce”.

    I do like your observation on the disciples, very much, in fact. They are often ridiculed about their lack of understanding, but its funny how quickly they figured THIS one out! And their response is priceless! Essentially it seems they are saying: “You mean even if she’s a psycho I can’t get away from her? It sounds better to just not marry at all!”

    Those guys….

  3. @ Snapper

    An interesting article and one that clears up a lot of mess and misunderstanding, though I take issue with some of it, I don’t think I have enough knowledge to make my issues well known, but they are in regards to re-marriage.

    1. Abandonment is one with the liberal interpretation from 1 Cor 7.
    2. Polygyny is the other (which I only obliquely referred to in this post with the mention up top), in which men can marry again if he is divorced and/or abandoned.

    Both seem dubious to me in the context of the totality of the Scripture and tradition. But it’s up to each man to decide what he should do in faith and good conscience.

    I do like your observation on the disciples, very much, in fact. They are often ridiculed about their lack of understanding, but its funny how quickly they figured THIS one out! And their response is priceless! Essentially it seems they are saying: “You mean even if she’s a psycho I can’t get away from her? It sounds better to just not marry at all!”

    Exactly. The disciples response is a big tell. If Jesus was simply repeating Deut 24 on divorce (which includes adultery as a legitimate reason for divorce), the disciples would NOT have responded like that.

  4. The remarriage issue is pretty straight forward. It’s a bad idea for a Man, but there isn’t a hard “you should not do this”. For Women, there isn’t any leeway, which is exactly why they push the issue so much.

    So the general answer is “don’t”.

    As to the Apostles’ response, Jewish Women have been notably terrible for a very long time. What Jesus was laying out was a leverage point that the Men had over the Women. In an age and society where most marriages were setup between families, you could understand that a Husband & Wife might really not like each other. Using brutal leverage over a Wife was a way to deal with that issue.

    Which is also why they work hard to confuse this topic, as modern Women use Divorce as a cudgel against their Husbands. Which means that’s a Sin and they should fear for their souls.

  5. Swanny River says:

    “You mean if she is a psycho I can’t get rid of her?” That is also an indirect buttressing of the assertion that extra wives aren’t normal, at the least.
    I don’t think Matthew 19:9 would be a hard teaching if one could see said pyscho 3 or 4 times a year while enjoying a second or third wife that is more pleasing.
    AT probably has a good reply to that, but my intention is to only share my impression and not to derail the topic.

  6. SnapperTrx says:

    I also considered the multiple wife aspect of the situation, however having multiple wives does not prevent said psycho wife from causing all kind of trouble, particularly if she is the matron of the family (first wife) in which case Jews were instructed not to lessen the portion of their first wife. She would likely still run the home and have a lions share in the say of what goes on between any additional wives.

  7. earl says:

    They are often ridiculed about their lack of understanding, but its funny how quickly they figured THIS one out! And their response is priceless! Essentially it seems they are saying: “You mean even if she’s a psycho I can’t get away from her? It sounds better to just not marry at all!”

    And MGTOW was born. And I’m sure they were well aware what Proverbs had to say about living with a contentious woman.

    Nothing new under the sun, gentlemen.

  8. Jonadab-the-Rechabite says:

    Using Paul’s explicit teaching that marriage is a type of Christ and the church, it follws then that divorce would then be a type of apostasy. Divorce is a type of covenant breaking that pictures either God is unfaithful or the church has abandoned her Lord. Both pictures are anathema. Is it any wonder why God hates divorce? If Jeptha kept his rash vow, how much more will the church be judged for trampling the picture of God’s covenant, (the marriage covenant) under foot and treating the marriage vow as a light thing?
    Evangelism does begin in the home with the living picture of Christ and the church played out in marriage. Weak marriages equal bad pictures and an ineffectual gospel. Sassy wives picture a rebellious church, friged wives picture a church that does not desire union with Christ, overweight and frumpy pictures a church that does not ready herself, but would rather spend time on self-indulgence, and independent wives picture a church that believes it does not need Christ.

    Yet the church when faced with the plague of feminism in the home and the bitter fruit of divorce says “peace, peace” when there is no peace!

  9. @ Jonadab-the-Rechabite

    Using Paul’s explicit teaching that marriage is a type of Christ and the church, it follws then that divorce would then be a type of apostasy. Divorce is a type of covenant breaking that pictures either God is unfaithful or the church has abandoned her Lord. Both pictures are anathema. Is it any wonder why God hates divorce? If Jeptha kept his rash vow, how much more will the church be judged for trampling the picture of God’s covenant, (the marriage covenant) under foot and treating the marriage vow as a light thing?

    Great point about Ephesians 5 that isn’t in the OP.

  10. Don Quixote says:

    Jonadab-the-Rechabite says:
    November 22, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Weak marriages equal bad pictures and an ineffectual gospel. Sassy wives picture a rebellious church, friged wives picture a church that does not desire union with Christ, overweight and frumpy pictures a church that does not ready herself, but would rather spend time on self-indulgence, and independent wives picture a church that believes it does not need Christ.

    Nailed it!

    A friend of mine remarked a while back; that the churches have developed their method of recycling divorcees into adulterous remarriage, and now after a generation of that we have homosexuality being imposed on a church that has accepted [thinly veiled] adultery.

  11. earl says:

    friged wives picture a church that does not desire union with Christ

    And often when they are single they desire union with just about anything that doesn’t resemble Christ.

  12. shammahworm says:

    “What is the only case you can “put away” a “wife” without legal divorce? In the Law of Moses that would be Deuteronomy 22 where the marriage was invalid because of fraud. Since the marriage was invalid because of fraud, you can put her away without giving her a writ of divorce.”

    You’re still lying and you know it. There is no divorce option in Deut. 22. The Israelites were commanded to put women who falsely represented their virginity to death. Roman occupation in no way absolved them of this command.

    DS: False. 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 (apoluō autos) privily.

    Joseph was in his right to have her made a public example, but instead he was called “just/righteous” for wanting to put her away privately”

    Porneia means all manner of sexual sin and at no point in the scriptures refers to only marital fraud. 1 cor. 5: 1 uses it to describe adultery and numerous other passages use it to describe premarital sex. Matthew 5 and 19 are clear that a man may divorce and remarry in cases of sexual immorality for both marital fraud AND adultery. This means a man may “put away” for all manner of sexual sin.

    DS: Porniea is used to denote different things. 1 Cor 5 denotes incest + adultery. Matthew 5 and Matthew 19 denotes marital fraud. Moichao is used when it is simply adultery.

    For two years, myself and other posters have given you the truth both here and on some other blogs but you continue to lie.

    You make up tenets of the Mosaic Law by claiming Deut. 22 gives an option to “put away” when it commands death(verses 20-21).

    You make up history by claiming the Pharisees were trying to pit Jesus against Roman divorce law when Jews had no obligation to follow Roman laws on divorce in their own country. Jesus was in no danger in this regard because Jews weren’t considered Roman and were allowed to make many of their own civil codes.

    DS: Yes, they did. Several times in fact.

    Matthew 22:17 “Tell us then, what do You think? Is it [d]lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?”
    Matthew 27:11 Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.” 12 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer. 13 Then Pilate *said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” 14 And He did not answer him with regard to even a single [e]charge, so the governor was quite amazed.
    John 8: 4 they *said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?”

    The Jews had some “leeway” in terms of laws, but they were still subject to Roman law.

    You make up “context” by claiming the exact same Greek words mean different things in different gospels when the recipients of said gospels were either Greek speaking Jews or Gentiles with knowledge of the Mosaic law already.

    DS: It’s funny that you say this because as is mentioned earlier, both Mark and Luke have no exception clause.

    If we believed what you are saying, then “majority rule” shows that Mark and Luke say no divorce while Matthew says you can divorce for adultery. No divorce is the majority.

    You make up a new definition of porneia while simultaneously using the correct definition.

    DS: Words exist in context. Surprise. Again, if Jesus was referring to “adultery” He would’ve used that word there.

    On and on you ignore all the falsehood of your posts and re-post the same lies under the auspices of “consolidation” and “simplification.” As long as you do this, I’ll take time away from other parts of my life to remind you of your sin and provide the truth to anyone unfortunate enough to stumble across these “teachings.”

  13. I see our obsessive autist returns. And you’re still not half as careful as you think you’ve been, as we went over the last several times this came up.

    But, we get it. You *need* for there to be some exception, for whatever emotional hangups you have. If your ex-wife walked out on you, you’re free to take another, you just don’t get to be a deacon. Accept your circumstances.

  14. @ LG

    I find it very interesting that there’s always lots of people who go crazy but can’t articulate any good logical argument for their position (not that there is any evidence for it anyway). All of the evidence points away from it.

    This guy in particular really wants there to be divorce for adultery for some reason. Maybe your speculation is right.

    The rise of the divorce for adultery exception clause seems to also parallel the rise of feminism in the Church. Bad scholarship leads to warped interpretations of Scripture. Christian apostolic tradition is no divorce period, and they are the ones who heard Jesus speak the Words in the gospels themselves.

    edit: I added in section #17 on evidence that against divorce for adultery since the post is mainly about detailing why the exception clause is for marital fraud.

  15. shammahworm says:

    Deut. 24, Matthew 5 and Matthew 19 are clear. God does separate in divorces(putting away) for adultery and marital fraud. Both you, DS, and LG are the ones who make up history, make up tenets of the Mosaic law and alter definitions of words with clear meanings throughout the scriptures. When corrected you just restate the lies you’ve already told.

    I focus on this topic so much because the bride of Christ aka the church/body of believers never at any point joins herself as one body to anyone or anything other than Christ Jesus. To say a cuckold must love his wife as Christ loved the church is to tacitly imply it’s possible for the church to join herself as one body to something other than Christ when it’s impossible for this to occur. The cold, hard fact is it ISN’T Christlike for a cuckold to stay with an adulteress because Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords who’s wife’s faithfulness is a prophesied inevitability.

    DS: False.

    2 Corinthians 5:17 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.

    Christ’s ministry is grace, mercy, and reconciliation. 1 Corinthians 7 stipulates if you cannot live with your spouse (ostensibly because of sin) you may separate, but you may not remarry. Stay separated or reconcile.

    Show me in scripture where the body of Christ(every member, not just a few branches) joins itself to anyone or anything other than Jesus, God the Son ie the Lord of Hosts.

    DS: Irrelevant because the sheep will be separated from the goats prior to the marriage of Christ.

    However, several times believers are told to stick with unbelievers if they are married to them such as 1 Corinthians 7 and 1 Peter 3 to win them to Christ. Also, Hosea was told to marry a prostitute.

    @LG

    “I see our obsessive autist returns. And you’re still not half as careful as you think you’ve been, as we went over the last several times this came up.”

    Of course you haven’t shown one error. You and DS didn’t actually go over anything. You just restated the same lies as before. Last time you showed your ignorance of the Mosaic law, this time you show your ignorance of my personal life.

    @DS
    “The rise of the divorce for adultery exception clause seems to also parallel the rise of feminism in the Church.”

    This is an outright lie. Not only is it clear from the teachings of the church fathers(Matthew 5 and 19), but there is plenty of protestant writing on this topic from centuries ago.

    DS: Yep, and Protestants have the greatest track record of divorce compared to Catholic and Orthodox. If trees bear bad fruit they’re cut off.

    The Church apostolic tradition via the Church fathers settled on marriage as a sacrament with no divorce. Separation is viable, but no remarriage and only reconciliation.

  16. I’ve banned shammah for consistently calling me a liar after having been warned in previous posts.

    I’ve also responded to all his “arguments” on his posts.

  17. @DS:

    Without a long discourse on the nature of human rationalization & instinctive understandings of personal optimization, reality is “we want what we want”. We will then rationalize around that aspect.

    It’s very much related to understanding Women compared to Men. When a Woman is really worked up about something, everything is circled back to her emotions. Logic, Reason or Objective Reality be damned, the Woman’s emotions are in control and all are rationalized to that. Men can do the same thing, but it’s almost always more rooted in some outcome they desire. Sometimes it’s just rationalizing away an injury, but it’s all “logic” is applied to ensuring the end result that is desired.

    This is, partially, why the New Testament spends a lot of time dealing with how hard all of this can be. What want certain things to be, and when they are not, people will expend massive amounts of energy to make others approve of their desire. We see this every time with the degradation process inside any group or society. People need others to agree with them, and the more intelligent the person that can’t let go, the more hoops they’ll jump through to make it seem like they’re right.

  18. Daniel says:

    Thank you for your work on this subject. It has really made me think about the difference between “traditional family values” and what the bible actually says.

    The most important thing that you have shown is that Christ clearly does not sanction legal divorce. What exactly did Moses allow because of the hardness of hearts? Remarriage. A “writing of divorcement” gave a separated wife legal permission to marry another husband.

    God finally put away national Israel because of her continual spiritual adultery. But he did not give her a writing of divorcement, he did not give her permission to marry another god.

    You are right that “There is no get-out-of-marriage adultery clause.” But whether or not you want to “stay married,” you are married in the sight of God, for life.

    A man who heads a household has authority, and the power to enforce it. (Biblically, if not legally.) The ultimate discipline (or threat point) is expulsion from his house. I have an 18 year-old son who is living at home and is pretty good. But upholding my authority with real consequences for disobedience is a new challenge with an 18 year-old. I have realized that escalating sanctions would ultimately lead to permanent expulsion from the house as a final step.

    A man has the ability to expel his wife from his house permanently. (Biblically, not legally.) Jesus warns that this is not to be done because you don’t like her anymore.

    Malachi 2:14 …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.

    To expel your wife is to cause her to commit adultery. In what way? A woman needs provision and desires a man’s love, and so she will remarry. In doing so she becomes an adulteress. So to kick her out is to tempt her to remarry.

    It seems from the writings of Paul that if believers are separated for a time, they should be reconciled. If a believing wife is extremely rebellious, it may be necessary to give her an ultimatum: obey me or get out. If she leaves, then it should be made clear that you are calling her to repentance and reconciliation.

    In Matthew 19 Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees and refers to fornication [porneia] committed by a wife [gynaika] living in a consummated marriage. It is a mistake to interpret fornication as referring only to what a woman does before marriage.

    Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder … Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication…

    God does not recognize legal divorce, and a woman is not free to marry another as long as her husband is alive. So how is it that a man may put away his cheating wife and not cause her to commit adultery? Because she has already made herself an adulteress.

    If a wife engages in sexual immorality and her husband puts her away permanently, she is still not free to be married to another. She is still married to her first husband. He has simply expelled her from his house for her sin.

    Should a man take his wife back after she has been joined to another man? No.

    Deuteronomy 24:4 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.

    Jeremiah 3:1 They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD.

    It is God’s prerogative to forgive Israel and take her back after her sins. But he denies that right to us, and says that this practice greatly pollutes the land. This is abominable heathen immorality for which they came under judgement.

    One of the basic mistakes made by most interpreters is to assume that the rules are perfectly symmetrical for men and women. Not so. Paul makes it clear in I Corinthians 7 that the rules are different for men and women.

    Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband:”

    “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.”

    “Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned”

    Note that a man “bound” to a wife can become “loosed.”
    Note that a woman “bound” to a man can not be “loosed” as long as he lives.
    He is loosed, she is not.

    A man can be loosed from his wife and marry again. This is clear permission and not “liberal interpretation.”

  19. anonymous_ng says:

    Three things come to my mind every time this topic arises.

    Am I looking for an escape clause? Obviously. That third part is a little bit personal.

    1) Why do we focus on sexual sin so much more than any other? No one is spending their days talking about how speeding is sinful as it’s not obeying the laws of the land, or gossip, or gluttony.

    2) What constitutes a marriage? Does any of this have applicability to unbelievers? What if two unbelievers are married down at the courthouse, or on the beach, and subsequently, one or both of them become Christians, is their secular marriage valid? If not, are they just perpetually living in sin?

    3) What’s a man supposed to do?

    Do you burn with passion? Yes?
    Are you able to manage it without sin? Yes
    Dedicate your life to Christ, and be celibate.
    Are you able to manage without sin? No
    Get yourself a wife.

    Is your wife a cheating whore who separated herself from you and will not be reconciled? Yes?
    Grant her a divorce and send her packing.
    Do you burn with passion? Yes?
    Can you manage it without sin? Yes?
    How are you magically able to manage it now when you couldn’t before, but if so, dedicate your life to Christ and be celibate?
    Can you manage it without sin? No?
    Too damned bad. There is no solution for you except continuing sin because of which you’re probably going to burn in hell.

    Again, I’m not saying that your analysis is wrong, only that it doesn’t answer these other questions.

  20. @ anonymous_ng

    1) Why do we focus on sexual sin so much more than any other? No one is spending their days talking about how speeding is sinful as it’s not obeying the laws of the land, or gossip, or gluttony.

    Probably because the consequences of divorce are much more obvious.

    2) What constitutes a marriage? Does any of this have applicability to unbelievers? What if two unbelievers are married down at the courthouse, or on the beach, and subsequently, one or both of them become Christians, is their secular marriage valid? If not, are they just perpetually living in sin?

    This is precisely why I think Catholic & Orthodox have better systems to deal with marriage. It would be worth considering studying those if you haven’t already.

    Is your wife a cheating whore who separated herself from you and will not be reconciled? Yes?
    Grant her a divorce and send her packing.
    Do you burn with passion? Yes?
    Can you manage it without sin? Yes?
    How are you magically able to manage it now when you couldn’t before, but if so, dedicate your life to Christ and be celibate?
    Can you manage it without sin? No?
    Too damned bad. There is no solution for you except continuing sin because of which you’re probably going to burn in hell.

    Speaking to Catholic and Orthodox,

    Orthodox I believe is more lenient in terms of divorce and remarriage (via annulment or abandonment or extraneous issues such as domestic violence) especially considering the latter aspects of the points you brought up.

    Catholic is more strict in terms of annulments and marriage forever (if it’s been confirmed as sacramental).

    That’s why Christian apostolic tradition is the way it is for those… it seeks to answer these other dilemmas that come up that are not addressed in the Scripture itself.

  21. anonymous_ng says:

    @DS, I really like what you write, your blog is one of a handful I check regularly for new content.

    Just to be clear, I’m not intending to take you to task for not addressing other issues. My whining is a more generalized one as I’m trying to figure out how to reconcile what seems a straightforward analysis of the scriptural reckoning with tradition, the weakness of the flesh, and in my case, Orthodox theology and practice.

    I really need to sit down with my priest for a chat. I was a non-practicing evangelical when I got married in the Catholic church. Certainly we could probably get an annulment on grounds there as I never intended to raise any children in the Catholic church and only mouthed the words for her sake, and she was a non-practicing Catholic and never intended to do so either.

    I was divorced before I became Orthodox, so it gets all kinds of weird.

  22. @ Daniel

    In Matthew 19 Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees and refers to fornication [porneia] committed by a wife [gynaika] living in a consummated marriage. It is a mistake to interpret fornication as referring only to what a woman does before marriage.

    Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder … Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication…

    God does not recognize legal divorce, and a woman is not free to marry another as long as her husband is alive. So how is it that a man may put away his cheating wife and not cause her to commit adultery? Because she has already made herself an adulteress.

    The mistake here is that there is no “exception clause” provided in Mark 10 or Luke 16 which simply say any type of putting away (divorce or otherwise) is not permitted. Similarly, 1 Cor 7 where Paul speaks from the Lord that the options are to “separate or reconcile.”

    Consider also the contents of Mark 10:

    Mark 10:10 In the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again. 11 And He *said to them, “Whoever [e]puts away his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; 12 and if she herself [f]puts away her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.”

    The reason why Jesus said this in the house *without the exception clause* is that if He had said this publicly the Pharisees would’ve taken Him to task for ignoring Deut 22.

    Should a man take his wife back after she has been joined to another man? No.

    Deuteronomy 24:4 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.

    Adultery is not equivalent to being married to one man, divorcing him, and marrying and divorcing the second man, and then the first man taking her her back.

    One of the basic mistakes made by most interpreters is to assume that the rules are perfectly symmetrical for men and women. Not so. Paul makes it clear in I Corinthians 7 that the rules are different for men and women.

    A man can be loosed from his wife and marry again. This is clear permission and not “liberal interpretation.”

    I suppose “liberal interpretation” is poor wording. There’s a lot that can be said about this but let’s just go simple:

    The Scripture is clear that one man and one woman is the ideal. Polygyny (which remarriage for a man is after having been married) is neither condemned or lauded in the overall context of the Scripture. However, those who do have/had ‘more than one wife’ are excluded from authoritative positions in the Church (e.g. 1 Tim 3).

    As I said in the comments, each man must decide how what he should do in good conscience. It’s clearly not ideal to remarry again, even if you have permission.

  23. @ anonymous_ng

    I didn’t think you were.

    Based on my study of Orthodox practice (and I’m no expert), Orthodox views on divorce and remarriage are more liberal than Catholic but are probably are not heretical like most Protestant views. The fruit of Protestant divorce is just disgusting and looks virtually similar to the culture.

    Orthodox permission of second or third marriages for human weakness and the fact that they are more penitent rather than celebratory is interesting. It’s something worth discussing with a priest for sure.

    Based on what you wrote though, I don’t think you would have any problem getting remarried if you wanted. “Going through the motions” and “saying what the other person wanted to hear” can’t be the basis for any type of sacramental marriage. Such a marriage would be invalidated by the state/government too by a judge (if there was a prenup for example) for breach of faith.

    edit: As for me, if my wife ever divorced me I’d stay single and serve the Lord.

  24. Don Quixote says:

    anonymous_ng says:
    November 27, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Three things come to my mind every time this topic arises.

    Am I looking for an escape clause? Obviously. That third part is a little bit personal.

    1) Why do we focus on sexual sin so much more than any other? No one is spending their days talking about how speeding is sinful as it’s not obeying the laws of the land, or gossip, or gluttony.

    A couple of reasons come to mind.
    1] Jesus used the example of sexual sin as an escape clause, and so often the discussion focuses on that. There’s a lot of disagreement about it, but that only exacerbates the discussion.
    2] Not all sins are the same, Jesus used ‘gnats and camel’ to represent big sins and little sins respectively. Speeding is more like a gnat, but gossip and gluttony is somewheres in between.

    2) What constitutes a marriage? Does any of this have applicability to unbelievers? What if two unbelievers are married down at the courthouse, or on the beach, and subsequently, one or both of them become Christians, is their secular marriage valid? If not, are they just perpetually living in sin?

    The Bible says it’s not a sin to marry [1Cor.7:28]. Therefore if 2 [eligible] sinners get married they have sinned by getting married. In regard to the first part of your question the Bible shows marriage is defined by the 3 factors present in the Genesis model [Adam and Eve].
    1] Intent or consent
    2] Parental approval
    3] Consummation
    This also has been much debated. The New Testament shows Joseph and Mary were married by covenant. And calls them husband and wife before the marriage was consummated.

    3) What’s a man supposed to do?

    Do you burn with passion? Yes?
    Are you able to manage it without sin? Yes
    Dedicate your life to Christ, and be celibate.
    Are you able to manage without sin? No
    Get yourself a wife.

    Is your wife a cheating whore who separated herself from you and will not be reconciled? Yes?
    Grant her a divorce and send her packing.
    Do you burn with passion? Yes?
    Can you manage it without sin? Yes?
    How are you magically able to manage it now when you couldn’t before, but if so, dedicate your life to Christ and be celibate?
    Can you manage it without sin? No?
    Too damned bad. There is no solution for you except continuing sin because of which you’re probably going to burn in hell.

    Again, I’m not saying that your analysis is wrong, only that it doesn’t answer these other questions.

    Ok, your 3rd question is the toughest.
    If you can manage without a wife I would recommend that. It is the path I have chosen, but it can be difficult, especially when temptation arises.
    I have a site you might find interesting, click on my name.

  25. Daniel says:

    Thanks for the interaction DS.

    My first point was that in Matthew 19 we see that Jesus DOES use the word “porneia” to mean adultery.

    The penalty for adultery was death, and the law gave no provision for forgiving her. But even if she legally divorced, remarried, and slept with her second husband, she was DEFILED. How much MORE is she defiled if she commits adultery? She cannot be taken back. It is an abomination to Jehovah.

    You’re right that a man’s divorce and second marriage means that he has two living wives. Not ideal at all, and not qualified to live as an example and leader of the church.

  26. @ Daniel

    My first point was that in Matthew 19 we see that Jesus DOES use the word “porneia” to mean adultery.

    No, He does not.

    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).

    Jesus uses moichao to denote adultery. He uses porneia to denote fornication (e.g. pre-marital sex), which in this case refers to Deut 22 and marital fraud.

    Second, if Jesus was talking specifically about a legitimate divorce for adultery, according to the Law of Moses, He would have said (in reference to Deut 24):

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

    Instead, He says in reference to Deut 22:

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

    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 was noted in the OP.

    The penalty for adultery was death, and the law gave no provision for forgiving her. But even if she legally divorced, remarried, and slept with her second husband, she was DEFILED. How much MORE is she defiled if she commits adultery? She cannot be taken back. It is an abomination to Jehovah.

    Again, no, not in the New Covenant nor the Old.

    Just as 1 Cor 7 recommends separation or reconciliation only, so does the Lord in the OT.

    The Lord divorces (put away + writ) Israel in Jeremiah 3, but in the same chapter invites her to return after repentance.

    Jeremiah 3:6 Then the Lord said to me in the days of Josiah the king, “Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there. 7 I [g]thought, ‘After she has done all these things she will return to Me’; but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also. 9 Because of the lightness of her harlotry, she polluted the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. 10 Yet in spite of all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but rather in deception,” declares the Lord.

    God Invites Repentance

    11 And the Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel has proved herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north and say,

    ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord; ‘I will not [h]look upon you in anger. For I am gracious,’ declares the Lord; ‘I will not be angry forever. 13 ‘Only [i]acknowledge your iniquity,
    That you have transgressed against the Lord your God And have scattered your [j]favors to the strangers under every green tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,’ declares the Lord.
    14 ‘Return, O faithless sons,’ declares the Lord; ‘For I am a master to you,
    And I will take you one from a city and two from a family, And I will bring you to Zion.’

  27. Don Quixote says:

    Opps! A made a big typo:

    The Bible says it’s not a sin to marry [1Cor.7:28]. Therefore if 2 [eligible] sinners get married they have sinned by getting married.

    That should read:
    “The Bible says it’s not a sin to marry [1Cor.7:28]. Therefore if 2 [eligible] sinners get married they have not sinned by getting married.”

  28. Jonadab-the-Rechabite says:

    However, those who do have/had ‘more than one wife’ are excluded from authoritative positions in the Church (e.g. 1 Tim 3).

    The Greek in 1 Tim 3 is ambivalent between “one wife” and “first wife”. Context must be used to guide the translator. If one has a predisposition toward monogamy then they will likely translated it as one wife. This is the historical position and bias. However, if one sees greater continuity between the testaments in God’s design for the household, then “first wife” not only fits the Greek, but harmonises much better with the Decalogue and the narrative of the OT.

    The doctrine of polygyny forbids a man divorce his first wife to obtain a second, He cannot diminish his provision or the status of her children. It would only be fitting that an office of the church be a man who keeps his covenant.

    The bias for monogamy is scripturally weak and based more on tradition and sloganeering than on exegesis. In my current opinion, polygyny is viable for elders and deacons. We already accept single men, the evangelical church accepts divorced men (IMO that is what is forbidden) why exclude a faithful provider and leader who is able to manage a house he with multiple women. Seems like such a man is eminently qualified, perhaps more so.

  29. SirHamster says:

    >> We already accept single men, the evangelical church accepts divorced men (IMO that is what is forbidden) why exclude a faithful provider and leader who is able to manage a house he with multiple women. Seems like such a man is eminently qualified, perhaps more so.

    Because he is greedy for women and multiplies wives. In that position, he will tempt the church to follow his example. “Deacon Joe has 5 wives! Why can’t I have 2?”

    If the husband of one wife is distracted from the Lord’s affairs so as to also please his wife, how much more so the husband of 2, or 3, or 4 wives?

    The failures of the evangelical church where it accepts divorced men does not excuse accepting the polygamous ones. The ability to get women to follow you does not make you more qualified to lead the church.

  30. @Jonadab-the-Rechabite:

    http://biblehub.com/text/1_timothy/3-12.htm

    Is “μιᾶς” ambiguous in this situation? Or is this one of the text people have questions about?

    Even if it was first, it doesn’t matter. Polygamy causes no end to troubles and there is a reason why we ban it. As I like to reference, shooting yourself in the foot isn’t a Sin, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea in nearly all cases.

    Chunks of the Bible do end up vague, and it’s not like most of the New Testament has multi-layered meaning throughout, so trying to shoehorn in an explicit demarcation is a failure of Christians and the Church. The proper answer, when given something with some room to be applicable across all cultures is: “don’t”. But people want “God’s Stamp of Approval” on what they want, which is what drives the issue.

  31. Jonadab-the-Rechabite says:

    @ looking glass, sir hamster

    I don’t think you intended to ironic, but you have demonstrated how presuppositional bias occludes Biblical ethics and hermeneutics. By assuming the position of monogamy you interpret both special and general revelation through that lense. Rather than deal with rigorous scriptural rules of interpretation, it seems that you have worked from your conclusions based on tradition and pre-commitments.

    A couple of points to ponder according to my biased reading of the Old Testament harmonized with the New. The kinsman redeemed laws allowed for polygyny not as some make sexual fantasy, but as a welfare system that kept protection and provision in the family and away from government largesse. It is a superior system to the current welfare state.

    Two, polygyny facilitated the protection, provision and continued offspring for women who did not have appeal as first wives. Perhaps because they were not attractive, had a childhood mishap or came from a family of low social status, but these women could be cared for rather than thrown into the marketplace to compete against men. They did not have to become pseudo-males to survive.

    Three, historically women have outnumbered men. Work deaths, wars and an earlier morbidity rate have contributed to a surplus of women. Polygyny as a system cares for these women and their children within the jurisdiction of the family. Monogamy cast these women out to be the wards of the church or as in the case of the gynocentric West, the state. Polygyny supports a hierarchy of authority and a buttress against feminist rule in the home.

    I submit to you that polygyny is part of God’s design for the fallen world and superior to monogamy and statism.

  32. Jonadab-the-Rechabite says:

    I meant superior to monogamy only and it’s statistic solution. Polygyny is not a male privilege, but like the adoption of children a burden for the sake of widows, the fatherless and the less attractive. Polygyny is kindness and compassion in a patriarchal system. It sure beats the gynocentric statism and hypergamy-divorce system that rules the west.

  33. SirHamster says:

    > By assuming the position of monogamy you interpret both special and general revelation through that lense.

    You misread me. My objections have nothing to do with assuming monogamy in the interpretation of the Scripture. I assumed the practice of polygamy and considered the effects it has on the church.

    Objection 1 is that if the leaders practice polygamy, it will encourage the church at large to adopt the same practices. Do you object to this deduction? If not, does the church need to develop a reputation of polygamy? Is polygamy something our society needs through the church? Fathers with conflicted affections between the sons of different wives? (Something the OT took care to regulate; the first born must be given his due even if his mother was not the favorite)

    Objection 2 is concerned with the Lord’s work. Does not each additional wife extract an additional requirement for attention and care for her needs and happiness from her husband? Is Deacon Joe with 5 wives really in a superior position to manage the needs of the church, as opposed to Deacon Sam with 1 wife only?

  34. Jonadab-the-Rechabite says:

    Perhaps deacons and elders should not ever adopt children so as not to create rivalry with their natural children. In fact they should probably not have more than one child to avoid sibling contention. Besides if an elder has more than one child he will have less time to spend on ministry. Members of the congregation might think, “hey if an elder has more than one child why can’t I?”

    “These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”

  35. SirHamster says:

    @Jonadab-the-Rechabite

    Is that your strongest response to my 2 objections? A tangent to adopted children creating rivalry?

    Are there no Pros to the polygamous husband that you will highlight to outweigh the apparent Cons of such a man?

    > “These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”

    Having 1 wife instead of a dozen is hardly asceticism.

  36. Joshua Anyaoha says:

    @ Deep Strength
    What if in the New Testament under grace I remarried someone but pastly divorce the previous spouse of her concealed fornication what do I do in this situation. God bless.

  37. @ Joshua Anyaoha

    The only thing I will recommend is in 1 Corinthians 7:

    Separate and stay separated or reconcile.

    If these choices are insufficient, I would suggest studying the Scriptures deeper with praying and fasting to God about it in truth and good conscience.

  38. Joshua Anyaoha says:

    What if in the New Testament under grace I remarried someone that was unfaithful to me during their 1 and half year engagement period and was in continuous acts of fornication and aborted babies and never loved me and was initially with another man and wanted to marry the man but the Parents of the lady were forcing her to marry me and I knew this after wedding like days or month after what do I do in this hurtful situation. God bless.

  39. @ Joshua Anyaoha

    This is what God says:

    1 Corinthians 7:10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

    If you think you’ve been wronged, then separate.

    You can’t force someone to marry someone. Why would you agree to that?

  40. Pingback: On divorce Part 6 | Christianity and masculinity

  41. Joshua Anyaoha says:

    @ Deep Strength

    27 Do you have a wife? Don’t seek a divorce. Are you divorced from your wife? Don’t look for another one. 28 But if you do get married, you have not sinned. If a virgin gets married, she has not sinned. However, these people will have trouble, and I would like to spare them from that. 1Cor 7:27-28

    Of you read closely verse 28 it allows remarriage in other words Paul said for those divorce and want another spouse no problem you have not sin. Is this right what Paul said?

    Also Paul said in verse 15 that a Christian is no longer under the bound to keep his marriage vow so as a Christian I break my marriage vow if she wants to depart spiritually or physically right?

  42. Joshua Anyaoha says:

    But if the unbelieving partners leave, let them go. Under these circumstances a Christian man or Christian woman is not bound by a marriage vow. God has called you to live in peace. 1Cor 7:15

    I can also remarry because it says I’m not just no longer under bound to marriage vows but can remarry right in the Lord

  43. Joshua Anyaoha says:

    @ Deep Strength

    As you said qouted “First, there is no “exception clause” in both Mark and Luke. This would conflict with the passages in Matthew passages if it referred to adultery. As we now know, Mark and Luke do not conflict with Matthew because the “exception clause” refers to fraudulent marriages and not divorce for adultery.
    Second, the background behind these passages is that Mark and Luke were mainly written to the Gentiles while Matthew was written to the Hebrews. 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.”

    But can we use this exception to apply to a person that hides their sexual sins i.e. Gender change, STDS, Aids, homosexuality, Ebola or is demonism. Can a person safely walk out of such marriage and count it fraudulent marriage.

  44. Joshua Anyaoha says:

    @ Deep Strength
    “Under the Law of Moses, a marriage is illegitimate if your wife committed sexual fraud prior to marriage, but under Jesus this is not a valid excuse for divorce. – Deut 22, Matthew 5, 19; Mark 10; Luke 16.”

    Ok I understand now don’t be offended you made it clear under the law of Moses your marriage is illegitimate if your wife commits sexual fraud that I fully agree 100%. Now we are under Jesus can we still apply fraud marriage for a man or woman that hides the fact that they have STDS, Aids, Homosexuality, into demonism, etc can any Christian in this time living under Jesus say fraud and can annul the marriage without sinning like I can marry again? And these mates that hide their sin or personality knows that if revealed it will cause the other not to marry them. Looking forward…

  45. Joshua Anyaoha says:

    @ Deep Strength

    What if they were three standing on the altar which will make the marriage polygamy to get marry is God still going to join them together in holy matrimony. These three are a woman with a child in her womb and the man at the other side coming together before God saying I do for better and for worse til death do us part. Can the innocent man who discover this after wedding and was deceived marry again not knowing his prospective spouse deceived him on the altar with unwanted pregnancy? Is he still free to remarry he claims his first marriage was polygamy and God doesn’t join such marriage? But based on in depth studies of divorce and remarriage whats your say on this matter. God bless.

  46. @ Joshua Anyaoha

    Catholic annulments solve your questions.

  47. Joshua Anyaoha says:

    @ Deep Strength

    “When God binds a marriage, it is bound for life, unless one or both marriage partners engage in biblically defined inappropriate behavior. Could be wrong

    In this context, how are we to understand and apply Deuteronomy 24:1-4, which reads:
    Marriage between a truly converted Christian and an “unbeliever”
    What about a situation when the mate becomes or is an “unbeliever”?
    “Even in such a case, divorce and subsequent remarriage is not Biblically permitted, unless the ‘unbelieving mate’ departs from the marriage, by not fulfilling his or her marriage duties, and the ‘unbeliever’ is no longer willing to live with the converted mate (cp. 1 Corinthians 7:12-16). Such total departure from the marriage by the ‘unbeliever’ can be seen in serious continuous violations of his or her marriage duties and responsibilities, such as the sinful practice of ‘sexual immorality’ (Matthew 5:31-32; 19:9). But even then, counseling with one of God’s ministers is highly recommended, with the goal to restore, rather than to sever, the marriage.”

    Can we safely apply this principle of Deuteronomy 24:1-4, if husband and wife divorced because the wife is or became an unbeliever and departed from the marriage (which might be indicated, in principle, by the fact that the husband found “some uncleanness in her”), then the husband is free to remarry. (The same would apply, of course, to a wife; that is, the wife would be free to remarry if the husband is an unbeliever and departs from the marriage.)
    It needs to be emphasized that this would only be the case, however, if the unbelieving mate is no longer pleased to dwell with the believer and departs from the marriage relationship. Even if the unbeliever does not physically depart, but shows by his conduct that he has departed “spiritually” from the marriage relationship, the believer would be free to divorce and subsequently to remarry another believer.

    As long as the unbeliever is truly pleased to dwell with the believer, the believer cannot sever the marriage. (The only exception would be “fraud at the time of the marriage,” fraud being when one partner conceals essential facts about him- or herself from his or her future mate. Those facts could include a sexually transmittable disease, impotency, homosexuality or operative gender change, etc. In such a case, God would not bind a marriage to begin with, and the deceived mate, upon discovery of the fraud, would be free to leave such a relationship. Such departure, though, has to occur immediately upon discovery of the fraud).

    Further, the converted mate would only be free to remarry “in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39)—to a “believer” (compare Ezra 10:10-11—that is, to someone who has truly repented of his or her sins of transgressing God’s Ten Commandments; who has believed in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ as payment for his or her sins; and who has become properly baptized as an outward sign of inner repentance). Unless the divorced wife, whose subsequent marriage has also ended, comes to or returns to the faith as a true believer, the first husband could not remarry her.”

    But what do you think Deep Strength can what have been said effectively apply? What’s your response in the light of the scripture when it comes to a converted Christian marrying a unconverted Christian a unbeliever? Can too Duet 24:1-4 effectively apply today to a converted spouse between unconverted spouse? Can the exception given on top for fraud still be annulment a dismissal of marriage due to fraud? And is it possibly true in such case God binds such marriage after the prospective mate was deceived upon told the fraud? God bless you…

  48. @ Joshua

    You keep asking this, and I keep answering the same.

    1 Cor 7:10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

    Separation or reconciliation. That’s it.

    No, Deut 24 does not apply (“any cause”). Jesus specifically spoke against that.

    1 Cor 7:15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

    You’re not BOUND under the roles and responsibilities of marriage (e.g. if they leave you’re not responsible for having sex with them or providing for them). The Covenant still exists.

    Separation and reconciliation PER THE LORD (in the earlier verse) still applies.

  49. Joshua Anyaoha says:

    Does God join Polygamy Marriage?

    @ Deep Strength
    I have a critical question to ask let’s assume you come into a wedding of a faithful brother whom you know with an unfaithful wife and unknown to the prospective husband the wife was found with child inside her womb the day they go up to the altar to wed before God and people til death do them part. After the wedding the newly weds celebrate, but days later the lady feeling guilty decided to tell the man I’ve wrong you by commiting fornication and I was with child on my wedding day with you making the commitment and vows. The man angrily shouted you decieved me! He believes God did not bind his marriage. He said they were three standing on the altar. Him and the woman he wanted to marry and with a child inside. Does still 1 Cor 7 applies here though he calls it Polygamous marriage because of the child in his case? Is it possible that his marriage never existed and still the 2 options stand he can reconcile or stay single. Thanks alot for your help in this matter? God bless

  50. @ Joshua Anyaoha

    1. So this husband is blind to the fact that his wife has a serious character flaw in which she’s already cheating on him before they’re married. Doubtful.

    2. This is not a polygamous marriage. She did not marry the other man.

    3. Catholic annulments.

  51. Joshua Anyaoha says:

    Polygamous marriage

    1. So this husband is blind to the fact that his wife has a serious character flaw in which she’s already cheating on him before they’re married. Doubtful.
    2. This is not a polygamous marriage. She did not marry the other man.
    3. Catholic annulments.

    Ok thanks for your reply now I can tell the man to forgive this lady and also tell him that God indeed bind your marriage with her though he said its polygamous marriage with the baby inside her womb making it three on the altar not two twain to be one flesh. I know he’s upset by this. What’s your final words on the matter like is he still married to her though what he said on his wedding happen and he cannot divorce her because God indeed bind his marriage

  52. Joshua Anyaoha says:

    Ok thanks for your reply now I can tell the man to forgive this lady and also tell him that God indeed bind your marriage with her though he said its polygamous marriage with the baby inside her womb making it three on the altar not two twain to be one flesh. I know he’s upset by this. What’s your final words on the matter like is he still married to her though what he said on his wedding happen and he cannot divorce her because God indeed bind his marriage

  53. @ Joshua

    Ok thanks for your reply now I can tell the man to forgive this lady and also tell him that God indeed bind your marriage with her though he said its polygamous marriage with the baby inside her womb making it three on the altar not two twain to be one flesh. I know he’s upset by this. What’s your final words on the matter like is he still married to her though what he said on his wedding happen and he cannot divorce her because God indeed bind his marriage

    I’m not pronouncing anything. If you’re a Protestant, you should go study the Scriptures for yourself.

    If you think the betrothal interpretation is valid (which means the clause is referring to Deut 22), then your friend can put the ‘wife’ away because she fornicated prior to marriage.

    This article weighs both interpretations (betrothal interpretation vs no divorce period), although it sides with the no divorce period. The betrothal interpretation does have some evidence supporting it though (e.g. Joseph and Mary and possibly the Christ-Church engagement period).

    https://lmf12.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/divorce_aug_2014.pdf

    This is my final comment on this topic as you keep going back to other posts to drudge up points that are outdated.

    Blessings in your self Scripture study.

  54. Joshua Anyaoha says:

    1) Thanks a lot Deep Strength as it is pretty clear with the in-depth and hard work research bible studies you’ve put from part 1-6 no need to fight the holy word of God constantly once married there is no divorce with God not even for fornication or adultery. Well I must reconcile with her though it hurts.

    2) I will have to tell this man also that claims my wife is with child on her wedding day which makes the wedding polygamy. I will tell him still God join your marriage that you did not marry the innocent child but the woman if correct of what you meant.

    3) 2 options you’ve proven always based on 1 Cor 7 Christians can stay single or reconcile.

    4) For better or for worse til death do two of them part that’s the covenant two agreed and sign on as it is pretty clear with scriptures. I feel at peace obeying His word. Final input. Thanks for your continous patient again thanks alot from my heart…

  55. Jack Sotosea says:

    Hello, at Deep Strength concerning to the comment of a gentleman is it true that a man under grace can divorce or walk off the marriage if his wife-to-be carried unwanted seed or pregnancy to wed the man on the altar and after the joining of the church if he doesn’t found out before the marriage he can’t divorce her all the days of his life?

  56. Jack Sotosea says:

    Is the man still legally married to his wife if he discovers after the marriage she was pregnant for another man on their wedding day and wants a divorce, And will it apply even if she was aware or not aware she was pregnant before the wedding day?

  57. Read pages 73-80 which goes overall of the interpretations.

    https://lmf12.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/divorce_aug_2014.pdf

  58. Jack Sotosea says:

    Thanks Deep Strength I understood there is no divorce after a consummated marriage they already one flesh it does not matter if he or she cheated you or was with child on their wedding day if you’ve been single or reconcile that’s it. I’m I correct. Thanks for the article.

  59. Joshua Anyaoha says:

    @Deep Strength

    Ok, I understand Sir when you said this is’nt polygamy marriage, so when a lady is pregnant for another man on her wedding day never told her husband before the wedding she did not marry him you meant? This you weren’t clear on.

    And if the case be of the man that he was defrauded he choose to be single or forgive his wife and continue with the marriage?

  60. Joshua Anyaoha says:

    Is it true Deep Strength that Joseph could not divorce Mary after he supposedly consummated his marriage to Mary after he for example assuming it wasn’t Jesus that Mary was pregnant with but was a man seed?

  61. Joshua Anyaoha says:

    Can you please answer my last and guaranteed question on this issue.

    assuming that a man married a woman but unknown to the man the lady was pregnant on her wedding day what can the man do in this situation living under grace afterwards? Thanks alot.

  62. I already answered that multiple times.

    1. Catholic annulments.

    2. Separate or reconcile.

    3. Betrothal view, if you think the evidence is strong enough.

    Here’s a summary:

    https://www.wisereaction.org/ebooks/betrothal_jonesd.pdf

  63. Joshua Anyaoha says:

    In this case I will have to stop hardening my heart and start now to plan reconcilation. I feel God telling me to through you to stop listen to this man. I’ve left my wife for 2 years. No more hardening my heart its time to let what happen in the past go though its so painful but under grace as Christ forgave us we must forgive others. I’ve called her and planning to move back with her and take care of the innocent son whom I’m not the owner of. It feels good to forgive. I feel at peace and she too is relieved and happy. Thanks for the in-depth studies you’ve posted.

  64. That’s good to hear. May God bless you as you follow His Word.

  65. Pingback: Divorce Part 7 Final | Christianity and masculinity

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