## On divorce Part 6

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 and On divorce Part 5. Also related: polygyny and the Lysa divorce fiasco (which they are currently reconciling which is good). This is one of the original research articles that got me started on analyzing the Scriptures on divorce.

New evidence

The reason for this this post is that new evidence by Leslie McFall has come to light that the majority of English translations are corrupted.

It is a fact of history that the only widely available printed Greek New Testament available to the Reformers were Erasmus’s five editions of the Greek New Testament (continuously modified very slightly by subsequent editors).4 Erasmus flooded the European market with his five cheaper editions, all of which had his faulty, variant reading at Matthew 19:9. The fault was that he added an extra Greek word in Matthew 19:9 which completely altered Jesus’ teaching on divorce.

The original Greek text read: “not over fornication [which was punished by death],” so that Jesus condemned every known excuse to divorce a marriage that the rabbis could think of, besides fornication, because that particular sin had a death penalty punishment attached to it (Deut 22:22; Lev 20:10). The rabbis could not give ‘fornication’ as a grounds for divorce, because, they and Jesus, knew that God had decreed the death penalty for adultery and other sexual misdemeanours.

Erasmus, a dutch humanist and also RCC priest (don’t know how that works?), didn’t like Jesus’ teaching on no divorce which was also the RCC doctrine and still is. Unfortunately, he was one of the scribes for translating the NT. The Reformers used his faulty edition when compiling their theology, and didn’t back check it according to other manuscripts.

Erasmus turned Jesus’ teaching on its head, because his new Greek text read: “except for fornication.” This alteration had Jesus agreeing with Hillel and Shammai that fornication was a legitimate grounds for divorce in His Church. This was a humanist response to a social evil in Erasmus’s day. In his opinion, the death penalty was too harsh a punishment to inflict on the poorer classes, and since he believed that God sanctioned divorce as a divine institution in Deuteronomy 24:1-4, he assumed that a compassionate Jesus would allow divorce in the case of fornication, adultery, physical abuse, and intolerable desertion.

Sadly, many Christians today prefer to follow the common-sense opinion of Erasmus and believe that a compassionate Jesus would allow divorce in the case of fornication, adultery, cruelty, and desertion. These Christians will latch on to any text or pretext that will support their private instinct of what is ‘sensible’ and appropriate in the eyes of the man of the world.

What is the evidence against Erasmus?

There is a very late Greek manuscript, Codex Leicestrensis (a Caesarean text-type manuscript, belonging to Family 13 [f13]), dated to the 15th century, which has in its margin a correction to its own faulty main text at Matthew 19:9. The faulty main text consisted of the exemption clause in Matthew 5:32 being imported into Matthew 19:9 where it replaced the so-called exception clause in that verse. However, in trying to restore the original clause of Matthew 19:9 in the margin, a later owner or collator of the Codex added the small Greek word ei (ei0, ‘if’) before the negative mh (mh\, ‘not’) to change the text to read ‘except’ (in Greek ei before mh becomes ‘if not,’ or‘except’). It has been generally assumed that Erasmus consulted this Codex during his stay in Cambridge, England, between 1511 and 1514. The question is, Did Erasmus see this marginal reading and incorporate it into his first edition, or, did someone else use Erasmus’s printed text (or alater edition of it) to insert it into the margin of Codex Leicestrensis (referred to as MS 69)? The latteris the case, as I shall show below

Who was the first to add ei (‘if’) to the inspired Word of God? The answer is clearly Erasmus himself. To date there is not a single, extant Greek manuscript of Matthew’s Gospel that contains the word eij in its main text at Matthew 19:9. Its only appearance to date is in the margin of Codex Leicestrensis. It has always been assumed by textual scholars that Erasmus saw the marginal reading in Codex Leicestrensis and that he copied it from there into his main text. This assumption was based on the belief that the marginal reading pre-dated Erasmus’s 1516 edition.

What apparently Erasmus did find as he travelled around Europe were manuscripts, such as those reflecting the text of Family 1 and Family 13,11 which imported the exemption clause of Matthew 5:32 into 19:9. Now 5:32 is a context-specific exemption clause. The mischief was caused by importing it into 19:9, where it did not belong, and was out of context.12 This particular variant reading may have led Erasmus astray, plus Jerome’s ambiguous Vulgate translation.

What does the original Greek texts of Matthew 19:9 read?

Majority Greek Text (Byzantine) Matthew 19:9: Now I say to you that whoever shall dismiss his wife—not over fornication17—and shall marry another, he commits adultery.18 And the one who marries one divorced commits adultery.19

Minority Greek Text (Vaticanus, Bezae, Leicestrensis) Matthew 19:9: Now I say to you, whoever shall dismiss his wife—apart from the matter of fornication, he makes her to commit adultery. And whoever shall marry one dismissed, he commits adultery.

Vaticanus and Bezae agree to make Matthew 19:9 conform to Matthew 5:32, and by doing so they removed any suggestion that a man could get a divorce on the grounds of fornication. Note that the underlined words: “apart from the matter of fornication, he makes her to commit adultery” is a translation of the text of Matthew 5:32, which was carelessly (or deliberately, due to a misunderstanding) imported into Matthew 19:9, where it replaced the original text, which read as the Majority Text does: “not over fornication.” This mistake is found in the Caesarean Text, Codex Leicestrensis, and in Vaticanus (but not in Sinaiticus, which supports the Majority Text at this point).

This was not Erasmus’ only “modifications” of the Scriptures.

Not content with changing the Greek text, Erasmus also changed the Latin Vulgate, which was the Bible of the Roman Catholic Church from the time of Jerome (c. AD 420).

The Latin Vulgate read: “And I say to you that: whosoever shall put away [Latin: dimiserit] his wife unless [nisi] 21 for fornication [Latin: fornicationem]: and shall marry another, committeth adultery. And whoever marries one put away: he commits adultery.” Erasmus altered this in his second edition in 1519 to read: “And I say to you that whosoever shall repudiate [Latin: repudiauerit] his wife, unless [nisi] it be for disgrace [Latin: stuprum], and shall marry another, committeth adultery.”

By changing ‘fornicationem’ to ‘stuprum,’ Erasmus widened his exceptive clause from the sexual sin of fornication, to the general, catch-all phrase of anything that gives ground for ‘dishonour, disgrace, defilement, unchastity, debauchery, lewdness, and violation,’22 all of which are the meanings given to stuprum in the Oxford Latin Dictionary. 23 Suddenly, Erasmus offered divorce not just on sexual grounds (i.e., for fornication), but for any cause that gave rise to dishonour or disgrace, which may not necessarily be sexual, such as abuse, neglect, desertion, or anything that a partner feels angry about. This brought Erasmus’s teaching into perfect alignment with the teaching of the post-A.D. 70 school of Hillel (which, apparently, used Deut 24:1-3 and Exod 21:1-10 as their base texts24).

RCC’s Latin Scriptures did not have this change, and textual scholars have rejected Erasmus’ in the past.

Of course, the Roman Catholic Complutensian Polyglot (CP)20 did not have Erasmus’s addition at Matthew 19:9, and two editors, Arias Montanus (1583) and Joseph Scaliger (1620), preferred to follow the CP text. C. Lachmann in 1842 (followed by S. P. Tregelles in 1854) using his evidence-based Greek text, was the first, modern textual scholar to reject the Erasmian addition; and every subsequent, academic edition, followed his lead. But by 1842 the damage to the institution of marriage had been done, and Protestant churches were committed in the sixteenth century to the institution of divorce as a way to end broken marriages. We would expect divorce to be institutionalised in the world, where Satan rules, but not in Christ’s Church, where His teaching should prevail.

What textual evidence supports the modifications?

Basically, Erasmus had this added to the text, and the subsequent copies confirm it. There’s more evidence than this from other documents aside from this codex. Examining all of the various manuscripts give some additional modifications that Eramus did (but didn’t really change any theology such as some in Acts).

It was shown under §1.5.1. that the corrections in the margin of Codex Leicestrensis could not have been inserted earlier than 1550 when verse numbers were introduced into the Greek New Testament for the first time. Erasmus died in 1536, so he did not see the marginal corrections in the Codex. The quest then became a matter of detective work to find out from an inductive study of the corrections themselves what printed edition was used to correct the Codex.

All of the printed editions of Erasmus’s text, and the printed editions of Elzevir’s text (under different editors), are so close in terms of their fonts and abbreviations (ligatures) that it is extremely difficult to find differences between them that would show up in the margin of the Codex. We noted that the handwritten form of the marginal correction at Matthew 19:9 narrowed down to either Curcellus (1658) or John Fell (1675). To decide between them it was necessary to collate all the corrections in Codex Leicestrensis and compare them with the texts of Curcellus and Fell.Disappointingly, there was not a single correction in Codex Leicestrensis that was found only in Felland not found in Curcellus, or vice versa, Consequently, it was not possible, on these meagre results,to settle the issue over which printed edition was used to correct the Codex. However, the corrector can be narrowed down to someone who used either Curcellus’s 1658 edition, or Bishop John Fell’s1675 edition.

We can conclude, however, that Erasmus did not see any of the 154 corrections in the margin of the Codex made by the second corrector (List B, in Appendix G). The only corrections he would have seen were the 40 made by the first hand of the Codex (List A, in Appendix G). Consequently, Erasmus did not get his reading of ei0 mh\in Matthew 19:9 from Codex Leicestrensis,which is a significant finding.

All things considered, Erasmus must made up the Greek text himself because he wanted to impose his theology on the text, and he succeeded in duping the Reformers to fall for his new doctrine. The Reformers had a weakness, because they were prone to latch on to any difference they could find between Scripture and Roman Catholic doctrines and traditions, and Erasmus handed them one such difference on a plate, and they fell completely for it. The result is that today we are living out the legacy of their error, and most Christians are content to retain Erasmus’s new doctrine because so many relatives and friends have fallen for it, and they are not prepared to give up being a disciple of Erasmus, to follow Christ Jesus, who will not tolerate any remarriages after a divorce.

Therefore, this isthe reason why the Reformers departed from the true theology on divorce from the Roman Catholic Church which states that marriage is permanent and there is no reason for divorce.

The original text is more inclusive: Jesus refers to “putting away” as both “putting away without a writ of divorce” and as divorce “put away + writ of divorce” simultaneously. Therefore, there is no reason for any putting away or divorce, even for non-sexual reasons or sexual indiscretions.

This also eliminates the “desertion” exception where you could possibly remarry. Desertion was a non-sexual reason for remarriage, but since Jesus eliminates all non-sexual reasons for divorce and remarriage then you cannot remarry while your deserting spouse is alive.

Therefore, there is no divorce period, for any cause (sexual or not sexual).

I have gone through and edited the analysis and conclusions to reflect this change.

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

Let’s get started.

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.

Before the new evidence: I did not believe “apoluo” to be inclusive of divorce (apoluo + apostasion), but the new evidence shows that any putting away is wrong.

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).

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: The Pharisees wanted to see which side Jesus would take in their argument, and trap Him between Jewish and Roman Law. 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 and avoiding their dispute. 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 not 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 “not for clause” to understand why it makes sense.

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, except it be not 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 (with or without a writ of divorce), you’re still married to her. If you’re still married to her, both you and her commit adultery if you marry another. You can see this agrees with Jesus’ statement of “what God has put together let no man separate” and the similar statements in Mark and Luke.

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 not for fornication (porneia), and shall marry another, commit adultery (moichaō): and whoso marrieth her which is put away (apoluō) doth committeth adultery (moichaō).

The “not for fornication” clause seals off any sexual infidelity or indiscretions as a reason for divorce at all because it says if you put away, not even for fornication, adultery, or sexual indiscretions, and marry another you commit adultery.

Any “putting away” (putting away and divorce) and shall marry another — whether it is a sexual indiscretion or not — commits adultery.

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  for any reason is divorce:

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, not for fornication (porneia) (not even for fornication, adultery, or any other sexual indiscretions that would normally require the death penalty), 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.

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.

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 for any non-sexual or sexual reason 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).

The “not for fornication” clause seals off any reason for divorce by adultery, fornication, and sexual indiscretion and therefore agrees with Mark and Luke.

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, which is false in the light of new evidence.

Initially, only fornication for divorce was permitted until Erasmus established another ground, namely, desertion, using 1 Corinthians 7:15. Now, it was well recognised that 1 Corinthians7:15 on its own was ambiguous as a grounds for divorce. If Jesus was an absolutist then 1 Corinthians7:15 had to be seen in the light of Matthew 19:9 as originally written, without Erasmus’s addition of eij before mh;. In which case 1 Corinthians 7:15 would receive its natural sense that desertion was not a grounds for divorce but a grounds for giving more of one’s time to the cause of Christ.

The Scriptures must be consistent with each other and the teachings of Jesus are paramount. Desertion therefore means that you are not under the bind of marital duties (e.g. earlier in the passage, Paul tells spouses that they owe each other sex), and not that they are not under the covenant of marriage anymore.

17. 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.

“Not over fornication” causes an even harder word on divorce. It seals adultery, fornication, and any other sexual indiscretion for adultery.

1. In Matthew, any putting away, whether divorce or putting away without a writ of divorce, and marrying another is adultery per Jesus.  – Deut 22, 24; Mal 2; Jer 3; Isa 50; Matt 5, 19, Mark 10, Luke 16
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, but under Jesus this is not a valid excuse for divorce. – 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. You are not under the bondage of the roles and responsibilities of marriage, but you are still under the covenant of marriage. You must not remarry. – 1 Cor 7

Note: 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. “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. Desertion does not allow you to remarry, as you are not under the bonds of the roles and responsibilities of marriage (like sex in the earlier part of the passage). You are still under the covenant of marriage.
4. 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.
5. 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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### 126 Responses to On divorce Part 6

1. Sean Zonder says:

Hello,

The problem is with a paridigm shift in thinking, gender equality, and taking a stand mentality. I say this because pastors as well as churches are becoming “ cool “ in order to gain attendance and ultimately membership. Making Christianity cool has allowed for a very feminist mindset to be cultivated while attempting to get women to conform to biblical principles of what a Godly wife is. This is a massive contradiction in behavioral expectation. I was married only once as a believer and my ex wife 3 times also a believer but churches don’t know this about her. I’ve walked away from church but never God. I was blamed and shamed for divorcing her. She ran away and disrespected the marriage immediately with no option of reconciliation. A marriage she pressed for with urgency. So, I made a difficult decision that I’m now at peace with. I’m happier than ever to only focus on my relationship with God while refraining from judges others anymore. Best of luck to any that are or will marry. I don’t recommend marriage however do advocate for quality companionship…

2. Joshua Anyaoha says:

In the New Testament can fraudulent marriage apply to us Christians like can we remarry after the marriage was fraud ed? God bless

3. Minesweeper says:

This is alot to take in, I guess you didnt come up with this overnight. There do seem to be some comical errors in our translations – communion being one.

As one who is divorced with kids (forced into it) I can honestly say – you never “feel” divorced. Its like a connection that you want to break but it never goes, its always there niggling away at you in the background tbh – it seems to cause some level of underlying constant stress. Although every single day I remember what a rotten BPD shit she was, and could never now even touch her with a barge pole.

Kinda explains alot actually – women who are divorced do seem really damaged, the men seem stressed.

It really does form some sort of ethereal spiritual connection.

4. fuzziewuzziebear says:

After reading all that, I think that I need some aspirin. There one point that was conspicuous in its absence, it is only until recent times that women could initiate divorce. Since they initiate well over two thirds of divorces, this makes for quite a difference.
The “bill of divorcement” is referred to as a “get”. I’ll never find it, but I read an article on how judges in Israel were having problems ordering men to issue them to their ex-wives when the men lived overseas. Without it, she could not remarry, a mild revenge for husbands who were drug into divorce.

5. Paul says:

@DS: I think you need to give credit to the late Leslie McFall here, who did all the original research. I’ve had the privilege to review his work, and although I still see some difficulties in constructing a fully consistent interpretation, I think he has done an excellent job, that deserves wider attention. If you can disseminate his ideas too, all the better.

6. @ Paul

Yeah, I linked that paper, although I will edit OP to show his name.

7. @ Joshua

No, if you’re a Protestant.

If you’re Catholic or Orthodox you may have recourse.

8. Minesweeper says:

I can see what you have put together but the issue is that no where does God or Jesus state there is no divorce nor possibility of remarriage under any circumstances while the other party is still alive.

And also why mention divorce in NT times if you caught your wife in adultery you just had her killed instead ? no divorce needed and you were free to remarry.

The main thing Im reading from Jesus words is that there is no sinless divorce, no remarriage without adultery, in the NT times the Jews were doing what the muslims are now, frivolous divorce for a variety of reasons, muslims “marry” prostitutes and then divorce them after the act, to remain in compliance with their law.

The Jews were clearly divorcing very easily so they would be considered without sin in their eyes.

9. Minesweeper says:

@fuzziewuzziebear says:” it is only until recent times that women could initiate divorce. Since they initiate well over two thirds of divorces, this makes for quite a difference.”

women initiate almost 90% of divorces and separations, that dosnt come up in the stats because men often are forced to pay for the divorce (big \$) as part of her “cash” settlement (not like a woman wants to put her hand in her pocket for anything – even this!) and that is then counted as the man pursuing the divorce, where is in fact once again she is pulling all the levers and your just the dancing monkey with the cheque book.

Really never ceases to amaze me when men who are extremely competent in their fields get rings run around them by the idiots they married in combination with the law. A women empowered by our divorce laws to be as vicious and underhand as possible is a horrible thing to witness. You can really see why women should not be given the power to initiate divorce, its like giving a toddler a loaded gun.

There may be the odd case where its justified (i’ve never known anyone to beat\rape their wife or dump them for a younger model- although apparently there is an epidemic of this).

10. On the “What % of divorces are caused by Women?” question, we have some interesting stats to compare out of the Islamic world. In a place where Women have limited power to force a divorce and a Man has full power, the divorce rate is between 8-12%. Considering what Western rates look like, it’s well over 80% are because Women are hypergamous.

Credit to DS for all of the work on this. It’s also one of my best examples of the Theological Concept of “Don’t”. Once a person starts the process of rationalizing their end-goal via theology, everything gets twisted. In the case of divorce, it’s never about the theology. Any time someone shows up here about it, it’s never about the theology. It’s nearly always about wanting a Magic Wand to be waved over the person’s desires, thus saying their desire is “good”.

11. pariah says:

This does not surprise me. One of the main points of evidence which emancipated me from KJV-onlyism was learning that Erasmus made up his own version of the Greek for a few lines near the end of the book of Revelation. Erasmus obviously had no qualms with altering the text of Holy Scripture however he saw fit.

Deep Strength, can you write a book on all the research you’ve been doing? I’ve decided to start doing my own research with the intention of writing my own book exposing christian feminism and I would love to quote from you. Books get viewed as more reliable within academic circles than just internet webpages with their more transient quality. You can always publish it using a pseudonym. I suspect you already have enough material written that you could just compile with a bit of editing work.

12. Eidolon says:

Where does polygamy factor into this? If I understand correctly it was sanctioned and practiced at the time Jesus spoke about marriage.

As I read the above, a man can marry multiple women but he can’t put one away and replace her with a newer model (or indeed with any other woman) or else he’s guilty of adultery. God Himself seems to practice it, in the passage about Israel and her sister Judah, both “married” to Him by covenant.

I can’t see anything in Jesus’ words that suggests that polygamy is outlawed by him. You can follow all the rules he set while having multiple wives. Is that your reading as well? Or do you see something in these passages (or elsewhere) which prohibits polygamy?

13. Don Quixote says:

There are a few interesting points regarding this:
1) Augustine 354 – 430 AD seems to have understood the exception clause as ‘except’. This is my conclusion from reading his letters’ “Adulterous Marriages 1 & 2′ I have an English translation so I have no idea what language Augustine was reading or writing. But being ~400~AD is much closer to the time of Christ than Erasmus.

2) David Pawson briefly addressed this topic in his book:
David Pawson agrees with Lindsay McFall’s conclusions but from a different angle.

Personally I was disappointed that Augustine didn’t address the ‘exception clause’ from the betrothal view. This started my journey to discover who was the first christian to document the ‘exception clause’ in the betrothal view. So far the honour goes to Dr Daniel Whitby, as described in Matthew Henry’s commentary.

3) When the catholic church debated this subject in the 12th century it is possibly documented in the library of information that was produced by the debate but I don’t know for sure.

14. @Eidolon:

The one set of edge cases that didn’t exist in the past, due to modern Laws, is “okay, a Man was divorced, can he “remarry” by taking a 2nd wife?”. That’s a harder topic. The general answer is “don’t”, but there’s no direct theological prevention.

The issue is that we know what open polygamy does to a society. It’s bad. It’s not a sin, but it’s also rarely ever a good thing for the society as a whole. Even by the time of Solomon, multiple wives was mostly the realm of the king and almost no other Men. It’s just not a good can of worms to open up.

One could construct a way to “manage” that type of situation, but what good does that do for the Body? Then you’d have Women barking up a storm because it’s clearly a gendered issue: Women can’t remarry, but a Man that had his wife leave could. No modern church is strong enough to deal with that right now. Plus, you end up back in the Canon Law/Annulment disaster issue.

15. Ame says:

As one who is divorced with kids (forced into it) I can honestly say – you never “feel” divorced. Its like a connection that you want to break but it never goes, its always there niggling away at you in the background

i agree. i experienced this, too … until he died. then it was broken.

16. Joshua Anyaoha says:

@ Joshua
No, if you’re a Protestant.
If you’re Catholic or Orthodox you may have recourse.

I meant in the New Testament what must someone do if their marriage was based on fraud I.e. If she hides her sexual sins like fornication etc from her prospective spouse and it was known after their wedding. What must one do under grace and not under the law. God bless.

17. Joshua Anyaoha says:

@Deep Strength

You said
“No, if you’re a Protestant.
If you’re Catholic or Orthodox you may have recourse.”

My question: I meant in the New Testament what must someone do if their marriage was based on fraud I.e. If she hides her sexual sins like fornication etc from her prospective spouse and it was known after their wedding. What must one do under grace and not under the law. Blessings

18. Eidolon says:

@Don Quixote

This is what concerns me about the reading above. I would tend to believe it because it makes the text more consistent with itself from my understanding.

But a lot of great scholars have read the text and left the translation as it was — seminaries teach Greek and people read the original words of the NT all the time, do they not? How would this sort of problem persist for so long with no one doing anything about it?

Looking at the interpretations of most churches today, they seem to pay little attention to the text anyway, so I can believe that a lot of people would miss it. But it seems like a lot of scholars have studied the text consistently and it’s a bit hard to swallow that they all ignored this very significant change.

19. Eidolon says:

Are we to read “not for fornication” above, the alleged original language, as essentially “not even for fornication”? That seems to be how it’s discussed but I still don’t really take that meaning from the phrase “not for fornication” in the given context. However, that’s based on the English wording, which may not capture the Greek meaning entirely.

20. Minesweeper says:

well can you really take it that far ? if your wife stabs you in the middle of the night (not as rare as you would think) and you fear for your life ? what then ?? a life alone….

i dont think DS is right at all with this.

21. Bruce says:

From what I can tell, the early church fathers were unanimous – no divorce. Augustine understood the exception clause as referring to the putting away part but not the remarrying part of the verse i.e. a husband could put away a wife for fornication but could not remarry.

22. @ Minesweeper

I can see what you have put together but the issue is that no where does God or Jesus state there is no divorce nor possibility of remarriage under any circumstances while the other party is still alive.

And also why mention divorce in NT times if you caught your wife in adultery you just had her killed instead ? no divorce needed and you were free to remarry.

This is the Christian feminist and egalitarian argument.

Ephesians 5 says “submit to one another in Christ” while ignoring Colossians 3, Titus 2, 1 Peter 3 and the preponderance of other Scriptures that state that wives should submit to their husbands.

Likewise, even “IF” Matthew 5 and 19 said you could divorce for “fornication” (which it doesn’t, but let’s assume), the other passages of Scriptures do not. Mark 10, Luke 16, Romans 7, 1 Corinthians 7 all state no divorce for any reason. In fact, 1 Corinthians 7 Paul states that the Lord has said if there is separation they must stay single or reconcile.

All of the Scriptures, or at least the preponderance of the Scriptures if you think Matthew is ‘debatable’, support Jesus’ statement: What God has put together let no man separate.

23. @ pariah

The Christian mens book is coming.

24. @ Eidolon

Where does polygamy factor into this? If I understand correctly it was sanctioned and practiced at the time Jesus spoke about marriage.

As I read the above, a man can marry multiple women but he can’t put one away and replace her with a newer model (or indeed with any other woman) or else he’s guilty of adultery. God Himself seems to practice it, in the passage about Israel and her sister Judah, both “married” to Him by covenant.

I wrote about polygyny before here:

https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/polygyny/

In the Scriptures, it’s mainly for extreme circumstances. Israel splitting into Judah and Israel is also an extreme circumstance.

Given that Jesus refers back to Genesis, which also refers to one wife, I would never recommend it. To be above reproach, for the qualifications of elders and deacons in 1 Timothy 3, they cannot have more than one wife (as some Christians had two) as it would give the wrong impression.

I would hope that all Christians are striving for the ideal as per Jesus, so that would preclude them from taking another wife.

25. @ Don Quixote

1) Augustine 354 – 430 AD seems to have understood the exception clause as ‘except’. This is my conclusion from reading his letters’ “Adulterous Marriages 1 & 2′ I have an English translation so I have no idea what language Augustine was reading or writing. But being ~400~AD is much closer to the time of Christ than Erasmus.

Augustine also had a poor understanding of Greek, so that is possibly a case where he was off.

2) David Pawson briefly addressed this topic in his book:
David Pawson agrees with Lindsay McFall’s conclusions but from a different angle.

I haven’t read that. What was the conclusion there?

McFall also discusses it from the aspect of the betrothal view as well.

26. @ Eidolon

Are we to read “not for fornication” above, the alleged original language, as essentially “not even for fornication”? That seems to be how it’s discussed but I still don’t really take that meaning from the phrase “not for fornication” in the given context. However, that’s based on the English wording, which may not capture the Greek meaning entirely.

“Not for fornication” reads two different ways, with the same conclusion.

It excludes fornication (fornication, adultery, other sexual law breaking) as they all carried the death penalty. A husband or wife who committed these under the law were technically ‘dead’ (even if they weren’t stoned). However, though they were technically dead they are not actually dead which means the covenant of marriage still persists as Paul explains in Romans 7.

‘Not for fornication’ also reads like I explained it above.

Therefore, you are still permanently married agreeing with Jesus’ statement: What God has put together let no man separate. Man should not be the cause of any separation, including divorce for any type of crime whether non-sexual, sexual, or even capital offense.

To support this, most of the ante-Nicean fathers like Hermas recommended you ‘divorce’ a wife in constant adultery (or perhaps separate as per 1 Corinthians 7) but you should take her back if she repents so there is reconciliation. Under this circumstance even if you divorce/separate from her and she does not return, you are also NOT permitted to remarry, since the covenant of marriage is lifelong.

This would agree with the Matthew 18 and 1 Cor 5 where unrepentant sin should be ‘excommunicated’ from the Church, but they should take them back if they repent. The Church and marriage have mirrors to each other.

27. @ Minesweeper

well can you really take it that far ? if your wife stabs you in the middle of the night (not as rare as you would think) and you fear for your life ? what then ?? a life alone….

i dont think DS is right at all with this.

1 Corinthians 7 as per the Lord has separation with only two options: staying single or reconciling.

The problem you’re running into is the same one that Erasmus ran into that made him manipulate the Scriptures. It seems ‘unfair’ to have the innocent party suffer.

Living a life for Jesus is never going to be fair (at least, until we are with Him), and there is always going to be suffering as a Christian.

If you want to go against Jesus’ ideal teaching from the beginning: “What God has put together let no man separate” then be my guest. Everyone has free will and can choose to obey or disobey God.

I certainly won’t recommend to anyone that they divorce, as I don’t want to have anyone before God on judgment day tell Him that that I was the man counseling them to do it when He said “let no man separate.”

28. Don Quixote says:

Eidolon says:
August 15, 2018 at 10:56 am

@Don Quixote

This is what concerns me about the reading above. I would tend to believe it because it makes the text more consistent with itself from my understanding.

But a lot of great scholars have read the text and left the translation as it was — seminaries teach Greek and people read the original words of the NT all the time, do they not? How would this sort of problem persist for so long with no one doing anything about it?

Looking at the interpretations of most churches today, they seem to pay little attention to the text anyway, so I can believe that a lot of people would miss it. But it seems like a lot of scholars have studied the text consistently and it’s a bit hard to swallow that they all ignored this very significant change.

Please consider there are 3 witnesses that support the exception clause explained in the betrothal view, i.e. the original reading of the text in Matt.19:9 [except it be for fornication]

1) Joseph and Mary’s testimony. When Joe discovered Mary was pregnant he knew he wasn’t responsible for the pregnancy so he decided to put Mary away privately.

2) The law that Moses gave concerning pre-marital sex in Duet. 22:13-21

3) The position of Church in regard to it’s covenant. We are not yet married. We are only betrothed to be married. If we prove unfaithful to our calling we will be divorced. Paul said as much in 2Cor.11:2
2Cor 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

If you are interested I have documented my views at:
http://oncemarried.net

29. Don Quixote says:

Deep Strength says:
August 15, 2018 at 2:21 pm

@ Don Quixote

2) David Pawson briefly addressed this topic in his book:
David Pawson agrees with Lindsay McFall’s conclusions but from a different angle.

I haven’t read that. What was the conclusion there?

McFall also discusses it from the aspect of the betrothal view as well.

God willing I will post David Pawson remarks here, or at least a summary. If it is a breach of copyright just remove it.

30. Eidolon says:

The “apart from the matter of fornication” version above seems to make the point clearer, depending on how you associate the phrases to each other, but if I understand correctly you’re saying that was based on the modified “except for” version. Are you saying the phrase “not for fornication” should be understood to mean “aside from fornication, because obviously that involves the death penalty”? If that’s the point then I’m not sure why the “except for” is so significant, other than general correctness. To me it reads the same either way with that understanding, and the added context is the more salient point.

Would this be a somewhat equivalent construction? “In the event of a criminal act by such and such party, not for capital crimes, the party will provide services for the duration of the contract without receiving further compensation.”

31. @ Don

Can just do a summary.

Prior to the Erasmus issue, the betrothal period makes sense.

After the Erasmus distortion is known, the betrothal period doesn’t make too much sense anymore given the overarching scope of the proclamation (in conjunction with Mark 10, Luke 16, and 1 Corinthians 7 at least).

32. @ Eidolon

The “apart from the matter of fornication” version above seems to make the point clearer, depending on how you associate the phrases to each other, but if I understand correctly you’re saying that was based on the modified “except for” version. Are you saying the phrase “not for fornication” should be understood to mean “aside from fornication, because obviously that involves the death penalty”? If that’s the point then I’m not sure why the “except for” is so significant, other than general correctness. To me it reads the same either way with that understanding, and the added context is the more salient point.

Would this be a somewhat equivalent construction? “In the event of a criminal act by such and such party, not for capital crimes, the party will provide services for the duration of the contract without receiving further compensation.”

No. The woman caught in adultery:

John 8:1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”

6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.

10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Leave life of sin -> reconcile with her husband (also agreeing with 1 Corinthians 7). Not him get a divorce/death certificate against her. 2 Corinthians 5- we have the ministry of reconciliation.

McFall also has evidence on pages 75-80 of the document if you want to read them.

In any case, the evidence to get a divorce always points to hardness of heart and ignoring the other consensus Scriptures. Even if Matthew 5 or 19 was exempting, none of the other Scriptures do.

33. Joshua Anyaoha says:

My question: I meant in the New Testament what must someone do if their marriage was based on fraud I.e. If she hides her sexual sins like fornication etc from her prospective spouse and it was known after their wedding. What must one do under grace and not under the law. Blessings

34. Jacob says:

100% confidence in scholarly arguments is risky. It looks like that’s what got us into this mess in the first place. Western scientism is a very aggressive and atomizing way to study Scripture. One cannot, for example, fully appreciate the Psalms by lexicographic dissembly. Scripture is rich and thick with God’s spirit. Western Scientism, in grinding the wheat and sifting the flour, breaks down created affinities. Likewise, the spirit is separated from words. The dough is then kneaded, conformed and hard-baked to whatever shape is convenient for our consumption. So much for scientism.

Understanding exactly what was written and meant by men hinders understanding of what God intends for us.

God’s truth resonates in almost every translation. A simple reading is sufficient:

“What God hath joined, let no man separate.” (Mt 19:6b)

We can translate this a thousand different ways, but the basic meaning is clear: God commands, man obeys. The minute one looks for exceptions, one’s eyes have turned away from God. Spend too much time turning away and the neck becomes stiff.

Jesus came to to correct an infidelity problem that had become chronic. It was not merely between man and wife but between God and man. Fornication is just a symptom. Why should God care more about the symptom than its underlying cause? All of Scripture shows that He cares precisely otherwise.

From wikipedia: Renaissance humanism was a response to the utilitarian approach and what came to be depicted as the “narrow pedantry” associated with medieval scholasticism. Humanists sought to create a citizenry able to speak and write with eloquence and clarity and thus capable of engaging in the civic life of their communities and persuading others to virtuous and prudent actions. This was to be accomplished through the study of the studia humanitatis, today known as the humanities: grammar, rhetoric, history, poetry, and moral philosophy.

35. @ Jacob

Nah, I have 100% confidence in Jesus’ statement about the beginning:

“What God hath joined, let no man separate.”

I’m not going to recommend or advocate any form of breaking what God has put together.

36. @Jacob

“100% confidence in scholarly arguments is risky.” is a really bad way to open a Word-smithing approach to running away from issues, though you much more come across like you’re “putting on airs”. That’s doesn’t fly around here, normally.

@DS:

Good job on all of the work. It’s still amazing how much work has to go into the explanation for “don’t”.

37. Jacob says:

Hehe. Jesus, the scholar. Nice, but no.

38. Jacob says:

@Looking Glass

That comment does you little credit. It was a little pompous. Your reputation for pithy commentary is well known. I’m surprised you’d make such a basic interpretive and collegiate mistake. I know you can do better.

39. Jacob says:

And do take the log out of your own eye. What is waving around word-smithing phrases like “doesn’t fly around here” in a proprietary way if it isn’t putting on airs?

These sort of reactive distractions are a waste of everyone’s time. Brother, do better.

40. Don Quixote says:

Deep Strength says:
August 15, 2018 at 4:27 pm

@ Don

Can just do a summary.

Prior to the Erasmus issue, the betrothal period makes sense.

After the Erasmus distortion is known, the betrothal period doesn’t make too much sense anymore given the overarching scope of the proclamation (in conjunction with Mark 10, Luke 16, and 1 Corinthians 7 at least).

There is another factor to consider:
Only Matthew’s gospel contains the ‘exception clause’, and only Matthew’s gospel has the nitty-gritty details regarding Joseph and Mary’s betrothal. It reconciles very neatly.
Most scholars agree that Matthew’s gospel was written for a Jewish audience this also ties in neatly with the betrothal insights we get from the OT.
So at the very least I would consider that McFall might be incorrect. I also could be incorrect. Whichever view is correct the fact is that almost every remarriage is adultery.

I will be busy until Saturday [Sabbath], I will post David Pawson’s remarks when I get a chance. He has the same conclusions as McFall but a different approach.

41. @ Don Quixote

There is another factor to consider:
Only Matthew’s gospel contains the ‘exception clause’, and only Matthew’s gospel has the nitty-gritty details regarding Joseph and Mary’s betrothal. It reconciles very neatly.
Most scholars agree that Matthew’s gospel was written for a Jewish audience this also ties in neatly with the betrothal insights we get from the OT.

So at the very least I would consider that McFall might be incorrect. I also could be incorrect. Whichever view is correct the fact is that almost every remarriage is adultery.

That is true.

Anyway you put it, divorce is adultery in either view.

42. Minesweeper says:

@Ame says:”As one who is divorced with kids (forced into it) I can honestly say – you never “feel” divorced. Its like a connection that you want to break but it never goes, its always there niggling away at you in the background

i agree. i experienced this, too … until he died. then it was broken.”

thank you for confirming this, I would actually say its alot more prominent than a niggle.

43. Bruce says:

Two other arguments in favor of your idea.

Catholics often suggest that fornication was a reference to concubinage – Jesus was distinguishing between true marriage and concubinage with His “exception.” This seems plausible. Remember the “we are not born of fornication -we have one father” usage in John’s gospel.

The main sexual sin a woman would commit would be adultery. Jesus would have said “adultery” not “fornication” if he were allowing for the putting away of a wife for sexual sin.

44. Joshua Anyaoha says:

@ Deep Strength
I’ve already seperated from my second wife to make peace with my first wife who wrong me. I left my first wife to remarry again. I know we living under grace and not under the law we are told not to divorce and now knowing its wrong I forgave my first wife and at the process of reconciling with her again. Did I did right.

45. @ Joshua

This is not something you should be asking me about. Talk to God in prayer.

46. Joshua Anyaoha says:

Are we to separate from the 3,4,5 marriage and reunite with our first spouse?

47. Joshua Anyaoha says:

Are we to separate from the 3,4,5 marriage and reunite with our first spouse? In my marriage I’ve been in a divorcee and then I married another wife. I still feel God telling me Deep Strength that divorce and remarriage is clearly a sin and the only way I should repent is stop committing adultery. I still feel like I am committing adultery especially when having sex with my second wife I still see a shadow of my first wife pitying me it makes me uncomfortable. I regain my peace when I re-united with my first wife nomore feeling like aldutery told her Im sorry for divorcing you. Yea I divorce her cause I was angry with her for hurting me so I pay my first wife back for that since than she tried to plead for my forgiveness for over a 1year crying and praying for me. Well I feel God saying I did the right thing you think.

48. Don Quixote says:

Bruce says:

August 16, 2018 at 6:23 am
Two other arguments in favor of your idea.

Catholics often suggest that fornication was a reference to concubinage – Jesus was distinguishing between true marriage and concubinage with His “exception.” This seems plausible. Remember the “we are not born of fornication -we have one father” usage in John’s gospel.

The main sexual sin a woman would commit would be adultery. Jesus would have said “adultery” not “fornication” if he were allowing for the putting away of a wife for sexual sin.

Interesting thoughts Bruce.
But there is another angle on this… Ostensibly a woman is married when she is deflowered. If a man in good faith marries a girl who he believes is a virgin, and discovers she is not a virgin, then it could be argued that she is already married to the mad that deflowered her.

I know this opens another debate that has been raging on the ‘sphere for a while, but the evidence is for both views is good. I call this;’ marriage by consummation’, as opposed to; ‘marriage by contract’.

This view is well documented by Martin Madan in his books Thelyphthora a 3 volume set. If you want the best details regarding ‘marriage-by-consummation’ you need only read volumes 1 & 2.

49. Paul says:

@Joshua Anyaoha

I cannot give you advice other than my opinion.
If you believe that marriage is permanent, and any subsequent marriage is adultery, you should stop the adultery. You do have obligations towards the women you married, even if you stop having intercourse. I’m not sure if you should go back to your first wife. Staying single might be an option. Please pray about it. Your feelings on adultery are telling you something.

50. Paul says:

On marriage by consummation:

Sex (at least some sex) creates a one-flesh union, but does not make a (valid) marriage. Else adultery would be called marriage. Or having sex with a prostitute. I do agree that sex should be reserved within marriage.

51. Don Quixote says:

Here are David Pawson’s remarks on Dr Leslie McFall’s work [WARNING- this is long]:

David Pawson continues…
“Since my book was published, a reader has drawn my attention to the research of a Cambridge scholar, Dr Leslie McFall, whose 91 page paper The Biblical Teaching on Divorce and Remarriage can be downloaded from the internet. I wish I had known about this before I wrote. He reaches a similar conclusion (that Jesus banned all remarriage after divorce and even divorce itself), but by a different route. My case was based on the word ‘fornication’ whereas he had focused on the word ‘except’.
Of course, no-one has the original Greek text of the New Testament. It has to be re-constructed from later handwritten copies of which there are now thousands. Dr McFall has pointed out that in the great majority of these Matthew 19:9 does not include the word ‘except’, only the phrase ‘not over fornication’.
The word ‘not’ (Greek me) is a particle of negation and would normally indicate an exclusion rather than an exception. In this case Jesus was contradicting the prominent Jewish teachers of His day, Rabbis Shammai and Hillel, who both allowed divorce for adultery (Hillel added other grounds). He was virtually saying: ‘not even for fornication’, even if that word is used to cover all sexual sin, including adultery.

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This would explain the astonished response of the disciples recorded in Matthew 19:10 (If there’s no way out of marriage, better not get into it!) This surely indicated that Jesus was setting His own standard, different from and stricter than His contemporaries. It also explains why he went on to point out that celibacy is not as easy option, unless these is a reason or purpose behind it (verses 11-12).
It would also fit in with his repudiation of the law of Moses (in verse 8) which allowed divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1 and 3) and his reaffirmation of the law of God (in verses 4-6) which made marriage permanent and lifelong, with no exceptions (Genesis 2:24).

So how did the word ‘except’ get into Matthew 19:9 in almost all English versions of the last four hundred years?
The two-letter Greek word for ‘not’ is ‘me’ but changes to except when the word ‘if’ (Greek ei or ‘ean’) is put in front of it (ei me’ or ean me ). It is a tiny addition with radical results. changing an exclusion into an exception.
And this change had been made in the Greek version of the New
Testament used by all the Protestant Reformers and their successors, who accepted the alteration without question and Incorporated it into their translations of the Bible.
Ironically, this text had been prepared and published by a Dutch Roman Catholic priest called Erasmus, in 1516, just in time for the Reformation, and beating the Roman Church’s official Greek text in 1522. As a humanist, he had great sympathy for those who were finding marriage Intolerable and found two ‘loopholes’ for them in the New Testament.

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First, by adding the word ‘except’ to Matthew 19:9 he opened the door for both divorce and remarriage on the grounds of sexual infidelity, thus making Jesus agree with the rabbis of his day. Second, by applying ‘not bound’ in 1 Corinthians 7:15 to the bond of marriage rather than the bondage of slavery and to the future rather than the past (for a refutation of this dual error see Chapter 6 above), he was opening another door for divorce and remarriage on the ground of desertion by a non-Christian partner. To this day this is called the Erasmian exception’.
Both deviations from fifteen hundred years of church teaching and practice were seized upon by anti-Roman Protestant Reformers and enshrined in later statements of faith like the Westminster Confession. More importantly, they have been incorporated into most English translations of the Bible, from Tyndale (1525) onwards, with ‘except’ Instead of ‘not’ in Matthew 19:9 and ‘is not bound* instead of ‘were not enslaved’ in 1 Corinthians 7:15. The reader is invited to compare the New International Version with the United Bible Societies’ and the Nestle-Aland Greek texts on which it was based. Any interlinear edition will reveal how post-Erasmian tradition has over-ridden the original text.

McFall adds the interesting information that we “simply do not know whether rabbis Hillel and Shammai were contemporaries of Jesus. Retrospective references to them are found in the Talmud, which was compiled much later. Scholars have assumed that Jesus knew them because of the phrase ‘for any cause’, which was used by Hillel against Shammai’s interpretation of indecent thing’ in Deuteronomy 24:1 as ‘adultery only’. But it is more likely that Jesus had his own independent view rather than that he lined up with either side of that rabbinical dispute.

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It remains to add this author’s opinion of McFall’s case, In a word, I am not convinced. He is certainly correct in claiming that the vast majority of early Greek manuscripts of the New Testament do not contain the word except’ in Matthew 19:9, and read simply not for fornication’. But whether the negative not’ should be taken to mean if not’ or not even’ is, I believe, open to debate. The fact that Matthew 5:32 does have except’ (or rather, the Greek is literally apart from’) might support a similar meaning in 19:9; but could also indicate an adaptation of the latter text to conform to the former. Of one thing I am sure. To build one’s view on such a vital issue on just one verse, and one whose meaning is somewhat ambiguous, would be a mistake. To put it another way, a verse that is in any way obscure should be weighed against others on the same subject that are quite clear (in this case, Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18).

With another of McFall’s arguments I fully agree. I IC points to the scriptures which teach that if we are not willing to forgive others we cannot expect to be forgiven ourselves (Matthew 6:14-15; 18:23-35). This must surely apply when married spouses sin against each other, including adultery, though we must add the crucial phrase if he repents’ (Luke 17:3). To be practical, separation may be the only possible solution in exceptional circumstances (for example, extreme abuse or cruelty), but to resort to divorce is to accuse a spouse of committing an unforgivable sin, either then or at any time in the future. The only such sin in scripture has nothing to do with sex or marriage (Matthew 12:32). Therefore to divorce one’s partner is to put one’s own forgiveness in jeopardy. For

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grace there is no such thing as an impossible’ marriage. The door of repentance leading to reconciliation must always be kept open. Divorce and, even more, remarriage, close it. So Dr McFall and I are agreed that divorce and remarriage are contrary to the will of God, for believer and unbeliever alike, even though we have reached the same conclusion by different routes.

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From David Pawson’s book ‘Remarriage is Adultery unless…

52. Ame says:

yes … ‘a niggle’ probably does not explain the comprehensiveness of it.

i did not study all this for myself during that time. it wasn’t that i didn’t want to so much as i had two little girls, one with special needs, and both deeply grieving the loss of our intact home. i was beyond exhausted, alone, and pouring every ounce of who i was into my girls and barely surviving.

all the advice given to me was that it was okay to remarry. and while something inside said that wasn’t true, (1) i was unable to discern this for myself due to exhaustion and dealing with my own grieving and so chose to rely on those whom i respected and trusted. and …(2) i was terrified God would make me go back to him. even though i didn’t want the divorce, and even though i didn’t fully understand the scriptures from studying them myself … something inside said that as long as i was unmarried i *could* be reunited to my first husband. i didn’t want to go back to a man who perpetually hurt me in the many ways he did. my sin was my fear that God would force me back to a man who i knew would hurt me rather than knowing that God would take care of me regardless of the circumstances. i also did not fully understand that i had the protection of remaining single to protect us from him hurting us.

one friend did tell me she believed, after another study of divorce which i asked her to do for me, that there is no divorce for christians.

but that didn’t address directly the question for a wife of what if your husband leaves you.

it’s done now. i can only make the best of what i have. my second husband is very good and kind to my girls and me, and we’ve been married 9 years now.

i’ve been accused of telling women to stick it out after-the-fact when i’ve got my ‘prince charming’ … and shouldn’t they have that opportunity, too?

the truth is there is no prince charming, and although my marriage is good, it can never be what it could have been. the truth is i should not have remarried because the bible says i shouldn’t have; my first husband continued to claim he was a believer. and the truth is this all came crashing down on me when my first husband did die and i experienced that which God had joined together being released through death. i can’t really explain it well, i just know it is.

i do wish someone had taught me this, though. everyone was so focused on his serial infidelity and the ways he was hurting us – there were those who sincerely feared for our lives, with good reason, and i do not say that flippantly.

i also wonder, too, if me getting remarried lifted a perceived burden from them … that they no longer had to ‘worry’ about caring for us or being fearful we might need more than they wanted to give? idk. just things i ponder.

53. Bruce says:

@ Don,
I am familiar with this view and am open to it. This view was not an option for me when I was Catholic albeit of the Anglican variety.
The blog author argues (correctly I believe) that divorce and remarriage is not available to Christians. That only leaves the issue of what creates a real marriage (before God not a “legal” marriage).
A lot of protestants seem to say vows create marriage – I don’t believe this. Ceremonies with vows didn’t exist until well after Biblical times – were those people not married? What has to be included in the vows? Obedience, exclusivity, death til us part? I don’t think there is a biblical template for vows that we are given and I don’t believe we are held to vows we make up which may or may not agree with God’s will for marriage.
Historically, the two contenders for what makes a marriage seem to be consent and cotius (or both). Consent would mean consent to marriage as God defines it. I suppose the Jewish contract could have contained the element of consent and ceremonies with vows would be a visual and audible expression of consent. The problem with the consent view as I see it is consent is abstract, unverifiable, etc. How would anyone ever know for sure they were married? And consent to what? Who has the official list. Do you have to consent to female obedience, openness to children, indissoluability, etc. Does consent have to be positive or can it merely be negative (as in I don’t actively, consciously deny the basics of marriage when I consent). This is now the Catholic problem – Francis says half of marriages as probably not valid for lack of consent and as much as I don’t like him he may be right on this.
As far as I can tell Chrystostom and Abrose were the first to declare that consent (will) creates marriage (around 400-ish). Pope Nicolas affirmed this belief around 800 and it was addressed in the 1100s (when Gratian tried to argue that coitus was required IN ADDITION to consent/will-to-marriage). Maybe the requirement in Catholic/Orthodox theology that Mary be an ever-virgin was responsible for the consent view (so that she and Joseph) were truly married without ever having intercourse. Or maybe the consent view was available from apostolic times.
I have not read a good defense of the “coitus makes marriage” view except things people write on the internet. The appeal of this view is it makes marriage (mostly) knowable and verifiable, not depending upon an abstraction which can be very subjective particularly in the case of a woman. It also makes polygyny more understandable. God may heavily disfavor it but he doesn’t forbid it because marriage is a natural consequence of coitus. If marriage is vows or consent, then God could easily 100% eliminate it by making 1man/1woman a condition of vows or what has to be consented to.
This could also be what Matthew is referring to in 19.9 – I believe the most accurate definition of porneia is harlotry, prostitution, etc. The lack of inclusion in Mark and Luke could simply be because Jesus’s exact words would have confused the audiences for those Gospels. Paul seems to address virgins and widows as the marriageable in Corinthians.
Sorry for the long-winded rant. Just may scattered thoughts. I have no firm conviction on this.

54. Bruce says:

@ Don
“Sex (at least some sex) creates a one-flesh union, but does not make a (valid) marriage. Else adultery would be called marriage. Or having sex with a prostitute.”
The coitus view is usually that sex with an eligible woman (which means a virgin or widow) creates a marriage. So in this view (which I don’t affirm) adultery doesn’t make a marriage since the woman is already married.

55. 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. 1 Cor 7:15.

If you read that verse it says a Believer is no longer bound by a marriage vow if the Unbeliever is not please to dwell with him. So Deep Strength when not to keep my wedding vow to an Unbeliever based on the light of the Word of God

56. Minesweeper says:

@Ame, thank you for your input I really appreciate it.

Did you feel married to your 2nd husband when the 1st one finally died ?

I also married what turned out to be a compulsive liar (even the marriage vows – love, honor, obey – hah! – you must be kidding – for her it was just something she said with a smile on her face and didnt mean a word of it) who could lie and turn on a dime to lie the other way in heartbeat. Even though I feel attached to her still and she is remarried(!) I never felt “married”, I was always waiting for it to start. Tbh I just wanted to get away from her as much as possible after the 1st year, I wanted to run away and change my name, thats how crazy she was.

But this marriage was God’s plan, I wouldn’t have married her unless God drove me into it. So its all abit of a mystery at this stage but then so is marriage. God certainly wanted me to agree to the divorce which I had to pay for even though this was not what I wanted either.

So how to reconcile what God does on the ground with the lofty theology of those who have never experienced a marriage and divorce ?

I would certainly say even though I never felt it that our marriage had begun, it dosnt feel like it ended – even with a legal divorce and her remarrying. I could have been remarried about a dozen times, but I just couldnt do that again – for now anyway.

@Joshua – correct, the fact divorce is mentioned alot in the NT and OT, and strangely enough the words – “you can’t divorce under any circumstances” – don’t appear, is seems people are constructing that statement. Which is just making shit up really.

57. Joshua Anyaoha says:

@ Deep Strength

“Fraud is something that occurs before marriage and begins in the mind of the person committing the fraud. Fraud is when a person deliberately hides a fact that he or she knows will cause the prospective mate not to wed . This is not the same as just putting one’s best foot forward. No one is expected to tell his or her prospective mate of every flaw, evil deed and sin committed in the past. We don’t do this; we don’t expect a prospective mate to do this. We aren’t perfect; we don’t expect our prospective mate to be perfect. But what if someone has a flaw so great that he fears that his prospective mate won’t marry him, and then he deliberately hides that flaw? This would be fraud and a person would be free to leave. In God’s eyes there never was a marriage. It is annulled.” According to Fred Keller

Does Fraud Marriages be it someone that concealed their STDS, Aids, Gender change, and possibly fornication can it apply for us Christians living under grace in the New Testament my last question on the issue

58. @ Don Quixote

So basically Pawson agrees but from a different angle?

I assume he is a fan of the betrothal explanation if that’s the case because both allow no divorce and no remarriage.

59. @ Bruce

A lot of protestants seem to say vows create marriage – I don’t believe this. Ceremonies with vows didn’t exist until well after Biblical times – were those people not married? What has to be included in the vows? Obedience, exclusivity, death til us part? I don’t think there is a biblical template for vows that we are given and I don’t believe we are held to vows we make up which may or may not agree with God’s will for marriage.

I’m not sure how you’re getting to this conclusion.

Whether your marriage ceremony has explicit vows or not, you’re giving consent to the marriage either way. Both vows and consent are binding, as stated in the OT and NT (by Jesus).

I don’t think it makes a difference whether your marriage has one or both because you’re still entering a covenant by doing one or the other.

60. @ Joshua

If you read that verse it says a Believer is no longer bound by a marriage vow if the Unbeliever is not please to dwell with him. So Deep Strength when not to keep my wedding vow to an Unbeliever based on the light of the Word of God

No, you’re not under the “bond” of the marital roles and responsibilities like sex.

You are still under the covenant of marriage. Desertion is not a reason a covenant is broken in the OT or the NT.

61. @ Minesweeper

@Joshua – correct, the fact divorce is mentioned alot in the NT and OT, and strangely enough the words – “you can’t divorce under any circumstances” – don’t appear, is seems people are constructing that statement. Which is just making shit up really.

Ah, so you want to ignore Mark 10, Luke 16, Romans 7, and 1 Corinthians 7.

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

Luke 16:18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

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.

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

Jesus says this twice, Paul states it once, and the Lord indicates it once.

The explanation that there is an ‘exception’ in Matthew would contradict the other Scriptures and have Jesus agree with the Pharisees. Not likely.

If you want to be hard hearted like the Pharisees at least admit it. None of us who have studied this in depth are “making shit up” when we state the Scriptures say no divorce on multiple occasions.

62. Bruce says:

Yes, in general I guess I think vows and consent are basically the same view and vows are a visible expression of consent (to marriage). I think consent vs. coitus are the two main possibilities for what makes a marriage. Church history comes down on the side of consent if that counts for anything.

63. Paul says:

@Ame thank you for your story

64. Ame says:

thank you, Paul. it’s a story-in-progress meaning that my understanding of things that happened and even those i chose evolve as i understand and know God better 🙂

i hope that by being honest and transparent as much as possible, i can help someone else.

‘as much as possible’ meaning that i have no desire to malign those who have hurt me, and i absolutely do not want to do anything that could possibly hurt my girls anymore than they already have been. 🙂

65. Ame says:

Minesweeper
@Ame, thank you for your input I really appreciate it.

you are welcome 🙂

– – –

So how to reconcile what God does on the ground with the lofty theology of those who have never experienced a marriage and divorce ?

your question is heavy and certainly difficult to answer. i think the simple answer is that there is Truth, and there are lies, and regardless of what we believe and what we personally experience, Truth and lie do not change. God is who He is and He never changes – He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. therefore, the Truth never changes.

we can argue theology all we want, but the Truth that God created, the Truth that IS God and who He is, had never changed regardless of what some theologian or expert or PhD or whatever claims. that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily wrong … it means they’re not God and our ultimate authority is God, alone.

it would be easier, would it not, if God would write more bible as we’re working through things to make it more clear to our own, personal minds 🙂 … but, He doesn’t work that way.

“18 For the [a]message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the [b]disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a [c]stumbling block and to the [d]Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” I Corinthians 1:18-25

“12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13

for whatever reason, God did not create us already knowing things … He intends for us to work things out … He intends for them to be a process. honestly i grow weary of the process! i want it done and known NOW! lol! can we just get it all done right the first time and wrap it up in pretty wrapping paper and tie with an exquisite bow and move onto the next thing already?! 🙂

there are some things we’re not privy to at different times in our lives … sometimes that’s because we close our ears and eyes to the Truth, and sometimes, as i understand the bible, it’s because God has closed our ears and eyes to the Truth and it is not yet time for Him to reveal it to us, for whatever reasons He chooses.

i do NOT see this as a manipulative God … but rather one who is so loving and compassionate that He knows what we need and is willing to do it even if it hurts. as a parent there have been endless times i’ve had to do things that i knew would hurt my children in some way knowing that in the bigger picture it would be for their benefit. letting them fail at something to learn failure and success is one quick example.

so the question is … what is Truth? and how do we know Truth? and then … how do we relay that Truth to others?

once you’ve experienced something, such as marriage and divorce, you know a truth those who have not experienced it do not know. how do you reconcile that truth with theological discussions?

the only thing i know is to lay it before God, to be sincerely open to whatever He reveals to you – which, btw, will never contradict scripture b/c the Bible is God’s Holy Word and God does not contradict Himself. and then we wait. study, pray, wait. and then we need to be patient with others who are in their own process with God. speak Truth, certainly … but also accept and realize that we are NOT the Holy Spirit, and it is the Holy Spirit who convicts, not us. we have a part when God calls us to speak, but we are never the one who will convict another. the Holy Spirit might use our words to convict, but we are simply the messenger.

– – –
another note that i think is important to state …

15 Then the Lord God took [d]the man and put him in the garden of Eden to [e]tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you[f] shall surely die.” Genesis 2:15-17

4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5

once one eats of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil of divorce, their eyes are opened to all the good and evil of divorce. this is true of any sin – and divorce occurs because of sin, always. it might not be *your* sin, but it is because of sin.

so to expect one who has not eaten that ‘fruit’ to have their eyes opened to all of that is unrealistic. there are things we cannot know – good and bad – unless we’ve experienced them. for example, it’s not bad to sky dive, but you won’t find me doing it! lol! 🙂 and it’s just fine with me not to know what that’s like.

you asked some more questions … since this is already so long (hope that’s okay DS), i’ll post this and answer in another comment 🙂

66. Ame says:

Did you feel married to your 2nd husband when the 1st one finally died ? … I never felt “married”, I was always waiting for it to start. … I would certainly say even though I never felt it that our marriage had begun, it dosnt feel like it ended

i think we can get into a LOT of trouble when we depend on feelings over truth. it’s not that feelings are always unreliable, but we certainly do need to be careful with them.

for example, when my first husband and i drove away from our wedding, i remember looking at him and saying, “That’s it? Now we’re married and it’s okay to have sex?” i certainly didn’t ‘feel’ any different at all. and it took a very long time for me to ‘feel’ like it was okay, and not ‘bad’ when we went into a hotel room together, alone, as a married couple.

however … when my first husband died, there was a transition inside me. i believe it was a release from God because what God had joined together was not broken by God through his death.

to be honest, i haven’t read all this very carefully or all the comments b/c i simply don’t have the mental space to process all this right now 🙂 … but if you believe as i do that sex with a virgin who is free to marry you = marriage … then my first question would be are you the one who got her virginity? or did she already give it to someone else, meaning she was already married when you met her. you said she was a compulsive liar and her vows meant nothing – is that b/c she already made vows thru sex with another man?

i’m guessing there were no children? if there were children, you’re connected to her for life. even though their dad has died, we are still connected thru our children.

if there are not children, then it sounds to me (and i could be totally wrong here, so take it fwiw), but it sounds to me like you’re still processing all of this … trying to figure out Truth and lie and what all that means to you, personally. what did you, personally do right, and what did you, personally do wrong – even if you didn’t know any better. discerning that … accepting it … processing it … and then deciding what to do with it. and then deciding what you want/need/should do now. it sounds like you really want to know what God thinks and how God sees your life and your personal choices. keep praying and searching; He will show you Truth and lie, in His time.

67. Minesweeper says:

@Ame, thanks for your comments. We have a child between us. And I took her virginity. Turns out she had BPD, so lying is just part of it really – they will say anything to get what they want really. Tbh she doesnt really know how to love, obey, honor, something that they keep well hidden until you are committed to them, then the craazzyy time starts and you cant get out of it. Borderlines dont really have a personality, they are more chameleons than anything, they just reflect back to you what they think you would want if they want you on their side that it, apart from that its a rage fest.

I was wondering for you, when you married the 2nd time, did it feel like marriage and did his death somehow legitimise your 2nd at that point ? Did your 2nd marriage change after the death of the 1st is what im asking.

68. Don Quixote says:

Bruce says:

August 17, 2018 at 6:39 am
@ Don,

A lot of protestants seem to say vows create marriage – I don’t believe this. Ceremonies with vows didn’t exist until well after Biblical times – were those people not married? What has to be included in the vows? Obedience, exclusivity, death til us part? I don’t think there is a biblical template for vows that we are given and I don’t believe we are held to vows we make up which may or may not agree with God’s will for marriage.

Excellent thoughts.
The biblical template that Jesus used was Adam and Eve. In that example there are at least three factors:
1) Parental approval [God being the parent and initiator]
2) Consent: this is now flesh of my flesh and bone…
3) Consummation: The two will become one flesh

Absent of course was witnesses, vows, and ceremony, these were developed much later. I can understand the need for witnesses, and if I was the father of the bride I would approve of the vows, but in the state enforced matriarchy we now have I would get rid of the vows in an instant.

Historically, the two contenders for what makes a marriage seem to be consent and cotius (or banoth). Consent would mean consent to marriage as God defines it. I suppose the Jewish contract could have contained the element of consent and ceremonies with vows would be a visual and audible expression of consent. The problem with the consent view as I see it is consent is abstract, unverifiable, etc. How would anyone ever know for sure they were married? And consent to what? Who has the official list. Do you have to consent to female obedience, openness to children, indissoluability, etc. Does consent have to be positive or can it merely be negative (as in I don’t actively, consciously deny the basics of marriage when I consent).

Tough questions. I assume those same questions were the basis for the marriage liturgy…? Historically most folks getting married would understand marriage from their parents. They learn from dad and mum. This should be a foundation, but nowadays marriage is being attacked from all sides.

This is now the Catholic problem – Francis says half of marriages as probably not valid for lack of consent and as much as I don’t like him he may be right on this.

I tend to disagree.
I have a more despotic view of authority. If the couple agreed before witnesses, and they were eligible, then if either of them changes their mind it doesn’t count. BTW – it is usually the wife that withdraws consent.

As far as I can tell Chrystostom and Abrose were the first to declare that consent (will) creates marriage (around 400-ish). Pope Nicolas affirmed this belief around 800 and it was addressed in the 1100s (when Gratian tried to argue that coitus was required IN ADDITION to consent/will-to-marriage).

I think Peter Lombard was the champion of the consent view.
Gratian defended his coital view of marriage.
And the Bolognese school of thought revolved around parental approval.

I have not read a good defense of the “coitus makes marriage” view except things people write on the internet. The appeal of this view is it makes marriage (mostly) knowable and verifiable, not depending upon an abstraction which can be very subjective particularly in the case of a woman. It also makes polygyny more understandable. God may heavily disfavor it but he doesn’t forbid it because marriage is a natural consequence of coitus. If marriage is vows or consent, then God could easily 100% eliminate it by making 1man/1woman a condition of vows or what has to be consented to.

The best expositor of the ‘coitus makes marriage’ view is Martin Madan. His views are available from Amazon:

The link is to volume 1, but he expounds upon more upon it in volume 2. And volume 3 is a disappointment. I was hoping for a defence against his critics, but sadly no.

Thanks for your thoughts Bruce, whilst we don’t agree on everything it is refreshing to see you are up to speed with the info.

69. @ Don Quixote

Absent of course was witnesses, vows, and ceremony, these were developed much later. I can understand the need for witnesses, and if I was the father of the bride I would approve of the vows, but in the state enforced matriarchy we now have I would get rid of the vows in an instant.

Historically, the two contenders for what makes a marriage seem to be consent and cotius (or banoth). Consent would mean consent to marriage as God defines it. I suppose the Jewish contract could have contained the element of consent and ceremonies with vows would be a visual and audible expression of consent. The problem with the consent view as I see it is consent is abstract, unverifiable, etc. How would anyone ever know for sure they were married? And consent to what? Who has the official list. Do you have to consent to female obedience, openness to children, indissoluability, etc. Does consent have to be positive or can it merely be negative (as in I don’t actively, consciously deny the basics of marriage when I consent).

The Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were witnesses.

I’d argue for the 4 components:

Parental approval (generally), consent, sex, and witnesses. Consent and sex are probably the two minimal it seems in the absence of some others.

70. Don Quixote says:

Deep Strength says:
August 17, 2018 at 8:56 pm

The Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were witnesses.

I’d argue for the 4 components:

Parental approval (generally), consent, sex, and witnesses. Consent and sex are probably the two minimal it seems in the absence of some others.

This brings us back to an ancient problem.
If consummation creates a marriage, there won’t be any witnesses. Couples [especially virgins] aint gunna get it on in front of witnesses.
OR
If ceremony creates a marriage there may not be consummation. If no consummation are they married?
This brings us back to ‘the tokens of her virginity’ or a blood stained sheet. All this works reasonably well with the betrothal view of the exception clause. It’s been quite a journey.

71. Ame says:

however … when my first husband died, there was a transition inside me. i believe it was a release from God because what God had joined together was NOW broken by God through his death.

72. Ame says:

i’m so sorry, Minesweeper. dealing with someone with a mental disorder puts things in a whole different realm. one of my aspie-girls’ diagnoses is bipolar, and it was well thought among those who would know what her dad was also bipolar. i’ve not dealt with borderline personality disorder, to my knowledge. but it must be really, really hard. i cannot imagine.

i hope you child is well and okay. do you get to see your child often?

– – –

Did your 2nd marriage change after the death of the 1st is what im asking.

good question. the short answer is no. when i married my second husband, i made a commitment to being his wife (as i did with my first husband). the knowledge was internal and did not affect him or our marriage b/c it wasn’t about my commitment to honor and submit to and respect him. so my behavior towards him was the same; it didn’t change.

there were changes that affected our marriage simply b/c change affects things, but not in a negative or bad way. just an ‘is’ way.

my first husband had done so many terrible things to our girls, and his death was such an unexpected shock, and his parents and brother did so many terrible things at that time, that the grieving process we were plunged into was … harsh. and very, very long. and demanded an almost unearthly amount of energy from all three of us. we slept … a lot. and we were often lethargic. we had little energy. it was a mental and emotional and physical thing … all the way deep into our bones.

my second husband is … amazing. truly, he is amazing. he is gentle and kind and good while also being strong and firm and flexible when necessary. and where he is strong and firm it’s as if it’s not a burden to him; it’s natural. and that … blows me away b/c i was always a burden to my parents, and my first husband certainly saw me as a burden. so to be married to a man who sees me as good, and a blessing, and not a burden is … huge. amazing. and in these years my girls and i have been grieving and working thru all the hell their dad put us thru, my husband has been amazingly patient.

interestingly, in the midst of all of this … i have truly learned that awalt, including me – harsh reality to face 😉 . i thought i was better than other women and certainly not like *that*! lol! when i was married to my first husband i thought i was an incredible wife b/c he where he was terrible he was really bad. but when i married my second husband, who has been so good to me, my ‘dark side’ became more evident, and i’ve had to deal with my own depravity in ways i never had to before. when i compared myself to my first husband, i was an angel! when i compare myself to my second husband, i’m very much a fallen angel 🙂

73. Ame says:

typos are not my friend today!

and it was well thought among those who would know what her dad was also bipolar.

should read: and it was well though among those who would know THAT her dad was also bipolar.

– – – – –

when i was married to my first husband i thought i was an incredible wife b/c he where he was terrible he was really bad.

should read: when i was married to my first husband i thought i was an incredible wife b/c, where he was terrible, he was really bad. (where he was good he was beyond reproach, but he took being bad to a very dark place).

74. Ame says:

Deep Strength – if i remember correctly, you live in california? if so, i hope you and yours are safe from the fires.

75. Ame says:

Did your 2nd marriage change after the death of the 1st is what im asking.

pondering this some more, because this is an excellent question …

what DID change was my relationship with God. it wasn’t like fireworks or anything huge like that … more it was a subtle evolution of learning, accepting, repenting, humbling – very humbling, and eventually the sin that i had kept close to me was dissolved through confession and repentance and the relationship with God fully free again.

it was a process, a long process. not something i could have defined or predicted or understood, even.

my fear of God hurting me put a barrier between us, and my heart weeps as i think about this because God was so gentle with me about it. He wasn’t mean or vindictive. He wasn’t weak, either, but He allowed me the process to work through it and to work it out. with gentleness and firmness all at the same time.

this is huge for me for a lot of reasons … but one being that i have always, always, always hated, and i mean, HATED, to have to apologize for anything. and while that’s not always a good thing … it kept me out of a LOT of trouble b/c i knew that if i did x then i’d have to eventually face up to it and apologize to someone, even if it was only God 🙂 . that does not mean i never sinned, that i was always perfect – quite the contrary. but it seemed that my sins were easy to identify and i was quick to confess and deal with it b/c i hated having to do it, and i hated having it hanging over my head. i like things all neat and tidy and wrapped up in a pretty box with a pretty bow on top 🙂 .

but this … this sin of fear of God hurting me … this was different. this was deep … this ran into very hard things and truths that i had to face about God and myself. and that was very hard and took a very long time. and the amazing thing is that God was okay with that and loved me and guided me though it. it was a profound and humbling experience.

also … since i can’t remember what i’ve written where, it might be helpful to know i was raised in an abusive home – both parents equally guilty, and my dad is a selfish, self-serving man, among other yuck things. my ex FIL is retired from full-time ministry. my ex BIL was also a pastor. and my first husband was a preacher’s kid. these people knew about God and yet hurt me tremendously … and the biggest way they hurt me was by always remembering every.single.thing i ever did wrong, repeating them and reminding each other of them, and withholding forgiveness and harboring resentment and bitterness and condemnation towards me. and i’m not talking about big things … i’m talking nit-picky things.

so along comes this kind man who i ran to because i was afraid of God. i DID and do love him, and i did commit fully to him … but my deep hidden motive that i refused to face was fear that God would hurt me. and God allowed me to marry him … allowed me to be married to a kind man who has done nothing but love me with kindness and goodness and tons of forgiveness (all of which i needed). and then … five years into our marriage … my first husband dies … and that begins a long, years-long, process of God working on my heart, revealing these things to me, bringing me to acceptance and repentance … all so He could forgive me and love me. how awesome is that?!

76. Minesweeper says:

@ame, thanks for sharing your story, yeah my family of origin was pretty bad also hence it drove me to God, also God has destroyed me utterly over the last many years as well by becoming seriously ill went into a coma 6 times etc…. Which is a direct opposite to how things were with him before which was amazing. But somehow he will have to pull me out of this and Ive seen him do it before easily, but its really changed my character\personality – good and bad, I no longer see people as generally good and worthy of having them in my life, they really are monkeys full of snakes – JP quote. And especially the ones that you would think are there for you the most, drop you at the 1st sign of trouble. If nothing else I can see humanity now, and you can see why we needed to be saved and why its worth for God to destroy everything when he deems fit as there is nothing worth saving down here – except souls for eternity of course !

77. Ame says:

wow, Minesweeper. that’s … wow. it’s so powerful that you can see God like that in the midst of all this hell in your life. that is so incredibly powerful. keep looking at and for Him … because He’s there, and He’s got this. He’s got everything.

you know that psalm that says, Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. Psalm 42:7

i always wondered what that meant … ‘deep calls to deep’ … and when i was in some really dark places, i realized God was already there, ahead of me, waiting for me, calling to me, knowing i was going to be there, in those deep, dark places, even before i began calling for Him.

He has a way of wrestling with us, like He did with Jacob, to bring us to where He wants us for His glory and our good. i don’t think there’s another ‘god’ out there who does things for the good of those he loves, except our God. all other gods are selfish and care only about themselves. our God, though, He cares about us and what’s best for us and won’t leave us happy and comfortable even if it will destroy us.

stay in … keep searching … it’s a process. God’s got this, and He’s got you 🙂

78. Joshua Anyaoha says:

Question: Can Fraudulent Marriage be effectively applied in the New Testament as annulment

@ Deep Strength you said before
“Ah, so you want to ignore Mark 10, Luke 16, Romans 7, and 1 Corinthians 7.
Mark 10:10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. 11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
Luke 16:18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.
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.
1 Corinthians 7:10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
Jesus says this twice, Paul states it once, and the Lord indicates it once.
The explanation that there is an ‘exception’ in Matthew would contradict the other Scriptures and have Jesus agree with the Pharisees. Not likely.
If you want to be hard hearted like the Pharisees at least admit it. None of us who have studied this in depth are “making shit up” when we state the Scriptures say no divorce on multiple occasions.”

Replying back: “Yes, I believe that a marriage based on fraud can be annulled for the reasons like STDS, Aids, Gender change, Hiv, any sexual sins.  That is not being hard hearted like the Pharisees. It is applying the principles in the Mosaic law that express God’s directions for marriage. I have to live according to the whole counsel of God, not only selected passages. Scripture interprets Scripture, so I need to examine all relevant passages to gain an understanding of God’s will. Passages that give little information on a subject must be considered in light of the passages that give additional information.  The foundation of fraud is not in the previous sexual experience, but in lying about it to deceive in order to secure one’s desires. Even in such a situation, divorce is not commanded, only permitted. Those who marry who knowingly marry a spouse is not pure is not being defrauded.

You emails reveal a lot of ambivalence no offense. It seems as if you are trying to find Biblical justification for limited divorce, especially in regards a marriage enacted upon a fraudulent basis, yet the passages you cite keep you going into a counter argument for a position of a no divorce, no remarriage stand.  You are certainly welcome to hold to the latter standard for there are many very godly men that do, however, you will still have to work out how you will treat those who are divorced. The tragic reality in our society is that one spouse can divorce the other without their consent. But don’t be offended tell me what do you think if Fraudulent Marriage does not apply to Believers living in the New Testament no problem. What’s the truth understanding of us Believers living in the New Testament?”

79. @ Joshua

Talk to a theologian.

I’ve already stated my viewpoint multiple times.

80. Joshua Anyaoha says:

@Deep Strength
“Talk to a theologian.
I’ve already stated my viewpoint multiple times.”

Yes you have no doubt stated your view point and to me I doubt the Word “Fraudulent Marriage” applies to the New Testament because one reason the wedding vows nullifies the biggest flaws is very simple you have taken that person and said to God for better and for worse I will marry you in sickness, etc so it doesn’t make sense to say ohhh I did not know you were diagnose with terrible disease or ohh you never told me your Satan worshipper or anything we can think of. We can’t come up with something called “Fraudulent Marriage of the New Testament” and be justified to divorce or nullify the wedding. You agree Deep Strength? This I hear all the time you can marry again if your marriage was a fraud or on a false pretense I do not believe such should be justified that way to remarry again if defrauded. The New Testament is clear like you said “No divorce and No remarriage whatsoever” I’m so sure that. Expecting your reply Deep Strength God bless you for the truth and divine revelation and careful in depth study.

81. Minesweeper says:

@Joshua, DS

The argument breaks down when you consider there is no restriction to the number of wives a christian man marry, none. So that breaks your one time rule with one woman.

Also you think :

“one who divorces\marries another commits adultery”

actually means:

“one who divorces\marries another commits adultery continually and permanently while in that relationship”

and it doesn’t, someone has to commit adultery to break the marriage bond, note that no commandment is placed upon a spouse to ignore adultery, if your married to someone who commits adultery frequently, do you really think you are bound to this individual under the law?

The point Jesus was making was their is no sinless divorce.

@Ame, I hope he does, he did before and it was amazing, now when he does its terrible, I’ve seen God do both great and terrible things – even in my own life. It’s a side of him we don’t want to see, if he wants someone destroyed for a time or dead they will be, if he wants nations taken down they will be. A prominent christian (now leader of his own church) who I had never met before and didn’t know me came up to me and said “God says you are in jail like Joseph but will get out soon”, and I’ve had quite a few like that. I keep trying to fight my way out, but its hard going. When he wants to bless you its so easy is almost ridiculous, when he wants to destroy you its impossible to get out of.

82. Ame says:

@Ame, I hope he does, he did before and it was amazing, now when he does its terrible, I’ve seen God do both great and terrible things – even in my own life. It’s a side of him we don’t want to see, if he wants someone destroyed for a time or dead they will be, if he wants nations taken down they will be. A prominent christian (now leader of his own church) who I had never met before and didn’t know me came up to me and said “God says you are in jail like Joseph but will get out soon”, and I’ve had quite a few like that. I keep trying to fight my way out, but its hard going. When he wants to bless you its so easy is almost ridiculous, when he wants to destroy you its impossible to get out of.

wow. that’s … powerful.

i wish i was able to process these things like a man sometimes; my emotions confuse a lot of things 🙂

I’ve seen God do both great and terrible things – even in my own life. It’s a side of him we don’t want to see, if he wants someone destroyed for a time or dead they will be, if he wants nations taken down they will be.

i have to work on these things in my mind … to separate it from personal experience with those who were supposed to love me but hurt me – and seemed to get immense pleasure out of it – like my parents, like my ex-in-laws, like my first husband … i have to separate this part of God that does terrible things w/these human experiences.

b/c i do not believe God is one of hate and reactive, uncontrolled behavior. i do not believe He just goes crazy off-the-rails out-of-control. i believe He is purposeful. controlled. planned.

83. Minesweeper says:

@Ame, “b/c i do not believe God is one of hate and reactive, uncontrolled behavior. i do not believe He just goes crazy off-the-rails out-of-control. i believe He is purposeful. controlled. planned.”

I agree, if you read the NT there is frequently lots of problems and significant hardships for the apostles and others, he often has to break those he uses first. You have seen what its like when he dosnt break people and they are in positions of authority and responsibility and how awful people can be then.

Revival\decline\Gods destruction – this was a permanent fixture of Israel, and then they turned back to God. Thats not me, I went with God’s plan and got ruined for a time. Im still in that time. We will need to see what will happen.

84. @ Joshua

so it doesn’t make sense to say ohhh I did not know you were diagnose with terrible disease or ohh you never told me your Satan worshipper or anything we can think of.

In my “opinion,” you should be asking about all of these things prior to the marriage.

You should only be marrying a virtuous, godly wife… one who has demonstrated a consistent character compatible with a faithful Christian in good works, service in the Church, and the like. Marrying a virgin precludes much of that stuff.

Lots of men are thirsty and they ignore yellow and red flags. If you brush things under the rug, don’t be surprised when they suddenly reappear later.

This does not mean a wife just up and leaving or some random happenstance, but humans are creatures of habit. A woman who has instilled godly habits will not easily deviate from them.

Aside from your commitment to God, if you decide to get married and who you decide to get married is probably the 2nd most important decision in your life. You’re literally choosing that you’re going to include them in everything you do (one flesh). Unfortunately, many Christians take this decision too lightly and just decide on it based on ‘how in love they feel.’

85. Ame says:

Revival\decline\Gods destruction – this was a permanent fixture of Israel, and then they turned back to God. Thats not me, I went with God’s plan and got ruined for a time. Im still in that time. We will need to see what will happen.

that’s the hard part, isn’t it. doing it right, and things still go wrong … and choosing to believe God is still God, He is still in control, nothing – not any tiny thing – escapes Him, He is still Good, and He’s got this. He did not slip up. He did not oops. He did not blink. and we may never fully understand it all this side of heaven.

this is even harder for me with my daughters. there are many things now that they’re moving on from that my Mama heart is still weeping over. they just kinda roll their eyes at me, and i tell them that if/when they’re a Mama someday, they will understand it then 🙂 .

but … our human minds cannot comprehend the mind of God. we want answers. we want to prevent the same ‘mistakes’ we made or others have. i think the whole manosphere is kind of built on that, and they’re all grasping at straws trying to find answers and solutions and to fix things.

and some things … they just can’t be figured out or fixed with our human minds. only the mind of God can do that. and that means we have to give up control to this Being that we cannot see or touch and must simply believe in – even and especially when all human logic fails everywhere.

I agree, if you read the NT there is frequently lots of problems and significant hardships for the apostles and others, he often has to break those he uses first. You have seen what its like when he dosnt break people and they are in positions of authority and responsibility and how awful people can be then.

sometimes i think i must be awfully slow on learning b/c i’m weary of the problems and hardships and being broken 🙂 … but, alas, not my life to live for myself.

i’m sooooo deeply grateful there is a God and that He has chosen to love me. idk how people live this life without Him.

86. Eidolon says:

Thanks for the page references, DS. The McFall document is long.

I do find it relatively persuasive that it is essentially irrelevant to exclude a condition for divorce which would not/could not be exercised, especially in Matthew, being more for Jewish listeners.

In general this allows the statements in Matthew to agree with those in Mark and Luke. Another thing I was thinking about is that presumably there would have been believers whose only Gospel was Mark or Luke, for some period of time at least. Thus it seems strange to give them incomplete, bordering on incorrect, information.

It makes more sense that the way the statement in Mark or Luke would be understood by Gentiles would be equivalent to how the statement(s) in Matthew would be understood by Jews. The other references you provided later also seem to argue in favor of this interpretation.

While I hope never to have a reason for it to matter overmuch, I’m provisionally persuaded to this view.

87. Eidolon says:

I also find it odd to think of a passage of Scripture which would be misleading, bordering on incorrect, without the context of another passage. Jesus’ statements, to His disciples at least, usually seem complete.

There are certainly passages where we can’t be too confident of their meaning, such as “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.” There are others where they are given more significance later, such as passages of the OT which are revealed in the NT to be about Christ or have some other meaning that wasn’t obvious.

I can’t think of another case where multiple passages say “to do X is a sin,” but another passage says “to do X is a sin, except in the case of Y.” If exception Y was intended it seems pretty relevant for all the references to X.

It is interesting that God seems to have consciously changed His approach, stating that He both put away and divorced Israel. It seems that He also follows the New Testament way after Jesus came, since there seems to be no talk of Him putting away or divorcing the true Israel, no matter how far the Church strays from her Bridegroom.

I would say the modern Church is certainly guilty of adultery, but God seems no longer to consider putting her away or divorcing her, fortunately for us.

88. @ Eidolon

It is interesting that God seems to have consciously changed His approach, stating that He both put away and divorced Israel. It seems that He also follows the New Testament way after Jesus came, since there seems to be no talk of Him putting away or divorcing the true Israel, no matter how far the Church strays from her Bridegroom.

I don’t think God necessarily changed His approach, but more so demonstrating to His people what they are doing to Him (justly, of course).

At least to me, God directing Hosea to marry a prostitute is much more weird than Him divorcing unfaithful Israel (which was in accordance with the Law).

As I mentioned, I think the betrothal explanation may be correct even though I am persuaded to the other at the moment. The major support for the betrothal explanation is how well it fits with Joseph and Mary and also the Church and Jesus at the moment (engagement period but not ‘consummated’ per se).

89. Bruce says:

If polygyny is not forbidden to Christians (taking no position on this one way or another) then the coitus makes marriage view doesn’t seem unreasonable – God might disfavor polygyny but doesn’t forbid it since it would be a natural consequence of coitus.
Gratian, I think, is associated with the view that both consent AND coitus are required and I believe he argued that Joseph and Mary had a dissoluble marriage (since he was Catholic he believed they never had intercourse).
Matthew was written first. I suppose one could argue that the “exception” described a fornicating wife who was therefore not a wife -she was a concubine. If the coital view was well established among the growing Christian community (to include Romans and Greeks) the exception would not be included in Mark and Luke because it wasn’t necessary and would be confusing – Mark and Luke gave the spirit of the law – you cannot divorce a wife. 1 Corinthians seems to presume that only virgins and widows are eligible for marriage although some claim “virgin” can be used to mean “young, marriageable woman” and Paul was responding to specific questions which we don’t have a copy of. I’m imagining a plausible but unverifiable contextual backstory.

90. Joshua Anyaoha says:

@Deep Strength
according to divorcehope
“Therefore, what GOD has joined…” (Matthew 19:6b).
It is commonly believed that every marriage between a man and a woman is “joined” by God and God’s blessings are on the marriage. We see from the Scriptures of Ezra, chapter 9 and 10, and Nehemiah, chapter 13 that this is just not true. Let me take this to an extreme to more clearly reveal this truth.
Would God come to a wedding of a man and a woman who are professing active worshipers of satan? Would God “witness” this marriage and pronounce His blessing on them when this couple actively serves another god and renounces the God of all creation? Do you think God would have a close intimate relationship with the devil and at the same time command us to “…have NO fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but …[tells us to] …expose them…” (Ephesians 5:11). Whatever God commands us to do, He Himself does.” This includes Homosexuality, Bisexuality, Lesbanism. What do you think God bless

91. Bruce says:

Interesting that Douay-Rheims translates Matthew 19:9 as an exception – you’d think Catholic translators would have strong incentive not to translate it this way – did they use flawed translations propagated by Erasmus?

92. 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…

93. Don Quixote says:

WaaAAaay off topic:

@DS: I don’t know if you are aware but wordpress has been removing some blogs from its platform. I know you get some flack regarding your views, and I would encourage you to make a plan if your stuff gets removed from wordpress.
The label ‘hate-speech’ is the method being used to censor to silence people like ourselves. Please consider getting a domain registration and setting up a mirror site as a plan B

94. Ame says:

whoa – i did not know that myself. what are some good options to WP?

95. Don Quixote says:

Ame says:
August 20, 2018 at 7:48 pm

whoa – i did not know that myself. what are some good options to WP?

I assume you mean alternatives to wordpress?
There are a lot of different blog platforms available but I think it depends on their politics and who owns them.

96. Joshua Anyaoha says:

@ Deep Strength
Got a good marriage question. How about if the lady was pregnant on her wedding day she had a baby in her womb at that time on the altar. Can that man still wed again after he discovers that the woman confess to him days after the wedding when she hid the information from him before the wedding that she had sex and was pregnant for another man? The man being angry wants to remarry again and believes his previous marriage isn’t blessed because of this lady’s pregnancy. He said God cannot join three but two one man and one woman til death do them part. So the minister who concluded he never married. What do you see and do you still believe Deep Strength that the man indeed married her in God’s sight having said vows and so on? God bless

97. Joshua Anyaoha says:

@ Deep Strength
If I’m in a situation whereby my wife to be was pregnant in the altar without my notice then after the wedding the same principles applies I can decide to be single and later reconciled with her if things worked out correct?

98. Joshua Anyaoha says:

“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.”

In this case such a Christian who had married a Christian cannot divorce him/her and remarry for it will be adultery as you stated above?

99. Jack Sotodea says:

Can you explain Deep Strength Hebrews 13:4

“Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”

My Pastor said those who wives or husbands committed continous fornication before marriage and by doing so defiled the marriage bed making the marriage itself voided or dimiss before God. He could be wrong the way he is interpreting this scripture but can you please share true deep light to what this scripture really means thanks for your help God bless.

100. @ Jack Sotodea, Joshua Anyaoha, Jack Sotosea

101. Jack Sotodea says:

No, Joshua is my brother older Deep Strength sharing the same computer he has his account. Apologize if you thought mistakenly was him. My question is based on Hebrews 13:4 can you please explained this?
From Jack

102. @ Jack

That’s man’s commandment rather than God.

Where does say the covenant of marriage is voided in the BIble by any action, except by death?

Hint: there is none.

Why does the Lord say: “stay single or reconcile?”

Why does Jesus say: “What God has put together let no man separate.”

103. Joshua Anyaoha says:

Ok, I know you’ve explained quite well based on your in-depth studies there is no divorce after marriage that’s clear to me so its no excuses after wedding, so I greatly apologize for going back and forth. But on this case can you address this critical case which I am finding difficult to do.

Someone told me the marriage was abominable and wasn’t accepted and honored to God and so on that she hid the fact that she was pregnant on her wedding day and decieved you to it and why must you forgive and reconcile with her they’ve said.

But based on your on-depth studies there is no divorce in this situation, but is the wedding itself still a wedding or has the guy not wedding at all despite the fact she hid her unexpected pregnancy before the Priest and witnesses?

Please for the last I beseech what can such person like me do in this critical situation. What I meant is though its abominable is it still a valid marriage in God’s eye and will God still hold me responsible to my wedding vows? I knew it after the wedding she hid the fact she was pregnant on the altar and decieved me and after I ignorantly consummated the marriage. Thanks alot. God bless.

104. Why are you believing what man says rather than what God says?

Like I said, if you think the betrothal view has merit then putting her away is fine. I’ve leaned over to the no divorce period side, though I can see the merits of the betrothal interpretation.

Why don’t you do the research yourself and figure out what God says rather than asking me.

I’m not going to play arbiter of morality for you.

105. Joshua Anyaoha says:

the Bible says in Matthew 1:18-25 Mary was pregnant through fornication and Joseph being a just man was going to divorce her before the marriage not after but the problem I struggle is what if the man never knew of his wife pregnancy through fornication but after one flesh with her he knew can he still divorce her as the wife defrauded him and it was known after the wedding? A case like this was found in Deut 22 we call it marital fraud. This I have an issue but based on your in-depth studies I’m going to guess I believe it appears to be no divorce after one flesh and after he ignorantly consummated the marriage therefore in this case since though deceived he can be single or reconcile if right?

106. I posted a link that goes over the betrothal concept.

I also posted a link that goes over the no divorce concept.

As a Catholic, you have a good case for annulment. As a Protestant, you should study the Scriptures to see if you think the betrothal view fits your case or if no divorce fits your case.

107. Joshua Anyaoha says:

Greetings when you say no divorce period are you also saying no divorce and remarriage once you’ve married?

108. Joshua Anyaoha says:

If I’m currently in my second marriage after I have come to Christ and to accept His gospel is my second marriage a sin? My first marriage ended by fornication and she was pregnant on her wedding day. Which marriage is binding?

109. white says:

The “Erasmus view” and the Betrothal view are mutually exclusive. Pick one.

If you choose the Erasmus view then you’ll have to explain why the Bible called Joseph a “just man” for initially wanting to divorce his “fiancee” Mary.

110. @ white

The “Erasmus view” and the Betrothal view are mutually exclusive. Pick one.

At the moment, I’m not particularly convinced either way.

You do make a good point about the betrothal view though so that may sway my opinion.

The main thing I am comfortable asserting is “What God has put together let no man separate” which the Lord echos through Paul in 1 Corinthians 7.

111. white says:

I recall the academia/hermeneutics world being very unimpressed with McFall’s arguments when it first came out. I’ve never seen hermeneutics stackexchange throw out a case so nonchalantly:

https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/26459/matthew-199-mcfall-the-exception-clause-and-erasmus

Indeed it’s hard to argue when there are numerous other pre/ante-Nicaen fathers either quoting or choosing this traditional understanding (other than John Chrysostom in the link above)

Clement of Alexandria (ca. 195)—“You shall not put away your wife except for the cause of fornication” (Roberts and Donaldson 1995, 2.379).

Tertullian (ca. 207): Jesus prohibits divorce “except for the cause of fornication” (Ibid. 4.45). Again, Christ “permits divorce when the marriage is spotted with unfaithfulness” (Ibid. 3.405). He allows “divorce for no cause, except one” (Ibid. 4.66).

Novatian (ca. 235): Christ “said that a wife must not be put away, except for the cause of adultery” (Ibid. 5.589).

Origen (ca. 245): The Savior does not at all permit “the dissolution of marriages for any other sin than fornication alone” (Ibid. 9:511).

Add in the fact that today we have hundreds of Greek manuscripts many older than Erasmus himself, all reading “me epi porneia”… I can see why McFall’s findings didn’t cause any stir at all in the Christian world.

It doesn’t have to be this way. By constructing his entire thesis upon one man’s supposed conspiracy, McFall finds himself at odds with any and all texts before Erasmus. Instead of picking on Erasmus, McFall’s case could have been made stronger if he argued that the current words (me epi porneia or not) would have been more accurately translated the McFall’s way, while simultaneously arguing that our current understanding of all the Early Church writings are based on faulty translations as well (not related to Erasmus). Such an argument would pit McFall up against pretty much every single Christian scholar past or present, and could potentially change everything we know about the NT and the Early Church. But that’s exactly what he did anyway, having prepared no less than 12 unpublished articles on divorce where he critiques pretty much every single Christian textual scholar past and present. This is beginning to seem like an attack on organized Christianity in some ways.

https://lmf12.wordpress.com/unpublished-articles/

Sadly, McFall won’t be able to clarify his position any further. He passed away in 2015. RIP

https://lmf12.wordpress.com/

Leaving us amateurs with more questions than answers. Hopefully some genius trained in “critical apparatus” (whatever that means) can tell me what’s going on here:

https://community.logos.com/forums/t/168966.aspx?PageIndex=1

Though tbh I won’t hold my breath. It didn’t cause waves back then for good reason, it probably won’t now. Remember the popular saying “A lot of ink has been spilled to ignore what the BIble clearly says” ? This guy brings this saying to a whole new level.

112. @ white

Thanks for the analysis. I’ve read some on the early Church fathers as well.

I’ll probably do a final re-analysis when I have the time and have given some more time to think about it.

113. jae_jae says:

If polygamy is not wrong but inoptimal and disqualifying for church leadership, then how can a man whose wife departs from him (he doesn’t put her away) be sinful for taking a new wife?

>I would hope that all Christians are striving for the ideal as per Jesus, so that would preclude them from taking another wife.

I don’t see the strength in this argument it’s not a sin to be less righteous or passionate than others, when paul speaks of marriage he says the whole thing is a distraction from God but that it is not sinful, a man who marries does well and one who doesn’t for God does better. Polygamy may disqualify you from church leadership but it doesn’t disqualify you from the church itself, if it isn’t a sin how could a man possibly commit adultery if he hasn’t shirked his duty to support his wife and takes a new wife.

And what does this say for other sexual sins, I know Gary North used this brutal example for something similar to this (about people saying the OT is irrelevant and covenant marriage) so I’ll use it here too, if your wife commits beastiality you do not have grounds for divorce under this interpretation. I don’t claim that it’s a realistic example but your wife could open an animal porn site starring her, supposing it was legal in your region, and not only could you not divorce her but you must financially support and love her as she sleeps with animals for money. A marriage without divorce is one where the less interested party is given free reign to sin without earthly consequence.

Gary North and Ray Suttons opinion on divorce and remarriage:
http://garynorth.com/SecondChance.pdf

114. @ jae jae

If polygamy is not wrong but inoptimal and disqualifying for church leadership, then how can a man whose wife departs from him (he doesn’t put her away) be sinful for taking a new wife?

A wife who departs from a husband (or a husband who departs from a wife) are still married. Departing does not invalidate marriage vows. In all of Scripture, God does not take kindly to broken vows.

Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 7 that a believer is not under bondage (to the responsibilities of marriage). The believer is still to remain single or reconcile:

1 Corinthians 7:10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not [d]leave her husband 11 (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not [e]divorce his wife.

Abandonment does not allow for remarriage.

And what does this say for other sexual sins, I know Gary North used this brutal example for something similar to this (about people saying the OT is irrelevant and covenant marriage) so I’ll use it here too, if your wife commits beastiality you do not have grounds for divorce under this interpretation. I don’t claim that it’s a realistic example but your wife could open an animal porn site starring her, supposing it was legal in your region, and not only could you not divorce her but you must financially support and love her as she sleeps with animals for money. A marriage without divorce is one where the less interested party is given free reign to sin without earthly consequence.

That’s why the Scripture allows for separation not divorce.

115. jae_jae says:

@Deepstrength
>Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 7 that a believer is not under bondage (to the responsibilities of marriage). The believer is still to remain single or reconcile:

>1 Corinthians 7:10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not [d]leave her husband 11 (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not [e]divorce his wife.

I don’t see why we should assume the instructions/provisions given to women extend to men in that verse, women and men are addressed separately the same provisioning for separation is not given to the man which makes sense given their special duty to provide (not only that but the same term for separation isn’t even used reinforcing my belief that it’s two different but similar scenarios). If a man could put her away willy nilly it’d nullify his responsibility to care for his wife (or wives), there’s no point in a responsibility to provide if he can abdicate that responsibility on a whim (there are no conditions for wrongful or righteous departure by the woman, although it could be assumed separation is in it of itself wrongful and the following instruction on how to separate is an effort to not compound the error but then it would likewise be wrong for a man to separate from his pornstar wife, so if the instructions are duplicated for the man then he can likewise leave on a whim).

Consider the situation where you already have two wives and you’re displeased with one, the animal porn one, and put her away but now you’re in violation of OT provisions to provide for your wives equally does that mean only a man with a single wife can put away the the pornstar or that a man with two wives must put away both of them if he wants to get rid of one?
A man with a single wife can leave the pornstar on a whim, but a man with two wives can’t or must leave all his wives that just doesn’t seem logical.

Besides a plain reading of Matthew I’ve always been put off by no remarriage positions because it puts all of the power in the hands of the offending party, spouse betrays God and marriage and you’re left to wallow in loneliness and if you burn in the flesh you cannot pursue marriage as a protection against sexual sin. It’s just nuts, consider that young people are more likely to divorce, you get married in your early 20s or even late teens they leave you and you’re still a horny young adult but now there’s no moral way for you to have sex. Cads commit less sins than a man who remarries after his wife left him, adultery had the death penalty but premarital sex or visiting prostitutes did not. If you fool around and never marry you offend God less than someone who marries after their spouse cheated on them and left, it seems Paul is unwise to warn horny christians to marry instead of burning in the flesh as marriage can produce far worse and persistent sexual sin than occasional sex. Of course just because it seems ridiculous doesn’t mean it isn’t true but because it seems ridiculous and requires such a wealth of knowledge on the history of the text and for you to squint at scripture I’m inclined to disbelieve it.

116. @ jae_jae

I don’t see why we should assume the instructions/provisions given to women extend to men in that verse, women and men are addressed separately the same provisioning for separation is not given to the man which makes sense given their special duty to provide (not only that but the same term for separation isn’t even used reinforcing my belief that it’s two different but similar scenarios).

You’re missing the fact that the gospels state the same thing. Mark 10 and Luke 16 and also Matthew 5 and 19 if read in the correct context.

Marrying anyone who has left/been put away = adultery. That’s because they’re still married. Leaving does not mean your vows are annulled.

Consider the situation where you already have two wives and you’re displeased with one, the animal porn one, and put her away but now you’re in violation of OT provisions to provide for your wives equally does that mean only a man with a single wife can put away the the pornstar or that a man with two wives must put away both of them if he wants to get rid of one?

1 Corinthians 7 covers the fact that if an unbeliever leaves, the Christian is not under the bondage of the responsibilities of marriage.

Besides a plain reading of Matthew I’ve always been put off by no remarriage positions because it puts all of the power in the hands of the offending party, spouse betrays God and marriage and you’re left to wallow in loneliness and if you burn in the flesh you cannot pursue marriage as a protection against sexual sin. It’s just nuts, consider that young people are more likely to divorce, you get married in your early 20s or even late teens they leave you and you’re still a horny young adult but now there’s no moral way for you to have sex. Cads commit less sins than a man who remarries after his wife left him, adultery had the death penalty but premarital sex or visiting prostitutes did not. If you fool around and never marry you offend God less than someone who marries after their spouse cheated on them and left, it seems Paul is unwise to warn horny christians to marry instead of burning in the flesh as marriage can produce far worse and persistent sexual sin than occasional sex.

Of course just because it seems ridiculous doesn’t mean it isn’t true but because it seems ridiculous and requires such a wealth of knowledge on the history of the text and for you to squint at scripture I’m inclined to disbelieve it.

Here’s the problem with your position.

1. Matthew 5 and 19 do not agree with Mark 10, Luke 16, Romans 7, and 1 Corinthians 7 if you read it as “you can divorce for adultery.”

This is a big problem of consistency in the Scripture. The Betrothal view at least makes sense in that Matthew 1 indicates that Joseph was a righteous man to put away Mary for fornication (rather than have her stoned).

2. The view of the Church from the beginning (Jesus) has always been that marriage is permanent.

Even in Matthew 19, that is the position Jesus reiterates that God intended. “What God has put together, let man not separate”

3. Divorce for adultery was already in the Law of Moses. It’s clear that Jesus did not agree with the Pharisees, given when He said and the reaction of the disciples.

The real lessons here are simple:

1. Choose wisely
2. Don’t make vows that you won’t honor

Yes, it would be extremely frustrating for a man if his wife cheats. If my wife ever cheats, I will live separated and single for the rest of my life. But that’s because I hold God’s standard above my own flesh and temptation.

I can only assume those who advocate divorce do not hate sin enough and have hard hearts much like the Pharisees.

117. jae_jae says:

>You’re missing the fact that the gospels state the same thing. Mark 10 and Luke 16 and also Matthew 5 and 19 if read in the correct context.
I don’t think you followed the consequences of my argument in that quoted section, mark and luke and matthew say that divorcing and remarrying is adultery but that does not mean that divorce and not remarrying is on the table for christian men, christian men still have an obligation to provide for their wives and to shirk it is a sin. Even if they don’t remarry they will still sin for not financially providing for their wife, in the passage on separation paul only guides women on the right way to separate from her husband he gives no such instruction to men. Maybe you can argue that in sinning a woman has proven herself to be an unbeliever and the man can remarry, but if she’s a christian who is simply tired of her husband then it’s clear to me (in any interpretation) that the man must still provide for her. If he does provide for her, how would he sin to take another wife?
Or if he’s married two wives, wants to marry a third, the second one separates in protest (without cheating), is it suddenly a sin to marry a third? His marriage is not annulled and he hasn’t failed to provide, so if they are in fact still married why would it be anymore sinful to take a third wife than it would’ve been had the second one stayed? Married is married isn’t it, so what makes the ‘separated’ state a sinful period to take another bride? As such how could it possibly be sinful, provided he provides for his separated wife and not deny her return, for a man whose wife has left him to take another? If the argument is that marriage is marriage and it cannot be torn asunder by man then what is legitimate under marriage should stay legitimate in separation (which is in fact marriage).

>1 Corinthians 7 covers the fact that if an unbeliever leaves, the Christian is not under the bondage of the responsibilities of marriage.
Understood.

1:
>You’re missing the fact that the gospels state the same thing. Mark 10 and Luke 16 and also Matthew 5 and 19 if read in the correct context.
How exactly do you come to this conclusion? It can only conflict with the others if you believe that each account stands as a complete recollection of the event or commentary on the material and matthew 5 & 19 cannot add an additional clause not mentioned in them, they must be repeating the same information on divorce, but if that were true then Romans 7 and 1 corinthians 7 are in conflict with Luke 16 and Mark 10.

1 Corinthians 7
>8 Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say:
An exception for widows not mentioned in Mark and Luke.

Romans 7
>…. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man
Once again a widower clause not mentioned in Mark and Luke.
In the case of widows (i assume) you accept that each verse adds more information to the subject but why is it in conflict for the clear reading of fornication? Fornication not being mentioned can’t be a conflict any more than widowers.
This site addresses the same thing with a different argument
https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1539-is-all-remarriage-after-divorce-condemned
>Matthew has supplemented Mark’s account.
>Multiple passages on the same topic frequently complement one another. Mark 16:16 mentions only belief and baptism as conditions of salvation, yet Acts 2:38 demands repentance. One must conclude, therefore, that all three requirements are part of the plan of redemption. It must be recognized that the “sum” of Christ’s will is not determined by a limited segment of the New Testament that has been isolated from other data on the same subject (Psa. 119:160).

2:
>2. The view of the Church from the beginning (Jesus) has always been that marriage is permanent.
1 I don’t know if this is actually true since I’m not versed on the history of the matter
2 Theology, ironically, was much weaker since many christians lived and died before all of the NT was even written let alone distributed, collected, and debated for canon.
3 Only the word of God has absolute authority if I see church views in conflict with the bible then I side with the bible, this should be especially true for protestants.
4 In matthew it’s recorded twice that jesus makes a fornication exception, mcfalls argument for it being a sticking point of ‘not EVEN fornication’ is extremely weak.

>Even in Matthew 19, that is the position Jesus reiterates that God intended. “What God has put together, let man not separate”
Why should I believe that this means there is no divorce under any exception any more than John 3:16 establishes universal salvation and on one will go to hell or that if God promised to save abrahams descendants that all of the the OT jews will be in heaven. In the same manner as the jews violate the covenant of God and disqualify them from being true children of abraham and in the same manner that unrepentant sinners exclude themselves from John 3:16 a fornicating spouse breaks the marriage covenant and is likewise divorced from the promise, this is the same argument (minus the copious scripture references and arguments) that Gary North and Ray Sutton make in the pdf I provided. And above all, it bears repeating, that it requires an immense twist of logic to say that ‘not’ means ‘not even’. The no remarriage position argues against Jesus’ plain statement and common sense in lieu of word games and a faulty premise “these verses make no reference to this exception so it must not be an exception”. I would love to see a use of the greek grammar in matt 5 & 19 in another text in the manner that mcfall proposes we read it.

3:
>3. Divorce for adultery was already in the Law of Moses. It’s clear that Jesus did not agree with the Pharisees, given when He said and the reaction of the disciples.
No, the law of moses provides for divorce in a broad manner Deuteronomy 24 makes no specific mention of adultery and the preceding note of being displeased with her heavily supports the argument that a man had a lot of room in finding reason to divorce his wife. If it was only for adultery we would see them use the word adultery like they do many times elsewhere in the OT. Jesus’ declaration was a massive reduction of lawful divorce, not a complete one.

>I can only assume those who advocate divorce do not hate sin enough and have hard hearts much like the Pharisees.
No remarriage seems like a Pharisaical position in that it is an excessive burden that flies in the face of a simple reading of the scripture. No one would read the scriptures in Matt 19 and 5 and come to that conclusion and if they read mark 10 and Luke 16 it is simplest to assume that it is the same subject with more information just like Rom 7 and 1 Cor 7 are the same subject with more information.

Matthew 23
4They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.
Matthew 12
12 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” 3 He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? 6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. 7 And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.

118. @ jae_jae

The betrothal explanation probably makes a bit more sense than McFall’s interpretation from doing a little more research.

That would be this:

The betrothal position allows for ‘putting away’ a woman who had fornicated prior to marriage for fraud.

That also fits with the wording of Matthew 5 and 19.

What does not fit with the wording of Matthew 5 and 19 is divorce for adultery. Otherwise, Jesus would have used the specific wording for adultery (moichia instead of porniea) and the specific wording for “divorce” (writ of divorce + put away instead of just putting away).

How exactly do you come to this conclusion? It can only conflict with the others if you believe that each account stands as a complete recollection of the event or commentary on the material and matthew 5 & 19 cannot add an additional clause not mentioned in them, they must be repeating the same information on divorce, but if that were true then Romans 7 and 1 corinthians 7 are in conflict with Luke 16 and Mark 10.

Mark 10 and Luke 16 are in agreement with Romans 7 and 1 Corinthians 7 and Jesus’ statement about “What God has put together let not man separate.”

They show that a marriage covenant is only dissolved by death.

Your position is the same position as Erasmus: he altered the Scripture because he believed that the permanence of marriage was too heavy a burden to the innocent party.

Also, for the record, most of the early Church fathers recommended:

1. Separating/divorcing an adulteress (much like per the prescription of Matthew 18 and unrepentant sinners)

2. If she repents, you can reconcile. If she does not repent, you remain single.

3. Also, you cannot remarry.

If I get called a “Pharisee” for standing on “What God has put together let man not separate” then I’m good with that. I’m going to be trusting Jesus over any other argument to the contrary, especially ones that try to argue for a incomplete reading of Jesus’ words.

119. jae_jae says:

Why post something that flatly disagrees with your position? He states that jesus does not invalidate Deut. 24 and that divorce is not the issue and that you may legitimately divorce. Translating it as separation/putting away instead of divorce allows for greater flexibility in divorce.
He even itemizes his position at the end:
>3. We will recognize the right of either party, when a marriage is over,to remarry. However, we will encourage a divorced person to waitat least a year before entering into a new relationship.

Even under the translation of separation you and mcfalls interpretation make no sense, if divorce is not the subject of matt 5 & 19 then the looser laws on divorce are still in play, even the verse on God hates divorce means God hates illegitimate separation not divorce.

>Otherwise, Jesus would have used the specific wording for adultery (moichia instead of porniea)
I don’t believe it’s just adultery, that’s why I used the beastiality example beastiality is not adultery but it is certainly sexual sin.

>Mark 10 and Luke 16 are in agreement with Romans 7 and 1 Corinthians 7 and Jesus’ statement about “What God has put together let not man separate.”
My only point is if Matt 5 & 19 produce an exception they only add clear information in the same way that Rom 7 and 1 Cor 7 clearly state the matter on death and remarriage where mark and luke are silent.

>Also, for the record, most of the early Church fathers recommended:
I’ll take your word for it but it doesn’t change my opinion on the matter.

Quotes from the article you provided:
>Clearly, divorce is the result of sin, and contrary to the will of God. However, divorce is not the subject of Matthew 19. Quite the opposite is the case. Jesus does not here condemn divorce; he upholds the teaching of Moses. What he condemns is the “sending away” (as in Malachi 2) without terminating one’s first marriage, and marrying another. We would call this bigamy, which technically is a form of adultery.
pg 7
>When I have explained to people that Jesus is saying, “To live with a woman who is not your wife is adultery,” I have never had anyone fail to understand that logic, be they Christian or not. Remember, God’s major concern throughout scripture (the Deuteronomic laws and Malachi 2 and 3, for example) has been the fair treatment of the broken hearted and downtrodden. May that be our first concern, also.
pg 25
>I close with this thought: When I shared this understanding of Matthew 19:1 – 9, with the explanation I have presented here with Dr. Instone-Brewer, he replied, “If the facts were on your side, yours would be a very neat solution.” The basic facts he refers to are that translation of apoluo as simply “put away” rather than “divorce” and that the first century Pharisees were wanting to dismiss their wives without a divorce certificate. However, he graciously admits this approach constitutes a very neat solution.
pg 26

120. @ jae_jae

I posted the link as it explains the betrothal position. Not because he has right conclusions (which it doesn’t have in some cases which I have stated in the OPs).

Piper explains it here as well:

121. jae_jae says:

@Deepstrength
>Piper explains it here as well:
No he does not, if you accept that the divorce used in matthew 19 and 5 means separation then you MUST accept that the divorce used in mark means separation as well because it’s the same word.
(scroll down)
https://biblehub.com/mark/10-11.htm

You cannot stand by apoluo as separation and then claim it suddenly means divorce in mark, and his whole argument is predicated on apoluo meaning divorce in mark. And again the same term is used in Matthew 5 and Luke 16.
https://biblehub.com/luke/16-18.htm
https://biblehub.com/matthew/5-32.htm

A reading of apoluo as separate completely invalidates your position on divorce, he has the completely correct conclusions.

https://biblehub.com/greek/strongs_630.htm
There is no fault in his conclusions based on his premise.

122. @ jae_jae

You cannot stand by apoluo as separation and then claim it suddenly means divorce in mark, and his whole argument is predicated on apoluo meaning divorce in mark. And again the same term is used in Matthew 5 and Luke 16.

You’re ignoring context. Matthew is written to the Jews. Mark and Luke are written to the Gentiles.

1. Putting away to Gentiles = divorce. Any Gentile could send away their wife and it constitutes divorce under Roman law.

That’s why the Pharisees were trying to trip Jesus up in the first place.

2. Putting away to Jews = separation without a writ of divorce. Hence, Jesus answers the original question of the Pharisees (“Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?”).

The only lawful instance you can “put away” a wife in the Scripture is like the case of Joseph and Mary: premarital fornication/fraud.

3. Therefore,

A. Mark + Luke refer to any divorce as adultery
B. Matthew refers to any putting away unless there was marital fraud as adultery.

Two different conclusions, which both agree with Jesus’ statement “What God has put together let no man separate.”

4. If we assume that “putting away” also means divorce (which you are arguing), then you still get the same conclusion:

Matthew, Mark and Luke refer to any “divorce” as adultery, except for pre-marital fraud.

Either way, the conclusion is the same with the betrothal view.

5. In any case, you’re not going to convince me that Jesus agreed with the Pharisees that divorce was fine for adultery. There’s too much evidence against this view.

A. Textual analysis (putting away, porniae vs mochiea)
B. The disciples astonishment
C. Jesus’ statement “what God has put together let not man separate”
D. Agreement of Mark+Luke+Romans+1 Corinthian on separate or reconcile the only recommendation. Only death breaks vows.
E. Divorce/death for adultery already accepted which would mean Jesus agreeing with Pharisees.
F. Early Church fathers are in agreement: no divorce (or Matthew 18 her), no remarriage.
G. Church tradition has been faithfully carried on since then, except fairly recently.

There’s just too much evidence against and nothing for it.

If you still disagree, that’s up to you. As I said, I’ll stand on Jesus original intention statement at judgment day if I get asked the question about why I counseled “no divorce.” I just hope anyone who disagrees can make a good argument for themselves.

123. jae_jae says:

>You’re ignoring context. Matthew is written to the Jews. Mark and Luke are written to the Gentiles.
The earliest we have is the greek and the greek translators made no distinction in terminology, why should I believe they mean different things in matthew and mark when the greek translators chose the same word, why not import the distinction as a loan word. There is no sensible reason to believe that matthew and mark are two different events where first jesus talks to the pharisees about separation and then in mark he answers them in a different question about divorce. If they were two different subjects they would use two different terms for divorce/separation.

>A. Mark + Luke refer to any divorce as adultery
Mark 10 and Matthew 19 refer to the same event and cannot be separated, either Jesus mentions separation in both or divorce in both, regardless an exception is made for sexual sin.

>The only lawful instance you can “put away” a wife in the Scripture is like the case of Joseph and Mary: premarital fornication/fraud.
>B. Matthew refers to any putting away unless there was marital fraud as adultery.
If so then the husband has no ability to put away his wife on grounds of beastiality seeing as you only provide the exception for Deut 22 with the exclusion of 24. NO divorce or separation is granted in deuteronomy 22 and not only that they are ACTUALLY married as opposed to betrothed. If a man could end his marriage by having his wife stoned to death for fornication and that somehow extends to joseph who is betrothed and not married then there is no reason to not extend that exception to those who are married and further extend it to adultery. There is no reason to limit it to marital fraud, there was no divorce for adultery (specifically) in the bible seeing as one caught doing so should be stoned, marital fraud merely extends the death penalty to women who lied about their virginity. The death penalty, or separation from Gods covenant, is the meaningful portion of these events that fully separates a man from his wife (the death penalty for marital fraud and adultery are even mentioned in the same chapter).

>Two different conclusions, which both agree with Jesus’ statement “What God has put together let no man separate.”
Your conclusion is based on the faulty premise that Jesus’ exception is not an exception and further there is no possible way for jesus’ exception clause to violate that statement either as he’s the originator of both statements it is clearly a clarification.

>4. If we assume that “putting away” also means divorce (which you are arguing), then you still get the same conclusion:
>Matthew, Mark and Luke refer to any “divorce” as adultery, except for pre-marital fraud.
That is only if you translate not as not even for, which I continue to challenge you to show one instance of the greek grammatically used in that manner. I see no reason to see it as anything but an exception, the erasmus connection isn’t remotely convincing as there are transcripts on it that exist far before him, his mistranslation is not in the majority text, and translating it as not instead of except means functionally nothing.

On the significance of except/not:
https://community.logos.com/forums/t/168966.aspx?PageIndex=1
>Firstly, to answer your question why μή has been translated “except” on this occasion, you need to understand how a Greek particle of negation works (μή is a particle of negation). Sometimes the clause it negates becomes an exception to the primary clauses, setting it over against it – as in this case. It’s use here in Mt 19.9 is to mark out the only exception to absolute rule of no divorcing and re-marrying. Literally, it reads “not for sexual immorality”, but idiomatically it reads “except for immorality”. Another way of translating it would be “excluding [the case of] sexual immorality”. Or, yet another would be “notwithstanding sexual immorality”. So, it is perfectly in keeping with the meaning of μή to translate it as “except”.
>Secondly, εἰ μή does not actually change the meaning of verse at all. εἰ used in conjunction with μή simply reinforces it as a marker of negation: “if not for this”; “excepting this only”; “notwithstanding this only”; etc. As such, it is difficult to work out why some scribal copyists have inserted it in the handful of manuscripts that have it, since putting it in or leaving it out, the meaning of the exception remains exactly the same: the only exception to rule of “no divorce whatsoever” is the one exception – the case of sexual immorality. As such, we will just have to give this one over to the “we don’t know” folder of history. Some stuff we know; Some we don’t.

>5. In any case, you’re not going to convince me that Jesus agreed with the Pharisees that divorce was fine for adultery. There’s too much evidence against this view.
Not simply adultery, all sexual sin.
There is too much evidence FOR that view, it is simple and straightforward Jesus says it himself. In order to disbelieve it you need an interpretation predicated on first ascribing a conspiracy to a mistranslation that is NOT the majority translation and is thus irrelevant. Then trying to twist the meaning of the greek phrase beyond all reason and sense into its opposing meaning and then finally claiming that Mark and Matthew are talking about two different issues (because of different audiences) even though it is quite clearly the same event and the same argument. No one could first pick up a bible, read it, and come to your conclusion and virtually none of the translators who look at the greek text (sans erasmus’ addition which doesn’t exist in the majority text) translate it in yours and mcfalls manner.
Your interpretation strains common sense and plain reading, some substantive evidence would be an example of the greek μὴ ἐπὶ being used as ‘not even for’ or at minimum proof that Erasmus’ error is transmitted to all or most of the other translations (it isn’t).

124. @ jae_jae

The earliest we have is the greek and the greek translators made no distinction in terminology, why should I believe they mean different things in matthew and mark when the greek translators chose the same word, why not import the distinction as a loan word. There is no sensible reason to believe that matthew and mark are two different events where first jesus talks to the pharisees about separation and then in mark he answers them in a different question about divorce. If they were two different subjects they would use two different terms for divorce/separation.

You’re missing the point. Even if what I said isn’t true (the context of two separate meanings), I already showed that both ways support my point.

If so then the husband has no ability to put away his wife on grounds of beastiality seeing as you only provide the exception for Deut 22 with the exclusion of 24. NO divorce or separation is granted in deuteronomy 22 and not only that they are ACTUALLY married as opposed to betrothed. If a man could end his marriage by having his wife stoned to death for fornication and that somehow extends to joseph who is betrothed and not married then there is no reason to not extend that exception to those who are married and further extend it to adultery. There is no reason to limit it to marital fraud, there was no divorce for adultery (specifically) in the bible seeing as one caught doing so should be stoned, marital fraud merely extends the death penalty to women who lied about their virginity.

This is wrong.

The marriage covenant (on which our own contractual law is based) requires that both parties enter it truthfully. Falsely claiming to be a virgin invalidates the marriage covenant.

A woman (or man) who sins sexually (bestiality or otherwise) during a marriage does not invalidate the marriage covenant.

That is only if you translate not as not even for, which I continue to challenge you to show one instance of the greek grammatically used in that manner. I see no reason to see it as anything but an exception, the erasmus connection isn’t remotely convincing as there are transcripts on it that exist far before him, his mistranslation is not in the majority text, and translating it as not instead of except means functionally nothing.

Removing the Erasmus connection, I covered the betrothal position which also shows that there is no divorce for adultery.

https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2017/11/20/on-divorce-part-5/