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1Cor 7: Divorce and Remarriage


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26 minutes ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

My response to the argument is as follows:

 

First, I have no dispute with premise #1.  The gospel of Matthew does indeed appear to focus upon Jesus as the promised King of the Jews, and as such does indeed appear to be written with a Jewish audience primarily in view.  Second, I have no dispute with premise #2.  Historically, it does appear that the Jewish covenant of espousal was legally binding and did require a legal divorce to nullify.  In fact, the case of Joseph with Mary in Matthew 1:18-19 appears to present a Biblical example of this cultural practice.

 

However, I myself do have a dispute with premise #3.  On the one hand, I would contend that the word “fornication” (as well as its related words) generally encompasses any and all sexual sin both outside of and against the marriage covenant.  As such, the word “fornication” would include the sin of adultery as a subset of its meaning.  On the other hand, I would acknowledge that in some contexts (primarily in listings of sins) the words “fornication” and “adultery” are distinguishable from one another, with the word “fornication” focusing upon sexual sin outside the marriage covenant, and with the word “adultery” focusing upon sexual sin against the marriage covenant.  Indeed, Hebrews 13:4 would appear to be one example of this distinction – “Marriage is honourable in all, and the be undefiled: but whoremongers [fornicators, in this context, those who commit sexual sin outside the marriage covenant] and adulterers [in this context, those who commit sexual sin against the marriage covenant] God will judge.” 

 

However, I would contend that such a distinction is not universally the case when both the word “fornication” and “adultery” are used in the same context, as premise #3 indicates.  Rather, in some contexts the words “fornication” and “adultery” appear to be used somewhat interchangeably.  This appears to be the case in Revelation 2:20-22.  In Revelation 2:20 God’s Word states that “that woman Jezebel” taught and seduced the Lord’s servants “to commit fornication.”  Yet then in Revelation 2:22 the sin that they committed with her is described as “adultery.” 

 

Even so, I would contend that in Matthew 5:32 & 19:9 the words “fornication” and “adultery” are employed, not in the distinctive manner, but in the more interchangeable manner.  I would contend that the word “fornication” is employed in the “exception clause” in order to encompass any form of sexual sin, from sexual lewdness to sinful sexual intercourse.  Furthermore, I would contend that the word “adultery” is then employed in order to precisely describe an unrighteous “remarriage” as a sexual sin against the original covenant of marriage.  As such, the sin of adultery would not be distinct from the sin of fornication in this context.  Rather, the sin of adultery would be encompassed within the sin of fornication in this context.  Even so, the word “fornication” within the “exception clause” would allow for the “exception clause” to be applied unto the covenant of marriage, not just the covenant of espousal.

I would agree. I was just curious as to your thoughts on the matter.

So then my question would be, if fornication would be a exception, then would it stand to reason that if your spouse looks on someone to lust after them (thus committing fornication in their heart) that you are allowed to divorce her.

I am not rambling, I do have a point as to where I am going. I've been forced to give this subject much thought recently and have done some thorough study on it. I just want to run my train of thought by some other people to see if I'm overthinking things or not.

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Well, THAT is quite annoying.  When Brother Middlebrooks presented his response above, I noticed that I had created a typographical error in my quotation of Hebrew 13:4 (employing "be" instead of "bed").  However, when I attempted to edit my posting in order to correct that typographical error, I received yet another error message informing me that I was not permitted to do so.  Indeed, the inability to edit my spelling and grammatical errors IS going to annoy me a bit, especially if those errors are contained in Biblical quotations.

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48 minutes ago, Musician4God1611 said:

I would agree. I was just curious as to your thoughts on the matter.

So then my question would be, if fornication would be a exception, then would it stand to reason that if your spouse looks on someone to lust after them (thus committing fornication in their heart) that you are allowed to divorce her.

I am not rambling, I do have a point as to where I am going. I've been forced to give this subject much thought recently and have done some thorough study on it. I just want to run my train of thought by some other people to see if I'm overthinking things or not.

The Bible specifically says that "fornication" is an actual sin against "the body" so I would say no.  I'm assuming that means it has to be "physical" before divorce would be a consideration.

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19 minutes ago, heartstrings said:

The Bible specifically says that "fornication" is an actual sin against "the body" so I would say no.  I'm assuming that means it has to be "physical" before divorce would be a consideration.

Hmmm. Interesting thought, worthy of some consideration.  Thank you for that thought, Brother Wayne.  I will indeed engage in consideration before providing my response to Brother Middlebrooks (and I DO already have a response "brewing").

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3 hours ago, heartstrings said:

The Bible specifically says that "fornication" is an actual sin against "the body" so I would say no.  I'm assuming that means it has to be "physical" before divorce would be a consideration.

Agree 100% particularly from the context of earthly consequence for it. Sin in the heart is between us and God. Sinful acts on earth are between us, the person(s) done wrong and God.

 

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I have a comment for those who may consider remarriage after divorce. Only in this context, of two divorced people remarrying while their prior spouses remain alive. There will be trouble or at the least issues which arise in the described remarriage. 1 Cor. 7:28 Troubles or issues may not necessarily be between the new formed spouses but may take other forms which will require a lot of prayer time and self-sacrifice. If there is any doubt about your willingness to lay aside self and be fully dedicated to your marriage and a permanent outcome do not remarry. Ask yourself if you were ready to lay aside self in the first marriage. If anyone here or anyone you may know is contemplating divorce, I council against it. Find a way to put humility first and reconcile. Seek the peace God has called you to. Just my two cents.

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14 minutes ago, 1Timothy115 said:

I have a comment for those who may consider remarriage after divorce. Only in this context, of two divorced people remarrying while their prior spouses remain alive. There will be trouble or at the least issues which arise in the described remarriage. 1 Cor. 7:28 Troubles or issues may not necessarily be between the new formed spouses but may take other forms which will require a lot of prayer time and self-sacrifice. If there is any doubt about your willingness to lay aside self and be fully dedicated to your marriage and a permanent outcome do not remarry. Ask yourself if you were ready to lay aside self in the first marriage. If anyone here or anyone you may know is contemplating divorce, I council against it. Find a way to put humility first and reconcile. Seek the peace God has called you to. Just my two cents.

Thank you for your willingness to be frank and honest about such a touchy subject. It's much appreciated.

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On ‎3‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 11:02 AM, Musician4God1611 said:

So then my question would be, if fornication would be a exception, then would it stand to reason that if your spouse looks on someone to lust after them (thus committing fornication in their heart) that you are allowed to divorce her.

I am not rambling, I do have a point as to where I am going. I've been forced to give this subject much thought recently and have done some thorough study on it. I just want to run my train of thought by some other people to see if I'm overthinking things or not.

Brother Middlebrooks,

Your question above approaches the "exception clauses" of Matthew 5:32 & Matthew 19:9 more from the perspective of permission to divorce, than from the perspective of exceptions to the sinfulness of divorce.  As such, we are brought to consider the structure of these "exception clauses" in themselves.  In Matthew 5:32 the "exception clause" is presented as follows -- "Saving for the cause of fornication."  In Matthew 19:9 the "exception clause" is presented as follows -- "Except it be for fornication" (wherein the two words "it be" are italicized in the King James translation in order to indicate that they have been added for the grammatical structure of the English). 

As we compare these two "exception clauses," we find that Matthew 5:32 includes (what I believe to be) a key word that is not found in Matthew 19:9.  It is the word "cause."  Now, since Matthew 5:32 & Matthew 19:9 are the only two places wherein we find this "exception clause" in the New Testament, and since Matthew 5:32 is presented first of the two passages, I believe that the significance of this word "cause" in Matthew 5:32 should be viewed as governing both passages.

So then, what IS the significance of the word "cause" in the "exception clause" of Matthew 5:32?  In Matthew 5:32 this word "cause" is translated from the Greek noun "logos."  The basic meaning of the Greek noun is "word."  However, this Greek noun does not simply encompass a singular word of usage, but can indeed encompass an entire body of information on a subject.  As such, I would contend that when this Greek noun is employed in the "exception clause" of Matthew 5:32 to speak concerning "the cause of fornication," it encompasses more than simply a momentary commission of fornication.  Rather, I would contend that it encompasses the sinful commission of fornication itself, as well as the continuation of that sinfulness, either through an ongoing practice or simply through an unrepentant spirit.  I would contend that this is "the cause" of fornication about which the "exception clause" speaks.  (Note: I would further contend that the use of the Greek noun "logos" in the "exception clause" of Matthew 5:32 also requires that there be a genuine "case" of fornication with genuine evidence, not simply a strong suspicion thereof.)

On the other hand, if fornication is indeed committed, yet a spirit of genuine repentance is pursued, then "the cause" of fornication is no longer present.  Rather, I would contend that in such a case the Biblical principles of forgiveness and reconciliation are now required, rather than any permission for divorce.

 

I pray that this answer may be of some help to you in your consideration of the matter.  Concerning Brother Wayne's reference unto 1 Corinthians 6:18 in relation to the New Testament definition for the word "fornication," I wish to present my thoughts is a separate posting (if I may).

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There is no exception clause Brother Markle.  All the Lord Jesus did in Matthew 5 was to reiterate the Old Testament Scriptures to those troublemakers.  The Apostle Paul gave us our current doctrine on divorce and remarriage.  To say they are both correct is confusion and God is not the author of confusion.

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6 hours ago, swathdiver said:

There is no exception clause Brother Markle.  All the Lord Jesus did in Matthew 5 was to reiterate the Old Testament Scriptures to those troublemakers.  The Apostle Paul gave us our current doctrine on divorce and remarriage.  To say they are both correct is confusion and God is not the author of confusion.

Brother "Swathdiver,"

Grammatically, both Matthew 5:32 & Matthew 19:9 do indeed contain an "exception clause."  In Matthew 5:32 that "exception clause" begins with the words "saving for" -- "But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery."  In Matthew 19:9 that "exception clause actually begins with the word "except" -- "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."  Whether the teaching of Matthew 5:32 & Matthew 19:9 applies unto the New Testament believer in the present time is a different question.  Indeed, that is a question of New Testament doctrine.  However, the existence of the "exception clauses" in the text of these two verses is a Biblical fact.  That is a reality of the grammar, and to deny their very existence is to deny a portion of God's own Word.

Now, concerning the DOCTRINAL implication of your statement, I believe that I understand your intention and position.  I believe that you are indicating that only the teaching of the apostle Paul's writings on this subject are valid and applicable unto the New Testament believer for the present day, and that the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ in the gospels on this subject were only valid and applicable for the Old Testament Israelites.  (Note: If I am wrong in my understanding of your position, I am certainly open to a better understanding thereof.)  If I am correct in my understanding of your DOCTRINAL position on this matter, then I presently stand in disagreement thereof.

By the way, Matthew 5:32 was NOT written "to those troublemakes."  Matthew 19:9 WAS communicated in response to the Pharisee-troublemakers, as per the context of Matthew 19:3-9.  However, Matthew 5:32 was delivered in the Sermon on the Mount, which according to Matthew 5:1-2 was delivered primarily unto our Lord Jesus Christ's own believing disciples (which is the reason that our Lord continually makes reference unto "your Father which is in heaven" throughout that "sermon").  Furthermore, in Matthew 5:31-32 our Lord Jesus Christ did NOT simply reiterate the Old Testament Scriptures in His teaching.  Rather, He said, "It hath been said, . . . but I say unto you."

 

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Actually, Brother Markle is correct; there is an "exception clause" and by using the word "whosoever" in Matthew 5:32 and again in Matthew 19:9 , it means "anyone"; not just an Israelite under Old Testament law.. Furthermore, according to Old Testament Law, if a spouse committed fornication/adultery the marriage was to be ended by capital punishment anyway(stoning).

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On ‎03‎/‎09‎/‎2017 at 1:08 PM, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Brother Middlebrooks,

Your question above approaches the "exception clauses" of Matthew 5:32 & Matthew 19:9 more from the perspective of permission to divorce, than from the perspective of exceptions to the sinfulness of divorce.  As such, we are brought to consider the structure of these "exception clauses" in themselves.  In Matthew 5:32 the "exception clause" is presented as follows -- "Saving for the cause of fornication."  In Matthew 19:9 the "exception clause" is presented as follows -- "Except it be for fornication" (wherein the two words "it be" are italicized in the King James translation in order to indicate that they have been added for the grammatical structure of the English). 

As we compare these two "exception clauses," we find that Matthew 5:32 includes (what I believe to be) a key word that is not found in Matthew 19:9.  It is the word "cause."  Now, since Matthew 5:32 & Matthew 19:9 are the only two places wherein we find this "exception clause" in the New Testament, and since Matthew 5:32 is presented first of the two passages, I believe that the significance of this word "cause" in Matthew 5:32 should be viewed as governing both passages.

So then, what IS the significance of the word "cause" in the "exception clause" of Matthew 5:32?  In Matthew 5:32 this word "cause" is translated from the Greek noun "logos."  The basic meaning of the Greek noun is "word."  However, this Greek noun does not simply encompass a singular word of usage, but can indeed encompass an entire body of information on a subject.  As such, I would contend that when this Greek noun is employed in the "exception clause" of Matthew 5:32 to speak concerning "the cause of fornication," it encompasses more than simply a momentary commission of fornication.  Rather, I would contend that it encompasses the sinful commission of fornication itself, as well as the continuation of that sinfulness, either through an ongoing practice or simply through an unrepentant spirit.  I would contend that this is "the cause" of fornication about which the "exception clause" speaks.  (Note: I would further contend that the use of the Greek noun "logos" in the "exception clause" of Matthew 5:32 also requires that there be a genuine "case" of fornication with genuine evidence, not simply a strong suspicion thereof.)

On the other hand, if fornication is indeed committed, yet a spirit of genuine repentance is pursued, then "the cause" of fornication is no longer present.  Rather, I would contend that in such a case the Biblical principles of forgiveness and reconciliation are now required, rather than any permission for divorce.

 

I pray that this answer may be of some help to you in your consideration of the matter.  Concerning Brother Wayne's reference unto 1 Corinthians 6:18 in relation to the New Testament definition for the word "fornication," I wish to present my thoughts is a separate posting (if I may).

Ok. So here's my question I've been getting around to bringing up. Concerning Matthew 5:32 (at this point I'm not referring to Matthew 19:9 because I feel like that is a different part of the discussion), if you look at it grammatically, is he saying it is wrong to put away your wife except for the cause of fornication, or is he saying if she's committing fornication you don't CAUSE her to commit adultery because she's already doing it. Therefore not saying it's "ok" to put her away, but rather dealing with what causes her to commit adultery.

I'm seriously curious about your thoughts.

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As some back ground for the discussion I would add one thought, the biblical act of divorce takes place in three stages with the intent to restore the marriage.  There is much time involved, much more time than today's divorces.  It is this very process that is mimicked in church discipline also designed by God to restore the one who is in sin to a right relationship with God and with the believer's community. 

The three stages are as follows.

1.Presentation of charge (s) God said that he had written Israel a bill of divorcement i.e. a lit of charges brought against her.

2.Presence of witnesses; Witnesses are there to try to offer reasons for the marriage to continue

3.Disolvment of the marriage; it was this part that Jesus said "for the hardness of your heart"

 

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16 hours ago, Orval said:

As some back ground for the discussion I would add one thought, the biblical act of divorce takes place in three stages with the intent to restore the marriage.  There is much time involved, much more time than today's divorces.  It is this very process that is mimicked in church discipline also designed by God to restore the one who is in sin to a right relationship with God and with the believer's community. 

The three stages are as follows.

1.Presentation of charge (s) God said that he had written Israel a bill of divorcement i.e. a lit of charges brought against her.

2.Presence of witnesses; Witnesses are there to try to offer reasons for the marriage to continue

3.Disolvment of the marriage; it was this part that Jesus said "for the hardness of your heart"

Brother Orval,

1.  Could you provide some Biblical evidence that the "bill of divorcement" was "a list of charges," and not a legal document of "authentication"?  I myself could NOT find any such Biblical evidence, thus I would like to know what Biblical evidence you would provide for your statement #1 above.

2.  Could you provide some Biblical evidence that witnesses were required in the process of divorcement?  I myself could NOT find any such Biblical evidence, thus I would like to know what Biblical evidence you would provide for your statement #2 above. 

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1 hour ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Brother Orval,

1.  Could you provide some Biblical evidence that the "bill of divorcement" was "a list of charges," and not a legal document of "authentication"?  I myself could NOT find any such Biblical evidence, thus I would like to know what Biblical evidence you would provide for your statement #1 above.

2.  Could you provide some Biblical evidence that witnesses were required in the process of divorcement?  I myself could NOT find any such Biblical evidence, thus I would like to know what Biblical evidence you would provide for your statement #2 above. 

It will take me a while brother Scott, I did the study many years ago.  Nearly 30 would be closer but I seldom get rid of books so I will take a look later this week and try to put evidence where my mouth is.  ha 

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3 hours ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Brother Orval,

1.  Could you provide some Biblical evidence that the "bill of divorcement" was "a list of charges," and not a legal document of "authentication"?  I myself could NOT find any such Biblical evidence, thus I would like to know what Biblical evidence you would provide for your statement #1 above.

2.  Could you provide some Biblical evidence that witnesses were required in the process of divorcement?  I myself could NOT find any such Biblical evidence, thus I would like to know what Biblical evidence you would provide for your statement #2 above. 

Brother Scott, I went back in my records to find the original series of lessons I did.  But could not find them, however I did find my notes on the second time I taught a series on Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage in which I covered divorce in lesson five.  You will find this lesson attached with this proviso, I have been transcribing my messages for many years and seldom correct grammar because I am the only one to read them.  I did not foot note everything so it seems my thoughts on divorce were primarily drawn from my personal study including the thought of the three stages of divorce.  It is unlikely I jumped to those conclusions but entirely possible seeing I sometimes connect the dots with in my mind and do not always express myself clearly.  I will continue to look this week and try to isolate the seed thought sent my mind in that direction.  PS. it was not my intention to derail the topic please accept my apologies.

Marriage Divorce and Remarriage 05.doc

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On 3/9/2017 at 2:08 PM, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Concerning Brother Wayne's reference unto 1 Corinthians 6:18 in relation to the New Testament definition for the word "fornication," I wish to present my thoughts is a separate posting (if I may).

Concerning 1 Corinthians 6:18.

"Flee fornication.  Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body."

As I consider 1 Corinthians 6:18 within its immediate context (see 1 Corinthians 6:13-20), I see two possibilities for its intended meaning:

First, 1 Corinthians 6:18 could be presenting a parameter for the New Testament definition of the word "fornication."  If this is the case, then the word "fornication" in the New Testament would not encompass any and all sexual sin, both mental and physical, but would only encompass any and all sexual sin wherein the physical body is somehow engaged.  Even so, other words would encompass sexual sin that is only mental in nature, such as "lust," "lasciviousness," "uncleanness," etc.

Second, 1 Corinthians 6:18 could be presenting a descriptive for the specific form of "fornication" that is being specifically referenced within the immediate context.  This immediate context appears to begin in 1 Corinthians 6:13, wherein the apostle Paul provides the foundational truth that our bodies are made for the Lord's use, not for the use of fornication.  As such, this verse does not necessarily provide us with a definition for fornication; but it does focus our attention upon the physical ("body") aspects of fornication.  This focus continues in 1 Corinthians 6:15, wherein the apostle informs us that even our physical bodies as believers are joined with our Lord Jesus Christ as His members.  Thus 1 Corinthians 6:15-16 teaches that we should not join our physical bodies, as the members of Christ, "to an harlot" through an act of fornication with her.  As such, the immediate context focuses our attention upon the sin of fornication, not only as an action of our physical bodies, but more specifically as an action of sexual engagement with an harlot.  Would this then narrow the New Testament definition for the word "fornication" only unto sexual sin with an harlot?  The teaching of the entire New Testament concerning this word "fornication" would not appear to allow for such a narrowing of its definition.  However, within this focus of the immediate context concerning the physical aspect of fornication with an harlot, 1 Corinthians 6:18 then presents its truth that fornication is a sin of corruption and filthiness against one's own body.  Furthermore, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 teaches us that such a sin against our bodies should never occur, since our bodies are not our own to do with as we please, but are the temple of the indwelling Holy Spirit, bought with the price of Christ's precious blood, to be used in purity and holiness for the glory of God the Father.  As such, the truth of 1 Corinthians 6:18 would not be presenting a New Testament parameter for the definition of fornication, but would only be speaking concerning the physical aspects of fornication that are specified within the immediate context, that is -- the commission of fornication with an harlot.

As for myself, after consideration of the flow of thought within the immediate context,  I presently lean toward the second of these possibilities as I have presented them above.  

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Jude 1

7Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. 8Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.

The "filthy dreamers" in Jude are charged with three sins which are compared to three Old Testament sinners: the "angels which kept not their first estate" "despised dominion". The Israelites wandering in the wilderness for 40 years "spake evil of dignities" (Moses) and Sodom and Gomorrah "defiled the flesh" via "fornication and going after strange flesh" which shows us what "fornication" means: it "defiles the flesh". : it's physical sexual sin of which it does not specify. it could be premarital relations, relations with harlots, adultery(physical kind) and no telling what else.  It's not that hard. 

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