Divorce and Remarriage
Some Important Passages
a. getting into the text passages themselves.
b. Again, much is lost if we allow ourselves to chase the
"wild goose" of hypothetical situations.
1. Learn the principles first and many questions will answer themselves.
2. Trying to make application of unlearned principles is like trying to ride a
bicycle without wheels. You simply won't get very far in spite of all the effort,
and it won't be much fun either.
A. IMPORTANT OBSERVATIONS ABOUT WHAT THIS PASSAGE SAYS.
1. "shall put away" - apoluo, "used of divorce, to dismiss from the house, to
repudiate"( Thayer, p. 66 ). "Let go, send away, dismiss, divorce, send away
one's wife, or betrothed"( A&G p. 96 ).
a. Some contend that this is a mental putting away. But what about the phrase
"writing of divorcement?" The definition won't allow it. Show an example of
"mental" or "spiritual" divorce in the Scriptures or any other ancient literature.
b. It is an actual legal process pursued here on earth.
c. Does God acknowledge a legal divorce though it be unscriptural? See
John 19:10-11 and Rom. 13:1-7.
2. "saving for the cause of" - We can go to the original Greek if we want to, but
that only serves to justify the translation. The word is logos( A&G p. 479 ),
which in this usage means "reason" or "motive." "Cause" is universally given
as the best translation. The only cause or reason for divorce and remarriage
that God will accept is fornication. It has been argued by some that if one
commits fornication after the divorce that the other is free to remarry. But
that isn't what the passage says. If I do something because of something else,
my reason must precede my action.
3. "fornication" - porneia, "Of illicit sexual intercourse in general...used of
adultery" ( Thayer p. 532 ). "Prostitution, unchastity, fornication, of every
kind of unlawful sexual intercourse"( A&G p.699 ). A general term
including "adultery, with married people( outside marriage ), homosexuality, incest,
4. "maketh her an adulteress" - poiei, "The result of the action is indicated by the
accusative and infinitive; Make( to ), Cause(someone )to, bring about that"
( A&G p. 688 ). One is not an adulterer just because they are divorced. The
passage is a reference to the temptation the one who is divorced is subjected to and
the fact that the one divorcing has responsibility in this matter.
5. "shall marry" - gameo, "To marry, get married(A&G p.150; Thayer p. 109 ).
Notice one can get married and commit adultery.
6. It has been argued that when fornication is not involved the one put away has
the right to marry again. If so, how is she an adulteress and how is he an adulterer?
B. WHAT DOES IT SAY?
1. Under the Old Law( Deut. 24:1-3 ), whoever would put away his wife was to
"legally" divorce her. "Writing of divorce"
2. "But I say unto you..." New law is different.
3. If a man puts away his wife and she has not committed fornication, he "makes" her
an adulteress. How? Temptation.
4. Whoever marries a put away person commits adultery.
5. What if she was put away for fornication? She and her new partner are adulterers
A. SOME OBSERVATIONS:
1. "except for fornication" - "of that on which a state of being, an action, or a
result is based"( A&G p. 287 ).
2. "committeth adultery" - moicaotai...mai, 3rd person, sing., present indicative
( grammar, par. 18, 110, 112 ). This is the tense of continuous action,
indicating that as long as one is joined in an adulterous marriage, adultery is a
continuing thing, not an initial act!
B. WHAT DOES THIS PASSAGE SAY?
1. Almost the same, but with some additional points.
2. In a divorce where fornication was not the motive, if one divorces and marries
another they commit adultery.
3. When one divorces because his mate committed fornication, he may remarry
without committing adultery.
4. Whoever marries the put away one commits adultery with her.
C. vs. 12. THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT VERSES FOR PEOPLE TO
ACCEPT, EVEN THOUGH THE IMPLICATIONS ARE PLAIN. SIMPLY STATED,
SOME MUST REMAIN CELIBATE IN ORDER TO GO TO HEAVEN. THIS IS
GIVEN IN THE CONTEXT OF DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE. THAT IS WHERE
IT MUST BE APPLIED.
A. WHAT DOES IT SAY?
1. The context is important here. This is not a discussion of Divorce and
Remarriage. Divorce and remarriage and its attendant adultery are used to
illustrate the folly of one who would be a Christian and cling to the Law of
Moses. Therefore not every aspect is covered, i.e. the exceptions.
2. Marriage is for life. A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives.
3. Death breaks the bond and frees the survivor to marry again.
4. If while the one she is bound to lives, she marries another, she is an adulteress.
5. She may be bound to one while married to another.
B. SOME OBSERVATIONS:
1. "joined," ginomai, "To become a man's wife"(Thayer, p. 116). "Belonging
to someone"( A&G p. 159; Vine, vol.3, p.45 ).
2. "bound," deo, "To bind, to fasten with chains, to throw into chains"( Thayer,
Vine, p. 126; A&G, p.177 ). But Thayer gives another definition
that refers to the relation that can exist between people as in Rom. 7:2: "To bind,
i.e. put under obligation, sc. of law, duty, etc....to be bound to one...of a
wife"( p. 131, #2b ).
3. The reason we notice this point is that some people reason that since "bound" means
"fasten together with chains," when and innocent party puts away an adulterous mate,
when the bond is severed by the "putting away" by the innocent mate, the bond is
also severed for the guilty party.
4. When referring to people relationships it does not mean "fasten with chains."
It means "to put under obligation."
5. Obligations can be one way. The fact that the "bond" may be severed for the
innocent party in no way necessitates the"bond"( obligation )being severed for
the guilty party.
6. Two people can be separated, the marriage gone, and the obligation still
a. Mat. 19:9. The "innocent" party doing the putting away is loosed from any
"obligation" to the party who is put away. But the one put away is still under
obligation( bound ) to the other mate. This is evident because she is caused to
commit adultery and her new partner commits it also.
b. Romans 7:2, 3. Shows the woman still "bound" to her husband by the law,
and this is what makers her marriage to another an adulterous one.
c. So one can be "bound" to a person and not married to him, and one can
be "married" to a person and not be bound to him. Marriage is a
relationship. Bond refers to obligation...Marriage does not equal bond.
7. "hath a husband," hupandros, "Under, i.e. subject of a man"(Thayer, p. 638).
"Under the power of or subject to a man"( A&G, p. 845 ). So although the woman
of Romans 7 has been joined( married )to another man, she is still bound to her
husband...she is subject( under obligation ) to him.
C. SOME CONCLUSIONS WE MAY DRAW.
1. The reason for the breakup of the first marriage is not given, but whatever it was, the
woman does not have a right( divine sanction )to the second.
2. The passage does not say she is an adulteress as long as her husband doesn't commit
3. The passage does not say she is an adulteress only so long as she fails to ask God's
forgiveness for committing a single act of adultery.
4. The passage does say she is an adulteress as long as her husband lives and she is
married to another man.
9. It is difficult for some people to see that just because a person is married to
another person, they are not necessarily bound in the sight of God, divine sanction
is not necessarily present. A Christian is interested in what God sanctions.
10. Mark 6:17-18. Even though Herod and Herodius were married, they were
not bound. Divine sanction was missing.
A. IT IS SOMETIMES CLAIMED THAT "PUT AWAY" AND "DEPART" DON'T
REFER TO DIVORCE, BUT TO SOME MENTAL DECISION TO PUT AWAY.
1. "depart," choridzo, "To separate, divide, part, part asunder, to separate one's
self from...to depart, to leave a husband or wife: of divorce...depart, go away"
( Thayer, p. 674; A&G., p. 898 ).
2. "let her remain," meno, "To continue, to remain as you are."
3. "leave not," aphiemi, "In a legal sense, divorce"( A&G, p.125 ).
B. WHAT DOES THE PASSAGE SAY?
1. This passage describes a situation where a woman can "depart" and be
2. But the man she departs from is still referred to as her husband. She is still bound
to him, yet she is unmarried( implies divorce ).
3. Her only alternative to remaining unmarried is to return to her husband.
A. SOME OBSERVATIONS:
1. "Bondage," douloo, "Make a slave of, reduce to bondage, subject to"
( Thayer, p. 158 ). The term "bondage" is not the same term as "bound/bond" of
2. Therefore, 1 Cor. 7:15, does not permit remarriage. It does not teach the bond
( deo ) is broken, but that there is not bondage( douloo )...The believer is not a
slave to the departed unbeliever.
B. WHAT DOES THE PASSAGE SAY?
1. The instructions of the passage are given to Christians who have unbelieving
spouses ( vs. 12-13 ). To whom do we apply?
2. The first instruction is that the believer must not leave the unbelieving mate who
wants to maintain the marriage. It does not give permission to divorce to
3. Recognizing that the unbeliever is not influenced by the law and may decide to
divorce, the believer is to let him go and not cause a scene, publicly or legally.
What power would the believer have that would not draw attention to the tragedy of
4. The believing wife who is divorced by an unbelieving husband is not his slave.
She is not under bondage.