Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Galatians 1:3-5)
Running Waters by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Q: Is it a sin to marry someone who's divorced? Some say yes, some say no.
A: You fast, you pray, you ask (God), you seek, you knock at the door and find wisdom and understanding. And you can do all these things though Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).
Ok, this question cannot be answered with a "tweet" or short answer like we maybe would like. And my simple reason is that with so many assumptions that can be made in any situation, it is necessary to first listen and have a correct understanding of the situation and of who is involved in it (true "blood-bought"/redeemed born again believers and/or unconverted persons that profess or not to be Christians). That is prudence. We need to be men and women who will put forth the effort to show ourselves approved to God, correctly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). That takes seeking God and pondering on his word. Needless to say, that takes some time, and also the humility to accept the truth one may find that could shake one's world. But on that path there is no getting lost in "yes" and "no" opinions from people. There is rather an opportunity to trust in God and grow in intimacy with Him while being strengthened in one's faith that there is no other way that is worth going besides his ways. No matter how complex a situation seems to be (ex: the woman at the well who had had 5 husbands - John 4:1-30), confusion is not from God, but wisdom is, and his hand is stretched out ready to redeem and restore.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Below is a list of words I have studied with Strong's Concordance. The "study" has involved looking at the definition and often seeing the various ways a same original Greek or Hebrew word had been translated to English, and seeking to gather the most from the contexts of the passages where the word is used in the bible.
Besides not wanting to approach marriage lightly or to desire something that is in some aspects an enigma to me, and thus risk finding myself suddenly in "unknown territory" and perplexed when I should have known what I was getting into, that undertaking has stemmed from the chaos that I have found surrounding the topics of marriage, divorce, remarriage and adultery soon after I was born again. And this is not a teaching from a scholar on these topics but a sharing of what I have come to consider on my own walk with the Lord. I do not see eye to eye with many, but I will share that my endeavor has brought me to a place of peace that I will walk with God and know my calling and my way in any situation that He may lead me to. All the praise be to Him!
put away / let go/let depart (ex: Matthew 5:32)
(bill of) divorcement (ex: Matthew 5:31)
divorcement (ex: Deuteronomy 24:1)
put asunder / depart / separate (from) (ex: Matthew 19:6; 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, 1 Corinthians 7:15)
put away / leave / forsake (ex: 1 Corinthians 7:11-13; Matthew 19:29, Matthew 22:22)
leave (behind) (ex: Matthew 19:5; Mark 12:19)
servant (ex: Matthew 8:9)
be or cause to be a servant / in bondage / in servitude
(ex: 1 Corinthians 7:15; 2 Peter 2:19)
make free / set at liberty (ex: John 8:38; Romans 6:18)
bound (ex: 1 Corinthians 7:27; 1 Corinthians 7:39)
loosed (untied) (ex: 1 Corinthians 7:27)
fornication (ex: Matthew 5:32, Matthew 15:19, Matthew 19:9)
commit adultery (ex: Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9)
commit adultery (ex: Matthew 5:27-28, Matthew 19:28)
nakedness, nudity, shame, pudenda (ex: Leviticus 20:21)
Translated "nakedness" 50 times and "uncleanness" once in the KJV; one verse that is of interest to us for this study (Deuteronomy 24:1) is the precise one where the Hebrew word was translated "uncleanness".
uncleanness (ex: Leviticus 18:19; Lamentations 1:9)
Uncleanness in English is filthiness, the quality of what has been defiled in some way. I gather from other translations that Leviticus 18:19 is referring to a woman possibly during her period.
But reading "Her filthiness (H2932) is in her skirts" in Lamentations 1:9, that is, "Her uncleanness is in her skirts", the idea of a defilement having taken place, and of an act of indecency, or the working of that which is “unseemly” (Romans 1:27) is clear to me.
defile / make/be unclean (ex: Leviticus 15:16)
[And to clarify uncleanness (H2932) and being defiled (H2930) further, I have also stumbled upon this passage which for me (maybe not for you) puts the nail to the coffin as to what it means that a man "found some uncleanness" in his wife (the reason for divorce) in Deuteronomt 24:1:
Numbers 5:19-21 (take the context from verse 11)
19 And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man has lain with you, and if you have not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of your husband, be free from this bitter water that causes the curse: 20 But if you have gone aside to another instead of your husband, and if you be defiled, and some man has lain with you beside your husband: 21 Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing...]
In Ezechiel 23, speaking of Aholah and Aholibah, as Samaria and Jerusalem, God's word brings together:
-woredom (H2181: zânâh) and breach of virginity (verse 3)
-playing the harlot (verse 5: H2181: zânâh)
-whoredom and defiling oneself (verse 7: H2930: ṭâmê'), so becoming defiled/unclean
- discovering/uncovering of nakedness (verse 10: H6172: ‛ervâh)
Now were Aholah and Aholibah bethroted or married women?
Deuteronomy 24 speaks of a wife living in her husband's house being put out of her husband's house. I believe betrothed women did not live together with their betrothed husbands. So if Jesus was discussing that passage with the Pharisees and his disciples, and they agree, they also must apply to the same context. Is there somewhere else Moses allowed husbands to give a bill of divorcement to their wives, because of uncleanness (uncovered nakedness)?
It's my understanding then that the uncleanness (uncovering of nakedness) in Deuteronomy 24 is not referring to a matter of incest being committed or at risk of being committed, nor can it be solely applicable to the fornication (whoredom) that could occur during a given betrothal period (the time between a couple's betrothal and actual marriage - anyone studying this topic will come upon what is called the "betrothal period" in the culture of the Jews). And notably, there exists arguments saying that the exception given in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 applies exclusively to the betrothal period. We are studying and being like the Bereans (Acts 17:11) to find out if these things are so! Two thousand+ years of confusion on this topic can't possibly be what Jesus had intended.
Final (personal) reflections:
This is what Jesus' disciples said, after He gave them his word on divorce and remarriage consisting in adultery, exception clause included (these men were Jews):
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.
Who are they to whom this saying is given? Who are they who cannot receive it? I do not see that his disciples necessarily received it, as they were in shock. And these men were Jews.
Jesus said to them:
... "He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."
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.
I believe that to his disciples it was a hard saying, but why?
I am reminded of this...
John 6:56, 60-61
56 He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him. (...) 60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said , This is a (( hard saying )); who can hear it? 61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Does this offend you?
So were these Jews so accustomed to the idea that they could put away their wives for any reason (Matthew 19:3), that establishing then that whoredom was the only valid reason for divorce made it seem to them that it was better (( for a man )) not to marry at all?
I believe Paul had the same understanding of what Jesus taught when He wrote:
1 Corinthians 7:27
Are you bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.
As much as when he wrote:
1 Corinthians 7:1
Now concerning the things about which you wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2. Nevertheless, (( to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. ))
So fornication here in 1 Corinthians 7:1 is clearly a reference to pre-marital whoredom / "whoremongering".
But how do you call cheating on your husband/wife while not having putg him/her away, and not having "married another" man/woman? Is it not playing the harlot/the whoremonger also (i.e. committing fornication – rendered "sexual immorality" in modern English translations)? By Jesus' definition, it is adultery (sin) if a man has not put away his wife for the only cause of fornication, nor given her a writing of divorcement, and had "married another".
Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers (G4205) and adulterers (G3432) God will judge.
I trust these messages also should help explore the will of God about this topic of marriage and divorce: