Hermeneutical Principle of Harmonization

By Timothy Sparks


Many try to apply the hermeneutical principle of harmonization while wrestling with the fact that “the exception” appears in Matthew but not elsewhere (not delving into the fact that Matthew is actually “excluding” fornication from the action of divorce). I challenge you to consider whether we should understand the often cited “exceptions” (Mt. 5:32; 19:9) in light of what every other passage in Scripture says or the other way around.

Many harmonize the accounts by saying, “The exception always applies, even if it isn’t stated.” We could also harmonize by saying, “Perhaps, in light of what God says in all the rest of Scripture, this isn’t favorable permission to divorce.”

[Special thanks to my friend Donnie Martin for his insight and contribution concerning this issue.]

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