Does “Not Over” Mean “Exception” (Mt. 19:9)?

By Timothy Sparks


[Note: While I have addressed the Greek text and English translation in far greater detail among articles posted here:, this article serves as a shorter explanation of the topic.]

Addressing the text of Matthew 19:9–To dismiss not over fornication is to dismiss not for fornication; thus, a non-fornication cause. The English translation should not be “except for fornication.” The actual phrase, which is accurately translated “not over fornication,” makes Jesus’ address specific to nonsexual dismissal. Jesus does not address divorce for fornication (Mt. 19:9). It was the death penalty for such (Deut. 22:13-22; Lev. 20:10), not the divorce penalty.

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