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Marriage Conference (Matthew 5 and Matthew 19); Speaker: Timothy Sparks

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Can Married People Commit Fornication?

By Timothy Sparks
tdsparks77@yahoo.com
http://www.timothysparks.com

 

The philological evidence during the Koine period indicates that one can fornicate in marriage. For example, the root word πόρνη, porné (the Greek word translated into English as fornicator/ prostitute) is used in the LXX of Jer. 3:1 , 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9. Notice specifically in Jer. 3:8-9 both επόρνευσε (committed fornication/prostitution)[verse 8], πορνεία (fornication/prostitution) [verse 9] and εμοιχάτο (committed adultery) [verse 8], εμοίχευσε (she committed adultery) [verse 9] show that a married woman can commit both fornication and adultery. If a married person can become a πόρνη (prostitute) then a married person can commit πορνεία (fornication/ prostitution).

Hauck and Schulz in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Volume VI, page 587) state that during later Judaism (Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo, Josephus, the Rabbis) “the use of πορνεία etc. gradually broadened as compared with the original usage. In the first instance πορνεία is mostly ‘harlotry,’ ‘extra-marital intercourse,’ . . . . Materially, however, it often means ‘adultery,’ cf. ἐν πορνείᾳ ἐμοιχεύθη, Sir. 23:23.” They give additional evidence as well from passages such as Sir. 23:16-27.

Here is the Greek text of Sirach 23:23 (also known as Ecclesiasticus 23:23)–πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ ἐν νόμῳ ὑψίστου ἠπείθησεν καὶ δεύτερον εἰς ἄνδρα αὐτῆς ἐπλημμέλησεν καὶ τὸ τρίτον ἐν πορνείᾳ ἐμοιχεύθη καὶ ἐξ ἀλλοτρίου ἀνδρὸς τέκνα παρέστησεν (http://en.katabiblon.com/us/index.php?text=LXX&book=Sir&ch=23)

English translations of Sirach 23:23 (also known as Ecclesiasticus 23:23):

NRSV:
22 So it is with a woman who leaves her husband
and presents him with an heir by another man.
23 For first of all, she has disobeyed the law of the Most High;
second, she has committed an offense against her husband;
and third, through her fornication she has committed adultery
and brought forth children by another man.

RSV For first of all, she has disobeyed the law of the Most High; second, she has committed an offense against her husband; and third, she has committed adultery through harlotry and brought forth children by another man.

GNT:

22 The same is true of a woman who is unfaithful to her husband and presents him with a child by another man. 23 In the first place, she has broken the Law of the Most High. In the second place, she has wronged her husband. And in the third place, she has made a whore of herself by committing adultery and bearing the child of a man not her husband.
CEBA: “First, she’s disobeyed the Law of the Most High; second, she’s wronged her husband; third, she’s committed adultery by her illicit sexual behavior and produced children by another man” (http://www.biblestudytools.com/ceba/sirach/23.html).

KJV of Ecclesiasticus 23:22-23–
22 Thus shall it go also with the wife that leaveth her husband, and bringeth in an heir by another.
23 For first, she hath disobeyed the law of the most High; and secondly, she hath trespassed against her own husband; and thirdly, she hath played the whore in adultery, and brought children by another man.

See also: Do Only Single People Commit Fornication?

(https://timothysparks.com/2017/06/15/do-only-single-people-commit-fornication)

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Did Jesus Give “New Testament” Teaching About Divorce While Under the Old Covenant (Heb. 9:15-17)?

By Timothy Sparks
tdsparks77@yahoo.com
http://www.timothysparks.com

 

Jesus brought a new covenant. The new covenant went into effect after Jesus’ death, not before his death: “For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives” (Heb. 9:15-17, NASB).

The new covenant had no strength at all before his death. Jesus lived and died under the old covenant. “For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth” (Heb. 9:17, KJV). “For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives” (Heb. 9.17, NASB).

Some seem to have difficulty coming to grips with the fact that the Jews could not divorce for betrothal fornication or for marital adultery, as the penalty was death (Deut. 22:13ff). Jesus lived and died under God’s law.

The new covenant had no strength at all before Jesus died. Jesus did not give a different law concerning marriage and divorce than the law God established in the beginning (Mt. 19:4, 8). There was no divorce in the beginning. Jesus did not introduce divorce into God’s law of marriage.

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Dr. McFall: Audio of Matthew 19:9

https://timothysparks.files.wordpress.com/2018/10/dr-leslie-mcfall-debunking-the-matt-19-exception-clause.mp3

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What Does “Except/Excluding” Modify (Mt. 5:32)?

By Timothy Sparks
tdsparks77@yahoo.com
http://www.timothysparks.com

 

There is debate about the Greek grammar and word order of Mt. 5:32, “But I say to you that who, suppose, may have dismissed his wife, excluding an account of fornication, causes her to commit adultery; and who, suppose, may have married a dismissed woman commits adultery” (Mt. 5:32, translation mine). Based on the previously published article “What Is Jesus Saying in Mt. 5:32?”  (https://timothysparks.com/2015/03/06/what-is-jesus-saying-in-mt-532), I received a question (and my response below) that while few today may ask or consider, it is worth calling attention to the discussion.

Question:

“Is it not so, that in standard english the order of the words of proposition 1 would allow for it to be an exception to divorce? Is there something in the order of the words that make you feel sure that the parektos modifies the ’causes’ and not the ‘may have dismissed’? I mean, it makes meaningful sense, but is there an extra in the grammar or word order?”

Response:

The focus of the text of Mt. 5:31-32 is on what the man “causes/makes” (poiei) his wife do (“commit adultery”) when he dismisses her. The focus is not on allowing an “exception” (parektos, “excluding”) in which Jesus favorably authorizes divorce.

Additionally, notice the focus in the last phrase of what is also caused in the cascade of events, “and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery” (Mt. 5:32). No exception allowing for divorce there either.

Notice also that the man, whether (1) married, (2) divorced or (3) single (the text does not specify, but if he is married or divorced, he commits adultery with a woman regardless of her marital status), commits adultery when he marries a divorced woman. It does not matter why the woman is divorced. A man, whether (1) married, (2) divorced or (3) single commits adultery marrying a divorced woman regardless of why she is divorced. Later, Jesus says, “And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (Mk. 10:12).

Again, Jesus’ focus in Mt. 5:32 is that the husband who dismisses his wife causes her to commit adultery. One of the repeated and consistent statements of Jesus is, “and marries another commits adultery” (Mt. 19:9; Mk. 10:11-12; Lk. 16:18). Jesus clearly warns about the adulterous cascade of events. Within Scripture, God gives no exception favorably authorizing divorce or marriage to another.

 

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“Not Do Divide” (Mt. 19:6)

By Timothy Sparks
tdsparks77@yahoo.com
http://www.timothysparks.com

 

Many English versions of Mt. 19:6 have a reading similar to “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” A word-for-word translation of the Greek text is “So no more are they two, but one flesh. What therefore the God united, a human not do divide.”

Briefly addressing the Greek phrase μὴ χωριζέτω (“not do divide,” Mt. 19:6b) we have: μὴ (“not”) which negates the imperative χωριζέτω (“do divide”). So how do we translate and interpret “a human not do divide”? Does it mean: (1) a human has the ability to divide what God united but should not or (2) a human has neither the implied ability nor God’s sanction to attempt to do so?

Based on “So they are continuously never again two, but they are continuously one flesh” (please see https://timothysparks.com/2016/03/22/jesus-one-flesh-argument-mt-196) Jesus has already shown the impossibility of becoming two again. The two united into one will never be two again.

In view of what Jesus says, it is impossible to divide “what” (neuter gender, referring to “male” and “female”) God united back into the original two [please see What Is the “What” (Mt. 19:6)?, https://timothysparks.com/2016/03/25/what-is-the-what-mt-196/]. Therefore, Jesus is not merely saying “let not man divide” (as though Jesus may imply human ability to divide what God has united). Jesus does not imply that humans are able to accomplish a successful and approved severance of what God united. “What therefore God united, a human cannot divide.”

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The Institutions of God (Marriage & the Church)

By Timothy Sparks
tdsparks77@yahoo.com
http://www.timothysparks.com

Those who love God must be zealous for what God has created and must be eager to do God’s will. In discussing those things that God has created and what God’s will is, it is necessary for us to understand the institutions of God. We begin with a definition from Oxford Dictionaries of “institution”:

1 An organization founded for a religious, educational, professional, or social purpose.

‘an academic institution’

‘a certificate from a professional institution’

1.1 An organization providing residential care for people with special needs.

‘about 5 per cent of elderly people live in institutions’

1.2 An established official organization having an important role in a society, such as the Church or parliament.

‘the institutions of democratic government’

1.3 A large company or other organization involved in financial trading.

‘City institutions’

2 An established law or practice.

‘the institution of marriage’

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/institution

If an institution is from God, we should be able to answer these following five questions from Scripture:

(1) What is the institution?

(2) When did God institute it?

(3) Where did God institute it?

(4) Why did God institute it?

(5) How did God institute it?

From Scripture we can clearly identify at least two divine institutions:

(I) Marriage/Family (Genesis 1-2)

(II) The Church (Acts 2)

We can answer the questions what, when, where, why and how God instituted them:

(I)

(1) What is the institution?

Answer: Marriage/Family

(2) When did God institute it?

Answer: The Beginning, the sixth day of Creation (Genesis 1:26-31)

(3) Where did God institute it?

Answer: The Garden of Eden (Genesis 1-2)

(4) Why did God institute it?

Answer: Companionship and reproduction (Genesis 1-2)

(5) How did God institute it?

Answer: God brought the woman to the man (Gen. 2:22-23).

(II)

(1) What is the institution?

Answer: The Church

(2) When did God institute it?

Answer: The Day of Pentecost (Acts 2)

(3) Where did God institute it?

Answer: Jerusalem (Acts 2)

(4) Why did God institute it?

Answer: Human salvation and to glorify God (Acts 2; Ephesians 3)

(5) How did God institute it?

Answer: Based on the perfect life, sacrifice and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus, those who believed, repented and were immersed into the forgiveness of their sins God added to the church (Acts 2:36-47)

Can you think of other institutions that are from God?

Some have suggested the following two:

(I) Polygyny

Definition: “The practice of a man having more than one wife at the same time”

(II) Divorce for sexual immorality (fornication/adultery)

Many recognize that divorce is not an institution of God since God instituted marriage and humans cannot divide (with divorce) what God united (Mt. 19:6). Also, many realize the truth that God did not institute divorce and God actually hates such a human institution (Mal. 2:16). However, many believe God did start the practice of divorce in the case of an unfaithful, sexually immoral spouse.

In our following attempt to answer the questions of what, when, where, why and how to the two previously mentioned (as we seek to test whether or not they are from God), we will notice some difficulties in providing answers from Scripture:

(I)

(1) What is the institution?

Answer: Polygyny

(2) When did God institute it?

Answer: ???

(3) Where did God institute it?

Answer: ???

(4) Why did God institute it?

Answer: ???

(5) How did God institute it?

Answer: ???

(II)

(1) What is the institution?

Answer: Divorce for sexual immorality (fornication/adultery)

(2) When did God institute it?

Answer: ??? The Beginning? Deuteronomy 24? Jeremiah 3 or Ezekiel 23? God did not institute it; men did?

(3) Where did God institute it?

Answer: ??? The Garden of Eden? The Wilderness Wanderings? God did not; men did?

(4) Why did God institute it?

Answer: ??? The hardness of human hearts? To punishment the sinner? To free the faithful spouse to remarry in order to be happy?

(5) How did God institute it?

Answer: ??? Through Moses? Through God’s Son Jesus? God did not; men did?

It should become clear that God did not institute polygyny or any other form of polygamy. It should be equally clear that God did not institute divorce or any of its forms, such as divorce for fornication. Polygamy and divorce are not institutions of God. They are not from God.

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