Sequencing the Events of MDR (Mt. 5:32; 19:3-10; Mk. 10:2-12; Lk. 16:18)

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

Rather than isolating Matthew 19:9, an examination of Matthew 5:32; 19:3-10, Mark 10:2-12 and Luke 16:18 provides a comprehensive framework for studying Jesus’ teaching on marriage, divorce and remarriage. Setting aside any translation issue for another discussion, this article seeks to put the events of the aforementioned accounts in the chronological order in which they appear to have taken place, adding depth to our understanding. Scripture quotations are taken from the NKJV.

1. But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery. (Mt. 5:32)

2. Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery. (Lk. 16:18)1

3. The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” (Mt. 19:3)
3. The Pharisees came and asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” testing Him. (Mk. 10:2)

4. And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.” (Mk. 10:3-4)

5. And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mt. 19:4-6)
5. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mk. 10:5-9)

6. They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” (Mt. 19:7)

7. He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” (Mt. 19:8-9)

8. In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter. So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” (Mk. 10:10-12)

9. His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” (Mt. 19:10)

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1For evidence of the chronological order of the events of Luke 16 occurring before Matthew 19 and Mark 10, compare Lk. 18:15-30, Mt. 19:13-30 and Mk. 10:13-31.

 

 

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Who Does the Joining: God or Man (1 Cor. 6:16)?

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

(All Scriptures quoted are from the NKJV unless otherwise stated.)

“Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For ‘the two,’ He says, ‘shall become one flesh’” (1 Cor. 6:16).

[Note: I have found no Greek text that has “one flesh” for a man joining himself with a prostitute. The text is ἓν σῶμά ἐστιν (“is one body”). Paul then quotes Gen. 2:24, referring to the God-joined union of a husband and wife. The joining a man does with a harlot is “one body.” God does the “one flesh” joining of husband and wife.]

Paul uses an illustration of a man joining himself to a prostitute. God does not do this joining. The NASB may reflect better that the joining to a harlot is done by a man and not by God: “Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her?” If it is not completely clear from 1 Cor. 6:16 that God has nothing to do with a man joining himself to a prostitute, Paul clearly implies such in his previous statement: “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!” (1 Cor. 6:15).

If we wish to understand God’s joining, Jesus directs our attention to the beginning of creation (with Adam and Eve) (Mt. 19:4-6; Mk. 10:5-9). Adam and Eve had no betrothal. God even completely joined Adam and Eve before a sexual union. Sexual activity does not complete a God-joined union as some may falsely assert. Adam and Eve did not have a sexual relationship until God completely united them: 

“Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:22-24).

Adam’s words of acceptance serve as his vow of commitment that Eve would be his wife for life: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Gen. 2:23a). His words “flesh of my flesh” provide the foundation of the one flesh union that God accomplished in uniting Adam and Eve. God unites a man and a woman into one flesh based on a vow for life that is bound for life (Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:39). God does not unite two into one flesh based on sexual activity.

God joined Adam and Eve before they had a sexual relationship. The sexual relationship is only approved by God after God unites a man and woman. Sexual activity is a privilege and obligation (1 Cor. 7:3-4) authorized by God within a God-joined union. A sexual relationship outside of a God-joined marriage (such as a man joining himself to a prostitute) is sinful.

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Keep It in Context (A Basic Study for Understanding Matthew 19:9)

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

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Matthew 19:9 Greek Diagram

Updated with a brief explanantion

Learning from God's Word

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

(I have modified Roy Deaver’s diagram in his Harding Lecture, “Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage,” April 19, 1977. While I give a brief explanation below, for a technical or simplified answer, please send an email.)

Click link for magnified view: Greek Diagram of Matthew 19:9

 Matthew 19:9 Greek Diagram

A brief explanation:

The exclusion clause μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ (“not over fornication”) modifies only the verb ἀπολύσῃ (“may have dismissed”). It does not modify μοιχᾶται (“commits adultery”). In fact, μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ (“not over fornication”) does not affect anything else in the sentence. Therefore, μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ does not change the meaning of μοιχᾶται.

For the diagram of my English translation of Mt. 19:9, click here: https://timothysparks.com/2015/12/01/matthew-199-english-parallel-to-greek-diagram.

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Harmony of MDR and Jesus’ Clarification to His Disciples (Mk. 10:10-12)

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

Reading the accounts of the gospel within their historical contexts, it should be stressed that Mark and Luke write to those with Gentile background (Mark to the Romans; Luke to the Greeks). Matthew writes to those with Hebrew/Jewish background. This explains why Matthew records for the Jews the phrases “for every cause” (Mt. 19:3) and “not over fornication” (Mt. 19:9), while Mark and Luke do not record them for the Gentiles.

The Gentiles divorced for every reason (sexual and nonsexual). Mark and Luke reveal Jesus’ absolute standard for marriage (Mk. 10:11-12; Lk. 16:18). Jews did not practice the divorce penalty for sexual immorality as God’s Law was the death penalty (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22). The Pharisees’ question focused on God’s Law about divorce for every cause for which a Jewish man divorced his wife (Mt. 19:3). Since God commanded that a sexually immoral wife be put to death, a Jewish man did not divorce his wife for sexual immorality. A Jewish man divorced his wife only for nonsexual reasons (“not over fornication,” Mt. 19:9).

Matthew records Jesus’ complete condemnation of Jewish divorce and remarriage, with no exception to God’s standard from the beginning. Mark and Luke write to Gentiles. Matthew writes to Jews. All accounts reveal Jesus’ absolute teaching of marriage for life.

After Jesus’ question and answer session with the Pharisees (Mt. 19:3-9; Mk. 10:2-9), Mark records Jesus’ interaction with the disciples. “In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter. So He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery’” (Mk. 10:10-12, NKJV).

Jesus speaks clearly and definitively concerning the permanence of marriage for life in his answers to the Pharisees (Mt. 19:4-6, 8-9; Mk. 10:5-9). However, marriage for life is a hard teaching for many, including Jesus’ disciples, who ask him to address it again (Mk. 10:10). Jesus reinforces his absolute teaching against divorce of a God-joined union and against marriage to another while the God-joined spouse lives (Mk. 10:11-12). Upon understanding God’s teaching concerning marriage for life as it has existed from the beginning, the disciples exclaim, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry” (Mt. 19:10, NKJV).

If Jesus had intended any exception to his teaching, he would have made such clear to his disciples since Mark records Jesus’ clarification of marriage, divorce and remarriage. Jesus’ teaching goes back to the way God designed marriage from the beginning. Those who wish to put an exception in Jesus’ teaching must also address why Jesus says the beginning answers both questions the Pharisees ask (Mt. 19:4-6, 8).

Additionally, Luke clearly records an earlier account of Jesus’ teaching concerning the permanence of marriage for life (Lk. 16:18) than Matthew’s or Mark’s account of Jesus’ interaction with the Pharisees (Matthew 19; Mark 10). For evidence of the chronological order of the events of Luke 16 occurring before Matthew 19 and Mark 10, compare Lk. 18:15-30, Mt. 19:13-30 and Mk. 10:13-31.

If Jesus meant for there to be an exception to his teaching, why would the meticulous inspired Luke have failed to record it in his documentation of an earlier occasion? Jesus emphatically states, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery” (Lk. 16:18, NKJV).

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Should We Read Matthew as a Gentile or as a Jew?

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

When we read the Book of Matthew in the context of being written to Jews with the background of Hebrew Scripture, we realize we should approach the Book of Matthew with that knowledge and not as an uninformed Gentile.

With that understanding, we then turn to the question and answer discussion of Matthew 19. Jesus considered “every cause” (κατὰ πᾶσαν αἰτίαν: “for every cause,” Mt. 19:3) for which Jews divorced. Jesus then responded according to God’s Law (Mt. 19:4-6). Jews did not divorce for sexual immorality (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22; Mt. 19:9). 

Please see additional articles addressing the discussion of Matthew 19: https://timothysparks.com/marriage.

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Do Only Single People Commit Fornication?

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

Some maintain that married people cannot commit fornication. Do you think that all the following passages are directed only to single individuals since πορνεία (porneia, fornication) is used?

“Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood” (Acts 15:19-20, NASB).

“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell” (Acts 15:28-29, NASB).

“But concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we wrote, having decided that they should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication” (Acts 21:25, NASB).

“Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall bring to nought both it and them. But the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body” (1 Cor. 6:13, ASV).

“Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself” (1 Cor. 6:18, NRSV).

“lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced” (2 Cor. 12:21, NKJV).

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication; that each one of you know how to control your own body in holiness and honor, not with lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thess. 4:3-5, NRSV).

“But I have this against you: you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet and is teaching and beguiling my servants to practice fornication and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her fornication. Beware, I am throwing her on a bed, and those who commit adultery with her I am throwing into great distress, unless they repent of her doings” (Rev. 2:20-22, NRSV).

“The rest of humankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands or give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their fornication or their thefts” (Rev. 9:20-21, NRSV).

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