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Old 06-05-2006, 09:02 AM
Lissa Lissa is offline
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"Saving for the cause of fornication" The Teachings of Jesus and Divorce

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesus
Matthew 5:32 (King James Version)

32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KJV
Matthew 19:

7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

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.
There's an ongoing thread right now which mentiones Jim Bakker. After the scandal, he and his wife, Tammy Faye, divorced, and both are now remarried. It occured to me that there are seemingly scriptual prohibitions in this matter.

I went to Christian school and I've heard a lot of interpretations of the above scriptures, but I've never fully understood it, and I have some questions about it.

1) "Saving for the cause of fornication"-- I have always heard this defined as "adultery", but I'm not sure this is entirely correct. "Fornication", as I understand, is sex by unmarried persons, and "adultery" is having sex with someone not your spouse after you've been married.

Did Jesus mean something along the lines of, "Except if you find out your wife is not a virgin as you believed", as in marital fraud? Or, was there a translation error in the KJV, and the term was actually intended to mean "adultery"?

2) Why would the wife be the one guilty of sin if her husband put her away for any other cause?

3) Are divorced people precluded from every marrying again by the teachings of Jesus, even if the conditions for a proper divorce were met? If the wife is the innocent party and has divorced her husband for adultery (or premarital fornication, whichever applies) is she forbidden to remarry, or just the husband?

4) "All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given." Is Jesus saying this is not a rule, but a suggestion, an ideal to strive for, but not a requirement?
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  #2  
Old 06-05-2006, 09:38 AM
Malacandra Malacandra is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lissa
There's an ongoing thread right now which mentiones Jim Bakker. After the scandal, he and his wife, Tammy Faye, divorced, and both are now remarried. It occured to me that there are seemingly scriptual prohibitions in this matter.

I went to Christian school and I've heard a lot of interpretations of the above scriptures, but I've never fully understood it, and I have some questions about it.

1) "Saving for the cause of fornication"-- I have always heard this defined as "adultery", but I'm not sure this is entirely correct. "Fornication", as I understand, is sex by unmarried persons, and "adultery" is having sex with someone not your spouse after you've been married.

Did Jesus mean something along the lines of, "Except if you find out your wife is not a virgin as you believed", as in marital fraud? Or, was there a translation error in the KJV, and the term was actually intended to mean "adultery"?

2) Why would the wife be the one guilty of sin if her husband put her away for any other cause?

3) Are divorced people precluded from every marrying again by the teachings of Jesus, even if the conditions for a proper divorce were met? If the wife is the innocent party and has divorced her husband for adultery (or premarital fornication, whichever applies) is she forbidden to remarry, or just the husband?

4) "All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given." Is Jesus saying this is not a rule, but a suggestion, an ideal to strive for, but not a requirement?
I'll step up with the following WAGs based solely on my RE O-level and random readings since:

1) AFAIK this does mean adultery, though I should think premarital sex would also be covered by point 2...

2) It's assumed that the wife will be obliged to remarry in order to get herself a provider; which means she will have to sleep with another man (Jesus's point being that God's original intention was for couples to stay together, as they had become "one flesh"; and it was only the wickedness of mankind that forced Moses to draw up stipulations under which it could be allowed). That physically makes her an adulteress (from the parenthesised viewpoint) unless by her previous actions she already was one.

3) Both, by the above logic. The disciples are asking this very question in Matt: 19: 10 and Jesus's answer seems to confirm this even as he is saying...

4) As per your interpretation, IMO.
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  #3  
Old 06-05-2006, 11:56 AM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is online now
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Location: Springfield, IL
Posts: 17,369
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lissa
1) "Saving for the cause of fornication"-- I have always heard this defined as "adultery", but I'm not sure this is entirely correct. "Fornication", as I understand, is sex by unmarried persons, and "adultery" is having sex with someone not your spouse after you've been married.

Did Jesus mean something along the lines of, "Except if you find out your wife is not a virgin as you believed", as in marital fraud? Or, was there a translation error in the KJV, and the term was actually intended to mean "adultery"?
The KJV should not be your first choice if you really want an accurate translation. If you want to compare different versions, www.biblegateway.com is a good source. Looking at a couple of different versions I happen to have lying around, the New International Version translates this word as "marital unfaithfulness"; the New English Bible has "unchastity."

For what it's worth, the 10th chaoter of Mark contains a parallel account, but without the exception.
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