Toward a better understanding of marriage, divorce and remarriage

Title of Essay

With an audience in mind (e.g., youth, university), provide a script for a talk addressing and critically analysing the key areas that underpin the issues in one of following areas of applied ethics: Divorce and Remarriage

Evidence must be drawn from Scripture and secondary literature.  

The scenario I chose was to present as if I was asked to give an address to a conference for Marriage Celebrants

Commentary:

The options for this assignment were: War, Abortion, Euthanasia and Divorce and Remarriage. I chose Divorce and Remarriage.

Frankly, I struggled with trying to find a context in which I would present on Divorce and Remarriage, so I consciously chose to lay a foundation in the sacredness of marriage and then deal with divorce and remarriage. Still not a fan of this topic but I wasn’t a fan of the other topics. I have views on them but I struggled to find a “voice” for any of them.

Ultimately, the result was a High Distinction: 85%.

Abstract

Marriage was created as a covenant and could rightly be described as the pinnacle of creation.  Creation was described as “very good”.  The state of the man without the woman in this “very good” creation was described as “not good”.  Marriage was therefore the capstone of creation and as such was emblematic of the relationship between God and humanity.  The marriage commitment may well begin with the commitment of engagement but must consist of three elements: a public commitment, co-habitation and consummation, to be marriage.   Marriage is a sacred bond that should never be separated and exists in part as a safe and secure environment for procreation and the raising of children.  God hates divorce and it is against his stated preference, nevertheless, Jesus in a certain context and in discussion around Moses’ framework, provided a framework within which divorce and remarriage could occur.  Paul expanded the framework for divorce and remarriage in a different context.  Context clearly matters and today, other contexts may exist where the marriage covenant is repudiated for example through intimate partner violence and remarriage may be reasonably permissible.  Divorce and consequent remarriage should be approached very cautiously in the context of God’s distaste for divorce.  A moral approach should always be the objective and in this context, the selection of church leadership should be upon the qualification of moral character.

Introduction

Brothers and Sisters, I am delighted to present this detailed discussion to the theme of “Toward a better understanding of marriage, divorce and remarriage”.  As Marriage Celebrants, we discuss marriage regularly with engaged couples and we address the solemnity and joy of the marriage covenant.  After 32 years of marriage, I can honestly say that the greatest gift God has given me has been the gift of companionship in my spouse.

I am honoured to present a detailed understanding, not just of marriage but of how we should respond when things go wrong.  We should acknowledge the primacy of Scripture above our own experiences, logic and reasoning and our traditional understanding of these matters.  Of course, in thinking about Scripture, it is appropriate that we contextualise it with our experience, reason and traditions.  In support of this, I will be referring to a range of scriptures, biblical commentaries and theological books.  So, we have a big task ahead of us.

Towards a better understanding of Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage

The Creation of Marriage

Genesis 2:24-25[1] talks about the nature of the marriage covenant referring to “the man and his wife”.  This marriage can be seen as the climax of creation.[2]  Jesus references this text in Matthew 19:5-6 and adds the codicil, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate”.  Marriage therefore is an important, sacred covenant of commitment, ordained by God.[3]  So important is marriage that God makes the only negative statement about his creation in relation to the man.[4]  He states that “it is not good that man should be alone” (Gen 2:18) after previously asserting that Creation was “very good” (Gen 1:31).  It could be inferred from this that the creation of Woman out of Man is the “capstone” of the creation, removing this “not good” state.

What makes a marriage?

There is an argument that marriage commitment commences with engagement.[5]  The Hebrew for betrothal, found in texts such as Hosea (2:19-20) and Deuteronomy (20:7) is ‘āraś[6]. Hebrew scholars say that this word refers to the act of making “a spouse”. [7]  It could, therefore, with some utility be suggested that the marriage process begins with engagement.  Grudem,[8] in “Christian Ethics”, counters by offering a couple of examples that may contradict this, arguing that without a wedding ceremony, a marriage has not occurred.  He offers the Samaritan woman at the well whom Jesus said had five husbands and “the one she currently has is not her husband” (Jn 4:18).  I observe that Jesus references the previous five as husbands even though none appear to have been made so in a wedding ceremony.  Grudem’s point, however (and I concur), is that sexual intercourse and co-habitation alone do not make a marriage.[9]  Marriage appears to be composed of three elements: a commitment covenant; becoming one flesh; and cohabitation[10].

We understand the foundational concept of covenant as a commitment.  Covenants form relationships.[11]  God’s purpose in Creation was to create a community of humans linked with him, united in love.[12]  Creation itself was a sacred covenant between God and humanity thus demonstrating the sacredness of the marriage covenant (Jer 33:20; Hos 6:7).[13]  Therefore, the marriage covenant (Mal 2:14), is a solemn, unbreakable vow that we set aside at our peril.[14]  It is intended to be permanent (Matt 19:6), sacred (Gen 2:22), intimate (Gen 2:23-25), mutual (Eph 5:25-30) and exclusive (1 Cor 7:2-5).[15]

I previously foreshadowed that possibly engagement is the start of marriage.  Certainly, this appears to be how it was viewed in Bible times (Deut 20:7; Hos 2:19-20 cf. Matt 1:19).[16]  It could be suggested that Adam and Eve were man and wife (Gen 2:25) whilst in the garden and before the apparent consummation of their marriage in Genesis 4:1 when Adam “knew” his wife.  Marriage is not merely an agreement between two humans.  It is a covenant relationship formed before, under and involving the Spirit of God (Mal 2:15).[17] In addition, it involves leaving one’s family of origin and cleaving to one’s spouse (Gen 2:24; Matt 19:5)[18] Therefore, whilst it is important to understand that the commitment of engagement leading to the marriage covenant is a significant component of the marriage process[19], the all-important consummation element of “cleaving to one’s spouse” in the marital home is a key component of the marriage that must not “be separated” (Matt 19:5-6).[20]  Fundamentally, therefore, within the context of promises made before God, even an engagement commitment is solemn, and should be approached as such, although it doesn’t have the final element of full marriage, consummation. Marriage consists of commitment, co-habitation and consummation.

The Sanctity of Marriage

A marriage according to Jesus, involves a joining by God (Matt 19:6) and as such is a deeply spiritual covenantal exercise (Mal 2:14) and an important public statement.[21]  Marriage is reminiscent of the relationship between God and his creation, with one writer even comparing the treachery of the fall (Gen 3:6) to a divorce between God and his creation, so important was loyalty to the covenant relationship in God’s eyes.[22]  Consider for a moment the motif around “nakedness” around the time of the fall (Gen 3:7, 10, 11) and compare it with Moses reference to “nakedness” (translated “uncleanness” in the AV) as a grounds for divorce in Deuteronomy 24:1.[23]  The realisation of nakedness as a result of the fall mirrors Moses’ identification of nakedness as a reason for divorce.

A marriage covenant is a “sacred bond instituted by and publicly entered into before God… normally consummated by sexual intercourse.”[24]  The question begs then, why is the “one flesh” motif (sexual intercourse), so important in the marriage relationship?  Marriage with the purpose of procreation falls into the mandate of Genesis 1:28 to “be fruitful and multiply”.[25]  Therefore, marriage generally resulting in procreation forms an integral part of God’s purpose of expanding his community.[26]  The one flesh motif also provides a pointer to Holy Trinity.[27]  Here are two under God’s Spirit (making three) who are one, just as Trinity is three and one.[28]  The cleaving of the man to the woman (symbolised by sexual intercourse) sanctified by the Spirit of God, points to the communion between the three of the Trinity (Mal 2:15 – the two joined with the spirit become three in one cf. Eph 5:31-32).[29]  Marriage is designed as a safe place in which procreation (the natural outcome of sexual intercourse) and the raising of children can occur (Ps 127:3; Gen 1:28; Mal 2:15).[30] 

Marriage was designed to be a safe and stable structure for the life of the believer.  The early Christians were encouraged by Jesus’ proclamation in the synoptic gospels (Matt 19:4-9; Mark 10:1-12; Luke 16:18) of a bias against divorce and this was echoed in Paul’s writings (1 Cor 7:1-17).[31]  Even in the case of a non-believing spouse, it was preferable that the marriage state be maintained (1 Cor 7:14).[32]  This confirms the sacredness God places on the stability of marriage and family.[33] 

What God has joined, let not man tear asunder…

Given the sanctity of marriage, Jesus’ assertion in Matthew 19: “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (v. 6) carries a great deal of weight.  Malachi (ch. 2:16) says that one who divorces his wife conceals[34] himself in a garment of cruelty (ESV “covers his garment with violence”).  Jeremiah (3:1) refers to a divorced woman who goes to another man as “an adulteress”.  Divorce is a grave matter. It is contrary to the expressed preference of God, and we must be very careful if we are confronted with the perceived need to divorce.

In Matthew 19:3, the question asked by the Pharisees did not spring from a vacuum.[35]  There was a Rabbinical context that stretched all the way back to Moses’ Deuteronomy (24:1-4) mention of divorce in the context of a woman becoming naked[36] outside of the marriage bed.[37]  In the context of the Pharisaic question, Jesus was asked if Moses had given licence for divorce (Matt 19:7).  Jesus was directing them to what Moses really thought about marriage (Gen 2:24-25).[38]  Matthew alone (cf. Mk 10:2-9; Luke 16:18) adds what Jesus responds when pressed by the Pharisees, providing an exception to the observation that God hates divorce (Mal 2:16) and general rule that what “God has put together man must not separate” (Gen 2:24; Matt 19:5). 

As we have already seen, the Deuteronomy 24 (v. 1-4) passage featured strongly in Jesus’ debate with the Pharisees in Matthew 19 (v. 3-9).  It is very clear that this passage does not mean that God approves of divorce, rather, Moses was seeking to circumscribe existing practices.[39]  Later Rabbinical interpretation of this passage fell into two schools.[40]  The conservative Shammai school argued that the Hebrew ‘erwâ[41] used by Moses referred to “nakedness” and therefore equated this to sexual or immodest behaviour.[42]  The moderates under Hillel focussed instead on dābār[43] translated “something” or “thing” and the word ḥēn[44] or “favour”, arguing that any “unfavourable thing” could be grounds for divorce.[45]  Gamaliel, referenced in Acts 5:34 and 22:3 was the grandson of Rabbi Hillel and contemporary with both Jesus and Paul. This was potentially still a hot topic at the time of Jesus’ ministry.[46]  Jesus is refusing to side with one or another of the schools and was responding to the issue of “nakedness” as a reason for divorce.[47]  Paul of course, in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 contextualises to a new set of circumstances.

Are divorcees free to remarry?

Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 (v. 10-11) refers to desertion by an unbelieving spouse as separation[48] and then he says that the remaining spouse is not enslaved to this state of separation.[49]  Paul permits remarriage in certain circumstances and does not require people to remain separated.  Jesus excepts his prohibition on remarriage in the circumstance of sexual misconduct.  Therefore, depending on the context, remarriage is possible.

Let’s go back to the foundation.  Fundamentally, Deuteronomy 24:1 is descriptive rather than prescriptive.[50]  Divorce was clearly taking place and remarriage was occurring even at this early stage in Israelite history[51].  Therefore, on the assumption that this was taking place, Moses provides a framework to regulate this.[52]  Just as the Bible describes, for example, polygamist relationships (David had 8 wives, Michal, Abigail, Bathsheba, Ahinoam, Maacah, Haggith, Abital and Eglah – 2 Sam 3:2-5; 1 Chron 3:1-3) and even to an extent regulates this (2 Sam 11:1-17)[53], it does not condone such polygamous relationships as part of God’s plan (Gen 2:24-25; Matt 19:5)[54].  Similarly, merely describing or mentioning divorce does not imply that God condoned or agreed with a man divorcing his wife and remarrying[55].  Divorce and remarriage are mentioned in various passages[56] across the Old Testament but generally these are not in the nature of commands.[57]  All of these passages refer to divorce in a negative light and espouse the creation ideal of one man, one woman as one flesh.[58]

Grudem[59] holds the view that Jesus allowed an exception for sexual immorality with some support from both Matthew 5:31 and Matthew 19:9. He further argues that the hardness of the heart that Jesus refers to in Matthew 19:8 and Mark 10:5 is a reference to the hardness of heart that led to defilement of marriages through adultery.  Quarles[60] disagrees, linking the hardness of heart to the desire to divorce.  Regardless of either perspective, Jesus was directing the thoughts of those who were testing him, back to the weightier, earlier creation narrative as is evident in his statement in Matt 19:8 “… but from the beginning it was not so.”.  This was a common method of Rabbinical disputation and points to Jesus’ (and Moses’) intent.[61]  The Rabbinical schools were missing the point.[62]  The exceptions, which we are now about to discuss, were the result of humanities’ fallen state but were by no means part of God’s intent.[63]

Before we get onto the exceptions, it is clear from Matthew 19:9, Deuteronomy 24:4 and a host of other scripture that a married person who remarries is committing adultery.  Divorce does not generally dissolve the marriage.[64]  Paul reiterates this in 1 Corinthians 7:11, 27 and 39. So the general principal must be that a divorced person is not free to remarry, as this would be committing adultery (at least in the initial instance[65]).  Now, let’s look at the exceptions that are offered by Jesus and later Paul.

Exceptions

Adultery is idolatry in God’s eyes (cf. Hos 4:12-14) and God appears to see it as grounds for divorce (Jer 3:8).[66]  Remarriage after divorce in the case of sexual misconduct[67] is not adultery according to Jesus (Matt 19:8).[68]  Let’s not, however, forget that under the old testament, adultery in particular was grounds for the death penalty[69], so it might be argued that Jesus appears to be shifting from the law in this regard.[70]  More clearly, Jesus is providing more nuanced teaching around this subject.[71]  Jesus has a particular view of adultery, however.  In Matthew 5 (v. 27-30), Jesus clearly states that anyone who “looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”[72] Now, whilst the Greek for “lust”[73] and “adultery”[74] are not the same as the Greek word used by Jesus in Matthew 19:9, porneia[75], the broad term used in that chapter for sexual misconduct, would still encompass what Jesus is talking of here.[76]  Therefore, the exception in Matthew 19:9 might in fact extend to divorce for the reason that one party has looked outside the marriage with longing[77].  The line drawn by porneia or sexual misconduct is quite broad.[78]

Similarly, Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:15, permits divorce and remarriage on the grounds that an unbelieving spouse deserts the relationship.  David Prior[79] asserts that this is not licence for the believing partner to initiate such a desertion but that if this desertion occurs, then the believer is now free to remarry without the sanction that they would be committing adultery thereby.

In both cases, it is quite clear that the preferred position is that divorce does not occur and that in general, remarriage after divorce is adultery.[80]  Prior[81] says, “He always wants the Christian to take the way of faith and expectation before the situation is given up.” This points to an overall moral position of faithfulness and understanding, of the bond of marriage and the overarching spiritual relationship of Jesus and his church.[82]

Sadly, there are times where the behaviour of the other partner is egregious to the point of repudiation of the marriage covenant. Yahweh gave Israel a bill of divorce for her continued adultery (Jer 3:8).  In this regard, we are called to peace and there is an overriding principle that we are called into the wholeness and healing of all our relationships.[83]  Sometimes, the only solution is divorce and Jesus and Paul both recognise this and permit remarriage.  Alone is not good (Gen 2:18).[84]

Does context matter?

Moses provided a framework for divorce, rabbinical tradition interpreted Moses’ teaching quite broadly, Jesus permitted divorce and remarriage for sexual misconduct and Paul because of desertion of the unbelieving spouse.  The only real consistency of these rules is in fact a broader preference against divorce (Gen 2:24; Lev 21:7; Mal 2:14-16; Matt 5:32; 19:5-6; 1 Cor 7:10-15)[85].  Pronouncements about divorce apart from a bias against it, seem subject to context.  Jesus addresses divorce and remarriage in the context of the questioning of the Pharisees whereas Paul addresses divorce and remarriage in the context of desertion by an unbelieving spouse.  Both were addressing the issue based on matters that were in front of them. 

A significant issue that appears to have been disregarded was family violence.  I think that intimate partner violence is evidence of a repudiation of the marriage covenant even though Scripture does not appear to directly address this. Jesus did not condone violence (Luke 6:29).  Matthew 5:38-42 talks against violence and coercion, so clearly, he would not condone these in the family.  Many of the references dealing with marriage from an evangelical perspective, barely mention or don’t mention this issue.[86]  In scripture, there are metaphors that draw on the image of intimate partner violence.  For example, Ezekiel 16:37-41 describes Yahweh threatening to expose the nakedness of Israel and subject her to rape by those with whom she had previously prostituted herself.[87]  Just because Ezekiel draws on this metaphor does not mean that it is condoned.  This was metaphor however, the account of the Levite’s concubine in Judges 19 was a vile account that is not metaphor.  Intimate partner violence was not unknown, yet Jesus and Paul did not address it.  We are left with the fact that our creation is fallen.  Relationships breakdown and divorce occurs.  Whilst events such as happened to the Levite’s concubine are rare and vile, we do live in a depraved society and intimate partner violence and more generally, family violence does occur.  Can we truly state that because Jesus and Paul did not address specifically these issues, that a battered spouse can’t leave a relationship where peace and wholeness has departed?

A deontological view might argue that Jesus and Paul both set a group of binding rules that limit the options of someone experiencing domestic violence (Matt 5:32; 19:9; 1 Cor 7:15).  We might on the other hand argue that in our experience, people should not remain in a situation of violence for their own safety[88].  We might say that traditionally, divorce is not permitted in the case of domestic violence.[89]  We can turn to science and reason for an understanding of physical benefits of marriage and for why we should not divorce.[90]  However, a careful analysis of the various scriptures related to divorce leads us to a simple distilled truth.  God hates divorce (Mal 2:14-16).  Nevertheless, sometimes it is the only option available in this fallen creation (Jer 3:8) always with the possibility of reconciliation (Jer 3:22).  Remarriage to another is possible, clearly (Deut 24:1-4; Matt 19:8-9; 1 Cor 7:15) but staying with the “wife of your youth” (Prov 5:18-20) is preferable.  Context matters and a broader and more nuanced consideration should prevail.  We can find ourselves in a truly untenable situation in marriage.  We need to consider the overarching distaste God has for divorce and remain where possible as an ethical and moral path to tread.  If in all of this context, we still believe that divorce is the only option, then prayerfully, we may need to seek divorce.  It should never be an easy decision.

Leadership in the Church

Finally in our discussion today, we need to address the qualifications of those who lead the church and whether divorce and remarriage disqualifies someone from leadership in the Church.  Specifically, we need to consider the qualifications of leadership set out in 1 Timothy 3:2, 12 and Titus 1:5-9.  First, we need to define leadership. In essence, bishops[91] and deacons[92] in our evangelical context are pastors and servants of the church.[93] The admonition in both Timothy and Titus for those who would serve in the capacity of leaders in the church was only peripherally related to remarriage.  It was a requirement of marital fidelity in an environment where marital infidelity was somewhat typical.[94]  In fact the context of both the epistles is largely an exposition of the sacredness and harmony of marriage (1 Tim 2:15; 4:3; 5:4, 8, 14; Tit 1:11; 2:1-6).[95]  The key to understanding the qualification of leadership is found in Titus 1:7 and 1 Timothy 3:2. The servant of the church must be “above reproach”.[96] 

The lists of qualification are clearly not prescriptive because the two lists provided by Paul, whilst overlapping, are not identical and should be therefore considered as indicative of moral character.[97]  The “one wife” requirement could be one of two things: polygamy or concubinage which while illegal in Roman society occurred in law and simple practice in Judean society.[98]  The overall context of the two epistles relates to an ordered family such that matters of dignity, soberness and greed are juxtaposed with faithful marriages, obedient children and orderly households (1 Tim 3:2-5, 8-12 and Titus 1:6-9).[99]  In this context it would be unthinkable that a representative of the church, leading Christ’s church, would be a polygamist or have a concubine[100].  It would bring into disrepute the holiness of the church in a riotous and evil world.  Leaders therefore are subject to the same practice as all Christians.  Divorce is not preferable, but remarriage within a moral context does not disqualify one from leadership.

Conclusion

So, we are coming to the end of our time together today. 

Marriage is divinely ordained and occurs when a man and a woman commit before God, under the spirit’s guidance to a covenant relationship.  It is a symbol of God’s relationship with us.  As such, it is sacred, a joining of two into one and should never be dissolved.  Sadly, we do dwell in a fallen creation, and humanity is corrupted.  We Christians therefore should pursue Godly wholeness and healing in company with our determination to live a moral, God-honouring life.  We pursue righteousness with our peace and therefore, we must always remember that what God has joined, humans must not separate.


[1] Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version) copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved

[2] Richard Shenk, The Genesis of Marriage: A Drama Displaying the Nature and Character of God (Crownhill, United Kingdom: Authentic Media, 2018), 17–18, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/dtl/detail.action?docID=5522116.

[3] Shenk, Genesis of Marriage, 18.

[4] Shenk, Genesis of Marriage, 23.

[5] Ciprian Raul Romitan, “Engagement – “Commitment to Marry″ or “Marriage Covenant″?,” Challenges of the Knowledge Society 16.1 (2023): 164–70.

[6] Robert Laird Harris, Gleason Leonard Archer, and Bruce K Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago, Il: Moody Press, 1980), Volume 1:76.

[7] William Gesenius, Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures, 4th Printing. (United States: Baker Book House Company, 1979), 82.

[8] Wayne Grudem, Christian Ethics: An Introduction to Biblical Moral Reasoning (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018), 850, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/dtl/detail.action?docID=6232915.

[9] Grudem, Christian Ethics, 850.

[10] Leon Morris, The Gospel According To Matthew (La Vergne, Tn: IVP, 2020), 470–71, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bst/detail.action?docID=6201869.

[11] Willem J Van Asselt, “Covenant Theology: An Invitation to Friendship,” NTT Journal for Theology and the Study of Religion 64.1 (2010): 7, https://doi.org/10.5117/NTT2010.64.001.ASSE, http://dx.doi.org/10.5117/NTT2010.64.001.ASSE.

[12] W. H. Bellinger Jr., Introducing Old Testament Theology: Creation, Covenant, and Prophecy in the Divine-Human Relationship (Grand Rapids, UNITED STATES: Baker Academic, 2022), 56, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bst/detail.action?docID=6963897.

[13] Peter J. Gentry and Stephen J Wellum, Kingdom Through Covenant (Second Edition): A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants, Second. (Wheaton: Crossway, 2018), 197–200, https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.theoref.idm.oclc.org/lib/bst/detail.action?docID=6232710.

[14] Andreas J. Köstenberger 1957- and David W. Jones 1973-, God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation, 2nd ed., 1 online resource vols., Biblical Essentials Series (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010), 88, https://public.ebookcentral.proquest.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=617642.

[15] Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 88–89.

[16] Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 210; Jon A. Levisohn and Susan P. Fendrick, Turn It and Turn It Again: Studies in the Teaching and Learning of Classical Jewish Texts (Boston, MA: Academic Studies Press, 2013), 91, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bst/detail.action?docID=3110509; Note that Joseph betrothed to Mary in Matt 1:19 “resolved to divorce her quietly…”

[17] Jakobus M. Vorster, “Marriage and Family in View of the Doctrine of the Covenant,” HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 72.3 (2016): 4, https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i3.3218, http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i3.3218; Grudem, Christian Ethics, 847.

[18] Jakobus M. Vorster, “Marriage and Family,” 4; Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 89; Morris, Gospel of Matthew, 471.

[19] Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 210.

[20] Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 86; Levisohn and Fendrick, Turn It, 130 Footnote 1.

[21] Grudem, Christian Ethics, 848; Morris, Gospel of Matthew, 469, 471; Shenk, Genesis of Marriage, 90.

[22] Shenk, Genesis of Marriage, 39.

[23] Shenk, Genesis of Marriage, 40.

[24] Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 88.

[25] Grudem, Christian Ethics, 854; Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 93.

[26] Van Asselt, “Covenant Theology,” 8.

[27] Shenk, Genesis of Marriage, 30.

[28] Shenk, Genesis of Marriage, 27.

[29] Kent J. Lasnoski, Vocation to Virtue: Christian Marriage as a Consecrated Life, 1 online resource (xiv, 247 pages) vols. (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2014), 171, https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/j.ctv2zjz77q; Grudem, Christian Ethics, 851–52.

[30] Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 104; Scott B. Rae, Introducing Christian Ethics (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2016), 91.

[31] George Kalantzis, ed., Marriage and Sexuality in Early Christianity, ed. David G Hunter (1517 Media, 2018), 5, https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1w6t9qk, http://www.jstor.org.theoref.idm.oclc.org/stable/j.ctt1w6t9qk.

[32] Kalantzis, Marriage and Sexuality, 6.

[33] Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 98.

[34] kāsâ – cover, conceal or hide; Harris, Archer, and Waltke, Theological Wordbook Vol 1, Volume 1:448.

[35] Morris, Gospel of Matthew, 469–70.

[36] ‘erwâ – nakedness or shame

[37] Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 260.

[38] Shenk, Genesis of Marriage, 121; Grudem, Christian Ethics, 975.

[39] Grudem, Christian Ethics, 977; Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 255.

[40] Morris, Gospel of Matthew, 470; Grudem, Christian Ethics, 975; Charles L. Quarles, Andreas J. Köstenberger, and Robert W. Yarbrough, Matthew (Nashville, UNITED STATES: B&H Publishing Group, 2017), 16, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bst/detail.action?docID=5973542.

[41] Robert Laird Harris, Gleason Leonard Archer, and Bruce K Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago, Il: Moody Press, 1980), Volume 2:695.

[42] Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 255.

[43] Harris, Archer, and Waltke, Theological Wordbook Vol 1, Volume 1:178.

[44] Harris, Archer, and Waltke, Theological Wordbook Vol 1, Volume 1:302.

[45] Morris, Gospel of Matthew, 470; Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 255.

[46] Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 256.

[47] Morris, Gospel of Matthew, 471.

[48] The same Greek word as Jesus uses in Matthew 19:6 as to separate Gk. σωρίζω; Jay P Green Sr and George V. Wigram, The New Englishman’s Greek Concordance and Lexicon (Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson, 1982), 927.

[49] David Prior, The Message of 1 Corinthians: Life in the Local Church, The Bible Speaks Today (Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1985), 129.

[50] Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 256.

[51] Grudem, Christian Ethics, 976–77.

[52] Grudem, Christian Ethics, 976.

[53] Despite the fact that David could take any woman he desired to wife, the fact that he took Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife to bed, committing adultery means there was a framework associated adultery regardless of polygamous arrangements.  It was not a laissez-fair relationship.

[54] Morris, Gospel of Matthew, 470.

[55] Morris, Gospel of Matthew, 470.

[56] Lev 21:7, 13-14; Deut 22:13-29; Ezra 10:3; Isa 50:1; Jer 3:1-14; Ezek 44:22; Mal 2:16

[57] Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 257.

[58] Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 257.

[59] Grudem, Christian Ethics, 979.

[60] Quarles, Köstenberger, and Yarbrough, Matthew, 18.

[61] Morris, Gospel of Matthew, 470.

[62] Morris, Gospel of Matthew, 471.

[63] Grudem, Christian Ethics, 979.

[64] Grudem, Christian Ethics, 979.

[65] Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 270; Grudem, Christian Ethics, 1010.

[66] Shenk, Genesis of Marriage, 62.

[67] Gk πορνεία  Porneia – illicit sexual intercourse of all kinds

[68] Grudem, Christian Ethics, 981.

[69] Lev 20:10; Deut 22:22

[70] Grudem, Christian Ethics, 980.

[71] David P. Gushee and Glen H. Stassen, Kingdom Ethics, 2nd Ed. : Following Jesus in Contemporary Context (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2016), 253–54, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/dtl/detail.action?docID=4859072; Saima Afzal 1971- and Johanna Stiebert, Marriage, Bible, Violence : Intersections and Impacts, 1 online resource (viii, 89 pages). vols., Rape Culture, Religion and the Bible (Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2024), 36, https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003152668, https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9781003152668.

[72] Gushee and Stassen, Kingdom Ethics, 2nd Ed. : Following Jesus in Contemporary Context, 250.

[73] Gk. ʼεπιθυμέω epithumeo – to set the heart upon; Green Sr and Wigram, Englishman’s, 314.

[74] Gk. μοιχεύω moicheuo – to commit adultery; Green Sr and Wigram, Englishman’s, 578.

[75] πορνεία  Porneia – sexual immorality

[76] Gushee and Stassen, Kingdom Ethics, 2nd Ed. : Following Jesus in Contemporary Context, 251.

[77] Gk. ʼεπιθυμέω epithumeo (ref footnote 73)

[78] Afzal and Stiebert, Marriage, Bible, Violence, 37.

[79] Prior, 1 Corinthians, 128.

[80] Grudem, Christian Ethics, 974.

[81] Prior, 1 Corinthians, 128.

[82] Gushee and Stassen, Kingdom Ethics, 2nd Ed. : Following Jesus in Contemporary Context, 251.

[83] Prior, 1 Corinthians, 128.

[84] Shenk, Genesis of Marriage, 23; Grudem, Christian Ethics, 1010; Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 270.

[85] Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 41–42.

[86] Afzal and Stiebert, Marriage, Bible, Violence, 26.

[87] Afzal and Stiebert, Marriage, Bible, Violence, 27.

[88] Afzal and Stiebert, Marriage, Bible, Violence, 2.

[89] Gushee and Stassen, Kingdom Ethics, 2nd Ed. : Following Jesus in Contemporary Context, 105.

[90] Shenk, Genesis of Marriage, 13.

[91] Gk. ʼεπισκπή Episkopos: inspector or overseer; Green Sr and Wigram, Englishman’s, 317; Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 4th Ed. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1982), 242–43.

[92] Gk. Διακονος Diakonos: waiter, servant or deacon; Green Sr and Wigram, Englishman’s, 165; Thayer, Thayers, 137.

[93] Craig S. Keener, And Marries Another: Divorce and Remarriage in the Teaching of the New Testament (Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1991), 84–85.

[94] Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 77; Keener, And Marries Another, 94–95.

[95] Köstenberger and Jones, God, Marriage, and Family, 64.

[96] Keener, And Marries Another, 85.

[97] Keener, And Marries Another, 86.

[98] Keener, And Marries Another, 87–90.

[99] Keener, And Marries Another, 95.

[100] Keener, And Marries Another, 99.

Bibliography

Afzal, Saima, 1971-, and Johanna Stiebert. Marriage, Bible, Violence : Intersections and Impacts. 1 online resource (viii, 89 pages). vols. Rape Culture, Religion and the Bible. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2024. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003152668, https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9781003152668.

Bellinger Jr., W. H. Introducing Old Testament Theology: Creation, Covenant, and Prophecy in the Divine-Human Relationship. Grand Rapids, UNITED STATES: Baker Academic, 2022. http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bst/detail.action?docID=6963897.

Gentry, Peter J., and Stephen J Wellum. Kingdom Through Covenant (Second Edition): A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants. Second. Wheaton: Crossway, 2018. https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.theoref.idm.oclc.org/lib/bst/detail.action?docID=6232710.

Gesenius, William. Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures. 4th Printing. United States: Baker Book House Company, 1979.

Green Sr, Jay P, and George V. Wigram. The New Englishman’s Greek Concordance and Lexicon. Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson, 1982.

Grudem, Wayne. Christian Ethics: An Introduction to Biblical Moral Reasoning. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018. http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/dtl/detail.action?docID=6232915.

Gushee, David P., and Glen H. Stassen. Kingdom Ethics, 2nd Ed. : Following Jesus in Contemporary Context. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2016. http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/dtl/detail.action?docID=4859072.

Harris, Robert Laird, Gleason Leonard Archer, and Bruce K Waltke. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Vol. Volume 1. Chicago, Il: Moody Press, 1980.

———. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Vol. Volume 2. Chicago, Il: Moody Press, 1980.

Jakobus M. Vorster. “Marriage and Family in View of the Doctrine of the Covenant.” HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 72.3 (2016): e1–8. https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i3.3218, http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i3.3218.

Kalantzis, George, ed. Marriage and Sexuality in Early Christianity. Edited by David G Hunter. 1517 Media, 2018. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1w6t9qk, http://www.jstor.org.theoref.idm.oclc.org/stable/j.ctt1w6t9qk.

Keener, Craig S. And Marries Another: Divorce and Remarriage in the Teaching of the New Testament. Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1991.

Köstenberger, Andreas J., 1957-, and David W. Jones 1973-. God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation. 2nd ed. 1 online resource vols. Biblical Essentials Series. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010. https://public.ebookcentral.proquest.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=617642.

Lasnoski, Kent J. Vocation to Virtue: Christian Marriage as a Consecrated Life. 1 online resource (xiv, 247 pages) vols. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2014. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/j.ctv2zjz77q.

Levisohn, Jon A., and Susan P. Fendrick. Turn It and Turn It Again: Studies in the Teaching and Learning of Classical Jewish Texts. Boston, MA: Academic Studies Press, 2013. http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bst/detail.action?docID=3110509.

Morris, Leon. The Gospel According To Matthew. La Vergne, Tn: IVP, 2020. http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bst/detail.action?docID=6201869.

Prior, David. The Message of 1 Corinthians: Life in the Local Church. The Bible Speaks Today. Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1985.

Quarles, Charles L., Andreas J. Köstenberger, and Robert W. Yarbrough. Matthew. Nashville, UNITED STATES: B&H Publishing Group, 2017. http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bst/detail.action?docID=5973542.

Rae, Scott B. Introducing Christian Ethics. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2016.

Romitan, Ciprian Raul. “Engagement – “Commitment to Marry″ or “Marriage Covenant″?” Challenges of the Knowledge Society 16.1 (2023): 164–70.

Shenk, Richard. The Genesis of Marriage: A Drama Displaying the Nature and Character of God. Crownhill, United Kingdom: Authentic Media, 2018. http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/dtl/detail.action?docID=5522116.

Thayer, Joseph H. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. 4th Ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1982.

Van Asselt, Willem J. “Covenant Theology: An Invitation to Friendship.” NTT Journal for Theology and the Study of Religion 64.1 (2010): 1–15. https://doi.org/10.5117/NTT2010.64.001.ASSE, http://dx.doi.org/10.5117/NTT2010.64.001.ASSE.

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