STS, VOLUME XVII, Number 5, (May 1976) Page 8
Posted with permission


By J. T. Smith 

This particular issue has become a very “live” one on the west coast, as it possibly has in other parts of the country with which I am not familiar. I am sure many of you have read the propositions that were written for my discussion of this subject with a brother in California. I thought it would be good for me to share with you some of the basic findings on which I based my affirmation in the discussion. I hope you will read these articles prayerfully, considering also the charts that are included.

Guilty Party In Matthew 19:9

The first thing that I would like to encourage you to do is to read Matthew 19:3-9, 5:31-32; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18; Romans 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:10, 11, 39. These are basically the passages that discuss the subject of marriage, divorce and remarriage.

Many have denied the fact that the party that is guilty of fornication is to be found in Matt. 19:9b. But, as we read verses 3-9, we see that the Jews tried to get Jesus to endorse the writings of divorcement that were allowed by Moses, as they stated “for every cause.” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia lists a number of reasons, according to historical records, for giving a writing of divorcement. Thus, the number 1 category on chart number 1 is the “every cause” category.


Jesus reply to the Pharisees was, except she is “put away” for fornication the husband cannot remarry without committing adultery. Thus, the 2nd category. The Jews category was “every cause”; while Jesus’ category was only one cause—fornication.


Now, on chart #2 we see what is said about one who marries a “put away one.” Whether one was “put away” for “every cause,” or “put away” for “fornication,” she is still one of the put away ones. But what did Jesus say about one who marries a “put away one”? Whoso marries her which is put away, Jesus said, (whether she is in the “for every cause” category, or the “fornication” category) commits adultery. And as I tell a Baptist when I am talking to him about being baptized and he asks me to explain why it is necessary; I don’t have to be able to explain why I think it is necessary. I believe, as every Bible believer does, that it is necessary because Jesus said it. The same thing is true with Matt. 19:9b. I may not be able to explain why one who is put away for fornication commits adultery when she remarries (and her husband who put her away does not), but I believe she does—and I believe the one who marries her does—because Jesus said it

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