Divorce And Remarriage – “The Bible Expressly Says A Divorced Man Does Not Sin If He Marries”

This article is part 6 of 9 in the series Divorce and Remarriage

(We are grateful for this material by Olan Hicks, provided here with permission.)

   Why not let 1 Cor. 7:28 say what it says? What is the motive for changing it? Whatever the reason, textual facts are being denied, even by some brethren.

   THE ARGUMENT USED TO CHANGE IT: Because Paul spoke of “virgins” in verse 25, these men are saying he is still speaking of virgins in verse 28. But think. How do we know he spoke of virgins in verse 25? Because “parthenos,” the Greek word for virgins, is in the verse. In other words, that is what he said. But in verse 27 “parthenos” is not in the verse. Paul did not speak of virgins there. He said “dedetai gunaiki,” a Greek phrase meaning “bound to a wife.” One who is bound to a wife would not be a virgin. So we know that in verse 27 Paul spoke of a married man because he said so.

   The TNIV has it meaning betrothed and that simply is not what it says. The Greek word for betrothed is “mnestuo.” That word is not in this verse. “Virgins” is not there and “betrothed” is not there. The passage does not speak of virgins and it does not speak of engagement. It says what it means, “Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek a divorce.” Like it or not, that is what the Greek text says.

   Then at verse 28 they continue the nonsense by reading it “Are you free from such a commitment?” meaning “Are you not engaged?” It isn’t there. How do we know Paul spoke of virgins in verse 25? Because he said so. We know he spoke of married men in verse 27 the same say, because he said so. In the same way we know that he spoke of a divorced man in verse 28 because he said so.

   The verb is “lelusai,” perfect, passive of “lusin,” derived from “luo.” This is the word in Mat. 19:9 which is translated “put away” or in most versions,  “divorced.” If it means that in Mat. 19:9, why does it not mean that here? In fact the NIV translates a form of the same word  ”divorce” in verse 27. A form of the same word starts verse 28 and there they translate it “Are you unmarried?” There is no way to justify that.

   It is a fact, this scripture says that a man who has been divorced by his wife does not sin if he marries. Of course he doesn’t. He is a single man. Jesus said that “adultery” is a wrong committed “against her,” the wife put away. This man has no wife to sin against. She divorced him in the past. This is a passive voice verb, meaning that she divorced him, not the other way around. If you can’t let the Bible say what it says here, maybe you should ask yourself why?

   The Catholic doctrine of marriage as a “sacrament” is what is behind the distortion of this passage. That came down to us from the Council of Trent, issued in the middle of the 16th century. They declared marriage to be the 7th sacrament and as such that it is unbreakable by anything but death. They had good intentions. They said it was their intention “to curb the abuse of marriage.” But the problem is they chose to try to do that in a human way, not in God’s appointed way. God placed marriage as a protector against immorality. (1 Cor. 7:2, vs. 5 and vs.9) Celibacy is never prescribed in scripture as a way to accomplish that.

   To better understand how serious it is to forbid marriage to divorced people read 1 Timothy 4:1-3 about the apostasy Paul predicted would happen in the latter times. The first feature of it is “forbidding to marry.”(vs.3) He said there that it is a departure from the faith and a giving of heed to the doctrine of demons. Therefore I would urge you to think about the fact that one who forbids marriage is obeying the devil and rejecting God’s orders “Let them marry for it is better to marry than to burn.” (1 Cor. 7:9) That is serious business. Think about it.

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