Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
DISCLAIMER!!!: THE FOLLOWING POST IS NOT SOMETHING I AM CONTENDING FOR HERE, JUST POSTING IT FOR CONVERSATION. PLEASE COMMENT ON THE MERITS OF THE ARGUMENT. I WANT PEOPLE TO DISAGREE WITH IT!
For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
There has been much discussion about what Paul means by, “the unbelieving husband is SANCTIFIED BY the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband.” A number of different views have been forwarded as possibilities. Inherent to each interpretation are necessary implications. The practical implications of a given interpretation must be considered while deciding which position is true.
1 Corinthians 7:12 KJV
But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
One thing that I would like to clarify before engaging this text is the particular type of marriage that is being discussed here. The kind of marriage that is being discussed is one where a husband or wife is converted and the spouse remains unconverted. Paul is not addressing in this text, though it MAY apply, one who is already a saint in the Corinthian church and becomes “unequally yoked together” with an unbeliever.
“If either husband or wife is converted, and the other is not, they must not on this account forsake the unbelieving helpmeet, provided he or she is pleased to remain.”
“This is a new problem, the result of work among the Gentiles…Paul has to deal with mixed marriages as missionaries do today in heathen lands...The Christian husband married his wife when he himself was an unbeliever.”
“He has been speaking to the unmarried (1Co_7:8) and to married parties, both of whom were Christians (1Co_7:10). By the rest he means married couples, one of which remained a heathen.”
“A Christian man, have a wife that believeth not, i.e. who is a heathen, not yet converted to the Christian faith, and she be pleased to dwell with him, notwithstanding his turning Christian since their marriage, let him not put her away because she still continues in her heathen superstition.”
“that is, if any man who is now a brother, one called by the grace of God, and is in church fellowship, has a wife to whom he was married whilst in a state of unregeneracy and infidelity; who is as she was when he married her, entirely destitute of faith in Christ; not one that is weak in the faith, or only makes an outward profession, but that has no faith at all in Christ, nor in his Gospel, not so much as an historical one; who disbelieves, denies, and rejects, the truths of the Gospel:”
“This might move a scruple in many minds, whether converts to Christianity were not bound to put away or desert their mates, continuing infidels.”
Keep this idea in mind as we continue to study through this text. If one concedes that this interpretation is true, it changes and greatly impacts the way the text is viewed.
What is Sanctification?
The purpose of this blog is to set forth one of the interpretations as a possibility and briefly explore its practical implications. What does “sanctified” refer to? The various views are laid out by Albert Barnes:
“But the expression cannot mean here: (1) That the unbelieving husband would become holy, or be a Christian, “by the mere fact” of a connection “with” a Christian, for this would be to do violence to the words, and would be contrary to facts everywhere; nor, (2) That the unbelieving husband had been sanctified by the Christian wife (Whitby), for this would not be true in all cases; nor, (3) That the unbelieving husband would gradually become more favorably inclined to Christianity, by observing its effects on the wife (according to Semler); for, though this might be true, yet the apostle was speaking of something then, and which rendered their children at that time holy; nor, (4) That the unbelieving husband might more easily be sanctified, or become a Christian, by being connected with a Christian wife (according to Rosenmuller and Schleusner), because he is speaking of something in the connection which made the children holy; and because the word ἁγιάζω hagiazō is not used in this sense elsewhere. But it is a good rule of interpretation, that the words which are used in any place are to be limited in their signification by the connection; and all that we are required to understand here is, that the unbelieving husband was sanctified “in regard to the subject under discussion;” that is, in regard to the question whether it was proper for them to live together, or whether they should be separated or not. And the sense may be, “They are by the marriage tie one flesh. They are indissolubly united by the ordinance of God. As they are one by his appointment, as they have received his sanction to the marriage union, and as one of them is holy, so the other is to be regarded as sanctified, or made so holy by the divine sanction to the union, that it is proper for them to live together in the marriage relation.””
For the reasons listed above Albert Barnes argues that sanctification in this text refers to the sanctification of the marriage bond; the right for this believer and unbeliever to be married. Paul cannot be arguing for personal sanctification in the salvific sense. It appears to me the only possibility is sanctification of the marriage bond.
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown says:
“It is the fact of the husband being a “brother,” that is, a Christian, though the wife is not so, that sanctifies or hallows the union.”
JFB also agrees that sanctification refers to the marriage union and not to the individual person of the unbelieving spouse.
It is impossible to read this text without knowing that Paul has in mind Ezra 10:1-3 and the command to put away strange wives. The wives were to be put away solely on the basis that they were heathen. It is important to note that these marriages between Jew and heathen were treated differently than marriages between Jew and Jew. God had command his people not to marry those from other nations (Exedous 34:12-17); therefore the rules of marriage did not apply.
Paul corrects the idea in the church at Corinth that one can put away a spouse solely because they are pagan; however, he too gives a different rule for marriage with two believers than he does marriages where one is a believer and the other is an unbeliever.
Paul says to the married (equally yoked marriages), “let not the wife depart from her husband, but and if she depart let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband (1 Corinthians 7:10-11).” Then Paul says, “but to the rest…if any brother hath a wife that believeth not (1 Corinthians 7:12),” he shifts from equally yoked marriages to unequally yoked marriages. To the equally yoked marriages in verses 10 and 11 his instructions are, “let them remain unmarried, or be reconciled.” When addressing the unequally yokes marriages, and the unbeliever deserting the believer, instead of saying, “remain unmarried or be reconciled,” he says, “a brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases.”
Why the different instructions if God views both marriages equally? Because even though God sanctified the marriage because of the believer, he still views it differently than He does when two believers are married. Why? What is the difference? Why the different rules?
Sanctified, but How?
(1 Corinthians 7:14)
We have clearly demonstrated that there is some sort of difference in God’s eyes between equally yoked and unequally yoked marriages. I suggest to you that the difference is faith. How did sanctification come to the mixed marriage union in 1 Corinthians 7:14? According to the text, sanctification comes “by the believing.”
The unbeliever is “sanctified by” the believer. What does it mean when the Bible uses the phrase “sanctified by?” In every case, whatever the bible says someone or something is sanctified by, it cannot be sanctified BEFORE or WITHOUT it. “Sanctified by” describes the means through which the sanctification occurs. Let’s Illustrate.
Acts 26:18 KJV To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Could they have been sanctified BEFORE or WITOUT faith? No!
Romans 15:16 KJV That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
Could the Gentiles have been sanctified BEFORE or WITHOUT the Holy Ghost? No!
1 Corinthians 6:11 KJV And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Can one be sanctified BEFORE or WITHOUT the name of Jesus and the Spirit of our God? No!
1 Timothy 4:5 KJV For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
Could this food have been sanctified BEFORE or WITHOUT the Word and prayer? No!
Jude 1:1 KJV Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:
Can sanctification occur BEFORE or WITHOUT God the Father? No!
Now my friends, apply the same principle to 1 Corinthians 7:14. The marriage of unbelievers cannot be sanctified BEFORE or WITHOUT a believer, because the believer is the means by which the union is sanctified. Marriage without a believer is not sanctified!
Before you insist too heavily that all heterosexual, first marriages are inherently sanctified by God, and are therefore subject to the same rules of marriage, let me remind you of Ezra 10 where marriages were to be put away entirely and solely because an unbeliever/pagan was involved. Ezra 10 and 1 Corinthians 7 proves that God judges marriages that include unbelievers differently and that they have a different set of parameters.
Else Were Your Children Unclean
(1 Corinthians 7:14)
I am not going to spend a lot of time here, but Paul further illustrates my previous point by saying, “else were your children unclean, but now are they holy.” “Unclean,” is set in the same context with and in contrast to “sanctified.” Whatever sanctified means, unclean means the opposite. “Sanctified” refers to the marriage union being sanctified in the ceremonial sense, and so “unclean” and “holy” must refer to the ceremonial condition of the children depending on whether the marriage is sanctified or not.
If the marriage is sanctified, then the children are holy; however, if the marriage is not sanctified, then the children are considered unclean (illegitimate). Else, meaning if the union is not sanctified by having a believer in it, the children are illegitimate. The union is sanctified, not because they are legally married. The union is not “ sanctified by the law,” but the union is “sanctified by the believing.” This means that children from a marriage union that is not sanctified by having at least one believer in it are considered unclean.
So, the implication and practical application is that since marriage unions are not sanctified without one of the spouses being a believer, whenever someone comes to Christ and they are divorced for whatever reason they can remarry in the church. A divorced person who becomes a Christian can remarry in the Church regardless of the reason for the divorce, since his faithless marriage was never sanctified.
 Peoples New Testament, E-Sword Version 9.5.1, Retrieved 09.28.10
 Roberson’s Word Pictures, E-Sword Version 9.5.1, Retrieved 09.28.10
 Vincent’s Word Studies, E-Sword Version 9.5.1, Retrieved 09.28.10
 Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible, E-Sword Version 9.5.1, Retrieved 09.28.10
 John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, E-Sword Version 9.5.1, Retrieved 09.28.10
 Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, E-Sword Version 9.5.1, Retrieved 09.28.10
 Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, E-Sword Version 9.5.1, Retrieved 09.28.10
 Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, E-Sword Version 9.5.1, Retrieved 09.28.10
Monday, September 27, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Matthew 19:3-9 KJV
3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
The question that Jesus is being asked by the Pharisees is, "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?" To put away one's wife for every cause was the view espoused by the liberal Rabbi Hillell and his students. They believed that a man could put away his wife for something as small as burning a meal. They held to the right of the man to put away his wife at his pleasure.
So, they are asking this question in light of their understanding of Deuteronomy 24. This is where Moses gives the regulations for putting away wives. So, the point I want to establish from this verse, and the following verses, is the kind of wife that is being discussed in this context. Is it only the espoused wife (Matthew 1: 18-20), or is it a married wife? The kind of wife being discussed in these verses, especially verse 9, has much to do with how one understands the teaching of Jesus on marriage, divorce and remarriage.
I think that it will become abundantly clear that the kind of wife that is being discussed in this text is the married wife, and not the espoused wife. Beginning with the question under consideration here in verse 3, we immediately realize that the premise of the question is Deuteronomy 24. So, if we can determine what kind of wife is under consideration in the question, then we will know the kind of wife that is under consideration in Jesus' answer. What kind of wife is being asked about by the Pharisees?
“When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife.” Deuteronomy 24:1-2 KJV
Clearly from this text the wife under consideration is the married wife, for she will depart out of his house and go be another man’s wife. She must be a married wife, and not merely an espoused wife, for she is cohabitating with him.
So, the wife of the Pharisees’ question is the married wife, and therefore the wife of Jesus’ answer must also be the married wife. If she is not, then Jesus is answering a question that was not asked. It is impossible to understand Matthew 19 apart from the backdrop of Moses (Deut 24).
4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
In verses 4-6 Jesus answers the question of verse 3 on the premise of the first husband and wife. Jesus appeals to the beginning. He states that the man is to leave his parents and cleave to his wife. Again, this tells us the kind of wife that is being discussed; the wife of this text is the cohabitating wife. This is exactly parallel with Deuteronomy 24.
Jesus further proves that the kind of wife that He is addressing is the married wife by saying, “they shall be one flesh.” The phrase “one flesh” refers to the sexual union (1 Corinthians 6:16). So, the husband-wife that Jesus is addressing is the sexually joined husband-wife.
This “one flesh” husband and wife are married because Jesus says, “what God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” It must be understood that Jesus is addressing regulations concerning marriage and not espousal.
7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
This proves my initial premise correct that the Pharisees were asking about Deuteronomy 24, and the next couple verses are going to prove that is what Jesus is responding to as well. What are the Pharisees quoting here? It can only be Deuteronomy 24, and Deuteronomy 24 is addressing the marred wife and not the espoused wife.
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.
So, Jesus responds to their appeal to Deuteronomy 24 by saying that Moses allowed divorce for uncleaness, because of the hardness of your heart, but I say from the beginning it was not so. When Jesus says, “Moses said, but I say,” He is giving His teaching concerning the same topic as Moses addressing, namely the divorcing of married, cohabitating wives.
This proves that the instructions that Jesus is giving here is God’s will concerning what Moses gave in Deuteronomy 24. Moses said, but I say, is contrasting two opinions about the same subject.
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.
“And I say unto you,” is Jesus contrasting His teaching with Moses in Deuteronomy 24 concerning married wives. “And I say unto you,” is Jesus giving what is to be taught by the Church. If Jesus is not addressing married wives Matthew 19:9 it makes gobbledygook out of the flow of this text. If this is not what Jesus is addressing it makes no sense whatsoever.
Jesus clearly, by the context and backdrop of Deuteronomy 24, is addressing married wives in verse 9. Jesus’ plain teaching is, if a person divorces their spouse and marries another, except for fornication (See Fornication: What Does It Mean Parts 1 & 2), they commit adultery. So, marital unfaithfulness is an exception to the rule: Whosoever divorces his spouse and marries another commits adultery.
Friday, September 24, 2010
In my experience a great deal of the divorce and remarriage debate centers on the definition of “fornication” in Matthew 19:9. The “no divorce” advocates argue that the use of fornication proves that Matthew 19:9 is addressing espoused (engaged) couples and not married couples. This is based on the idea that fornication can only be committed by a person who has never been married. I think that it is clear from the context of Matthew 19 that is not the case, but let that be as it may, I want to focus on the definition of fornication from both the English and the Greek.
“voluntary sexual intercourse between two unmarried persons or two persons not married to each other.”
It is clear from this definition that fornication is not limited to people who are not married at all, but also to people who are not married to each other, although they may be married to someone. Anytime two people who are not married to each other have sexual intercourse it is fornication. Married people can commit fornication by having sex with someone with whom they are not married.
When a married person has sex outside of their marriage it is both fornication and adultery. It is fornication because they had sex with someone they were not married to, and it is adultery because the sex violated a covenant.
“voluntary sexual intercourse outside marriage”
Here fornication is defined as, “voluntary sexual intercourse outside marriage.” The question that must be asked is, can a married person have sexual intercourse outside of their marriage? The answer must be yes. If a married person has sex outside of their marriage they have committed fornication.
“sexual immorality in general, esp adultery”
This dictionary includes adultery in its definition of fornication. All adultery is fornication, but not all fornication is adultery.
The following are quotes from Greek scholars defining fornication. Greek scholarship virtually unanimously includes adultery in the definition of “pornea,” the Greek word for fornication.
“sexual intercourse in general…used of adultery.”
“harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively idolatry: - fornication.”
“in Matt. 5:32 and 19:9 it stands for, or includes, adultery”
“it is plain that Matthew represents Jesus in both places as allowing divorce for fornication as a general term (porneia) which is technically adultery.”
“And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” Matthew 19:9 ESV
“I tell you that whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Matthew 19:9 ISV
“And I say to you, That whoever leaveth his wife not being an adulteress, and taketh another, committeth adultery. And whoever taketh her that is divorced, committeth adultery.” Matthew 19:9 Murdock
“And I say to you, Whoever shall put away his wife, except for lewdness, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoever marrieth her who is put away, committeth adultery.” Matthew 19:9 Webster
“And I tell you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except her unfaithfulness, and marries another woman, commits adultery.” Matthew 19:9 WNT
“And I say to you, that, whoever may put away his wife, if not for whoredom, and may marry another, doth commit adultery; and he who did marry her that hath been put away, doth commit adultery.” Matthew 19:9 YLT
It is undeniable from the Greek that fornication includes adultery. It is also certain that the English word fornication is not limited to sex between two people who have never been married, but includes married people who has sex with someone other than his/her spouse.
Matthew 19:9 correctly uses the term fornication as an exception to the divorce and remarriage law, because sex outside of the marriage bond (i.e. fornication) is a valid reason for the innocent person to divorce and remarry.
 "fornication." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 24 Sep. 2010. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fornication).
 "fornication." Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Harper Collins Publishers. 24 Sep. 2010. (
 "fornication." Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Harper Collins Publishers. 24 Sep. 2010. (
 Joseph Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1977), p. 532
 James H. Strong, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992), p. 364
 W.E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishing), p. 465