No one left any nasty comments, so I guess I can post part 2 :].
(Read part 1 here)
Actually I got 6 likes and 3 goods on that last post!!! That's the most I've ever had! Then I thought, maybe someone is clicking like over and over just because they want me to post the next part. Hmmmm.... I asked my Mom if she did that, but she didn't. Although, she was one of the likes. Thanks Mom.
Who knows? If no one leaves any nasty comments this time, maybe I'll even write a part 3. I would like to add, that if you do want to leave a comment, I don't mind at all. I'm not going to bite your head off if you disagree with me. I don't mind if people have genuine questions, concerns and/or want to discuss things in a reasonable way. Just stay away from the name-calling and rudeness. That's all I ask.
Initially I didn't plan on continuing this discussion, but I've been doing some more study. I've been reading some commentaries, articles, and Scripture. I still have a lot of questions, but I am finding answers. I know God is not in favour of divorce. The priests in the Old Testament were forbidden to marry a divorced woman (Lev. 21:7,14). Jesus said that a re-marriage to or of a divorced person is adultery (Luke 16:18; Matt. 5:32; 19:9), and we know adultery is sin (Ex. 20:14, Deut. 5:18).
So here's my problem. The Bible says divorce and re-marriage is adultery. Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery (Luke 16:18). However, I Corinthians 7:15 seems to give an out. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. The phrase "not under bondage" is interpreted by many is meaning "free to re-marry." But, if that's what it means, doesn't that go exactly against Jesus' teaching in Luke 16 (and also Matthew 5 and 19)? Jesus calls a divorce and re-marriage adultery. Why would this suddenly change in I Corinthians 7?
I've been thinking and thinking about this, and really trying to come to a valid conclusion. I know there's no contradictions in the Bible, and I know everything in it is true. I'm going to give my take on what this means. I could be way off. I seem to be in disagreement with a lot of commentators, pastors, and scholars who agree that I Corinthians allows for re-marriage in some cases, but I'm going to throw my views out there anyways for whatever they are worth. I think to assume that I Corinthians 7:15 allows re-marriage is reading something into the text that absolutely is not there. It can't be there because it contradicts Luke 16, Matthew 5 and 19, and Mark 10. The text does not say "free to re-marry." It's just 'interpreted' as free to re-marry, and the reason I think many interpret it that way is because of preconceived ideas, and because they want the Bible to justify their desire for re-marriage.
Divorce was allowable under Old Testament law. Deuteronomy 24:1-4. We are not under the law anymore. When Jesus came He fulfilled the law. It's important to remember that He did not nullify or do away with the law. He actually completed it. Jesus also raised the bar when it comes to how we are to live under grace. Grace is not a licence to sin or do as we please. It's actually an obligation to live more for our Lord and Saviour. The Sermon on the Mount is often cited as an example how Jesus raised the standard for holy living. It just so happens Jesus deals with divorce in that very passage. Matthew 5:31-32, It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 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. The "it hath been said" is referring directly back to Deuteronomy 24. This passage contains the "exception clause" of fornication; however, not all of Jesus' other teachings on divorce have this clause, which to me strengthens the case that re-marriage is forbidden. Personally, I think we need to be very careful how we define fornication. If we use the idea that fornication is any type of sexual immorality, then a man looking at a woman is just cause for his wife to divorce him. Jesus just said in Matthew 5:23 that such a thing constitutes adultery in the man's heart. That would actually make it easier to divorce someone than it was in the Old Testament! Remember, the Sermon on the Mount was all about raising the standard. It was about the heart, not just an outward conformity, but an inward holiness as well. Thus, I see some problems with defining fornication in this case as any type of sexual immorality. It doesn't fit with the pattern of a higher standard already established in this chapter.
I know people disagree with me on this. Fornication may allow for a divorce, but Jesus still said in the next part of that verse that whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Fornication only applies to the "put away" not the the marrying. This fits with the other passages in the gospels that deal with divorce and re-marriage. All say that marrying a divorced person is adultery.
In order to be consistent, I Corinthians 7:15 must be interpreted in light of these other teachings. When a principle is established in the Scriptures, we must follow it consistently all the way through the Bible. When we come to a difficult passage we must compare Scripture with Scripture, and interpret based on what we know, not what we "feel" the passage is saying. We know that re-marriage is adultery, and that is sin. Does I Corinthians 7 imply that there are some cases when re-marriage after a divorce is not sin? I don't think so. I think people who believe that are reading into the text something that is not there.
The verse says that the believing wife or husband is no longer "in bondage" to the unbelieving husband or wife. One of the first things I did when studying this was ask myself, "What does bondage mean?" Bondage means slavery. It means being subject to another. We know from other teachings in Scripture that in a marriage the wife serves the husband and the husband serves the wife. We know that marriage takes sacrifice. We know the husband is to provide for the physical well-being of his wife, and the wife for her husband. However, a marriage is not slavery of one spouse to another, but instead, a partnership where each equally serves the other in their given role. Realizing that the word "bondage" carries the idea of subjection and slavery, perhaps the meaning in I Corinthians is that the spouse is free from his or her obligation to fulfill their role of provision in the marriage when the unbelieving spouse leaves them. The husband would be free of his duty to work to provide food, clothing, and shelter to his wife, and the wife would be free of her duty to care and provide the comforts of home to her husband. When one partner in the marriage is not fulfilling their role, then perhaps it becomes "bondage" for the other partner to continue in their role. If this is the sense of this passage, then it's not talking about re-marriage at all.
Another thought I had was this. Earlier in I Corinthians 7 Paul addresses the issue of a husband and wife defrauding each other, and the fact that neither has power of their own body. Without going into unnecessary detail, Paul is referring to intimacy within the marriage. If verse 15 is interpreted in the context of the passage, "not under bondage" could refer to the fact that the forsaken spouse is no longer under the obligation to "render due benevolence" to the spouse who has left. If they were supposed to continue on in this manner after the spouse left it would indeed seem to be bondage!
Long ago, I made the decision that I would never date a man who was divorced. Doing this study has re-inforced that decision. I've also decided that if I ever do marry, divorce simply will not be an option, no matter how difficult things get in the marriage. Perhaps some think I'm naive to make statements like that. I've never been in a difficult marriage, so how would I know how I'd react in such a situation? I look at it in the same way I look at any other command God has given in the Scripture. The only option is obedience. If I determine beforehand that I'm going to live for God, then when I'm faced with a difficult situation or temptation, disobeying or giving in to my flesh won't be such an issue. Making the decision to obey before the difficulty arises always makes facing the difficulty in a godly way easier.
Hopefully, I'll never be faced with a marriage that I'll want to get out of, but I realize no marriage is easy all the time, and it could happen. I've taken steps in the past to avoid that, and I will continue to take steps to avoid such a thing in the future. I believe it's better to be single than marry someone you have doubts about! God sees divorce and re-marriage as sin. I know that may seem blunt and distasteful, but that's what it is. It's wrong, and it's something Christians need to stay away from.
I read the following article while doing this study, and I've linked to them for your reference. While I do not endorse or agree everything on these websites, these articles did bring up some good points, and they made me think.