Keith Hunt - Biblical Study Restitution of All Things


                            
                              DIVORCE
                                                  
                                AND

                             REMARRIAGE
                                 by
                             Keith Hunt

                             Part Three

                            CHAPTER SEVEN


                         FIRST CORINTHIANS SEVEN




   When an individual REPENTS, his or her PAST sins of adultery
(previous marriages and divorces) together with any other sins,
are WASHED AWAY - GONE. The individual stands as a NEW person.
The new Christian may have a husband or wife who has NOT become a
Christian, and that mate may no longer want to be married to the
one who has become CONVERTED to Christianity.
   The unconverted mate may want a DIVORCE.
    Where does the Christian stand now in regard to God's law on
marriage?
    For the answer to that question, we must turn to I
Corinthians 7, verses 10-17.

    Because much of Paul's instruction in this chapter is based
on the "PRESENT DISTRESS" (verse 26), the TRIBULATION of those
days that the Corinthians found themselves in, some will dismiss
this chapter as meaningless for us today, or will say that verses
10-17 are only talking about a SEPARATION and not DIVORCE or
REmarriage.
    I can not agree with the first argument, and the second has
its weakness when examined closely.

                 THE TWO GREEK WORDS OF I CORINTHIANS 7

    As some have presented a technical study of the Greek words
used here for "DEPART" and "PUT AWAY" to uphold their teaching,
I must of necessity do the same.
    The Greek words are "CHORIZO" and "APHIEMI." Please note
carefully: "CHORIZO" is used in verses 10, 11, and 15 for
"depart."  The word  "APHIEMI"  is used in verse 11 ("put away"),
verse 12 ("put her away") and verse 13 ("not leave").
    Let s look at the word "APHIEMI."
    The ENGLISHMAN'S GREEK CONCORDANCE, pages 97-98, gives all
the verses where this word is used.
    It is translated as "LEFT" "LEAVE" and "FORSAKEN" in a number
of places, with the sense of a COMPLETE and TOTAL ABANDONMENT.
(see Mat.4:11, 20, 22; 19:27, 29, 22:22, 25; 24:40, 41; 26:56).
    In dozens of places it is rendered "FORGIVEN" or "FORGIVE."
Now when God FORGIVES, He does not halfway FORGIVE. He forgives
COMPLETELY. Our sins are GONE, never to appear again. The blood
of Jesus has broken the BOND of death that sin held over us -
there is TOTAL FREEDOM. Our sins are not just SEPARATED from us
and set to one side, so God can bring them up to us at some
future date. No, they are DIVORCED from us, fully gone.
    This word "APHIEMI" carries a strong meaning of COMPLETENESS,
of SEPARATION.
    Now let's look at the word "CHORIZO" in the ENGLISHMAN'S
GREEK CONCORDANCE, page 805. Notice it is used in Mat.19:6 ("put
asunder"). It is used in Acts 18:1: "Paul DEPARTED from Athens
...." Paul did not halfway depart - he COMPLETELY left or
SEPARATED from Athens. 
                                  
   Turn to Matthew 19:3-9. The whole discussion between Jesus
and the Pharisees was concerning DIVORCE - not separation or
fraudulent marriages (as we saw earlier). The Greek word used
here (except in ONE place) is "APOLUO," and is translated in
other places as "PUT AWAY, RELEASE, FORGIVE, LOOSED, DISMISSED,
LET GO, and "DEPART" (see the Englishman's Greek Concordance,
page 75).
   Let me prove this to you from Matthew 19:3-9. The
conversation is concerning DIVORCE (in verses 3,7,and 8, the word
"apoluo" is used), but when Jesus came to say in verse 6,
"....What therefore God hath joined together, let not man PUT
ASUNDER" he obviously meant from the context, "Let not man
DIVORCE."  But Matthew, in relating what Jesus said, did NOT use
"apolou" but "chorizo."  BOTH Greek words are used in this
section a Scripture to represent our ONE English word "divorce." 
 Why should this seem strange to us? In our own English language
we often use different words that convey the same MEANING to
avoid boring repetition. It was no different for the writers in
the Greek language world.
   We need to be very careful, in studying Greek words, that we
do not try to FORCE isolation on words that were never meant or
never used as "an island unto themselves," or we may find
ourselves on an island God never intended or wanted us on. We
will now see this demonstrated in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11.
   Paul, speaking to Christian COUPLES (he speaks to other
couples, where only one is a Christian, in verses 12-16), says in
verse 10 that the COMMAND is from the LORD, "Let not the
wife....."

   Paul is quoting Jesus! Where is that quotation found? Why in
Matthew 5:32; 19:6,9; Mark 10:11 and Luke 16:18. Read those
passages - they are plainly talking about DIVORCE. Paul is
quoting Jesus about divorce (putting away) where the word
"APOLUO" is used, but he chooses not to use "APOLUO" but
"CHORIZO" as he reiterates what was the Lord's command. Paul's
quotation meant exactly the same as Jesus' command, as he was
telling the Corinthians what Jesus had said.
   Because of the TRIBULATION the Corinthians were enduring
(verse 26), some thought it best to divorce their Christian mates
(be unmarried and serve the Lord, verses 32, 33) and be single.
Paul gives them Jesus' answer (verse 10) - no divorce for that
circumstance.
   There is a PLAY on words by Paul in these two verses, as
"CHORIZO" can mean either SEPARATE or DIVORCE.
    I will paraphrase, "And unto the Christian couples I command,
yet not I but the Lord commands, 'Let not the wife divorce
(CHORIZO) her husband.' But if she chooses (under this present
tribulation) to separate (CHORIZO), she must remain single or be
reconciled again to her husband. And the husbands should not
divorce (APHIEMI) their wives."
    I suppose "CHORIZO" in verse 11 could be rendered as
"divorce." Then we would understand Paul as giving instruction to
the Christians who were either PRESUMPTUOUS or IGNORANT of the
Lord's command. They were to remain as single or be reconciled
again to their Christian mates.
    Having studied the words "APHIEMI" "CHORIZO" and "APOLUO" we
are ready to answer the question: "What if the UNconverted mate
wishes to divorce the Christian?" Read verses 12-16. "APHIEMI" is
used in verses 12 and 13, and "CHORIZO" in verse 15, again
showing the interchangeability of these words. Paul is talking
about the same thing in all three verses.

                       TO THE REST

   In verses 1-9, Paul was speaking to the UNMARRIED and WIDOWS;
in verses 10 and 11 to the MARRIED with BOTH partners in the
church; in verses 12 to 16 to "the rest" of the married - those
with an UNCONVERTED mate.
 
   I will now take the time to record various comments on these
verses (12-16) from a number of Bible Commentaries.

   " 'I have spoken in regard to the duties of the UNMARRIED and
the question whether it is right and advisable that they should
marry, verses 1-9. I have also uttered the command of the Lord in
regard to those who are married, and the question whether
SEPARATION and DIVORCE were proper. Now in regard to THE REST OF
THE PERSONS AND CASES referred to....' THE REST, or remainder,
here referred to, relates particularly to the cases in which one
party was a Christian, and the other not..."
(BARNES' NOTES ON THE NEW TESTAMENT, emphasis his and mine).
    
THE INTERPRETER'S BIBLE

   "Verses 12-15. The reader might wonder who the 'rest' might
be. The apostle at once makes clear that he has in mind MIXED
MARRIAGES, where only ONE partner was a Christian. Obviously,
Jesus could have had no occasion to make a pronouncement on
THAT situation.....If the UNBELIEVING PARTNER DESIRES TO
SEPARATE, THE CHRISTIAN IS NOT BOUND. It is recognized that
Christian faith brings new standards of life. A heathen partner
should not be compelled to continue under the new circumstances
unless he or she is ENTIRELY WILLING to do so........
 
   Paul grounds the permission to separate.......GOD HAS CALLED
US TO PEACE.......Some apparently wanted to hold the unbelieving
partner in the hope of leading to his or her conversion. Paul
wisely reminds them that there is no certainty of such a result;
marriage is not a sphere for missionary work.......
    If the believer is divorced by the unbelieving partner, what
then?.......Do we have the one scriptural ground for the
remarriage of divorced persons? Some commentators have thought
so......."

THE ABINGDON BIBLE COMMENTARY

    "The grave problem of mixed marriages Paul has no dictum of
the Lord to cite, but gives his own judgment (vv 12-16). The
Christian husband or wife whose heathen partner is WILLING TO
SHARE the home is not to sever the tie .... If, on the other
hand, the heathen husband or wife DISSOLVES THE UNION, this
situation is to be accepted, for in such conditions the Christian
wife or husband is in no slavish subjection to marriage; for God
called us to a life of peace. It would be a dangerous presumption
to hold that the heathen partner must inevitably be saved by the
forced attachment of the other."

A NEW CATHOLIC COMMENTARY ON HOLY SCRIPTURE

    "15. If the unbeliever 'desires to separate,' the believing
partner is no longer bound by the marriage....."

THE DAILY STUDY BIBLE (William Barclay)

   "I Cor. 7:8-16.  This passage deals with three different sets
of people:

   I)     Those who are unmarried or who are widows.....
   2) Those who are married.....
    3) With the marriage of BELIEVERS and UNBELIEVERS. On this
Paul has to give his own judgment, because there is no definite
command of Jesus to which he can refer them. The background must
be that there were those in Corinth who declared that a believer
must never live with an unbeliever; and that, in the event of one
partner of a marriage becoming a Christian and the other
remaining a heathen, separation must at once follow.......
   Undoubtedly, mixed marriages produced problems.......
   Paul dealt with this problem with supreme practical wisdom.
He knew the difficulty and he refused to exacerbate it. He said
that if the TWO COULD AGREE to live together, by all means let
them do so; but if they wished to separate and FOUND LIVING
TOGETHER INTOLERABLE, let them do so, because the Christian was
never meant to be a slave......."

MATTHEW HENRY'S COMMENTARY

   "He brings the general advice home to the case of such as had
an unbelieving mate (v. 12). But to the rest speak I, not the
Lord; the Lord had not so expressly spoken to this case as to the
former of divorce. It does not mean that the apostle spake
without authority from the Lord......He closes this subject with
a declaration to the contrary (v. 40), I think also that I have
the spirit of God ....
    To the advice itself - which is, that if an unbelieving
husband or wife were PLEASED TO DWELL with a Christian relative
the other should not separate .... If the unbelieving relative
desert the believer, and no means can reconcile to a
cohabitation, in such a case a brother or sister is not in
bondage (v. 15) .... Bound servilely to follow or cleave to the
malicious deserter, or not bound to live unmarried .... In such a
case the deserted person must be free to marry again, and it is
granted on all hands. And some think that such a malicious
desertion is as much a dissolution of the marriage covenant as
death itself .... It does not seem reasonable that they should
be still bound when it is rendered impossible to perform conjugal
duties or enjoy conjugal comforts, through the mere fault of
their mate. In such a case marriage would be a state of servitude
indeed ....."
    
                       THE LITTLE WORD "IF"

    The Corinthian converts had apparently asked something like
this: "What about some of us, Paul, who are married to
unbelievers? Must a Christian put away an unbelieving mate?"
    If the Christian position was that NO putting away was EVER
allowed, these would be strange words indeed. Why would Paul
say NOT to put away an unbelieving wife "IF she be pleased to
dwell with him," if NO divorce was EVER permitted? If putting
away was out of the question, whether she was "pleased" or "not
pleased" would be beside the point! The fact that Paul used the
word "if" shows there was an option. If the unbeliever was not
pleased to dwell with the believer - if the unbeliever departed -
the believer was NO LONGER UNDER BONDAGE!

                        NOT UNDER BONDAGE

    The word "bondage" here is translated from the Greek word
"DOULOO" used to describe one who was bound as a slave. The terms
"under bondage" and "not under bondage" were established legal
terms that were used in slave trade. If a slave was no longer
under bondage, he had been set free - completely. The slave owner
had no further claim to him. So here, applied to marriage, a
person who was no longer "under bondage" was free from that
marriage. Let us further prove that. 

    The Greek word "DOULOO" signifies: "TO MAKE A SLAVE, BRING
INTO BONDAGE." It comes from the Greek "DOULOS," a SLAVE, which
in turn is from the verb "DEHO" - to BIND, KNIT, TIE. These three
Greek words are closely KNIT or BOUND together, as we can see.
    In Romans 7:2, the word "DEHO" is used for "BOUND." In I
Corinthians 7:15 the Greek is "DOULOO" for "BONDAGE."
    Using a general point of the law as an illustration, Paul
said a woman "was BOUND by the law to her husband so long as he
lives" (Rom. 7:2). But, in different circumstances, the same
apostle says that a wife is NOT BOUND, NOT UNDER BONDAGE to an
unbelieving husband who leaves her. If being "BOUND" in the one
case meant she was NOT FREE from the marriage (as those teach
who hold that only death severs a marriage), it is certain that
her being "NOT UNDER BONDAGE - NOT BOUND - in the second case,
means she was FREE from the marriage. If it does not mean she is
free to remarry, words have lost all meaning.
    Is Paul saying that a Christian can REmarry if the
UNconverted partner wishes a divorce?

    I do believe this is exactly what Paul is saying.

    Here are additional reasons why I understand that Paul is
giving a God-given ground for REmarriage if desired:

   1. All have sinned (Romans 3:23). All are under the death
penalty (Romans 6:23). The whole world is deceived (Rev.12:9).
   2. No one can be a Christian UNLESS God the Father DRAWS him
(John 6:44). The Father desires all to LIVE and not perish        
(II Pet. 3:9). All will be taught God s truths (John 6:45).
   3. Not all are being CALLED to Christianity today (I Cor.
1:26).
   4. Jesus knew that some individuals in a household would be
CALLED while others would not, some households would be SPLIT UP!
(Mat. 10:34-38).
    5. God is SUPREME ruler - nothing happens unless He ALLOWS
it. Read Job 1 and 2.
    6. God is RESPONSIBLE for all things (Isa.45:7).
   7. If He is responsible for CALLING one individual and not
another (which He is), then He knows that it could cause a SPLIT  
between husband and wife.
    8. God CHOOSES us when He decides and in whatever situation
we are at the time (I Cor.7:17-24).
   9. If the UNconverted wishes to DIVORCE the Christian - and
it happens - God is ultimately RESPONSIBLE for that circumstance.
   As God is responsible for WHEN a person is CALLED, and his or
her mate is not, and a divorce ensues, it is certainly not in     
the nature, mercy, or love of God to demand that the Christian
remain SINGLE for the rest of his or her life, because of a       
situation beyond the Christian s control.

    These situations arising within the growth of Christianity -
not being there before - it was only fitting that God would lead
someone like Paul to declare his judgment on the matter.
    Paul, having the Spirit of God (I Cor. 7:40), wrote his
judgment, which in turn, became a part of the inspired WORD of
God, which is now the LAW of God for this age.

                    BEING PLEASED TO DWELL WITH

    Can an unbeliever PHYSICALLY abuse his or her mate and claim
he or she is still "pleased to dwell" and so the believer must
submit to the bondage of the union?  Can the un-Christian man
refuse to provide for his mate and still claim the union is to be
unbroken?
    Can the un-Christian refuse to perform conjugal duties with
his or her partner, and claim he or she is "pleased to dwell"? 
Can the unbeliever "run around" with or "date" others of the
opposite sex and still say to the mate, he or she is "pleased to
dwell"? 
    Can the unbeliever live as he wants, talk as he wants, shout,
rant and rave, verbally abuse, and do other hurtful deeds against
his or her Christian partner; and still claim he or she is
"pleased to dwell"?  
    Must a believer endure the bondage of someone who claims he
or she is "pleased to dwell with the Christian," but is a child
beater, wife beater, habitual drunkard, fighter, or someone who
is not upholding his or her responsibilities as husband or wife?
    
    The marriage union and vows demand that each partner be
responsible for certain undertakings. They are to love and
respect each other's personal rights as human beings. It should
still be a partnership - consisting of sharing, giving,
understanding, kindness, serving, and loving respect.
   Paul is telling the Christian that IF an unbelieving mate is
pleased to carry on the union in this manner of love, respect and
responsibility, the Christian should not leave or separate; BUT
IF NOT, the Christian is not under bondage to endure war - he has
been called to peace.

    Anything less than love, respect and responsibility is not
being "PLEASED TO DWELL" and the Christian is not under bondage
in such cases.

    It is quite possible that two people start out as Christians
together, belonging to the same Christian denomination, but for
various reasons and through the process of time, one partner
moves to another denomination church, no longer believing and
practicing the same religious beliefs. They are both STILL
professing to be Christians. Does this situation come under what
paul is talking about here? 
    NO, IT CERTAINLY DOES NOT!  Such people are STILL "believers"
in Christ and the Christian faith.  What Paul is talking about is
the situation where one in the marriage is an un-believer, or
becomes an un-believer, by walking away from God and Christ
and the Christian faith, fully and completely. He is not talking
about someone in the partnership who merely "changes" church
affiliations.
    Then, to digest this a little more. It could well be that one
in the marriage partnership does give up the Christian faith
fully and completely, making them an un-believer. Does this
"automatically" mean that the other Christian partner to the
marriage SHOULD or CAN immediately "divorce" the one who has now
become an un-believer?  NOT AT ALL!
    The Christian may now find he or she is married to an
un-believer. This then puts them in the situation that Paul was
here discussing and giving his judgement on. IF the now
un-believer of the Christian faith is "pleased to dwell" with the
Christian, then the Christian is NOT to "put away" or divorce the
un-believer. But if the now un-believer is "not pleased to dwell"
with the Christian believer, then the Christian believer can be
free from the marriage and free to re-marry if they so
desire....but as Paul said elsewhere, "only in the Lord."

                        SAVING YOUR MATE?

    Some Christians believe they are required to remain
indefinitely in a bad marriage because they may be able to save
their unbelieving husband or wife. They think this is based on
the following verse: "For what do you know, 0 wife, whether you
shall save your husband? or how do you know, 0 man, whether you
shall save your wife?" (I Cor. 7:16).
    Notice, the question in this statement of Paul's.
    It is true that a believing wife can have a positive and
godly influence on an unbelieving husband (I Pet. 3:1-2). But
staying with him does not guarantee that he will be saved. It has
also been stated by Paul previously that if an unbeliever is
pleased to stay with a Christian, then a believer should not seek
a divorce. Yet on the other hand, Paul was NOT saying one should
stay with an unbelieving mate simply because the possibility
exists of his or her conversion. After just saying IN THE VERSE
BEFORE that if the unbeliever departs, "Let him depart," he was
not turning around in this verse and saying "Don t let him
depart!" Also notice that the word "FOR" introducing this verse
links it with what he had previously said. Paul was saying, in
effect, that the Christian is no longer bound if the unbelieving
mate wants to depart.. The Christian should not feel he or she
must try to remain in the union. There is no way to know for sure
if a mate will ever be converted in this life time.
    
   The LIVING BIBLE, though a paraphrase, gives the intended
sense: "For, after all, there is no assurance to you wives that
your husbands will be converted if they stay; and the same may be
said to you husbands concerning your wives." Paul was telling the
Christian whose marriage ends in divorce, because the unbelieving
mate wants to leave and is no longer pleased to continue the
marriage, that he or she should not feel guilty about this,
thinking that the unbeliever might have eventually been saved.

                          MENTAL CRUELTY

   "If the unbelieving depart....." (I Cor. 7:15). We normally
think of this only in its primary meaning - someone who literally
leaves, packs his/her bags and heads out. But is it not also true
that some may depart in mind, affection, attitude and other ways?
This kind of "departure" can be just as real, and often worse
than the other! Some couples have departed from each other,
though they still live under the same roof. Perhaps you have
heard of or known couples who have separate bedrooms and only
speak to each other through their children. I once gave counsel
on marriage problems to a young man who told me he grew up with
parents who did not speak to each other except through their
children. They were in their hearts divorced - it just had not
been done LEGALLY. They had departed from each other but still
lived under the same roof. There can be little doubt that such
departures constitute being "not pleased to dwell" and fall
within the spirit of what Paul was saying.
   If divorce is inevitable, who actually files for the divorce
or who actually DEPARTS is really beside the point. If a man
treated a woman so badly that he, in effect, drove her out, his
claim that SHE  "departed"  would not make him innocent. The
basic point that Paul was making is that the Christian should not
be the CAUSE of the divorce.

                    GOD HAS CALLED US TO PEACE

   The reason a believer was not bound to an unbeliever who was
not "pleased" to remain in a marriage is this: God wants the
Christian to have PEACE. "Let him depart .... God HAS CALLED US
TO PEACE." Peace was given priority in Paul's teaching.
   Divorce was not the original ideal, but neither was marriage
if it was unpeaceful. "For where envying and strife is, there is
confusion and every evil work" (James 3:16). True, a Christian
should do all he can to live peacefully with an unbelieving mate,
but as the saying goes, "It takes two to tango." If a man is
married to a woman who destroys the harmony of marriage, tears up
his Christian literature, causes no end of troubles, turns the
home into a living hell, and finally wants to depart and divorce,
then Paul says LET HER DEPART. The man is no longer bound.
    A woman who supposes - contrary to what Paul taught - that
God never permits divorce, might refuse a divorce to an
unbelieving husband who wants one. He may leave for months at a
time, returning now and then for a week or so. This would be
upsetting not only for the wife but also for any children, if
they had children still at home. There could be the possibility
of another pregnancy. It is degrading to the woman to be married
- and yet not married. This is definitely not God's plan. God has
called us to PEACE. The peace of the marriage is the real issue
here, divorce being permitted when this peace is no longer
present. To insist that ALL people who are married stay together
in ALL circumstances is not the teaching of Paul.
                             
                LOOSED FROM A WIFE - IF YOU MARRY?

    "Are you bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Are you
loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. BUT AND IF YOU MARRY,
YOU HAVE NOT SINNED; and if a virgin marry, she has not sinned"
(I Cor. 7:27,28).
    The words "bound" and "loosed" in the first section present a
sharp contrast to each other. The Greek for BOUND is "DEHO,"
the same as in Romans 7:2. The word "LOOSED" is the Greek "LOO-O"
which means to loosen, break up, destroy, dissolve, put off.
In the second question the word "LOOSED" is "LOO-SIS" (which is
from "LOO-O") and means a loosing, a release.
    Both phrases, "Are you bound" and "Are you loosed" in
questions one and two of verse 27, are in the PERFECT INDICATIVE
tense, which conveys the notion of an action terminated in past
time, but continuing its effect to the present.
    Together with Paul's thought in verse 26, let me amplify
these verses we are looking at. "Are you bound (through a past
marriage that is still in effect) unto a wife? seek not to be
loosed (put off, dissolved, divorced - do not make the present
distress and tribulations an excuse to divorce and leave your
wife). Are you loosed (through a past divorce that is still in
effect) from a wife? seek not a wife (for the present, while this
tribulation is upon us). BUT and IF YOU MARRY, YOU HAVE NOT
SINNED; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned" (verses
27,28).
   A man who has gone through a divorce from a wife either
before he became a Christian or after (because the unbeliever was
not pleased to dwell (verses 12-15) CAN REMARRY if he chooses. HE
DOES NOT SIN by doing so, any more than a virgin (one never
married) does by getting married.

    Those who believe only death can release a person from
marriage, say the man in this verse was "loosed" from the
marriage because his wife had DIED. If being loosed meant his
wife had died, what could the expression "seek not to be loosed"
mean - that he was seeking her death? This could hardly be the
meaning of what Paul was saying to the Corinthians.

                     THE UNMARRIED AND WIDOWS

   "I say therefore to the UNMARRIED and WIDOWS ... if they
cannot contain; let them marry: for it is better to marry than to
burn (with desire)" (I Cor. 7: 8, 9). It is doubtful that Paul,
speaking here of the "unmarried," meant only those who had never
been married before, "virgins," for he began to talk to them in
verse 25: "Now concerning virgins ..." The term "unmarried" here
probably has reference to people who had been married at one
time, but who were now single (because of a divorce some time
previous to becoming a Christian or because they became a
Christian). The term "unmarried" can apply both to a virgin
(verse 34) and to a woman who has left her husband (verse 11). In
whatever circumstances these were single, it is clear that
celibacy was not required of them.
   Paul instructs that "for the present distress" (verse 26) it
would be better to remain single, but if they could not contain
their desire, it would be better to marry. Is it not just as
great a sin to burn with thoughts of desire toward someone, as to
have thoughts of hate towards a person? We are flesh, and we were
created male and female - it was not good for man to be alone,
said God. Whatever sins may have been committed that resulted in
being "unmarried" (if such was because of sin) are completely
FORGIVEN and FORGOTTEN upon repentance and baptism. Paul
understood this when he wrote that if the unmarried could not
contain, "Let them marry."
    
   Now let's turn our attention to the word "widows." It is
plain to see that Paul answers the question about MARRIAGE for
widows who have lost their husbands through death, in verses 39,
40. Is Paul just repeating himself here in verse 8 ? I think not.
A point that has often been overlooked is that, Biblically
speaking, a widow was simply a woman who had married a husband at
one time but had since lost him. Her husband MAY have died, or he
may have just DESERTED her, and she became a widow. This we shall
now prove.

                       WIDOWS WITH HUSBANDS

   In our English language we say a woman who has lost her
husband by death is a widow; and a woman whose husband has
separated from her by absence or divorce is termed a "grass
widow." But the Bible uses only the one word "widow" to describe
either situation.
   Turn to Isaiah 54:1-10. God is telling Israel that He will
restore her to her former glory and freedom. She had been
"refused" and "forsaken" by her God because of her sins, but now
she would be redeemed. Israel would forget the "shame of (her)
youth," and "not remember the reproach of (her) WIDOWHOOD any
more" (verse 4).
   Notice 2 Samuel 20:3: "And David came to his house at
Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines ... and
put them in ward, and fed them, but went not in unto them. So
they were shut up unto the day of their death, living in
WIDOWHOOD."
   These women, now separated from their husband David, became
widows while David was STILL ALIVE! 

   God made provision in Israel for those who were "fatherless
and widows" (Deut. 24: 17-21). Now if the "fatherless and widows"
were only those cases in which the father and husband was DEAD,
what about all the other children  and wives who needed
assistance because the man had DESERTED them? Surely these were
also included in the phrase "fatherless and widows," which would
mean any family where there was no husband or father because of
either DEATH or DESERTION. The law of Deuteronomy covered BOTH
situations.  

   Paul, in I Corinthians 7: 8, 9, tells the UNMARRIED and
WIDOWS that if under the present tribulation, they could not
refrain from marrying, it was better to marry than to burn with
desire.

              DESERTION - BREAKING THE MARRIAGE BOND

   Under "WHAT CONSTITUTES A MARRIAGE," we saw the three basic
requirements that God wants in a marriage as given in Genesis
2:24. One of those is SEXUAL union. Paul upholds this in I
Corinthians 7:3-5. Sexual union is not to be denied by either
partner, except for a time of FASTING.

   Christian men or women should think twice before accepting a
job assignment that would take them away from their mate for long
periods of time - it is not the Lord's desire, "lest Satan tempt
you (to sin) through your lack of restraint of sexual desire"
(Amplified Bible).
   In DESERTION, the sexual bond of marriage is BROKEN -
therefore making that marriage VOID, according to the plan that
God instituted for marriage. This kind of desertion - sexual -
can and does often take place, while the deserting party stays
under the same roof for convenience. Some couples have lived
under the same roof for years together without any sexual contact
at all.
   Such WIDOWS are just as much a widow, as far as marriage
goes, as the widow who has lost her husband through death.
 

                          IN SUMMARY


    It is human nature to go to EXTREMES. Saying that the Word of
God teaches NO divorce and remarriage - WHATSOEVER - is one side
of an extreme. Teaching that the Word of God says you can divorce
and remarry at your will and pleasure, is the other extreme. Both
are incorrect in the light of the totality of divine inspiration.
Marriage is a SERIOUS undertaking - it should not be entered into
without serious thought and planning. 

    One of the biggest problems in our marriages today is
COURTSHIP! Our societies of the Western world, from parents to
schools to universities, have chosen, in the main, not to teach
the young HOW to date, WHY they should marry, and WHAT to look
for in a prospective mate. Many are finding out AFTER marriage
that they have married the wrong person.
    Divorce is hardly pleasant. If you can, try to save your
marriage - try to solve the problems. Seek good professional
help, especially from those who hold the Word of the Eternal God
as their foundation.
   We are living in the age of MAN and SATAN - this is NOT God's
world yet. But the time is coming soon when God's age will
be here - when His KINGDOM will be established over ALL the earth
(Isa. 2:1-4). Then will take place the "RESTITUTION OF ALL
THINGS" (Acts 3:19-21). All will be CALLED to Salvation during
that glorious 1,000  year reign (Rev. 20:1-4; Isa. 11:9; Jer.
31:27-34).

   Then in that age all the world, all the nations of the earth
will be under the rule and laws and commandments of the eternal
God. The Holy Spirit will be poured out on all peoples, and they
will walk in the ways of the Almighty God. Then the institution
of marriage will be as God originally intended when He first
created Adam and Eve and brought them together as husband and
wife.

   Let's continue to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven."

                       .................

Written in 1984

All articles and studies by Keith Hunt may be copied, published,
e-mailed, and distributed as led by the Spirit of God. Mr. Hunt
trusts nothing will be changed without his consent.

 
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