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Particulars of Christianity:
312 The Church Ethic


Remarriage Addendum:
Exception Clause Comparison


The Importance of Family Part 1: Marriage
The Importance of Family Part 2: The Family
Divorce and Remarriage: Introduction and Basics
Separation and Divorce in the Law of Moses
Marital Separation in the Gospels
Marital Separation after the Gospels and Conclusions
Marital Separation: Objections 1-3
Marital Separation: Objections 4-6 and the Early Church
Remarriage Addendum: Exception Clause Comparison
New Testament Protocols Regarding Men and Women (Part 1)
New Testament Protocols Regarding Men and Women (Part 2)
Comparative Peer Dynamics Chart



This addendum is designed to specifically address the fact that some Christians often struggle with the implications of the exception clause in Matthew 19 concerning divorce and remarriage. Although we analyze that text at length in our six-part article series on the topics of Separation, Divorce, and Remarriage, here we would like to further illustrate through the use of an analogous, or parallel, scenario how the exception clause does and does not function in Matthew 19.

Of course, Matthew 5 also contains an exception clause. However, there are differences between the phrasing and placement of the Matthew 5 exception and the phrasing and placement of the Matthew 19 exception. These differences make the Matthew 5 non-problematic to our interpretation of New Testament teaching on remarriage even from a cursory examination.

Matthew 5:31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32 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 exception clause in verse 32 of Matthew 5 is bolded in the excerpt above. As can be seen from the context, even a casual reading of the passage clearly indicates that a man who puts away his wife is held responsible for her committing adultery except in cases when he is putting her away because she is already committing some form of fornication in the first place. Since the wife is already committing fornication before the divorce, in those particular cases and in those cases only, the man's divorce is not deemed a contributing factor to his wife's unlawful sexual practices.

But more to the point, the exception clause in Matthew 5 is not phrased in a way that relates to or even has implications for whether or not a second marriage is allowable or considered adultery. This is an exception that pertains to the man's blame in his wife's unlawful sexual practice. It is not an exception that pertains to whether her sexual practice is deemed lawful or not.

It is certainly true, simply by virtue of sound hermeneutics (interpretive principles) that this earlier exception clause on this same general topic greatly informs how to interpret Jesus' teachings and the exception clause in Matthew 19. However, in contrast to Matthew 5, which is clearly not an exception that affects the legality of the wife's sexual practice, Matthew 19 is phrased in such a way that some modern readers perceive that Matthew 19's exception clause does determine whether or not either spouse's sexual practice is deemed acceptable or unacceptable. For contrast, here is the exception clause found in Matthew 19.

Matthew 19:3 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?... 7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?...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.

Here in Matthew 19, the exception clause occurs in verse 9 where it is bolded for emphasis. Because it is followed by the phrase, “and shall marry another, committeth adultery,” some readers perceive that whether the second marriage is adultery or not depends on the presence or absence of the exception. In other words, some readers perceive that the exception pertains to the second issue, the second marriage and whether or not it is deemed adultery. This perception can be addressed in two ways. First, it can be addressed in terms of its implications if the exception clause pertains to unfaithful acts within a legal marriage. And second, it can be addressed in terms of its implications if the exception clause pertains to illegal marriages.

We will begin by examining the implications if the exception clause pertains to unfaithful acts within legal marriages. Assuming this interpretation of the exception clause, the context indicates that the exception does not relate to this second issue (remarriage) at all. Instead, the exception clause relates solely to the first issue, Jesus’ condemnation of the “putting away.”

And it is important to state that adultery is a secondary aspect in Matthew 19, not the primary aspect. The primary subject of Jesus' teaching in Matthew 19 is to condemn divorce. This is significant because it emphasizes why his exception would constitute an exception for divorce and not an exception to the adulterous nature of second marriages. In fact, further support that Jesus' exception in Matthew 19 is intended to allow separation from a fornicating spouse, rather than to allow second marriages, is indicated by Jesus' earlier teachings in Matthew 5.

Matthew 5:32 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.

In Matthew 5, Jesus lays the blame for a woman's adultery when she marries another man squarely at the feet of her first husband for putting her away in the first place. Thus, he is condemning putting away on the grounds that it contributes to adultery. But, in making this condemnation of "whosoever puts away his wife," Jesus wants to make sure not to include under condemnation men who separate from wives because their wives are already committing fornication. Thus, the use of the exception clause creates a teaching in which separating from your wife while she is committing fornication is acceptable but separating from your wife in all other cases when she is not committing fornication, renders the husband responsible for adultery, for the simple fact that he has given her no place else to go but into the arms of another man.

Conversely, so long as his separation from her is only during her fornication and until such time as she turns away from fornication, then that husband is continuing to provide a place for her with himself and not forcing her to find a home with another man. In fact, because his separation is only conditional while she is fornicating, he is actually encouraging her to cease from other men and return to her place at his side. Thus, Jesus' denotes an exception to his condemnation of separating from your spouse showing that his condemnation does not apply to husbands who separate conditionally from their wives while their wives practice fornication.

In Matthew 19, the primary subject is the question of whether or not it is acceptable for a man to put away his wife. The Pharisees begin with this question in verse 3 and repeat it again in verse 7.

Matthew 19:3 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?... 7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

And both times, Jesus answers that in God's eyes, no, men are not permitted to put away their spouses. Jesus responses are found in verse 4-6 and 8 below in which he cites God's standard "from the beginning" as the basis for his prohibition of separating from your spouse.

Matthew 19:4 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…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.

Thus, it is clear that Matthew 19 is clearly primarily about putting away a spouse and whether or not that is acceptable. And because that is the case, it is very easy to understand why the exception Jesus' provides in verse 9 is also an exception to his condemnation of separating from your spouse, not an exception to whether or not second marriages are adultery.

In fact, it is during this prohibition of "putting away" in verses 4-6 and verses 8-9 that Jesus gives the exception.

Matthew 19:4 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…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. 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.

Since the repeated, constant thrust of his comments at that time are about condemning "putting away," his inclusion of an exception is clearly shown to be an exception to his prohibiting putting away, just as was his inclusion of an exception in Matthew 5.

However, as indicated above, this issue can also be addressed in terms of the alternate interpretation of the exception clause, in which the exception clause pertains to illegal marriages rather than unfaithful acts within legal marriages. Under this interpretation, Matthew 19’s rendering of the exception clause is even easier to understand. In fact, we have already commented on this specific issue earlier and can simply restate our analysis here for emphasis.

In cases where the current marriage is itself inherently illegal from its inception, there are several scenarios in which after the divorce both spouses would be free to marry someone else. And even more specifically, scenarios exist in which marriage to a new spouse after divorce from an illegal marriage would not constitute adultery or consequently another illegal marriage. Let’s look at some examples.

The first example is a scenario in which the current marriage is actually the second marriage for both spouses. This is the type of marriages that Jesus calls “adultery” in Matthew 5, Matthew 19, Mark 10, and Luke 16. It is illegal and invalid because in God’s eyes both spouses are still married to their original spouse. For that reason, the current spouses should divorce one another and, in such a scenario, would be free (if not required) to remarry their original spouse. In this case, marriage to a different person than the current spouse is clearly not illegal or adulterous in God’s eyes because the new marriage is actually to the original and legitimate spouse.

The second example is a scenario in which only one spouse in the current marriage has been married previously. This type of marriage would also be “adultery” under Jesus’ definition. And in such cases, the other spouse (having never been married legitimately before) would be free to marry anyone after the current illegal, adulterous marriage is ended.

The third example is a scenario in which the current marriage is unlawful for some reason such as incest (rather than because it is an adulterous second marriage). While this is unthinkable in modern times, it makes complete sense in the original historical context (the Jewish commonwealth) in which Jesus’ gave this command. This is proven by the case involving John the Baptist and Herod. In this scenario, both spouses would be free to remarry anyone because neither one has ever been in a valid marriage in God’s eyes.

Consequently, there are at least three separate scenarios in which a subsequent marriage to a different party after the divorce of an adulterous marriage would not constitute any kind of adultery. As such, it would make perfect sense for Jesus to allow divorce and marriage to a different party in cases where the current marriage is itself illegal and invalid in God’s eyes.

But more to the point, under this interpretation of the exception clause (which appears superior for both grammatical and historical reasons), unfaithfulness in a legal marriage would not allow for marriage to a new spouse. Instead, the exception clause, even as structured in Matthew 19, would only create allowances for persons involved in illegal marriages.

With all this in mind, we arrive at the opportunity for an analogous, or parallel, scenario. The benefit of examining an analogous scenario is that the topic (in this case separation and remarriage) is changed but the format of the dialog remains the same. This allows us to discard cultural baggage that we carry about the topic of separation and remarriage in order to get a simple view of the structure of the statement and, in this case, how the exception clause works.

The alternate topic that we will now format in a parallel to Jesus' exception in Matthew 19 is the issue of providing for your family and stealing. This topic is ideal for comparison to the prohibition and exception in Matthew 19 for several reasons.

First, it is a real condemnation and prohibition that exists in the Bible. Stealing is prohibited in Exodsus 20:15, Romans 13:9, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and Ephesians 4:28.

Exodus 20:15 Thou shalt not steal.

Romans 13:9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Likewise, working to provide for one's family is also required in the Bible and failing to do so is directly condemned.

1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel (571).

It is important to note that the word for "infidel" in 1 Timothy 5:8 is not an inconsequential term. It is the Greek word "apistos" (Strong's No. 571), which is a compound word comprised of the Greek letter "a" (Strong's No. 1) used as a negative participle and the Greek word "pistos" (Strong's No. 4103), which means, "trusty" or "believing." In short, the Greek word translated as "infidel" means an "unbeliever," one who does not believe the Gospel. The same word is used by Paul in such passages as 1 Corinthians 6:6, 1 Corinthians 7:12-15, 1 Corinthians 10:27, 1 Corinthians 14:22-24, 2 Corinthians 6:14, and Titus 1:15, as well as by Jesus in Luke 12:46, where it is translated as "unbeliever."

Thus, like Jesus' condemnation of a man who puts away his spouse, the New Testament's condemnation of a man who does not provide for his family is quite clear.

Second, this analogy between the Bible's teaching on stealing to provide for one's needs and committing adultery is itself put forward in the Bible.

Proverbs 6:27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? 28 Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? 29 So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent. 30 Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; 31 But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house. 32 But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.

There are a few items to notice from Proverbs 6. Notice foremost that the topic is condemning adultery and the assurance of adultery's consequences for those who would perhaps take it lightly or brush it off. Also, notice the comparison of thievery is employed to illustrate this teaching concerning adultery.

And finally, notice from verses 30-31 that even through a starving man is not despised when he steals, his condemnation nonetheless still remains and he is required to endure the designated consequences. This is important because it establishes that the prohibition and condemnation of thievery remains even when the man is perhaps in legitimate need through no fault of his own and deserving of pity. The statement in verse 30 that the man is stealing when he is starving and therefore not despised is meant to contrast that man with a man who steals, not out of dire need, but out of laziness, greed, or some other immoral motivation, particularly covetousness as we will see below.

Thus, the Bible makes a distinction between the man who is in need for legitimate, blameless reasons and the man who seeks to steal because of own evil desires and greed. Yet, despite the distinction between an opportunity to steal, which results from innocent misfortune and an opportunity to steal, which results from evil desires, the condemnation and prohibition of thievery remains in affect for both the unfortunate party and the malevolent party. And not only does the condemnation and prohibition remain for both, but the penalty does also. This reality will factor largely into our analogous scenario below.

In addition, this conceptual parallel between thievery and adultery goes back to the very beginning of the Bible. In the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21, stealing and adultery are listed separately, although they are side by side in both instances.

Exodus 20:
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15 Thou shalt not steal.

Deuteronomy 5:
18 Neither shalt thou commit adultery.
19 Neither shalt thou steal.

However, in both passages, the tenth commandment condemns the desire to take material possessions in literally the same breath and the same language as it condemns desiring to take a woman who is not your lawful spouse. (The Strong's Numbers are included in Exodus 20:17 in order to demonstrate that the Hebrew word is the same concerning "coveting" both property and spouses.)

Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet (02530) thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet (02530) thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

Deuteronomy 5:21 Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's.

Thus, the conceptual parallel between the desire to steal and the desire to commit adultery is one that is asserted at the very beginning of God's Word. Consequently, given the Bible's statements concerning both stealing and not providing for one's family, the analogy does not rely on imaginary elements or prohibitions and is neither arbitrary nor contrived.

On a side note, when discussing the requirements for repenting from adultery, it is not altogether uncommon for an analysis of adultery to invoke a comparison to the sin of murder. However, since the Bible itself parallels adultery to thievery, attempts to reach conclusions about adultery by comparison to other sins, such as murder, are not only baseless, but they derail the indications provided by the Bible's own conceptual comparison to thievery. The Bible compares thievery and adultery not only for illustration purposes but because they are conceptually similar. In both cases, a person desires, takes, and then lives with and derives benefit from something which is not lawfully theirs, something which they attained illegally. If God had intended for us to understand adultery as similar to murder, he would have said so, just as he does in Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Proverbs concerning thievery. For this reason, when seeking to explain or understand God's requirements for repentance concerning those in adultery by way of analogy to another sin, we must start with an analogy concerning thievery, not murder. To start with a comparison from murder in order to make deductions about adultery is to disregard and work against Biblical precedent.

Keeping in mind that Matthew 19 begins with the Pharisees asking two separate times if it is acceptable to put away one's spouse and that Jesus answers both times by prohibiting "putting away," we can envision a similar situation where someone comes to ask a teacher or lawgiver if it is acceptable for a man to stop working to provide for one's family. Thus, the failure to provide for one's family becomes the primary subject of the dialog, just as "putting away" is in Matthew 19. Likewise, stealing will function as the secondary issue, just like "adultery" in Matthew 19.

Imagine a discussion that occurs as follows.

OPPOSITION: Is it lawful for a man to stop working to provide for his family?

TEACHER: Have you not read, "If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel"? For this reason, every man shall work to provide for himself and his family.

OPPOSITION: Then what about the command that those who have must share and help provide for those who lack?

TEACHER: That command was given to make sure you gave to those in need. But I say unto you, Whoseover shall not provide for his family, except in cases where he was laid off from his job, and shall take more than what lawfully belongs to him, commits thievery.

In this imaginary scenario, we have paralleled the structure of the dialog between Jesus and the Pharisees in Matthew 19. In Matthew 19, the primary topic under examination is the acceptability of putting away a spouse. In our analogous scenario, the primary topic under examination is failing to provide for one's family. In both scenarios, the opposition twice asserts that doing so is acceptable. And both times, the teacher responds by condemning and prohibiting what they say is acceptable. Furthermore, in both cases, the exception is clearly given during the prohibition of that primary behavior.

The central comparison, of course, comes down to the teacher's final statement, in which the exception clause appears. We have mirrored the format exactly.

Matthew 19:9 And I say unto you, A) Whosoever shall put away his wife, B) except it be for fornication, C) and shall marry another, D) committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

TEACHER: …But I say unto you, A) Whoseover shall not provide for his family, B) except in cases where he was laid off from his job, C) and shall take more than what lawfully belongs to him, D) commits thievery.

In both scenarios, "A" is the behavior, which is the primary issue under examination throughout the passage and which the teacher is condemning and prohibiting throughout the passage. "B" is the exception to the prohibition of that primary behavior. "C" is the secondary behavior, which has not been the primary focus of the dialog and which has not even been mentioned up to this point in the dialog. Specifically, the secondary behavior is marrying someone else and taking something beyond what is lawfully yours. And "D" is the teacher's qualification of the secondary behavior as an immoral act, as adultery and thievery respectively.

What the analogous scenario allows us to see is that the exception ("B") is an exception to the condemnation of "A." It is an exception to the condemnation of the primary behavior that has been the constant focus of the dialog from the beginning. Just like the condemnation against "not providing for one's family" does not apply in cases where one was laid off, the condemnation against "putting away one's wife" does not apply in cases where the wife is engaging in fornication. The exception is an exception only to the prohibition of the primary behavior.

Moreover, from the precedent in Exodus 20:17 and Deuteronomy 5:21, we know that the exception is granted specifically because the putting away of a spouse who is fornicating is not an action that starts with covetousness for something that is not yours, with the desire for another spouse. Thus, the exception merely recognizes an exemption from the condemnation of covetousness, which is the sin that Jesus is condemning throughout Matthew 19, the desire for another spouse instead of your present spouse. This is identical to how Proverbs recognizes that the man who steals when he is starving is not despised as covetous, but only as a thief. And it is also identical to how our analogy recognizes that the man who steals if he is laid off does not fall under the condemnation of laziness, but only under the condemnation of being a thief.

That is the purpose of the exception, to exempt from condemnation in one particular, single situation those who commit the primary behavior of either putting away or not providing for their family. The exception does not relate to and does not affect the qualification of the secondary behavior as immoral, as adultery or thievery respectively. The exception does not make it acceptable to perform the secondary behavior of marrying someone new or to taking more than what lawfully belongs to you if that particular situation arises. Taking what is not yours doesn't cease to be thievery just because you suffer blameless misfortune. Passages like Exodus 20:15, Romans 13:9, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Ephesians 4:28 explicitly define that taking what is not yours is thievery. Whether arising from covetousness or not, you are still taking what is not yours and therefore, by definition, stealing. And Proverbs 6:30-31 tells us that the condemnation of such behavior as thievery, the prohibition of it and the punishment, remain for all who do so. As such, in our analogous scenario, only the condemnation for not providing for one's family is removed by the exception, not the condemnation for the second action of taking what isn't yours.

Likewise, in Matthew 19, marrying someone new doesn't cease to be adultery just because one spouse was committing fornication. Passages like Mark 10:1-12, Luke 16:18, Romans 7:1-3 and 1 Corinthians 7:39 explicitly define that marrying someone new while your original spouse is still alive is adultery. Whether arising from covetousness or not, you are still taking a spouse that is not yours in the eye's of God's law and therefore, by definition, engaging in adultery. The condemnation explicitly asserted in those passages remains for all those do so. In Matthew 19, only the condemnation for putting away a spouse is removed by the exception, not the condemnation for the second action of marrying someone new.

As our analogous scenario demonstrates, there is no conflict created between the exception clause and the explicit condemnation of the stealing in Exodus 20:15, Romans 13:9, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and Ephesians 4:28. Nor, does the exception clause create a loophole making it OK to steal if certain variables are present.

Likewise, in Matthew 19, there is no conflict created between the exception clause and the explicit condemnation of remarriage in Mark 10:1-12, Luke 16:18, Romans 7:1-3, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and 1 Corinthians 7:39 as well as Mark 10:1-12, which is a parallel account of the events in Matthew 19 in which Jesus' teaching works without an exception clause. Nor, does the exception clause create a loophole making it OK to marry someone new so long as certain variables are present.

Lastly, it is interesting that in Romans 7:1-3, Paul refers to the Law of Moses as prohibiting a spouse from marrying someone else so long as their original spouse is still alive.

Romans 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

No doubt, Paul is simply referring to the first book of the Torah of Moses, the book of Genesis, which is the passage Jesus himself refers to in Matthew 19 and Mark 12, when he states that "in the beginning," God made man and woman "one." And not only does Paul state that this was the rule under the Law of Moses, but in 1 Corinthians 7:39, Paul asserts that this rule is still in effect for Christians so that no Christian can marry someone else so long as their original spouse is still alive.

1 Corinthians 7:38 So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better. 39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

Thus, Paul applies this directive from the Law of Moses, specifically Genesis, as the rule governing Christians, just as Christ Jesus did in Matthew 19 and Mark 12 when employing the phrase, "in the beginning." But moreover, the fact that both Jesus and Paul refer the origin of this to the Law of Moses provides insight into Jesus' prohibition of second marriages in Luke 16:18.

Luke 16:14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. 15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. 16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. 17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. 18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

Just as Jesus and Paul elsewhere ascribe the origin of the prohibition of remarriage to the book of Genesis, the first book in the Torah of Moses, right after affirming the enduring nature of the Law here in Luke 16, Jesus goes on to prohibit remarriages. Thus, verse 18 is not simply a fleeting statement recorded hastily and arbitrarily in between an unrelated series of statements about the Law in verses 14-17 and a parable in verses 19-31. But instead, verse 18's prohibition of second marriages is connected directly to Jesus' reference back to the Law in the preceding verses and his condemnation of the Pharisees covetousness, just as he condemned the Pharisees covetousness for new wives in Matthew 19 and Mark 10 in which he also appealed to the Law.

Furthermore, verse 18 is also connected to the parable that follows in verses 19-31, in which Jesus goes on to further demonstrate that those who reject the commands of the Law will be condemned. Given our comparison of putting away a spouse and second marriages to poverty and stealing as well as the similar comparison in Proverbs 6:27-32, it is perhaps not so surprising that just after condemning those who enter second marriages in Luke 16:18, Jesus himself immediately goes on to tell the parable in verses 19-31 of a starving beggar who does not steal but suffers himself to die in starvation and poverty with the end result being that he is rewarded. And, unless we want to dismember the text, surgically removing the content of verse 18 from the previous verses about the Law and the following parable about those who do not hear the Law, we must admit that the parable about enduring poverty and lack in verses 19-31 is intended to be conceptually connected with the otherwise out-of-place prohibition against second marriages in verse 18.

Thus, while those who are poor through misfortune escape the condemnation for not providing for one's family, they ought to endure the loss without resorting to theft if they seek acceptance in God's kingdom. Likewise, if a person wants to avoid condemnation of adultery and be accepted in God's kingdom, those who suffer the injustice of having a spouse commit fornication, ought to endure the loss of their entitled intercourse with that spouse without taking what does not belong to them by marrying someone new. 1 Corinthians 6 and Galatians 5 below affirm not only that ongoing thievery disqualifies a person from the kingdom of God but that ongoing adultery, such as second marriages, does also.

1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

In this regard, the connection between Jesus' prohibition against marrying someone new in Luke 16:18 and his story about the beggar who endures and dies in lack and yet is rewarded is directly parallel to Jesus' statements in Matthew 5:27-31 in which Jesus states that separating from a fornicating spouse is like voluntarily cutting off a hand or part of one's own body. In Matthew 5, Jesus' point is that it is better to suffer the loss of part of one's own body than to enter hell. Likewise, in Luke 16:18-31, Jesus' prohibition of second marriages followed by the parable of the man who dies in poverty and is rewarded also communicates that it is better to go without and die in that condition than to marry someone new. (Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 7:2-5, 1 Corinthians 6:15-16, and Ephesians 5:28-29, Paul conveys his understanding that the husband and wife are indeed "one flesh" as Jesus teaches in Matthew 19, and as such, each one's body is really the other's and part of the other's own flesh, thus, conceptually connecting Jesus' teaching about cutting off part of the body that leads to sexual sin with Jesus' permission to put away a spouse that is in fornication.)

As we have said before, in our analogous scenario, there is no conflict created between the exception clause and the explicit condemnation of the stealing in Exodus 20:15, Romans 13:9, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and Ephesians 4:28. Nor, does the exception clause create a loophole making it OK to steal if certain variables are present. Instead, the exception merely denotes that those who are not providing for their family because they have been laid off are not included in the condemnation of those who don't provide for their families because they are lazy or some other vice. They are not included in the condemnation, because they are not seeking to neglect their families but have been forced into that situation by factors outside their control. And since that is the case, such individuals do not desire to remain in that situation, but will provide for their families as soon as the outside barrier is removed, in which case they will work to provide for their families.

Likewise, those who separate from their spouse because their spouse is committing fornication, do not desire to remain in that situation. Nor are they separated from their spouse because they are pursuing some vice within themselves. Instead, they desire to be united to their spouse and as soon as the outside barrier of the spouse's impropriety or fornication is removed, they desire reconciliation. Paul himself understood this to be the teaching also, as indicated by 1 Corinthians 7, where he taught that those who were separated from their spouse should remain single and desire reconciliation.

1 Corinthians 7:10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

Thus, the New Testament teaching remains remarkably consistent from start to finish. There is a uniform and unrestricted condemnation and prohibition of all second marriages and a general condemnation and prohibition of putting away a spouse with the single exception allowing spouses to be put away for as long as they practice fornication. And the reason for the exception concerning putting away a spouse is also clear in Paul's understanding. For, to continue in intercourse with someone committing unlawful sexual practice not only unites the faithful spouse to their unlawful action but it connects Christ also, to whom we are one in spirit, just as 1 Corinthians 6 below plainly states.

1 Corinthians 6:15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

As 1 Corinthians 6:15-16 above indicates, the reason for putting away a spouse in the single case where they are practicing fornication is in order to avoid proliferating further participation in fornication. Thus, allowing the emergence of permanent unions to other sexual partners contradicts not only the very purpose for the exception in the first place, which is to avoid the proliferation and spread of unlawful sex, but also the intent of Jesus himself in Matthew 5, Matthew 19, and Mark 10 in which Jesus is speaking these things for the very purpose of putting a stop to the proliferation of unlawful sex.