Explain why adultery is the only exception for divorce.

Scripture: Matthew 5:32
Should divorce be allowed in the case when abuse is present be it physical, mental, or emotional? Why is adultery the only exception given in Scripture?
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Caller:  Why do you think that only Matthew records the so-called exception clause when it comes to divorce, and secondly, how do you think the word 'Porneia' should be translated?  Sexual immorality?  Fornication?  What?

Pastor Doug:  Ok first question:  Why is there only one reference that makes a clause or allowment for divorce and remarriage?

Caller:  Yes.

Pastor Doug:  You know the story of the thief on the cross who gave his heart to Jesus in the eleventh hour?

Caller:  Yes.

Pastor Doug:  I heard Matthew Henry in his commentary.  He said, 'The reason that there is this example is so none need loose hope.  But the reason there is only one example is so that none would presume to wait till the eleventh hour.'

If Jesus had lots of loopholes [so to speak] in the Gospel for divorce, by our natural, evil bent, we would take advantage of that.  That's why Christ said it's because of the hardness of our hearts that there was an allotment in the Old Testament.

And people - they abused it.  And so I think that could be why Jesus only mentions it one time so nobody would misunderstand or abuse that clause that you find there.  Are you talking about what He says in Matthew 5:32?

Caller:  Well actually what I'm saying - Ok. Right.  Why is it only recorded in Matthew and not in Luke and Mark?

Pastor Doug:  Well you could ask that question about a thousand things that the various Gospel Writers highlight that others leave out.  Only in Luke do you find the Prodigal Son and the story of Zacchaeus and the 99 sheep and the Good Samaritan and so forth...

Co-Host:  ...John the Baptist's birth....

Pastor Doug:  Exactly.  Yes.  The different Gospel Writers highlighted the parts that the Holy Spirit really impressed on their lives, just like witnesses all record and testify different aspects of one event.

Caller:  I agree with you 100%.  It's just that some people say it's only recorded in Matthew because it's intended just for the Jews.  I don't see any way to justify that though.

Pastor Doug:  Well, you know, some scholars - and I'm not sure I buy into this Lee - some scholars take the approach that the different Gospel Writers were talking to different audiences.

Caller:  Right.

Pastor Doug:  And you do see different strengths and different emphasis in the different Gospels, but I think that they're all written for everybody.

Caller:  I do too yeah.

Pastor Doug:  Now you asked another question about the word 'Porneia' which, now I'm looking at my Greek and it means harlotry, adultery, incest, and fornication.  And so it would cover all of those things according to the Strong's definition for that word.

Caller:  Ok

Pastor Doug:  And for our listening friends, we're talking about the word 'fornication' that you find in Matthew 5:32, and what is the meaning of that.  Incidentally Lee, some people think it's okay to sleep around if you're not married and they say, 'We're not committing adultery.'  But this word of Christ tells us that fornication is any kind of sex outside of marriage.

Caller:  That's right.

Pastor Doug:  ...and of course, adultery in marriage.  It would encompass all of that.

Co-Host:  Right.

Caller:  Right it's all included.

Pastor Doug:  Yes.  The Bible speaks of it as just sexual impurity, immorality. Ok?

Caller:  Right.  Very good.

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