Summary: A phrase by phrase exposition on Matthew 19:7-12


A Mormon acquaintance once pushed Mark Twain into an argument on the issue of polygamy. After long and tedious expositions justifying the practice, the Mormon demanded that Twain cite any passage of Scripture expressly forbidding polygamy. “Nothing easier,” Twain said. “No man can serve two masters.”


More and more people seem to forget Henry Ford’s sage advice when asked on his 50th wedding anniversary for his rule for marital bliss and longevity. He replied, “Just the same as in the automobile business, stick to one model.”

Thesis: Let’s go over Matthew 19:7-12 phrase by phrase and learn some things about the bedrock of the home, marriage

For instances:

1. “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” vs. 7

“If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house,” Deuteronomy 24:1, NIV.

Man would write out a certificate of divorce and send the woman on her way. Women had little say in the matter. The way it was in the OT

“Jesus, this is in the Bible, You cannot dismiss this so easily.”

2. Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard vs. 8

Moses "suffered" some things that were not right on account of "the hardness of your heart," a low state of morals. A people cannot be lifted from moral depravity to high standards at once. Therefore, the law permitted some things that were below the perfect standards.

Moses and God perceived that if divorce were not permitted, in some cases, the women would be exposed to great hardships through the cruelty of their husbands like murder.

Slavery is not condemned in the Bible but when Christian convictions were applied in more modern times, slavery is no more. Same thing can be said of marriage, when Christian morals are applied, things like polygamy and open marriages are no more.

3. But it was not this way from the beginning vs. 8

A. In the beginning there was no divorce, no polygamy and no open marriages. No where does God say that these are good things. Some people make fun of the mixed up marriages and sexual ethics in the OT. Many of the heroes of the OT indulged in polygamy and had concubines. Many problems from this. But notice they were all heterosexual unions not homosexual ones.

Jesus is pointing them back to the original intent of marriage. one man and one woman together for as long as they both shall live. How can we be one with more than one partner? Vs. 5- the two will become one flesh

If the government changes marriage to include same sex marriage, who says that in a few years we have people entering into marriages of more than 2. Jonathan Yarbrough, one of the first to get a same sex marriage in Massachusetts, said, “I think it’s possible to love more than one person and have more than one partner. In our case, it is. We have an open marriage.” Once we rip a ship off its moorings who knows where it will drift next?

4. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery- vs. 9

Not the only time that Jesus has said this. ““It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.” Matthew 5:31, 32, NIV.

Jesus does give this exception for an acceptable divorce. But what exactly does this mean “marital unfaithfulness”? Some take marital unfaithfulness to cover about anything and everything like the situation in Deuteronomy 24:1.

KJV says fornication. Young’s Literal Translation says whoredom. Many translations say "immorality." The word here is porneia and this means a selling off or surrendering of one’s purity. Some things to consider:

1. What about the situation where a woman is abused physically and see believes that her husband will kill her? “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” Ephesians 5:28, NIV.

2. Pornography comes from porneia. Especially men need to take the words of Jesus seriously in the Sermon on the Mount: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28, NIV. Is a person who engages in pornography committing immorality and therefore under this exception for divorce? Don't go too far because many men commit this regularly but this needs to be taken seriously.

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