015 Against Divorce

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This page forms part of the resources for 015 Against Divorce in the Jesus Database project of FaithFutures Foundation

Crossan Inventory | 015 Literature | 015 Parallels | 015 Commentary | 015 Poetry | 015 Images | 015 Synopsis


(1) 1 Cor 7:10-11
(2) 1or2?Q: Luke 16:18 = Matt 5:31-32
(3) Mark 10:10-12 = Matt 19:9
(4) Herm. Man. 4.1:6b,10

Crossan analysis:

Item: 15
Stratum: I (30-60 CE)
Attestation: Multiple
Historicity: +
Common Sayings Tradition: No


(1) 1 Corinthians 7:10-11

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: "It is well for a man not to touch a woman." 2 But because of cases of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a set time, to devote yourselves to prayer, and then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 This I say by way of concession, not of command. 7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has a particular gift from God, one having one kind and another a different kind.

8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am. 9 But if they are not practicing self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.

10 To the married I give this command--not I but the Lord--that the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

12 To the rest I say--I and not the Lord--that if any believer has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 And if any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. It is to peace that God has called you. 16 Wife, for all you know, you might save your husband. Husband, for all you know, you might save your wife.

17 However that may be, let each of you lead the life that the Lord has assigned, to which God called you. This is my rule in all the churches. 7:18 Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision.7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and un-circumcision is nothing; but obeying the commandments of God is everything.7:20 Let each of you remain in the condition in which you were called.

21 Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. Even if you can gain your freedom, make use of your present condition now more than ever. 22 For whoever was called in the Lord as a slave is a freed person belonging to the Lord, just as whoever was free when called is a slave of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of human masters. 24 In whatever condition you were called, brothers and sisters, there remain with God.

25 Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that, in view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife.7:28 But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a virgin marries, she does not sin. Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that. 28 But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a virgin marries, she does not sin. Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that. 29 I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; 33 but the married man is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin are anxious about the affairs of the Lord, so that they may be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please her husband.7 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to put any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and unhindered devotion to the Lord.

36 If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his fiancee, if his passions are strong, and so it has to be, let him marry as he wishes; it is no sin. Let them marry. 37 But if someone stands firm in his resolve, being under no necessity but having his own desire under control, and has determined in his own mind to keep her as his fiancee, he will do well. 38 So then, he who marries his fiancee does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better. 39 A wife is bound as long as her husband lives. But if the husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But in my judgment she is more blessed if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.

Τοῖς δὲ γεγαμηκόσιν παραγγέλλω, οὐκ ἐγὼ ἀλλὰ ὁ κύριος, γυναῖκα ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς μὴ χωρισθῆναι, _ ἐὰν δὲ καὶ χωρισθῇ, μενέτω ἄγαμος ἢ τῷ ἀνδρὶ καταλλαγήτω _ καὶ ἄνδρα γυναῖκα μὴ ἀφιέναι. (1 Corinthians 7:10–11 GNT-T)

(2) 1Q or ?2Q: Luke 16:18

"Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and whoever marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”

Πᾶς ὁ ἀπολύων τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ γαμῶν ἑτέραν μοιχεύει, καὶ ὁ ἀπολελυμένην ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς γαμῶν μοιχεύει. (Luke 16:18 GNT-T)

= Matt 5:31-32

"It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' 32 But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Ερρέθη δέ· ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ, δότω αὐτῇ ἀποστάσιον. ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ἀπολύων τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ παρεκτὸς λόγου πορνείας ποιεῖ αὐτὴν μοιχευθῆναι, καὶ ὃς ἐὰν ἀπολελυμένην γαμήσῃ, μοιχᾶται. (Matthew 5:31–32 GNT-T)

(3) Mark 10:(2-9) 10-12

2 Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" 3 He answered them, "What did Moses command you?" 4 They said, "Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her." 5 But Jesus said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. 6 But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' 7 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." 10 Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."

Καὶ προσελθόντες Φαρισαῖοι ἐπηρώτων αὐτὸν εἰ ἔξεστιν ἀνδρὶ γυναῖκα ἀπολῦσαι, πειράζοντες αὐτόν. ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· τί ὑμῖν ἐνετείλατο Μωϋσῆς; οἱ δὲ εἶπαν· ἐπέτρεψεν Μωϋσῆς βιβλίον ἀποστασίου γράψαι καὶ ἀπολῦσαι. ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· πρὸς τὴν σκληροκαρδίαν ὑμῶν ἔγραψεν ὑμῖν τὴν ἐντολὴν ταύτην. ἀπὸ δὲ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς· ἕνεκεν τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν μητέρα [καὶ προσκολληθήσεται πρὸς τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ], καὶ ἔσονται οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν· ὥστε οὐκέτι εἰσὶν δύο ἀλλὰ μία σάρξ. ὃ οὖν ὁ θεὸς συνέζευξεν ἄνθρωπος μὴ χωριζέτω. Καὶ εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν πάλιν οἱ μαθηταὶ περὶ τούτου ἐπηρώτων αὐτόν. καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ γαμήσῃ ἄλλην μοιχᾶται ἐπ᾿ αὐτήν· καὶ ἐὰν αὐτὴ ἀπολύσασα τὸν ἄνδρα αὐτῆς γαμήσῃ ἄλλον μοιχᾶται. (Mark 10:2–12 GNT-T)

= Matt 19:(3-8) 9-12

Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?" 4 He answered, "Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' 5 and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." 7 They said to him, "Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?" 8 He said to them, "It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery." 10 His disciples said to him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry." 11 But he said to them, "Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. 12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can."

Καὶ προσῆλθον αὐτῷ Φαρισαῖοι πειράζοντες αὐτὸν καὶ λέγοντες· εἰ ἔξεστιν ἀνθρώπῳ ἀπολῦσαι τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ κατὰ πᾶσαν αἰτίαν; ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν· οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε ὅτι ὁ κτίσας ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς; καὶ εἶπεν· ἕνεκα τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὴν μητέρα καὶ κολληθήσεται τῇ γυναικὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔσονται οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν. ὥστε οὐκέτι εἰσὶν δύο ἀλλὰ σὰρξ μία. ὃ οὖν ὁ θεὸς συνέζευξεν ἄνθρωπος μὴ χωριζέτω. λέγουσιν αὐτῷ· τί οὖν Μωϋσῆς ἐνετείλατο δοῦναι βιβλίον ἀποστασίου καὶ ἀπολῦσαι [αὐτήν]; λέγει αὐτοῖς ὅτι Μωϋσῆς πρὸς τὴν σκληροκαρδίαν ὑμῶν ἐπέτρεψεν ὑμῖν ἀπολῦσαι τὰς γυναῖκας ὑμῶν, ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς δὲ οὐ γέγονεν οὕτως. λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ὅτι ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ καὶ γαμήσῃ ἄλλην μοιχᾶται.

Λέγουσιν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ [αὐτοῦ]· εἰ οὕτως ἐστὶν ἡ αἰτία τοῦ ἀνθρώπου μετὰ τῆς γυναικός, οὐ συμφέρει γαμῆσαι. ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· οὐ πάντες χωροῦσιν τὸν λόγον [τοῦτον] ἀλλ᾿ οἷς δέδοται. εἰσὶν γὰρ εὐνοῦχοι οἵτινες ἐκ κοιλίας μητρὸς ἐγεννήθησαν οὕτως, καὶ εἰσὶν εὐνοῦχοι οἵτινες εὐνουχίσθησαν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, καὶ εἰσὶν εὐνοῦχοι οἵτινες εὐνούχισαν ἑαυτοὺς διὰ τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν. ὁ δυνάμενος χωρεῖν χωρείτω. (Matthew 19:3–12 GNT-T)

(4) HermMan 4.1:6b,10

"I charge you," said he, "to guard your chastity, and let no thought enter your heart of another man's wife, or of fornication, or of similar iniquities; for by doing this you commit a great sin. But if you always remember your own wife, you will never sin. For if this thought enter your heart, then you will sin; and if, in like manner, you think other wicked thoughts, you commit sin. For this thought is great sin in a servant of God. But if any one commit this wicked deed, he works death for himself. Attend, therefore, and refrain from this thought; for where purity dwells, there iniquity ought not to enter the heart of a righteous man." I said to him, "Sir, permit me to ask you a few questions." "Say on," said he. And I said to him, "Sir, if any one has a wife who trusts in the Lord, and if he detect her in adultery, does the man sin if he continue to live with her?" And he said to me, "As long as he remains ignorant of her sin, the husband commits no transgression in living with her. But if the husband know that his wife has gone astray, and if the woman does not repent, but persists in her fornication, and yet the husband continues to live with her, he also is guilty of her crime, and a sharer in her adultery." And I said to him, "What then, sir, is the husband to do, if his wife continue in her vicious practices?" And he said, "The husband should put her away, and remain by himself. But if he put his wife away and marry another, he also commits adultery." And I said to him, "What if the woman put away should repent, and wish to return to her husband: shall she not be taken back by her husband?" And he said to me, "Assuredly. If the husband do not take her back, he sins, and brings a great sin upon himself; for he ought to take back the sinner who has repented. But not frequently. For there is but one repentance to the servants of God. In case, therefore, that the divorced wife may repent, the husband ought not to marry another, when his wife has been put away. In this matter man and woman are to be treated exactly in the same way. Moreover, adultery is committed not only by those who pollute their flesh, but by those who imitate the heathen in their actions." Wherefore if any one persists in such deeds, and repents not, withdraw from him, and cease to live with him otherwise you are a sharer in his sin. Therefore has the injunction been laid on you, that you should remain by yourselves, both man and woman, for in such persons repentance can take place. But I do not," said he, "give opportunity for the doing of these deeds, but that he who has sinned may sin no more. But with regard to his previous transgressions, there is One who is able to provide a cure; for it is He, indeed, who has power over all."

Ἐντέλλομαί σοι, φησίν, φυλάσσειν τὴν ἁγνείαν, καὶ μὴ ἀναβαινέτω σου ἐπὶ τὴν καρδίαν περὶ γυναικὸς ἀλλοτρίας ἢ περὶ πορνείας τινος ἢ περὶ τοιούτων τινῶν ὁμοιωμάτων πονηρῶν. τοῦτο γὰρ ποιῶν μεγάλην ἁμαρτίαν ἐργάζῃ. τῆς δὲ σῆς μνημονεύων πάντοτε γυναικὸς οὐδέποτε διαμαρτήσεις. ἐὰν γὰρ αὕτη ἡ ἐνθύμησις ἐπὶ τὴν καρδίαν σου ἀναβῇ, διαμαρτήσεις, καὶ ἐὰν ἕτερα οὕτως πονηρά, ἁμαρτίαν ἐργάζῃ. ἡ γὰρ ἐνθύμησις αὕτη θεοῦ δούλῳ ἁμαρτία μεγάλη ἐστίν· ἐὰν δέ τις ἐργάσηται τὸ ἔργον τὸ πονηρὸν τοῦτο, θάνατον ἑαυτῷ κατεργάζεται. βλέπε οὖν σύ· ἀπέχου ἀπὸ τῆς ἐνθυμήσεως ταύτης· ὅπου γὰρ σεμνότης κατοικεῖ, ἐκεῖ ἀνομία οὐκ ὀφείλει ἀναβαίνειν ἐπὶ καρδίαν ἀνδρὸς δικαίου. λέγω αὐτῷ· Κύριε, ἐπίτρεψόν μοι ὀλίγα ἐπερωτῆσαί σε. Λέγε, φησίν. Κύριε, φημί, εἰ γυναῖκα ἔχων τις πιστὴν ἐν κυρίῳ καὶ ταύτην εὕρῃ ἐν μοιχείᾳ τινί, ἆρα ἁμαρτάνει ὁ ἀνὴρ συνζῶν μετ᾿ αὐτῆς; Ἄχρι τῆς ἀγνοίας, φησίν, οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει· ἐὰν δὲ γνῷ ὁ ἀνὴρ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν αὐτῆς, καὶ μὴ μετανοήσῃ ἡ γυνή, ἀλλ᾿ ἐπιμένῃ τῇ πορνείᾳ αὐτῆς, καὶ συνζῇ ὁ ἀνὴρ μετ᾿ αὐτῆς, ἔνοχος γίνεται τῆς ἁμαρτίας αὐτῆς καὶ κοινωνὸς τῆς μοιχείας αὐτῆς. Τί οὖν, φημί, κύριε, ποιήσῃ ὁ ἀνήρ, ἐὰν ἐπιμείνῃ τῷ πάθει τούτῳ ἡ γυνή; Ἀπολυσάτω, φησίν, αὐτήν, καὶ ὁ ἀνὴρ ἐφ᾿ ἑαυτῷ μενέτω· ἐὰν δὲ ἀπολύσας τὴν γυναῖκα ἑτέραν γαμήσῃ, καὶ αὐτὸς μοιχᾶται. Ἐὰν οὖν, φημί, κύριε, μετὰ τὸ ἀπολυθῆναι τὴν γυναῖκα μετανοήσῃ ἡ γυνὴ καὶ θελήσῃ ἐπὶ τὸν ἑαυτῆς ἄνδρα ὑποστρέψαι, οὐ παραδεχθήσεται; Καὶ μήν, φησίν, ἐὰν μὴ παραδέξηται αὐτὴν ὁ ἀνήρ, ἁμαρτάνει καὶ μεγάλην ἁμαρτίαν ἑαυτῷ ἐπισπᾶται, ἀλλὰ δεῖ παραδεχθῆναι τὸν ἡμαρτηκότα καὶ μετανοοῦντα· μὴ ἐπὶ πολὺ δέ· τοῖς γὰρ δούλοις τοῦ θεοῦ μετάνοιά ἐστιν μία. διὰ τὴν μετάνοιαν οὖν οὐκ ὀφείλει γαμεῖν ὁ ἀνήρ. αὕτη ἡ πρᾶξις ἐπὶ γυναικὶ καὶ ἀνδρὶ κεῖται. οὐ μόνον, φησί, μοιχεία ἐστίν, ἐάν τις τὴν σάρκα αὐτοῦ μιάνῃ, ἀλλὰ καὶ ὃς ἂν τὰ ὁμοιώματα ποιῇ τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, μοιχᾶται. ὥστε καὶ ἐν τοῖς τοιούτοις ἔργοις ἐὰν ἐμμένῃ τις καὶ μὴ μετανοῇ, ἀπέχου ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ καὶ μὴ συνζῆθι αὐτῷ· εἰ δὲ μή, καὶ σὺ μέτοχος εἶ τῆς ἁμαρτίας αὐτοῦ. διὰ τοῦτο προσετάγη ὑμῖν ἐφ᾿ ἑαυτοῖς μένειν, εἴτε ἀνὴρ εἴτε γυνή· δύναται γὰρ ἐν τοῖς τοιούτοις μετάνοια εἶναι. ἐγὼ οὖν, φησίν, οὐ δίδωμι ἀφορμὴν ἵνα αὕτη ἡ πρᾶξις οὕτως συντελῆται, ἀλλὰ εἰς τὸ μηκέτι ἁμαρτάνειν τὸν ἡμαρτηκότα. περὶ δὲ τῆς προτέρας ἁμαρτίας αὐτοῦ ἔστιν ὁ δυνάμενος ἴασιν δοῦναι· αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστιν ὁ ἔχων πάντων τὴν ἐξουσίαν. (Shepherd 29:1–11 AF-T)