Maxey - Thomas Debate
An Examination of a Proposition
Relating to Divorce and Remarriage

Monday, March 19, 2001

Ron Thomas Responds
To Al's Recent Comments

Reflecting On Romans 7

Al said: "In Romans 7:2 the apostle Paul simply states a well-known point of law: The wife was regarded as being under the legal lordship of her husband for life; a dominion from which she was legally and socially helpless to extricate herself. Any woman who left her husband without either of the two legal provisions being met (her husband's death or a certificate of divorce) was considered guilty of breaking covenant."

Al, have you not inserted words into the text? I don't recall reading anything about a divorce certificate.

Al said: "In Paul's illustration he was emphasizing this characteristic of 'legal lordship' of the husband over the wife. Yes, this was a marriage, but Paul's focus was much narrower --- he was dealing with the prevailing Jewish perspective here: The woman was under the 'law of the husband' --- she was bound to him, and could not of her own doing secure a legal or socially acceptable release."

Al, Paul said nothing about Jewish perceptions. Are you reading into the text?

Al said: "In the Romans 7 passage it is obvious that the woman is bound to her husband by this 'law of the husband.' It is obvious, therefore, that they are married. It is also a fact that there is no mention of a divorce being issued to this woman. There is not even the faintest hint of divorce in this passage. Indeed, for this woman to have been legally put away via a certificate of divorce would undermine and negate the entire application Paul sought to draw from this illustration."

Yet, there is some faint alluding to a certificate of divorce? Interesting how you would say there is no discussion of divorce, but then talk about a divorce certificate as being part of the equation and it's not even in the text. As long as it serves your purpose by being part of the "background" you can insert it into the analysis. It is unstated, but that is all right, it is part of the "background" and it is needed for a clearer understanding. Hmmm...

Al said: "I pointed out that in verse 3, when Paul speaks of this woman being 'joined to another man,' that the Greek word in question is ginomai, which means 'to become.' This implies an association of some nature, but not necessarily a marriage. The context of the passage, and the application made by Paul, demand that we understand this woman to still be legally married to her husband; no divorce has been given."

Now, is this not interesting? You give me grief because I say something is demanded (whereas you think otherwise and expect me to accept it); I wonder if it is demanded here. The answer is no and as I've demonstrated -- I'll do so again.

The word used in Greek is to be understood by two factors: (1) definition, (2) context. The definition of the word ginomai can be translated a number of different ways (as is evidenced by the KJV), but according to Thayer's it means to become a man's wife in the context of Romans 7. Al, is Thayer wrong? The word means "to become" or "be made;" how best to understand the word in the context? As marriage!

  1. Paul's point is that a person is bound by law and would stay bound to law until death. The illustration he uses to convey this is the law of marriage (law of the husband). He does not talk about divorce certificates, he does not even mention divorce -- he simply uses marriage and adultery as the illustration mechanisms to establish his point.

  2. A woman is bound to the law of her husband and that "binding" is to occur until the death of her husband.

  3. If, while she is married to her husband, she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress. Now, the meaning of the word "adulteress" limits how we are to understand it here in this context. Al does not like the word definitions, but the meaning of the word has a tremendous bearing on the application of the context. Not one reference that I have (and I'm calling upon Al to refute this) interprets this word in a non-sexual way, not one!

  4. The word Al brings to our attention, ginomai, means "to be joined" to another (in this context). To whom is she joined? Another man. In what way? In an adulteress way, which, by definition, is a sexual relationship. Since he is talking about marriage and adultery it is UNDERSTOOD that the wife of the first husband is married to some other man. Since "divorce" is not mentioned in this passage, Al, how can you rule it out? You speak against those that would include conceptual ideas (a synecdoche, if you will) in a passage and you complain that a person reads into the text. But you say, in the context of Romans 7, when Paul never made use of the word, that it is okay for one to UNDERSTAND it in the passage for proper analysis?

  5. She is an adulteress because her first husband is still alive. If he is dead it is not adultery.

  6. Paul's point, in verse 4, in making an application from this marital circumstance, is that they are dead to law (they are no longer married or in bondage to it), but since the law is dead they are free to be joined to Christ. The law is dead because Jesus came and nailed the law to the cross (in His death). The analogy is:

    • The husband is equivalent to the law.

    • The wife is equivalent to the one who is either free (to be joined to another) or not free (still "bound" to the law).

    • The husband died --- the law is dead.

    • The wife is free to be joined to another.

  7. However, for sake of discussion, let us say that her first husband is alive and she is joined to another man --- though not married to him. What do we have now? The illustration is still the same. She is bound by the law of the husband and while she is joined to some other man, whether married or not, she shall be called an adulteress. If her husband dies she is not then bound to the law of her husband --- she is free from the law.

Note how Marshall's interlinear translates this portion of the verse: " adulteress she will be called if she becomes husband to a different..."

Though Paul never utilized the common word -- it does not follow that he did not have marriage in mind. Al, is the word ginomai used to convey anything marital at all? Thayer's says (p. 116) that with the dative it means to become a man's wife. Though "marry" is not the English word in the text, certainly it is clearly understood. It appears you don't accept these "clearly understood" references unless it serves you.

I made reference to J.B. Lightfoot, Bauer's lexicon (p. 160), Moulton & Milligan (p. 126), and Gareth Reese. What have you said about these? Nothing!

Paul does indeed have a second marriage in view. Divorce may not have been discussed, but adultery certainly occurs while married to this second person. Further, there exists the verb chrematisei (she shall be called) in the indicative mood, future tense. It is no wonder Al has to get this passage out of the way by reinterpreting it in a way that is not recognized. For if he concedes it, then his position is defeated. Godet said, with respect to this word, that it "strictly signifies to do business, and hence: to bear the name of the profession to which one is devoted" (Commentary on Romans, p. 265).

Al said: "There is absolutely nothing in the context of this passage in Romans 7 which 'demands' that a sexual 'association' with this other man is exclusively in view. It certainly might be, but it could just as easily not be ... On the contrary, Ron. It is a long way from being 'clearly understood.' Ron, this is absolutely FALSE!!"

Al, this is only false according to your theory, not according to the text.

Al said: "The only possible 'context' which would allow such an interpretation, is to read the passage 'in the context of' your own personal predetermined traditional theology. Only then could one be blinded to the true nature of the context and authorial intent. Ron is so absorbed with his view that adultery = remarriage that he cannot see that by forcing this interpretation upon the text he has destroyed the very spiritual application and lesson which Paul sought to impress upon the Roman disciples!!!"

This, Al, is what is to be seriously questioned. I recall you saying to Darrell Broking, with respect to his interpretation on a particular text that it was novel (or something to that effect). Well, I'm saying that to you. I've asked you to reference some reputable expositor that has said as you say now. Not once have you produced. You have a novel approach. You are insisting on a theory and you have to have a way to fit it so you interpret Romans 7:1-6 in a way that is not recognized. Not one reference source that I have interprets Romans 7 to be anything but a marriage, even for the woman. Novel approaches raise the eyebrow toward skepticism.

Al said: "As is clearly perceived in vs. 4-6 of the passage, Paul is using this illustration of the wife inextricably bound to her husband to proclaim the glorious gospel truth that we, who were also inextricably bound, have now been released by a death .... and we are thus free at last to be acceptably joined to another."

Al, I never denied the point of Paul's illustration. Where did I say anything that could be suggested as much? But, one thing you'll note that I didn't do (as you did), I didn't try to offer a novel interpretation to the context for a pet theory.

Al said: "Ron, however, would remove death from the equation altogether and replace it with divorce, which effectively destroys Paul's entire analogy."

A pure fabrication.

Al said: "Ron, the ONLY 'release' which will make Paul's spiritual application and lesson valid here is for that release to be by virtue of a DEATH. A divorce destroys the analogy completely. The context, therefore, demands that death, not divorce, be the focal point of the passage."

This is correct. Death is the point. If a divorce occurs the analogy fails because a divorce does not necessarily make one free. You are exactly right.

Al said: "The covenant of marriage, in the illustration, is still very much in force; the woman is NOT free from her husband, and it is for this reason Paul does not use the common words for marriage when speaking of a possible extra-marital association with another man. No remarriage on the part of this woman is in view. However, one must not discount the distinct possibility that this 'joining to' another man may be more platonic."

If there was a basis for it, but there is not.

Al said: "Ron wrote: 'Belong to someone? How can this be unless a marriage is in view?' Haven't you ever heard a love-sick young man declare, 'She's MY girl! She belongs to me'? These two young lovers share a close, intimate relationship with one another; they are emotionally attached; she has joined herself to him; they are bound at the heart in loving association."

You think Paul uses this idea? Come on, Al.

Al said: "In the wording of Ezekiel 16:38 (KJV) these are 'women that BREAK WEDLOCK' (which was the way these ancient translators understood and rendered the word 'adulterous'). Breaking wedlock, destroying a covenant of marriage, can be done any number of ways .... not just sexually."

How does the NIV translate this verse, Al? Does the word's sexual connotation (physically) even have a place in this context? It does not. It is purely figurative and because the literal will not work the figurative is demanded. It's no more difficult than that!

Al said: "You need to do some serious reflection upon your position. It is untenable, and indefensible ..... or, to quote you: It is as false as it can be!!"

Al, I intend no disrespect when I say this, but I find the position I'm defending rather easily defended.

Some Additional Reflections

Al said: "In my previous post I wrote: 'And remarriage itself, to my knowledge, is never called a sin in the Bible!! In fact, Paul makes it very clear that it is NOT a sin (1 Corinthians 7:28)!!' To this Ron responded: 'So, remarriage is an absolute privilege for all, right?' I do not find any evidence in Scripture, Ron, which suggests remarriage is to be withheld from anyone."

Well, of course you don't Al. As long as you can manipulate words, you would not see any prohibition.

Al said: "What I DO find in Scripture is this: 'Let EACH man have is own wife, and let EACH woman have her own husband' (1 Corinthians 7:2). I don't see any restrictions imposed there, do you? It doesn't say, 'Let each man have his own wife, EXCEPT for those who are divorced because of some reason other than porneia.'"

This is stated elsewhere, Al.

Al said: "On the day of Pentecost, when Peter declared, 'Repent, and let EACH of you be baptized ....' I don't think he had only a select few in mind. This was for everyone. By the way, the exact same Greek word ('each') is used in both passages (Acts 2:38 and 1 Cor. 7:2) and in both passages the charge is given in the imperative mood (the mood of command). When Paul commands that 'each' man and 'each' woman is to have their own mate (which is according to God's original intent for His creation), this carries the same force as when Peter used the same word to command each one to repent and be baptized. If there are no exceptions to the latter, I can't imagine why there would be to the former."

So, Al, it is a sin not to marry, right? Just as it is a sin not to believe and obey (as per Acts 2:38), it is a sin not to be married. You did say it is in the imperative mood, which is the mood of command.

Al said: "Ron asked: 'Will God join two people together when it is contrary to His will?' Let me respond by asking a few questions (Jesus often did it, so I guess it is 'Scriptural'):"

  1. "Were David and Bathsheba married?"

    • They were.

  2. "Did God recognize that marriage as real?"

    • He did.

  3. "Did He join them together?"

    • Let me ask you, the last clause in 2 Samuel 11:27 modifies what?

Will you argue on the basis of David's circumstances that a man can have many wives? It is true that David had done wrong. It is also true that David had done much wrong. But to argue from what God did with respect to David is useless. I want to know on what basis will you not argue for many wives today. David had them and it appears that God recognized and blessed them (2 Samuel 12:8) as well. On a similar basis can man have many wives today? If we can use the David/Bathsheba illustration for a particular situation, then why not the multiplicity of wives?

Al said: "With regard to another unsavory union (Herod and Herodias), Ron wrote: 'You have God being displeased with it, but accepting it. It may have been a REAL marriage, but it was not accepted by God.' Once again I believe you are greatly confused over the distinction between accepting something as real and approving something as right."

The problem that exists is your use of the word "real." Many things in Scripture are real. God accepted that the serpent was real and tempted Eve to do wrong. It was real! But, you equate "real" with acceptance (or approval). All your denials not withstanding. A man marries another or is joined to another man. It is real, but it is not accepted. A man marries or is joined to another woman, not his wife. It is real, but God does not accept it (approve of it -- neither will He bless it).

Al said: "God doesn't approve of murder, but He accepts the reality that the victim is truly dead. I know you will call this 'apples and oranges,' but it is a valid comparison when considering the concepts of 'accepting' versus 'approving.' One actually CAN do the former without compromising the latter. Just because something isn't necessarily right, doesn't mean it can't be real."

This is certainly true. But you have God accepting what is not right (because it is against His will) and then doing an about-face (evidently He changed His mind about what His will is). He will not accept or approve anything contrary to His will. He may recognize something (i.e., it may be real), but that does not mean He will approve or bless something. If one were to repent of murder the action must stop. If one were to repent of adultery the action must stop. If one were to repent of divorce the action must stop. This is the only way that one can be approved of by God --- when the action has stopped. None of this, I suppose, you will deny. But you affirm in one breath that adultery and divorce must stop and then turn around and say that if one does it they can be married to whomsoever they will.

Al said: "You seem to be thrown by the fact that in Mark 6:17-18 Herodias is referred to as the 'wife' of Herod's brother Philip .... It seems that you somehow believe this to mean (in the passage from Mark) that the Holy Spirit did NOT recognize or accept the marriage of Herodias and Herod Antipas as being genuine, and that God instead recognized her former marriage to Philip as still being in force."

The Holy Spirit recognized the marriage alright, but the Holy Spirit did not accept it. It is true that Josephus recognized the marriage. But as it is true that he recognized it, from the context, it is also true that the community did not accept such an action. But, whether it was accepted or not by the community --- it is certainly true that the Holy Spirit did not accept it and He still regarded Philip and Herodias as being married one to another. So, Al, if your position is so, based on this text, multiple husbands is acceptable.

Al said: "Ron, to be honest, I think you are reading far more into the use of the word 'wife' in that passage than is warranted by common sense and a knowledge of how people communicate via the idioms of language."

What does the word "wife" mean? Further, how can you say anything about "common sense" when you don't even accept the meaning of words as they come from reputable sources?

Al said: "It simply is not uncommon to use such idiomatic constructs and techniques to convey some concept or reality (past or present). For example, if I mentioned to you that I had lunch with President Carter today, would you go away thinking that somehow Jimmy Carter was still President of the United States? No, of course not. It is simply a construction which allows for a point of historical reference. Jimmy Carter is most noted for being one of our Presidents, thus when speaking of him we often maintain, as though current, that historical reference point."

So, you allow for word constructs and an understanding of those constructs when it serves your purpose in the analysis of Mark 6, but you don't allow for peculiar word constructs and idioms elsewhere. Interesting approach you have here. Is it possible that Jesus or one of the apostles could have said something in a particular context, without mentioning specific words, and that to have been acceptable to the people He (they) spoke to?

Al said: "In fact, the dictionary defines this legitimate and accepted tool of language this way: 'an accepted phrase, construction, or expression contrary to the usual patterns of the language or having a meaning different from the literal.'"

Why do you make use of a dictionary when you haven't accepted what was said, by the dictionaries, about the meaning of the word adultery in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9?

Al said: "Your notion that this is NOT recognized by the Holy Spirit is completely false, and it cannot be substantiated by either sound textual analysis or basic common sense."

I never said that, Al. A complete fabrication. The Holy Spirit recognized it, but the Holy Spirit did not accept it.

Ezra 10 Revisited

Al said: "Ron pondered: 'It was alright for Herod to keep his spouse, but not those of Ezra 10?' The situation was critical, and Ezra, who 'was a teacher well-versed in the Law of Moses' (Ezra 7:6), soon determined that nothing less than a nation-wide reform of his people must be immediately initiated. Assisting him in this work of turning the people back to God was the prophet Malachi."

Was it lawful for those Jews, having returned from captivity, to be married to the women they were? According to the passage you cited (Deuteronomy 7:3-6) it was not. So, if it was not lawful for them to be married the solution to the problem was separation. Well, Al, I guess you answered that.

Deponent Verbs

Al said: "He points out that in his analytical Greek lexicon it identifies this verb as 'a middle or passive deponent. Check it out, Al.' Well, guess what, Ron?! In MY Analytical Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (George V. Wigram) it is NOT listed as a deponent. In fact, it is listed as the 'middle of moichao' --- which is the ACTIVE form of the word."

Okay, you have a reference that does not identify it accordingly. I have a few that do. Where does that get us? Practically, nowhere.

Al said: "Ron points out that 'The Abbott-Smith Lexicon says that moichao in the NT is always middle.' That is probably true, Ron (and, by the way, did you notice that this lexicon also mentioned the existence of the active form?!!)"

No, I did not. Where did you see it in the text? I looked at the word (p. 295-296, 3rd edition) and did not find anything with respect to it being active. Neither did I see it in Bauer's lexicon. The closest I've been able to find in Thayer's is (p. 417) "in Grk. writ. fig. in the active, with ten thalassan. To usurp unlawful control over the sea..." In Kittel's there is mention of Attic, but in the NT and LXX it is middle or passive.

Al said: "Just because the active does not appear in the biblical literature (and thus some lexicons do not list it), does NOT mean the active doesn't exist or never occurs in the literature of the day. If it does appear elsewhere as an active, if that form of the word does exist, then the word is not a true deponent."

I will defer to those more informed than I on deponents; it appears to me, from what I've been able to gather, there is some merit to a discussion on whether this word is a deponent or not.

Al said: "Neither of these tests is passed by moichatai, Ron! This word DOES have the active form in use in the Greek language, and the middle form of this word DOES demonstrate the middle force in the text. Thus, it fails on both counts to qualify as a true deponent, and those lexical aids which so characterize it are simply in error. Frankly, I'd buy a better analytical Greek lexicon if I were you!!"

All mighty Al and his sweep of the hand once again. It could not possibly be that the Analytical Greek New Testament might be right. Since it does not correspond with Al's view it must be wrong. In the Analytical Concordance of the Greek New Testament (p. 1993) it is identified as a deponent.

Al said: "If one is going to use Greek in a debate to try and validate his thesis, then one needs to demonstrate some degree of credibility and competency in that language."

Another one of your humorous comments, and that from a man that does not accept he lexicons and their definition of the word adultery.

Al said: "This mistake on your part may seem minor to you in the ultimate scheme of things, but it does leave a question mark in the minds of discerning readers as to your degree of competency."

And your refusal to accept the lexicons leaves the mind of the readers clear on your competence?

Al said: "His point, with respect to moicheuthenai and moichatai, in Matthew 5:32, is that both are deponent. By declaring the former passive form, especially, to be deponent, rather than being a true passive form, he hoped to circumvent the teaching that this woman was guilty of nothing."

Ah, here is the crux of the matter. I bring to your attention haw Bauer translated the phrase in the lexicon and you have said nothing. Either you knew it was there and you avoided it or you did not know it was there, and now that you do what will you do (or say) about it? I think the circumventing is being accomplished by Al.

Al said: "Thus, he declared the verb 'deponent,' insisting it must be interpreted with the active force rather than the passive. Again, this was his way of trying to reconcile his traditional theology and a confused English translation with the Greek text."

Al, we know you are mighty in Greek. You have made sure that all of us know this. You not only use a wave of the hand with respect to word definitions and your refusal to use what is in the lexicons, but you also now stand in judgment of the Analytical Greek New Testament, by Timothy and Barbara Friberg. Mr. Friberg, at the time this book was printed (1981), was a Ph.D. candidate in linguistics. He stated the word was a deponent; Al insists he is more informed than Mr. Friberg. Al, did I make a mistake in repeating what Mr. Friberg said when he broke down the grammatical analysis of the word? Frankly, if it is a matter of accepting one's credibility I'll take the reference works.

Al said: "However, this word is NOT a deponent, and thus it can NOT be understood as conveying the force of the active voice. It must be properly translated and interpreted in the passive voice, and that, frankly, posed a great problem for his theology. This missionary finally acknowledged he was mistaken (to his credit), and he stated that he planned to rethink his theology on this point. I thought that was a noble admission."

If this word is a deponent, as the AGNT says that it is, your position crumbles on a second account. But, whether it is a deponent or not, no lexicon translates the phrase like you. The first account on which your position fails is that you have to redefine words (or make extended applications of words that the context does not warrant). The third account is a terrible application of Scripture.

Al said: "Darrell Broking, on the other hand (with whom I had a lengthy debate on MDR), when confronted with the fact that this word in Matt. 5:32 was indeed a passive, and not a deponent with active force, came up with this astounding insight: 'The Greek idiom is based on the fact that the man is usually the more aggressive sexual partner. The passive simply denotes the fact that the male is usually the more active sexual partner." WOW!!!! This doesn't even deserve comment!!!!"

You speak about how Darrell interpreted a phrase by saying no comment is needed, then you interpret Romans 7 the way you do. Al, I'll ask again: Give me one dictionary (lexicon) that defines adultery, as you do, as being something other than a sexual act in Matthew 5:32 and/or 19:9.

Al said: "But, this just illustrates the ridiculous lengths some will go to in order to try and keep SEX in the phrase 'commits adultery.' Good Grief!!! The next thing you know someone is likely to suggest that the law forbidding the Jews to follow the pagan practice of slashing the body as a sign of grief for the dead was in reality a prohibition against making oneself a eunuch! Naaaawwwwwhhhhhh! Never happen!"

Al, is your condescending attitude supposed to be virtuous?

The Present Indicative and MDR

Al said: "As I said, this is not about tense .... it is about MOOD --- and more specifically: the impact of a particular mood on a particular tense. The indicative mood is the mood of reality. It is the mood of what IS .... Rather, it is the mood of what IS; what is REAL. And when used with the present tense it depicts what is REALLY HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. Not what MIGHT happen, not what WILL happen .... It is present reality ..... actuality! Look at Matthew 5:32, Ron."

The PAI certainly speaks of what is happening in the now, but it does not exclude what might follow the now. If it does, then the PAI in 1 Corinthians 13:5 means that a person can not think past the "now." Is that what you are trying to argue with respect to the PAI? How about 2 Corinthians 5:14? The verb in this verse is PAI. Should we understand the word "constraineth" as something that happens "now," exclusively, without any reference to what follows? The very context makes clear the application of the verb "compels" (NASV).

Al said: "My question to you, Ron, is this: WHAT exactly is happening in the text? Specify the reality!! What act of 'adultery' is this woman in this specific text presently committing in the here and now by virtue of her husband divorcing her?"

Al, there is such a thing as word meanings. If adultery is defined as sexual intercourse with one not a spouse or illicit sexual intercourse (by all the lexicons I have in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 -- no exception), then why do you desire so much to change it? That is exactly what you are attempting to do. You look at Matthew 19:9 or 5:32 in a way no one else would; NOT ONE COMMENTATOR has read it as you have. There is a reason for this -- they recognize what the passage says in simple English and the Greek supports them! I have repeatedly asked you for some reputable source to support your way of thinking and you have presented none. Now, either they are out there (in support) or they are not. Will you present one (or more) to us?

Since adultery is defined as it is, it is UNDERSTOOD (by ALL critical works that I have) that the woman who marries again will share her body with her husband. It may be a REAL marriage as far as man is concerned, but as far as God is concerned it is ADULTERY. All your redefining will not make it go away. The following define the word adultery in Matthew 5 and 19 as sexual intercourse with another not a spouse or they say it is to be understood literally.

In other words, Al has had to redefine, reapply and broaden the word "adultery" to get it to fit his perspective on the passages under discussion. NO resource I have has done what Al did. Therefore, his view is suspect at best. At worst it is damnable because it gives people a false hope!

Al said: "Ron, I know I'm being sarcastic, but it is for the purpose of making a VITAL point."

Your sarcasm is condescending. This does nothing for your honor in my view.

Al said: "I hope you will seriously consider how much the text has to be twisted, reshaped, and added to in order to make your theory fit. It would almost be comical, if it were not so serious."

Oh, I have Al, and you have done a mighty "fine" job.

Al said: "Consider this, Ron: What if the woman in the text (like a great many women in her situation) chooses NOT to ever get remarried? We both know it happens. What if she chooses to remain celibate? That happens also!! All the time. Ron, Jesus doesn't SAY she remarries. He doesn't even say the husband who put her away remarries. YOU may have to say it, to make your theory fit, but HE doesn't say it!!! Therefore, in what possible sense does such a woman as this 'commit adultery?'"

The meaning of the word. Why is this so difficult for you? It's not difficult at all. You just do not want to accept scholarship on the matter.

Al said: "Well, as you know, the above is all moot anyway, as the word is actually a PASSIVE, not an active voice. Thus, it means that adultery is done TO her, or AGAINST her. It is not saying that she herself is actively engaged in doing something (committing adultery), but rather when the husband divorces her then he causes something (the committing of adultery) to be done TO her. She is the victim of adultery here, not actually the one committing it. THAT is the significance of the passive voice."

The passage in 5:32 does not need to have Jesus say anything about her remarrying. Since the context of this passage is found in connection with Deuteronomy 24 it is UNDERSTOOD what she will do. Certainly the man is guilty of putting his wife into the position of committing adultery, but she will be guilty herself after remarrying and the sexual intimacy (this is required by the meaning of the word adultery in this text). Further, Jesus dealt with the heart of the matter or problem in verses 27-30. The frivolous action of putting away a wife Jesus dealt with in verse 32. Again, Al, the lexicon (Bauer's) translates the phrase in Matthew 5:32 (p. 526), "he causes her to commit adultery (by contracting a subsequent marriage)." IS THIS WRONG? You, who are mighty in Greek, did they mistranslate? A few lines above there is this note, "This explains the use of the passive in the case of the woman..."

Further, when I incorporated Gary Collier's analysis of the passive phrase in Matthew 5:32 into an earlier post I asked where it is wrong and you said nothing.

Al said: "What is her actual real-time reality, Ron? We're not talking about what has been done to her in the past, or what will happen to her in the future, or what the husband wishes would happen, or what might happen if conditions are right. We are talking about what IS happening to her in the present."

"He who runs and jumps into a mud puddle will be dirty." Is the "dirty" in the present (or in the "now")? Will the dirty continue longer than the present (or the "now")? It certainly would if there is no bathing.

Al said: "Where is any mention made of ANYONE having sex in this passage?

In the definition of the word, Al.

Al said: "Where is mention even made of anyone getting remarried?"

Have you not read either Matthew 5:32 or 19:9 that you would ask this question? Marriage (remarriage) is written all over the text! Is Matthew 19:9 and 5:32 parallel? Look at the two side by side:

Al said: "The text says that by virtue of this man divorcing this woman ADULTERY IS HAPPENING!!! It is REAL and it is in the PRESENT. It is ACTUAL."

Does "adultery" equal "divorce?" Are you saying that adultery is the divorce action?

Al said: "Frankly, if our readers can't see this as a manipulation of the text to promote a cherished theory, then they are blind as bats .... and we know what happens to blind followers of blind leaders."

Al, can you be any more insulting with this remark?

Al said: "So please tell us WHAT is actually happening, in the present, when adultery IS occurring in Matt. 5:32a?"

Al, just look in the Greek lexicon and you'll find the answer. It won't be one that you want, but it's there and you cannot remove it.

Al said: "To promote your theory, Ron, you will be forced to immediately begin adding to the text of God's Word and making huge assumptions."

Because I accept the meaning of the word "adultery" I have to do this? Another one of your funny remarks.

Al said: "I, on the other hand, don't need to do either!! My interpretation fits perfectly without having to reshape the text in the least to make it fit. I guess we'll have to let the readers decide which of us has chosen the more honest hermeneutical methodology, and which of our interpretations is the better 'fit.'"

Al, you can say what you like, but I'm the one that has accepted the lexicons and their definitions. Is your hermeneutical approach honorable when you won't even accept the definition of the word? At an earlier junction of this discussion it was mentioned how that words are to have their ordinary meaning unless the context demands otherwise. I want to know where in the context this is demanded.

Al said: "Ron believes that 'commits adultery' doesn't occur until the remarriage."

I never said this. I said that adultery occurs in the remarriage (or marital situation), not at the remarriage. This is demanded by the meaning of the word.

Al said: "You really don't get it, do you?!! I think you may actually be serious! Ron, don't you perceive where your premise ultimately leads you?!!"

Oh, yes I do. It won't lead me down the path you have taken: giving people a false hope. You manipulate words to give people a false hope.

Al said: "The indicative mood working in conjunction with the present tense is simply depicting a PRESENT REALITY. It is something actually happening right now. It is an ACTUAL occurrence in PRESENT time."

But, not at the exclusion of what follows (cf. Robertson, III 1.a, p. 879). Deal with 1 Corinthians 13:5. If it occurs exclusively in the present time without what is to follow, then explain the passage in Corinthians.

Al said: "However, if 'committing adultery' = remarriage, as you have maintained in this debate, then, for your theory to be true and consistent with itself here, 'adultery' will not even BEGIN to be committed for TWENTY YEARS. You just destroyed the whole force of the present indicative, Ron. THAT is the point I have tried to get you to perceive."

I have never said this and your attributing it to me is pure wishful thinking. The present indicative in no way is "destroyed" because I insist that the word "adultery" means something. Adultery, by definition, is sexual intercourse with another not your spouse. Show that definition to be wrong from the lexicons in the context of Matthew 5:32 and 19:9.

Al said: "Unless the divorce and remarriage occur almost simultaneously (before the ink dries on the certificate), you are almost always going to have to project a remarriage into the future (perhaps months, years, decades), all of which takes the committing of adultery out of the realm of the ACTUAL and the NOW (present indicative) and moves it into the realm of the POTENTIAL and the FUTURE."

What I don't have to do is redefine the word as you've done.

Al said: "In spite of all your impassioned protestations, and all your lengthy quotations of those who embrace your doctrine, it just doesn't fit!"

Please show me from a reputable work where anyone has said what you've maintained with respect to the word "adultery," "fornication," and an exegetical interpretation of Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 that you have proffered. They simply are not there! My so-called "lengthy quotations" utterly REFUTE your view!

Al said: "Again, I call upon the readers to employ their God-given common sense and reasoning ability and make a determination as to which is the better approach to biblical interpretation and the quest for Truth."

I concur.

Al's position is false because:

  1. He has to misuse words ("fornication" and "adultery") in the context of Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 to make his theory fit.

  2. He has refused to accept lexical definitions of the words.

  3. His "definition" of adultery as "breaking covenant" will not fit in the second clause of either passage.

  4. His interpretation of Matthew 5:32; 19:9; and Romans 7:2-4 is not recognized by anyone!

This will certainly provoke a vigorous response from Al. We patiently await his attempt at rebuttal.

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