Matthew 19:9 – Four Possibilities

Matt 19:9 reads “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.”

One of my mentors, Hiram Hutto, first helped me to notice that the verse presents four possible scenarios:

1. The one who puts away their spouse for fornication does NOT commit adultery when they remarry.

2. The one who puts away their spouse for a reason other than fornication commits adultery when they remarry.

3. The one who is put away by their spouse for fornication commits adultery when they remarry.

4. The one who is put away by their spouse for a reason other than fornication commits adultery when they remarry.

Many will say the #4 possibility, the person put away not for fornication has a right to remarry (if they are innocent or their spouse has committed fornication), but dividing the verse up into the four possibilities helps us to clearly see that is not so. If a person put away from a scriptural marriage (Rom 7:2-3) marries again, they commit adultery – period. It does make a difference who actually gets the divorce (along with who commits fornication). Let’s never try to defend either of the above three adulterous situations, in any shape, form, or fashion.

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