Who May Marry?
By Mark J. Ward
God's Word contains the truth on the topic, "Who May Marry?" (John 17:17). Since we are living under the new covenant, the perfect law of liberty (See James 1:25; 2:12), we will answer this relevant question from new testament passages. Notice that the scriptures teach that BOTH PARTIES need to have the scriptural right to enter into a marriage. Also, note that GOD SAYS a scriptural marriage is between a man and a woman who have the right to be together.
1. One who has never been scripturally married before may marry a person of the opposite sex who is scripturally eligible to marry.
I Corinthians 7:1-12 (read the entire chapter please), "Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: [It is] good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, [to avoid] fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud ye not one the other, except [it be] with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 6 But I speak this by permission, [and] not of commandment. 7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. 8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. 9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. 10 And unto the married I command, [yet] not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from [her] husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to [her] husband: and let not the husband put away [his] wife. 12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away."
Hebrews 13:4, "Marriage [is] honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge."
2. One whose scriptural spouse has died may marry a person of the opposite sex who is scripturally eligible to marry.
Romans 7:1-4, "Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to [her] husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of [her] husband. 3 So then if, while [her] husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, [even] to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."
3. One who has put away (i.e. divorced) his/her scriptural mate for the cause of fornication may marry a person of the opposite sex who is scripturally eligible to marry.
Matthew 5:31,32, "It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery."
Matthew 19:3-11, "The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made [them] at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, 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. 10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with [his] wife, it is not good to marry. 11 But he said unto them, All [men] cannot receive this saying, save [they] to whom it is given."
The Bible contains the words of instruction for us to follow. Let us be extremely careful and heed God's Will on this and all other topics. Proper discernment of passages like Luke 16:18 and See Mt. 19:9 teach us that both the one who marries "a put away person" and one who is a put away person who marries sins (so long as their scriptural mate is alive per Romans 7). We must simply stay within the boundaries of God's Word on this matter.
Study God's Word and ONLY believe, teach, and practice what we read and properly discern therein. May brotherly love continue.
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