Saturday, December 09, 2006

Divorce and Remarriage in the Gospel of Luke

Luke 16 has another verse that gives us Jesus' teachings on divorce (KJV):

18: Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

The first clause in 16 resembles Mark 10:11 the second clause like the second one of Matthew 5:32 and (19:9 was removed 12/10/06). The 'husband divorces wife' scenario is discussed with adultery the consequence of such action. Any man who marries the divorced innocent wife also commits sin.

Why is Luke missing an equivalent to Mark 10:12? It is again perhaps due to the audience of this Gospel. Luke wrote to someone named Theophilius in Chapter 1:

3: It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 4: That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

It appears that Theophilius in verse 4 is a Christian, possibly whose knowledge is shaky. Mark seems to be written for the Greco-Romans (G-R). In G-R law either the husband or the wife is able to initiate the divorce and thus the prohibition against the 'wife divorces husband' in Mark 10:12. In Luke the new Christians may have adopted the teachings that prohibit 'wife divorces husband'. See Paul's 1 Corinthians 7:10-11.

After examining the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke there are still some conundrums.

1) What is the husband in Mark 10:12 'wife divorces husband' able to do after the wife divorces him?

2) It appears that the Mark 10:11 wife is the 'divorced wife' in Mat 5:32, (19:9 was removed 12/10/06) and Lk 16:18. As innocent as she appears to be, seems radioactive to any man that marries her.

Maybe this is where Paul's 1 Corinthians 7 steps in, i.e. to fill in the gaps. Paul was writing to a mostly G-R Christian audience.

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