Divorce and Remarriage
Ryan Lowery and James Rochford
Divorce is a painful and difficult subject for any community. In fact, it is usually accompanied by ongoing, excruciating, and often sinful relating by both parties. The concept of marriage as a lifelong commitment has almost disappeared in our culture. In the United States, not only do most marriages fail, but more people are starting families without even bothering to get married.
This has put great pressure on the church to abandon scripture when it comes to the issue. Our culture provides nearly zero tension on the question of divorce. If you are unhappy, if you want out, if your spouse makes you sad, or if you just find someone better, our culture says go for it. And any God or religion that tells you otherwise should be dumped faster than your old spouse!
Our culture is impacting the church more than scripture in the Western world. American “Christianity” has always had a poor showing when it comes to divorce. People claiming to be “born again” statistically fare little better than everyone else when it comes to honoring their marriage vows. Dwell Community Church has historically done much better than the typical 55 to 60 percent of American marriages that end in divorce, but we are not immune to cultural pressure.
Historically we have held a high bar for marriage and called those getting married in our church to take their vows seriously. In addition to the wonderful equipping found in home groups and personal discipleship, we have instituted pre-marital counseling, prepare and enrich marital counseling, marriage mentoring, and marriage classes. Also, we have been willing to go to great lengths to help couples save their marriages. We have even brought certain extreme cases of unrighteous divorce to formal church discipline. We hold these convictions based on what we read in scripture.
In this essay, we will explore the ethics of divorce and remarriage, as well as practical solutions to difficult situations. We will do this by (1) surveying the relevant biblical passages, (2) exploring the ethical difficulties, and (3) showing a practical way forward. First, let’s begin with the biblical data.
1. Biblical Passages about Divorce and Remarriage
(Malachi 2:14-16 NIV) The LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. 15 Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. 16 “I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the LORD Almighty. “So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.”
The literary context here is the treachery of the nation of Israel (the bride) against the Lord (the bridegroom), but the literal concept is clear: These Jewish men were divorcing their wives. Divorce has never been a part of God’s plan for marriage. Malachi uses the term “one” (?e?a?), which is the same word used in Genesis 2:24 to refer to the man and woman becoming “one flesh.” The men of this time were “divorcing their aging wives in favor of younger women.” This is what causes God to use the emphatic language, “I hate divorce.”
But are there any exceptions for divorce in the Bible? Yes. Indeed, we hold to a moderate view in this area, believing that there are at least three explicit biblical exceptions: (1) adultery, (2) abandonment, and (3) death.
Exception #1. Adultery (Matthew 19:3-9)
(Matthew 19:3) Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” This passage has an important historical context. In Jesus’ day, the rabbinic school of Hillel took a permissive view of divorce based on Deuteronomy 24:1-4, arguing that a man could divorce his wife for virtually “any reason.” The Hillelites taught that a husband could divorce his wife for burning his dinner or for becoming physically unattractive!
By contrast, the school of Shammai held a much stricter view, limiting divorce to sexual immorality, as well as serious neglect of one’s spouse. The Hillelite view was the majority perspective in Israel, and the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus into a bipartisan position, thus “testing Him” with this question.
(Matthew 19:4-6) [Jesus] answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from 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. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
Here we see marriage as God envisions it. God’s view is lifelong monogamy between one man and one woman, a bond that should never be broken. Jesus didn’t based his ethic for divorce on the current cultural consensus, but instead on God’s original design, citing Genesis 1:27 and 2:24. Jesus attributed these words to what God himself “said.” Indeed, the whole idea of marriage came from the mind of God (Genesis 2:18).
(Matthew 19:7-9) They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” 8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. 9 And I say to you, whoever [singular] divorces his wife, except for immorality [porneia], and marries another woman commits adultery.”
In this passage Jesus is saying that Moses allowed for divorce “because of your hardness of heart.” While there is some debate among interpreters on Jesus’ meaning here, it is clear that God’s original intent for marriage did not allow a provision for divorce.
When Jesus says “from the beginning it has not been this way,” he is saying that Moses allowed a concession having to do with the hardness of their hearts (or sin), but that this is not God’s design or intent. The one reason for divorce we see from Jesus’ teaching is when the bond is willingly broken by sexual immorality. In other words, according to Jesus, sexual immorality is a valid reason for divorce.
There are two things that are very clear in this passage: (1) Marriage is binding except for where the marriage covenant is broken by “immorality.” (2) To marry a divorcee who is divorced over some issue other than immortality is to commit adultery with them. This is heavy medicine!
What should we conclude from Matthew 19?
(1) God hates divorce.
(2) The Old Testament allowed for divorce in the civil law, but this was a concession, not God’s design for marriage.
(3) God created marriage to be between one man and one woman for one lifetime.
(4) Sexual immorality is a legitimate reason for divorce.
Exception #2: Abandonment (1 Corinthians 7:10-15, 27-28)
(1 Corinthians 7:10-11) “To the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband. 11 But if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband, and that the husband should not divorce his wife.”
Paul may have had a copy of one of the gospels (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:23-25), because he quotes from “the Lord” Jesus, who was against divorce (Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18).
The term “leave” (chorizo) is another word for divorce. Jesus used the term to describe divorce: “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate (chorizo)” (Matthew 19:6; cf. Mark 10:9). Moreover, the terms “leave” and “divorce” are used interchangeably in verse 11. And later, in verse 15, Paul uses the same term (chorizo) to refer to the unbelieving spouse “leaving” (or divorcing) his partner.
What are we to make of this passage? Unmistakably, God’s will for alienated Christian spouses is reconciliation. Christian spouses should remain single if they choose to separate — unless, of course, there are adequate, ethical grounds for divorce. This is why Jesus said, “Whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery” (Matthew 19:9). These two concepts don’t contradict; in fact, they fit together quite well. The idea being that if you get divorced for unbiblical reasons, then you should “remain unmarried” (1 Corinthians 7:11); otherwise, God considers this committing “adultery” (Matthew 19:9).
God’s intent and design for Christian marriages is reconciliation. Period. At the same time, it takes two people to reconcile — not one. What if one spouse refuses to reconcile, sinfully abandoning the other?
Throughout 1 Corinthians 7, Paul uses an ethical approach called “principlized ethics.” From this perspective, God’s moral principles don’t change, but the application of the principles will change according to the situation. This is why Paul appears — at first glance — to repeatedly contradict himself throughout this chapter. Consider a few examples:
Should we remain single or get married? Paul writes, “I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain [single]. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
Should we remain as slaves or get our freedom? Paul writes, “Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called. Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that” (1 Corinthians 7:20-21).
These statements seem contradictory, until you realize that Paul is operating out of principles — not prescriptions. In effect, Paul is telling us that both options are legitimate, but we need to make a choice based on the foundation of an underlying biblical principle. The same is true with regard to remarriage after abandonment, where Paul uses the same language:
Should we remain single after being abandoned or get remarried? Paul writes, “Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you marry, you have not sinned.” (1 Corinthians 7:27b-28a).
This final statement gives significant insight into the biblical view toward abandonment and divorce. Again, the principle for Christian marriage is reconciliation. But what if the fleeing spouse won’t return? Of course, this wayward spouse should return and should reconcile. But if they refuse, then the abandoned spouse has biblical grounds for divorce and potential re-marriage. Paul elaborates more on this concept below.
(1 Corinthians 7:12-15) “But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. 15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.”
Here believers should not divorce non-believing spouses. Instead, they should try to win them to Christ. However, if the unbelieving spouse leaves the believer, then the believer appears to be free to do what they want. They are “not under bondage.”
Does this imply that the deserted spouse can be remarried after abandonment? While this isn’t as clear as we might like, we agree with the majority of commentators that remarriage is implied.
First, in Jewish thinking, a righteous divorce implied the right to remarry. R.T. France writes, “Divorce and the right to remarry are thus inseparable, and the Jewish world knew nothing of a legal separation which did not allow remarriage.” For instance, in a writ of divorce, the Mishnah states, “You are free to marry any man” (m. Gittin 9:3).
Second, “bondage” (douloo) is the word used for slavery in the New Testament, and Jewish divorce certificates were considered analogous to “an emancipation certificate for a slave.” In context, the bondage Paul has in mind refers to being married to an unbelieving spouse.
Third, Paul uses similar language to refer to being “bound” (deo) to our spouse in marriage — even in this same chapter (1 Corinthians 7:39; cf. Romans 7:2).
Fourth, freedom from “bondage” most likely doesn’t refer to being free to divorce, because the person was already divorced (“…if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave…”). Instead, freedom from bondage likely refers to the freedom to remarry; otherwise, Paul’s statement would be redundant.
(1 Corinthians 7:27-28) “Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you.” Paul’s ethical assessment about marriage or remarriage is exactly the same as that given to the virgins. In both cases, he writes, “You have not sinned.” This further supports the idea that a righteous divorce implies the permission to be remarried. We agree with ethicists Feinberg and Feinberg who write, “Whenever divorce is morally acceptable, remarriage is permissible.”
Paul later uses the same word “bound” (deo) to describe being released from marriage and being free to remarry: “A wife is bound (deo) as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord” (v. 39). In our estimation, Paul is not only permitting divorce, but also remarriage.
What should we conclude from 1 Corinthians 7?
(1) God wants us to stay married.
(2) God wants us to reconcile.
(3) God doesn’t want us to be in bondage (i.e. we have the freedom to remarry if our spouse abandons us).
(4) God has called us to peace.
Exception #3: Death (Romans 7:2-3)
(Romans 7:2-3) “The married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. 3 So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.” Commentators universally agree that Paul’s intent is not to teach on the ethics of divorce and remarriage in this passage. Instead, his purpose is to explain our relationship to the law. At the same time, this passage does give valuable insights into Paul’s thinking on remarriage.
To make his point about our relationship to the law, Paul moves from a minor premise to a major one. He assumes that his audience agrees with his minor premise (i.e. a woman can remarry if her husband dies). If they didn’t agree, then Paul’s argument about the major premise (i.e. the law) would carry no force. Indeed, Paul explicitly teaches, “I want younger widows to get married” (1 Timothy 5:14), and also writes, “A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes” (1 Corinthians 7:39).
Clearly, death is another exception for remarriage.
2. Practical Ethical Difficulties
What about ethically confusing cases?
While understanding the biblical viewpoint on divorce can be challenging, we have seen that there are three explicit reasons from the New Testament where divorce is morally permissible (e.g. adultery, abandonment, and death), but it is not clear that those are the only reasons. It is also not always clear how broadly or narrowly “sexual immorality” or “abandonment” should be interpreted. In the course of real life, very complicated and difficult situations arise.
- What constitutes sexual immorality? Is it limited specifically to the act of sexual intercourse? Or do other forms of intimate and sexual contact qualify? The Greek word translated as “immorality” (porneia) refers to “the larger category of sexual immorality” or to “any kind of sexual immorality.” In fact, it is the word from which we get our modern word “pornography.” Is pornography viewing a biblically acceptable reason for divorce? Are emotional affairs? Or is only sexual contact with someone other than your spouse in view?
- What constitutes abandonment? Abandonment is a black-and-white issue if someone disappears without a trace. But what if we know where the person is and he or she refuses to communicate? What if the spouse refuses to reconcile, seek help, or get counseling? What if for years a spouse refuses to communicate with another while living under the same roof? Does that qualify?
Is your head spinning yet? We give all of these examples to show how confusing these cases can be. Many times we can clearly see biblical grounds for divorce; sometimes we can’t.
Some cases involve behavior so despicable, dangerous, and even life-threatening that divorce has seemed to be the lesser of two evils. These cases include clear physical danger to spouses or children, not only in acts of aggression, but also wanton acts of irresponsibility, such as drinking and driving with children in the car or taking illegal drugs while being responsible for the care of children. In these cases, we have usually not been willing to say divorce is moral, but we have also not objected either. In these circumstances, we do all that we can to help families through brutal and painful separations, believing it is the best thing we can do. We need to do our best to help protect spouses and children from dangerous people, even when those dangerous people are abusive spouses and parents. Whether that danger is physical, emotional, or sexual, no one should have to live in fear of a family member. If the church can’t get behind that, what good is it?
At the same time, our culture has continued to broaden the definitions of both abuse and victimhood. We are seeing increasing claims from members that a spouse’s verbal or emotional abuse should be grounds for divorce — even that it’s equivalent to physical violence. While emotional and verbal abuse are certainly sinful and can be egregious in certain situations, this has raised a new category that challenges us to reevaluate our understanding of what constitutes “abuse,” particularly whether it is grounds for divorce.
How verbally harsh does one need to be for language to be qualified as “abuse”? How frequent and earnest must the attack be to qualify as “abusive”? How does one determine if the attack is coming from one side or both (as is often the case)? If both are verbally and emotionally abusive, are we to judge who is guiltier and determine who could file for “righteous” divorce? In fact, we frequently hear the terms “righteous divorce” and “unrighteous divorce” in our community, and our pastoral staff are being asked to adjudicate who was righteous and unrighteous in these cases. Our elders and pastoral staff want out of the business of being asked to decide if a divorce is righteous or not in unclear areas.
>The paradox of the heap
These confusing questions above reveal what philosophers call the “paradox of the heap.” For our purposes, the paradox deals with differentiating when an action moves from non-moral to immoral. The paradox can be explained in this way: How many grains of sand does it take to make a “heap” or “pile” of sand? Two grains of sand? No, that’s not a heap. What about 50 grains of sand? Again, no, that’s not enough. Well, what about 50,000 grains? This would definitely be a heap of sand! But, what about 49,999 grains? What about 49,998…?
Do you see the point? We can discern extremes very easily, but it’s impossible to know at what point we crossed over from one extreme to the other.
A man having sexual intercourse with a coworker is a clear ground for divorce, but a man having professional discourse with his coworker is clearly not. This would be a case of a “heap,” where it is clear which is moral and which is immoral. However, in the real world, most cases are not so clear! Consider a few examples to demonstrate this paradox. In each of these examples, ask yourself if the wife has biblical grounds for divorce:
- The husband has no history of infidelity. He visits a strip club with colleagues from work but has no physical contact with any of the “dancers.” After being there for 20 minutes, he goes home and immediately confesses what happened to his wife. His colleagues verify his story.
- The husband has a history of regular pornography use and lying. He visits a strip club alone, and his wife catches him lying about it. The husband claims there was no physical contact, but the wife is unsure…
- The husband has a history of questionable behavior with women, but nothing definitive. One day, he comes home from work early, because he was fired for sexual misconduct. The husband claims that he is innocent, and his job cannot legally tell the wife the details of the incident.
This is where the paradox of the heap comes in: At what point does an action or interaction become “immorality”? As we saw above, many cases are morally grey, two-sided, or downright confusing, and our elders do not believe it is wise to adjudicate who is the “righteous spouse” in such unclear situations.>
We also see an increasing number of cases where marriages are breaking down — with no sexual immorality or abandonment — and both parties desire to stay in fellowship. Both want to divorce, stay in fellowship, and seek to begin dating and marrying new people and start all over again. How is this possible? How can two people want to walk with God, want to be biblical Christians, and yet refuse to reconcile their marriage? How can we as a community and as a leadership go along with this? If we do, how do we claim that the Bible’s teaching on divorce has any authority? To a biblically trained mind, this is nothing short of bizarre! When people divorce, either both are at fault, or at least one is. We fundamentally reject the view that Christians can divorce amicably and continue in our fellowship as if nothing serious has occurred.
If we want to divorce for anything other than a biblical reason, it seems the tension God wants us to wrestle with is this: Would I rather die celibate and alone than spend one more day with this person? If the answer is yes, celibacy without remarriage appears to be an option. Imagine how the divorce rate would change in our culture if the options were reconciliation or celibacy! We would become experts at working out our differences! Divorce would be exceedingly rare, only an option in the most extreme cases.
So how do we honor scripture, uphold marriage and give people freedom to make decisions, while also helping to protect those in real danger?
3. A Way Forward
A practical solution to a complex problem
Fortunately, the State of Ohio has a tool that can be very useful. It is called legal separation. Very few people get them because they are nearly as expensive as divorce. They essentially include all the work of a divorce, including working out assets, legal protections, and child custody. The only difference between a divorce and a legal separation is that the two are still legally married. They can no longer enjoy any of the privileges of marriage, but also, they cannot re-marry until one of them files for divorce.
No doubt this is an extreme step! No one should walk casually into a lawyer’s office and demand a legal separation because of a bad fight, or a couple of rough months getting along with your spouse. But if you need protection, and you need your spouse to realize your marriage is in real danger if things don’t change, legal separation is a much better choice than divorce for several reasons:
First, legal separation leaves the door open for change and reconciliation. These are crucial biblical principles that we saw above.
Second, in confusing ethical cases, legal separation can serve as a tool to reveal who is seeking an unrighteous divorce. Remember, legal separation is all of the worst parts of divorce without any of the benefits of marriage. An unrepentant spouse will likely not last long in such a situation. If a spouse starts to date, then he or she is dating as a married man or married woman! If a spouse sleeps with someone else, that’s committing adultery, making it clear who gave up on the marriage. In morally grey cases, legal separation can give time to reveal who is running from the marriage and who is willing to pursue healing and reconciliation (1 Timothy 5:24).
Third, legal separation can serve as a tool to clear a spouse’s personal conscience. A spouse may have permissible grounds for divorce, but still might not have a clear conscience. Legal separation could give some time for a spouse to see if the marriage is repairable. Moreover, because it is such an extreme step, it would also raise tension with an unrepentant partner to pursue change.
Fourth, legal separation can protect spouses and children from various forms of abuse. This benefit cannot be overstated! Legal separation protects spouses and children physically, financially, and emotionally every bit as much as a divorce would. It would also give the couple time to see if they might save their marriage, or if one of them would file for divorce. Either way, this option has serious advantages, because it raises tension while creating boundaries between warring couples.
If couples can’t work things out, but still want to walk with God and still want to honor God’s will, they can choose this path in order to protect themselves and make space in the hopes that reconciliation is possible.
Summarizing our Position
What about clear cases of adultery or abandonment? In these situations, wronged spouses need to decide whether or not to pursue a divorce. Since they are choosing within explicit biblical boundaries, it’s their prerogative as they will need to live with the ramifications of this weighty decision.
What about unclear cases of physical, verbal, or emotional abuse? Since the Bible is far less clear in these areas, we would urge the wronged spouse to pursue legal separation. We will even allocate various resources to help hurting spouses in these situations, because we want to honor and support spouses who are willing to go to such great lengths to keep their marriages together. By pursuing legal separation, the couple can give God time to resuscitate a marriage on life support. Moreover, during this time, we can trust that God can reveal more concrete grounds for divorce (1 Timothy 5:24).
However, if a wronged spouse filed for divorce in an unclear case, we would consider this an unrighteous divorce. Once again, we need to point out that legal separation would protect a hurting spouse just as much as a divorce would. Because these are unclear cases, we contend that marriage is simply too valuable to discard in an ethically ambiguous situation. Too much is at stake. In fact, a spouse filing for divorce on unclear grounds could even face formal church discipline.
What about morally extreme cases besides adultery and abandonment — such as extreme physical abuse, hardcore drug use, or serious theft of the family’s money (1 Timothy 5:8)? We would still urge an abused spouse to pursue legal separation to get out of physical or financial danger. We would also encourage the abused spouse to involve the police if the sin was not just immoral, but illegal. At the same time, if the wronged spouse ignored this counsel, we would relegate this to an issue of conscience — neither celebrating nor standing in the way of their choice to divorce.
What about sexual abuse to a spouse or child? This falls under what Jesus called “immorality” (porneia), and this is an unambiguously clear ground for divorce! Furthermore, this is not only sinful, but also illegal. So we would not only support an abused spouse’s choice to divorce, but also to pursue legal action.
If there are serious problems in your marriage, such as drug abuse, physical abuse, extreme verbal abuse, or serious financial swindling, you may want to consider a legal separation. Basically, anything severe enough to warrant potential church discipline according to Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5 should be the kind of measure you are looking for.
If during your legal separation your spouse starts to date, he or she is dating as a married man or married woman! If your spouse sleeps with someone else, that’s adultery, bringing divorce back on to the table. However if you and your spouse are willing to get counsel and take things seriously, it’s possible that your marriage, your household, and your family could be restored.
If during a legal separation a spouse decides to file, this would be a serious violation of the marriage covenant unless clear biblical grounds for divorce have occurred — such as adultery or abandonment. People who take marriage so lightly are taking the word of God lightly, and should consider whether our fellowship is right for them.
It is our earnest desire to help our members have great marriages. We know of no other church that has so many robust ways to help people get one. It is also our earnest desire to follow God to the utmost of our ability, which includes standing strong on his word.
Each situation is different, with many complicating factors. That is why we are not instituting a policy or a blind rule. We hope, however, that this biblical and pastoral approach can help people save their marriages and families. We hope this helps the church support them, while doing the utmost to protect spouses and children in danger of abuse.
Appendix: Suggested steps to take BEFORE seeking a legal separation
Address issues early. We should invest more time building fences at the top of a steep hill, than sending ambulances to the bottom of the hill! The same is true with struggling marriages: A penny of investment up front can result in a pound of impact down the road. Once a couple has lived in a lengthy state of bitterness, anger, and contempt, the relationship will be far harder to repair! Consequently, we shouldn’t wait until a marriage is on life support, but should proactively build healthy marriages and discern warning signs.
Try to ramp up to a legal separation. Because legal separations are so serious, we should seek intermediate steps before jumping to this alternative. In other words, we should do our best to raise tension in the relationship before reaching this option. Consider reading quality books on marriage together, being transparent with others, asking for mediation, requesting help from pastoral coaches, seeking biblical or professional counseling, or visiting marriage retreat centers.
Allow people to make their own decisions. We can give couples opinions, options, and alternatives, but we should be careful not to tell people what to do. Since this is their marriage, they will need to live with the consequences.
Ask for help in a variety of areas if you choose legal separation. The local church can and should help a hurting spouse during a time of legal separation. This might include financial assistance, legal help, temporary housing, or other assistance.
 Robert L. Alden, Malachi (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), p.717.
 Mishnah Gi??in 9:10; Sipre Deuteronomy 269.1.1.
 See for example, David Garland, 1 Corinthians: Baker Exegetical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 296. Alan Johnson, 1 Corinthians (Westmont, IL: IVP Academic, 2004), 118. Leon Morris, 1 Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985), 110.
 R.T. France, The Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publication Co., 2007), 212.
M. Gittin, 1:4. Cited in Garland, 291.
 John and Paul Feinberg, Ethics for a Brave New World (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1993), 342.
 D. A. Carson, Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984), 414.
 Darrell Bock, Luke: 9:51–24:53 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1996), 1358.
 This list is not exhaustive, but we could see these as being potential cases. Ethical exceptions for divorce need to be equivalent to or exceeding those explicit in Scripture: adultery, abandonment, or death.