Part 85 I was asked a question this past week about marriage, divorce, and remarriage. It was asked, “I know Matthew 19:9 says that one cannot divorce except it be for fornication, but what if your spouse is physically abusive, should you not be able to divorce and leave that person?” It is a common misconception that Matthew 19:9 teaches that one cannot divorce except it be for fornication. The verse actually doesn’t forbid a person from divorce (even when fornication has not been committed), it only forbids divorce and remarriage except in cases of fornication. Christ stated, “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” (Matthew 19:9). Matthew 19:9 deals with remarriage, not divorce. Matthew 19:9 would not apply to the question, “Should a person leave or divorce a spouse who is physically abusive?” What Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 7:10-15 has more to do with this question than Matthew 19:9.

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