Taking a Wife, Marriage and Divorce | Victor Tey

This sermon goes over the difference between taking a wife and marriage. Also, the two ways a marriage can lawfully end, death and divorce. I also cover reasons why abandonment does not nullify the vow of marriage.

Taking a Wife

  1. Is when the betrothed couple now live together but not specifically referring to the sexual act of marriage.
  2. Deuteronomy 22:13 – Take, go into, hate
  3. Deuteronomy 24:1 – take, marry
  4. Matthew 1:18:25 – took Mary his wife but didn’t sleep with her
    1. Mary and Joseph didn’t live together when they were espoused
    2. Luke 1:56 – Mary went to live with Elizabeth for 3 months when she was visited by the angel
    3. Why were couples betrothed for long periods before marrying?
      1. Wedding preparations? – Take time to plan and people to invite to travel.
      2. Parent expectations? – Christian girls are in this situation when the parents have the world’s expectations on them to have a career.
      3. Man finishing a job? – Deuteronomy 24:5 – needs to be free at home to be with his wife that he has taken.


  1. The word “marriage” can refer to
    1. The physical joining of man and wife
      1. Gen 38:8 go in unto thy brother’s wife
      2. Not technically “married” (or joined) until you have sex
    2. The institution of being joined to a spouse
      1. Luke 20:34-36 – given in marriage
      2. Gen 2:24 – the relationship is exclusive, one man, one woman, one flesh.
      3. Same as definition of “marriage” in Australia – “Marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”
    3. To refer to what we call the “reception” – Matt 22:2, John 2:1-2
  2. 4 reasons why God instituted marriage as the basis for a family
    1. Testimony
      1. Ephesians 5:31-33 – Christ’s relationship to believers
    2. Company
      1. Genesis 2:18 – not good for the man to be alone
    3. Family
      1. Malachi 2:14-15 – godly seed
    4. Society
      1. Godly families raise godly children, this is the importance of family in a society
      2. Eliminates the spread of diseases from fornication

Death and Divorce

  1. 2 ways a marriage can end
    1. Death
      1. 1 Corinthians 7:39 – bound by the law
      2. Romans 7:1-3 – loosed from the law
    2. The bill of divorce in the case of fornication
      1. Matthew 19:3-9
        1. God’s intention was always one man one woman for life
        2. Fornication is the reason why the bill of divorce exists
      2. Deuteronomy 24:1-4
        1. uncleanness – Jesus referred to as fornication so we know this is sexual sin not just hygiene.
        2. hath found – can’t be something he knew about when marrying her.
        3. married her – the couple have consummated
        4. after that she is defiled – the scenario of the latter husband is that he has given her the bill after consummation. This is not during betrothal but before consummation.
        5. Jeremiah 3:1,8
          1. proves that the position that the fornication is prior to betrothal cannot be right.
          2. It also shows that the definition of fornication includes adultery
          3. Jer 3:14 – says that God was “married” to Israel, not betrothed.
      3. Implications
        1. Adultery is grounds for lawful divorce
        2. Divorced couples where one spouse has committed adultery and remarried, the remaining spouse can remarry.
        3. Couples that divorce unlawfully will commit adultery if they remarry.
        4. Matthew 5:31-32 – the word “divorce” means “put away” but only divorce in the case of fornication actually will nullify the law between a husband and wife. This is why it is still adultery.
        5. “There doesn’t need to be a grounds for divorce when adultery warrants the death penalty.” – what about societies that don’t have capital punishment? What if there are not 2 or 3 witnesses?
      4. Why is fornication the reason God allowed divorce?
        1. 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 – become one flesh with the partner
        2. 1 Corinthians 7:1-9 – sexual obligations in marriage


  1. 1 Corinthians 7:10-14
    1. Unmarried – Refers to both virgins and divorced
    2. The context is about divorce – not dwelling together (opposite of taking a wife)
    3. But not the nullifying of the law, which is death (1 Cor 7:39) or fornication via the bill of divorcement (Mat 19:9).
  2. Reasons why abandonment does not nullify the law of marriage
    1. Not consistent with Mat 19 and Deu 24
      1. Jesus makes marriage clear with one exception and Paul just comes and contradicts it?
      2. Why would adultery be okay just because your spouse is an unbeliever?
    2. “not under bondage” is vague – could refer to the dwelling together not nullification of the law
      1. Still referred to as the husband/wife in the v16
      2. v39 reiterates the law stands until death
    3. Abandonment is the endgame for any conflict in a marriage
      1. Jesus was asked if you could put away a wife for “any cause” – his answer was fornication. But “any cause” can lead to abandonment.
      2. If believers are treated as unbelievers due to Mat 18:17, when would a believer ever need to “remain unmarried or be reconciled” because 3 strikes would give her the liberty to marry based on abandonment.
      3. remain unmarried is only temporarily until you pass the three strikes, but why is the only other option mentioned to be reconciled?
      4. What happen to “better or worse” – if all it takes is for someone to stop trying?
      5. What if your spouse gets saved, wouldn’t God want you then to be reconciled?
    4. Believers v Unbelievers
      1. God called us to peace, but the believing couple has no peace yet they are to remain unmarried or be reconciled.
      2. Not fulfilling duties – neither are the believers
      3. Spiritual death nullifies the vow – how could it be possible to be married to an unbeliever then?

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