Churches Of Christ/remarriage after divorce


Dear Brother Fields:
Was Jesus giving us a new law in Matthew 19:9?  I am thinking of the Samaritan woman who had five husbands. I know that she could have legally had five husbands under the law of Moses, but didn't
Jesus change that when he spoke on this in Matthew 19:9?  Also,  can you please explain 1 Corinthians 7:15?   What does the apostle Paul mean when he says the believer is "not bound"? Any help would be much appreciated!

Matthew 5:18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

The scripture cannot contradict itself. If it did, God wouldn't be infallible. He wouldn't be God. So what does the scripture say about the law being changed while Jesus was living?

Matthew 19:9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.

Jesus could apparently add to law but not in such a way that it was contradicted or taken away from. It is clear that Jesus was commenting on the law of Moses as it existed in His time. His answer satisfied each side that was there. Had he given an interpretation that inferred that there would be an ongoing state of adultery when a new marriage began He would certainly have been going against what the Law of Moses said. It is the position of many, myself included, that this adultery that occurred was one or both of two things. It was either the adultery of the heart like He spoke of when He referred to one committing adultery by lusting after another. Or it was the one time breaking of one marriage by creating another in its place.

There is nothing in the passage that Jesus was making reference to in Deuteronomy 26:1-4 that points to any kind of ongoing adulterous state.

As to the Samaritan woman and what was legal. What is legal isn't always right. They could "legally" break a marriage and form a new one in it's place but be sinning against God as they did so. Did a divorce and re-marriage result in adultery being committed when outside of the parameters Jesus laid out? Yes. Was it an ongoing sin against a marriage that was still intact in God's eyes or a one time destruction of each marriage. From what I can tell it is the latter.

As to 1 Corinthians 7:15 let's look at it.

1 Corinthians 7:15 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.

The bondage is the marriage tie and obligation to stay married or reconcile if it is broken. If the unbelieving spouse leaves the marriage the newly single Christian is not under obligation in any way to stay single. They may remarry but only in the Lord. That is my understanding.

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John Fields


I strive to intelligently and respectfully discuss thoughtful questions pertaining to doctrinal issues within the Churches of Christ and feel I can contribute thoughtful answers in most cases. I feel myself to be especially adept when answering questions regarding the Gospel of Christ and baptism. I always strive to be humble, realizing that there are some issues that are respectfully and honorably debatable. I realize that the Bible is perfect and able to provide any truth that the seeker of truth is after. At the same time I realize that though I am very conscientious about pointing people in the right direction, I am still a fallible human being and certainly capable of making mistakes. I will always give my opinion AS my opinion and strive not to state as fact something which cannot be supported by good logic or a good thorough study through the scriptures.


I am a minister within the Churches of Christ. I have been preaching for 14 years and have been on five separate mission trips to the Volta Region of Ghana, West Africa. I have preached the Gospel to literally thousands of people and it is my passion to do so.

I graduated with honors from Atkins High School in Atkins, AR in 1984. I went on to get my Bible degree at Harding University in Searcy, AR where I graduated Cum Laude.

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