Essay Question - With reference to the topic you have investigated, examine and comment on the view that New Testament ethical teaching has no relevance today. (Marriage and Divorce) 1hr 15 mins 75 mins - Intro
In terms of marriage and divorce, the teachings of the Bible are very clear. The teachings of Old Testament on marriage and divorce can be summarized in Genesis 2:24 which states, “therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” This teaches that God intended marriage to be a permanent, covenantal relationship between a man, who was to protect and provide for his wife, and a woman, who was to remain monogamous to her husband. The teachings of New Testament can be summarized in Matthew 19:9 which states, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, commits adultery.” For over decades, the teachings of the Scriptures on marriage and divorce have been a great influence on the society’s religious and social views on the subjects. However, there has been a view that the biblical teachings especially New Testament ethical teachings no longer have relevance today and this view will be carefully examined and commented on in this essay. For over thousands of years, Teachings of Old & New Testaments
It is important to note that the Bible presents marriage as a divine institution. God instituted marriage when he declared “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Gen 2:18). Therefore; God insured marriages between legitimate partners and before him, the man and the woman became “one flesh.” Genesis 1:28 further show God’s intention for marriage and overall for humans to “Be fruitful and increase in number” and thus, marriage becomes sacred and life giving as it aims to produce life. Marriage was to last forever, and any of the partners who commits adultery should be punished by death – “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death” The New Testament does not contradict the teachings about marriage in the Old Testament. When Jesus was asked about marriage and divorce, He quoted two passages from Genesis. "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' 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'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate" [Matt. 19:4-6]. Jesus reinforced the Old Testament concept that marriage was the joining together of two people by God, so they become "one flesh." In the marriage ceremony, in the presence of God, the man and woman take vows, which are in fact a covenant commitment to each other for the rest of their lives. When this covenant vow is made in all honesty, God honours their commitment by making them “one flesh.” They are brought to one mind and one heart so that there is no friction between them.
Concerning on divorce, the Old Testament contains a great deal of materials relating to the subject. There is no question that Old Testament law allows divorce, but the more important thing that needs noting is that under some circumstances, divorce is commanded by God. Exodus 21:7-11 states that if a man does not provide his wife food, clothing and marital rights, then “she is to go free.” Although it isn’t very clear whether letting the wife go free means divorce, Deuteronomy 24:1 provides more explicit reference to divorce as it says that if the wife becomes displeasing to the husband then the husband can write “her a certificate of divorce.” There developed two different schools of Rabbinic thought which had completely contrasting views with regard to this matter. The House of Shammai was stricter and only permitted man to divorce his wife for a serious transgression, whereas the House of...
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