Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, And Celibacy: An Exegesis Of Matthew 19:3–12 -- By: Craig L. Blomberg

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 11:2 (Fall 1990)
Article: Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, And Celibacy: An Exegesis Of Matthew 19:3–12
Author: Craig L. Blomberg


Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, And Celibacy:
An Exegesis Of Matthew 19:3–12

Craig L. Blomberg

DENVER SEMINARY
DENVER, COLORADO

Clear thinking about biblical teaching on marriage and divorce seems to be as rare these days as healthy Christian marriages Much confusion surrounds the definition of marriage, the grounds for divorce, and the possibilities of remarriage or celibacy. Many who do recognize what Scripture explicity commands, permits, and forbids cannot agree on how that teaching applies to contemporary society.1 This study will therefore devote attention to both the meaning and significance of the biblical text. It focuses on Matt 19:3–12, the single most detailed teaching passage by Jesus on marriage and its alternatives. In the process, however, attention will have to turn to other key Scriptures as well, but without anything like a comprehensive exegesis.2

I. Meaning

A. Literary Context And Form

I am elsewhere developing an outline of Matthew which combines the rival proposals of Kingsbury and Bacon.3 The gospel

divides into three main sections: introduction (1:1–4:16), dénouement (4:17–16:20), and climax (16:21–28:20). The two longest of these in turn subdivide into blocks of material alternating between discourse and narrative. Each pair of alternating blocks addresses a common theme. Matt 19:3–12 falls at the beginning of the second subsection of the larger section on the climax of Jesus’ passion. 16:21–18:35 has introduced the theme of Jesus’ passion with its implications for discipleship; 19:1–25:46 describes the actual journey of Jesus to the place of his death and brings the gospel account to the threshhold of the passion narrative proper.

The narrative section of 19:1–25:46 consists of chaps. 19–22, which itself contains two parts-chaps. 19–20 (Jesus travels from Galilee to Jerusalem) and 21–22 (Jesus enters the city of Jerusalem to teach there). Chaps.

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