Words Mean Things

For the sake of discussion let us suppose the following.

What if a concerned friend of yours came up to you and told you that a couple down the street had separated. Would you need clarification as to what separated meant? Would you ask your friend if the couple separated from your street to go on a romantic holiday or if they were now divorced or would you just understand that they had stopped living together although they were still married?

How about when someone comes up to you and starts speaking. Do you normally need to hear 3 or 4 sentences or more before you can assemble enough context to understand what they are saying? That would be the exception not the rule.

There are some who suggest that the scripture is written in just such a way. I heard such nonsense about ten years ago and have recently heard it again. The next quote is just such nonsense.

"The root fallacy explains that you can gain no special truth behind the text by looking at the greek word behind it, because the word's english equivalent is not solely dependent on the definition of the greek word.
Greek words do not have specific meanings, they have what is called a semantic range, narrowed by the rest of the words in the sentence until a specific decision is made about the translation of the word."

I believe the above is utter nonsense! Is it an apology for poor translations? It may be a way of neutralizing one's responsibility to scripture? Unfortunately it is what is being taught in preaching schools today. According to this many Bible software companies have wasted their time as their software is specifically designed to let one dig deeper into the language behind the English translation.

We do actually know more about the real meanings of Koine Greek words than was known fifty years ago. When Strong's and Thayer's did their work the Koine Greek was unknown. When the KJV was translated, if the truth matters, the translators were forced to do some guessing as some of the words they were attempting to translate were unknown. Even now as new Lexicons are being written corrections are being made to many words. Unfortunately the old incorrect definitions are not always being removed so there is confusion. When one looks at those definitions, the range of meanings does make it look like Greek words have all kinds of meanings. In some other situations there are a few words that have been given new incorrect, but politically correct, meanings. In those cases the old correct meanings have been removed.

Let us look at one Greek word specifically.

From G575 and G3089; to free fully, that is, (literally) relieve, release, dismiss (reflexively depart), or (figuratively) let die, pardon, or (specifically) divorce:- (let) depart, dismiss, divorce, forgive, let go, loose, put (send) away, release, set at liberty.

I included the entire entry from Strong's. Remember that anything after the :- is not a part of the definition, but is merely a listing of ways the word was translated in the KJV. Also remember that Mr Strong stated that the first word is the most reliable word, in this case free fully, while the most radical understanding is the last word, in this case (specifically) divorce. I would add here that it sounds like Mr Strong, while acknowledging how the KJV translated words, would disagree with the nonsense statement I quoted above. Based on my understanding the radical definition in this case should not be included.

Next let us show with the use of Englishman's that in fact the KJV is relatively consistent with the translation of apoluo except in one specific location and not in all context that is similar. Perhaps they were trying to protect church doctrine and hide the truth? Take a look at the list. The words translated from apoluo will be in bold print.

Matt 1:19 minded to put her away privily.
Matt 5:31 Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement
Matt 5:32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. (This is the only occurrence of the word divorce in this list and should have been rendered put away.)
Matt 14:15 send the multitude away
Matt 14:22 while he sent the multitudes away.
Matt 14:23 And when he had sent the multitudes away
Matt 15:23 Send her away
Matt 15:32 I will not send them away fasting
Matt 15:39 And he sent away the multitude
Matt 18:27 loosed him, and forgave him the debt
Matt 19:3 Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
Matt 19:7 Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
Matt 19:8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
Matt 19:9 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.
Matt 27:15 the governor was wont to release unto the people
Matt 27:17 Whom will ye that I release unto you?
Matt 27:21 that I release unto you?
Matt 27:26 Then released he Barabbas unto them
Mark 6:36 Send them away, that they may go
Mark 6:45 while he sent away the people.
Mark 8:3 And if I send them away fasting
Mark 8:9 and he sent them away.
Mark 10:2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
Mark 10:4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.
Mark 10:11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
Mark 10:12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
Mark 15:6 Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner
Mark 15:9 Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?
Mark 15:11 that he should rather release Barabbas unto them.
Mark 15:15 willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them
Luke 2:29 lettest thou thy servant depart in peace
Luke 6:37 forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
Luke 8:38 but Jesus sent him away
Luke 9:12 Send the multitude away
Luke 13:12 Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.
Luke 14:4 and healed him, and let him go;
Luke 16:18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.
Luke 23:16 I will therefore chastise him, and release him.
Luke 23:18 Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:
Luke 23:20 willing to release Jesus
Luke 23:22 I will therefore chastise him, and let him go.
Luke 23:25 And he released unto them him
John 18:39 that I should release unto you ... that I release unto you
John 19:10 and have power to release thee?
John 19:12 Pilate sought to release him
Acts 3:13 when he was determined to let him go.
Acts 4:21 they let them go
Acts 4:23 And being let go
Acts 5:40 and let them go.
Acts 13:3 they sent them away.
Acts 15:30 So when they were dismissed
Acts 15:33 they were let go in peace
Acts 16:35 saying, Let those men go.
Acts 16:36 sent to let you go
Acts 17:9 they let them go.
Acts 19:41 he dismissed the assembly.
Acts 23:22 then let the young man depart
Acts 26:32 This man might have been set at liberty
Acts 28:18 would have let me go
Acts 28:25 they departed, after that
Heb 13:23 Timothy is set at liberty

Hopefully you noted that only one time in all of these verses was the word apoluo translated divorce. Some translations, such as the NIV, are much worse on this. The way I see it, if divorce is an accurate translation in Matthew 5:32 then it is also valid in any of the other verses. According to the false idea that Greek words have no specific meaning then divorce would be just as valid in any of the above verses. The word divorce is a legal term. So if it is valid to translate apoluo as such then one must admit that in Acts 19:41, for example, that the entire assembly was married to the town clerk of Ephesus and then divorced by him.

My point though is that those who would support the idea that divorce is what is being discussed in Matthew 5:32 do not understand the difference between being separated without being divorced and being divorced. While "set at liberty" sounds really nice it still is best to just stick to the closest meaning available. Poetry can get in the way of understanding and in scripture no one has poetic license.

(Mat 5:31 MKJV) "It was also said, Whoever shall put away (apoluo G630) his wife, let him give her a bill of divorce (apostasion G647)."

(Mat 5:32 MKJV) "But I say to you that whoever shall put away (apoluo G630) his wife, except for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever shall marry her who is put away (apoluo G630) commits adultery."

(Mat 5:32 Modified MKJV with [Explanation]) "But I say to you that whoever separates [without divorcing his wife], except for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery [when she marries another]. And whoever shall marry her who is [only] separated commits adultery."

Well there are a couple articles at this web site on the particulars of divorce and adulteration. I hope you will find them useful and just how simple the scriptures are to understand if you have the right meanings of the words.


Gospel Minutes.org

MDR Articles.

Can One Divorce and Why

Can the Divorced Marry Again?

Abuse: Can an Abused Woman Remarry?

Matthew 19

Mark 10

Words Mean Things!

What the Bible says on Divorce and Putting Away. (An in depth look.)

What Constitutes Adultery?

What is Fornication?

To Bear Children or Not to Bear

Abortion: Choice or Murder?

Elders, Deacons and "One Wife"

Let each have her own husband!

Did Abraham Really Marry His Sister?

The Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage of God to Israel

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