But If You Do Marry …

A book-length restudy of marriage, divorce, and remarriage.

You may download the entire essay in .pdf format here: But If You Do Marry (2015)

17 Responses to But If You Do Marry …

  1. Gary Flom says:

    Brother Jay,

    I came to your site from a notice in gracemail. Praise the Lord. I preach in an instrumental Church of Christ and have struggled with the pardox of faith and works or grace and law; as I know many have. I am now presently reading your Born of Water. I want to commend you for the courage to undertake a study of this nature. Few are willing to risk their reputation in the body to do this. I have read and greatly respect Carl Ketcherside who many years ago did the same thing. I've read about everything he wrote starting in the late 50's. I had the pleasure of meeting him one time before he went to his eternal reward. A man after God's own heart. God bless you for seeking an honest understanding of Scripture. I will read with interest your other studies as well.

    Gary Flom

  2. Russ Hicks says:

    Dear Jay,

    Thank you so much for your book, Do We Preach Another Gospel? I have believed what you wrote for over twenty years now, but it is so hard to get through the old mindset people have!

  3. Keith Larey says:

    Your work on "But if you do marry…," has given the hopeless hope (including me). I don't understand how something so simple is not taught in the Churches of Christ today. I find the traditional doctrine a stumbling block for so many.

  4. Mike Moroney says:

    The divorce/remarriage issue is of abiding interest to my wife and me. There are many facets to this which we can discuss at some length. But I am trying to focus on when this "traditional view" was spawned in the Churches of Christ? I am told that the "traditional" doctrine was preached by Boles in the '30s and '40s but that before that it was not. If a religious discipline justifies itself by a broad claim that it is restoring the 1st century Church, isn't it important to try to discover what the 1st century doctrine was at that time? Isn't it revealing something if we find that from 1830 or so, when the restoration movement began, for 100 years, the "traditional view" was not espoused or preached? Can you shed any light on this?

    Thank you.

  5. Jay Guin says:

    The traditional doctrine goes back at least to the Council of Trent. Presumably, there'd been some controversy on the question among Catholics prior to the Council, or else why bring it up?

    A common criticism of the Catholic Church at the time was its leniency in granting divorces to the rich and powerful. Therefore, the adoption of the traditional view became part of the Counter-Reformation, in an effort to be more conservative and so win credibility.

    You may find this bit of history from the Catholic Encyclopedia interesting: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05054c.htm. It suggests that the rule as interpreted by the Church varied over the years but became settled by the Council of Trent.

    McGarvey (pre-Boles) appears to have taken the traditional view. http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/jwmcgarvey/t… and http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/jwmcgarvey/t….

    I quote Campbell in the book taking a view that's contrary to some elements of the traditional view (he considered the marriage to end when the relationship ended, not when the state declared it ended).
    But A. Campbell otherwise appears to have been a traditionalist, although he admits the so-called Pauline exception. http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/blsmith/mha/….

    I don't know the views of B. W. Stone.

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  7. Don says:

    Have you studied the works of David Instone-Brewer? He is a 2nd temple scholar and his work is pretty definitive on divorce and remarriage, IMO.

  8. Don says:

    When I started reading, I noticed you refer to him, sorry for the question. I tend to categorize divorce teachings as pre-DIB and post-DIB and the pre-DIB tend to miss many essential things.

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  10. Peter Cornstalk says:

    In 1 Corinthians 7:27, you are assuming "loosed from a wife" means "loosed for any reason". Since Jesus said that one cannot divorce his wife except for fornication/sexual immorality, then Paul means loosed on the grounds that you may remarry. Otherwise Paul contradicts Jesus.

  11. Jay Guin says:


    Good exegesis demands that you read 1 Cor as the Corinthians would have read it. The four Gospels had not yet been written. It's not likely that Paul expected the newly planted church in the middle of Greece to read 1 Cor 7 with Matthew 5 and 19 in mind — when they wouldn't be written for decades yet to come. He wasn't presenting them a puzzle to solve; he expected them to read the chapter and understand it as written.

    And since I figure Paul is a better interpreter of Jesus than anyone who has come along since Paul, Paul's interpretation must be right. Therefore, any other interpretation is wrong — and I offer some reasons for that elsewhere in the book.

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  13. Brents says:

    thanks fgor the share

  14. I have enjoyed reading this e-book. I have been struggeling wiht this issue for many years now. I have been divorsed for 12 years and prayed that if God wants me to remain single for the rest of my life , then so be it, but I also prayed that if I were to have a husband to be my help aide to get to Heaven, then please let me find him. I believe I have now found him! I have many family members that will not budge on the issue of being able to remarry after a divorse if fornication was not the reason. I sent a copy of your e-book to my brother in RMSI, (PLEASE, see above email for all details , http://www.exonerateadambraseel.com) but they sent it back because it has to come from a bookstore or a church. Can you please help me in getting this to him? I will do all that I need to get this to him so please let me know!
    Thank you, Christina Braseel

  15. Alabama John says:

    Fornication is many more things than sex.
    Read up on a fornicating arch that I dealt with many times in constructing one.
    In many marriages that go wrong, there are far worse things than illicit sex. Many times me and those involved would wish that sex was the only thing wrong with the marriage and it would of been far less painful and hurtful.
    How many men and women have I seen goofed up (to be nice) by our saying sex only is adultery and fornication.
    Good luck and prayers your way in your behalf in your journey through the rest of your life.
    May you be happy!

  16. Adam Legler says:

    The link for this ebook is for Born of Water instead of But if You Do Marry unless I’m missing something. Guessing that it might have gotten messed up at some point with the different changes.

  17. Harold says:

    Great discussion. Keep it up. During the past two years have been studying Ketcherside. He and Leroy Garrett are worth the time and effort. Some thoughts: reading scripture with context of time, place, particular situation in mind is important. Most important is prayer, meditation and being quiet after study in order for His Spirit to guide our minds to the truth. No two of His followers agree on 100% of opinions on what a specific scripture means. If you don’t believe that ask your best Christian friend. BTY, send me your comments on Coping With Life, my book on Amazon.com

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