This lesson was intended to be read in several sittings. I realize due to the nature of this study it may not be of benefit to many who read it. Please accept my apologies. It has been posted to specifically answer questions presented to me concerning the issue of marriage and divorce presented to me by my fellow teachers of the Word, as well as to clarify and respond to recent teachings on the Biblical use of “chorizo” with which I have been presented. Tomorrow we will return to our TOTT studies which I trust will be much more readable by all.
A proper understanding of the meaning of the Greek term “chorizo” (“depart”, “put asunder”, “to separate”) helps us to understand some very importance Biblical concepts. Among these are the ideas of the sinlessness of Christ, the eternal security of the believer, and divorce and remarriage.
Matt 19:3-6 6) … let not man put asunder.
Mark 10:2-12 … 9) What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder…
Acts 1:1-5 4) … commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem,…
Acts 18:1-6 1) After these things Paul departed from Athens,… (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) …
Rom 8:31-39 35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?...39)…shall be able to separate
us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1Cor 7:10-16 10) …Let not the wife depart from [her] husband: … 11) But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried…15) But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart…
Phlm 1:10-16 - 15) For perhaps he therefore departed for a season…
Heb 7:22-28 - 26) … separate from sinners…
Let’s start our study of “chorizo” by looking at its definition and usage...
- “chorizo” is defined as:
- to place space between
- to part
- to divide
- to go away
- to separate
- “chorizo” is translated by the phrases:
- “put asunder” – Mat 19:3-6; Mark 10:2-12
- “to depart” – Act 1:4, Act 18:1-6, 1 Cor 7:10-16, Philemon 1:10-16
- “shall separate” – Rom 8:31-39, Heb 7:22-28
- This word is NEVER translated “divorce” nor “put away” in NT Scriptures.
- “chorizo” is used to describe:
- Sunder a marriage – Mat 19:3-6; Mar 10:2-12
- Departure from a physical location – Acts 1:4; Acts 18:1-6
- Separation from love – Rom 8:31-39;
- Departure from a marriage – 1 Cor 7:10-16
- Depart from responsibilities / obligations– Philemon 1:10-16
- Separation from sinners influences– Heb 7:22-28
- To summarize:
- “chorizo” can clearly designate 4 types of separation….
i. a physical separation of distance (Acts 1:4, 18:1-6, Philemon 1:10-16?)
ii. a separation of parties once united by a covenant, obligation, or responsibilities (Mat 19:3-6, Mar 10:2-12, 1 Cor 7:10-16, Philemon 1:10-16)
iii. a separation of parties united by emotions (Rom 8:31-39)
iv. a separation from the influence of others (Heb 7:22-28)
- Therefore, chorizo can refer not only to a physical separation, but also to an emotional, influential or obligational separation.
How does this understanding of the meaning of “chorizo” affect our understanding of:
1. Our eternal security in Christ? (Rom 8:31-39)
Here, we can see that we cannot be estranged from the love we experience when we are united with Christ…
31) What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us? 32) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
God who is the ultimate Judge of all mankind is willing to give all for His people. How do we know this? He sent His Son to die on the cross for their sins.
33) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? [It is] God that justifieth. 34) Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Who can be faultfinding of His people and change God’s mind about them? No one. You see, based upon the death of Christ the sin debt of His people has been paid and their guilt covered.
35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Christ has proven His unquenchable love for us by dying on the cross on our behalf. Nothing can put a separation between us and Christ’s love. No matter what difficulty and persecution we may face in life, we can rest assured that His love is still placed upon us. We will be conquerors over the trials and death as we spend eternity with Him.
2. The sinlessness of Christ? (Heb 7:22-28)
Heb 7:22-28 22) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. 23) And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24) But this [man], because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25) Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Here, Jesus as our High Priest is being compared to the OT priesthood. His ministry is a much better ministry than the OT priests because His ministry is perfect, complete, and eternal.
26) For such an high priest became us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
Christ who came to the earth, placed Himself in the midst of sinners. And yet, although in the midst of sinners He remained separate from them. This was, obviously, not a physical separation but it was a separation of influence. Sinners did not entice Him to sin, in other words, their sin did not “rub off” on Him. He remained sinless (separate from them) although He was in the midst of them.
27) Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. 28) For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, [maketh] the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
Since Christ was perfect, unlike the OT priests, He was able to offer Himself as a permanent, complete, eternal sacrifice for the sins of His people. This was only because He was able to remain “separate” from sinners while, yet, in their midst.
3. Finally, grounds for scriptural divorce…
In both, the Matthew and Mark passages the phrase “put asunder” comes from “chlorizo”. In the 1 Corinthians verses the phrase “depart” is the term to focus on.
Matt 19:3-6 3) The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4) And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made [them] at the beginning made them male and female, 5) And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6) Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Mark 10:2-12 2) And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away [his] wife? tempting him. 3) And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? 4) And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put [her] away. 5) And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6) But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7) For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8) And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9) What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 10) And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same [matter]. 11) And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12) And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
In the beginning of the Lord’s teachings on divorce, we see Him responding to the Pharisees questions concerning the circumstances under which divorce is looked upon as “lawful” in the eyes of God. The term used by the Pharisees “to put away” was the Grk term “apoluo” meaning to unloose. This is the common term used in the NT for divorce.
The Lord answers the Pharisees by explaining that marriage was meant to be permanent and man should not sunder (separate) the parties of the relationship for “every cause”. In this case to “chlorizo” is translated put asunder… Please note chlorizo does not refer to the act of divorce it refers to the result (or end state following divorce)… separation. This separation occurs to two ways…
1. Separation between the spouses
2. The separation between each spouse and their individual marital obligations and responsibilities.
The Lord emphasizes the end result of the divorce because He is showing how the results of the divorce are in direct opposition to the purpose and result of the initial marriage agreement… union.
In this case, the “chlorizo” does not refer to the act of divorcing… it simply describes the end result of a divorce… the marital couple is separated from one another and their responsibilities and obligations of the marital agreement.
In other words, the Pharisees ask the Lord… is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for every cause?.. . The Lord responds by saying, “What God has joined together let no man separate (through the use of a divorce.)
This principle becomes very important in understanding the next series of verse on divorce and remarriage…
1Cor 7:10-16 10) And unto the married I command, [yet] not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from [her] husband: 11) But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to [her] husband: and let not the husband put away [his] wife. 12) But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 13) And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 14) For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15) But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such [cases]: but God hath called us to peace. 16) For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save [thy] husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save [thy] wife?
Here the Apostle Paul addresses the “departure” of an unbelieving spouse. Here, the word “depart” (in vs 10, 11, 15) is the Grk word “chlorizo”. We have seen that this word does not refer to divorce. What is meant by a spouse departing from their partner? This phrase I believe is referring to separation from the spouses’ marital obligations (vows, covenant, contract etc). This can take place in one of two ways…
1. Either physical desertion by physically departing from their spouse and living in a separate location. (This is a clear meaning of “chlorizo” in Acts 1:4; Acts 18:1-6)
2. Or consistent, unrepentant desertion from their marital obligations and responsibilities although continuing to live physically present in a household. (see Philemon 1:10-16 where the issue is Onesimus failure to be faithful to his responsibilities to Philemon. In this case, Onesimus had physically departed as well. However, I do believe his physical absence was not as much the issue as was the fact he had run off to avoid keeping the responsibilities of his contract with Philemon.) (Also keep in mind Hebrews 7:22-28, where Christ was said to be separate from sinners while yet living among them. In this case, “chlorizo” CANNOT be describing physical separation.)
To summarize this word study in the context of divorce… we have seen that one of the Scriptural grounds for divorce is the departure of an unbelieving spouse. This departure is not, necessarily, speaking of divorce, but it is speaking of the unbeliever habitually, unrepentantly physically separating themselves from their spouse or abdicating their marital responsibilities. This can take place while present in the household or by physically separating themselves from the family unit.
We need to remember that our Lord’s desire for the marriage unit. Above all else, our Lord desires for marriage to be permanent. Even when a spouse is guilty of an offense allowing divorce, there should be room for forgiveness and reconciliation whenever true repentance is shown by the offending party.
Also, we should keep in mind that for those who have been divorced (following a marriage to one who had consistently, stubbornly, unrepentantly broken the marital covenant) you are free to remarry and to go forward with your life with no guilt, knowing you have done all that is possible to save your marriage.
If you have been a participant in a divorce that was not based upon legitimate grounds… keep in mind that there is forgiveness being offered from our great gracious God. There is no sin so great it cannot be forgiven by our Lord.
If you have any questions concerning the forgiveness of sin or the way of salvation please feel free to visit or call a Bible teaching church in your area. They will be happy to speak to you about the Lord Jesus and the salvation He graciously gives.
Or, if you would rather, feel welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be more than happy to answer any question you may have.
Also, if you look at my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God”. On this page, you will find several blog entries explaining the way of salvation.