The problem with the quote cited by BrotherElliott at the beginning of this thread is that it shows, like most translations, little understanding of what the Greek actually says in key instances about marriage and divorce. A lot of confusion is cleared up once it is understood that the ‘Perfect Passive Participle’ in the phrase “and whosever marrieth her that has been put away…” should have been translated in the middle voice, i.e., “and whosoever marrieth her that has put herself away…”. In Greek, the Perfect Passive Participle is spelled the same way as the Middle Voice, and so is translated according to the judgment of the translators. Unfortunately, the translators set up a contradiction by translating the verb as a Perf. Pass. Part.
In other words, unless the last verb in Matt 5:32 is understood as middle voice, the exceptive clause (“except for the cause of fornication”) makes no sense. For if a man is justified to divorce in the case where his wife is unrepentant of fornication, obviously God recognizes and affirms that the union is dissolved in His sight, in which case neither one can be considered still married to the other. Otherwise the exceptive clause is no exceptive clause. I think, though, that what remains is the heart attitude of the one who commited fornication (such as adultery). For if a person is unrepentant about their adultery, then, though upon their divorce they cannot be considered any longer to be committing adultery with their former spouse, since they are no longer married, there remains, I think, an issue of the heart. That is, WERE they still married to their former partner, would they still be committed to a lifestyle of adultery?
The Luke passage has also been mistakenly translated in the Perfect Passive Participle instead of the middle voice. Mark 10 clearly points out two instances in which the aggressor in adultery is condemned. Mark simply doesn’t address the innocent party’s right to remarry.
Incidentally, I have yet to see a preacher from the pulpit distinguish between lust uncondeived, which is not sin, and lust conceived, which is sin. It is James that draws the distinction. Of course, I’m not saying that having lust unconcealed is a good place for one's heart to be. But in the technical sense of the word it is not sin. This is why James says we are drawn away by lust, but THEN, WHEN lust has conceived, it brings forth sin. IMO the word “lust” behaves similarly to how the Greek word “thelo” acts, which is variously translated as “to desire” or “to will.” A careful study of Gr. “thelo” shows that it behaves as the verb “to want” in English, sometimes meaning simple desire, other times meaning desire plus will. For example, if I walked up to an ice-cream counter and was asked by the clerk what I wanted, and I responded, “I want all 31 flavors!”, then obviously I am expressing desire, not desire plus choice. But if he asks me “What do you want?” and I reply, “I want 2 scoops of vanilla with chocolate syrup,” it is understood that I am expressing not just my desire but also my choice. I believe the word “lust” in the Bible behaves the same way. And I think the context of Jesus’ remarks shows that he has in mind “lust conceived,” NOT “lust unconceived.” That is, if one is committed to adultery but simply lacks the opportunity, it is no virtue, but is sin. I wish preachers would make this distinction.
As for the woman at the well in John 4, it must be realized that even Jesus in Matt. 5 used the word “marry” in the ceremonial sense which people would understand, without meaning they were actually married. Therefore there is no reason to think Jesus did not do the same thing here in John 4. In fact, I believe there is another possible translation to Jesus’ statement to the woman at the well. Since in Greek the word “man” doubles as “husband” we may have another instance in which the translators got it wrong. For unless I’m mistaken, it could be translated,
Jesus: “Go call you husband, and come here.”
Woman: “I have no husband.”
Jesus: “You have well said you have no husband. For you have had five men, and who you now have is not a man. In that you spoke truly.”
I actually find this to be a more natural way of translating the passage, since it seems to explain better Jesus’ two-fold statement that the woman indeed spoke accurately. In fact, were she in a lesbian relationship, it would probably have been kept secret, which would more easily explain why the woman instantly thought Jesus was a prophet, for having known something no one else knew. While I wouldn’t insist on this translation, I think it should be considered. As for why the woman would infer "husband" in Jesus' opening statements, but "men/man" in subsequent statements, I think it may be justified in the context of expected remarks. At the beginning of the conversation it would seem more natural (to the extent that the conversation was natural at all, since Jesus was a Jew and Jews didn’t engage Samaratins as a general rule) for a stranger to ask about her husband. But once she declared she had no husband and Jesus said she had spoken accurately, then Jesus’ statement about her having five Gr. aner might be more readily inferred as “men” not “husbands”. The “he” in the phrase “he whom thou now hast” is, I believe, a pronoun that may also mean who, which, etc., and so is not gender specific, though it has been translated that way because of an assumption by the translator.
In short, I disagree with every (or just about every) conclusion in the quote BrotherElliott cited. There is a grounds for divorce, as Matthew showed, and no other gospel challenges that.