Matthew 5:32 - Divorce


Today I was speaking with two Protestants about divorce, remarriage and adultery when one of them said it was okay if one of them had sex with somebody else citing their Bible:

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.

Whereas I cited my Bible:

32 But I say this to you, everyone who divorces his wife, except for the case of an illicit marriage, makes her an adulteress; and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

I tried to explain that there’s was wrong and we had a bit of a chat about it.

Does anyone know the Aramaic and/or Koine Greek for this part?

I know that ours is correct as theirs seems like a get out clause.

Any help in this area would be great.



Who so ever marries a woman, who is divorced, commits adultery. Are they saying only people who have committed adultery during their previous marriage can get re-married?


if your spouse commits adultery, you can divorce them (annulment) and remarry.


Did they mean that, if their spouse cheated on them, it was ok for them to marry & have sex with someone else?

Does anyone know the Aramaic and/or Koine Greek for this part?

Yep. The word is πορνεία (‘porneia’). (And yeah, it’s the word from which we get “pornography”, although the meaning in Greek isn’t ‘pornography’.)

Their interpretation doesn’t make much sense, for a few reasons. First, the word for “marital unfaithfulness” is μοιχεία (‘moikeia’). If Jesus meant “it’s ok to divorce your spouse if they cheat on you,” He’d have said moikea, not porneia (‘moikea’ shows up in Matthew 15:19 and John 8:3). Second, if He meant adultery, then the sentence would make no sense: instead of saying “there are no exceptions for divorce except for adultery”, wouldn’t he have said, “there’s only one exception for divorce: adultery”?

Instead, the meaning that porneia takes on is “illicit marriage”; that is, a marriage that never was, because it was impossible from the beginning (for example, marriage between people who are already married, or are related). This meaning makes sense – after all, it means that Jesus said, “there are no exceptions for divorce – unless the couple is really not married legitimately anyway.”

Does that help?


NO. This is not the teaching of the Catholic Church.

(Although, it seems that this is their (flawed) interpretation of this verse.)




Whew! OK… cool. :thumbsup:


Spot on. Interesting reading quotes by the fathers on this passage.


Your Protestant friends are wrong Nelka.

We were just discussing this verse (but not focused on the Greek as this thread here is) over at this thread:

This link above may compliment some of the “why’s/why not’s” that will inevitably come to mind as you unpack the Greek aspects on this thread.

Hope this is helpful.

God bless.



Thanks for the reply.

How do you pronounce those words?




You’re welcome!




Based on what I have been reading briefly, the Orthodox Church also appears to interpret it the same or similarly, and that is why they allow divorce.

Here are responses from two Priests on questions regarding Matthew 5:32:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit