Question:This one is about marriage and divorce: Everyone is confused about this. The problem is a few people have been baptized and before they were baptized they had been divorced and remarried again. I have heard preachers telling them to get divorced.
I personally do not see how that would be right because making them get a divorce again would be a sin because getting divorced is a sin. Also, I know the King James says to put away. It doesn't use the phrase to get divorced in the New Testament in certain spots where all the other translations do.
There has been a lot of discussion going on saying that to put away and divorce do not mean the same thing. A few brethren also said that the Greek or Hebrew word for an actual divorce used in the Old Testament is not used where the phrase to put away is in the New Testament.
Most of the problems you are having is not because the New Testament isn't plain on its teachings regarding divorce, but rather you are approaching the topic with some preconceived notions.
Let's start with the two arguments regarding the meaning of the words used in the New Testament. First, the Old Testament is written, in Hebrew and a little bit of Aramaic. The New Testament is written in Greek. Of course the word translated as divorce in the Old Testament is not found in the New Testament -- it is two different languages. But it doesn't mean the idea isn't in both.
In the Greek there are three words used for divorce. One is used for the action of a person sending his spouse away, which is the word apoluo. The King James is not known for its consistency in translation. It tends to use different words to translate the same Greek word. So in Matthew 5:32 the King James says, "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." Both "put away" and "divorced" are translating the same Greek word apoluo. Thus, there is no difference in the meaning.
Another Greek word is used for the action of a person leaving his spouse. In English, we still call it a divorce, but the Greeks made a distinction in their language. The Greek word is chorizo and means to go away. There is also a synonym aphiemi which means to leave or set aside. These two words are used interchangeably in I Corinthians 7:10-16.
You make the statement that divorce is a sin. If that were so, then explain, "Thus says the LORD: "Where is the certificate of your mother's divorce, whom I have put away? Or which of My creditors is it to whom I have sold you? For your iniquities you have sold yourselves, and for your transgressions your mother has been put away" (Isaiah 50:1). God declares that He hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), but that does not automatically mean it is a sin.
Divorce is bad because sin is involved, but it doesn't necessarily mean the one who divorces is the one who has sinned. In the case of Isaiah 50:1, it was Israel who sinned and forced God into a position of rejecting them because they would not give up their sin. Divorce is not preferable; it should be avoided, but there are going to be times when there is no other good alternative. "Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife" (I Corinthians 7:10-11). Paul is stating that the Lord's teachings recorded in the Gospel implies that a person can divorce, provided that he remains unmarried or becomes reconciled to his spouse. It isn't to be taken frivolously. It is to be avoided as best as possible, but the option exists.
Now, for the problem you stated at the start. Because of our country's allowance of divorce for any reason or even no reason, it means we have a lot of people who have divorced and remarried even though they have no right to another marriage as per Matthew 19:9. That means their current relationship is adulterous. You cannot become a Christian and remain in a sin, like adultery, at the same time. Therefore, people are told to give up their adulterous relationships so they can live righteously. Many will not, but I've know a few that love the Lord greater than their sins. This is one reason why Jesus warned, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:26). Unless a person is willing to put the Lord absolutely first in his life, he isn't worthy to be a follower of Jesus.
Prior answers address this topic in more detail. See,
- "If a couple in their second marriage have children, can the preacher make them get a divorce?"
- "If a person is in an adulterous relationship, must they leave their partner and children?"
- "Must a couple, previously married, separate after they are baptized?"
- "Should we refuse to study with someone who is in an adulterous marriage?"