Matt 19:9

From: Jim Poulsen (
Date: Fri Oct 01 1999 - 11:35:40 EDT

I don't want to engage a discussion on divorce and remarriage, but I thought
this Greek translation that someone sent me was a little off the wall.

Carson, in EBC takes 5 pages to discuss alternative interpretations of Matt
19:9 but doesn't offer this suggestion.

The only other parallel I could find is in 1 Tim 5:19, where MN EPI precedes
two or three witnesses and seems to have the same force as Matt 19:9.

Any comments ?

--- Jim Poulsen

>With regard to the book, the reference is B. Ward Powers, "Marriage and
> Divorce, The New Testament Teaching" (Concord, NSW, Australia: Family
> Life Movement in Australia, 1987), p.175.
> The quote reads:
> "The new piece of information is this: in the so-called exceptive
> clause, "except for porneia," the word "except" is a mistranslation.
> There is no word "except" in the Greek text of this verse. The word
> which occurs here is MH, the ordinary word for "not." It occurs more
> than a thousand times in the New Testament, and not once is it
> translated "except" - except in this one place. There are numerous
> places in the New Testament, however, where one can find a grammatical
> parallel to MH EPI PORNEIA, the phrase that we have here, i.e. a phrase
> introduced by MH. Some examples: Matthew 26:5//Mark 14:2; Luke 13:14;
> John 13:9; John 18:40. They are rendered "Not during the festival," "Not
> on the sabbath day," "Lord, not my feet only," "Not this man, but
> Barabas." Why then in Matthew 19:9 should the normal word for "not" be
> rendered as "except"? The phrase is NOT stating an exception; it is
> simply a negative phrase, "not for porneia."

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