New Testament Teachings on Divorce and Remarriage: A Reflection on Contemporary Application and Improvisation
Joyce Wai-Lan SUN

This essay reflects on the contemporary application of the New Testament teachings on remarriage and divorce with reference to the narrative hermeneutical model of improvisation proposed by N.T. Wright. It seeks to understand the five relevant texts of Mark 10:2-12, Matthew 5:31-32, 19:3-12, Luke 16:18 and 1 Corinthians 7:10-16 against their own historical contexts and argues that whether for Jesus, the Gospel writers or for Paul, the literal content of an existing authoritative text or tradition was not at all conclusive in their dealings with the situations at hand. When authoritative texts were being abused or did not cover current happenings, all of them were ready to improvise and to adapt existing texts and traditions to achieve results that can align with the demands of justice and mercy.
By the same token, when the Church continues to improvise and to apply Biblical texts to cases of divorce and remarriage nowadays, it should,on the one hand, uphold the same basic stance against divorce as commonly witnessed in the New Testament and, on the other hand, be open to more exceptions and acceptable grounds for victims to get away from enslaved and disastrous marriage relationships through no fault of their own, and to have the liberty to remarry.