Here is another term that is not found in scripture. But just because the term "guilty party" is not found, does that mean that it is not there? Of course not. Let us look at the words involved and see if we can find biblical references and verses that use these words. By combining the actual Greek and Hebrew words, we can get an understanding of what is meant by this phrase. We will see that there is nothing unscriptural about this designation to describe the person who has violated the marriage relationship.

The Hebrew word is:
816. 'asham, aw-sham'; or 'ashem, aw-shame'; a prim. root; to be guilty; by impl. to be punished or perish:-- X certainly, be (-come, made) desolate, destroy, X greatly, be (-come, found, hold) guilty, offend (acknowledge offence), trespass.

This word can be translated by these terms.
become guilty, be found guilty,to hold as guilty, to cause offence, to offend someone, to trespass (either property or agreements),to place oneself in judgement of being destroyed, to become desolate, to cause one's destruction. to bring punishment upon oneself, to be guilty.

We must use this term in understanding as compared to something else. The opposite of guilty is innocent. Therefore the person of this state, is not innocent, but guilty.

As we discuss the relationship of marriage, we understand that there is a trust involved. We understand that if one of the parties involved in this marriage relationship goes outside of that relationship for companionship, sex, or anything else, that they are the guilty party. The party who was faithful to that relationship is the innocent party. In place of the word "party", we could use, person, spouse, mate, husband, or wife.

Leviticus 5:17 (KJV)
And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD; though he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity.

Leviticus 6:4 (KJV)
Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found,

Numbers 5:6 (KJV)
Speak unto the children of Israel, When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the LORD, and that person be guilty;

The previous verses tell us that the person who sins is the guilty person. It is not those who were violated who are guilty, but the one who does the violation. Sin is transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). And one who transgresses the moral law of marriage is a guilty party.

Another Hebrew word for the guilty is:
7563. rasha', raw-shaw'; from H7561; morally wrong; concr. an (actively) bad person:-- + condemned, guilty, ungodly, wicked (man), that did wrong.

Words or phrases that can be translated from this word:
morally wrong, a bad person, a sinner, one who is guilty, one who is ungodly, wicked, the person that did wrong, one who places themselves into a state of condemnation, a wrong doer, a person who lets sin reign in their mortal bodies (Rom 6:12).

These people who advocate this false doctrine are very concerned with people. They are concerned for the welfare of people involved in such a terrible consequence. Sometimes there are children involved. Does that change the circumstances to where there is no longer sin? They might say that two might be married illegaly, but if there are children involved, they say that they cannot be married illegaly. The presence of children does not remove the sin involved.

Ezra 10:44 (KJV)
All these had taken strange wives: and some of them had wives by whom they had children.

Even in the days of Nehemiah, the people who found that they had violated God's law concerning marriage to foreign (especially Moabite) wives, had to put them away. The scriptures do not indicate that they were free to remarry.

Other uses of the words translated guilty:

Ezekiel 22:4 (KJV)
Thou art become guilty in thy blood that thou hast shed; and hast defiled thyself in thine idols which thou hast made; and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and art come even unto thy years: therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries.

The Greek word is:
1777. enochos, en'-okh-os; from G1758; liable to (a condition, penalty or imputation):--in danger of, guilty of, subject to.

Another Greek word is:
5267. hupodikos, hoop-od'-ee-kos; from G5259 and G1349; under sentence, i.e. (by impl.) condemned:--guilty.

As we understand the meaning of words and their uses, we must also acknowledge that certain concepts and thoughts are also intended by the few several words that are actually used. Thus, the guilty party is the person who is unfaithful in their marriage. They are the one who violated the marriage bond. They are the one who caused the trust to be broken. They went outside of their marriage for sex or companionship. They are the party that is guilty of fornication.


Since some of us now understand what the guilty party is, we should have no misunderstanding of who the innocent party is. Once again, because the term "innocent party" is not specifically found, they say that it is unscriptural. Once again, I will disagree with them. The scriptures do speak concerning the innocent party.

The Hebrew word for innocent:
5355. naqiy, naw-kee'; or naqiy' , naw-kee'; from H5352; innocent:--blameless, clean, clear, exempted, free, guiltless, innocent, quit.

The word can be translated:
the one who is not guilty.

Another word which is the root word:
5352. naqah, naw-kaw'; a prim. root; to be (or make) clean (lit. or fig.); by impl. (in an adverse sense) to be bare, i.e. extirpated:--acquit X at all, X altogether, be blameless, cleanse, (be) clear (-ing), cut off, be desolate, be free, be (hold) guiltless, be (hold) innocent, X by no means, be quit, be (leave) unpunished, X utterly, X wholly.

Most of these definitions speak for themselves. Now let us see how these words are used in scripture.

Job 33:9 (KJV)
I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.

Another hebrew word used to describe the innocent is:
2643. chaph, khaf; from H2653 (in the moral sense of covered from soil); pure:--innocent.

See how this is used in scripture:

Psalms 19:13 (KJV)
Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

The Greek word is:
121. athoos, ath'-o-os; from G1 (as a neg. particle) and a prob. der. of G5087 (mean. a penalty); not guilty:--innocent.

This word is translated two ways:
not guilty, or innocent.

How many times do we have to say that the innocent party in a marriage is the person who did not break the covenant or the marriage laws. This is the person who is innocent. This is the party who did not violate the law of marriage.

Some will teach that there is not an innocent party in a divorce. We cannot always know the reasons why someone in a relationship would leave it. There are a lot of "ifs" which are too numerous to mention. The purpose of this study though, is not to place the blame on both parties, but to shed light on who is guilty and innocent according to scripture. If both parties are faithful to their marriage, then all is well and that is the way God intends it to be. One party may fail to fulfill their obligations, but that does not give permission to the other party to commit sin.

Go to the next section In The Sight Of God

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