1 Corinthians 7 - Marraige

1 Corinthians 7:1-7 - As a man with the gift of celibacy, he has a remarkable grasp on the power that sexual temptation has over men and women. Perhaps it wasn't so much a gift as a devotion or a commitment, in which case his fighting to remain true to it would have given him insight into the problem. Of course, watching as many a man or woman fell into the sin of adultery would educate one as to the power of these desires.

So, though he would prefer that everyone were able to devote themselves to the Lord as he did, he refuses to allow for abstinence to be treated as some kind of higher position. Just the opposite, actually, he says that, because of the strength of the temptation, men and women should seek to marry and should not deny each other. He goes as far as to give each spouse authority over the other's body. Does that give the partner with the stronger desire free reign over the other? Absolutely not. How does that jive with the rest of Paul's teaching on marriage, namely respect for one another and mutual submission? No, it means that the one who is less interested must submit to more and the one with the stronger desire must temper it with self control. The main idea here, however, is one of neutralizing temptation with fulfillment, so the burden is more on the one with less desire, but one who truly loves their spouse will not force themselves on them.

1 Corinthians 7:10-16 - It's interesting how Paul says verse 10 (a blanket prohibition on divorce) is from God, not him but verse 12 (freedom to divorce the non believer who wants to leave) is from him, not God. Should we take verse 12, then, as optional or discount it somehow, or because it is now in the scriptures (and not simply a letter), is it now from God? Is Paul saying that he disagrees with God here? No, I think he's simply stating his opinion and that he has no instructions from God on the matter. He certainly wouldn't hold the belief if he knew God was against it.

1 Corinthians 7:27-28, 32-35 - After starting this chapter with a strong suggestion that men and women should seek to marry, here in verse 27 he says not to. In verse 28, though, he says it isn't a sin if you do. Why? The answer comes in the next paragraph - the married have divided interests and more worries. It's not just them and the Lord, it's them, the Lord and their spouse. Paul is looking ahead, to the Lord's return. He says that the present form of the world, including marriages evidently, is passing away and he would have us all looking ahead to that day instead of having ties in this present world.

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