About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
we get into the text of 1 Corinthians 7 there is some background information
that is important to know.
Jesus, Paul isn't giving a step by step theological discussion on divorce and
remarriage. Throughout the latter
half of 1 Corinthians, he is answering a number of specific questions he was
asked by those in
was an extremely immoral city as
seen through the lens of Christian morality.
It was a large city of commerce and religion.
The centerpiece of
important to understand that religion in the
was in this context that the church at Corinth
attempted to survive in. Think
about this for a minute. Men were
used to worshiping at the
the immorality at the
appears to be two groups in Corinth
that attempted to solve these problems concerning morality, marriage, and the
family. One group promoted celibacy,
even to the point of celibacy within marriage.
The other group just gave up and promoted a license to sin.
it comes to Paul and marriage, the age old question is, "was Paul married,
or, had he ever been married"? It's
clear from the text of 1 Corinthians 7 that at the time of writing he was
single, or at least lived as a single man. Some
suggest that Paul was married, but simply separated from his wife so he could do
the work of the Lord, as he says is permissible in verse 29
is a very good chance that Paul was married at one point in his life.
Jewish culture was such that every young Jewish boy expected to grow up,
find a wife, and have children to carry on the family line.
This was ingrained in boys from the earliest of age.
It was the thing to do in order to be a good religious Jew.
If you read Philippians 3, Paul clearly states that when it comes to all
things Jewish, he was perfect. He
lacked in nothing, and I would suspect that meant obeying one of the first
things God told men to do, and that was to be united to his wife.
who believe Paul had been married often point to Acts 26:10 where he speaks of
persecuting the saints prior to his conversion.
He said, "I cast my vote against them", "them"
referring to Christians. Because of
the phrase "cast my vote", some suggest that Paul was a member of the
Sanhedrin, the ruling party of
my thinking there is an even more valid reason why Paul might have once been
married. First of all, he was a
Pharisee. Pharisees were normally
married. Second of all, his mentor,
Gamaliel, was the grandson of Hillel, the founder of the Hillel liberal school
of theology among the Pharisees. These
liberals believed in marriage. They
also believed that they could divorce their wives for any and every reason. They
not only believed in free and easy divorce, they practiced free and easy
divorce. It's a very good chance
that Gamaliel was a liberal theologian, and if so, that would have made Paul a
liberal theologian. He would have
believed in what his teacher taught him, and that included free and easy
divorce. It's quite possible that
Paul wasn't only married once, but a number of times.
Of course, that would have depended on his age when he became a
tend to believe Paul was at some point married. Some
believe his wife died and he was a widower.
Others believe his wife left him when he became a Christian.
This might account for Paul saying that he had lost all things for the
sake of Christ. (Philippians 3:8)
1 Corinthians 7:26 Paul says, "because of the present crisis …"
It is very important to realize that everything Paul says in this chapter
is because of some "present crisis" the Corinthians found themselves
in. Part of the "present
crisis" was probably the man sleeping with his step-mother as we see in
chapter 5, which, was probably just one example of the immorality in the church
that Paul had to deal with. 1
Corinthians 7 was meant to begin to fix this situation.
So, again, we need to view what Paul says here in light of the fact his
words were directed to specific people, at a specific time, for specific
reasons. That's not saying we can't
learn from this chapter. We can.
It simply means there is more to Paul's thinking that what we read here.
I've said, in this chapter Paul is responding to questions that the Corinthians
asked him. He says in verse 1,
“now concerning the matters you wrote about”. Right
away, we see that Paul is addressing issues the Corinthians wrote him about.
NIV goes on to say, “It is good for a man not to marry”. The
KJV says, “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”
Why is there a difference between the two translations?
The difference appears to be in the translation of the Greek word “hapto”.
This word means more than simply
touching someone. It means “to
fasten to, or “to attach to”, or ‘to cling to”.
If Paul was simply thinking about touching a woman he would have used a
different word. Therefore the NIV
translators believe that Paul is speaking about a man and a woman attaching
themselves together in marriage. Also
the context of chapter 7 suggests that Paul is speaking about marriage, and not
simply touching a woman. If you
understand the Greek here, you must see this sentence as being highly sexual.
believed that all men would do better single in order to devote themselves
solely to Jesus. This is the
underlying presupposition he has as he writes these words.
Unless we understand this, we'll probably misunderstand most of this
chapter. While preferring singleness
Paul could not neglect or ignore God's original intention at creation for men
and women. God created us to be
married. So he suggests that if you cannot handle being single, you should
marry. You are doing nothing wrong
by finding a wife or a husband.
verse 2 Paul therefore says that because of all the immorality that was in
verses 3 and 4 Paul says that husbands and wives “should not deprive
themselves of each other except for mutual consent ..."
Why did he say this? Because
in verse 4 he tells his readers that a man’s body belongs to his wife as well
as to himself. Also the wife’s
body belongs to the husband as well as herself.
Paul is saying that sex is a real important part of marriage. It
is my thinking that God made sex to produce children as well as to be a
pleasurable experience between a man and his wife.
It is also my thinking that the pleasure that a husband and wife has in
marriage is a picture of what can happen between Christians and the Lord, both
individually and collectively as the church.
also see the sexual unity between a husband and wife as a type of worship
between us and God. In sexual union
there is an entering of each others personal space, a place where no one else
goes. This process breaks down
barriers between the husband and wife, just as worship breaks down barriers
between us and Jesus. Intimacy
in marriage is a form of worship; it is in fact symbolic of worship of Jesus.
Bible is clear that we are to worship the Lord God and Him only.
Any worship beyond that is idolatry.
This is one reason why adultery is so wrong.
If intimacy is worship in one sense of the word, and if you are intimate
with someone other than your spouse, you're committing a type of idolatry.
verse 5 Paul says that if both the husband and wife consents
for a while not to participate in sexual relations, maybe for prayer, as he
says, “then come together” after the set time you have set aside.
We don't know if prayer would be the only reason to abstain from sex or
if this is just an example. Paul's
point is simple. Don't abstain for
too long. The temptation to sin is
too strong, and as he says, the temptation is from satan himself and our lack of
important to understand that satan can only get to us if there is something in
us to get to. If we have little to
no sexual self-control, then satan can temp us and maybe with success. If we
have self-control, he will be less likely to tempt us successfully.
verse 6 Paul says that what he just said he says as "a concession, not a
command". Remember, at this
point in Paul's life, and, under the present crisis situation in
verse 7 Paul says that he wishes “all men would be as I am”.
Paul wished all Christians were single.
He also concedes that “each man has his own gift from God”. The
ability to be single should be seen as a gift from God. It's
an exception to the Biblical rule that a man should leave his father and mother
and be united to his wife.
this gift of singleness, I can remember in my own youth many of us asking
whether we had this gift or not. One
of my Bible collage teachers told us that if any of you men have ever lusted
after a woman, then you do not have the gift of singleness.
I suggest that is a very good test to determine whether one has the gift
of singleness or not. I would say
most don't have this gift.
can see in verse 8 and 9 that Paul has a hard time getting away from this idea
of singleness. He says, “now to
the unmarried and widows; it is good for them to remain unmarried as I am.
But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is
better to marry than to burn with passion”.
Once again Paul is extolling the virtues of singleness. Paul's
choice for life is being single, yet in this time of moral crisis, he can't
will see later that the sole reason why Paul promotes singleness is to serve
Jesus without any restrictions. Being
married limits one's involvement in serving Jesus because you have a husband or
wife and children to concern yourself with.
Paul wanted to be free from as many concerns as possible in order to
that according to Paul, one real reason for marriage is so that you won't burn
with sexual passion. If you were
single and burning with passion, that itself would be a hindrance in serving the
verse 10 Paul gives a command, but it's not his command.
It's the Lord’s command. He
says it's a command and not a concession because he is quoting Jesus.
It's a Biblical statement he is about to make.
The command is this. “A
wife must not separate herself from her husband. But if she does, she must
remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband.
And a husband must not divorce his wife”.
Jesus said such things in Mathew 5:31 – 32, 19:1-13, Mark 10:1-10, and
Luke 16:18. That would make this a
command from the Lord Jesus Himself.
to what Paul says here, divorce is not an option for men and women. This
is not the whole story on this subject though.
Paul elaborates later, and there are also other Scriptures that shed
light on this subject, but according to these verses, Paul says that God wants
men and women to remain married and not be separated and divorced.
The idea here and throughout the Bible is marriage is meant to be
2:24 states that a man should leave his father and mother and be united unto his
wife. The Hebrew word translated as
"united" here means "to glue".
Glue suggests permanency in marriage.
That is the Biblical mandate.
that Paul inserts the word "but" into his sentence.
He tells couples not to separate, "but if you do…"
The simple fact is that Paul understood the fallen nature of men and
women, and because of this fallen nature, they would separate and divorce.
Paul thus says that if you do separate you should remain single, again,
because that is his preference.
would be another reason why Paul says to remain single if you divorce and that
depends on the nature of the divorce. If
you are divorcing simply because you want to marry someone else, then, when you
remarry, you are committing adultery, and that would not be right.
won't get involved in this discussion here, but if you understand the nature of
the Greek passive voice, you will understand that Jesus, in Matthew
5:31 and 32 said that if you divorce your spouse for any reason other than the
fact that your spouse committed adultery, then you commit adultery when you
remarry. The one, who was divorced
for no valid Biblical reason, does not commit adultery when he or she remarries.
In the culture of that day, such a divorced woman was stigmatized as an
adulterous even though she wasn't.
can find a complete explanation of this in my online line book entitled
"From My Side Of The
verse 12 Paul is speaking, not the Lord. Now,
when we make this distinction, we still must admit that Paul is speaking under
inspiration of the Holy Spirit here. The reason why he differentiates between
him and the Lord with these commands is that some of these commands came
directly from the mouth of Jesus. The
others are Paul's commands under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for this
particular time of moral crisis. If
you understand the doctrine of "inspiration of Scripture" as you
should, "all Scripture is inspired".
No parts are less inspired than other parts.
is telling the Corinthian men that if they have an unbelieving wife and she is
willing to live with him as a Christian, he should not divorce her.
I am sure that this subject had risen in their church as it does in all
churches. It would be an obvious
question to ask when one spouse becomes a Christian and the other doesn’t.
How can the two be properly united when they are divided on such very
fundamental issues. Paul simply
tells them to stay together, but the mere fact the Paul inserts the word
"but" here again, he realizes couples will divorce, so he must comment
verses 12 to 14 Paul gives his reason for why mixed marriage couples should not
divorce. He says that the
unbelieving spouse “is sanctified” because of the believing spouse.
Does this mean that the unbelieving partner is a Christian?
No, it doesn’t mean that at all. The
unbelieving partner is sanctified, which means separated unto the Lord.
It means that while still in the marriage relationship the unbeliever is
like one set apart from others, who has the opportunity to become a believer.
Paul says this later in verse 16 as well.
has just said that if you stay with the unbelieving partner, then that partner
is sanctified. If that was not the
case then their “children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy”.
Now what does this mean? Are
children saved because they have one saved parent?
This can’t be, or else there would be more than one way to be saved.
One way would be to trust Jesus, and the other way would be for you to be
fortunate enough to have at least one Christian parent.
We know from Scripture that this cannot be.
don’t believe Paul would think that a child could find salvation, or holiness
outside of the cross of Christ. If
you understand his letter to the Romans, and other comments that he makes
concerning the means of salvation, this cannot be.
So, we need to understand these words in this light.
It is my thinking that in the same way that an unbelieving spouse is
sanctified, or separated in a special place because of the believing partner, so
the children are also raised in this special place of blessing.
Both the unbelieving spouse and children have a better chance of becoming
a Christian because of the believing father or mother.
It does not mean he or she is already a Christian.
also important to understand that the word "unclean" is a word that is
associated with the Law of Moses. I
suggest that the blessing of the Lord would be on the family where one parent is
a Christian. Normally, in Old
Testament Jewish terms children would be deemed as unclean if a Jew married a
we have to realize here is that Paul is not promoting the idea that a Christian
should marry a non-Christian. He
would be totally against that. This situation that is being spoken of is once
married, one spouse becomes a Christian and the other spouse doesn't.
believe, somewhat by experience that children when living in a Christian home
experience the benefits of their parent's faith, or trust in Jesus.
When walking with Jesus as parents, we do benefit, and we are blessed.
This blessing extends to our children as long as the children are in the
confines of the home, but once they leave the home to go out and live on their
own, they are on their own. If they
want the same blessings, then they need to follow Jesus as their parents do.
Children born to Christian parents are very blessed because they are in a
better and blessed situation.
the midst of this discussion we should remember what Jesus said in Matthew 10:34
to 36. In short, He said that
families would be broken because of Him. He
specifically said that a man's enemies would be of his own family.
This tells us that a spouse's non-Christian stance could easily cause
separation and divorce. I might
suggest that it things get bad enough the Christian spouse may consider leaving
Paul says in verse 15 is important. He
says that “if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so”.
Paul is saying that you should not beg him or her to stay.
From your heart, just let the unbeliever go.
Let him or her go physically is one thing but letting go emotionally is
another thing altogether. This may
not be easy, but once the unbeliever leaves and the sooner the believer can let
the person go, the sooner peace will return to his or her life.
“Letting go”, is extremely important if you find yourself in this
situation. Letting go is essential
if you want peace of mind, which Paul states here.
Peace of mind in Paul's thinking isn't only important for one's own
benefit, but it is needed if we are ever to serve Jesus as we should after being
left by our spouse.
says that we as Christians “are not bound in such circumstances”.
Why is this so? Because
“God has called us to live in peace”, he says in verse 15.
Paul knows, like many of us that there is no real peace between a husband
and wife when one is a believer and the other is not, especially when there are
other problems in the marriage, like adultery, that would have been the case in
Paul is saying to sacrifice yourself and stay with the unbeliever for their
benefit, not yours. Maybe he or she
will become a Christian because of you, but if the unbeliever leaves, take the
opportunity to be free from the bondage in order to live in peace.
verse 16 we see Paul telling us the reason why he suggests that the believer
should stay with the unbeliever as I have just mentioned.
The unbelieving spouse might well come to Jesus when he or she sees the
godly life the believing spouse lives. Obviously
the godly life includes sacrificial love to the unbelieving spouse.
sum up what Paul has said thus far. He
has said, as far as he is concerned, remain single.
If this is not possible, you should be married and engage in sexual
relations with your spouse. Also, once married, don’t divorce your spouse,
even if he or she is not a believer, yet if the unbelieving partner wants to
leave, then let him or her go so you can live in peace.
God has called us to peace.
saying all of this, in verses 17 and 18 Paul says, “Nevertheless each one
should remain in the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which
God has called him. This is the rule
I lay down in every church”. Paul
was often criticized for preaching a gospel of no rules, a gospel of grace.
You can clearly see here that this was not the case, yet these rules did
not have anything to do with a person’s salvation.
They were rules relating to having a healthy marriage, a healthy church,
and a healthy life as a Christian.
is what Paul taught in all of the churches he had influence over. One
example of this rule concerned circumcision. If
when a man was first saved he was uncircumcised, there is no reason why he
should get circumcised. Why does
Paul say this? Because in
verse 19 he says, “Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing.
Keeping God’s commands is what counts, and God's commands in the New
Testament are to repent, trust your life to Jesus, and receive the Holy Spirit.
You might note that Paul says that if a man is circumcised he should not become uncircumcised. How could this be possible? There was a procedure back then known as reverse circumcision. The skin of the penis would be pulled forward to cover the tip of the penis as if it had never been circumcised in the first place. This must have been one painful thing to go through let along live with
verse 20 Paul repeats himself by saying that “each person should remain in the
situation when God called him”. Another
example that he uses is in conjunction with slavery as seen in verse 21.
He says that if you were a slave when you became a Christian, don’t be
bothered by that. Stay a slave, and don’t try to be free, unless you are
granted freedom. Then, take your freedom.
Besides, “you are the Lord’s free man”.
And even if you are a slave, as a Christian, “you are the Lord’s
slave”. So either way, in once
sense of the word you're free, and in another sense of the word you're a slave,
either to your master or to Jesus.
won't elaborate on slavery here. Slavery
was a normal part of Roman culture. As
a matter of fact, some slaves had it real good.
They were lawyers, teachers, and other professionals, as we would call
professionals. People always seem to
ask why Paul didn't try to end slavery. That
wasn't Paul's mission. His mission
was to preach Jesus and get people saved. He
wasn't out to change the culture by legislating any kind of morality.
He was out to change the culture by winning people to Jesus one soul at a
what does this mean to us today? If
we are a businessman when we get saved, we should remain a business man.
We don’t have to become a preacher, unless God decides for you to make
the change. Whatever situation you find yourself in, remain in it.
verse 23 Paul says that we have been bought with a price so don't become slaves
of men. I think what Paul is saying
here is that we should not be enslaving ourselves with the culture of our day.
This is human tendency. That
is, to follow the rest of the world and run with the world with all of its
excesses. That shouldn't be our way
of life. Since Jesus has bought us,
we are slaves to him. Again, the
word slaves is not well understood in our anti-slave western world.
Paul viewed himself as a bond servant.
That's a servant by choice. In one real sense of the word, we are slaves
to Christ, although the western world prefers the word "servant" over
"slave". In Biblical
reality, they're both the same.
verse 24 Paul says once again to remain in the situation you were in when Christ
called you. He also speaks of being
responsible before the Lord. It's
important to know that each and every individual is responsible before the Lord.
We all will give a personal account of our lives to Him some day.
We need to live our lives in this present age with this in mind.
I'm sure if this was more in the forefront of our minds, we'd live much
differently than we presently do.
this chapter Paul has been going back and forth from the Lord’s commands and
his concessions or suggestions. Verse
25 is back to Paul's commands, although he qualifies what he says by saying “I
give a judgment as one by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy”.
believe it is important for us to understand in light of what Paul says here,
the he is speaking under the influence and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, even
when he is giving his own personal opinion.
When he speaks of the Lord's commands, he is speaking of things that
Jesus specifically commanded. When
he speaks of his commands or concessions, we need to know that what he says is
inspired by the Holy Spirit. We must
know that all of this chapter is equally inspired by God.
Not one part is more inspired than the other.
Once again, when Paul speaks of the Lord's commands, he speaking of what
Jesus Himself actually said. Paul
could have easily quoted Jesus.
judgment in verses 25 to 28 is directed towards virgins.
He suggests that they “should remain as they are”, meaning stay
single. Again, this has been Paul’s preference all along.
Being single makes it easier to serve the Lord without any hindrance.
the centuries there has been some debate concerning the virgin that Paul is
speaking about. Some have said that
this virgin is actually a girl already in a marital
relationship but has refrained from sexual activity, most likely for
spiritual reasons. Yet it seems more
likely that Paul is speaking to unmarried virgins.
There would be natural concerns for fathers in Paul’s day that had
older unmarried daughters. This was
considered a disgrace, especially in a Jewish family.
the words "present crisis" in verse 26.
Part of this present crisis was the crisis of morality, of which one
example was a man having sex with his step mother as seen in chapter 5.
The overall crisis was the conflict these believers had with the
anti-Christ culture in which they lived.
verse 27 Paul suggests that these virgins remain single, but he goes on to say
that if you are married you should not seek a divorce, and if you are single you
should not seek to be married. Yet
if you do marry you have not sinned. It
is very clear that marriage was God’s original intention for men and women;
therefore it could not be a sin.
verse 28 Paul gives his reason for his promotion of singleness.
He says “those who marry will face many troubles in life, and I want to
spare you of this". There are
the obvious relational troubles that all married couples have.
Paul was surely talking about this, but there were probably other things
on his mind as well. These people
lived in a very anti-Christ culture. There
was much persecution of Christians. Some
were imprisoned. Some were executed,
and to see a spouse or children so persecuted would have been devastating.
Paul didn't want anyone to go through that.
after making all of the above statements, it looks like Paul had an afterthought
in verse 29 that he needs to express by saying, “What I mean, brother, is that
the time is short…” Paul is
basically saying the time is short, Jesus’ return might be soon, and therefore
we should devote ourselves fully to Him. He
even goes as far to say that “those who have a wife should live as though they
had none”. I am not sure what the
wife would think of this. It would
definitely have to be a joint decision based on what Paul has already said. This
tells us that there might be a time in one's life where serving Jesus might mean
separation from your spouse, not in the sense of divorce, but in the sense of
simply living apart for a while, or, maybe a long while.
Some suggest that since this was Paul's thinking, he might well be living
this way himself.
the words "time is short". I've
suggested that this is in reference to the return of Christ, but that might not
necessarily be the case, or so some think. Paul
does not say what he means. Time for
Christian freedom in those days might be short because of impending Roman
persecution. Paul himself was killed
not many years after he wrote these words. Time
being short might simply be in reference to Christians being killed for their
faith in Jesus. Your time may be
short. You may be killed tomorrow so
do all you can for Jesus today.
of what Paul says in verses 29 to 31 is summed up by his words that “this
world in its present form is passing away”.
He does not say that the world will pass away but it is in the process of
passing away right now. Paul may be
suggesting that the world is in decline and will end in the return of Christ.
For this reason, we should not devote ourselves too much to the world.
We have better things to pay attention to.
This makes me wonder how much time Christians should be spending on
certain environmental issues, and other such issues, in these days when our
world will be destroyed anyway and rebuilt by the Lord.
verses 32 and 33 Paul shares his heart to these people.
He wants them to “be free from concern”, and to fully be
"devoted to Jesus". When a
man or a woman is married they have many marital concerns to deal with.
When you are single, you only have to worry about yourself and fully
giving yourself to the things of God. In
verse 34 he says that a married man’s “interests are divided”.
He needs to please his wife as well as please the Lord.
Again, singleness is the underlying presupposition of this chapter, and
it's strictly so that we can serve Jesus without any hindrance.
Paul is not opposed to marriage. His
goal in life is to serve Jesus the best he can.
He hopes the same for everyone.
he has just said to men he also says to the virgin.
His desire for them is to give themselves to Jesus “in body and
spirit”. Paul tells these ladies
that they will have to please their husbands, just as he told the men that they
would have to please their wives. He says to the virgins in verse 35, “I am
saying this for your good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right
way in undivided devotion to the Lord”. So
what Paul has just told the men, he now tells the women.
verse 36 Paul says, “If anyone thinks he is acting improperly towards the
virgin he is engaged to…” Once
again there have been two thoughts on this verse.
One thought is that Paul is speaking of a man and his daughter.
I feel that he is speaking about a man and his girlfriend, as we'd say in
our culture. This is the more
predominant way to think about this verse.
The NIV uses the phrase “engaged to”.
This phrase is not really in the original text.
The original text reads “the virgin of him”, not “the virgin he is
engaged to”. You can see how the
NIV translators understand this to be engagement of boy friend and girl friend,
not father and daughter. What I
believe Paul is saying in this paragraph is that if a man has a girlfriend and
he thinks he is beginning to act in an immoral way towards her, he should marry
her and not sin. He is not sinning by marring his girlfriend.
He would sin if he carried out the sexual activities that may be in his
would especially be true if the girl was “getting along in years” as the NIV
says. “Huperakmos” is the Greek
word that is translated as “along in years”.
This word is made up of two Greek words; "to go beyond", and
"the full bloom of a flower”. You
could easily say that if a lady is past the full bloom of life, and if you are
acting improperly towards her, then you should marry her.
If you chose to leave her, because she is past the bloom of life, she may
never have another chance to be married.
in verse 37 Paul says that if this man can control himself then he can remain
single and he does the “right thing”.
Paul concludes in verse 38 that “he who marries the virgin does right,
but he who does not marry does even better”.
Once again, Paul’s preference of singleness comes through loud and
believe what Paul is speaking of here is best understood in how Hebrew marriages
worked. There is a period, we'd call
engagement, where a couple is legally married, but not permitted to have sexual
relationships until the second stage of marriage comes about.
Thus, if the couple is in this engagement stage, Paul suggests to stay
engaged. Don't move on
to the second stage of marriage. That
being said, because Paul is writing to believers in
verse 39 Paul gives a command. He
says that as long as a woman is married and her husband is alive she is bound to
him. This command he gives, because
this is the Lord’s command as earlier stated, but if her husband dies, then she is free to marry anyone she wishes.
There is only one stipulation and that is he must be “in the Lord.
He must be a Christian. Paul
does not give any further advice to a woman who is seeking a husband.
He doesn’t even say that she should seek the Lord on this issue, only that the man must belong
to Jesus. Paul gives the same command in Romans 7:1 and 2. Yet even after saying
this to the widow Paul tells her that she would do better if she remained
said that a wife must remain with her husband until he dies.
We need to understand though that if a wife is divorced, the man is no
longer her husband even though he is still alive.
I, therefore, suggest she, as a divorced woman, is free to remarry.
verse 40 Paul says that he believes he can say this with confidence “because I
too have the Spirit of God. As I
said earlier, what Paul says here speaks to the issue of inspiration.
Even though Paul gives the Lord's command and his concession, all of what
he is saying here is the inspired Word of God.
marriage and weddings, some
over the years claim that living together is considered a marriage in the eyes
of the Lord, and therefore a formal ceremony is not required.
Yet in Paul’s mind when he uses the word married (Greek word is “gamos”)
in this chapter, he is referring to an actual ceremony including a feast that
would be part of the celebration. I
say this because of the meaning of the word “gamos”, which includes a major
celebration along with the ceremony. A
wedding in Paul’s day was a much bigger event than it is in our day.
Therefore when Paul uses the word “married” he is not talking about
some private agreement between two people. In
his mind, he would have thought about a major celebration of commitment.
Also, he is thinking in terms of what we might call a religious marriage,
not necessarily a civil marriage as we think of today.
In today's western world, a Christian marriage ceremony is partly religious and partly civil. To be legally married in the eyes of the government, certain words must be said in the vows of marriage. Thus, our marriage ceremonies, at least as Christians, combines both religious and civil parts to it.
Another thing to consider these days is that the definition of marriage is changing at a fast pace. Many governments include gay marriage as being legal. I would therefore suggest that Christians begin to think the idea of a government recognized marriage through. When entering a marriage, with a marriage certificate and license, are we as Christians entering into an unbiblical state of marriage since marriage now includes gay marriage? Should we think in terms of having a religious, Christian, ceremony only, and not be involved in the civil aspect, not to be legally married in the eyes of government? I haven't come to any conclusion as yet on this, but it is something we now need to think through