Translations: Chinese GB Big5

1Corinthians 7 (web)

Marriage

7:1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote to me:
it is good for a man not to touch a woman.

7:2 But, because of sexual immoralities,

let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.
7:3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection owed her,
and likewise also the wife to her husband.
7:4 The wife doesn't have authority over her own body, but the husband.
Likewise also the husband doesn't have authority over his own body, but the wife.
7:5 Don't deprive one another, unless it is by consent for a season,
that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer, and may be together again,
that Satan doesn't tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
7:6 But this I say by way of concession, not of commandment.

7:7 Yet I wish that all men were like me.
However each man has his own gift from God, one of this kind, and another of that kind.

7:8 But I say to the unmarried and to widows,

it is good for them if they remain even as I am.
7:9 But if they don't have self-control, let them marry.
For it's better to marry than to burn.
7:10 But to the married I command--not I, but the Lord--
that the wife not leave her husband
7:11 (but if she departs, let her remain unmarried,
or else be reconciled to her husband),
and that the husband not leave his wife.
7:12 But to the rest I--not the Lord--say,
if any brother has an unbelieving wife,
and she is content to live with him, let him not leave her.
7:13 The woman who has an unbelieving husband,
and he is content to live with her, let her not leave her husband.
7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the wife,
and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the husband.
Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now are they holy.
7:15 Yet if the unbeliever departs, let there be separation.
The brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases,
but God has called us in peace.

7:16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband?
Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

7:17 Only, as the Lord has distributed to each man,
as God has called each, so let him walk.
So I command in all the assemblies.
7:18 Was anyone called having been circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised.
Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised.
7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing,
but the keeping of the commandments of God.
7:20 Let each man stay in that calling in which he was called.
7:21 Were you called being a bondservant?
Don't let that bother you, but if you get an opportunity to become free, use it.
7:22 For he who was called in the Lord being a bondservant is the Lord's free man.
Likewise he who was called being free is Christ's bondservant.
7:23 You were bought with a price. Don't become bondservants of men.
7:24 Brothers, let each man, in whatever condition he was called, stay in that condition with God.

7:25 Now concerning virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord,
but I give my judgment as one who has obtained mercy from the Lord to be trustworthy.

7:26 I think that it is good therefore, because of the distress that is on us,
that it is good for a man to be as he is.

7:27 Are you bound to a wife? Don't seek to be freed.
Are you free from a wife? Don't seek a wife.
7:28 But if you marry, you have not sinned. If a virgin marries, she has not sinned.
Yet such will have oppression in the flesh, and I want to spare you.

7:29 But I say this, brothers: the time is short, that from now on,
both those who have wives may be as though they had none;
7:30 and those who weep, as though they didn't weep; and those who rejoice,
as though they didn't rejoice; and those who buy, as though they didn't possess;
7:31 and those who use the world, as not using it to the fullest.

For the mode of this world passes away.
7:32 But I desire to have you to be free from cares.
He who is unmarried is concerned for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;
7:33 but he who is married is concerned about the things of the world,
how he may please his wife.
7:34 There is also a difference between a wife and a virgin.
The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord,
that she may be holy both in body and in spirit.
But she who is married cares about the things of the world-
-how she may please her husband.

7:35 This I say for your own profit; not that I may ensnare you,
but for that which is appropriate, and that you may attend to the Lord without distraction.

7:36 But if any man thinks that he is behaving inappropriately toward his virgin,
if she is past the flower of her age, and if need so requires, let him do what he desires.
He doesn't sin. Let them marry.

7:37 But he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity,
but has power over his own heart, to keep his own virgin, does well.

7:38 So then both he who gives his own virgin in marriage does well,
and he who doesn't give her in marriage does better.

7:39 A wife is bound by law for as long as her husband lives;
but if the husband is dead, she is free to be married to whoever she desires,
only in the Lord.

7:40 But she is happier if she stays as she is, in my judgment,
and I think that I also have God's Spirit.


Discussion Questions

What roles does sex play in a marriage?
What advantages are there in being single?
Does it matter whether a Christian decides to marry or stay single?
Does divorce nullify a marriage? That is, is it permissible for the divorced to remarry?
What about Christians who are married to non-Christians?
Is it ok for a Christian to chose to marry a non-Christian?
Or if not, what about evangelistic dating?
How would you prioritize marriage, job, and ministry?


Comments

Sex - good or bad?

1Cor 7:1,2 Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.

"marry" is more literally "touch a woman", referring to sexual intercourse. This is the subject in question. It is not exlusively talking about whether a man should get married, but more generally whether sex is a good thing. This will become clear in the verses which follow. It is good to abstain from sex, but not at the cost of committing sexual immorality. On this basis what he says from verses 2-9 logically follows.

To refuse a spouse sex may lead them to sexual immorality and as such one is guilty for doing do. In fact Jesus said, "Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!" Mt 18:7 So don't be a cause for your spouse to fall into sin. For example it says, "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress"Mt 5:32a Don't be the cause of someone else committing adultery.



Sex - an escape from temptation

1Cor 7:3-6  The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.  I say this as a concession, not as a command.

The particular "marital duty" he's referring to here is to have sex. Sex is part of what constitutes a marriage. Those who refuse their spouse's request for sex are not fulfilling their marital duty. Marriage imputes this kind of responsibility. Neither spouse owns their own body. Their bodies are mutually owned. There are those who may put on a nice appearance and may even engage in sex  to get married, but afterwards "let themselves go" as if their body no longer matters or refuse to have sex in marriage, having prostituted themselves to get what they wanted. But this is not the way the saints are to behave.

Sexual deprivation should only be according to mutual consent between the marriage partners, and even that should be temporary depending on the degree of one's self-control. While in the short term abstaining from sex in marriage can help in focussing one's attention to spiritual matters, long term sexual deprivation can have the opposite effect. So  while the grace of God "teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age" (Titus 2:12), best to keep oneself from circumstances which lead to temptation.

However while the general principle applies, Paul is giving advice concerning a possible way to regulate sexual urges.  It is not a command. Christians are free to develop their own regulations as they are led by the Spirit. But one would be remiss if they did not take into account wise counsel.



Better to Marry than Burn

1Cor 7:7-9  I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

His wish is that all would have the freedom of singleness. Jesus also alludes to this issue in Mt 19:10-12  The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry."  Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given.  For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it." That is, the "gift" Paul speaks of is either by nature, by circumstance, or by volition.

Marriage is optional for those unmarried, execpt in the case of the divorced of whom he'll deal with next. It is interesting that he doesn't speak of the issue of raising children. There have historically been Christian writers who have claimed that marriage is primarily about having children. But in fact marriage is primarily about the relationship between husband and wife. Children are secondary to that relationship.

In chapter 10 he'll mention that "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." 1Cor 10:13 Marriage is a "way of escape" in the case of sexual passions. It is not the only reason to marry, but it is a legitimate reason.

However his remark "if they cannot control themselves" is kind of condescending in that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit and is to be characteristic of the saints, though it is develop progressively in the process of sanctification as Peter writes, "make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2Peter 1:5-8 Given this and Paul's advice seems it better to develop self-control than to marry.



The Divorced to Remain Unmarried

1Cor 7:10-11 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate 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.

For a wife to enter into an "ummarried" state there must have been a divorce. So by "separate" he's referring to divorce. But actually the Biblical view of divorced is no different than that of a separation, seeing as divorce doesn't nullify a marriage. And we can see this fact here as this "unmarried:" women is obligated to stay unmarried. Why? Because the divorce didn't nullify the marriage. "By law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive Romans 7:2a Thus Jesus said, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery." Luke 16:18 Or in the case of the wife, "if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery." Mk 10:12

Notice also that this unmarried woman is spoken of as having a husband! For another example of this note God's divorce. "I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries." Jer 3:8 and yet a few verses later he says, "Return, faithless people," declares the LORD, "for I am your husband." Jer 3:14 The divorced should be open to reconciliation with their spouse, though that is not the reason why one is restricted from marrying someone else.

And just to briefly deal with the exception clause found in Matthew which says, "except for sexual immorality" Mat 5:32b, it's likely referring to illegitimate marriages, such as the case when one divorces their spouse and marries another, which Jesus declared to be adultery and thus an illegitimate marriage. To divorce out of illegitimate marriages does not obligate one to remain unmarried. And likewise with other sexually immoral marriages, like homosexual marriages or incestuous marriages or  the like.



Mixed Marriages Legitimate

1Cor 7:12-14  To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

Here God legitimizes non-Christian marriages. Not that a Christian should decide to marry a non-Christian. "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever." 2Cor 6:14,15 and likewise he advises widows at the end of this chapter, "she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord." 1Cor 7:39

His comment regarding the children is related to what God said in Malachi, "Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth."Mal 2:15, which I believe is a rebuke to people like Nehemiah whom, due to prejudice, was exorting men to divorce their wives, and by doing so set an ungodly example for their children. One spouse being a believer is sufficient to influences their kids into the kingdom. But he is not saying that such children are automatically saved, nor their spouse. Afterall doesn't he say a couple of verses from now, "How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?" One is not to presume one's whole family is saved simply because one member of the family becomes a Christian. But don't underestimate your ability to influence other members of your family into the kingdom.



If the Unbeliever Leaves

1Cor 7:15  But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.

 "Make every effort to live in peace with all men" Heb 12:14a and this would certainly include one's spouse. Indeed a believer should be willing to put up with more from an unbelieving spouse than from a believing spouse. For hasn't Paul already said, "I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.  But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat." 1Cor 5:10,11

However while the believer is to seek peace rather than seeking a divorce, it may be that the unbeliever leaves. Afterall, as I noted previously, "What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?" 2Cor 6:15 And  Jesus predicted, "a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household." Mt 10:36 Jesus didn't force himself on people. He knocks at the door, but doesn't impose on those who refuse him. So also with the saints. Unbelievers should not be forced to fellowship with saints. So for the sake of peace between the believer and unbeliever, the unbeliever should be allowed to leave. Grant them a divorce if they wish.

However this is not to presume the such a divorce frees the Christian up to remarry someone else. It only frees them from the bondage of living with their unbelieving spouse. Here Paul is talking about dwelling together in the same house. The word "live with" in verses 12 and 13 is "oikeo", the noun form being "oikos" which means "the inmates of a house". We see it used in a spiritual sense in Romans 7-8 where for example Paul speaks of sin "dwelling" in him - that is in his flesh. And notice also his basis "God has called us to live in peace." Nothing about remarriage to someone else will bring peace and reconciliation between the spouses that had divorced. In fact, quite the contrary. Furthermore there are those who propose that "under bondage" here refers to the legal bondage of marriage, but such is not the case. The word used here is "douloo" meaning enslaved, whereas for the the legal bond of marriage Paul uses the word "deo", meaning to tie or bind, in this same chapter. "A wife is bound ("deo") by law as long as her husband lives" 1Cor 7:39 So with regards to the legal obligation of marriage, that lasts the life of the spouse. It's not till divorce do you part, but rather till death do you part.

Realize also that with regards to the divorced he had previously stated God's explicit will "To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): ... " 1Cor 7:10,11, namely to stay unmarried. But here he is giving counsel. "To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord) ..." 1Cor 7:12-14, namely regarding whether to get divorced. So while remarriage is disallowed, there are cases where divorce is allowed. (Afterall, God himself got divorced Jer 3:8)



Save Your Family

1Cor 7:16  How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

This is the question not only for those struggling with a reason to stay married to the unbeliever, but also for those who have been divorced out of the marriage. How do you know whether or not your spouse my reconcile with you in the future? This is another reason to stay unmarried if divorced. Consider Paul. No one would have predicted he would have become a Christian. But there you have it. So as unlikely as it may seem, do not make presumptions about your spouse's future decisions. Do not presume they will never come to faith. And furthermore by staying unmarried until you reconcile, consider what lesson you are teaching them, and how you are also following God's example.

Likewise for those married and living with an unbelieving spouse. Consider what it says of believing wives for example. "Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." 1Peter 3:1,2 Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost. But notice the significance of your role in that process. He says, "you will save", not "Jesus will save." Paul tells us that we are God's instrument, God's ambassador for Christ. God relys upon our cooperation to save people. The saints need to win a hearing, and the saints need to tell them the gospel. If they come to saving faith - YOU SAVED THEM!  Paul is encouraging evangelism here by giving the saints a sense of their significance and of the priviledge God has given us in the process of saving people. Now go and save your family.



Retain Your Calling

1Cor 7:17 Nevertheless, each one should retain 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 all the churches.

Retaining your position in life. When a person becomes a Christian, he may be tempted to use it as an excuse to make inappropriate changes in his life. They may use it as an excuse to divorce an unbelieving spouse and commit adultery by marrying another Christian. Or they may feel pressured to make some unncessary changes in their life. Paul relieves this pressure. Becoming a Christian doesn't necessarily mean that you have to drop out of school and become a missionary. It doesn't necessarily mean that you have to change jobs, nor your culture, nor your language. There will be adjustments you will have to make. But we all should learn to appreciate the variety and diversity of circumstances and background which encompass the body of Christ. Let's integrate Christ into the life and circumstances into which God has led us, rather than necessarily seeking to escape such circumstances



What Really Counts?

1Cor 7:18-20 Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts. Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.

In other words if a person came to Christ as a Jew (as all earliest Christians did), to the extent to which it does not interfere with his practice of Christianity, he need not give up his Judaism. The Jews had developed regulations which restricted them from fellowshipping with Gentiles. These were eliminated  in book of Acts, but Jews did not have to become Gentiles to becomes Christians. Christianity is in fact the true Judaism - worshipping God in the Spirit, following the Spirit of the Law. The Law of Moses represents Jewish regulations - in a sense applications of the general principles - whereas while the general principles apply to the Christian life, regulations are not absolute but each may develop their own regulations as they seek to follow the Spirit of the Law. Thus Jews are allowed to follow their ceremonial regulations to the extend they are in keeping with the Spirit of the Law.

Symbolism and rituals, such as circumcision in the case of Jews, are nothing of themselves. Likewise for "sacramental sects" of Christianity. It's keeping God's commands that counts and not forms or ceremonies. "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" Rom 14:17



Don't be Slaves of Men

1Cor 7:21-24  Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you— although if you can gain your freedom, do so. For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to.

"He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." 2Cor 5:15 When a person becomes a Christian they obligate themelves to live for Christ. And this is our pledge when we call Jesus Lord, as Jesus said, "Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?" Luke 6:46

Slavery to men is to be avoided and freedom gained if the opportunity affords such. But it should not trouble Christians so much as to resort to murder to escape from slavery. There are far more important issues to the saints than bettering one's condition so as to experience greater freedom giving one more options. in life. Nonetheless Paul sets a good example in exhorting Philemon to set free his slave, Onesimus who had become a Christian. Yet Paul also exhorted this runaway slave to return to serve Philemon - no longer as a slave but as a son, as he also says in Gal 4:7 "you are no longer a slave, but a son" And "you, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love." Gal 5:13



Advice to Virgins

1Cor 7:25-28  Now concerning virgins: I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give judgment as one whom the Lord in His mercy has made trustworthy. I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress——that it is good for a man to remain as he is: Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife.But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you.

What he means by the "present crisis" he will elborate upon starting in verse 29, namely "What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short." of which I will comment upon later.

As for the rest, there are a number of senses in which people have taken the phrase "loosed from a  wife" in this case, and also as to whom the "you" is in "you have not sinned". Could be that by those "loosed from a wife" he is referring to men who are virgins, seeing as his main topic here is "about virgins". Certainly if a man is a virgin but fails to heed Paul's advice and gets married, he has not sinned by doing so. Likewise for widows as he will mention later in verse 39. Notice also he says, "and if she ..." and yet he starts off literally "it is good for a man to remain as he is" NASB Yet the word "virgin" is feminine, normally speaking of women. There is no masculine word for virgin. Thus by "loose from a wife" he may be referring to male virgins.

Another interpretation is that by "loosed from a wife" he is referring to the divorced. Afterall "loosed from a wife"="luo apo" in the Greek.  The word for "divorce" is "apoluo", which seems similar. However, seeing as those of us of a Berean hermeneutic allow scripture to interpret scripture, recalled that Paul mentioned that the Lord, and not he, had commanded that if a wife divorced her husband "she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband." 1Cor 7:11 (No doubt conversely for husbands) And notice also in that same context the Lord commanded husbands not to divorce their wife. (1Cor 7:10)  It is doubtful that Paul was here countermanding the Lord's command.

But even in this case, it could be that the "you" in "But if you marry" is not referring to those "loosed from a wife" (the divorced in this case), but rather to male virgins. In other words  the commands he's giving to the married and to the divorced (possibly those "loosed from a wife") are parenthetical and in contrast to the advice he's giving to virgins. That is Paul may be reminding them parentetically  that the while the Lord commanded restrictions concerning the married and the divorced mentioned in 1Cor 7:10,11, such is not the case for virgins. While he advises virgins to remain single, it is not sin for them to remarry.

For this interpretation I paraphrase:

Now about virgins: (those never married)
I have no command from the Lord, but I have advice.
In view of the Lord's coming it's best to stay single.

[Parenthetical Idea -
contrasting advice to virgins with commands to others
(Xref 1Cor 7:10,11; 1Cor 7:39)]
Though the married are not to seek a divorce
And though the divorced are not to remarry.
But if you, a virgin man, marries, you have not sinned;
and if she, a virgin woman marries, she has not sinned.

But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.

In this case the "you" in "you have not sinned" is referring to male virgins first of all because if he's saying that it's not sin for the divorced to remarry, he would have been contradicting both himself and what Jesus said, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery" Luke 16:18 And notice also that up to this point he's made sure to speak both to men and women in each category he's been addressing.
 

 
Category
Men
Women
vs 8-9 Spouses died "Unmarried"
(Widowers)
Widows
vs 10-11 Married considering divorce Wife Husband
vs 12-16 Married with non-Christian spouse If any brother has a wife who is not a believer  if a woman has a husband who is not a believer 
vs 25-28 Virgins if you (masculine) marry, 
you have not sinned 
if a virgin (feminine) marry,
you have not sinned 

Whereas if he were addressing the divorced in saying "you have not sinned" by marrying, and then going on to tell female virgins the same thing, he would have left out male virgins. Implying that male virgins sin by marrying - which is not consistent with the context.

So to summarize up to this point:
 

Virgins & Widows
Marriage is optional
Advises staying single
Married
Don't initiate divorce
Allow unbelievers to leave
Divorced
Stay single or
Seek reconciliation


The Time is Short

1Cor 7:29-31 What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.

We have a short time till the coming of the Lord. 1Peter 4:7a "The end of all things is near." And if it was short then, how much more now? So "is this the time to take money, or to accept clothes, olive groves, vineyards, flocks, herds, or menservants and maidservants?" 2Kings 5:26b

This section up to verse 35 is about prioritizing ministry above the other affairs of life, like marriage and job. Of course there are responsibilities we are called to fulfill in accordance with our calling in life. But our eyes should be set on the things above, not making the things of this life, like marriage, an end in themselves.

Ministry - namely serving the Lord - is more important than marriage. Which is why Jesus said, "No one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life." Luke 18:29,30 And don't be engrossed in the things of this world. "No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs— he wants to please his commanding officer." 2Tim 2:4 And "The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature." Luke 8:14

Consider what's worth living for in view of the future. "The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." 1John 2:17



Seek Undivided Devotion

1Cor 7:32-35 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs— how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world— how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world— how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

Seek to be free from unnecessary concerns, responsibilities and entanglements with this world that you may have single-minded devotion to Christ. Marriage is optional, and it comes with alot of baggage. In my estimation an unmarried person can do about 4 times more ministry than one married with kids. The married spend most of their resources on their family. In fact the married often use their family as an excuse to avoid ministry responsbilities. There are many affairs of this world of which the saints get entangled which are not the Lord's affairs. Jesus said, "Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Mt 6:31,32 And Paul says of Timothy, "I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ." Php 2:20,21



Chosing Between the Good and the Best

1Cor 7:36-38  If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, a nd who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin— this man also does the right thing. So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does even better.

Again he's repeating that marriage is optional for virgins, but advises singleness if they can exercise self-control. For he had previously said, "if they cannot control themselves, they should marry" 1Cor 7:9 Here we gain some insight into the development of self-control. Namely Paul speaks of making up one's own mind. Self-control is a matter of mind over will. However the other person should also be taken into account. For if one had been leading them on to believe a marriage would take place, it might be kind of defrauding to just dump them. So work out these things with a clear conscience.

As with many issues in life, it's often not a matter of right and wrong, but rather of chosing between what is good and what is best. So with marriage and singleness. May you make the best choice. It's interesting that it is apparently not sinful to chose what is good over what is best. This likely holds as a general principle in the Christian life. And God dispenses rewards accordingly.

An example of such a choice was the contrast between Mary and Martha's reception of the Lord in Luke 10:38+ Martha played the hostess, which was good, but the Lord indicated that Mary made the better choice by sitting and listening to him. Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"  "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
Luke 10:40-42

So consider all the choices you make daily concerning how you utilize your time, resources and efforts, whether you are settling for what is good, or whether there may be a better choice.



Till Death Do You Part

1Cor 7:39,40  A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is— and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.

One life, one wife. Remarriage is only allowed upon the death of the spouse. This section is also paralleled with Romans 7:2-3 "By law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man." Thus it's till death do you part, not till divorce do you part.

When choice is involved, marriage should only be to other Christians. And once again, Paul recommends singleness in this case, though he may be referring to older widows. For in 1Tim 5:14, he encourages younger widows to marry. Not for the sake of happiness, but to avoid sin. "I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander."


The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources


May 25,2016