My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.



Sunday, October 21, 2007

1 Corinthians 7

Chill out. It's just marriage.

Summary:
Celibacy is good, but in the midst of such immorality, you should probably marry. And if you're married, then you belong to each other, so don't be celibate, unless it's like a temporary 'fast'. I still reckon not marrying in the first place is preferred.

A woman can leave her husband but cannot remarry anyone else. A man simply cannot leave his wife. Don't divorce if your spouse isn't Christian. One spouse can sanctify the other, so that the kids are sanctified too. If your unbelieving spouse leaves you, then don't stress. You are free from them.

Slave or free, married or unmarried, circumcised or uncircumcised. There is no particular mandate for you to change your situation when you come to God. If you're young, then I don't think you should seek a wife. They're all sorts of trouble. Realise this: This world is about to pass away. All these matters need to be brushed to the side. They aren't as relevant as they once seemed to be. A spouse divides your attention. But just don't what you've decided to do and don't stress too much.

If a woman's husband dies then she can remarry if she really wants.

Key verse:
4. 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.

My thoughts:
The reality is that this flies in the face of what most modern Christians want to believe. There seems to be such a high purpose in young people's lives to get married, and I know so often it seems like a priority in my mind. Churches even develop theologies which actively push for the (happy and appropriate) marriage of their young men and women. Paul is decidedly not decisive in this passage, and from that the main point I get is that the whole marriage thing shouldn't be a big deal for a person. I think if young Christians today caught a hold of this point, then we could just all get on with our lives! If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, then you're probably better off anyway! I'm really just speaking to myself here!

Also flowing through this passage is the clear belief, as I have stated before, that a married man and woman are bound to one another despite separation or divorce. Remarriage isn't appropriate then, unless the bound is broken by death. In the midst of this, however, is the clear acceptability of a woman to leave her husband provided that she doesn't remarry. In my mind the reason why Paul specifies this is because he supports women's right to leave an abusive relationship, which is good. The only thing in this passage which challenges this entire concept is that Paul says that remarriage is okay if your faithless spouse leaves you. Hmmm... Okay... here are Pete's three ways to understand this:

1. Such a separation in that situation simply disconnects the spiritual bind between a man and woman. It is simply an exception that Jesus forgot to specify.
2. When Jesus said that the only acceptable means for separation was unfaithfulness, he wasn't referring to marriagal unfaithfulness, but unfaithfulness to God. It is, then, still an exception, but a different one. A word study on Jesus' word for unfaithfulness could shed some light on this.
3. Paul is wrong. All scripture is God-breathed except for 1 Corinthians 12-16. This is less ridiculous (and less likely to destroy your faith in God's word) when you realise that Paul says in verse 12 "To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord)". Perhaps we can take such advise provisionally, when it has such a qualifier.

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