It seems as if chapter 8 should be tied to chapter 9, so I am going to only spend some time on chapter 7 which is all about persons marital status’s.
Paul’s writing can be confusing, “I say not the Lord” when we come across those phrases we should not assume these are therefore lacking in Biblical inspiration, Paul is pointing to his understanding of Jesus’ teaching on divorce and Paul is simply saying this part are words I am first speaking to you, not the same instruction Jesus gave while He was on this earth or God gave in the course of history. This is new info.
Chapter 7 is made-up of four exhortations regarding marital status. If you break the chapter up and read it with these exhortations in mind you will have a clearer picture:
- Exhortation 1: View marriage as beneficial! (7:1-7)
- Exhortation 2: Fulfill your marital obligation (7:8-16)
- Exhortation 3: Become content with your present marital status no matter what it may be (7:17-24)
- Exhortation 4: There are great benefits in singleness (7:25-40)
And within all those main sections there are of course verses that apply to all four sections no matter which section they are in.
If this random rambling on marriage seems odd in the book of 1 corinthians, remember it was in response to a question Paul must have received about the topic (7:1a)
Before I close this post I want to say a word about the last exhortation the great benefits of singleness…I guess this applies to the third status as well, contentment in one’s present marital status whatever it may be.
I believe the church owes an apology to many young people that feel that they are less than because they are single. What is one of the questions someone always is asked after a certain time in their lives and they are not married, “why aren’t you married?” No one ever asks “Why are you married?” at least not in the church. Yet Paul does seem to ask the question, why if you’re content with singleness and don’t have a problem with lust would you ever want to get married. We treat it the exact opposite of the Bible…if someone says, “I never want to get married.” We a). Don’t believe them and instead interpret that to mean they are masking some deep loneliness; b.) wonder if they are gay. c.) wonder what is wrong with them and why no one wants to marry them.
Why can’t we just believe that some people as Paul clearly teaches are blessed with the gift of singleness…oh and why can’t we call it a gift?! Marriage is a gift, but not more so than the gift of singleness.
And all the above applies doubly for single women, since we are way worse on them than on single men.
Okay I’ll get down from horse…
All the single ladies…and men…if that is the gift God has blessed you with…praise the Lord and I am sorry we the church have ever made you feel like it is an inferior state to marriage.
Have a blessed Sabbath.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 44-47