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Concerning Marriage & Divorce

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Do we live by the Facts or Do we live by Principles (God’s Principles)

Corinth was a key Greek urban center under Roman rule that eclipsed Athens in size and importance by the time of the great fire in 146 BC. It was rebuilt in 46 BC by Julius Caesar as a Roman colony and inhabited with approximately 100, 000 persons. By the time of Paul, it had become the wealthiest city in Greece (Blomberg). The city of Corinth was famous for a huge stone mountain called the Acrocorinth, with the temple of Aphrodite on top. This was the ultimate symbol of the dominance of pagan religions. Before Christ, these temples employed thousands of priests and priestesses who “doubled as prostitutes”. In addition to this, there were more prostitutes available on the ground level for interested parties. It is from this culture that the word “Corinthianize” (“play the harlot”) and “Corinthian girl” (whore) became slang (Blomberg).

The Corinthian church was called out of this culture and the Apostle Paul pens letters to the church to address “plaguing issues” with the church @ Corinth. He received a report from the household of Chloe about the state of the church:  “For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers” (1 Cor. 11). The church can gain understanding as to how to deal with issues by taking heed to the principles and guidelines outlined by the Apostle Paul to the Corinthian church. He addresses the issues of jealousy, divisiveness, sexual immorality, the failure to discipline members, wisdom, apostolic ministry, lawsuits, singleness, marriage and divorce, worship, and doctrine (NASB).

1 Corinthians 7

This is one of the most interesting chapters in the New Testament, due to the nature of its being Paul’s apostolic answers to no less than six questions propounded in a letter from the church at Corinth, that letter being lost, of course, and thus leaving the communications in this chapter to be understood very much in the same manner as listening to one end of a telephone conversation.

Significantly, Paul had sternly reprimanded the Corinthians for the various sins already noted in the first six chapters, before getting down to the problem of their questions. Therefore, the second major division of the epistle begins at this point, from whence through the next nine chapters he would deal with questions raised in the lost letter.

The six questions treated in this chapter are:

(1) Should married couples continue normal sexual relations after becoming Christians? Answer: Yes, it is their duty to do this (1 Corinthians 7:1-7).

(2) Should single persons get married? Answer: Yes, in all normal situations; but for the gifted, such as Paul, celibacy was advantageous, especially in unsettled times (1 Corinthians 7:8-9).

(3) Is divorce permitted for Christians? Answer: No (1 Corinthians 7:10-11).

(4) When one partner of a pagan couple becomes a Christian, the other refusing to do so, is such a marriage binding? Answer: Yes, except when the unbeliever deserts the Christian partner (1 Corinthians 7:12-16).

 (5) Should Christian fathers (or guardians) give their daughters in marriage? Answer: The fathers and guardians were given authority to solve their individual problems, there being no sin involved, however, the decision went; but certain guidelines were suggested (1 Corinthians 7:25-38).

(6) May a Christian widow remarry? Answer: Yes, provided that she marry “only in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39-40).

“Like many other chapters which are sometimes labeled “difficult,” this one contains some of the most instructive teachings in the New Testament, and affords glimpses of the apostolic method which add greatly to one’s faith in the integrity of the apostles“.                                                               (Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible)

Let’s examine The Apostle Paul’s answer to these key questions as we seek to live our lives based on the Principles of God’s words versus the Facts as we see them.

Next post – 1 Corinthians 7


Dr. Myles Monroe:

Blomberg, C. From Pentecost To Patmos. USA: Broadman & Holman Publishers (2006)

Written by Dr. Kevin A. Hall



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