1 Corinthians 7
-Chapter 7 marks a turn in the letter to address specific issues that the church had questioned the apostle on. These questions are marked by the “Now concerning (or Peri de)” syntax construction, which will now run through the remainder of the book (1 Corinthians 7:1, 25; 8:1; 12:1; 16:1, 12). The first issue the Corinthians were wondering about was the nature of being married as believers and what some of the requirements might be in their new found Christian faith. These were serious biblical issues at the time because of the distress that they found themselves in as believers during a time of pretty intense persecution and uncertainty (1 Corinthians 7:26). Paul gives as his judgment an overriding principle of “remain as you are (1 Corinthians 7:8, 11, 17, 20, 24, 26).” Paul emphasizes remaining single if at all possible for better devotion to the Lord and less concern about this world (1 Corinthians 7:32-35), but he does not nullify the gift of marriage in its sanctity for the perpetuation of believing families. In other words, he says it is certainly not a sin to marry (1 Corinthians 7:36). His concern is over order and proper Christian living. The one who marries in the Lord does well, the one who can remain single in devotion to the Lord does even better (1 Corinthians 7:38). *Application* While marriage is a special gift of the Lord and certainly necessary for the continuance of human existence and Christian perpetuity, being single as a follower of Christ has great reward and is a special call by God for His Kingdom and His purposes. If you are single today, don’t fret. You have the privilege of being unhindered and without burden in following the commands of the Lord for your life. This should be a exceptional encouragement for you today. If the Lord calls you to marriage, it will be plain and simple enough. For the time being, ask the Lord what He wants from you and give it all away to go His way unencumbered. Singleness is also a gift from God.
-Paul also gives some important directions on divorce here in this chapter (1 Corinthians 7:10-16). Staying with an unbelieving spouse had to be a difficult set of circumstances in their time, but the apostle warned them that they were bound to each other as long as the unbelieving spouse consented to live with the believing partner. This union had a sanctifying effect on the unbelieving spouse and the children (if there were any), which was important for Kingdom purposes because salvation may come to those who witness the spouses grace (1 Corinthians 7:12-16). Paul admits that there are situations where the non-believer will leave the spouse and separate, to which the believer is free and not enslaved anymore. God has called them to peace (1 Corinthians 7:15). *Application* Divorce comes from the hardness of mankind’s heart (Matthew 19:8, Mark 10:5). Although it is a difficult challenge, the Lord wants us to remain as we are in these life circumstances where we find ourselves unequally yoked with unbelievers. Hang in there if you find yourself in this situation. Who knows? The best may be yet to come and the Lord will certainly grant favor. My advice is this. Don’t ever leave an unbelieving spouse (you do need to get out of pre-marital relationships that are unequally yoked though) unless there is a threat of physical danger or extreme emotional distress. In that case it only makes biblical sense to flee the sin of that situation. Don’t remarry at that point. Allow the Lord time to work things out properly and in order. Remain as you are. Great biblical advice!
Verse to Memorize- 1 Corinthians 7:26