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Oneness in Marriage

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Oneness in Marriage. 1 Cor. 7:1-9

Maranathan Baptist Church. Sunday January 29, 2006. 10:00 am

In all the events overshadowing last week, perhaps you missed an interesting report. A new study for the federal Justice Department says Canada should get rid of its law banning polygamy, and change other legislation to help women and children living in such multiple-spouse relationships.

The research paper is part of a controversial $150,000 polygamy project, launched a year ago and paid for by the Justice Department and Status of Women Canada. The paper by three law professors at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., argues that Sec. 293 of the Criminal Code banning polygamy serves no useful purpose and in any case is rarely prosecuted. Instead, they argue, Canadian laws should be changed to better accommodate the problems of women in polygamous marriages, providing them clearer spousal support and inheritance rights.

The Justice Department project was prompted in part by an RCMP investigation into the religious community of Bountiful in Creston, B.C., where polygamy is practised openly.

Although the Bountiful case raises immediate issues, Canada is also faced with a rising tide of immigration from Africa and the Middle East, where polygamy is legally and religiously sanctioned. Immigration officers can refuse entry to individuals practising polygamy.

The Events that Paul faced in Corrinth were also one of sexual immorality.  Written from Ephesus during the Apostle Paul’s third missionary journey from 53-57 AD,  1 Corinthians 7 commences the second part or division of this Epistle, or, “the discussion of those points which had been submitted to the apostle in a letter from the church at Corinth, for his instruction and advice.  A strategic commercial center, Corinth was one of the largest cities in the Roman world and one of the most corrupt (Acts 18:1). Full of false teachers, immature believers and people of all kind of ideas, the Christians in Corinth got into a lot of difficult situations considering Marriage.

If you recall from the discussion on the end of 1 Cor. 7: Some Gnostics argued that since the material world was evil, the spiritual individual should avoid it.  Many now seem to claim a secret knowledge likewise, and proclaim the uselessness of marriage and have abandoned or redefined the concept.

With the Greeks in Corrinth prostitution was an essential part of the Greek Like. William Barklay noted Demosthenes has laid it down as the common and accepted rule of life: He said: “We have courtesans for the sake of pleasure; we have concubines for the sake of daily cohabitation; we have wives for the purpose of having children legitimately’ and having a faithful guardian for all our household affairs”. 

The Jews revered neither women nor marriage. The Synagogue prayer book stated that the man offer the daily prayer: “I thank Thee, O Lord, that Thou hast not made me a Gentile dog nor a woman”.

An active and vocal feminist movement had also developed. Some wives competed with their husbands in business and even in feats of physical strength. Many were not interested in being housewives and mothers, and by the end of the first century childless marriages were common. Both men and women were determined to live their own lives, regardless of marriage vows or commitments.

The early church had members that had lived together, and were still living together, under all four marriage arrangements. It also had those who had had multiple marriages and divorces. Not only that, but some believers had gotten the notion that being single and celibate was more spiritual than being married, and they disparaged marriage entirely. Perhaps someone was teaching that sex was “unspiritual” and should be altogether forsaken.

Today in many regions where those who wish polygamy come from the practice of female circumcision is practiced so the women understand that it her her place to give pleasure to the man, but never the woman’s place to receive pleasure from the man.

The question is, since so many ideas exist on marriage, is oneness possible in Marriage. Is independent singleness the answer or do we abandon the concept of oneness in favour of as open relations as we possibly can?

·        Do you know how to build spiritual intimacy in your marriage? How can we take relationships one step deeper by growing together in Christ?

In 1 Cor. 7, oneness is centered around and understanding of an isolation issue of celibacy

In the first seven verses of chapter 7 Paul starts with the question of singleness. He teaches that celibacy 1) is good, 2) that it can be tempting, 3) that it is wrong for married people, and 4) that it is a gift from God.

1) celibacy  is good

1Co 7:1  Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: "It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman."

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote

Remember that Paul sent the Corinthians a letter:

1Co 5:9  I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—

We don’t have this letter, but 1 Cor. Represents the questions the Corrinthians have for Paul.

The NIV translation of this text as “it is good for a man not to marry” is an off mark interpretation of the text. The idiom to “touch a woman” occurs nine times in Greek antiquity, ranging across six centuries and a variety of writers, and in every instance, without ambiguity it refers to having sexual intercourse.

The word “Man” is anthropos, representing all of humankind, not the specific aner. The Greek has the indefinite noun gyne to represent woman not wife.

“to have sexual relations with a woman."  Or “To touch a woman” in other translations  was a common Jewish euphemism for sexual intercourse. The phrase is used in that sense in passages such as Gen. 20:6; Ruth 2:9; and Prov. 6:29. Paul uses it to state that it is a good thing for Christians not to have sexual intercourse, that is, to be single, unmarried. He does not say, however, that singleness is the only good condition or that marriage is in any way wrong or inferior to singleness.

Heb 13:4  Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Yet much confusion exists over creation and marriage: There is a story of a Sunday School that was teaching how God created everything, including human beings. Little Johnny seemed especially intent when they told him how Eve was created out of one of Adam’s ribs. Later in the week his mother noticed him lying down as though he were ill, and said, “Johnny, what is the matter?” Little Johnny responded, “I have pain in my side. I think I’m doing to have a wife”.

Please turn to Gen 2

All people need companionship and God ordained marriage to be, among other things, the most fulfilling and common means of companionship.

God Himself declared at creation that:

Gen 2:18  Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him."

Gen 2:24  Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

There is the story of a daughter that was about to be married who said to her faither, “Dad, I don’t want to leave mom”. The Father smiles and said, “I understand, but don’t let that stand in the way of your happiness. Take your mother with you

God institutes marriage and declares oneness. As we saw two weeks ago, it was the false teachers, reported in 1 Tim. 4:3 that were forbidding marriage.

God allowed for singleness and did not require marriage for everyone under the Old Covenant, but Jewish tradition not only looked on marriage as the ideal state but looked on singleness as disobedience of God’s command to marry.

What then is the oneness mentioned?

The Hebrew word (dābaq) behind holding fast or to cleave refers to a strong bonding together of objects and often was used to represent gluing or cementing. Job used the word when he spoke of his bones clinging to his skin and flesh (Job 19:20; cf. Ps. 102:5). It could also have the connotation of following closely. The two ideas were, in fact, sometimes carried together, as in Ruth’s clinging to Naomi (Ruth 1:14) and the men of Judah remaining steadfast to David (2 Sam. 20:2). Several times the term is used of the Israelites’ holding to the Lord in love and obedience (Deut. 10:20; 11:22; 13:4; Josh. 22:5; 23:8).

The idea of close bonding and interrelationship is seen in the modern Hebrew word for marriage, kiddushin, a word closely related to the terms for holy and sanctified, which have the basic meaning of being set apart and consecrated.

Notice how the two … become one flesh. They are therefore indivisible and inseparable, except through death. In God’s eyes they become the total possession of each other, one in mind and spirit, in goals and direction, in emotion and will. When or if they have a child it becomes the perfect emblem and demonstration of their oneness, because that child is a unique product of the fusion of two people into one flesh and carries the combined traits of both parents.

But it is not, as some foolishly argue, that becoming one flesh in the sex act is what constitutes marriage. If that were true, there would be no such thing as fornication, because as soon as an unmarried man and woman engaged in the sex act they would be automatically married, rather than guilty of wickedness.

Please turn to Phil 2

·        How does the one flesh look? What is the intent of God in how we regard each other?

 

 

Phi 2:1  So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, Phi 2:2  complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Phi 2:3  Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Phi 2:4  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Jesus said:

Mat 19:6  So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."

God is the one who creates oneness. If God was not involved in the marriage, then the couple may have a civil union but not oneness.

What is the context in Genesis of oneness then?

Gen 1:28  And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

It is possible that, as a result of this, some of the Jewish Christians in Corinth were pressuring single Gentile believers to become married. Some of the Gentiles, on the other hand, perhaps because of past experiences they had had, were inclined to remain single. As the Jews had done with marriage, those Gentiles, reacting to the sexual sin of their past, came to look on celibacy not only as the ideal state but the only truly godly state. Paul acknowledges that singleness is good, honorable, and excellent, but he does not support the claim that it is a more spiritual state or that it is more acceptable to God than marriage.

1) Celibacy Is Good 7:1

2) Celibacy Is Tempting 7:2

1Co 7:2  But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

Please turn to Eph 5

But because of the temptation to sexual immorality does not imply that every Corinthian church member was immoral, although many of them were. Paul is speaking of the danger of fornication for those who are single. Because sexual desire is unfulfilled and can be very strong, there is great temptation to sexual immorality for those who are not married, especially in societies—such as that of ancient Rome and our own—where sexual license is freely practiced and glorified.

Marriage cannot be reduced simply to being God’s escape valve for the sex drive.

Eph 5:22  Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Eph 5:23  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.

  • One writer has said that: “Human marriage in its creational design serves as a pedagogical metaphor of God’s love for his people”.

Please turn to Prov. 5

His purpose in 1 Cor. 7 is to stress the reality of the sexual temptations of singleness and to acknowledge that they have a legitimate outlet in marriage. Therefore, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

  • This is not the ground of marriage, as though it were ordained for a remedy against sin, but gives a special reason why those should marry at Corinth who might otherwise have remained single.
  • The expression to have is euphemistic for the sexual act.

Pro 5:15  Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. Pro 5:16  Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? Pro 5:17  Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you. Pro 5:18  Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, Pro 5:19  a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.

How then is there oneness in Marriage?

Please turn to Song of Solomon

 

As we have just seen, Scripture gives numerous reasons for marriage. First, marriage is for procreation. God commanded Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). God intends for mankind to reproduce itself. Marriage is also for pleasure. Proverbs speaks of a man’s being “exhilarated always” with the wife of his youth (Prov. 5:18–19), and the Song of Solomon centers around the physical attractions and pleasures of marital love. Marriage is a partnership. Woman was created for man to be “a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18). Friendship between husband and wife is one of the key ingredients of a good marriage. Marriage is a picture of the church. Husbands are to have authority over and to love their wives as Christ has authority over and loves the church (Eph. 5:23–32). And marriage is for purity. It protects from sexual immorality by meeting the need for physical fulfillment.

The nature of oneness is developed:

Son 7:10  I am my beloved's, and his desire is for me. Son 7:11  Come, my beloved, let us go out into the fields and lodge in the villages; Son 7:12  let us go out early to the vineyards and see whether the vines have budded, whether the grape blossoms have opened and the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love. Son 7:13  The mandrakes give forth fragrance, and beside our doors are all choice fruits, new as well as old, which I have laid up for you, O my beloved.

Actor Jack Benney attracted his wife by sending her a red rose every day. They began to date and she received a red rose everyday of their courtship and he continued to send them every day for their married life. When he died, the roses kept coming every day. His wife contacted the florist to notify them of Jack’s death so that they could discontinue bringing the roses. They said, No you don’t understand. Your husband, prior to his death, made provision for you to receive a red rose every day for the rest of your life.

 

1) Celibacy Is Good 7:1 2) Celibacy Is Tempting 7:2

3) Celibacy Is Wrong for Married Persons 7:3-5

1Co 7:3  The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 1Co 7:4  For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 1Co 7:5  Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

That celibacy is wrong for those who are married should be an obvious truth, but it was not obvious to some of the Corinthian believers. Because of their erroneous belief in the spiritual superiority of total sexual abstinence, some members in the church practiced it even within marriage. Some overzealous husbands apparently had decided to set themselves apart wholly for God.

In doing so, however, they neglected or even denied their responsibilities to their wives, especially in the area of sexual relations. Some wives had done the same thing. The practice of deprivation probably was most common when the spouse was not a believer. But Paul applies his command to all marriages, as is clear from vv. 10–17. Married believers are not to sexually deprive their spouses, whether or not the spouse is a Christian.

The apostle made no exception to the instruction that the husband fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. He specifically says in V. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband

 

God holds all marriage to be sacred and He holds sexual relations between husband and wife not only to be sacred but proper and even obligatory. Paul makes it clear that physical relations within marriage are not simply a privilege and a pleasure but a responsibility. Husbands and wives have a duty to give sexual satisfaction to each other. There is no distinction between men and women. The husband has no more rights in this regard than the wife.

In verse 4 Paul reinforces the mutuality of obligation. It is a reciprocal right.

1Co 7:4  For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

Please turn to 1 Thes 4.

·         What is the nature of the obligation? How can we have oneness? What is the implication of getting this wrong?

1Th 4:3  For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 1Th 4:4  that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 1Th 4:5  not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 1Th 4:6  that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 1Th 4:7  For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 1Th 4:8  Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Please turn back to 1 Cor. 6:13

God honors sexual desire and expression within marriage. In fact, failure for Christian husbands and wives to submit sexually to the authority of their spouses brings dishonor to God because it dishonors marriage.

1Co 6:13  "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food"--and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 1Co 6:14  And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.  1Co 6:15  Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!  1Co 6:16  Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, "The two will become one flesh." 1Co 6:17  But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 1Co 6:18  Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 1Co 6:19  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 1Co 6:20  for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

One thing I heard a lot of towards the end of Last week’s election was the phrase “a woman’s right to choose”. Government requires us to wear a seat belt and prohibits us from consuming certain drugs, yet in terms of slogans, just like the Corinthians is that “A woman has the right to decide what happens to her body”. In 1 Cor. 6 we see:

1)      the purpose of the body: for the Lord v.13

2)     Destiny of the Body: eternal life v.14

3)     The Church as the Body: The effect of sexual sin on the corporate body v. 15

4)     Idolatry of the Body: The uniting of God with a harlot v. 16-17

5)     Sinning against one’s Body: It’s a sin with the body, in the body against the body v. 18

6)     Ownership of the Body:  v. 19-20

In 1 Cor. 7:4  The present tense of exousiazei (have authority over) indicates a general statement that is always true. Spouses’ mutual authority over each other’s bodies is continuous; it lasts throughout marriage. In the normal realms of life, a Christian’s body is his own, to take care of and to use as a gift from God. And in the deepest spiritual sense, of course, it belongs entirely to God (Rom. 12:1). But in the marital realm, it also belongs to the marriage partner.

·        Elsewhere Paul teaches that the husband is the head of the wife (11:3; Eph 5:23) but here he plainly declared the in respect to the sexuality of husband and wife, there is complete equality.

Sexual expression within marriage is not an option or an extra. It is certainly not, as it has sometimes been considered, a necessary evil in which spiritual Christians engage only to procreate children. It is far more than a physical act. God created it to be the expression and experience of love on the deepest human level and to be a beautiful and powerful bond between husband and wife. The Two become one.

Do not deprive one another. It is an emphatic command. Sexual relations between a husband and his wife are God–ordained and commanded.

·        The verb Deprive connoted stealing or robbing an individual of his or her possession or in this instance, of one’s rights.

·        The expression is one of a debt. It is what is owed the other. It is in the present tense so it is a debt that is never paid and which we always owe.

·        If one party defrauds the other, he or she violates God’s creational ordinance (Gen. 1:28; 2:24) and instead of being spiritual, is sinful.

Sometime we look at marriage to only what we can get.  There is a story of a want add that appeared in the classifieds that read: “Wanted. Good woman. Must be able to clean, cook, sew, dig worms and clean fish. Must have boat and moror. Please send picture of boat and motor.”

The only exception is both mutual and temporary: except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer.

As in the case of fasting, if both partners agree to abstain from sexual activity for a brief period to allow one or both of them to spend time in intensive prayer, they may do so. Both the ideas of a specific period of time and of a specific purpose for prayer are implied. The length of time for physical separation and the specific need and purpose of the prayer should be agreed on in advance. Such Examples would include such situations where God may give us a strong burden about a person or a ministry, a burden that requires our undivided attention and concentrated prayer. Grief or serious illness, for example, may lead to this. Or we may fall into a particularly harmful sin and need to withdraw for awhile to get straightened out with the Lord.

We think that the puritans destroyed the concept of sex. There are accounts like the one of James Matlock who lived in New England in the 17th century. He was placed under church discipline because he wasn’t having sex with his wife. The wife complained to the church elders that her husband wasn’t fulfilling his marital duty to her. They investigated the matter and then excommunicated Matlock. They told him he would remain under church discipline until he began satisfying his wife’s sexual needs. Most people think that Puritans were prudish and anti-sex. They were actually very biblical in their approach to practical areas of the Christian life.

Please turn to 1 Peter 3

After the covenant at Sinai had been given, the Lord planned to come down and manifest Himself before Israel “in a thick cloud, in order that the people may hear when I speak with [Moses].” In preparation for His coming, the people were to consecrate themselves by washing their clothes and by abstaining from sexual intercourse for three days (Ex. 19:9–15). Joel 2:12-16, and Zec. 12: 10-12 have other instances of abstinence for Prayer. But in 1 Peter 3:

1Pe 3:7  Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

  • If men demand and demean we risk our very communion with God.

But when such urgent spiritual needs are past, normal marital relationships are to resume. Husbands and wives then are to come together again.

The reason for coming back together is explicit: so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.  When the time of concentrated prayer is over, normal desires and temptations will return, often with greater intensity. Satan knows that Christians can be especially vulnerable after a mountaintop experience. Our defenses are apt to be down and our pride may be up.

Therefore, unless it is by mutual consent, for a specific prayer need and for a brief period of time, sexual abstinence can become a tool of Satan.

It is never to be used as pretense for spiritual superiority or as a means of intimidating or manipulating one’s spouse. Physical love is to be a normal and regular experience shared by both marriage partners alike, as a gift from God.

The knowledge of our wives must extend beyond the everyday.  Yet there are days when all a man has to do is open his mouth and he takes his life in his own hands. There is a story of a couple who was attending a marriage seminar on communication and the instructor told them that is was essential that husbands and wives know the things that are important to each other. He addressed the men, “Can you describe your wife’s favourite flower?” One man leaned over and touched his wife’s arm gently and whispered, “Pillsbury All-Purpose, isn’t it?”

1) Celibacy Is Good 7:1 2) Celibacy Is Tempting 7:2 3) Celibacy Is Wrong for Married Persons 7:3-5

4) Celibacy Is a Gift 7:6-7

1Co 7:6  Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. 1Co 7:7  I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.

  • The Now is adversative and qualifies Paul’s preceeding comment.
  • The demonstrative pronoun This, refers not to marriage which he fully endorses, but to the exception to the rule of marital rights.

The Greek (sungnōmē) translated here as a concession, means “to think the same thing as someone, to have a joint opinion, a common mind or understanding.” It can also mean “awareness.” I say this refers hack to what has just been said about marriage. I think Paul was saying that he was aware of the goodness of being single and celibate, yet aware also of the privileges and responsibilities of marriage. His comments were not meant as a command for every believer to be married.

Marriage was instituted by God and is the norm for man–woman relationships, and it is a great blessing to mankind. But it is not required for believers or for anyone else. His point was: If you are single that is good, and if you are married or get married, stay married and retain normal marital relations, for that is of God. Spirituality is not determined by marital status.

In one sense, Paul wished that all believers could be unmarried, as I myself am. He said that in light of the great freedom and independence he had as a single person to serve Christ But he did not expect all believers to be unmarried. He did not expect all who were then single to stay single. And for those who were already married it would be wrong to live as if they were single, to become celibate while married.

Although celibacy is good for Christians who are not married, it is a gift from God that He does not give to every believer. Just as it is wrong to misuse a gift that we have, it is also wrong to try to use a gift we do not have. For a person who does not have the gift of celibacy, trying to practice it brings moral and spiritual frustration. But for those who have it as God’s gift, singleness, like all His gifts, is a great blessing.

Each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. . Our purpose should be to discover the gifts he has given us and to use those gifts faithfully and joyfully in His service, without either envying or disparaging the gifts we do not have.

There is a story of a pastor visiting the fourth-grade Sunday School class to talk about marriage. He asked the class “What does God say about marriage”? Immediately one boy repliedFather, forgive them, for they know not what they do

 

1) Celibacy Is Good 7:1 2) Celibacy Is Tempting 7:2 3) Celibacy Is Wrong for Married Persons 7:3-5 4) Celibacy Is a Gift 7:6-7

5) Guidelines For oneness 7:8-9

1Co 7:8  To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. 1Co 7:9  But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.

The unmarried and widows are the two categories of single people mentioned here. The world unmarried in verse 8 is a masculine plural word in Greek, and the word widows is a feminine plural word Widows (chērais) (1 Ti. 5) are single people who formerly were married but were severed from that relationship by the death of the spouse. That leaves the matter of the unmarried. Who are they?

The term unmarried (agamos, from “wedding, or marriage,” with the negative prefix a) is used only four times in the New Testament, and all four are in this chapter. Verse 34 uses it more definitively: “the woman who is unmarried, and the virgin.” We assume Paul has two distinct groups in mind: whoever the unmarried are, they are not virgins. Verse 8 speaks to “the unmarried and to widows,” so we can conclude that the unmarried are not widows. The clearest insight comes in the use of the term in verses 10 and 11: “the wife should not leave [divorce] her husband (but if she does leave, let her remain unmarried. …).” The term unmarried indicates those who were previously married, but are not widows; people who are now single, but are not virgins. The unmarried woman, therefore, is a divorced woman.

Paul is speaking to people who were divorced before coming to Christ. They wanted to know if they had the right to marry. His word to them is that it is good for them who are now free of marriage to remain even as I. By that statement Paul affirms that he was formerly married.

Because marriage seems to have been required for membership in the Sanhedrin, to which Paul may once have belonged, because he had been so devoutly committed to Pharisaic tradition (Gal. 1:14), and because he refers to one who could have been his wife’s mother (Rom. 16:13), we may assume that he was once married. His statement here to the previously married confirms that—even as I. Likely he was a widower. He does not identify with the virgins but with the unmarried and widows, that is, with the formerly married.

If, a single believer cannot exercise self-control, that person should seek to marry. If a Christian is single but does not have the gift of singleness and is being strongly tempted sexually, he or she should pursue marriage. They should marry in the Greek is in the aorist imperative, indicating a strong command. “Get married,” Paul says, better to marry than to be aflame with passion.. The term means “to be inflamed,” and is best understood as referring to strong passion (cf. Rom. 1:27). A person cannot live a happy life, much less serve the Lord, if he is continually burning with sexual desire—even if the desire never results in actual immorality. And in a society such as Corinth’s, or ours, in which immorality is so prevalent and accepted, it is especially difficult not to succumb to temptation.

To be aflame, pyrousthai, has a present and future connotation. Talmudic rabbis together with scholars from the third century to the present have interpreted this verb to refer to burning in Hell. They perceive it as God’s righteous judgment on the sinner who continues to violate sexual mores.

Oneness is not as allusive as we may fear. Enjoying what God has provided is his aim. He want the best for us and us to be happy and one.

Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispered to her mother, “Why is the bride dressed in white?”. “Because white is the color of happiness, and today is the happiest day of her life”. The child thought about this for a moment, then said, “So why is the groom wearing black?”.


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cf. confer (Lat.), compare

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