Day 71…1 Corinthians 7:36-40

December 5, 2011 at 11:33 AM 2 comments

I Corinthians 7:36-40: Singleness & remarriage

Some people feel a lot of pressure to get married. They might even go as far to say they are not complete until they are married–especially women. But Paul shares again the advantages of being single. The biggest is we can focus all our energy and time on serving Jesus!

v.36-38, It is interesting as I studied this small section of verses different commentaries differ of what Paul is speaking of. I agree with the NIV view that Paul is speaking of a man and women who are engaged. [Other views say it is a father and daughter or it is a married couple who are practicing celibacy in their “spiritual marriage.”] Paul starts by saying “if a man thinks he’s treating his fiancee improperly …” speaking of sexual relations before marriage (not intercourse) then he “ought to marry” his fiancee. He should also marry her if she is“getting along in years” which means being past the prime of marriage. In their culture the women were at their prime for marrying at the age of 18 to 20. “He is not sinning” by getting married. However if the man “has settled the matter in his own mind” and “made up his mind not to marry” his fiancee, he is “under no compulsion” (outside pressure from parents or a prior agreement) to do so. In other words if a man has made up his mind not to marry his fiancee he should let her go. This man then has “control over his own will” and can make his own decisions. Both situations the man “does the right thing.” But Paul favours “the man who doesn’t marry” he even says he “does even better.” Paul is really saying if you are single you have more potential time available to serve Jesus.

v.39-40, Paul continues the discussion about singleness as he speaks of a woman who has lost her husband to death. First he mentions that marriage is a lifelong contract by simply saying “a woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives.” But the only reason that relationship should be dissolved is if “her husband dies” then she “is free to marry anyone she wishes” as long as that person is a believer (“belongs to the Lord”). BTW this also applied to men whose wives have died too. She or he can remarry but it doesn’t necessarily mean they should, but in Paul’s “opinion it will be better for her if she doesn’t marry again” and “she [will be] happier if she stays as she is.” Again for the same reason Paul gives in previous verses (25, 28, 32-34).

Take note: 1 Timothy 5:11-15 gives a bit more positive view of remarriage simply because Paul is not dealing with quite the same problems as here, in Corinth.

He finishes off this chapter with “I think I am giving you counsel from God’s Spirit when I say this.” This was more advice or counsel then a command from the Lord or the Old Testament, but it still carried the weight of divine inspiration from the Holy Spirit, who gave Paul the words he needed to answer the Corinthian believers’ questions.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? I believe I have learned to put God’s work and service to him first before anything in my life. However I do believe Paul would want us to put our families before our jobs. I think it should be in priority like this: God, family, work.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?  I need to dedicate my time again to God. That I would serve him first but not neglect my family as I serve. I believe it is a balancing act.

Entry filed under: Journey Thru the Bible. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Deandre  |  December 16, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    In the copmlcitaed world we live in, it’s good to find simple solutions.

    • 2. Andrew DeGraaf  |  March 20, 2012 at 11:13 AM

      I agree. Glad you are enjoying my blog. Please come back again soon.


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