Saturday, 2 August 2014
Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 1 Corinthians 7:27
There is no reason to suppose that Paul’s words in verse 27 are a fixed and firm rule, but rather a temporary guide. This is based on the previous verse which spoke these words –
“I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress—that it is good for a man to remain as he is:”
The colon at the end of that verse, used by the translators to signify the thought being presented, shows that verse 27 is based on “the present distress.” It is also evident from the coming verses. Therefore, based on this, and taking in context the other times Paul speaks of this issue, this is a temporary measure, not a fixed and prescriptive directive. In this temporary state, he asks, “Are you bound to a wife?” His answer, which is based on his previous guidelines and which is confirmed by the word of the Lord Himself is, “Do not seek to be loosed.”
And his next question is, “Are you loosed from a wife?” This can mean “free” from a wife, such as in being single. Or it can mean one who is loosed in a host of other ways – death, divorce before becoming a Christian, divorced because of sexual immorality, or single because the non-believing spouse departed, etc. If in this state, and because of the temporary trials he says, “Do not seek a wife.” Again, this doesn’t mean a suitable woman for a wife might not come along and that she should be shunned. Rather, he is certainly inferring that a man who is caught up in the current dilemma should focus on those circumstances and not be seeking a wife.
Who would be in battle during a war and be looking for a wife at the same time? Who, in a time of famine would say, “Gee, it should would be nice to find a wife to starve with?” And so forth. There is a time for all things and the current distress that Paul was writing about showed the need for right thinking on the issue of marriage.
Life application: Seeking a spouse is a good thing, but doing so in a time of hardship or calamity will more than likely only increase the hardship or calamity. Therefore, take all things in a proper order and without causing increased suffering in what is already a tough world.
O wondrous God! Thank You for the day which lies ahead. Every blessing, every trial, every bite of food, and every flower on the path has been arranged by You for us. Some things will be great, others may not be so, but they are given to us for growth, learning, and appreciating You all the more. And so I look forward to whatever comes my way as a gift from You. I’ll take the good, take the bad, and do it all with gratitude to You. How I love You, O God. Amen.