Monday, 14 July 2014
But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am;… 1 Corinthians 7:8
This is a follow up to the question levied to Paul about being celibate as opposed to getting married. He answered the question about celibacy, spoke of marriage, and has returned to both those who are unmarried, and those who were married but who are now widows. He is doing this because eventually the question would have been made, “Does his advice on celibacy and marriage pertain in these circumstances too?”
He is presenting a logical, orderly, and complete response to their question. And so “to the unmarried and to the widows” he gives guidance – “It is good for them if they remain even as I am.” In other words, there is nothing wrong with never getting married, nor is there anything wrong with a widow remaining a widow. Having said that, he is neither mandating this, nor is he saying that there is something wrong with getting married or getting remarried. In fact, in 1 Timothy, he will give this advice concerning younger widows –
“But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” 1 Timothy 5:12-14
Everything must be taken in context and the reason behind each statement must be considered. To take any of these individual verses from Paul and use them as a stand-alone text, will inevitably result in bad doctrine. Eventually, things like Catholic doctrine where priests are to remain unmarried will result from a misinterpretation of Scripture and then other, much greater, problems will inevitably arise within the church.
Life application: The Bible covers the main issues that we need for the conduct of our lives. If we properly apply it, we will be in good shape as we live lives of holiness and purity in the presence of the Lord.
How wonderful it is to have Your word to rely on, Lord. When troubles and questions arise which are difficult for me to resolve, I can go there and find out what You would have for me to do. And as You are the Creator of man and the Author of the manual for man, I know that I will always find the right and proper resolution to my needs. Thank You for such attentive care for us, the work of Your hands. Amen.