Friday, 15 August 2014
But she is happier if she remains as she is, according to my judgment—and I think I also have the Spirit of God.1 Corinthians 7:40
To complete chapter 7, Paul finishes his thought on the remarrying of a widow during the “present distress” which was mentioned in verse 26. He just noted that for a widow, “if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.” Having said that, he states that the present time may not be the best time to get involved once again in marriage. His thoughts are that she will be “happier if she remains as she is.”
This is only to be construed as a temporary thing during the “present distress” because in 1 Timothy 5, he gives the following instruction –
“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. For some have already turned aside after Satan.” 1 Timothy 5:11-15
Whatever distress was occurring at the time of this letter to Corinth had passed or it didn’t affect those in the area to which Timothy was working as a pastor. Therefore, his advice differs from 1 Corinthians 7. Continuing on concerning his words to the Corinthians, he says that they are “according to my judgment.” This refers back to verse 25 where he began this particular discourse on virgins and widows. In that verse he said, “I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give judgment as one whom the Lord in His mercy has made trustworthy.” Therefore, these are his judgments on an issue not explicitly explained by the Lord.
But this doesn’t mean that his words are not authoritative. Instead, as an apostle and one who was under the influence of the Spirit, they bear the authority of the Lord, granted to him. And so he closes the chapter with, “and I think I also have the Spirit of God.” These words don’t indicate that he wasn’t sure. Rather, as the Pulpit Commentary notes, “it is an expression of personal conviction that he has the Spirit, not an implied doubt of the fact.” He understood the authority he possessed and that the Spirit was guiding him. In a polite manner, he reminds those in Corinth of this fact.
Life application: Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 7 have been given under the influence of the Spirit and for the general edification and instruction of the church. Some of his words were directed solely to a period of “distress” that surrounded the church at that time. They must therefore be taken in that light and considered when times of distress surround believers at any point during the church age. Paul’s words contain wisdom and exhortation, but not necessarily prescriptive commands for such times.
Let the elders who rule well be counted by all
As worthy of double honor and respect
Especially those who labor in the call
Of the word and doctrine which is pure and correct
For the Scripture says in its pages
“You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain
And, “The laborer is worthy of his wages
Thus giving us sound advice once again
Yes Lord, I am thankful to You for those who have labored in Your word and in sound, proper doctrine. The greatest treasure of my life is knowing You more each day and coming to understand the mysteries of Your word. For those who have spent so much time in it, rightly dividing it and then sharing their learning with me, I am forever grateful. Thank You for them and please heap an eternal blessing upon their heads for their efforts. Praise to You for those You have put in my path. Yes! Thank You Lord. Amen.