1 Corinthians 7:40


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.



1 Corinthians 7:39


Thursday, 14 August 2014

A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 7:39

Paul’s words now are probably a direct response to a question put forth by the Corinthians. However, even if not directly asked, they still provide a well-rounded summary of his previous thoughts on marriage. First he reiterates his earlier words by stating that “a wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives.” This “law” is speaking of that of God from the beginning of creation, conscience in Christ, and New Testament theology; not the Old Testament law which has been set aside because of the work of Christ.

As long as the husband is alive, she is bound to him. However, “if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes.” Again in this verse, it is implicitly seen that the giving of a virgin in marriage was done by the one who had responsibility over her, not by her own choice. This is unlike today where that right is generally granted to those getting married and by mutual consent. Having noted that, for the widow, there were no restrictions and the choice to remarry was hers “to whom she wishes.” Paul speaks of the widow’s freedom from her marriage in Romans 7 –

“For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.” Romans 7:2, 3

Understanding that a woman is freed from the marriage by the death of her husband, and that she is free to marry whom she wishes, Paul adds in one caveat requiring her obedience which is that she must marry “only in the Lord.” Regardless of whether her previous husband was a believer or not, if she is a believer, she is required to marry a Christian. Several reasons for this should be obvious, but above all, her consideration of Christ as her Head is the most important. How could she be honoring Christ by allowing a non-Christian the authority over her? Paul speaks of the headship of Christ over man and the headship of the husband over the wife in 1 Corinthians 11. Her marriage to a non-believer would ultimately be dishonoring of Christ.

Paul gives this same general guideline in 2 Corinthians 6:4 when he says, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” Marriage implies a yoke and to be yoked to a non-believer in marriage would certainly be an unequal yoking. Therefore, Paul’s words are intended to honor Christ and ensure that He is exalted in our lives.

Life application: Heartstrings are far less important than obedience. When making decisions in life, the first and most important consideration is our allegiance to Christ. We need to make sure that our emotions don’t drive our decisions lest we be led astray from a proper walk with Him.

Lord God, there are times when I really want something which I know I shouldn’t have. Sometimes taking a bite of something yummy costs more calories that then flavor ss worth: A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips. Sometimes, taking part in an adventure may unnecessarily risk my life and so I need to not engage in that activity. I know these things and try to live by them. And yet, do I hold obedience to Your word as just as important? Help me to live according to its precepts first and foremost and never take part in something that would hinder my walk with You. This I ask that our fellowship will be pure and undefiled. Thank You for help in this. Amen.



1 Corinthians 7:38


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better.1 Corinthians 7:38

Having stated his instructions on the giving of one’s virgin in marriage, Paul sums the thought up in today’s verse beginning with, “So then he who give her in marriage does well.” He has not erred in his actions nor sinned against God by them. He has given a wife to a husband and his virgin to a man for her care and protection. Even if this were during a time of “distress,” no wrongdoing has occurred.

Having said that, Paul then notes the contrast by saying, “but he who does not give her in marriage does better.” He cannot be speaking of “better” in a moral sense because if so, then the other chosen path would have been morally deficient. The better moral path should always be chosen. Instead, “better” must refer to the issue of the distress of the times. For the sake of the virgin, by withholding marriage it would be a better expedient for the care of her heart and any possible sadness which might result from the challenges which lay ahead.

Life application: If a path can be taken which avoids the pitfalls of heartache and sadness, it is certainly the better one to choose. Getting ourselves into trials and difficulties should naturally be avoided because we are then much more likely to have freedom to praise God instead of worrying about the trials which surround us.

Lord God, it’s hard to lose friends that I am close with as they move away for work, marriage, or some other reason, but at the same time they will have new adventures, meet new people, and will hopefully be blessed in the path they take. Above all, I would pray for those who have set out on a new trail that they would remember You as they go. Help them to keep their lives in focus concerning their need to pursue You first. And then Lord, bless them beyond their wildest imagination! Yes Lord, bless Your people. Amen.


1 Corinthians 7:37


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well. 1 Corinthians 7:37

These words are set in contrast to what was stated in verse 36. It is assumed from these verses, and known from the customs of the times, that the father had control over his daughter’s marriage decisions. Unlike the world today where young people fall in love and decide who they will marry, those in the Roman empire were simply told who they would marry and when. It might be that in the afternoon a father could come home and say, “Tomorrow you will marry a man I met today.” Arranged marriages were the standard, not the exception.

Paul noted previously that the father didn’t sin if he allowed his virgin daughter to marry. And now he introduces the contrast by saying, “Nevertheless…” What was said is acceptable, but there is another point to consider. And all of it is based on the “present distress” already noted in verse 26. Because of this difficulty “he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well.”

By withholding marriage from his virgin daughter, he is doing well because he will keep her from the great troubles which were expected at this time of distress. Someone had to tend to her, be it him or her new husband. Because she was already in the home and because there was no external need to marry her off, they could ride this time of distress through together without causing sin. The idea here is that if keeping her from marrying would cause her to be tempted to the point of losing her virginity, then it would be sin. If this wasn’t the case, then they were doing well by having her not get married.

Life application: Paul’s words continuously show his regard for purity, holiness, and keeping sin at bay. If we can learn from his examples and his words of instruction, how much easier will our lives be and how much more pleasing to the Lord will we walk!

O wondrous God. Around me are the sounds of life. The crickets are chirping, the chimes are tinkling in the wind, and the house is stirred with morning routine. It is a comfort and a joy to have such things and I thank You for them. But should times of loss and disaster come my way, I will be unwavering in my thanks to You. My love and gratitude to You isn’t based on the present delights, but on the surety that nothing can separate me from Your love because of Christ. Thank You for this steadfast hope. Amen.


1 Corinthians 7:36


Monday, 11 August 2014

But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry. 1 Corinthians 7:36

It is generally agreed that this verse is speaking of a man who is responsible for a virgin daughter or who otherwise has the charge and responsibility over the young woman. There is an age where she will naturally be inclined to want the company of a man, even if there is a time of distress occurring in the world. Just because there may be, it doesn’t change the natural process of her life. Eventually, she will be tempted to express those desires if she is not allowed to marry.

The one in charge of her should understand this and may eventually feel that his care of her, even if it is for her own good, may cause her to sin if he doesn’t allow her to get married. And so when she reaches or exceeds that point by becoming “past the flower of her youth,” Paul says that he may “do what he wishes” by giving her away in marriage.

It is more preferable to do this than it would be to restrict her from marriage and eventually cause her to act on her natural impulses in a sinful way. Obviously, the world is different today and parents don’t exercise the same control over their children than they once did. The custom of prearranged marriages is all but over and instead the decision is left up to the one marrying. Now however, even under the best of circumstances, parents may agree to the marriage, but there is little control exercised by them over the “who” and the “when” of it.

Regardless of this, whether it is the arranging of a marriage or simply the “nod of consent” to it, if the girl is of marrying age and his approval is given “he does not sin.” Instead Paul says that it is ok to “let them marry.” Again, all of this is based on the “present distress” which was referred to in verse 26 and has been cited as a general guideline for such an instance. For the past 2000 years, marriages have continued as normal during the time that the church awaits the return of Christ.

Life application: Marriage has been ordained by God. Likewise the urges and desires for marriage were instilled in us by God. It is better to marry than to sin against Him by engaging in sex apart from marriage. And so even in times of distress, the situation and circumstances of marriage must be carefully considered for the good of all involved.

Lord Jesus, it sure is wonderful to know You. I cannot imagine being without the hope found in the eternal life promised through Your shed blood. And so today, I simply want to thank You, to praise You, and to acknowledge Your wondrous majesty. Hallelujah and Amen.