I do not want to put words in his mouth, so will leave it at that. $9 Million Match! Yes, I will give families hope this Christmas! (1 Corinthians 7:2, 5–6) So how can marriage be somehow not preferable or a concession in light of the verses we see in Genesis 2:18 and Proverbs 18:22? Why does Paul think his (single) lot is better? Paul actually explains himself directly in the text (and elsewhere), if I recall correctly. 4The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. It is good for a man not to touch a woman. In fact, for those with strong sexual urges, it is better to marry than to be consumed by unfulfilled desire. 7:8–9). Then we will draw some concluding remarks and leave the decision in your hands. We must be careful not to confuse the two. The sexual context of these words is clear. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. The Apostle Paul on Marriage and Singleness, 8605 Explorer Drive Colorado Springs, CO 80920-1051, Grandparents Threatened to Either Support Transgender Grandchild or Be Cut Off, How to Find Counseling Support for Teen With Sexual Identity Issues, When Family Secrets Come Out: How to Work Through Your Feelings and Find a Way Forward. (20 Controversies – page 100). On the other hand, some people do better as a team, serving God as a couple and a family. He does not directly show how these verses apply to the preceding ones in light of his new explanation. He does not say that because of the dangers of sexual immorality we should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. If you’re getting married thinking you’ll never be lonely again, buckle up, because marriage is totally … He suggests that what Paul is telling us to flee is not marriage but sexual immorality. It “happens” to people for a wide variety of reasons. The list goes on and on. Paul in particular doesn’t pull any punches in this regard: “But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: it is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. I believe this is a genuine insight that we need to take seriously. Many Bible translations render the words “touch a woman” as “… In 2 Corinthians 6:14, the Apostle Paul says that believers should not “be unequally yoked with non-believers.” While it’s true that this passage does not specifically mention marriage, it does refer to being bound in a relationship with another person—no relationship is more binding than marriage. Paul thinks the one who doesn’t marry his fiancé does “better” than the one who gets married (1 Cor. At the same time, we can’t possibly go along with the idea that “marriage is a second-class state” or that “singleness is the ideal.” If that were true, why did God say in the very beginning that “it is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18)? But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with … Doesn’t she, the lady, have any say in the matter? To these people he says that it is good for them to remain unmarried but if they are unable to exercise self-control, they should marry instead of burning with passion. Women do not need the protection and support of a spouse to serve God, and neither do men. 1 Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: In our opinion, the charge of living a completely asexual life – and this, we must remember, is what “singleness” or celibacy implies for a serious Christian – is a difficult standard to achieve. What we will look for is the answer with the least amount of difficulties. But if they do not have self-control, let them get married. This is a well-known passage from the book of Corinthians (1 Corinthians 7:1-7 NKJV). Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” It seems that these verses may be easier to understand in light of a traditional interpretation of the first 7 verses. Medical or financial difficulties. ARE PAUL’S INSTRUCTIONS IN 1 CORINTHIANS 7 AUTHORITATIVE? The injustice argument that still has not gotten the attention it deserves: Marriage is unfair to single … There is more to consider here than just marriage itself. Then our Lord speaks of a third class who are not forced by circumstances to be single, but who do so wholly by choice. 7For I wish that all men were even as I myself. As one who has long been dissatisfied with the standard explanation of these verses, I was intrigued by Pastor Ganz’s new take. Genesis 20:4 [LXX.]). It says if they are not exercising self-control. Paul’s statement that it is better to marry than to burn supports the Bible’s strong stand against sexual immorality: if an unmarried couple are burning with passion for each other, they need to marry, not give in to sin. Difficult family situations. The meaning of the passage is fairly straightforward. The church fathers taught this view and it impacted the Roman Catholic Church as they forbade their clergy to marry, lest it keep them from their higher calling. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (I Corinthians 7:8, 9). It’s a rare gift that God grants only to a few special individuals (see Matthew 19:10-12; I Corinthians 7:7). However, if they feel they will be unable to contain themselves sexually, they should marry to avoid sin. The Bible clearly says that widows and widowers are free to remarry, but it does not say if they should. $9 Million Match! Sorry to defer a decision, but I am going to reserve judgment on this one for the time being while I see what other Christians have to say on the matter. Because of commitment to some special work within the great overarching dome of God's rule over men (the kingdom of heaven), there are those who choose to be single. Or perhaps since they have already been married, they have in a sense fulfilled their obligation in that regard and are no longer normatively required to marry. In an age where women were regarded as second-class citizens, Paul writes about the importance of a husband dedicating himself to his wife and giving to her any rights he might hold back that would keep her from enjoying sexual intimacy with him. It is better to marry than to burn. (Observe that in another situation Paul counsels the younger widows to marry [1Tim 5:14].) Though I hesitate to accept explanations that differ from what the majority of Christian theologians have believed, they cannot be summarily disposed simply because they are new. Naturally, we don’t take any of this to mean that married people are somehow “superior” to singles. Now we see that the gift he has is the gift of self-control. That is not always the case in modern times. But that, of course, does not make it right. Why not drop into the forum and let us know what you think! In the interpretation provided by Pastor Ganz we have to change the explanation. Paul places himself in the group of people who are either previously married or divorced (we do not know which, but it is likely that Paul was married and perhaps his wife left him when he became a Christian). It is first important to note that the “unmarried” Paul is referring to are people who have been previously married but have gone through a legitimate divorce. My own study of history leads me to believe that singleness was far more common in the past than it is today. This is the assumption underlying Paul’s entire discussion of the subject in I Corinthians 7. He wishes that all men were able to avoid the temptations of sexual immorality as he does. - If they cannot contain; rather, if they have not continency. Paul never meant that it was ALWAYS BETTER to NOT marry. Paul, for example, did not have to worry about the extra problems and stresses that come with marriage and/or family. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (I Corinthians 7:8, 9). The practical application seems plain: if you’re single and aren’t convinced that you have a clear calling to the celibate life, you should be thinking seriously about exploring the option of marriage. Why did He bless Adam and Eve with the words, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28)? In lieu of a comments section, I accept and encourage letters to the editor. Isn’t Paul promoting rape, out of wedlock sex and teen pregnancy? Have Focus on the Family resources helped you or your family? And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. I generally get a bit nervous (justifiably, I think) when I read words such as “I have already presented my interpretation, which is substantially different from that of my fellow Christian theologians.” (page 103). Got something to say? 1 Corinthians 7:9 | View whole chapter | See verse in context But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. As a single adult, I can't help feeling resentful when I see the Christian community placing so much emphasis on the importance of marriage. For it is better to marry than to burn with sexual desire” (1 Cor. These … He seems to provide adequate Scriptural support and takes into account other passages of Scripture. He counseled, however, that if they could not do that, it would be better for them to marry than to commit sexual sin. I should say just one brief word about that infamous sentence in 1 Corinthians 7:9: “If they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. Although some may be called to give their complete life and devotion to God, and have no difficulty with that, if a man is married or wants to marry, that is a good thing. Agreed, Markum. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. Our modern cultural prejudices are blinding us to the significance of the apostle Paul's statement: "I wish that all men were even as I myself" (I Corinthians 7:7). It’s central to the Lord’s original intentions for the human race. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” Remember, this is addressed explicitly to men and women (v. 8). Paul in particular doesn’t pull any punches in this regard: “But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: it is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. He would not have been such a useful messenger if he had been married. The word that most Bibles translates “marriage” is really synonymous with “sexual intercourse” – a meaning it carries in other places in the New Testament (though he does not tell us where these words appear). That much we’ll grant you. What we will notice is that there are three scriptural answers to this question. Since then it would seem that marriage has been normative for Christians – unless we have a good reason not to marry, we should get married. He also makes it clear that his ideas about the advantages of the single life are largely a response to the practical necessities of the immediate historical situation (i.e., persecution and hardship-see v. 26). learn more ›. This explanation has always troubled me, for at the beginning of time, while the word was still perfect, God said “it is not good for man to be alone” and in a sinless world instituted marriage. St. Paul means generally "not to marry" (comp. It is clear that Paul was not against marriage but he wrote it is better not to marry. 3Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. Inability to find a mate. The typical explanation we hear in this regard is that celibacy allows people to be freed from the responsibilities of marriage and family, which gives them greater opportunity to dedicate themselves entirely to the Lord. Double your gift to save babies from abortion! Either way, Paul is urging Christians to be wise about marriage during situations of persecution or impending persecution because there is an additional responsibility within the family, and particularly when children are produced, that makes dealing with it all the more difficult. In light of the traditional interpretation, we would assume that Paul is instructing these people to place a priority on the Lord’s work – dedicating themselves to that task – freed from the need to dedicate themselves to a marriage. Paul makes this clear when he repeats himself: “To the unmarried and widows I say that it is best for them to remain as I am [celibate and single]. 2Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. But he also wants to say that the choice between celibacy and marriage is not between right and wrong, but between the best thing and the next best thing (v. 38): The typical explanation we hear in this regard is that celibacy allows people to be freed from the responsibilities of marriage and family, which gives them greater opportunity to dedicate themselves entirely to the Lord. I have now blogged for 6,266 consecutive days. Verses 8 and 9 of the same chapter read “8But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; 9but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. This passage concludes with the words “For I wish that all men were even as I myself. If you would like to write a letter to the editor, you can do so here. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that. To answer this question what we will do is look at the reasons for the position and against the position. It almost seems he should accept a substandard Christian walk because of his lack of self-control. The apostle is giving advice to the single, whom he refers to as the unmarried and the widows. As with the others, this is a perfectly proper mode of life. I can assume, though, that he would provide the same explanation as before – though it may be good for them to remain unmarried, this does not make it the best or necessary decision, and certainly does not insinuate that remarriage is a lesser calling than remaining single. Paul never said it was not good to marry, or that celibacy was better than marriage – this was a fallacious and nonbiblical interpretation propagated by religious leaders of long ago, who were perhaps even influenced by Satan himself in order to assist in destroying what God intended to be good. Celibacy under the then existing conditions of the Christian world is, he admits, in itself an honourable and morally salutary thing, though, for the majority, marriage may be a positive duty. The Bible Reading Plan I Recommend for 2021, The Death of My Son and the Birth of My Savior, Nick Challies (March 5, 2000 – November 3, 2020), A Family Update Four Weeks After Our Worst Day. Verse 9. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.” In light of the traditional interpretation we would assume that Paul wishes that all Christian men were able to remain unmarried and that the gift he refers to is celibacy. He does so with words and explanations that place him far ahead of his time. Resources Therefore, marriage is good, and marriage is holy, when set about under the correct motivations and contexts. According to Paul, singleness is the ideal. Paul’s usage, then, should be similar to what we read about in regards to Abimelech not touching Sarah or Boaz who ordered his men not to touch Ruth. Yes, double my gift to save twice the lives this Christmas! But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. – philippinedev Aug 22 '16 at 18:23 The question now seems to me to be confused: the title question is about non-marrying in the last days; the discussion of the question is about raising children. Many Bible translations render the words “touch a woman” as “marry.” They believe it shows that Paul is suggesting that since it is good not to marry, therefore celibacy must be better than marriage. I have recently been reading a study of 1 Corinthians by Richard Ganz entitled 20 Controversies That Almost Killed A Church. However, if a person is unable to control himself because of sexual immorality, he should marry to avoid sinning. 1 Cor 7 does not say it is wrong to marry, only that it is better because it is less complicated. He says there are those who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of God. 8, 10, 12, 25). The one who marries his virgin does well. In this passage the apostle is careful to distinguish between commandments from the Lord and pronouncements based upon his own opinion (see vv. Marriage is clearly not for everybody. Unsubscribe at any time. Why did He create for Adam “a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18)? And yes, from the biblical point of view there’s a great deal to be said for the advantages of the single life. The one who does not marry her will do better. We understand that singleness can be a good thing in many situations and for a number of different reasons. In the case of this one I do find it satisfying, and more satisfying than the standard explanation. Rather, Paul suggested that it was in fact better to marry, except only for those widowed, who have already bee… As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. In each answer, there are some difficulties in the answer. That’s not the point. Theologians have traditionally interpreted the first two verses of the passage to show that Paul is suggesting celibacy as a higher calling than marriage. Why did He purposely make man “male and female” (Genesis 1:27)? Such statements make it clear that marriage is anything but a “second-class state.” On the contrary, it’s vital to the design of creation. G: What? People react to what Paul says in 1 … Also Paul said … That’s why we consider marriage such an important part of the divine plan for the average believer (I Corinthians 7:2). All content © Tim Challies, 2002-2020. I worship and serve as a pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto, Ontario, and am a co-founder of Cruciform Press. Do you agree? This is a well-known passage from the book of Corinthians (1 Corinthians 7:1-7 NKJV). Double your gift for struggling families! In his explanation of this chapter he provides an alternative to the traditional view. Remarriage is as much a … There is one thing that continues to trouble me, and that is in the verses immediately following the passage I outlined above. G: Paul is not hot on marriage, is he? Singleness is better than marriage when no … 1 Cor 7: 28But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. And of course the same is true of the wife to her husband. It is, he states, good or advisable for them to remain in their single state for the reasons spelled out in 7:26, 32-35. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to Aileen and a father to three children. Whatever else he may be saying, he is certainly not arguing that singleness is the “standard” for human life. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this. So when Paul says not to touch a woman or not to marry, he is actually saying “it is good for a man not to be involved in sexual immorality.”. My daily, curated collection of Kindle deals for Christians. When we view the verses through that understanding, the meaning changes completely! Focus on the Family has a staff of pastoral counselors who would love to speak with you over the phone. If you’d like to discuss this subject at greater length, give us a call. We start this morning our study of this seventh chapter in our continuing look at 1 Corinthians, and we are coming to a very important and controversial chapter. 7:40). Site by Mere. Doesn't the Bible view marriage as a "second-class state"? So, Paul is … The original tenses give greater force and beauty to this … Home » Family QAs » Get Help » Family Q&A » Relationships & Marriage Q&As » The Apostle Paul on Marriage and Singleness. The text doesn’t actually say if they cannot exercise self-control. I wrote this short, fast-paced, practical guide to productivity to share what I have learned about getting things done in today’s digital world. I have often struggled with reconciling God’s plan that we should marry and Paul’s words that we should avoid marriage unless we will not be strong enough to avoid sexual sin. By the time Ganz reaches verses 8 and 9 he has begun a new chapter and looks at the verses under a different topical heading. 7:38). If people think they can serve God better unmarried, it is probably because of what Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 7. He said that because there are now other factors in the equation. Singleness is circumstantial. But we still believe that it’s the exception to the rule. Celibacy, on the other hand, is a vocation. 6But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. The Marriage Of The Virgin? If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer. He devoted his entire life to spreading the Word of God. Death of a spouse. We cannot go to another place in the N… Let them marry.In 1 Timothy 5:14 he lays down and justifies the same rule with reference to young widows. Rather than teaching that marriage is a second-rate institution, the passage teaches that: ”In the face of all this sexual immorality, remember that each of you should be having a sexually intimate relationship within marriage.” “Each man having his own wife” means, “Each man having this special sexual relationship only with his wife.” This, friends, is very different from thinking that this passage teaches that marriage is not good! P: Let them get married. Receive every article in your inbox by subscribing below. It will help you learn to structure your life to do the most good to the glory of God. The First Five Years of Marriage: Launching a Lifelong, Successful Relationship, Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy. Having dispensed with the possibility of sexual immorality within a Christian marriage, Paul explains the importance of a mutually satisfying sexual relationship. Theologians have traditionally interpreted the first two verses of the passage to show that Paul is suggesting celibacy as a higher calling than marriage. Many married men were being turned over to the authorities if they were Christians as well have women who believed but had unbelieving spouses. Paul’s wish was that they could so completely divest themselves of personal needs, such as the need to be married and to satisfy sexual desires, that they would be able to fully devote themselves to the will and work of the Lord. In this connection, we should point out that there’s an important difference between mere “singleness” and a genuine spiritual calling to the celibate life. The Solution. But now our Lord gives a word of counsel to these groups. The Apostle Paul goes on to emphasize that marriage is not sinful in 1 Corinthians 7:28, where he said “But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned…” When the Lord leads two people to marry, it is not sin; it is a beautiful testimony to the Lord. 5Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. Unfortunately the phrase “only in the Lord” is unique to this place in the scriptures. Now Paul said, “it is better to marry.” But why did he say that? Those who don’t get remarried are “happier” (1 Cor. 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