Paul thinks the one who doesn’t marry his fiancé does “better” than the one who gets married (1 Cor. Doesn't the Bible view marriage as a "second-class state"? Celibacy, on the other hand, is a vocation. 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. In each answer, there are some difficulties in the answer. So, Paul is … 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. If you would like to write a letter to the editor, you can do so here. 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. - If they cannot contain; rather, if they have not continency. This passage concludes with the words “For I wish that all men were even as I myself. 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. It almost seems he should accept a substandard Christian walk because of his lack of self-control. In lieu of a comments section, I accept and encourage letters to the editor. 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. 1 Cor 7 does not say it is wrong to marry, only that it is better because it is less complicated. Resources It’s central to the Lord’s original intentions for the human race. 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. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. 6But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. Paul, for example, did not have to worry about the extra problems and stresses that come with marriage and/or family. Rather, Paul suggested that it was in fact better to marry, except only for those widowed, who have already bee… 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. (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? $9 Million Match! Unfortunately the phrase “only in the Lord” is unique to this place in the scriptures. All content © Tim Challies, 2002-2020. Why not drop into the forum and let us know what you think! However, if a person is unable to control himself because of sexual immorality, he should marry to avoid sinning. That’s why we consider marriage such an important part of the divine plan for the average believer (I Corinthians 7:2). 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. However, if they feel they will be unable to contain themselves sexually, they should marry to avoid sin. 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. 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. Women do not need the protection and support of a spouse to serve God, and neither do men. Singleness is circumstantial. Also Paul said … 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 one who marries his virgin does well. 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. 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). The text doesn’t actually say if they cannot exercise self-control. Therefore, marriage is good, and marriage is holy, when set about under the correct motivations and contexts. Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer. That is not always the case in modern times. As one who has long been dissatisfied with the standard explanation of these verses, I was intrigued by Pastor Ganz’s new take. 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). P: Let them get married. $9 Million Match! Unsubscribe at any time. Why does Paul think his (single) lot is better? But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. 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. In the case of this one I do find it satisfying, and more satisfying than the standard explanation. This is a well-known passage from the book of Corinthians (1 Corinthians 7:1-7 NKJV). And of course the same is true of the wife to her husband. Paul actually explains himself directly in the text (and elsewhere), if I recall correctly. 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. 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): (20 Controversies – page 100). Those who don’t get remarried are “happier” (1 Cor. He counseled, however, that if they could not do that, it would be better for them to marry than to commit sexual sin. If people think they can serve God better unmarried, it is probably because of what Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 7. He does not say that because of the dangers of sexual immorality we should marry. He does not directly show how these verses apply to the preceding ones in light of his new explanation. 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.”. In his explanation of this chapter he provides an alternative to the traditional view. Death of a spouse. 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. 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. Then our Lord speaks of a third class who are not forced by circumstances to be single, but who do so wholly by choice. He devoted his entire life to spreading the Word of God. 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. But we still believe that it’s the exception to the rule. What we will notice is that there are three scriptural answers to this question. Difficult family situations. Remarriage is as much a … Focus on the Family has a staff of pastoral counselors who would love to speak with you over the phone. Singleness is better than marriage when no … 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. 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. I have recently been reading a study of 1 Corinthians by Richard Ganz entitled 20 Controversies That Almost Killed A Church. The one who does not marry her will do better. Theologians have traditionally interpreted the first two verses of the passage to show that Paul is suggesting celibacy as a higher calling than 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]. 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. People react to what Paul says in 1 … The list goes on and on. 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. St. Paul means generally "not to marry" (comp. It is very important to be clear on what Paul is saying, and not saying, in his lengthy teaching about the married and unmarried states in this chapter. I believe this is a genuine insight that we need to take seriously. He said that because there are now other factors in the equation. 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. Why did He bless Adam and Eve with the words, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28)? 7:40). Genesis 20:4 [LXX.]). For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” Remember, this is addressed explicitly to men and women (v. 8). (Observe that in another situation Paul counsels the younger widows to marry [1Tim 5:14].) We must be careful not to confuse the two. G: What? 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 now our Lord gives a word of counsel to these groups. It’s a rare gift that God grants only to a few special individuals (see Matthew 19:10-12; I Corinthians 7:7). In the interpretation provided by Pastor Ganz we have to change the explanation. 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