But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. (20 Controversies – page 100). Singleness is better than marriage when no … 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. He said that because there are now other factors in the equation. learn more ›. 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. Those who don’t get remarried are “happier” (1 Cor. People react to what Paul says in 1 … In the interpretation provided by Pastor Ganz we have to change the explanation. In each answer, there are some difficulties in the answer. (Observe that in another situation Paul counsels the younger widows to marry [1Tim 5:14].) That much we’ll grant you. 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. Many Bible translations render the words “touch a woman” as “… Unfortunately the phrase “only in the Lord” is unique to this place in the scriptures. Medical or financial difficulties. In this passage the apostle is careful to distinguish between commandments from the Lord and pronouncements based upon his own opinion (see vv. However, if they feel they will be unable to contain themselves sexually, they should marry to avoid sin. Why did He bless Adam and Eve with the words, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28)? Many married men were being turned over to the authorities if they were Christians as well have women who believed but had unbelieving spouses. We understand that singleness can be a good thing in many situations and for a number of different reasons. The one who marries his virgin does well. G: What? 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. 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. 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! Paul never meant that it was ALWAYS BETTER to NOT marry. In his explanation of this chapter he provides an alternative to the traditional view. 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. On the other hand, some people do better as a team, serving God as a couple and a family. Death of a spouse. Isn’t Paul promoting rape, out of wedlock sex and teen pregnancy? The injustice argument that still has not gotten the attention it deserves: Marriage is unfair to single … Paul thinks the one who doesn’t marry his fiancé does “better” than the one who gets married (1 Cor. What we will look for is the answer with the least amount of difficulties. 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. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (I Corinthians 7:8, 9). It is better to marry than to burn. It will help you learn to structure your life to do the most good to the glory of God. 4The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. The text doesn’t actually say if they cannot exercise self-control. $9 Million Match! This is the assumption underlying Paul’s entire discussion of the subject in I Corinthians 7. Yes, double my gift to save twice the lives this Christmas! In our opinion, the charge of living a completely asexual lifeÂ â and this, we must remember, is what “singleness” or celibacy implies for a serious ChristianÂ â is a difficult standard to achieve. According to Paul, singleness is the ideal. Remarriage is as much a … Why not drop into the forum and let us know what you think! 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. 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. 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. The Solution. If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer. In fact, for those with strong sexual urges, it is better to marry than to be consumed by unfulfilled desire. 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. Site by Mere. Celibacy, on the other hand, is a vocation. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to Aileen and a father to three children. If you’d like to discuss this subject at greater length, give us a call. P: Let them get married. Do you agree? 1 Cor 7: 28But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with … 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. Inability to find a mate. As with the others, this is a perfectly proper mode of life. Double your gift for struggling families! Got something to say? Doesn’t she, the lady, have any say in the matter? 1 Cor 7 does not say it is wrong to marry, only that it is better because it is less complicated. My own study of history leads me to believe that singleness was far more common in the past than it is today. 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. Receive every article in your inbox by subscribing below. Genesis 20:4 [LXX.]). All content © Tim Challies, 2002-2020. It’s a rare gift that God grants only to a few special individuals (see Matthew 19:10-12; I Corinthians 7:7). Now we see that the gift he has is the gift of self-control. Yes, I will give families hope this Christmas! Double your gift to save babies from abortion! I have now blogged for 6,266 consecutive days. So, Paul is … He wishes that all men were able to avoid the temptations of sexual immorality as he does. The meaning of the passage is fairly straightforward. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. And yes, from the biblical point of view there’s a great deal to be said for the advantages of the single life. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that. 7:38). I have recently been reading a study of 1 Corinthians by Richard Ganz entitled 20 Controversies That Almost Killed A Church. Also Paul said … It says if they are not exercising self-control. The Bible clearly says that widows and widowers are free to remarry, but it does not say if they should. 3Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 7For I wish that all men were even as I myself. He does not say that because of the dangers of sexual immorality we should marry. He says there are those who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of God. However, if a person is unable to control himself because of sexual immorality, he should marry to avoid sinning. Now Paul said, “it is better to marry.” But why did he say that? The apostle is giving advice to the single, whom he refers to as the unmarried and the widows. He suggests that what Paul is telling us to flee is not marriage but sexual immorality. 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. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. 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). 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. 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). Resources If you’re getting married thinking you’ll never be lonely again, buckle up, because marriage is totally … We cannot go to another place in the N… Whatever else he may be saying, he is certainly not arguing that singleness is the “standard” for human life. The Marriage Of The Virgin? 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. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (I Corinthians 7:8, 9). If you would like to write a letter to the editor, you can do so here. Then we will draw some concluding remarks and leave the decision in your hands. 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. 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. 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)? 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. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. (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? If people think they can serve God better unmarried, it is probably because of what Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 7. Focus on the Family has a staff of pastoral counselors who would love to speak with you over the phone. Paul, for example, did not have to worry about the extra problems and stresses that come with marriage and/or family. Difficult family situations. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. Therefore, marriage is good, and marriage is holy, when set about under the correct motivations and contexts. This passage concludes with the words “For I wish that all men were even as I myself. 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. Unsubscribe at any time. 2Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. That’s why we consider marriage such an important part of the divine plan for the average believer (I Corinthians 7:2). There is one thing that continues to trouble me, and that is in the verses immediately following the passage I outlined above. 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 good for a man not to touch a woman. We must be careful not to confuse the two. The list goes on and on. Theologians have traditionally interpreted the first two verses of the passage to show that Paul is suggesting celibacy as a higher calling than marriage. Let them marry.In 1 Timothy 5:14 he lays down and justifies the same rule with reference to young widows. 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. 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. 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). 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. Then our Lord speaks of a third class who are not forced by circumstances to be single, but who do so wholly by choice. But now our Lord gives a word of counsel to these groups. Marriage is clearly not for everybody. 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. Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer. 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. 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. 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. G: Paul is not hot on marriage, is he? 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. Agreed, Markum. It is clear that Paul was not against marriage but he wrote it is better not to marry. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you. 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). For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” Remember, this is addressed explicitly to men and women (v. 8). 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. – 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. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 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. 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. $9 Million Match! But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this. 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. Singleness is circumstantial. Theologians have traditionally interpreted the first two verses of the passage to show that Paul is suggesting celibacy as a higher calling than marriage. - If they cannot contain; rather, if they have not continency. 1 Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: He counseled, however, that if they could not do that, it would be better for them to marry than to commit sexual sin. As one who has long been dissatisfied with the standard explanation of these verses, I was intrigued by Pastor Ganz’s new take. It “happens” to people for a wide variety of reasons. Doesn't the Bible view marriage as a "second-class state"? 7:40). Rather, Paul suggested that it was in fact better to marry, except only for those widowed, who have already bee… It’s central to the Lord’s original intentions for the human race. In lieu of a comments section, I accept and encourage letters to the editor. ARE PAUL’S INSTRUCTIONS IN 1 CORINTHIANS 7 AUTHORITATIVE? 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. 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. 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. Why did He create for Adam “a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18)? 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. And of course the same is true of the wife to her husband. 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. 6But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. That’s not the point. There is more to consider here than just marriage itself. For it is better to marry than to burn with sexual desire” (1 Cor. 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. Home Â» Family QAs Â» Get Help Â» Family Q&A Â» Relationships & Marriage Q&As Â» The Apostle Paul on Marriage and Singleness. But that, of course, does not make it right. 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. The one who does not marry her will do better. This is a well-known passage from the book of Corinthians (1 Corinthians 7:1-7 NKJV). 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. These … He would not have been such a useful messenger if he had been married. 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. But if they do not have self-control, let them get married. He does so with words and explanations that place him far ahead of his time. Women do not need the protection and support of a spouse to serve God, and neither do men. I believe this is a genuine insight that we need to take seriously. Have Focus on the Family resources helped you or your family? He does not directly show how these verses apply to the preceding ones in light of his new explanation. St. Paul means generally "not to marry" (comp. Verse 9. This is a well-known passage from the book of Corinthians (1 Corinthians 7:1-7 NKJV). But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Paul actually explains himself directly in the text (and elsewhere), if I recall correctly. 7:8–9). He devoted his entire life to spreading the Word of God. Naturally, we don’t take any of this to mean that married people are somehow “superior” to singles. He seems to provide adequate Scriptural support and takes into account other passages of Scripture. When we view the verses through that understanding, the meaning changes completely! Why does Paul think his (single) lot is better? I do not want to put words in his mouth, so will leave it at that. That is not always the case in modern times. 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]. 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