“Mawige is What Bring Us Together Today” (1 Corinthians 7:1-16)

There are certain teachings and doctrines that I have greater confidence in being surely correct than I am about some others. There is no uncertainty about what the Scriptures teach on the matter of Christ’s atoning work and salvation. As I read it, there is not much debatable on that doctrine.

And I feel really quite good about the matter of eschatology – the doctrine of the last times. In the broad sweep of God’s plan for the ages, I believe I understand the future, though the exact times and names of the players will not be known until it happens. And if I get to heaven before the return of the Lord, and He tells me that I totally missed it on this doctrine, I’m going to say something like, “Really?  You’re kidding me, right?”

But if in that time of review when all things become certain and clear, and He tells me I was rather messed up in my understanding of marriage, divorce, and remarriage, I think my response might be more in the category of, “Well, I’m not entirely surprised; that was difficult to know for sure in light of the many others who had very variant ideas on the subject.”

Yes, it is complicated. The Scriptures give us some very strong guidelines, as in this passage today that we turn to in 1 Corinthians 7.  At the same time, there are so many situations that introduce shades of gray that are not specifically addressed in the Word of God. Over the years of ministry in a handful of churches, we have attempted to write policies to serve as interpretive guidelines on this subject of marriage, divorce and remarriage. Even so, it is not rare to have situations come before leadership with unique circumstances that are not addressed, and the policy gives scant help in making a decision about the validity of the divorce or the remarriage.

Here are some statements we can make about this broad subject from these 16 verses today …

  • Marriage is a good thing, including the physical relationship aspect of it that provides for a fulfillment of natural desires, greatly easing opportunities for Satanic temptation.
  • Paul gives a first statement of his own preference for singleness (that he’ll elaborate upon later in this 7th chapter), though he acknowledges this perspective is not universal by any means.
  • Those believers who are married should not seek a divorce and remarriage. If divorce happens, reconciliation and singleness are the remaining options. (Yes, there are other passages that expand on this further and with more nuance, and Paul here is not talking about complicating factors like abuse, chronic adultery, etc.) The main idea here is that people cannot just decide they don’t like the other person over disagreements about chocolate cake versus white cake, and run off and marry someone else.
  • The Christian man or woman who is currently married to an unbeliever should not initiate a divorce for that reason of a faith variance. But if the unbeliever leaves, let them go. Are they then free to remarry? Some think that this is assumed from the passage, whereas others say it is not correct to make any such assumption.

This is not my favorite chapter in the Bible; I’d rather be writing today about Hebrews 11 and the heroes of faith. Beyond that, for this series, I’ve given Tim Lester the blessing of preaching on this topic since he is our highly-compensated counselor dude at church. I’m very nice. Go Tim! … Don’t mess up!

7:1 – Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.

7:8 – Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

7:10 – To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

7:12 – To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

7:15 – But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

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About Randy Buchman

I live in Western Maryland, and among my too many pursuits and hobbies, I regularly feed multiple hungry blogs. I played college baseball, coached championship cross country teams at Williamsport (MD) High School, and have been a sportswriter for various publications and online venues. My main profession is as the lead pastor of a church in Hagerstown called Tri-State Fellowship. And I'm active in Civil War history and work/serve at Antietam National Battlefield with the Antietam Battlefield Guides organization. Occasionally I sleep.

1 thought on ““Mawige is What Bring Us Together Today” (1 Corinthians 7:1-16)

  1. I think you handled this topic of marriage very well. I find I’m in agreement with you on this.

    Still for those who haven’t followed this as we see it… I’m aware of the incredible grace that Jesus offers.

    In a larger context as people come to the point that they do divorce … is divorce the greatest sin here… or was the even more important laws already repeatedly violated? What laws are those?

    Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

    And the one “like it” …

    Love your neighbor as yourself.

    Probably in a situation where divorce takes place these really, really important commandments were repeatedly overlooked and failed…

    I’m also starting to wonder at some wedding vows that people take. I mean staying married and loyal to a spouse can be a challenge in some situations … but how many wedding vows included a lot of other things like cherishing … loving … etc… etc…

    All this good attitude stuff that we moderns tend to put in our wedding vows … let us just say that I’m not always as consistent with all those things as I’d like. At one point I wanted to find what our wedding vows were (remind myself of all that I promised and see where I’m falling short) … and my wife basically said something like “Why would you want to do that to yourself?”

    Some of the toughest moments in marriage are often the times of the best spiritual and emotional growth.

    Now on this prophecy stuff that you think you got all figured out Randy. Let me ask you some questions.

    When is the following prophecy going to be fulfilled?

    19 The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder, the earth is violently shaken.
    20 The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind; so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls– never to rise again.
    21 In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below.
    22 They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days. (Isa. 24:19-22 NIV)

    What is happening here? Probably a comet strike on the earth. Earth shaking violently from this as it rings like a bell … (figuratively speaking talking about the sustained shaking.)

    Will people die from this? Look just a few verses up in the same chapter of Isaiah.

    NIV Isaiah 24:1 See, the LORD is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants–
    2 it will be the same for priest as for people, for the master as for his servant, for the mistress as for her servant, for seller as for buyer, for borrower as for lender, for debtor as for creditor.
    3 The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The LORD has spoken this word.
    4 The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the heavens languish with the earth.
    5 The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant.
    6 Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left. (Isa. 24:1-6 NIV)

    Very few will be left. How few? Read below. “I will make people scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir.”

    4 Listen, a noise on the mountains, like that of a great multitude! Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms, like nations massing together! The LORD Almighty is mustering an army for war.
    5 They come from faraway lands, from the ends of the heavens– the LORD and the weapons of his wrath– to destroy the whole country.
    6 Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.
    7 Because of this, all hands will go limp, every heart will melt with fear.
    8 Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame.
    9 See, the day of the LORD is coming– a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger– to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it.
    10 The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light.
    11 I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.
    12 I will make people scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir.
    13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the LORD Almighty, in the day of his burning anger.
    (Isa. 13:4-13 NIV)

    Maybe this all corresponds to the seventh ….

    17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!”
    18 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake.
    19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath.
    20 Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found.
    21 From the sky huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, fell on people. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.
    (Rev. 16:17-21 NIV)

    Just think of it.. how great would an impact event have to be in order to wipe away islands and mountains…

    And the earlier stuff in Revelation … things falling on the oceans, burning things up on earth, … likely part of an ongoing period of cosmic bombardment.

    This is all too much to get into here. Sharing my thinking on this topic is Jeffrey Goodman Ph.D. who authored the book The Comets of God. He has a lot of information pointing in the direction of God using comets throughout the Bible … some of it I find speculative … but he has a good awareness of comet compositions … some good science and some good biblical information too.
    I’m only half-way through the book … I left off reading it over half a year ago.

    Anyways, I find it funny that you are so confident about your prophetic understanding … we are coming up on the age of AI and perhaps we will find some automated “beast” gathering power … perhaps named Solomon. (Solomon got gold in the weight of 666 talents or something.)

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