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A. The first 6 chapters of this letter deal with problems in the church that required Paul’s attention.

B. Chapter 7 begins the second part of the letter. He is answering the questions that they have written to him. (7:1)

C. We do not know the specific questions they asked. We must play "Jeopardy". We have the answers. We must determine the questions.

1. Is marriage permitted before God? 1-7

  • [1] It is "good" (allowed, permitted) for a man to remain unmarried.

    [2] Not all men are strong enough to resist fornication.

    [3] To avoid this sin, God always allows marriage.

    [4] Under all circumstances husbands and wives must:

    A. Render to each other their services and kindness. (3)

    B. They must mutually share themselves with the other. (4)

    [5] Do not deprive each other - EXCEPT - -

    A. With consent

    B. For a (limited) time

    C. Give yourself to fasting and prayer

    D. Come together again to avoid temptation

    [6] Separate commands from sound advice.

    [7] Because of the hardships (26) the best would be to remain single.

    A. This is not required of God.

    B. Some could not resist temptation.

  • 2. Should widows and widowers remain unmarried? 8-9

  • [1] Because of the distress of the day (26), unmarried is better.

    [2] This is not written because Paul is "anti-women".

    [3] The "burn" of verse 9 is a reference to desire, not hell.

    [4] If they can not resist the lusts and sexual desires, it would be better for them to marry (and satisfy those desires) than live a life consumed by lust and desires that they can not fulfill.

  • 3. Should the married remain married? 10-11

  • [1] This is not opinion, this is a "command" from God.

    [2] Do not leave your husband. Period. Marriage is for life.

    [3] If life together (because she became a Christian) is not tolerable or safe, she can depart (separate).

    [4] She has two choices: Remain single or be reconciled to her husband.

  • 4. Should a Christian leave the non-Christian? 12-17

  • [1] This is opinion, not commandment.

    [2] Do you have a non-believing spouse? Are they content to remain married to you even though you have become a Christian? Then remain married. Do not divorce them because they are not a Christian.

    [3] Even though he (or she) is not a Christian, God recognizes them as a proper and legitimate parent to the children.

    [4] If God did not recognize this marriage, the children would be unholy (illegitimate, born out of wedlock) in the sight of God.

    [5] This is NOT a second exception for divorce. Some have called this the Pauline Privilege.

    [6] "Bondage" does not refer to the marriage bond. "Doolo" = bond slave.

    [7] The marriage bond is mentioned in vs. 27 and 39. "Deo" = chain, bind.

    [8] This word means that the one left behind is not "enslaved" to maintain the marital duties. See 1. [4] above.

    [9] Rather than abandon the mate, stay and seek to convert them to Christ. See 1 Peter 3:1-2.

    5. Does becoming a Christian change your social or temporal situation? 17-24

    [1] As you are when converted, so you are after conversion. (17)

    [2] Circumcised or uncircumcised, slave or free.

    [3] We should abide in the situation when converted. (24)

    [4] Does this allow or condone wrong relationships? NO!

    A. See Ephesians 4:28

    B. We must "put off" sin and "put on" Christ.

  • 6. Should the unmarried remain so? 25-38

  • [1] Paul is going to give his opinion, not a command of God.

    [2] Because of the violent persecution of the church, it would be unwise and unsafe to be limited in your ability to flee.

    [3] The already married must remain married. (See #3, vs. 10-11)

    [4] This single (and widowed) should remain unmarried.

    [5] Marriage is not sinful, just not best under these circumstances.

    [6] Marriage requires a change of focus, time and energy from the Lord to the spouse. This is true for both husbands and wives.

    [7] Verse 36 is discussing (I believe) a father allowing his daughter to marry because of age, passing child bearing years, his age and health.

    [8] If he remains firm in preventing her from marriage he does better.

  • 7. What restrictions apply to the remarriage of widows?

  • [1] "Two views have been taken on this verse. One position is that the widow must marry a member of the church, if she remarries at all, and the other is that she must marry only in accordance with the marriage law of God, that is, she must marry someone who is free to marry." Buster Dobbs, Firm Foundation, April 8, 1986

    [2] The issue here is one of whether the phrase "only in the Lord" modifies the verb or the noun. Is it "marry" in the Lord? Or is it "whom" in the Lord?

    [3] The phrase may mean "in keeping with the law of God."

    Ephesians 6:1 Children obey your parents in the Lord

    Philippians 2:29 Receive Epaphroditus in the Lord with all joy

    [4] The phrase may mean "a Christian."

    Revelation 14:13 Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord

    [5] Several questions arise about the "marry a Christian" view.

    A. Why does the Bible place a restriction on second marriages that is not placed upon first marriages?

    B. Why does the Bible restrict the remarriage of a widow and not restrict the remarriage of a divorced person?

    C. Why does the Bible restrict the widow and not the widower?

    [6] "It is not always necessary to do the best thing. Sometimes it is permissible, under the law of God, to take a course other than the most advisable direction. Paul allows marriage even though it is not advisable.

    [7] We have much "good advice" to give to others. However, we must understand that God has not bound this good advice and we therefore must not bind it.

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