It is misleading to build a thelogical system on certain texts in Paul's epistles without first taking into account the Hebrew Bible and the Synoptic accounts of the Gospel as it came from the lips of Jesus. (Minister, A. Buzzard, 1998)

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Paul's Knocks Marriage in 1 Corinthians 7

I recently received an email from a Christian wife named Nancy who comments upon Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 7. Because it is very insightful, I am excerpting it here:

In my 31 years of learning, very early on in every version I ever read (which is most of them), 1 Corinthians chapter 7 always just blew my mind so bad I always questioned Paul even though I knew I had no freedom to do such a thing.

In verse two he begins with giving the only reason for marriage is to avoid having sex:

"Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband." (1 Cor. 7:2, KJV)

In fact, he makes the entire chapter on marriage about sex. He says in verses 32-35 that a wife cannot be spiritual or holy if she is married.

32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

And the most obnoxious thing to me was always that he said it is good for man to remain as he was. 1 Cor. 7:7-8. However, I spent so much time in the "old" testament that I KNEW THE FATHER FOR SURE SAID IT IS NOT GOOD THAT MAN SHOULD BE ALONE.  Gen. 2:18.

Paul claimed in verse six that he was speaking this "BY PERMISSION and not of commandment," as though he were so special that the FATHER gives him permission to contradict his WORD!!!!  See 1 Cor. 7:6.

Then in verse 10 he switches back to being anointed of the Father with his message --- "And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband." 1 Cor. 7:10 KJV.

In just two more verses -- verse 12 he switches back again to himself being the authority. "But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away." 1 Cor. 7:12 KJV.

In verse 25, once again he gives his "judgment" -- "no commandment of the Lord"!!!! --- "Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful." 1 Cor. 7:25 KJV.

And because the last verse --- verse 40 --- is "after my judgment" I suppose it is just up for grabs whether all that he says in verses 25 through 40 is himself speaking or the Lord.

And the very last thing he says is hilarious in light of all this -- "I THINK ALSO THAT I HAVE THE SPIRIT OF GOD"?  (1 Cor. 7:40.)

What do I think? I think NOT!!  When he claims that the evil spirit ("stinger") from Satan was given to him to prevent him from getting a big head (2 Corinthians 12:7), I could not help but laugh in view of first Corinthians chapter 7 flip-flop flip-flop. And we were actually being taught this stuff as truth!!!!

I just left it alone because like I said I did not have the freedom to question Paul at that time. I thought!!

When I saw this same flip-flopping with King Saul I realized just one more way that he modeled himself after the disobedient king who of course was under an evil spirit because he was ALREADY full of himself and disobedient. 

My Comment

The most important lesson of 1 Corinthians 7 for Berean-like inquirers is that Paul says "I think also that I have the Spirit of God." If Paul has such uncertainty, then how do we know when he says ""not I, the Lord" gave him an instruction that Paul is certainly hearing from God? Are these merely voices in Paul's head? Or does he like prophets of old have "visions" where God speaks to him? It is all disconcerting to think Paul issued the commands in this context and then is admitting he is not entirely sure God's spirit gave it to him. Then Paul should not have uttered the commands with such emphasis they were from the Lord as Paul initially did.

This is just another passage that dictates to Bereans to not treat Paul as inspired -- even in a context that Paul claims inspiration because in the same context Paul admits he is less than certain it was from God's Holy Spirit. Perhaps this is how to read all of Paul, which then guts Paul as a firm foundation for anything.