Episode #140. Today we’ll read 1 Corinthians chapter 7 together. Paul speaks to married people and unmarried people; to those thinking about getting married and to those who really don’t want to.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #140. Today we’ll read 1st Corinthians chapter 7 together: Paul speaks to married people and unmarried people; to those thinking about getting married and to those who really don’t want to.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
I struggled with my Bible reading this morning. Yes, I started Ezekiel. I should have prepared and prayed but I’ve been busy with work and the podcast and it snuck up on me. I was distracted by anticipation of leaving to visit my daughter and I admit I was barely engaged.
Ezekiel is tough for me. It’s so full of those images that make no physical sense. I tried to start reading it without helps, but was going nowhere. So I Googled ‘creatures in Ezekiel’ and there they were! Myriad interpretations of the descriptions of this four-headed, winged creature that moves in all directions on some wheel-within-a-wheel apparatus covered with eyes. Oh dear. One article stated that these were manifestations of God. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but definitely plan to chase that rabbit during tomorrow morning’s reading.
I felt guilty at first because I never want my quiet time to be a check off item. But as I ruminated about it during my long drive, it occurred to me that everyone must have those days. Sometimes distracted, sometimes just being human. I always find comfort in the fact that I may not have ‘gotten it’ this year, but I’ll have a whole new opportunity to read it again.
How about you? What do you do? How do you encourage yourself to get past the stuff that you just don’t get? I hope you share your comments at Lifting Her Voice.com.
1 Corinthians Chapter 7
Principles of Marriage
Now in response to the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because sexual immorality is so common, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman should have sexual relations with her own husband. A husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise a wife to her husband. A wife does not have the right over her own body, but her husband does. In the same way, a husband does not have the right over his own body, but his wife does.
Do not deprive one another — except when you agree for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I say this as a concession, not as a command. I wish that all people were as I am. But each has his own gift from God, one person has this gift, another has that.
A Word to the Unmarried
I say to the unmarried and to widows: It is good for them if they remain as I am. But if they do not have self-control, they should marry, since it is better to marry than to burn with desire.
About Married People
To the married I give this command — not I, but the Lord — a wife is not to leave her husband. But if she does leave, she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband — and a husband is not to divorce his wife. But I (not the Lord) say to the rest: If any brother has an unbelieving wife and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. Also, if any woman has an unbelieving husband and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce her husband.
For the unbelieving husband is made holy by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy by the husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is they are holy. But if the unbeliever leaves, let him leave. A brother or a sister is not bound in such cases. God has called you to live in peace. Wife, for all you know, you might save your husband. Husband, for all you know, you might save your wife.
Various Situations of Life
Let each one live his life in the situation the Lord assigned when God called him. This is what I command in all the churches. Was anyone already circumcised when he was called? He should not undo his circumcision. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? He should not get circumcised. Circumcision does not matter and uncircumcision does not matter. Keeping God’s commands is what matters. Let each of you remain in the situation in which he was called. Were you called while a slave? Don’t let it concern you. But if you can become free, by all means take the opportunity. For he who is called by the Lord as a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called as a free man is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of people.
Brothers and sisters, each person is to remain with God in the situation in which he was called.
About the Unmarried and Widows
Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I do give an opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is faithful. Because of the present distress, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. However, if you do get married, you have not sinned, and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But such people will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you.
This is what I mean, brothers and sisters: The time is limited, so from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none, those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they didn’t own anything, and those who use the world as though they did not make full use of it. For this world in its current form is passing away.
Interests Are Divided
I want you to be without concerns. The unmarried man is concerned about the things of the Lord — how he may please the Lord. But the married man is concerned about the things of the world — how he may please his wife — and his interests are divided. The unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But the married woman is concerned about the things of the world — how she may please her husband. I am saying this for your own benefit, not to put a restraint on you, but to promote what is proper and so that you may be devoted to the Lord without distraction.
If any man thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, if she is getting beyond the usual age for marriage, and he feels he should marry — he can do what he wants. He is not sinning; they can get married. But he who stands firm in his heart (who is under no compulsion, but has control over his own will) and has decided in his heart to keep her as his fiancée, will do well. So, then, he who marries his fiancée does well, but he who does not marry will do better.
A wife is bound as long as her husband is living. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to anyone she wants — only in the Lord. But she is happier if she remains as she is, in my opinion. And I think that I also have the Spirit of God.
Well, well, well…where do we start with this one? First, I want to remind you that Paul is one of the most single-minded people that God could have called. He has God’s purpose as his sole priority and I believe like I’m sitting here that if someone asked Paul if he’d ever had a girlfriend, he would respond with the most puzzled look on his face and sincerely have no idea why anyone would care about such a thing.
But let’s give honor where honor is due. That’s a gift that God gave Paul in order to complete this monumental task to which God called him. Most guys aren’t gifted like that. I mean, God created marital love, so it would be ludicrous to say it was a sin. Paul knows we owe all that we are to God and to be fully available to Him day and night is a good thing; the best thing. And any of us who are married knows he speaks truth when he says that our lives are more complicated than if we were single.
Also keep in mind the corrupt and worldly perspective of the Corinthians. Paul had to draw some sharp lines between God’s principles and the immoral culture in Corinth. Regarding the end of the chapter, do not confuse those lines with salvation. It’s better to think of it as overflow blessings by association. And, if you are married to an unbelieving spouse, you have to ask yourself: Is it possible that God has me planted in this marriage as a Godly witness to this man or woman. Kinda makes you want to step up your game, huh? Let’s pray.
Oh, Father, thank You for marriage. I have watched you take my own marriage, which started out with so much conflict and human will, and grow it into something beautiful and God-honoring. It takes my breath away and fills me with gratitude. I know there are those within the sound of my voice who are still waiting and praying for that. Please help them Holy Spirit. Give them Your eyes to see Your purpose and equip them with extra measures of faith and love to see it through. Have sway over all of our words to our spouses, that they would be pleasing to You and an encouragement to them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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