Excuse Me, Was I Addressing YOU? Stop Abusing 1 Cor. 7:26-27: “Debunk” Series – Part 4

RevAllWet2by Standerinfamilycourt

 Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called…..Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. 
I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, 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.  (NASB)


While we’re at it, PUL-EEEZE let’s stop abusing any part of
1 Corinthians 7 !!    Since verse 25 makes it abundantly plain precisely who Paul was addressing in this passage, and verse 39 unequivocally  ends any doubt it was somebody “called” while “married” to somebody else’s spouse, it is a crying shame that this blog even had to be written in the first place.   But, since the U.S. state that gave us unilateral divorce back in 1969 is also the state where the abundance of “grace” flows, and from where certain mega-church multimedia superstar ear-ticklers hail, and the divorce rate in said state is now reaching 70%, and since some of these celebrity hirelings also happen to run seminaries in this slip-shod manner without the slightest qualm of James 3:1, this sad duty must be carried out by SIFC and other faithful messengers.

We began this series of blogs by first establishing Jesus Christ’s core truth in Matthew 19:6 about the lifelong indissolubility of the covenant marriage of our youth, and rigorously applying each of the five basic principles of sound hermeneutics to that scripture passage:  Content, Context, Culture, Comparison and Consultation.    If you missed that installment, please start there.

Having done that, we will now do the same with each of the most egregiously mishandled passages that apostate theologians and church leaders seek to water down or refute that unpalatable truth with.    You may see these same scholars dutifully applying these principles to other biblical topics,  but when it comes to this one, they’ve never heard of “Herman”.      We will tackle these in subjective order of damage to the church and society, doing the worst of them first, the ones that trap people in a life that the bible makes clear will send them to hell if they don’t repent and sever the illicit “marriages”.    Hijacking a message intended for the betrothed, certainly has its appeal for those who have married somebody else’s spouse (and / or do not want to forgive their own), especially when the Apostle is saying “stay as you are”.   Context is everything, and obvious context is more than everything.

The Principle of CONTENT:
As we’ve done in all of the previous posts in this series, let’s go back to the Greek manuscript and the literal syntax of the passage, and look closely at some of the key words, and the verbs with their tenses to be clear on Paul’s meaning.

1Cor7_25(source:  www.scripture4all.org)

Verse 25:
Peri de                           tōn   parthenōn   epitagēn                 Kyriou         ouk  echo    gnōmēn         de            didōmi     hōs              ēleēmenos

Περὶ   δὲ                         τῶν παρθένων    ἐπιταγὴν             Κυρίου            οὐκ  ἔχω       γνώμην         δὲ             δίδωμι   ὡς                 ἠλεημένος

Concerning moreover the virgins a commandment of [the] Lord          not  I have   judgment          however I give         as     having received mercy

hypo     Kyriou       pistos           πιστὸ
ὑπὸ      Κυρίου       πιστὸς         εἶναι

from   [the] Lord trustworthy     to be

Verse 26:

Nomizō        oun touto   kalon   hyparchein   dia                     tēn   enestōsan      anankēn       hoti         kalon

Νομίζω         οὖν   τοῦτο καλὸν   ὑπάρχειν     διὰ                     τὴν     ἐνεστῶσαν   ἀνάγκην ,     ὅτι           καλὸν

I think   therefore this   good                   is     because of       the
present   necessity         that     [it is] good

anthrōpō     to     houtōs     einai
ἀνθρώπῳ   τὸ   οὕτως       εἶναι
for a man           as [he is]   to remain

Verse 27:

Dedesai                                       gynaiki                     mē   zētei       lysin   lelysai apo                                             gynaikos                      mē   zētei   gynaika

δέδεσαι                                      γυναικί ?         μὴ   ζήτει     λύσιν    λέλυσαι ἀπὸ                                                        γυναικός ?     μὴ     ζήτει   γυναῖκα .

have you been bound to a wife (woman)             not   seek   to be loosed have you been loosed from  a wife (woman) not  seek a wife(woman).


So who are these  παρθένος   (parthenos)   whom  Paul was counseling to “remain as they are?”   And what precisely is a “wife” here?

According to  Strong’s exhaustive concordance parthenos are:  “a maiden, virgin; extended to men who have not known women.”     According to  Thayers:  a man who has abstained from all uncleanness and whoredom attendant on idolatry, and so has kept his chastity“: Revelation 14:4, where see DeWette.  In ecclesiastical writings, one who has never had commerce with women; so of Joseph, in Fabricius, Cod. pseudepigr. Vet. Test. ii., pp. 92, 98; of Abel and Melchizedek, in Suidas (10 a. and 2450 b.); especially of the apostle John, as in Nonnus, metaphorically, ev. Joann. 19, 140 (John 19:26).

Is there any way in the world they can be someone whom God has previously made one-flesh (σὰρξ μία sarx mia) with another–against whom they’ve committed  chorizeto and  apoluo , according to Matt. 19:6?       Is Paul addressing the adulterously remarried and urging them to stay as they are?

So then,  how can a virgin be bound to a wife?    How can he be loosed from a wife?    We need to move on to the CONTEXT study to answer that.

The Principle of CONTEXT:
Paul was writing in response to a letter full of questions from the Corinthian church body about the place of marriage in the church.    He’s doing so after dealing with immorality, specifically the use of prostitutes in chapter 6, and the fornication between a young man and his stepmother in chapter 5 necessitating church discipline.  In dramatic fashion Paul has just ended chapter 6 by reminding us that in Christ our bodies do not belong to us;  we used to be fornicators, adulterers, sodomists and idolators, but now we are justified and are being purified,   Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit with which we’ve been permanently sealed once we accepted the bride price of that justification.    Keeping in mind that there were originally no chapter breaks in Paul’s letter (added by bible editors), he then seques into chapter 7 by also reminding us that when the Lord made us permanently one-flesh (Matt. 19:6) our bodies also came to belong to our husband or wife.

Paul proceeds to answer those marriage questions by partitioning off and addressing each status group very specifically.    Therefore, as we read 1 Corinthians 7, we must pay attention in each section to who he’s talking to.   We also must keep our cornerstone verse firmly in mind, (Matthew 19:6) and the one-flesh joining that can only be unjoined by death (as Paul confirms in ending this very passage, verse 39, as well as Romans 7:2-3).   For example, when Paul says “to the married“,  he would be referring to that one-flesh relationship, whether or not there was a purported dissolution under civil law.

Paul starts to address the questions concerning the “unmarried” and widows in verse 8:

But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I.    But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion  (NASB).

Here the term agamois (unmarried) is different from parthenos (virgin).     It certainly includes virgins, but also includes those who have been put away, who may or may not have a living, estranged spouse.   Based on Matthew 19:6, Romans 7:2 and 1 Cor. 7:39, it cannot mean that the marriage bond is dissolved if both original spouses are living.   It is noteworthy that 1 Corinthians 7 is the only book of the bible where the term agamois is actually used.    This term cannot mean,  for those who have irrevocably been made one-flesh with a spouse who is still living, that lustful desires now justify “marrying” another person and staying in an ongoing state that Jesus called adulterous on three separate occasions.    Paul starts out by saying “it is better for a man not to touch a woman.”    And Jesus says in Matthew 5:29-30, “if your eye or your hand ensnares [entraps] you, rip it out / off and cast it away” rather than be thrown into hell with a whole and intact body.

(Greek:  skandalizó   σκανδαλίζω )

{Modern English translations take the considerable liberty of adding the translation phrase “with passion” to the literal and supportable phrase “burn“,  thereby losing the unfashionable original connotation consistent with Matthew 5:29-30, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21 and Jude 23.   Faithful older bibles simply say “burn”.]

Once we’re back to a faithful understanding that this is an admonition about avoiding hell, rather than merely avoiding our addicting lusts, we should be able to readily see that it does no good at all to simply exchange one path to hell for another, hence the latter part of verse 8 is addressed to the never-married and to the widows (divorced or otherwise), and not to those whom Paul tells us just 30 verses later – as does Jesus, that they are subject to their one-flesh marriage bond until a death severs it.

That being the case, then how do we explain how Paul can be speaking in verse 27 about virgins being bound to a wife?  (And unlike verse 15, this is indeed based on the term dedetai (deóδέδεσαι  for marriage bond).   We’re back to the centrality of the Hebrew kiddushin (betrothal contract – ketubah) for the explanation.  If only contemporary pastors would teach this very rich area, understanding of the indissolubility of holy matrimony would be greatly enriched, but they are loathe to do it.

Once a ketubah marriage contract proposal was accepted and the bride price paid, the bride became the legal wife of the groom approximately 12 months before the groom returned for his bride and consummated the marriage.   If the bride committed fornication (played the harlot) during this time, or lied about her virginity and it was discovered on the wedding night, she was brought before the priests and stoned to death unless her parents could produce the “tokens of her virginity” in the form of bloody bed sheets.     However, harlotry was not the only cause for seeking dissolution of the binding arrangement.   Other traditional (Mosaic) reasons may have included disease such as leprosy developing during the betrothal period, discovery of too-close a consanguinity, a bleeding disorder, and other causes short of provable infidelity (however, the arrival of Jesus eliminated all of the ceremonial uncleanness laws, made the elimination of capital punishment for allegations of adultery permanent).    The only way in all those cases to legally dissolve a ketubah was a writ of divorcement.   If the betrothed wife died before the wedding, was put away for fornication or some other cause, the virgin man was now loosed, not yet made one-flesh with his former bride, otherwise he was legally bound to the ketubah.

It’s also helpful to look at the verses 17 – 24 immediately preceding verse 25, where Paul is still addressing the married-but-not-intact,
“Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk…”,
just before he shifts to address the not-yet-married, or “virgins”.     He likens being called while in the married state and having it cause marital separation or alienation, first to circumcision (symbolic of Hebrew citizenship) or uncircumcision (Gentile citizenship).   Next he compares it to slavery.   None of these compared conditions are intrinsically immoral nor against God’s law –  a hugely important point.   All of these conditions are generally beyond the disciple’s control, though never beyond God’s power, nor possibly the disciple’s influence.
By contrast, choosing to marry another person while being estranged from a living one-flesh spouse, or choosing to remain married to someone else’s one-flesh spouse, is intrinsically immoral and violates God’s law.   It is fully within the disciple’s control to repudiate and turn from this ongoing state of sin, as traumatic as that requirement might be.   Nothing in all of chapter 7 gives any support for either entering into, or remaining in, this profoundly sinful condition.    Just imagine Paul saying, “were you called while entrapped in sex trafficking?…do not seek to be free”   or “were you called while in a homosexual civil union?  do not seek to be released” !

The verses that follow verse 27 allow the eligible to enter into holy matrimony, without giving the ineligible any license to marry adulterously.    However, all are warned not to become too comfortable with this present world, and to seek first the kingdom of God because the world is transitory.    Always in marriage, we are to love the Lord more than our spouse, then love our spouse out of love for Him.   Anything else constitutes idolatry, which gets to the heart of why remarriage while having a living covenant spouse is immoral and a hell-bound offense, if not fully repented.

The Principle of CULTURE:
Corinth was just the sort of hyper-sexualized culture that our Western culture has degenerated to in the past few decades.   Premarital fornication, especially prostitution was rampant.   Serial polygamy due to free and easy civil divorce was also epidemic.   Some in the church were pushing a reactionary asceticism, even for the married.   There were also those in the church who were of Jewish background who were betrothed under the traditional Hebrew kiddushin contract and were questioning whether it was  less godly to carry out the contracted marriage.   In addition, there were those who became Christ-followers while already married, and they wondered if they could be a true disciple while unequally-yoked.    Paul addresses each of these groups in turn in his letter, in response to the questions he had received.

A single temple in Corinth was reported to have 1,000 legal prostitutes, both male and female, while a young Corinthian man typically did not marry until age 30.   Using prostitutes until that time was legal and considered a normal expectation .   Quoting from Sharon L. Fitzhenry’s book, Jewish Marriage, Biblical Divorce and Remarriage, page 30,

Idol worshippers believed that they could join with the gods through sex with sacred prostitutes. Greco-Roman society encouraged young men with no other outlet to resort to prostitutes and slaves, but Paul warned, “Abstain! Avoid!” What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot [porne] is one body? . . . Flee fornication” (1Co 6:16-18).

In chapter 5, Paul rebukes a young man for living with his father’s wife (apparently, his stepmother).   It is unknown whether the father’s absence was due to death or divorce, nor whether the father’s marriage to this woman was also adulterous because it followed a previous divorce, all possibilities.   What is said is that there was such “fornication as was not found even among the pagans”, and Paul demanded that they put this man out of the church (which seemed not to realize the need to administer church discipline, and had to be told to do it.)

The Principle of COMPARISON
Scripture must always be interpreted in light of all other scripture on the same topic, and accomplished in such a way that there is no contradiction.    All canonized scripture is equally-inspired.  The Holy Spirit cannot contradict Himself.    Where there appears to be an inconsistency, disciplined investigation must continue until the source of the error is proven, and until scripture again aligns.   All of the relevant Old and New Testament scripture passages must be considered, and appropriate rigor demands that none be ignored as “analogy”, or dismissed as “hyperbole”.

We established earlier Matthew 19:6 as the cornerstone scripture for comparison (Part 1 of our series) before accepting a particular interpretation of any other other scripture.

So they [that is, the man who leaves FATHER and MOTHER to be joined by GOD to the wife of his youth] are no longer two, but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.

In the same disciplined, hermeneutic approach as we’re pursuing here, we substantiated the following unchangeable facts from this passage:

(1)  from the point God joins husband and wife, they cannot be unjoined as long as both live

(2) God actively and instantly creates the joining

(3)  God commands and decrees that no act or law of men has any power or authority to unjoin holy matrimony.

Therefore,  we must reject any interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7:26-27 that conflicts with these three immutable truths.    This alone should immediately rule out remarriage while having a living, estranged spouse as part of the mix.    Our holy, righteous God does not participate in a “marriage” where one of the spouses is still joined and covenanted with the spouse of their youth.    In other words,  the “joining” (gluing) of Matthew 19:6 is not replicated for legalized adultery even if a pastor performs the ceremony, any more than He would “join” two homosexuals as one-flesh who stand up in front of a pastor willing to perform a “wedding” over them.

Matthew 19:6 / Mark 10:8-9  –  established by the divine, instantaneous act the irrevocable reality of the one-flesh relationship, and its permanent inseverability by any act of man.     Since it is God who performs this miracle of one-flesh joining, and since it is never in His holy character to break covenant or enter into a competing covenant, this is never replicated in a union of the type that Jesus called adulterous in Matt. 5:32b; Matt. 19:9b and Luke 16:18.

Matthew 5:32b; 19:9b; Luke 16:18 –   Citing the King James version here, because virtually all modern English translations wrongfully omit the phrases, “whoever marries one who has been put away commits adultery” and “causes her to commit adulteryfrom Matthew 19:9, due to the deliberate choice of the bible translation team to translate a faulty and incomplete manuscript.   These are three separate occasions where Jesus redefined the popular understanding of adultery from the patriarchal view (going into somebody else’s civil current wife) to marrying anyone’s divorced partner of either gender under any circumstances.

Romans 7:2-3; 1 Corinthians 7:39  –  Two pronouncements of Paul, echoing each other, that only death dissolves the covenant of holy matrimony and frees a previously married person to marry another.    On what basis was Paul saying this, if not Matthew 19:6, and the other exceptionless instances where Jesus is calling marriage to a divorced person adultery?     We add that it is in these two verses that the actual Greek word  (dedetai (deo) for marriage bond IS used:

A wife is bound for as long as time may live the husband of her if however shall have died the husband free she is to whom she wills to be married only in the Lord.  7:39

Gynē DEDETAI (deo) eph’ hoson chronon zē ho anēr autēs ean
de koimēthē ho anēr eleuthera estin hō thelei
gamēthēnai monon en Kyriō

Γυνὴ δέδεται ἐφ’ ὅσον χρόνον ζῇ ὁ ἀνὴρ αὐτῆς ἐὰν
δὲ κοιμηθῇ ὁ ἀνήρ ἐλευθέρα ἐστὶν ᾧ θέλει
γαμηθῆναι μόνον ἐν Κυρίῳ .
(1 Cor. 7:39)

Luke 14:26 –  Although chapter 7 begins with the counsel that to avoid sexual immorality, every believer should possess their own one-flesh covenant spouse [literally, the one “that is theirs / of them“], it does not follow that anyone is entitled to a sexual relationship.   Whether in an intact marriage or not, Christ-followers must each take up their cross and follow Him, loving Him most and their spouse second after that.   Central to loving Him is obeying His commandments.   Anything or anyone else put ahead of that is idolatry, which will also cause a believer not to inherit the kingdom of God, if unrepented.

Matthew 18:7, 23:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Hebrews 13:4 – Neither are we to interfere in any way with another person’s entry into the kingdom of God through maintaining an ongoing state of sin by willful direct violation of God’s law.  (Speaking of stumbling blocks, we’re citing the King James version here because virtually all modern English translations wrongfully omit adultery from Galatians 5:19 due to the deliberate choice of the Westcott & Hort late 19th century bible translation team to translate a faulty and incomplete manuscript, and to merge the separate single / married sins of fornication and adultery into the far more fungible “sexual immorality” in order to appear to justify civil divorce with remarriage while having a living covenant spouse.)

Hebrews 13:4 –  Jesus redefined adultery, repeatedly teaching that it was coveting and marrying someone else’s one-flesh.    This is another verse that confirms the wages of doing so and not repenting.   Adultery almost always takes people to hell in pairs, at least.   It is therefore very unloving toward that second would-be spouse to be the cause of their perdition.

Exodus 20:3,14, 16,17  – the Ten Commandments were in effect a ketubah, the written evidence of an enduring covenant between Elohim and His chosen people.    In light of how Jesus redefined man’s notion of adultery, the seventh and tenth commandments also echo our understanding of Matthew 19:6.   Pursuing an unlawful relationship is setting an object above our obedience and devotion to God, and it is directly disobeying His Son – this is idolatry!   Jesus Himself called it adultery three separate times.  It is bearing false witness against the covenant spouses involved to claim that that which only God can unjoin is unjoined and dissolved by man’s paper.   It is coveting and stealing the one-flesh spouse who belongs until death to another.

The Principle of CONSULTATION:

Origen  (248 A.D.)
Just as a woman is an adulteress, even though she seems to be married to a man, while a former husband yet lives, so also the man seems to marry who has been divorced does not marry her but, according to the declaration of our Savior, he commits adultery with her.

Innocent I  (417 A.D.)
It is manifest that when persons who have been divorced marry again both parties are adulterers.   And moreover, although the former marriage is supposed to be broken, yet if they marry again they themselves are adulterers, but the parties whom they marry are equally with them guilty of adultery; as we read in the gospel:
He who puts away his wife and marries another commits adultery; and likewise, He who marries her that is put away from her husband commits adultery.

Augustine of Hippo (419 A.D.)
A woman begins to be the wife of no later husband unless she has ceased to be the wife of a former one.  She will cease to be the wife of a former one, however, if that husband should die, not if he commits adultery.

Peter Lombard (prior to 1160 A.D.)
The marriage bond still exists between those who, even if departing from one another, having joined themselves to others.

Thomas Aquinas (circa 1225-1274 A.D.)
Nothing happening after a marriage can dissolve it: wherefore adultery does not make a marriage cease to be valid.  For according to Augustine, “as long as they live they are bound by the marriage tie, which neither divorce nor union with another can destroy.

Isaac Williams (1802-1865)
‘What therefore God has joined let not man put asunder.’   Here our Lord sets aside the letter of Holy Scripture, in one case, in the passage in Deuteronomy, (which He speaks of as the command of Moses,) on account of the higher law of Christian holiness and perfection…and therefore this passage in the book of Genesis not only is spoken, as St Paul says it is, of the Sacramental union betwixt Christ and His Church, but also does signify that marriage is itself of Divine sanction, and the union formed by God, and necessarily indissoluble as such…for if God has joined, man cannot put asunder.

R.A. Torrey (circa 1890)  – Moody Bible Institute
“Look at this legalized adultery we call divorce.  Men marry one wife after another, and are still admitted in good society, and women do likewise.  There are thousands of supposedly respectable men married to other men’s wives, and thousands of supposedly respectable women married to other women’s husbands.”

7:25-35 Considering the distress of those times, the unmarried state was best. Notwithstanding, the apostle does not condemn marriage. How opposite are those to the apostle Paul who forbid many to marry, and entangle them with vows to remain single, whether they ought to do so or not! He exhorts all Christians to holy indifference toward the world. As to relations; they must not set their hearts on the comforts of the state. As to afflictions; they must not indulge the sorrow of the world: even in sorrow the heart may be joyful. As to worldly enjoyments; here is not their rest. As to worldly employment; those that prosper in trade, and increase in wealth, should hold their possessions as though they held them not. As to all worldly concerns; they must keep the world out of their hearts, that they may not abuse it when they have it in their hands. All worldly things are show; nothing solid. All will be quickly gone. Wise concern about worldly interests is a duty; but to be full of care, to have anxious and perplexing care, is a sin. By this maxim the apostle solves the case whether it were advisable to marry. That condition of life is best for every man, which is best for his soul, and keeps him most clear of the cares and snares of the world. Let us reflect on the advantages and snares of our own condition in life; that we may improve the one, and escape as far as possible all injury from the other. And whatever cares press upon the mind, let time still be kept for the things of the Lord.

I suppose – I think; I give the following advice.

For the present distress – In the present state of trial. The word “distress” (ἀνάγκην anagkēn, necessity) denotes calamity, persecution, trial, etc.; see Luke 21:23. The word rendered “present” (ἐνεστῶσαν enestōsan) denotes that which “urges on,” or that which at that time presses on, or afflicts. Here it is implied:

(1) That at that time they were subject to trials so severe as to render the advice which he was about to give proper; and,

(2) That he by no means meant that this should be a “permanent arrangement” in the church, and of course it cannot be urged as an argument for the monastic system.

What the “urgent distress” of this time was, is not certainly known. If the Epistle was written about 59 a.d. (see the introduction), it was in the time of Nero; and probably he had already begun to oppress and persecute Christians. At all events, it is evident that the Christians at Corinth were subject to some trials which rendered the cares of the marriage life undesirable.

It is good for a man so to be – The emphasis here is on the word “so” οὕτως houtōs; that is, it is best for a man to conduct “in the following manner;” the word so referring to the advice which follows. “I advise that he conduct in the following manner, to wit.” Most commentators suppose that it means “as he is:” that is, unmarried; but the interpretation proposed above best suits the connection. The advice given is in the following verses.

26. I suppose—”I consider.”

this—namely, “for a man so to be,” that is, in the same state in which he is (1Co 7:27).

for—by reason of.

the present distress—the distresses to which believers were then beginning to be subjected, making the married state less desirable than the single; and which would prevail throughout the world before the destruction of Jerusalem, according to Christ’s prophecy (Mt 24:8-21; compare Ac 11:28).

I suppose therefore that {u} this is good for the {x} present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.

(u) To remain a virgin.

(x) For the necessity which the saints are daily subject to, who are continually tossed up and down, so that their estate may seem most unfit for marriage, were it not that the weakness of the flesh forced them to it.

I suppose, therefore, that this is good,…. The opinion of the apostle, the sentiment of his mind, his judgment in this case were, that it was better, more advisable and eligible, for persons that were single to continue so; his reason for it follows,

for the present necessity; by which is meant not the shortness of life, and the necessity of dying, when husband and wife must part, upon which trouble ensues; nor the various sorrows, cares, encumbrances, trials, and exercises that attend a conjugal state, as bearing and bringing forth, and bringing up children, provision for the family, &c. which are common to all, and at all times more or less; but the present time of persecution, under which the churches of Christ were; agreeably the Syriac version reads it, , “because of the necessity of the time”, or season: using the very Greek word in text; as the Targumists (q) also have frequently adopted it into their language, and use the phrase , “an hour, or time of necessity”, for a time of great affliction and distress, just as the apostle does here; because this was the present case of the Christians, he thought it most prudent for such as were single to remain so; since as they were often obliged to move from place to place, to fly from one city to another, this would be very incommodious for married persons, who might have young children to take care of, and provide for; see Matthew 24:19 upon a like account, the Jewish doctors advise to the same the apostle here does (r);

“from the day that the empire is extended, which decrees hard decrees upon us, and causes the law and the commandments to cease from us, and does not suffer us to circumcise children; it is right that we agree among ourselves, , not to marry, and beget children:”

I say it is good for a man so to be; to remain unmarried, to live a single life, to be a virgin; for the word “virgin”, as here used, relates to men as well as maidens, and denotes the single state of either. The apostle does not add, “even as I”; as he does in 1 Corinthians 7:8 which seems to confirm the conjecture already made, that he was not a bachelor, but a widower; otherwise he would doubtless have enforced this advice by his own example, as before.

(q) Targum Jon. & Hieros. in Genesis 22.14. & xxxviii. 25. & Targum Sheni in Esth. v. 1.((r) T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 60. 2.

26. the present distress] The literal rendering of the word here translated distress is necessity, and it is so translated in 1 Corinthians 7:37. But it frequently in the New Testament, as in the Septuagint, has the sense of distress, as in St Luke 21:23; 2 Corinthians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 3:7. Here it means either (1) ‘the great tribulation’ which was to precede our Lord’s coming (see St Matthew 24.; St Mark 13.; St Luke 21.; Revelation 7:14), or (2) the general distress and anxiety which attended the profession of Christianity in those times.

so to be] “thus to be,” as explained in the next verse.

1 Corinthians 7:26. Διὰ τὴν ἐνεστῶσαν ἀνάγκην, for the present distress) The famine in the time of Claudius, Acts 11:28. It was very long and severe, especially in Greece. Therefore this counsel of Paul was, partly at least, suited to the time.—ἀνθρώπῳ, for a man) This term is intended to apply to both sexes.—οὓτως, so) as he is [in the same state in which he is]: comp. 1 Corinthians 7:27.

Verse 26.I suppose. St. Paul only states this modestly, and somewhat hesitatingly, as his personal opinion. For the present distress; rather, on account of the pressing necessity; in the urgent and trying conditions which at the present moment surround the Christian’s life, and which were the prophesied “woes of the Messiah” (Matthew 24:3, etc.). For a man; rather, for a person – whether man or woman. Be to be; that is, unmarried. The words are not improbably a quotation from the Corinthian letter. Otherwise we might explain the “so” to mean “as he is – whether married or unmarried.”

In this case, none of the scholarly commentators, nor any of the early church fathers pointed to any support for the divorced to remarry on account of 1 Cor. 7:26-27,  for the obvious reason that this passage addresses only the never-married.   To construe it otherwise directly conflicts with the core teaching of both Jesus and Paul, that to marry again while having an estranged living spouse was entering into a state of ongoing adultery.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war  according to the flesh,  for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.  We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ….   2 Corinthians 3-5



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4 thoughts on “Excuse Me, Was I Addressing YOU? Stop Abusing 1 Cor. 7:26-27: “Debunk” Series – Part 4”

  1. Thank you so much for your stance on this issue. Concerning Paul’s instruction to “unmarried and widows” in 1 Corinthians verse 8, I have come to believe that he was referring to male widowers. There is an excellent series supporting the “remarriage is adultery” viewpoint by Richard Caldwell on Sermon Audio where he explains this reasoning. It makes excellent sense. While I disagree with his belief that those in a wrong subsequent marriage should “remain as they are”, he otherwise explains the issue wonderfully.

    Here is a link to the particular sermon in the series explaining 1 Corinthians 7. The “unmarried and widows” portion picks up at about 13 minutes. tinysa.com/sermon/2220321219
    Thank you again and keep up the fight!

    1. Thanks, John. “Standerinfamilycourt” is more of a reporter than a theologian or bible scholar. Will give the audio a listen. Those in a wrong subsequent marriage will not inherit the kingdom of God unless they sever the immoral relationship. It will almost never be holy matrimony in God’s eyes, except in those rare instances where a covenant spouse has died and full repentance steps are still taken. Don’t miss our Facebook page “Unilateral Divorce is Unconstitutional”.

  2. This is a reply the article linked that had the ridiculous title, “Excuse Me, was I addressing You? “Stop abusing 1 Cor…..”

    The write asked”
    “Is Paul addressing the adulterously remarried and urging them to stay as they are?”

    NO. He addresses them in other places, like Galatians 5:19 (the works of the flesh).

    He wrote:
    “Paul starts to address the questions concerning the “unmarried” and widows in verse 8: But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion (NASB).

    Before we note his comment let us look at what the text says. Paul speaks of the “unmarried”. That word includes those divorced, because they are no longer married. The writer of the articles refuses to believe what the text says because he does not believe divorced does what God says it will do.

    He admits what the text INCLUDES, says you can’t believe it because it is not what I believe some other passages teach.

    He wrote:
    “Here the term agamois (unmarried) is different from parthenos (virgin). It certainly includes virgins, but also includes those who have been put away, who may or may not have a living, estranged spouse. Based on Matthew 19:6, Romans 7:2 and 1 Cor. 7:39, it cannot mean that the marriage bond is dissolved if both original spouses are living.”

    He wrote:
    “We established earlier Matthew 19:6 as the cornerstone scripture for comparison (Part 1 of our series) before accepting a particular interpretation of any other other scripture.”

    First, that passages does not say what he insists it says. It says, “LET not man put asunder.” It does not say man cannot do it or that DIVORCE, as God defined it, does not do it. And so, he refuses to believe what clear text say because he is BENT on holding to a false idea of his “cornerstone” text.

    He further said,
    “(1) from the point God joins husband and wife, they cannot be unjoined as long as both live.”

    Really? Matthew 19:6, was teaching that took place during the Mosaic dispensation. The Law of Moses, which was the law of God. Clearly Deut. 24:1,2 spoke of divorce and it allowed the woman to “go and be another man’s wife”. The man didn’t need divorce to marry another because he could have multiple wives. Also, God confirmed that the divorce law was from him by using it himself (Jer. 3:8). And the icing on the cake is the clear teaching that Jesus married God’s divorced wife (Romans 7:1, 4).

    Dear reader, the writer of the article with the silly title claims to use good hermeneutics, but he does not. He wrote:

    “Scripture must always be interpreted in light of all other scripture on the same topic, and accomplished in such a way that there is no contradiction. “

    RW: This is true. It is an important aspect of hermeneutics. But we have seen that the write has settled on a false foundation—that Jesus said MAN CANNOT DIVORCE. That cannot be true because it is not what he said and it would have resulted in sin, had he said it, sin that would have got him immediately stoned. And did he not promise that nothing would change before “all is fulfilled” (Matt. 5:17-19). Thus, the man has Jesus doing something he said he would not do—right before talking about the “putting away” issue, which is NOT divorce at all.

    The truth I’m trying to get across you many of you does not have contradictions, which is why I gave up trying to defend the error that benefits only the devil as it breaks up marriages, imposes celibacy on people who need marriage, splits churches and results in precious time being wasted arguing the matter.

  3. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

    Sir, suffice it to say, you are in profound error. This page will not return your rudeness, but we have responded to your accusations in a separate blog post. None of your arguments match (or even attempt to apply) the disciplined hermeneutical principles that this study has, and that’s because the carnal view of Christ’s commandments cannot withstand that kind of rigor. Sir, this is a heaven-or-hell issue on which you are misleading your band of self-worshipping followers.

    I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. Revelation 22:18-19

    For very good reason, the Apostle James warned, “Let not many become teachers, for they will incur a harsher judgment”. You are hindering the repentance of many, and leading them into deeper apostasy for which they and you will one day have to give account. We can only hope it’s not because you, too, are in the immoral state of being “married” to another man’s God-joined one-flesh partner while he lives. As Jesus and the 1st – 4th century church proved, “cults” are not necessarily to be deemed so just because of their small numbers. Did He not say that broad is the path that leads to destruction, and narrow is the path that few find, leading to everlasting life? Repent, sir, while you still can!

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