FIRST CITY CHURCH OF CHRIST
"...a church of Christ meeting in Vincennes, Indiana..."
"I Corinthians 7 Truths"
Larry R. Ping II
Much disinformation, over the years, has been circulated concerning I Cor. 7. Many things have been erroneously taught, ignorantly or on purpose. Be sure to understand the following truths, and be sure not to be involved in spreading “fake news” about this chapter.
1. This Chapter Does Not Permit Marital Separation For Just Any Cause. In truth, it does not speak of “marital separation” as we might know it. Paul, inspired by the Holy Ghost wrote “Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer” (I Cor. 7:5). Paul is addressing physical separation, only for the cause of spiritual and religious reasons.
2. This Chapter Does Not Find Paul Banning Marriage. Paul, on numerous occasions wrote he desired for others to be as he (I Cor. 7:7,8). But in no place did he outlaw being married. In fact, he penned “But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned” (I Cor. 7:28). This is encouraged to “avoid fornication” (I Cor. 7:2).
3. This Chapter Does Not Teach About Burning In Hell. This mistaken teaching emanates from I Cor. 7:9 which iterates “But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.” The burning in this place is with reference to burning “in lust.”
4. This Chapter Does Not Contain Paul’s Own Opinions. Sitting in a recent Bible study of I Cor. 7, it was said Paul was offering his personal opinions in verses 10 and 25. This cannot be true, as “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (II Tim. 3:16). In both cases, Paul was addressing a subject the Lord had not. In both cases, he was writing under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 2:10, II Pet. 1:20-21). In both cases, we are to understand what Paul wrote was to be considered “the commandments of the Lord” (I Cor. 14:37). Let it be noted how treacherous it is to teach Paul was personally opining. In doing so, the door is opened for others to fairly ask if other authors were offering their opinion as well. Each word read in the Bible is the Word of God, nothing more and nothing less (I Thess. 2:13).
5. This Chapter Does Not Have A “Pauline Privilege.” Some have twisted Paul’s writings (II Pet. 3:16). That is, they are teaching Paul is allowing additional reasons for divorce than the Lord’s singular exception in Matt. 5:32 and Matt. 19:9. The error comes when allowing the words “if she depart” (I Cor. 7:11) to mean divorce is permissible for any cause so long as there is no subsequent marriage following. The words of God’s Son are contrary to this when He said “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6).
6. This Chapter Does Not Teach A Widow Can Only Marry A Christian. Such teaching is derived from I Cor. 7:39 which says “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.” The words “in the Lord” signify one having the Biblical right to be married, just as the phrase in Eph. 6:1 calls children to obey parents who teach that which is Biblically right.