Heaven's Point of View

1 Corinthians 7:10-16, Part 1

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Senez Rodriguez (Host), Tom Shepherd


Series Code: HPOV

Program Code: HPOV000045A

00:16 Welcome to Heaven's Point of View.
00:19 This is a continuation of the Series,
00:21 Love, Marriage, Sex, and Divorce according to the New Testament.
00:25 Our special guest and host this morning is Dr. Tom Sheperd
00:31 who is Professor of New Testament interpretation
00:34 at Andrews University.
00:35 My name is Dr. Senez Rodriguez and I am glad to be his Co-host.
00:39 Tom: Okay.
00:40 So, a question for you, Dr. Sheperd.
00:43 Tom: Hmmm... hmmm...
00:45 We have seen so far what Jesus teaches about divorce
00:49 the question is, does Paul agree with those teachings?
00:54 All right, good question, we studied Matthew 19
00:59 verses 3 to 12, we were talking about
01:03 what the Lord answered Pharisees when they came to ask him,
01:08 and now we want to turn to the book of 1st Corinthians
01:11 where the Apostle Paul also discusses
01:14 the question of divorce, we've already studied some about
01:19 this church of Corinth,
01:21 they were people with lots of troubles
01:24 they had doctrinal problems
01:28 but not only doctrinal problems but practice problems.
01:30 They had people involved in incest
01:33 and people involved in going to prostitutes
01:36 and people who didn't think
01:38 marriage should have sex in it at all
01:41 and then there were people who were considering divorce
01:45 or maybe... who had been divorced
01:48 so there were all kinds of issues
01:51 so, Paul worked with these churches...
01:53 not just Corinth but other places
01:56 to have stable, happy homes
01:58 and some of their settings as we will see
02:02 differed somewhat from what the gospels talked about
02:05 and this is what brings about
02:07 some of what the Apostle Paul has to say.
02:09 So we want to read the passage, it's 1st Corinthians chapter 7
02:13 verses 10 through 16,
02:16 1st Corinthians 7 verses 10 through 16.
02:23 Why don't you read that for us.
02:24 Sure... "And unto the married I command,
02:28 yet not I, but the Lord,
02:31 Let not the wife depart from her husband:
02:36 But if she depart, let her remain unmarried,
02:41 or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband
02:46 put away his wife.
02:48 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord:
02:52 If any brother hath a wife that believeth not,
02:56 and she be pleased to dwell with him
03:00 let him not put her away.
03:02 And the woman which hath an husband that believe not,
03:08 and if he be pleased to dwell with her,
03:12 let her not leave him.
03:15 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife,
03:20 and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband:
03:26 else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
03:32 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart.
03:36 A brother or a sister is not under bondage
03:41 in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
03:46 For what knowest thou,
03:48 O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband?
03:54 or how knowest thou,
03:57 O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?"
04:00 Hmmm... hmmm... all right, very interesting passage.
04:04 Talking about several different scenarios...
04:07 we're going to walk slowly through this passage
04:10 and take a look at it.
04:11 It's helpful to outline 1st Corinthians 7
04:15 to get an idea of how Paul puts his arguments together.
04:20 We remember that this is a transition point
04:23 in the book, we studied 1st Corinthians 6
04:26 verses 12 to 20,
04:28 and we saw how Paul brought all kinds of theology
04:31 together to fight the problem of promiscuity
04:34 and then... in the beginning of chapter 7,
04:37 he begins by saying, "Now concerning the matters
04:40 about which you wrote. "
04:41 They wrote him a letter asking him a variety of questions
04:46 and he responds to those questions here and elsewhere
04:50 so the chapter... chapter 7 seems to break down
04:56 into three parts as it seems... because
04:59 it's disputed so I'm not sure exactly how
05:01 the chapters should be broken down.
05:03 But it goes like this...
05:05 the first section is to those who are married
05:08 or who have been married, all right...
05:10 and that goes from verse 1 through verse 16
05:14 so the first part is about: 1. Sex for husbands and wives,
05:19 another passage that we have looked at,
05:22 2. Marriage and the formerly married... is in verses 8 and 9,
05:25 3. And divorce and believers is in verses 10 to 16.
05:29 So that's the first section focused around people
05:32 who are married or who have been married.
05:34 Then there is... what we might call...
05:37 a Transition Section talking about God's call
05:42 in their life setting,
05:43 that goes from verse 17 through verse 24,
05:47 and he starts off with the thesis
05:50 that the person should remain in the state
05:53 that God has called them in and he unpacks this
05:58 with an expression talking about
05:59 the circumcised and the uncircumcised,
06:01 the slave and the free,
06:03 then he comes to the last section of the chapter,
06:06 to those who are unmarried, he starts...
06:10 and that goes from verses 24 through 40:
06:13 1. He begins with the discussion of virgins
06:16 and then he turns to:
06:19 2. Relating to the distressful times.
06:21 so the virgins were from verses 24 to 28,
06:24 the distressful times, verses 29 to 35,
06:26 3. then staying single or getting married
06:29 is a topic he talks about in verses 36 to 38,
06:31 4. and finally he talks about widows...
06:33 at the very end, verses 39 to 40.
06:36 Okay, so this is the breakdown of the chapter,
06:40 now, Paul addresses in chapter 7
06:43 particular questions that the Corinthians had raised
06:46 and he introduces these questions
06:49 with the word, "about," in Greek it's, "peri"
06:54 that word appears in verse 1 and again in verse 25
07:01 so the things you wrote about, if you look at verse 25,
07:05 it says, "Now concerning the betrothed... "
07:08 so "concerning... " see about the betrothed
07:11 "I have no command from the Lord but I give my judgment,
07:13 as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. "
07:16 It seems, however, that he...
07:20 either he answers other questions that they didn't raise
07:24 or he expands on the topics
07:28 in the areas that he wants to address with the people
07:30 because he seems to go a little off-field
07:33 from just the particular questions perhaps
07:35 that they raised, the outline that I've just...
07:38 you've seen, perhaps, on the screen there
07:40 and I've read through it, the outline divides the chapter
07:44 into these three main sections
07:46 focusing mainly on the married in the first part
07:49 and mainly on the unmarried in the last part,
07:52 but this outline can be challenged a bit
07:56 because he refers back to married people
07:59 at different times in his presentation.
08:02 The passage we're looking at today though
08:05 is a section for married people, Paul uses the verb,
08:10 "to be married" or "to marry"
08:11 and he puts it in what's called "the perfect tense,"
08:15 now in Greek,
08:16 the perfect tense had two ideas within it,
08:20 one was, "an action in the past that came to completion,"
08:26 right, and then there were ongoing results
08:30 that continue up to the present,
08:32 so we're in the ongoing results of that experience,
08:36 so, both of these ideas were in the present tense
08:39 and it depends on the context as to whether it said,
08:42 "consummated perfect"
08:44 the one that focuses on the completion of the action
08:47 or an "Intensive Perfect,"
08:49 that focuses on the ongoing action
08:51 probably here it's "Intensive Perfect"
08:53 he's saying, he's speaking to the married,
08:56 so, they were married, that happened sometime back
09:01 and they're still married,
09:02 so they're in the state of marriage
09:05 and so he writes to them,
09:06 there are a number of misunderstandings
09:08 about this passage,
09:09 just as we saw that there are misunderstandings
09:12 about verses 1 to 6, we already studied that,
09:16 but we'll see that there are misunderstandings here too
09:19 so it's good that we have an opportunity
09:21 to talk about this and talk them through.
09:23 Now, sometimes the idea of such misunderstandings
09:27 are troubling to some people in today's church,
09:32 they think, "Well, if this is the Word of God,
09:36 shouldn't the meaning be crystal clear to everyone
09:40 so that no one is lost?"
09:44 Yeah, it's a good question, there are truths in the Bible
09:50 that are impossible to miss
09:52 if one is reading with an open mind
09:55 and a willingness to do what is right,
09:58 Jesus said in John 7:17,
10:02 "If any man wills to do His will,
10:04 he will know the doctrine,
10:05 whether it's of God, or I speak of myself,"
10:07 so, Jesus there... expresses the concept that, you know,
10:12 it doesn't matter how much you know,
10:13 you can have a PhD in all kinds of things
10:15 and everything, but if you're unwilling to do
10:19 what God requires, you will likely find some way
10:22 to escape and get away from what He has said.
10:26 All right, so, there are certain truths in the Bible
10:29 that are just impossible to miss,
10:30 these include things like the doctrine of sin,
10:33 the teaching about salvation, the gift of salvation,
10:37 forgiveness, our responsibility to love other people,
10:40 these are written large in the Bible
10:44 and it would take...
10:45 you would have to be really resistant
10:47 to not be able to see those, okay,
10:49 but some teachings of the Bible,
10:53 require deeper study, a closer look,
10:56 a careful look at the meanings of the words.
10:59 You notice as we talk here,
11:00 we talk, many times, about the meanings of the words,
11:03 we not only talk about the meanings of the words
11:05 but we talk about how they're related to one another,
11:07 how the different terms relate to each other,
11:10 the background story, the history, the culture,
11:12 it's not a denial of our faith
11:15 for us to study and read
11:18 and look for information that fills in the background.
11:20 We have to remember that Paul...
11:22 these books were written 2000 years ago,
11:25 Paul was writing to a particular church in a particular setting
11:29 with particular problems, he wrote to them
11:34 with instruction from the Lord that met their needs
11:38 responding to the questions that they had,
11:40 but his writings contained principles...
11:43 principles and teachings that apply to us today
11:47 giving us what God's will is for us in these matters
11:52 so, yeah, some passages are just a little more obscure
11:57 we have to search at them,
11:59 and that's why we have a program like this
12:01 in looking carefully at the Bible.
12:03 Now I noticed that in the outline
12:06 that verses 8 and 9 are words to the unmarried
12:11 do you think that Paul was in favor of celibacy?
12:16 Let's take a look... let's read those two verses again,
12:18 verses 8 and 9... I don't think we read them before,
12:21 "I say therefore to the unmarried and widows:
12:27 It is good for them if they abide even as I.
12:32 But if they cannot contain, let them marry:
12:37 for it is better to marry than to burn. "
12:42 Yeah, probably the last part is to "burn with passion. "
12:45 Senez: Right. Tom: To be consumed by
12:48 by the passion, so, Paul recommends to the
12:52 unmarried, that they stay single,
12:55 he does not explain much here, why?
12:57 But in verses 17 to 35,
13:01 he presents four different reasons for staying single.
13:06 Let's just read a little bit of that.
13:09 Let's read verses 17 to 24.
13:11 Okay, 17 through 24.
13:14 And we're listening particularly
13:16 for the question of, "Why should they remain single?"
13:19 Okay, "But as God hath distributed
13:24 to every man, as the Lord hath called every one
13:28 so let him walk.
13:30 And so ordain I in all churches.
13:34 Is any man called being circumcised?
13:37 let him not become uncircumcised.
13:42 Is any called in uncircumcision?
13:46 let him not be circumcised.
13:48 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing,
13:52 but the keeping of the commandments of God.
13:57 Let every man abide in the same calling
14:01 wherein he was called.
14:04 Art thou called being a servant?
14:07 care not for it:
14:08 but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.
14:14 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant,
14:19 is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called,
14:25 being free, is Christ's servant.
14:27 Ye are bought with a price: be not ye the servants of men.
14:35 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called,
14:40 therein abide with God. "
14:42 Okay, so, here is his first reason that he gives
14:46 and it's basically wrapped up in the idea:
14:50 remain in the state in which God called you.
14:54 But while he says that, almost immediately,
14:59 he modifies that a bit because he talks about the slaves.
15:02 Right.
15:03 And he says, "Well, no... you don't have to stay inside,"
15:05 he says, "If you can begat freedom," he says, "go for it. "
15:08 You know, that's a good idea,
15:10 and then he gives one of his typical kinds of things
15:13 where, you know, "the person who is the slave
15:17 is the Lord's freeman
15:18 and the man who is free is the Lord's slave... Christ's slave,"
15:21 so, he puts in instruction here
15:25 as he goes along but that's one of the reasons
15:27 he is suggesting the idea of staying in the same state.
15:31 Now, the next one is found in verse 26,
15:32 why don't you read verse 26 for us?
15:34 Verse 26, "I suppose therefore
15:39 that this is good for the present distress,
15:44 I say, that it is good for a man so to be. "
15:48 Yes, to remain... because of the "present distress"
15:52 that the person should stay in the state that they're in.
15:56 There was a famine n the area in 51 AD,
15:59 and Paul may have written this just a few years later
16:02 there were famines in the area
16:03 and we know that distress like this makes it difficult
16:08 to form relationships and to have a marriage
16:13 because you have to plan in advance for proper care.
16:17 Then verse 29, why don't you read that?
16:20 That gives another reason.
16:21 "But this I say, brethren, the time is short:
16:26 it remaineth, that both they that have wives
16:32 be as though they had none... "
16:35 Yes, now so this is... now this seems to be
16:38 like an eschatological kind of a context
16:41 looking towards Jesus' return,
16:44 we might wonder... "Well, wait a minute... "
16:46 Jesus didn't come at that time did He?
16:49 Did Paul expect Him to come right then?
16:51 Actually in one of his other letters,
16:53 Paul says that that there has to be...
16:55 "the man of sin has to show himself first"
16:58 and so he looked for a latter time,
17:00 but perhaps he's thinking in terms of people's life
17:03 of where it was and we all know that
17:05 when our life comes to an end,
17:07 that's when... the next thing we'll know
17:09 is Jesus' return. Hmmm... hmmm...
17:11 So, he puts in here... as "the shortness of time,"
17:15 he says, another reason he's suggesting
17:17 then the last one down in verse 32 and 33,
17:20 32 and 33... read those verses.
17:25 Okay, "But I would have you without carefulness.
17:28 He that is unmarried
17:31 careth for the things that belong to the Lord:
17:34 how he may please the Lord:
17:37 But he that is married
17:39 careth for the things that are of the world,
17:43 how he may please his wife. "
17:45 Yeah, okay, now, he's talking about earthly anxieties.
17:52 You know, when you get married,
17:54 you have to think about the family,
17:57 and the care of them,
17:58 when you're single, you pretty much...
18:01 are much freer to do a variety of things,
18:04 so for these four reasons remaining with God and the State
18:07 where you were called, the present distress,
18:10 the shortness of time and be without earthly anxieties.
18:14 Some people get the idea that Paul was down on marriage,
18:19 but these arguments and the verses around them
18:23 don't suggest that, he was...
18:24 Paul was a missionary, he was a pioneer
18:28 and big in his eyesight, big in his view
18:31 was the ability to move quickly
18:33 from place to place and do the work of God.
18:36 We read this man's life story and where he went
18:39 it would have been extremely hard to do with a family
18:42 and to travel around with them and so he was...
18:45 he was a little freer in that sense... being single...
18:49 Now he doesn't say that a person has to be single,
18:53 he says that there's no sin in getting married,
18:56 you should get married as a Christian,
18:59 you should marry a Christian,
19:00 you should get married, he says, "in the Lord"
19:02 but he doesn't say that marriage is wrong somehow.
19:05 Now, I noticed that Paul uses the phrase, "not I but the Lord"
19:11 in verse 10, and then he says,
19:14 "Not the Lord but I" in verse 12,
19:17 what does that mean?
19:19 Yeah, let's read those verses again
19:21 so that people get the whole context
19:24 let's read verses... well... start with verse...
19:31 hmmm... I was on the wrong page, that helps...
19:35 Senez: Ten? Tom: Yeah, verse 10.
19:37 Senez: Okay.
19:38 Read verse 10 and then read verse 12.
19:41 "And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord,
19:47 Let not the wife depart from her husband... "
19:51 All Right, and then verse 12...
19:52 "But to the rest speak I, not the Lord,
19:57 If any brother hath a wife that believe not,
20:01 and she be pleased to dwell with him
20:04 let him not put her away. "
20:06 Yes, now, this is really interesting,
20:11 I mean, it almost sounds like...
20:12 like two levels of inspiration or something, you know,
20:15 there's a Lord's command and then well...
20:18 I'll just get my opinion, you know,
20:20 but what we should do first, is ask the question,
20:25 "Who is the Lord that he's talking about here?"
20:29 In another place, the Apostle uses this term
20:33 "The Lord" and refers to a command from the Lord
20:37 and refers to the Lord Jesus Christ,
20:39 turn over to 1st Corinthians 9:14,
20:42 1st Corinthians 9 and verse 14,
20:46 "Even so hath the Lord ordained
20:50 that they which preach the gospel
20:53 should live of the gospel. "
20:56 Okay, so the Lord commanded
20:59 that those who proclaim the gospel
21:01 should get their living by the gospel.
21:05 So, is there some command of Jesus
21:09 that parallels that?
21:10 Well, there seems there is, over in Luke 10 verse 7
21:14 so turn to Luke 10 verse 7 and read that verse.
21:17 So, notice that Paul is saying
21:21 that those who work in the gospels
21:24 should get their living from the gospel.
21:26 Now what did Jesus say in Luke 10 verse 7?
21:31 He says, "And in the same house remain,
21:32 eating and drinking such things as they give:
21:36 for the labourer is worthy of his hire.
21:40 Go not from house to house. "
21:44 Hmmm... hmmm... yeah, so this principle of the
21:47 "labourer is worthy of his hire"
21:50 and that the people... where you go
21:52 as a gospel minister
21:54 and you're serving their spiritual needs,
21:56 they should help you with your physical needs
21:59 and that's in Jesus' missionary discourse
22:02 here to the 72 that he sent out
22:04 besides the 12 that he had sent out earlier
22:08 and that is so parallel to what the apostle has said
22:12 in our passage in 1st Corinthians 9
22:16 that it seems that in the background
22:20 is this very saying of Jesus,
22:24 now, most scholars maintain that Paul wrote 1st Corinthians,
22:30 before Luke was written, but there were oral traditions
22:33 and the teachings of Jesus in the minds of the apostles,
22:36 and they were teaching these things,
22:38 and so, it's quite interesting
22:39 that even before a written gospel,
22:41 the Apostle Paul has some kind of understanding
22:45 of the Lord's message, so, then the question becomes,
22:48 "Okay, if this is the Lord Jesus,
22:51 that he is referring to in 1st Corinthians 7,
22:57 if this is the same person as the Lord's... as Christ...
23:04 then well, what's he referring to?"
23:09 All right, so we go back to look at Paul's words here,
23:15 and he says, "to the married... "
23:18 and... sorry... verse 10...
23:21 "And unto the married I give this charge
23:22 not I, but the Lord.
23:24 The wife should not separate from her husband... "
23:26 now, actually we'll... a little later we'll take a look
23:29 and see exactly what teaching of Jesus...
23:32 it's in our next program, I believe,
23:34 we'll take a look and see what teaching of Jesus it is
23:39 that this links up to, but if he's talking about
23:43 the Lord here, it's indicative that he's giving
23:47 precedence to the words of Jesus.
23:50 I like that. He's giving precedence
23:53 to the words of Jesus,
23:55 but he knows that his own words...
23:58 his own words also have a certain weight to them.
24:03 Hmmm... hmmm... okay.
24:04 So, there are two verses where he helps to show
24:09 what he thinks of his own sayings or his own words,
24:14 and that's in 1st Corinthians 7 and verse 25.
24:19 "Now concerning virgins
24:22 I have no commandment of the Lord:
24:26 yet I give my judgment,
24:29 as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. "
24:34 Yeah, mine reads a little differently, it says,
24:37 about the same... it says... "Now concerning the betrothed"
24:40 or the virgins, "I have no command from the Lord
24:43 but I give my judgment
24:45 as one, who by the Lord's mercy, is trustworthy"
24:50 okay so, he didn't have a saying from Jesus
24:54 to talk about those who were unmarried
24:58 and in fact, if we look through the gospels,
25:00 we don't find the saying,
25:03 we find Jesus talking about divorce,
25:05 we've already seen that, he discusses that,
25:08 but we don't find a saying where he's says,
25:11 "Now, so, what should unmarried people do?"
25:13 And so, Paul says,
25:16 "I don't have a command from Jesus,
25:18 if I did, I'd give it to you. "
25:20 He says, "But I give my own judgment as one who is...
25:26 by the Lord's mercy... is trustworthy. "
25:29 So someone that they can count on.
25:31 Somebody might say, "Wow! well that doesn't sound
25:34 as authoritative... that doesn't sound as inspired,"
25:38 you know, so now we go down to the other verse
25:40 and that's verse 40
25:42 and maybe we should get the context here
25:45 starting in verse 39.
25:47 Okay, 39... "The wife is bound by the law
25:51 as long as her husband lives;
25:54 but if her husband be dead,
25:56 she is at liberty to be married to whom she will;
26:00 only in the Lord.
26:02 But she is happier if she so abide,
26:06 after my judgment: and I think also
26:10 that I have the Spirit of God. "
26:13 Okay, so, if you look at verse 39,
26:15 "A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives... "
26:18 that's in accordance with the teaching of Jesus.
26:21 Okay, and he says, "But if her husband dies,
26:23 she is free to be married to whom she wishes
26:25 only in the Lord. "
26:27 That reminds us of Romans chapter 7
26:30 where he talked about two different people
26:33 and one could be married and then that person dies
26:36 and then they can remarry,
26:37 but in verse 40 he says, "Yet in my judgment... "
26:40 now he's going to go beyond what Jesus was talking about
26:44 "Yet in my judgment she is happier
26:46 if she remains as she is. "
26:47 And here he kind of puts tongue-in-cheek a little bit
26:51 and says, "and, I think that I too have the Spirit of God. "
26:56 So, he's an apostle but, you know,
27:00 he struggled with the church in Corinth
27:02 they had issues about his authority.
27:04 Paul knows who he is, he knows he's an apostle,
27:08 he knows he has the Spirit of God,
27:10 there's not two levels of inspiration
27:12 there's one level of inspiration but the difference is
27:17 whether he has this direct saying from Jesus
27:20 and if he does, he focuses on that saying.
27:22 So, next time, actually,
27:25 we're going to notice how Paul ties his teaching
27:28 into the teaching of Jesus.
27:30 Well, friends, we are coming to an end
27:33 to this particular presentation today,
27:36 we thank you for being with us
27:39 and I am sure that if you stay with us
27:42 for the rest of the programs,
27:43 you are certainly going to be spiritually uplifted
27:47 and benefitting from the presentation
27:49 that Dr. Sheperd has for us so, I invite you to stay with us
27:54 and you will enjoy it.
27:56 Thank you for listening
27:58 and I hope that you have a wonderful day today.
28:01 Thank you and may God bless you today.


Revised 2016-04-21