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Thursday, September 13, 2018

2018.09.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1Corinthians 7:36-40

Questions for Littles: How might a man think he is behaving toward his unmarried daughter (v36)? What does he not do if he lets her marry her betrothed? But how does the father do (in that current situation in Corinth, cf. v26) who has determined in his heart to keep his daughter (v37)? So in that current situation, which one does better—the father who keeps his daughter, or the one who lets her marry (v38)? What may a wife do if her husband dies (v39)? What is the requirement about her remarriage? Again, in the current situation in Corinth, which is better for the woman whose husband dies (v40, cf. 26-28)? Whom does Paul have, by whom he is writing?
In this week’s Epistle reading, the apostle finishes up his answer to what some of the Corinthians had written to him about marriage being a bad thing. It most certainly is not, since marriage is the difference from God looking at the creation and saying, “not good,” unto God looking at the creation and finally saying, “very good.”

However, the apostle has highlighted for the Corinthians a couple situations in which it might be advisable to refrain from or postpone marriage. One is what he has referred to as “the present distress,” referring to a temporary situation in Corinth at the time. The other is when one wants to be free to be sacrificed for other ministry, 24 hours/day.

There are two more groups in Corinth at the time that need advice. First, he addresses fathers of daughters. If what Paul has said about the present distress, what about fathers of eligible and even betrothed daughters?

There is an important balance here. It is obvious, in v36-37, that a father has authority over whether he gives his daughter in marriage. Care over her is his privilege, and another may not take it up unless he gives it. Yet it is important to note that his concern must ultimately be for her good—and particularly that she would be married in good season and under advantageous circumstances. Like all biblical authority in the church and home, it is an authority of compassion, service, and equipping.

Second, what about those women who have come into the sad estate of having no headship. They were faithful wives, but then their husbands died. Elsewhere, the apostle encourages the to marry if they are young enough (cf. 1Tim 5:9-14). But here in 1Corinthians 7, he has been making application to their current circumstances of trial. As with a father’s decision-making, so also the apostle in v40 aims at what will be more for her happiness in the Lord.

Such is the character of our God, who has called us to joy (v40) and peace (v15).
What marriages does your behavior affect? How will you use that influence?
Suggested songs: ARP128 “How Blessed Are All Who Fear” or TPH549 “O Gracious Lord”

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