Summary: How to deal with a lost husband.
What if my head is numb?
I Cor 7
We have done a study of the roles of man and woman within marriage and what a woman should do if her husband is lost. In this chapter, Paul will touch on issues that involve single men and women as well as married, divorced, fathers, daughters and even sex. I wish to concentrate on verses 10 to 16 and verses 27,28 to continue within the scope our previous topics, but may scan a few of the others.
In I Peter 3, we saw that a woman living a godly life in submission to her husband would be a catalyst for the husband to either to get saved or fulfill the role God gave him. Paul says the same thing in verse 16 and also shows the same is true of a saved man with an unsaved wife.
In order for some to hear what Paul is saying, I suspect that I must speak to the introductory verses which some use to paint Paul as a sexist, woman-hater that was against marriage. Based upon the requirements of being married for Paul to be a member of the Sanhedrin and the following verse, I believe that Paul was most likely a widower.
1 Cor 9:5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? (KJV)
He had a wife when he was a member of the Sanhedrin, but somewhere he lost his wife and thus is single in I Cor 7, but he states in 9:5 that he still has the right to remarry. I don’t believe he would argue for his right to be married and the right of the others to be married if he were against marriage. Please note that the verse states that Cephas/Peter was married contrary to Catholic doctrine and if Peter was the first Pope it is obvious that he did not believe that priests must be celibate. Paul also condemned any doctrine that would forbid marriage in 1 Tim 4:3. He is not doing any forbidding here.
As you read the life of Paul, you find that he was extremely persecuted and suffered much pain at the hand of the Jews and Gentiles during his ministry. Since we are not told, it would be conjecture, but it is possible that Paul lost his wife to persecution. He was about to teach by inspiration and maybe his own experiences about this present distress and the freedom of service and from sorrow that being single would bring during that distress. The Church was being persecuted as Paul wrote and it would get worse. It is not an easy thing to watch loved ones murdered in front of you or taken away to never be seen again. Read Foxes Book of Martyrs and you will agree with Paul that being single means not seeing these things happen to spouse and children.
Paul praises women far too much and instructs in too many places that women, especially widows, be respected and treated well for him to be sexist and a woman hater. That is just N.O.W. and Liberal theologian propaganda used to justify their disregard and disobedience to the plain Word of God. The Bible and true Christians have done more to liberate women in every culture than any other religion even those who claim to be Bible based. The truth does indeed set free. Peter warning that a man’s prayers are hindered if he does not love his wife (I Peter 3:7) and Paul praising women in various places for their service to God (Rom 16:1,3,6,15) is far better treatment of women than many other religions. Paul saying that there is no longer male nor female when in comes to our standing in Christ (Gal 3:28) is far more liberating than a Mormon doctrine that says no woman can enter into Heaven except there is a man to lift her veil.
If you do not want to be obedient to God, you can find all kinds of things that you can take out of context. You can project all your own bias and hatred about one or more Biblical characters or teachings, but you are standing in quicksand and living in a self created fantasy and not in the truth of the Word.
Having said all that to rebuke those who would ignore the message because of a false concept of the messenger, we can now go on to the message.
Marriage is a complex union. It is not something to enter into on a lark or as cure for some problem. Marriage creates different and unique problems that can only be handled as a one-flesh team. If each person goes in looking for ways to get their way or to find their fulfillment they will be extremely disappointed and frustrated. Many a fairy tale romance has taken a nosedive the week after the honeymoon because it was a fairy tale one or both were expecting and harsh reality has slapped them in the face.