ABC:1 Corinthians 7

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Verse 1[edit]

See also Virgin Birth and Priestly Celibacy

Jim Meritt of Infidels.org claims Proverbs 18:22 contradicts the "whole book" of 1 Corinthians 7 (presumably meaning chapter instead), especially verses 1, 2, 29, 37, and 40.[1]

Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.

1 Corinthians 7:1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

1 Corinthians 7:29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

1 Corinthians 7:37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.

1 Corinthians 7:40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

As explained at length in Virgin Birth and Priestly Celibacy this longstanding confusion is caused by the incorrect translation of the Greek word parthenos in the New Testament as meaning virgin instead of widow by the Catholic Church and subsequent translators (like the KJV). A reading of 1 Corinthians 7 shows the topic being discussed is whether widows (what parthenos should have been translated as) should be allowed to remarry.

In that context, Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 was actually encouraging those married to stay with their spouses, even if their spouses were unbelievers.

1 Corinthians 7:10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

However, Paul thought it better for those widowed like himself (7:7-8), whether from death of a spouse (7:40) or a spouse leaving (7:15) to not remarry. However, he stated they did not sin (7:28) if remarrying and were allowed to remarry if they insisted:

1 Corinthians 7:8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.
9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

1 Corinthians 7:27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.
28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

1 Corinthians 7:39 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.
40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

Only if 1 Corinthians 7 and Revelation 12:4 are read with parthenos translated as virgin is there a contradiction. However, as clearly explained in Virgin Birth and Priestly Celibacy such a reading would make little sense in the context of 1 Corinthians 7, Paul's own teachings, and the entire Bible; and parthenos as shown from all the evidence appears to mean widow instead.

Verse 30[edit]

American Atheists claims the Bible is wrong about the passage (and makes the following comments (italicized).[2]

The Holy Lifestyle

Ecclesiastes 9:7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.

1 Corinthians 7:30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

The Apostle Paul was writing for a specific situation in 1 Corinthians 7:30, a "present distress" (v. 26) "concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me." (v. 1) The situation in 1 Corinthians 7 was whether divorced widows should be allowed to remarry (v. 27) to which Paul said that it was not sinful for them to remarry. (v. 28) Paul here is making a broader point that he wants Christians to pursue situations where they will avoid worry and concern, and that he thinks it better for divorced widows to not remarry that they may focus on God without concern for the cares of this life, although he concedes there is no sin involved either way. (vv. 29-35) Paul encourages marriage as a whole to avoid sexual immorality, even for those divorced or widowed if attempts at abstinence would lead to sexual immorality. (vv. 2, 8-9) Marriage in general is blessed by God Biblically. (Proverbs 18:22; Hebrews 13:4)

Paul is making a broader point about discouraging worries and concerns of this life. (vv. 32-35) He is not discouraging rejoicing in the Lord, but rejoicing over the things of this life which cause worry and distraction. Paul elsewhere encourages rejoicing in the Lord. (Philippians 4:4; 3:3; 2:16-18,28; 1:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:16; Romans 15:10) Note that verse 30 does not say that those who rejoice should not rejoice, but that they should act like they are not rejoicing, in other words not be consumed with 'distraction' (v. 35) related to rejoicing. The New Living Translation for example renders 1 Corinthians 7:30 as "Those who weep or who rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions." It is not that Paul is saying that weeping, rejoicing, marriage, or purchasing goods is wrong, but that they should not be cause for distracting us from focusing on God.

Sources[edit]

  1. Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html.
  2. N.a. (2019). "Biblical Contradictions? American Atheists.