Jump Start # 3311
1 Corinthians 7:1 “Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.”
The layout of the Corinthian letter is very fascinating. In the first six chapters Paul addresses the pertinent things first. He has been told things by Chloe’s people. That’s the first chapter. Chapter five continues, “It is actually reported,” which continues Paul’s dealings with things that are on the front burner.
But, by the time we reach chapter seven, Paul begins answering the questions that the Corinthians had written to him. “Now concerning the things about which you wrote,” is how the seventh chapter begins. They had questions. They went to the right source to find their answers. There were more questions. Chapter eight begins, “now concerning the things sacrificed to idols.” More questions. Chapter twelve begins, “now concerning spiritual gifts.” Still more questions. Chapter sixteen begins, “Now concerning the collection fo the saints.”
One by one, the apostle answers their questions. We are not told if these are addressed in the same order that they wrote them, or, if Paul is arranging them in an order that he feels is most important. Our verse today, begins the first of these questions and the apostle’s answer. The seventh chapter addresses the subject of marriage, sexuality and what happens if an unbeliever leaves.
Now, some thoughts for us:
First, it is interesting that they would ask Paul about sexuality in marriage now that one is a Christian. I do not see that these were private or independent questions submitted to Paul. It seems that this was a letter sent from the church to Paul. The fact that they talked about this and even formed questions about this would be uncomfortable for many of us today.
This shows us that they were taking their faith very practically, personally and taking it home. Was a mixed marriage, one being a Christian and one not a Christian, now void? Do the relations within a marriage change when one becomes a Christian? This shows that they were not leaving their faith in worship. What happened at home was a concern to them. Does becoming a Christian change things?
Second, rather than just making assumptions, they sought answers from an apostle. If anyone ought to know, an apostle would. I wonder if we would be brave enough to even ask such a question? Do we think about what our faith does to our marriage? Or, what does our faith do to our jobs? What does our faith do to our finances? This practical, everyday application is what the Corinthians were seeking. That is refreshing. They wanted to know, so they asked an apostle. When we want to know, we need to open the Bible.
Third, Paul takes a long time in answering that question. The seventh chapter is devoted to just one question. But it allows Paul to spin off and talk about singles. He talks about what is expected from God’s people. The running thought through these answers is that the Christian is not to send the unbelieving mate away. Three times in a row he states, “not send” away (vs. 11, 12, 13).
There is a great lesson for us here. Giving a quick, easy and safe answer often doesn’t answer the question at all. There are layers of concerns, other thoughts that lead to other questions. Paul is thorough in looking at each of these. As the chapter ends, so ought their question. He has explained it well and completely.
We ought never be ashamed to ask hard questions. We need to seek those who will be kind in their response, Biblical in their answer and who will treat us with gentleness. Every generation will need to ask questions that we have answered before. Every generation needs to learn.
Now concerning…they asked and the apostle answered. There is something good about that.