1 Corinthians 7:9 – It is better to marry than to burn - It is not good for man to be alone
It is not good for man to be alone.
I agree that for the most part this is true. However, Jesus clearly commanded, through Paul, that if a woman departed she was to remain unmarried—-in other words, alone. Her only other option is to reconcile with her husband—-then she won’t be alone, but the thing is that maybe her husband won’t reconcile……….so again, her only option is to remain alone. Those are the words of the Lord, not mine.
We must also remember when the “burning” issue comes up. Using that scripture as you did is misapplying it. Paul was speaking to virgin women and men. He was not stating that it’s better to commit adultery (through a second prohibited marriage) than it is to burn………or he did not mean: if your spouse is incapacitated, then it’s better to go out and enter a sinful relationship, so one does not “burn”.
Paul taught that each man must have his own wife and each wife must have her own husband. We are not to take other people’s spouses as our own. That is why Jesus called such marriages: adultery—-because what it is is people having unlawful relations with someone who is not their own spouse, but belongs to another. A civilly gained piece of paper does not negate what the Lord has commanded and declared. I know due to sin, much of this doesn’t seem “fair”, but if we want to be faithful followers of Christ, we have much higher expectations than the lost world around us.
He then says it is better to be married than to burn. To sum up, he invokes beit shalom – a peaceful home.
Paul in the very last part of his teachings, teaches that the marriage bond endures TIL DEATH (I Cor. 7:39). When a woman is freed in such a way, THEN she is free to marry again, only in the Lord. As for marrying because one burns, that admonishment was for those who are FREE to marry again, not the divorced who will commit adultery by another marriage. That completely smacks of “flesh”. As I’ve said before, that “burning” argument lacks weight in it’s argument, because if God allows us to sin in order to satisfy our fleshly desires, where does it end? The truth is with this type of thinking, there will be NO end at what we will justify to pleasure ourselves. I’ve brought this up before but here’s a case in point: a man has a wife who is a vegetable (terri schiavo for instance)………. Her husband’s flesh was burning……….she sat alone in a hospital bed for years. Do you think it mattered more to the Lord that her husband remain faithful to her or do believe the Lord “winked” on him finding another woman because he is human after all and his flesh was “burning”?
Please note that both these are from a Hebraic perspective, which takes very seriously “It is not good for man to be alone.” This is routinely ignored in western christianity, in fact by focusing on the parts where Paul says it is better to be single.
The thing is that this is NOT ignored in Western Christianity. Western Christians feel ENTITLED to marry again, irregardless of what Jesus and Paul spoke and for whatever reasons they determine are “good” reasons. If one brings up Paul’s (the Lord’s) admonishment for “remaining unmarried or being reconciled”………people get indignant.
It was reasoned from this that if a slave wife is due these 3 things, food clothing and sex, how much more is a free wife?
She could petition a rabbinical council (bet din) to force her husband to write her a certificate of divorce (get).
She was then free to remarry.
We err in trying to apply both Jesus and Paul too broadly on this topic.
No, I believe we “err” when we lean on our own understanding instead of looking to the Words of Jesus and Paul for direction and clarity. In my opinion, it’s better to “keep ourselves from sin” than it is to possibly misuse Grace to commit sin……..Like has been said before there is MUCH said about adultery in the NT, so trying to minimize it may not be the best thing for those who profess Christ to do.
As for the “burning” argument you present, I have a question. Why is this a problem if it is granted as a legitimate cause for marriage in the scriptures?
I don’t have a problem with it. I completely agree that if one “burns” and they are rightfully allowed to marry, God allows marriage. Matter of fact, God MADE marriage—for one man/one woman, for life. As I said, going outside the parameters God laid out to take care of “burning flesh”……..I just can’t see where God honors that.
Sorry…two issues.. 1. 1 Co 7:15 2. 1 Co 7:27-28
Yes, I know many use those two passages to say they don’t have to “remain unmarried or be reconciled”. In I Cor. 7:15 Paul never gives allowance for remarriage, nor does he say the “bond” is dissolved. He merely states that in order to walk in peace they are released to let the spouse go if it is their desire—not to fight them—they are not in bondage. The word Greek word used for “bondage” is not the same word Paul use in Rom. 7:2-3 and I Cor. 7:39 in regards to the “bond” of marriage which lasted until the death of one of the spouses.
I Cor. 7:27-28 is ONLY speaking to those who ARE free to remarry/marry (virgins, men who have never been married and widowers). Anyone who departs (divorces) is NOT free by Paul’s own words. They are to remain unmarried or be reconciled. If they marry again while their spouse is alive, they DO sin.
Matthew Henry Commentary “Persons expose themselves to great danger by attempting to perform what is above their strength, and at the same time not bound upon them by any law of God (I realize we do not agree in this area). If they abstain from lawful enjoyments, they may be ensnared into unlawful ones. The remedies God hath provided against sinful inclinations are certainly best. Marriage – “This is God’s remedy for lust. The fire may be quenched by the means He has appointed. And marriage, with all its inconveniences, is much better than to burn with impure and lustful desires. Marriage is honorable in all; but it is a duty in those who cannot contain nor conquer those inclinations.”
What Paul taught was that every man or every woman ought to have their OWN spouse—not someone else’s spouse. To say that God grants people the right to commit adultery(through unbiblical remarriage) so they will avoid fornication is completely unbiblical in my opinion.
If God has NOT granted someone the gift of celibacy—they SHOULD get married, so they don’t sin (fornicate). If one IS married and for one reason or another, their partner is either unwilling or unable to have relations with their spouse, the one who “burns” is NOT free to take another person so their flesh is satisfied. Never does God give permission to SIN in order to avoid sin. What He does do is give permission to AVOID sin by doing what He has deemed lawful in His sight (marriage between 2 who are free to marry).
1 Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. 2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
Does God EVER give permission to sin to satisfy the flesh’s needs? Jesus said to divorce/remarry was to commit adultery. Paul, speaking for the Lord said that a woman who departs is to REMAIN UNMARRIED or be reconciled. No allowance was given to find another spouse because one “burns”. In the same breath Paul also said that a husband was NOT to divorce His wife. Now, if he disobeys, the requirements for remaining unmarried or being reconciled are still the same. If he chooses not to do so, he commits adultery.
What I do know about my God, is that He wants us to depend on Him………..not to be so dependant on anyone else……….even our spouses…………..that we neglect to cast our cares upon Him.
For those who are divorced through no fault of their own, because they had a spouse who divorced them, or because they truly felt they had no other choice, does that mean that they are doomed to a life without true companionship? I don’t believe that……….why? Because in the beginning God said that it is not good for man to be alone. Has that changed?
Read your first statement, then compare it to what you said in the second. If Jesus has said that to marry another is to commit adultery, if we then disregard this and go ahead and marry another anyways, are we depending on HIM or on another to meet our needs?
Yes, the Lord did create woman so man would not be alone, yet in creating woman and marriage, He created guidelines for the use of marriage. If my husband ends up in a vegetative state and I have no real companionship, do I then turn to the Lord for my cares or into the arms of another man—-because my husband can’t/won’t take me in his? Would remaining faithful to the covenant I entered into, the union of two beings that God joined as ONE, bring more Glory to God, or would entering into another union God did not join, one He even names as sin, bring more Glory to God? Does the fact that I’m smiling ear to ear in the second one and am sad and downtrodden in the first matter in God’s assessment of what is right/wrong? His ways are not our ways…………………He would be glorified by bringing us to the place where we ARE smiling ear to ear taking care of that husband/wife in a vegetative state or when we are divorced and are continually lifting up a wayward spouse, begging the Lord to grant them repentance from their sin———-THAT brings Him Glory because we are LOVING as HE loved (we are GIVING, while not receiving—yet!)…………..think about it.
I have a few questions… what about the person who struggles with lust and desires to be married to control this and serve the Lord better? They should rather spend their life alone and with lust?
If a person is free to marry (because they have never married lawfully in God’s sight OR they are widowed, yes, they should get married. This is what Paul is speaking to in I Cor. 7). However, when Paul starts addressing the separated married, he tells them the Lord commands they remain unmarried or be reconciled to their spouse. He does not give permission to marry another as that contradicts Jesus Words in the Gospels (that to marry after a divorce is adultery). Paul would not be teaching that it’s better to commit adultery than to “burn”……………..