1 Corinthians 7 v 26 - 35

The Jews-and therefore Christians as for the first few years of the Church it consisted almost entirely of Jewish believers (note Acts 2 v 5-12-these were JEWS of the diaspora-and the fact that Christians met in the Temple-Acts 2 v 46)- had a high view of marriage and the only one reason not to marry was in order to study the Law. It is almost in this passage as if Paul had realised that he had made marriage into a rather inglorious commitment: ''If you are so sexually uncontrolled, it is better to marry'' type of principle. Interestingly, when you read Paul's letter to the Ephesians, which was written years after this letter, you can note that Paul has raised his view of marriage dramatically, using the relationship between husband and wife as a symbol of the relationship between Christ and the Church. So, why the change of heart? Probably it was because when Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthian church he expected Christ's second coming to happen any day: 'The time that remains is very short' he tells them in verse 29. Because of this, Paul urged that every concentration should be on this coming event, rather than focussing on the ordinary things of life. We can well understand that marriage was not a great thing to be doing if Jesus was returning within the year! So, what do we learn from this? 1. That Paul's letters were written in real time for real situations. They were not written for us, although the Holy Spirit speaks to us through such as these letters. This means that we must take care as we study, understanding that the situations Paul wrote about are not ours. The Holy Spirit might speak to someone calling them to remain single and celibate, but we cannot accept it as a principle for all of us! 2. Paul's theology developed and in some circumstances altered slightly due to the circumstances. I feel personally that to prevent yourself growing in theological understanding is not at all what Christ would want. We are told in the book of Hebrews that Jesus became perfect through His suffering here on earth. That cannot mean sinless, as He had always been that way and remained that way. The writer to the Hebrews meant perfect as complete, and so we can see that even Jesus Christ grew and developed in His time on earth. Our homes, to conclude, are to be places where we find the best opportunity to live as Christians and where all the resources needed to live as Christian witnesses can be found.

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