From the Email Folder:
THE UNMARRIED AND THE WIDOWS
----- Original Message -----From: JasonTo: Richard GanSent: Sunday, April 21, 2002 1:52 PMSubject: Good Commentary
I was reading this in a Bible commentary that I have. It's by John MacArthur. These are about I Cor. 7:8, 9. 7:8 unmarried...widows. "Unmarried" is a term used 4 times in the NT, and only in 1 Corinthians (cf. vv. 11, 32, 34). This verse makes it clear that the unmarried and widows are distinct. Verse 11 identifies the divorced as the "unmarried" to be distinguished from "widows" (vv. 39,40; single by death) and virgins (vv. 25,28; never married). Each use of "unmarried," then, refers to those formerly married, presently single, but not widowed. They are the divorced. It is likely these people who were formerly married wanted to know if they, as Christians, could or should remarry.
as I am. Paul was possibly a widower, and could here affirm his former marriage by identifying with the unmarried and widows. His first suggestion is that they stay single because of its freedoms in serving the Lord (vv. 25-27,32-34).
7:9 let them marry. The Gr. tense indicates a command, since a person can't live a happy life and serve the Lord effectively if dominated by unfulfilled passion - especially in that Corinthian society.
7:15 let him depart. A term referring to divorce (cf. vv. 10,11). When an unbelieving spouse cannot tolerate the partner's faith and wants a divorce, it is best to let that happen in order to preserve peace in the family (cf. Rom 12:18). The bond of marriage is broken only by death (Rom.7:2), adultery (Matt.19:9), or an unbeliever's leaving.
not under bondage. When the bond is broken in any of those ways, a Christian is free to marry another believer. Throughout Scripture, whenever legitimate divorce occurs, remarriage is assumed. When divorce is permitted, so is remarriage. By implication, the permission for a widow to remarry (vv.39,40; Rom.7:3) because the "bond" is broken, extends to this case where there is no more "bondage."
So my understanding of this issue is that unmarried women do not refer to virgins. It refers to divorced women or men. They can remarry if they are divorced for a legitimate reason. Death, adultery or the unbelieving departs from the husband. You are BOUND by law to your husband or wife (both believers), but when there is an unbeliever involved (this is a different case) and she can't stand your faith and wants to leave then let her leave. Paul says the marriage bond has been broken and if the bond is broken then that would mean that the person is free to remarry just like widows in I Cor. 7:39, "A wife is BOUND by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord." If the believer is not bound in verse 15 to the unbeliever (if the unbeliever departs) then it follows that the believer "is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord."
So, basically what the Scriptures are saying is that if there is a Scripturally legitimate reason for divorce then the bond is broken for both husband and wife (for there is neither male nor female in Christ).
Is there any inconsistencies to my understanding?
Also, I think that there are a lot of people that are still bound to their partners by the (mis)interpretation of ministers in the message and their failure to realize that "All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (I Timothy 3:16,17) They've failed to really study the word of truth and to "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (II Tim.2:15)
Again, I am not 100% sure of this understanding, but I am beginning to see it more and more.
Yes, the connection between the two words unmarried...widows is noticeable. Yet, when you try to show the Branhamite what you understand (you understood correctly), showing them the Scriptures, you know what you'll get.
Look at what Bro. Branham said in this quote which I read on a website:
Questions And Answers - 08/23/64m
Now, on this here, Here's what I say. Let me say this, not the Lord, let me say it. If you are married at this time, and you both are saved, and you're filled with the Holy Spirit, and you love one another, and you've got little children (Now, remember this is me, not the Lord. See?), go ahead and live together; be happy; 'cause you couldn't live with your first wife or you wouldn't have married her. Then if you leave this [second wife] and go back to your first one, you're doing worse than you did in the first place. See? So you see, you're all messed up; there's no way of getting out of it. There'd only be one way truly that I can say from the Bible: both of you live single. See?
Now, was Bro. Branham saying to go ahead and live together or both of you live single?
I have a recent email from Venezuela, from a believer who is seeking for an answer to one problem of M&D in his church. This brother wrote about a woman who married a Portuguese when she was a teenager and in less than a year the man abandoned her. They were not Christians. Some time later she lived with (not officially married) a divorced man for 30 years and had 5 children. Ten years ago, she was saved and fellowshipped in a message church. There were much debate over her case. Some ministers said she must go back to her first husband. Other said she need not. But the pastor told her that she must not have any more sex with her present husband. The present husband has now also accepted Christ.
I wrote the brother and told him to tell the man and the woman that there can be no more divorce between them. And that they can go and live together and make love again.
Their sins are all gone. Why do those ministers dig them up? God forgives and forget. How can they judge a believer's past life when he/she known not the Saviour, nor His Word?
Some of the Branhamite preachers are so blind to the Word. If they take Branham's words, then they should know that he said that when a man and a woman comes together, they are married. The way he said it, kissing will tie a man to the woman, as if they were married. Did not Paul said that when a man join himself to a harlot he is one with her? Then, my question is: "Can a prostitute, who becomes a Christian, marry?" Remember, she has slept with many men, therefore many husbands.
Well, study well.