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The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 7: Marriage and Fornication
(The audio file links were broken for most of the first week that the program was posted. We apologize for the inconvenience. UPDATE: On August 18, 2021 it was noticed that the file was missing from the server. Now it has been replaced from a backup.)
In our last presentation of Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, discussing the first half of chapter 6, we elaborated upon the Biblical concepts of marriage, adultery and fornication. We did this so that we could offer a better understanding of the nature of the sins of adultery and fornication. Denominational sects confound the definitions of these sins. Some of them claim that fornication is idolatry. However here in verse 9 we saw that fornication and idolatry were distinguished. These denominations evidently seek to disguise the fact that among the acts which the Bible calls fornication is the act of miscegenation, or race-mixing.
Other denominations define fornication as being a sexual relationship outside of marriage, and they do that so that they can control the rite of marriage. Biblical marriage happens in the act of an Adamic man and an Adamic woman joining themselves together and consummating the union in a sexual relationship. Three Old Testament witnesses are Rebekah, Leah and Bathsheba, but there are others as well. That will also become apparent as we proceed to chapter 7 of this epistle. In truth, there is no such thing as a sexual union outside of marriage, because if a man is having a sexual relationship with a woman, unless the woman is being raped then they are either married upon the committing of the act, or they are committing adultery when the act is performed. There are no other Biblical choices.
Then there is adultery. We often hear in Christian Identity circles that adultery is race-mixing, and that is true, but from a Biblical perspective it is not true for the reasons that most Identity Christians may presume. The English word adulterate does bear the meaning of mingling something with a foreign substance. But there is no indication in Scripture that the original Hebrew word had that same meaning. We do see in Scripture, as we cited several witnesses, that a man can commit adultery with the wife of a man of his own tribe, so adultery is not only race-mixing and the common use of the term is correct in that basic sense in which it is generally understood. The Greek term, μοιχεία (Strong's # 3430) is related to a verb which means to mix. The Greeks used that verb which means to mix, μίγνυμι, to describe men of mixed race, or mongrels. However the Greeks used μοιχεία even of an illicit relationship between a man and his brother's wife, or a man and his neighbor's wife, where it becomes evident that to the Greeks such mixing signified even a confusion of family lines within a race.
Fornication is race-mixing, defined as the pursuit of strange flesh according to the apostle Jude. Paul agrees in 1 Corinthians chapter 10. But fornication also describes other illicit sexual acts, as we see in 1 Corinthians chapter 5 that Paul used it to describe the man who bedded his father's wife. Of course, fornication is also whoredom, and the words from which the term is translated literally refer to prostitution, although they were not always used in that manner by the Greeks. Adultery is an illicit sexual union with the wife of another. But in the Old Testament when the children of Israel joined themselves to anyone outside of the bounds of their covenant relationship with Yahweh they were committing adultery against Him because He commanded that they remain separate, with narrow and specific instructions as to when or whether those of other nations may join to them. Because they were also, either literally or metaphorically, selling themselves to other nations and races outside of His covenant they were also committing fornication. (See the July, 2010 podcast at Christogenea entitled Adultery and Fornication.)
Neither of these terms, adultery nor fornication, are by themselves technical terms explicitly describing the act of sex between people of different races, although in English the word adultery certainly fits that description, and Biblically the English word adultery is appropriate. There are other Biblical laws which do preclude such race-mixing. However the Biblical application of these terms to the act of race-mixing is only properly understood once it is realized that race-mixing is forbidden predicated upon the relationship of the children of Israel with Yahweh their God. Race-mixing is adultery because by race-mixing the Israelite is violating the terms of the covenant. Race-mixing is fornication because by doing so the Israelite is playing the harlot, and violating the terms of the covenant.
In the New Testament the use of these terms with such a meaning has not changed, and the sins that these terms describe are valid in the same manner, which is evident in both 1 Corinthians chapter 10 and Revelation chapter 2. When Christians race-mix, or pursue strange flesh, they are committing adultery and fornication. But the denominational sects deny the exclusivity of the New Covenant with Israel, so they are forced to pervert their definitions of these words. Upon doing so, they sometimes also redefine them in a way that fits their own agenda, as in the case of the word fornication.
With this, we will repeat verses 9 through 11 of 1 Corinthians chapter 6, and discuss another aspect of Paul's statements there:
9 Or do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of Yahweh? Do not be led astray: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminates, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor rapacious shall inherit the kingdom of Yahweh. 11 And these things some of you may have been, but you have cleansed yourselves; moreover you have been sanctified, moreover you have been deemed fit, in the name of Prince Yahshua Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.
Paul lists these sins not as a complete catalogue but rather as examples of sinful behaviour: for some very sinful acts were not included in this short list, such as murder. People doing these things shall be excluded from the Kingdom of God. There is a very similar statement, in reference to the City of God, in Revelation chapter 22: “14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” But that does not necessarily mean that men who have done these things are excluded from the kingdom of God. Men do not attain the Kingdom of God on their own accord. Rather, it is an inheritance which has been left for certain men exclusively.
The idea of inheriting the kingdom of God is expressed in the Gospel at Matthew chapter 25, in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. In that parable, the Son of Man, which is Christ Himself, is depicted with His messengers as separating the people of all nations, who are depicted as sheep and goats. All of the sheep are set on the right hand and all of the goats on the left, and they are separated on sight, as a shepherd does in the field. A close examination of the parable reveals that the sheep are judged according to how they have treated the sheep, and the goats are judged according to how they have treated the sheep. From there, to all of the sheep it is said “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”, and all of the goats go into the Lake of Fire. Ostensibly, the goats do not matter in the result of Yahweh's plan for the sheep. If the goats did matter, they should have been judged for how they treated other goats, since naturally each kind cares for its own.
In Isaiah chapter 60, which is a prophecy of the restoration of Israel, there is a portion which is also similar to the depiction of the City of God in the Revelation: “19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. 20 Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. 21 Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. 22 A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time.” In Revelation chapter 22 we read: “3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. 6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.”
As Paul said in Romans chapter 3, “23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”. Where the Revelation in that same place says that God is “of the holy prophets” the reference must be to the Old Testament prophets, and these things must therefore be fulfilled in accordance with those prophets. The prophets and the Revelation each contain the words of the same God revealed to man in different ways at different times. Where Isaiah says that “thy people also shall be all righteous” it can only be because, as the Word of Yahweh says in Isaiah chapter 45, “23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. 24 Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. 25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”
The same scripture which states explicitly that all Israel shall be justified, that all Israel shall be saved, that all the sins of Israel shall be forgiven, also states that unto Yahweh every knee shall bow and every tongue confess. Since, as we had seen here discussing 1 Corinthians chapter 5, sinners may be surrendered to Satan for destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may live in the day of Christ, then we can only safely conclude that those sinners are justified and turned to obedience when they face Christ in the judgment. Otherwise, the Word of God fails and every knee does not bow and every tongue does not confess.
The kingdom of God is the inheritance of all of Israel, because that was among the promises made unto the fathers. Paul said in his first epistle to Timothy that “24 Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.” Therefore it is evident, that those of Israel who do not bow the knee and confess to God in this life, certainly shall in the hereafter. However those of Israel who hear the Gospel have received a call to repentance and to conform themselves to Christ in this life. That is the purpose of the Gospel of Christ, for Israel to return to obedience in Yahweh.
Once the children of Israel realize that they have redemption and an eternal life in Christ that will be free of the sins of this world, they should want to cease from those sins upon hearing the gospel, which is the call to obedience which Paul had spoken of in Romans chapter 15 where he said “18 Indeed I will not venture to speak anything of which Christ has not fashioned through me, regarding the compliance of the Nations, in word and deed”. Likewise, the apostle John in his first epistle said that “1 My children, I write these things to you in order that you do not do wrong. And if one should do wrong, we have an Advocate with the Father: the righteous Yahshua Christ. 2 And He is a propitiation on behalf of our errors; yet not for ours only but for the whole Society. 3 And by this we may know that we know Him, if we would keep His commandments. 4 He saying that he knows Him and not keeping His commandments, he is a liar and the truth is not in him. 5 But he whom would keep His word, truly the love of Yahweh is perfected in him: by this we know that we are in Him.” Peter also, in his first epistle spoke of this same thing where he said (1 Peter chapter 1): “13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
Paul is not condemning men who had committed fornication, or who were adulterers, or even those who were homosexuals. Rather, Paul is informing us that the kingdom of God will not have any of these things, while also informing the Corinthians that even if they had done any of these things, they have departed from them, having cleansed themselves. Doing this, Christians demonstrate their willingness for repentance and prepare themselves for the Kingdom of God while also in their actions agreeing that these things which they have repented from are evil. Therefore John said “And by this we may know that we know Him, if we would keep His commandments.”
While all Israel is saved, Christians, meaning Israelites who hear the Gospel of Christ, should strive for that treasure in heaven of which Christ had spoken. Paul depicts this as running a race. He said in Hebrews chapter 12: “1 So therefore, we also having so great a cloud of witnesses lying around us, laying aside every pretension and easily attention-getting error, with endurance should run the race lying before us, 2 looking to Yahshua, the founder and completer of the faith, who for the sake of the joy lying before Him endured the cross, having despised shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of Yahweh.” Similarly he says here in 1 Corinthians chapter 9: “23 Moreover, I do all these things on account of the good message, in order that I shall come to have a share of it. 24 Do you not know that with those running in a race, while all run, but one takes the prize? In that manner you run, in order that you shall obtain. 25 But all who are contending, in all things have self-control; so then those people [meaning those who run in literal races] in order that they would receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. 26 Accordingly, in that manner I run not as if secretly, in that manner I spar not as if thrashing air. 27 Rather I beat my body, and bring it into subjection, lest perchance I, having proclaimed to others, myself should be found not standing the test.” Those who preach the gospel should practice it as well. However knowing that all Israel shall be saved, Paul goes on to explain in 1 Corinthians chapter 6 at verse 12, which we stopped short of in our previous presentation:
12 To me all is possible, but all does not profit; to me all is possible, but I will not yield authority to be brought under any.
The Greek word ἔξεστιν (Strong's # 1832) is possible here. According to Liddell & Scott it means “it is allowed, it is in one’s power, it is lawful”. However it should not be confused with lawful as in the sense of being within the Laws of Yahweh, or the Old Testament law. Other Greek words, such as ἔννομος (Strong's # 1772) and νομίμως (Strong's # 3545) indicate that something is lawful in that sense, being related to the word νόμος (Strong's # 3551) or law.
Paul is stating that all is possible for him, because with the grace of God all Israel is cleansed of their sin. We have already cited the first epistle of John where he said “... write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins”. Therefore if an Israelite commits sin, he has propitiation in Christ. But sin is not profitable, because it diminishes our relationship with God, as Christ explains in John chapter 14: “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.” If we love our God, we demonstrate our love by keeping His Word and He shall be with us. Paul continues by explaining aspects of that same thing.
13 Foods are for the belly, and the belly for foods, but Yahweh will do away with both this and these. Now the body is not in fornication, but in the Prince, and the Prince in the body.
The things of this life are temporary, and therefore Adamic men being eternal should not be consumed by them. From Job chapter 19: “25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.”
14 And Yahweh has both raised the Prince, and will raise us through His power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies [א and A have “our bodies”] are members of Christ?
We should note something about Paul's Greek here. The Greek verb εἰμί, which is Strong's # 1510, is “to be”. The present active third person singular form of that verb is ἐστιν, which appears here in verse 15 in all of the Greek manuscripts of this epistle. Typically, the third person singular form ἐστιν would be translated into English as “is”, as in he, she or it is. The third person plural form εἰσίν is generally “are”, as in they are. In certain places of contention in Scripture, such as at Galatians 3:16, we have been criticized for asserting that ἐστιν should be translated as “are” rather than “is” when it refers to a collective noun or a collection of objects, or in similar circumstances. There are those who insist that our Galatians 3:16 translation is wrong simply because the word ἐστιν must be is, and cannot be are. Yet here in verse 15 of this chapter, ἐστιν is are in every Bible translation we have checked, including the King James Version, even while the Greek word for bodies is plural, and therefore we are wholly vindicated.
We may have rendered the Greek phrase μέλη χριστοῦ ἐστιν as “are anointed members”. Doing so, we may have then rendered the phrase which follows, ἄρας οὗν τὰ μέλη τοῦ χριστοῦ, as “then having raised the members of the Anointed”. Understanding that the Anointed One is Yahshua Christ, and that His anointed people are the children of Israel, we may read both ideas in the text without removing Christ from it.
Then having raised the members of the Christ, shall I make members of a harlot? Certainly not!
If Christians are a body, then allowing one fornicator into the ekklesia makes harlots of the entire body. Therefore it is necessary for Christians to repent of their sins and cleanse themselves with the Word of God before joining and being admitted into the ekklesia.
16 Or do you not know that he joining himself to the harlot is one body? “They shall be,” He declares, “two into one flesh.”
Paul quotes from Genesis 2:24, which Christ Himself cited, although in a different context, as it is recorded at Matthew 19:5 and Mark 10:8. From Genesis: “23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” This passage from Genesis tells us not only that a man should become one with his wife, it also prescribes what a wife should properly be: flesh of his flesh and bones of his bones. Therefore a man with something other than that for a wife is not married, instead he is committing fornication – the pursuit of different flesh – and he cannot be admitted into the ekklesia.
17 But he joining himself to the Prince is one Spirit.
Paul wrote in Romans chapter 7 that “5 Indeed when we were in the flesh, the occurrences of fault, which were through the law, operated in our members for the bearing of fruit for death; 6 but now we are discharged from the law, being put to death in that which we were held, so that we are bound in newness of Spirit, and not oldness of letter.” While Israel is released from the judgments of the law, one coming to Christ must nevertheless conform himself to Christ. Therefore Paul wrote in Romans chapter 8, speaking of the children of Israel, “29, Because those whom He has known beforehand, He has also appointed beforehand, conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be first born among many brethren. 30 Moreover, those whom He has appointed beforehand, these He also calls; and those whom He calls, these He also deems worthy; while those whom He deems worthy, these He also honors.” It is these also who inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. The Adamic man has two natures, the spiritual and the fleshly, as we explained at length presenting Romans chapter 7. Therefore having that spirit which Yahweh imparted to the Adamic race, we may overcome the things of the flesh and be joined in one spirit to our God and Creator. From 1 John 4:13: “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”
18 Flee fornication. Every error which perhaps a man may make is outside of the body, but he committing fornication, for his own body he fails.
Here Paul is not referring to the body of Christ, where all the sins of men have an adverse effect, but to the body of the individual. Aside from the consumption in lust which fornication leads to there were also venereal diseases at that time which the physicians of the time were not able to cure. While many of the extant venereal diseases are relatively new to Europeans, others have been among us for millennia. Herpes was described by Hippocrates in the 5th century BC. There are surviving records of gonorrhea among the Greeks from at least as early as the 2nd century AD. These diseases destroy the body from the inside, and were the result of fornication.
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit in you? Which you have from Yahweh, and you are not your own?
This is the second time Paul made such an allegory in this epistle. In 1 Corinthians chapter 3 he said “16 Do you not know that you are a temple of Yahweh, and that the Spirit of Yahweh dwells in you? 17 If anyone should spoil the temple of Yahweh, Yahweh will spoil the same; indeed the temple of Yahweh is holy, such as which you are.” As Paul had explained in chapter 5 of this epistle, sinners should be put out of the assembly of Christ, so that Yahweh should judge them. Being put out of the body of Christ, they are delivered to the Adversary for destruction of the flesh. From the Wisdom of Sirach, chapter 39: “28 There be [not “there are”, the Greek word is ἐστιν] spirits that are created for vengeance, which in their fury lay on sore strokes; in the time of destruction they pour out their force, and appease the wrath of him that made them.”
20 Indeed you have been purchased for a price; so then you honor Yahweh in your body.
The Majority Text and some later manuscripts append to the end of this verse: “and in your Spirit, which is of God”, which explains the additional words as they appear in the King James Version. The text follows the 3rd century papyrus P46 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B), Ephraemi Syri (C), and Claromontanus (D).
It is folly for man to think that he could belong to himself alone, as if his own purpose had given him life. We read in Jeremiah chapter 18: “5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. 7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; 8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. 9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; 10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.”
Nevertheless, Yahweh God gave man the liberty to go his own way, as Paul explained in Acts chapter 14 where he described “the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: 16 Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.” However from there Yahweh took Isaac to Himself, and redeemed, or purchased, the children of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt, which is mentioned several times in Deuteronomy, in 1 Chronicles and also in the prophet Micah where the Word of Yahweh says “4 For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.” Later, the children of Israel had sold themselves into sin by their disobedience to their God, for which they were put off from the sight of Yahweh and sent back into captivity. From that there was another promise of redemption, as it says in Isaiah chapter 52, “3 For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.”
The lesson in this is that no matter what man thinks that he may do, he shall be punished and forgiven and punished again until he decides to conform himself to Christ, agreeing with his God that His law is good, and remaining in obedience to that law. The children of Israel are not their own, but now have been redeemed by Christ. From Isaiah chapter 43: “1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.... 5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” Paul was teaching the fulfillment of that redemption of Israel prophesied in Isaiah. If you are an Israelite, you have no choice in this matter. You cannot save yourself, and you cannot unsave yourself.
With this we shall proceed with 1 Corinthians chapter 7, where we see that while Paul turns to address issues about which the Corinthians had written to him, the predominant topics are still marriage and fornication:
1 Now concerning those things you have written [A, D, and the MT add “to me”; the text follows P46, א, B, and C]: it is admirable for a man not to join to a woman;
The Greek word ἅπτω (Strong's #'s 680 and 681) is to join to here but in the King James Version it is to touch. Liddell & Scott have “to fasten, bind fast...to join...hold of, grasp, touch” and even “to engage in, take part in”, among other things. While touch is certainly among the definitions, in our modern idiom it seems to be an understatement considering the context in which it appears here. Verse 2 fully ascertains the sexual reference Paul is making with his use of the term, since it is expressed in conjunction with a reference to fornication, and marriage as a precaution against fornication.
With this it is evident that the sexual inference of the word “touch” was clearer in the 16th century. We see the same idiom expressed in Genesis 3:3, Genesis 20:6, Ruth 2:9 and Proverbs 6:29, as well as elsewhere in Scripture. In all of those places in the Septuagint we see this same Greek word ἅπτω.
Paul is not, however, discrediting marriage. We do not have a full understanding of the things which the Corinthians wrote to him from only the first sentence of his answer. In his epistle to the Hebrews, Paul said that “13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
2 but because of fornication each man must have his own wife, and each woman must have her own husband.
So we see that a proper marriage relationship is not fornication, but rather it is a remedy to the passions of desire that can possibly lead one to fornication. It is admirable for a man to remain alone, but if the man cannot quench his desires, it is better that he be married.
3 The husband must render the obligation due to the wife, and in like manner the wife also to the husband.
Married men and women have a sexual obligation to one another which is reflected in the law. For instance, in Exodus chapter 21 it says of a man who desires a second wife that “10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.” The sexual obligation is “the duty of marriage”, which is also evident in Deuteronomy chapter 25 where it says “5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her.” That the Old Testament law allowed polygamy on the part of men, but not of women, is a topic for another occasion, however the Godly model is monogamy on the part of both man and woman, as we see Christ Himself espouse (i.e. Mark 10:6-9).
4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband; and in like manner also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife.
What Paul says here is the common-sense conclusion from reading the Law of God. From Genesis chapter 2: “24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” And then from Genesis chapter 3: “16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” The man cleaving to his wife is accountable to his wife, and the man ruling over his wife, his wife is accountable to him. Therefore the family unit should function in harmony towards building the Kingdom of Heaven.
5 Do not withdraw from one another, unless in agreement for a time, in order that you devote time to prayer [the MT has “to fasting and to prayer”; the text follows P 11, P 46, א, A, B, C, and D], and come together into one place again [the NA27, following P11, א, A, B, C, and D, has “and be in one place again”; the text follows P46 and the MT], that the Adversary would not tempt you due to your incontinence.
That “the Adversary” or “Satan”, is a tempter of men is evident in the Gospel in Matthew chapter 4, in Luke chapter 4 and elsewhere. In 1 Thessalonians chapter 3 Paul wrote “5 For this reason even I no longer being contained, sent for which to know of your faith - whether the Tempter has tempted you, and our labor should come to no purpose.” As the apostle John asserted, “We know that we are from of Yahweh and the whole Society lies in the power of the Evil One.” Those outside of the Body of Christ persistently tempt Christians with their own evil deeds. The apostle Peter spoke of Lot, who lived in Sodom up until the time of its destruction, from this same perspective where he said in 2 Peter chapter 2 that Yahweh “delivered the righteous Lot who had been oppressed by the licentious conduct of the lawless 8 (for with sights and reports the righteous one dwelling among them day by day tormented a righteous soul with their lawless deeds)”. Peter spoke of the ungodly again in that same chapter where he said that “14 having eyes full of adultery and unable to cease from wrongdoing, enticing unstable souls, having hearts exercised for greediness” and called them “cursed children”. Peter goes on to say in chapter 4 of that epistle that “4 While they are astonished, they blaspheme at your not running together in the same excess profligacy.”
So it is not some spiritual demon named Satan that tempts men, but godless people in general who would lead the children of Yahweh astray. Being separated from one's wife, one may be tempted into fornication by some whore, or a woman without her husband by some unseemly cretin. All men think they can withstand that, but if one's spouse is nearby there is no reason to undergo the trial. As Paul insists here, men and women should be with their wives and husbands as much as is possible.
6 Now I say this in the way of a consent, not in the way of a command.
Here, and several times in this epistle, we shall see that Paul advised the assembly from his own opinions where he must have been presented with questions that could not be answered explicitly with Scripture. In verse 10 of this chapter Paul relates the will of Christ that men and women are not divorced, and says that it is a command from Christ. In verse 25 and again in verse 40, however, Paul addresses things which are not treated by Scripture, and admits that he is only giving an opinion. He says in verse 25 “a commandment of the Prince I do not have, but I give an opinion”. This demonstrates not only Paul's humility, but also his unwillingness to rule over the faith of the assembly, which he also professed in 2 Corinthians chapter 1 where he says “not because we lord over your faith”. Contrary to the false claims of modern Romish Catholics, Paul was not their first pope.
7 That I wish all men to be even as myself, but each has his own gift from Yahweh, in this manner one, in that manner another.
Paul is not necessarily implying that he wishes that all men remain unmarried. Rather, he wishes that all men were chaste and had control over their desires, as he professes to have control over his own.
8 But I say to those unmarried and to those widowed, well for them it is if perhaps they should remain even as I. 9 But if they have no self control, they must marry, for it is better to be married than to be inflamed.
The Greek verb πυρόω (Strong's # 4448) is literally to burn with fire or burn up, but was also used metaphorically to be inflamed or excited, according to Liddell & Scott. Paul is describing what we may call a burning passion, caused by a natural sexual desire. Therefore Paul believed that marriage was the way to quench that sexual desire in a lawful manner. So we see that marriage being the solution for a burning sexual desire, to Paul the definition of marriage must be the lawful sexual union of a man and a woman. This is further substantiated later in this chapter, in verse 36, where it is clear that a man may possess a maiden, or virgin, but not yet be married to her, and the marriage occurs when the sexual desire is satisfied, or as Paul describes it, “if one does consider to be unseemly towards his virgin”.
10 Now to they who are married I give order, (not I but the Prince,) for a wife not to be separated from a husband; 11 (but if perhaps then she does separate, she must remain unmarried, or to the husband be reconciled;) and a husband not to put away a wife.
Here Paul considers separation from a husband a state of being unmarried. Today we have rituals and certificates, whether conducted at an altar or in a courtroom, which have been layered atop the factual realities of life, and now the rituals and certificates are confused for the facts of life. In that manner, the government or the church can run the lives of men. In Paul's worldview, it was the factual realities which mattered, and the state of separation was unmarriage, while the state of sexual union and the accompaniment of a husband by a woman was marriage.
While the law of Moses allowed for divorce for reasons other than fornication, according to Christ, the only valid reason for divorce is fornication, where He says in Matthew chapter 5: “32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery....” The advice Paul offers which follows are therefore in accord with the words of Christ:
Divorce was much more difficult for women in the ancient world that it was for men, because women had no property rights and there were no divorce settlements as we know them today. Regardless of who separated from whom, it is very likely a woman would have absolutely nothing upon divorcing a husband. Therefore a woman divorced would be forced to find another man who would take her in, which is why Christ said that a man divorcing a wife for no good reason causes her to commit adultery. Of course, if she were a fornicator then adultery would not much matter. However a woman who left her husband for reason of his fornication is another matter.
12 Now furthermore I (not the Prince) say: if any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she consents to dwell with him, he must not put her away. 13 And any woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to dwell with her, she must not divorce that husband. [the MT has “divorce him”; the text follows P11, P46, א, A, B, C, and D]
Paul's advice is evidently based on the words of Christ concerning divorce, where He said in the gospel that fornication was a legitimate cause for divorce, and any other cause leads to adultery.
14 The unbelieving husband has been sanctified in the wife [D has “faithful wife”], and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified in the brother [the MT has “husband” which some later mss. Preface with “faithful”; the text follows P 46, א, A, B, C, and D]; otherwise then your children are unclean, while now they are holy.
Among the ancient Greeks it was customary, even expected, for one to marry from one's own tribe. The Romans even had laws governing the rights of intermarriage between people of various nations, even when those nations were related. As we have demonstrated, the Corinthians were Dorian Greeks and they were one of the tribes of the dispersions of Israel. It cannot be imagined that the unbelievers Paul refers to here are not Dorian Greeks, or that they are not of the dispersions of Israel.
Fornication is valid grounds for divorce. In the Law, a man whose wife committed fornication or adultery cannot have her back because the penalty for such things is death. A man who divorces his wife cannot have her back after she has been with another man. From Deuteronomy chapter 24: “1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife. [Because she has the bill of divorce from her husband, she and her new husband cannot suffer penalty for adultery.] 3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; 4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.”
A Christian man or women, being married to an unbeliever, should nevertheless hold the unbeliever to the laws concerning fornication and adultery. The unbeliever would have to abstain from such things in order to remain married to the Christian, otherwise there can be no consent to remain together. Therefore the unbeliever remaining would be separated from the adultery and fornication for which the children of Israel were punished by Yahweh God in the first place. That is the sanctification of which Paul speaks.
While Yahweh has promised to sanctify Israel, the children of Israel were often exhorted to sanctify themselves in preparation for their God. Earlier in this epistle, in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, we see that sinners sanctify themselves by desisting and repenting from their sin. We read in Joshua chapter 3: “5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.” Likewise, in Joshua chapter 7: “13 Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.”
True sanctification is not found in any ritual, or even in any profession of faith. Rather, sanctification comes when one separates himself from things which are profane. Separating oneself from adulterers and fornicators and the other sins of the world one may become sanctified, which is how Paul says that the wife and children are sanctified in a Christian husband, or that a husband is sanctified in a Christian wife. However the Christian must actually put his or her profession to practice and keep the Laws of Yahweh God in the household. Acting like a Christian should, one's profession is secondary. Like the true states of marriage and divorce, it is the factual realities which matter, and not the ceremonies and certificates.
15 But if the unbelieving separates himself, let him separate himself; the brother (or the sister) is not reduced to bondage in these instances, but in peace Yahweh has called us [א, A, and C have “called you”; the text follows P 46, B, D, and the MT].
Ostensibly, being “not reduced to bondage” means being free to move on apart from the unbeliever who cannot live with a Christian spouse.