I Corinthians 7-9
We are in the Church Stream today reading from the New International Version.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
7 – The Corinthians had questions about marriage. It was a racy town with an ungodly heritage, and sexual matters in the region of Corinth were anything but healthy and resolved. The Christians needed to know how to handle issues within this realm and Paul set things straight right here. In the matter of sex – if you are to leave it alone (because you are single) then leave it alone. If engaged, get it going and marry and don’t play games or defraud or be cruel but be availed and surrendered to each other within the “bedroom”. Separating and divorcing is not OK. In other words, don’t be playing “musical spouses”. Paul’s advice is just smart, healthy and best. The most important aspect of one’s life is that they live like a Believer; because we are! Slave/Free, circumcised/or not, it’s all immaterial. We are Christ’s! And about the married, the virgins, Paul has very good advice and we best listen to all of it. Some groups have created marriage rules and forbidden marriage to certain people unless there is approval from a church committee. This is not a good thing. Some forbid marriage altogether based upon occupation or calling. There are pros and cons regarding this and the discussion is still open. It’s best to listen to the Lord and do what the Spirit tells each person in any circumstance.
8 – the issue with the meat sacrificed to idols (and remember, in the Greek, “idol” means “a nothing”) it is most important that we not be offensive or ebullient toward anyone else. We are to build eachother up and not be trying to “teach it to others” or, as the phrase goes, “stick to the other” as if we were touting that we’ve gotten over the past but “youuuuu” are still hung up or reacting to what others used to be or used to be doing. It’s nothing to be ugly or judgmental about. Drop these peripheral matters as quickly as possible and be peaceable and promote Church unity and encouragement.
9 – Paul was paid for his ministry in Philippi. Here in Corinth, however, as in Ephesus and in Thessalonica, he was not, but supported himself through other means of a trade that he had learned prior. Paul wanted to be doing more that was asked of him and not to be demanding or even needing to ask for support. He also did not want to set an example that may be abused later by the slovenly or even false teachers who might even remotely think, “I’ll give you faith, but you’re going to pay me for it.” Are ministers worthy of their hire? absolutely. But Paul is just laying this principle out so to make certain that there is not a hint of greed or selfishness that goes along with serving the Lord.
-Paul asserts that we are free in Christ and are to use that freedom to promote Christ and never to abuse the concept of freedom in that the exercise thereof may jeopardize others finding freedom in Christ also. He also reminds us that this faith, this discipleship we live requires discipline.
The Thread through the Streams
In Exodus we read of the details details details required for the altar, the courtyard, the oil, the garments and the priests and more. This all pertained to God’s house. They give attention to all this and God says, “Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God.” These details mattered!
-In II Sam. there was a matter that needed to be dealt with cc. the Gibeonites from something that happened long ago. David had some final words, this is vital! He built an altar and there was a detail that best be deleted when he took a census against better judgment and theological wisdom. These details matter.
-David was fastidious to list his woes to God in these Psalms. These are confessions. We need to do the same and lay our concerns before God; EACH one and let him handle the details v.s. us living in neurotic denial and reactionary behaviors that are detrimental to our faith.
–Jeremiah opens with “cursed are those who do not obey the terms of the covenant.” Each part mattered and they had long become sloppy in Jerusalem. And refusal to mind the details let to rampant sin that only became worse and worse.
–Hosea basically itemizes the sins of Israel. The riot act is being read to them and they have no argument
-in Mark, Jesus was asked four distinct questions and Jesus answered them line by line and decoded the true / ill intent of their hearts. He then turned and warned the crowd against following the teaching of the leaders in Jerusalem during that time. Not only were the rules these false teachers laying out extremely detailed and burdensome, they were just plain wrong.
–I Cor. 7-9 gave a goldmine list of details for marriage, status, freedom, attitudes, tenants for moving from a pagan world to the Christian world and how to manage the many phases that people found themselves in, payment to minsters, personal freedoms and more. Hey, thank God for Paul and God using him so distinctively.