I Corinthians 7

by Herbert W Armstrong
16 August 1980


We’re going to start today in the seventh chapter of I Corinthians. And I think that again I will sort of go on with the Revised Standard edition. I have the King James right here beside me anyway if I need to refer to it occasionally. But, I’m familiar with it too. And I don’t know if we need to go back as I’ve been doing so many times for background into what had led up to it and what preceded. We know that - I might just remind you once again that Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, as were his letters to the Galatians and also the Ephesians to a lesser extent, the Philippians, Colossians and so on, they were corrective epistles. There were troubles in the Church. There were some things that were wrong. Now we’ve had troubles in the Church today.

And one thing I would like to say by the way of initial comment before we actually get started, we’ve been having this week on television the Democratic National Convention. And we’re in the time now and will be until after the Feast of Tabernacles, of the great - every four year campaign to elect another President of the United States or to re-elect the same President. And I can’t help but draw a parallel of the things that go on in these political conventions and what will be going on in our convention, that God has called, which is the Festival of Tabernacles, and how different. How different is the whole atmosphere, how different is the whole purpose. We are there when we come before God in the Feast of Tabernacles as we are in this service now and as all of our brethren when they hear this on tape, to learn of God and to have God teach us His ways.

Equal Rights Not Equal (PLAY FROM 02:16)

We're not here to clamor everyone for his own way, for his own rights, with a lot of women clamoring for women’s rights, they want the ERA, Equal Rights Amendment. And they sort of forget, I think that most people today don’t realize at all, which woman really started the Equal Rights Amendment. Do you know who started it? You do? It was mother Eve. You see God has created Adam and Eve, and God had created them so that Adam should head the family and wear the pants, and should be the head of the woman. But the woman wanted equal rights.

Now equal rights never means equal. Equal rights means I want to go up above. It reminds me of a movie, I’ve mentioned this before, it was oh, this must have been more than ten years ago, maybe twenty years ago. But anyway, it was a movie depicting Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini and, I think it was Charlie Chaplin playing Hitler and Jack Oakey was playing the part of Mussolini. And I think that Mussolini was visiting Hitler in Berlin at the time and they both had gone into Hitler’s barber shop for a shave. And like our barber shop on the campus in Pasadena, it was a barber shop with two chairs. So, they occupied the two chairs and after a while, Mussolini reached down at the little lever, and jacked it up a notch, which raised him up just a little bit higher than Hitler. Hitler looked at that, he wasn’t going to have that, so he jacked his up four notches and that made him two notches higher than Mussolini. Well, Mussolini got jacked up back even again or a little ahead. Now Hitler had to jack himself up a little higher. Equal didn’t mean equal. Equal meant each one wanted to be a little ahead of the other.

Now, I don’t know what women have really in their minds and hearts, but I know how these things always wind up. Fifty-fifty marriages are never fifty-fifty. A fifty-fifty marriage means the wife wears the pants every time, that’s what they mean. If the husband is willing to sacrifice his leadership, someone is going to lead. I don’t care what you have, someone has to lead in God’s Church. Someone has to lead in government. Someone has to lead in the home. Someone leads in the whole universe and that’s Almighty God. But God and Christ are exactly one in mind and purpose and spirit and so God has delegated the administrative function to Jesus Christ, knowing that He will not try to make the laws and usurp His Father’s place. The Father makes the laws and Christ just administers them according to the will of the Father, every time.

Now I’ve tried that in the Church, and it didn’t work. The one who was supposed to administer the policies, the doctrines set by Christ's apostle, tried to take over all of the doctrine making and the policy making processes, and just blank out the apostle of Christ’s choosing. It’s always that way. If someone doesn’t lead, and someone else is supposed to be equal, they want to go on ahead.

So, old mother Eve decided she ought to wear the pants. So, she’s the one who contacted Satan. She’s the one who decided on the experiment. She’s the one who took of the fruit that was forbidden and gave to her husband, and meekly he gave in, in his weakness and took of the fruit and ate also with her. And he let the woman lead him. And in this world - Adam, therefore, followed his wife and rejected God and rebelled against the government of God and the rulership of God.

What they took to themselves was the knowledge of what is good and what is evil. In other words, to decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong. Not what God says is right and what God says is wrong. Now God does not give us the prerogative of deciding what is right and what is wrong. God decides that. God pronounces what is sin. He gives man the choice of whether he will sin or not. God will allow us to sin, but if we do there is a penalty. Now we make that choice. Either we obey, or we accept the penalty, because whether we accept it or not, we’re going to get it. And a lot of people are going to get it, as they say, to use the vernacular modern slang, 'they’ll get it in the neck', or wherever they get it, and they are sure going to get it!

And so, in the politics of this world, there are the different factions. Everyone out for their little faction and what they want to get. Everything is get, get, get! There’s no give, you don’t find anything of the law of God, or the Spirit of God, or the way of God. Oh, I tell you, we’d better get the interest of our own selves out. Because we will never qualify to rule the world with, and under Jesus Christ, until we are concerned about the people we’re going to rule, more than we are concerned about ourselves, and the job we’re going to get. It’s a totally different thing and there won’t be any elections. Christ Himself, who can read minds and hearts, is going to decide whether I, whether you, or whether anyone of us qualify for a position to rule with Him, and in His throne. And He’s coming soon! And now we’re in the process, in the final, or coming in on the home stretch to see if we qualify. Because we are to be the bride of Christ, that must be ready without spot or blemish, or any such thing. And we’ve still got spots and blemishes on us in the Church, and we’ve got to get rid of them.

So there have been things wrong in the Church. There were things wrong in Corinth and the apostle Paul was correcting some of those things. Now we saw last Sabbath how there was one there, and the people were so liberal minded, that a man was sinning by living with a stepmother. Actually, it probably was his father’s wife, and it couldn’t have been his own mother.

But the people, they were all puffed up, and probably because they thought how good they were that they could be so broadminded that they could just overlook a thing like that. And God wasn’t going to overlook it. We get so broad minded we want to over look sin, and condone sin, and approve sin and God doesn’t do that. God is love. God’s mercy is greater toward us than the heavens are high above the earth, but God is a God of justice. God didn’t compromise with His law one iota. He gave His only Son to pay for our transgressions, rather than compromise and let the bars down. We have had members in the Church that have wanted to cut the bars down, wanted to let the bars down. I have never done that, brethren, and I will not. We’re going to try to hold those bars up where Christ put them and not bring them down the way Satan would bring them down.

Chapter Seven - I Corinthians (PLAY FROM 10:50)

So as we come now to the seventh chapter of I Corinthians. Paul had written here, there was a sex problem, that he was talking about in the fifth chapter. And he went on a little bit about that in the sixth and now he gets on to it, and answering one of their letters on a question about it when we come to the seventh. So he writes to them now;

"Now concerning the matter about which you wrote [the Church there, some of them had written to Paul]. It is well for a man not to touch a woman." (I Corinthians 7:1 RSV)

In other words, Paul himself was unmarried and you will see before we get through with this chapter that he thought it would be better for everybody to be like he was. Now God said; "...It is not good that a man should be alone; I will make a wife for him" (Genesis 2:18 paraphrased). And so God did. I have always believed that God was right there, and I have never believed, going along with Paul, that it is better for a man to be alone. God said that "it is not good that a man should be alone". But Paul said it would be good if a man would keep separate, but he said (verse 2):

"...because of the temptation to immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband." (I Corinthians 7:2)

Now why did Paul say you should marry? Paul’s only reason is to avoid immorality. Did he say you should marry in order to have children? No, he didn’t say anything about having children. In other words, when God created sex, He created sex for more than just having children. And Paul plainly shows that. The reason he says you should have a wife, is to avoid temptation, and to avoid immorality. Because sex prior to marriage, in other words, pre-marital fornication, is a sin. And to avoid that he said a man better have a wife. So the purpose that he gives for marriage here, is to avoid fornication. In other words, so you can have a sex relationship with God’s blessing, instead of in sin, that’s plain language.

"The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights [that’s sexual rights], and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not rule over her own body [or the King James have 'power' over her own body, or authority] but the husband..." (I Corinthians 7:3-4)

Now some husbands get the idea that they have all authority over the wife’s body, and they can do what they please. And some wives are virtually raped right off, because husbands overlook the fact God says; "Husbands, love your wives..." (Ephesians 5:25). And that love making is part of the sexual relationship, they overlook that entirely. That’s the one big reason I had to get out this book on 'The Missing Dimension in Sex.' The missing dimension is the revelation of God, and God’s teaching about it, and here's what they overlook.

"...the wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband [may; but] likewise the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does." (I Corinthians 7:4)

Now then, a wife does not have control, or the right of her own body, and must submit to her husband in the same way a husband does not have a right to do what he wants to do and what he wishes with his body. And he does not have the right then to virtually rape his wife. And he does not have a right to plough on ahead when his wife is in no condition, or is unready, or unwilling. In other words, he must still have consideration for his wife. He must still love her, they must love each other.

Each must be considerate of the other, and that works both ways, just as much one way as the other. Now I hope all of our people will get it. Because I am now receiving reports that in this Church of God, there are cases now of where husbands are inconsiderate, and wives are practically raped just to please the husband’s lust. And it’s time that's cleaned up in God’s Church. Now I’m just working on the last part of the revision of the book on sex, and we haven’t issued that for a good many years. And we’re going to issue it again in just a month or so. And I’m almost finished, and you can see the manuscript here, a great big part of it I have already finished. I have to write one more chapter that I think I can rap that out in one day’s time. And then I will turn it into Pasadena and just as fast as they can print it, it will be offered. We’re going to offer it free once again. And I tell you, people need it, because they need God’s teaching about sex.

Children Need God's Teaching About Sex (PLAY FROM 16:18)

And another thing, that I find, is that the children are coming, now that we’re having a program for children, and many children are saying, "Well, my parents don’t tell me anything about sex. Oh, they’re too embarrassed." Well, if they are like parents used to be a generation ago, the parents don’t know anything to teach anyway. And secondly, if they did, they’d be too embarrassed. It's time they get over that, that’s not the kind of embarrassment a parent ought to have. A parent has no right to become a parent unless they are willing to teach their children the things they need to know about themselves and their own body. And children should get that teaching from their parents and they should get it as God teaches it. In the right manner, and not the way they get it dirty, from other kids.

When I was married, how much teaching do you think I had? I had what teaching I got from other kids. And it was not from girls, I didn't get any, it was from other boys. And there were a lot of things I didn’t know, because the boys didn’t know all of it. And when I was married, I found my wife didn’t know anything about it. She had never been taught anything except that sex is the greatest sin there is, it’s worse than murder. And she’d been taught that the second worse sin was dancing because her father said, "Dancing always leads to sex." One time I got a little impudent and I asked him, I said, "Well how do you know dancing always leads to sex? Have you known by experience, have you danced?" He replied, "Well, I should say not." "Well," I said then, "How do you know?" And he didn’t have any answer. Well, I shouldn’t have ever asked him that, but I did. I wasn’t converted yet, I’ll alibi it that way.

But you see, my wife’s mother was dead, and her father had two girls and he wanted to keep them chaste and pure. And so he thought the best way to keep them pure was to teach them how evil sex is, so they would never let it begin to get started. And the result was that while my wife wanted babies and just loved babies, I never knew a woman who loved babies like she did. You’d be surprised how many other people’s babies she named for them. She always wanted to name babies. A lot of people would give their babies the names she selected. But her conscience hurt her to have anything to do with sex. It didn’t seem like that was the right way to have children. But that’s the way God ordained, and there wasn’t any other way.

But God ordained sex for a lot more than just having children, and that’s what a lot of people don’t know. That’s what the Catholic Church never taught them. And that’s what the Protestant churches has not taught them. The Protestant churches have followed the Catholic teaching, but they haven’t followed the Catholic practice. In other words, they have been very lax in practice, and they’ve been just like other people with no restraints whatever, but in general more or less. But there has not been teaching and it is a duty. And people have no right to become parents, if they are not willing to teach their children, what their children need to know to keep their children in a right mind and attitude, about what God has created and what God intended.

So, I am going to offer this book to everybody. People think, Oh, you mustn’t mention that subject. You can’t avoid it today, everybody talks about it today. I don’t think you can find a ten year old girl today that doesn’t know all about sex. But they didn’t get it from their parents. All the kids talk about it and they talk freely in a way they didn’t two generations ago. They didn’t really begin talking freely about it until about two decades ago. They began talking very freely about it between two and three decades ago. That’s all, just within the last twenty to thirty years, but they talk about it, dirty.

God Made Sex (PLAY FROM 20:49)

You see Satan was made without sex, and he’s very envious and jealous of the human beings who do have sex. Now people don’t understand. Why did God make us with sex? Because God is reproducing Himself, that’s what it means for us to be born again. But that is a spiritual reproduction. And God made us, and He made physical reproduction, the exact picture and type of spiritual reproduction. That’s why He made us to have sex. It's something very pure, and very holy, and very sacred. But Satan has to besmirch it and besmear it. And Satan doesn’t have sex, and he’s very envious and very jealous. And so he tries to do one of two things, he tries to make us either be so liberal that we go clear overboard, and make sex as filthy and dirty as we can make it. Or he’s tried to make the Catholic Church so they practically forbid sex, and say the only purpose of it is childbirth, and that is not God’s teaching at all.

Now you will notice right here, notice the next words. And remember now that the husband doesn’t have power of his body, and he is not allowed to use his body the way he pleases against the wishes and the will of his wife. There must be love and each has to give consent to the other.

"Do not refuse one another [and he’s talking about sex here] except perhaps [for] by agreement for a season, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; then come together again, lest Satan tempt you through lack of self-control..." (I Corinthians 7:5-6 RSV)

Now that’s very plain teaching. But that teaching is a little plainer than it is in the King James. They were so, well, they were so ashamed about sex, when they wrote the King James translation, they didn’t translate it like it is in the original Greek language. He says;

"...I say this by way of concession not of command [now what he’s saying, that way is ..] I wish that all were as I myself am [he didn’t say that as a command, but God allowed him to say that, in other words that they’d remain single]. But each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another." (I Corinthians 7:6-7 RSV)

Now notice, "To the unmarried..." (I Corinthians 7:8), notice he’s going to speak to three classes. First is to the unmarried, notice what he says;

"To the unmarried and the widows [who are now unmarried since their husbands are dead] I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to be married than to be aflame with passion." (I Corinthians 7:8-9)

Now secondly to the married. Now first he talks to the unmarried, now he talks to the married;

"To the married I give charge, not I but the Lord, that the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband) [and that shows that if she has departed or divorced she can go back and marry him again, that shows very plainly that the Bible does allow for that]. - and that the husband should not divorce his wife." (I Corinthians 7:10-11 RSV)

Who Are The Rest (PLAY FROM 24:52)

"Now to the rest I say,..." (I Corinthians 7:12)

Now first there was to the unmarried, and now there is to the married, now who can the rest be? Everybody is either married or unmarried, and this troubled me quite a little until I found out what it really means. And here is something that changed a doctrine in the Church.

Because here’s what we found, that the biggest trouble we had among the brethren in the Church - now maybe our biggest trouble was among some of the top men at headquarters who were all playing politics and each one wanting to gain more, he was simply coveting more power. And there was a conspiracy to get rid of me and have others take over. There was a conspiracy in 1974 for a group, they had a whole group, and there were two evangelists at headquarters that were in on it. And they thought with those two evangelists, one of them in charge of the money. It’s just like the one in charge of the money that turned traitor to Jesus, you know, Judas Iscariot, he was in control of the money. You’ve got to look out for the man that’s in control of the money. And these men felt they could take over. Well, they didn’t, and so they formed a new church and called it the Associated Church of God, and about 35 ministers went out with them, and went out from God’s Church.

Now, I tell you you’ve got a grapevine here and Christ says, "I’m the vine and you are the branches..." (John 15:5). And maybe there are 35 of those branches who say, well, we are going to cut off and form a new grapevine of our own. Are they still part of the vine? Are they going to still have grapes? You bet your life they won’t! No sir, I tell you if you get cut off from the Church, you’re cut off.

God is going to marry the Church. He’s not going to marry several different churches all in a hodge-podge of confusion, one believing this and another that and always disagreeing among themselves. Jesus and God the Father do not disagree. They are together and the Church as Paul said, as we read in the first chapter, when we were studying this book, that we must all speak the same thing. There must be no division. God isn’t going to marry a divided Church, He’s going to marry a Church that is one. Jesus’ prayer was that He would keep us one even as He and the Father are One. And we have got to be as much one as Christ and the Father are one, and we need to know that.

Now who are 'the rest' that are neither married or unmarried? Well;

"To the rest I say, not the Lord..." (I Corinthians 7:12)

Divorce and Re-marriage (PLAY FROM 27:44)

However, I think this is the solution, and we're having the greatest problem in the Church, not among the headquarters, but among the people of the Church, was divorce and re-marriage. But we don’t find that, that was a problem in the Church, and you can’t find it in the book of Acts or in the writings of Paul. Why didn’t they have it? Right here is the answer. Here’s why they didn’t have that problem in the Church. Now notice this;

"...I say...that if any brother has a wife [now a brother is a member of the Church]... if he has a wife who is an unbeliever [then she’s not a member of the Church, or if she was, she’s no longer a member, maybe she’s gone out, but she is now an unbeliever], and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her." (I Corinthians 7:12 RSV)

If he’s going to live at peace with her. Now there’s more of it coming later and I’ll get to that in a minute.

"If any woman [now it’s a member of the Church] has a husband who is an unbeliever [then he is not a member of the Church, she’s in the Church but her husband is not], and he consents to live with her [if he will live at peace with her and her religion, she is not supposed to leave him. She must stay with him if their marriage is still in love and harmonious, as we’ll see later], she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is consecrated..." (I Corinthians 7:13-14 RSV)

Or sanctified, and that only means set apart. That doesn’t mean your mate is righteous or anything of the kind. It just means, you are set apart. In other words, here’s what that means. Adam cut himself off from God. Adam rebelled against God, and God made that absolutely binding not only on Adam, but all of Adam’s family for the next 6,000 years until Christ comes with the kingdom of God. Now we’re almost at the end of that 6,000 years right now, but not quite, and man is cut off from God. Now then, Jesus Christ said;

"No man can come to me, except the Father which sent me draw[s] him..." (John 6:44 KJV)

Now you can’t get to God the Father except through Christ, and no-one can come to Christ or get to God through Christ except God Himself draws him. Now God is not calling - I go over to China; those people don’t know anything about God. God has never called them. They don’t know anything about God. God is not in their daily lives. What about the people here? I made the mistake one day, it was one morning, of saying to one of my nurses, I said, "Well you don’t believe in God." And oh, did she get angry, she said, "Don’t you ever dare to say that to me, Mr. Armstrong. I won’t let anyone say that. I do believe in God." I said, "Well, I just didn’t put that in the right way, let me put it in one or two other ways. You don’t really believe God, because the Bible is God’s Word, and you don’t believe much of that. And you don’t understand it even. Another thing, God is not any major part at all in your life."

Most people aren’t thinking about God. God is not in their life. The only things their minds are on are the physical material world they live in and other people, and other people in the world. God is no part of their lives. Now I had an aunt and uncle one time, and I’d go down to visit them. I know my uncle would always have to read a little scripture and have a little prayer before they would eat. But that was only a ritual that he thought he had to do and he’d get blessed if he did it. And I know that the rest of the time his mind wasn’t on God, or that family. The rest of the time their minds were on the things of this world, on the physical material things of the world.

God is not a part of the life of the average person. People in India, they don’t know anything about God. They’ve got a crazy religion of their own. They believe that when you die, you immediately come back to life in some other form, maybe you'll be a bed bug, maybe you’ll be a lizard, maybe you’ll be an elephant. Transmigration of souls they call it. And where did they get that? Well, some man got to thinking, without any basis of thinking with, and he decided that he’d begin to teach it and now millions upon millions upon millions of people follow it and believe it. They don’t know why. Someone taught them that when they were little children. They've grown up believing it, that’s all.

But notice here;

"For the unbelieving husband is consecrated..." (I Corinthians 7:14 RSV)

Now God is not calling many. No one can come to Christ except God draws them. The average person in China can’t come to Christ. I can go over and preach till - till I shout at myself, and my lungs are hoarse, my voice. I can’t talk them into coming to Christ. They can’t do it unless God the Father draws them, and He’s not picking them out. I could not have come, but God the Father was drawing me and He had a reason for it, and it wasn’t very pleasant for me at first either, for a while. So remember, the world in general, most people, are not being judged now. God is not calling them. They can’t be converted now, but they’re not lost and they can be saved. Their time has not come. It will come in the Great White Throne Judgment, and that’s what we hear about on the Last Day of the Feast of Tabernacles.

It’s the day after the Feast itself is over, that Last Great Day. There will be a resurrection of all these people. They are not being called now. They will be resurrected at the end of the millennium, and there won’t be any devil around. And then God will call them, and I tell you I think nearly all of them are going to answer when God calls them, because there won’t be any Satan to draw them the other way. And there will be Christ and God drawing them that way and we are going to be there helping to draw them. Oh God isn’t unfair. Adam cut all of his family off and they are cut off. But look here now, the husband of a believing wife, or the wife of a believing husband are not cut off. I want you to notice;

"For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through [the] wife..." (I Corinthians 7:14 RSV)

In other words, he is not cut off. That doesn’t mean God is calling - that does not mean God is calling. But that means he is set apart, as one who could come to God if he wants to himself.

Children Are Sanctified (PLAY FROM 35:20)

Now when I go up to Orr, Minnesota, I preach to those kids up there. I say, your parents are members of the Church, and I quote right from this scripture. And you therefore are sanctified or set apart. And when you are going to come to the age, and some of you aren’t quite to that age yet, but when you come to the right age, you can come to Christ if you want to. Now God may not just call you, He may not draw you, but at least you are not cut off. And I tell those young kids up there, you are the ones that God is going to use at the very beginning of the millennium in the world tomorrow, and you are going to have very important jobs. And you'd better pay attention to the things of the Church you’ve been brought up in. And you know, they begin to see something they never saw before, and that’s what I want our ministers to teach the children in the Churches.


"...the unbelieving husband is consecrated through [the] wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated [or set apart, and you find in the King James it says is "sanctified"] by her husband. Otherwise [now get this, this is what I’m driving at, otherwise], your children would be unclean, but as it is they are [they are not holy, but they are sanctified. In other words, they are set apart, that's what it means. Now let's see what is the word here, wait till I get the verse there, that's verse 14, their children would be unclean but now they are] holy." (I Corinthians 7:14 RSV)

Well, it says 'holy' in both translations, but it only means that they are subject to being called. That’s true with the young people right here; Mr and Mrs Olinger’s children. Maybe they are not quite of the age yet of being called for conversion, but they are not cut off from God and other children they meet at school are cut off. Now that’s what I tell our young people up at Orr. And that is a wonderful thing, and that’s just something that our people ought to teach their children.

"But if the unbelieving partner desires to separate, let it be so [now get this]; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound [that is, your marriage is not binding. You are not bound by the marriage in such a case]. For God has called us to peace." (I Corinthians 7:15 RSV)

Now that is the whole thing. For God has called us to peace! If the unbelieving husband is not going to live with his wife’s religion, and that is upsetting the whole marriage and there’s not peace in the marriage because of her religion, she can divorce him. But if he’s willing to live with her in peace, she must not leave him or divorce him.

Paul's view on Marriage (PLAY FROM 38:53)

"...The unmarried man is anxious [you see he has his anxiety, he's anxious] about the affairs of the Lord; how to please the Lord;" (I Corinthians 7:32 RSV)

Well now, I don't think, I don’t quite agree with Paul there, that every unmarried man is - of course he's talking about the umarried man who is converted and has the Holy Spirit in the Church is what he means. Paul is pretty much talking about the way he ought to be, not the way he really is;

"but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife..." (I Corinthians 7:33 RSV)

A married man ought to be concerned about his wife and about pleasing her, yes. But that should not take his mind away from the things of the Lord. It just should not! So Paul has not been married, he has not experienced that, and he is simply telling what his opinion is. And he wasn’t speaking from experience. He’d never been married. Now I’ve had one marriage of fifty years, and the second one is just almost three and a half years old now, and still going on fine. So, I’m speaking from a little bit of experience.

"...And the unmarried woman [or the unmarried woman] or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and [in] spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband. (I Corinthians 7:34 RSV)

Now by experience, I’ve found that is not true. I had a wife who was already interested in the things of the Lord before we were married in my first marriage when I was just a young man, 25 years of age. And she was still concerned about me, and about the things of God after we were married. Now I was not, I was not converted. But God used her, in a challenge to make me pretty angry, and to study which converted me. She didn’t convert me at all. I was converted trying to prove how wrong she was and I had to find she was right because she had what she found in the Bible. But now once I was converted she was fifty-fifty with me right in the Work of God and getting it started all the time. And I don’t know how I could have done what I did without her help.

It isn’t good for a man to be alone, he needs the help of a wife, and I had that help all those years. Let’s see, how long had we been married when I was converted? I was 34 and I was married when I was 25, that’s only nine years and all the rest you see, it was over forty years of our marriage that we were both converted. And it didn’t put my mind on the things of the world, and her mind on the things of the world because we were married. Now I’m speaking from experience. Paul was speaking his opinion and I’m just going to have to say that experience disagrees with Paul’s opinion right there. I say that a married man should not be any less concerned about the things of God than he was before he was married if he was concerned about them before he was married. Now he says;

"I say this for your own benefit [well, that’s what he believed], not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord." (I Corinthians 7:35 RSV)

Well, the marriage only helped bring our undivided devotion to the Lord, and so has this marriage. And this marriage is keeping us together, and we might be having troubles, except for this marriage and because of prayer and because we are constantly concerned about God and praying every day about it. I never let a day go by without thanking God for my wife and praying that I could be a better husband. And praying that He will help us together. I never let a day go by without praying for all of our brethren all around the world either. And I never let a day go by without praying for all of our ministers. And then on occasion, I mention a great many of them in person and sometimes many of the brethren in person, just depending. You can’t do that with almost a hundred thousand members around the world. You can’t mention all of those you know, in every prayer.

"If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed [now, you’ll find it says 'toward his virgin' I believe, isn't it in the King James. Well, he says the betrothed, one that he’s engaged to marry], if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do [what] he wishes: let them marry-it is no sin." (I Corinthians 7:36 RSV)

In other words, having sexual intercourse in marriage is not a sin, and that’s the reason he gave at the beginning of this chapter for getting married, is that you can have sexual intercourse without sin.

"But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity [that means sexual necessity] but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her [the one he’s engaged to] as his betrothed, he will do well. So that he who marries his betrothed does well [he can’t admit that it’s any sin, so he doesn’t try to, he says he does well]; and he [who remains unmarried] will do better." (I Corinthians 7:37-38 RSV)

Again, that’s his opinion. And I can’t quite agree with that, and I’m basing what I say on experience.

"A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives [this is almost redundant here, it’s almost a repetition]. If the husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord." (I Corinthians 7:39 RSV)

Now again that would apply if one cannot live with an unbelieving mate, they are not bound in that marriage, but they are free. And this shows that they are in the same position as it says here, that they must marry someone who is converted and in the Church. So, we have had some cases like that, and that has happened to some of our ministers, and of course, that is the will of God. But if the husband dies, the woman is free to marry again. Of course, if the wife dies the husband is free to marry again, but only in the Lord.

"But in my judgment she is [again it’s his opinion and his judgment, she is] happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I have the Spirit of God." (I Corinthians 7:40 RSV)

Well, I’m an apostle of God in the twentieth century, and I think I have the will of God. And I really think, we are living in a different time and a different age when circumstances surrounding us in the world are a little different today. Let me just say that. {1}

Well that finishes that seventh chapter, and I think we will knock off there for today.

{1} Footnote: This key reason for Paul saying what he did regarding it being better to stay single at that time, is also brought out in verse 26 of I Corinthians 7: "I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be." (I Corinthians 7:26)