Aug. 2. Additional Questions Answered

I Cor. 7:25-8:13

The next question of the Corinthians also concerned marriage. Even though Jerusalem was hundreds of miles from Corinth, the same political upheavals that led to the destruction of Jerusalem were affecting many other places including Corinth.

Paul advised those who had never married to remain single. That was not a general command, but a wise suggestion due to the turmoil of that period of time. He further instructed that those who were married should remain married. Whatever state they were in would be easier to maintain than having to adjust to a new lifestyle.

Single people would be better able to care for the things of the Lord than those who were married and had family responsibilities. Paul pointed out that it was not sinful to be married or single.

Customs of that time dictated that the father of an unmarried daughter would select her husband. Some fathers were concerned that they were mistreating their daughters by withholding them from marriage. Paul instructed fathers to allow their daughters to marry if remaining single would cause them to sin.

Another concern of the Corinthians was regarding whether widows should remarry. Paul stated that a wife was bound to remain married as long as her husband lived. After the death of her husband a widow could remarry only in the Lord. Again, because of the distress of the time, he suggested that it would be better if she also did not remarry.

Paul continued replying to the Corinthians by answering the problem of eating meat that had been offered to idols. This issue had been addressed several years earlier during the conference in Jerusalem after the first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas.

Many of the new converts to Christianity had been led from paganism and idol worship. Meat sacrificed to these idols was eaten during feasts associated with the worship of these gods. Some of it was sold in the markets. In order to show true conversion, James had forbidden new Christians from eating such meat lest they associate themselves again with these idols.

Paul pointed out that there is only one God and that these so-called gods mean nothing and the meat offered to them is as though it had never been offered. However, to keep these new weaker believers from stumbling, he warned the stronger Christians to refrain from placing a stumbling block before them.

Stronger Christians show their love for God and His Son by loving those who are weaker in the faith. Paul demonstrated this love by refusing to indulge in anything that would cause a weaker brother to stumble, even if the indulgence itself was not sinful.

Christians lead and teach by example and are to do nothing that will cause a brother to sin. When a weak brother observes behavior in a strong brother that violates his conscience and is led to commit that act violating his conscience, he sins against Christ. By causing the weak brother to sin, the strong brother also sins against Christ.