In the church at Corinth, there were strong opposing groups, but the leaders of the church seemed weak. When the groups argued with each other, the leaders were unable to speak with authority. Probably those leaders did not yet understand the Bible well enough. Nobody in Corinth had been a Christian for more than 3 or 4 years; their church was a new church.
It seems from 1 Corinthians chapter 7 that many of the arguments were about marriage. Those arguments became so serious that the local leaders wrote to ask Paul for advice. It seems that Stephanas travelled several hundred miles to take their letter to Paul (16:17). And then he brought back this letter, the Book of 1 Corinthians, as Paulís reply.
The leadersí question was probably whether it is good for a Christian man to marry. Paul replied that no one answer is right for everyone. Everyoneís life is different. God has a different plan for the life of each Christian.
Christians should always try to live in a manner that pleases God. That is the most important principle. So if a man chooses not to marry in order to serve God better, that is good. But it is not good if that unmarried man then chooses to have sex with a woman. That is against Godís law. A man and a woman should marry before they have sex. They can then serve God better because they have chosen to marry.
Paul emphasised that a husband should only have one wife. In the same manner, a wife should have just one husband. But these are simple rules, and peopleís lives are complex. For example, a widow can remarry. Or a man may have married several wives before he became a Christian. In circumstances like that, it can be difficult to know what to do. But in every circumstance, Christians should always choose to do the things that please God.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.