Most of the time I write articles and commentary on topical subjects related to faith, marriage and parenting. But recently my love for the Word of God has grown exponentially. I am falling more in love with His Holy Word. I didn’t know that was still possible but that is how I’m feeling. And specifically I think it would be a great experience for us to study line by line the passages that are specific to living unequally yoked.
Today I want to get started, line by line with 1 Corinthians 7:12-16
To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
I am using the New International Version translation above but we will also look at a few other translations through this summer study.
If you have read either of our books, Winning Him Without Words or Not Alone, you will know that this particular passage has enormously impacted both my understanding and hope for my marriage as well as my children’s faith choice. So I would like to walk through this together here for a few posts. After this we will look at other passages such at 1 Peter 3 and other Biblical contexts in which we find specific information and teaching for those of us who are unequally yoked.
Does this sound like a good idea SUMmers??? (Rosheeda coined this phrase too.)
Let’s start then with some context. And please hear me now. I am NOT a Bible scholar. I am an ordinary wife and mom. I read the Bible and I ask God continually for the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation that I may know Him better (Ephesians 1:17) So please, this study should be considered a general study where two friends, me and you, sit down at the table, read the Word, and just talk about it. We can look to other references but the most impacting study is where we share our lives, our experiences, and we receive through the Word of God from one another.
Okay? Okay!! Let’s go!
Who wrote the book of Corinthians? And why was it written and to whom was it written? Why do we need to know this information? Good questions.
Corinthians was written by the Apostle Paul to the “believers” in the ancient City of Corinth that was located in Greece. I looked up Corinth on Wikipedia. It’s an interesting read if you have the time. It’s important to understand the culture and the climate of the times because you gain insight into the passages of scripture. You also understand the language and the person who was writing which helps to understand the writers intent. I know this is important because as a writer myself, I am misunderstood at times. It helps to know a person. When you understand their heart and motives, your perception of their writing becomes clearer and easier.
The believers in Corinth were people who recently worshiped multiple gods and in fact the city was known for the temple of the goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of love. So the believers did not have an understanding of the Torah, nor the Jewish customs and the faith, Judaism. Paul’s background was Pharisaical and of the strictest sect. They are relatively new converts to “The Way” as described by Paul. (Acts 9)
There are some key differences in the people groups that Paul wrote to in his various epistles (letters). Paul sent letters to the Jews, the Romans and the Greeks. I suppose we could do an entire study about these different cultures and the means Paul uses to communicate The Good News to each. But alas, let’s not get that heavy. *grin* Moving on.
I realize that our first line reads: To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord). So I think we need some context for this line study. Let’s look back to the beginning of chapter 7.
The very first part of verse one reads: Now for the matters you wrote about: Paul is obviously answering a letter that was written to him from the believers of Corinth. And now Paul is answering their questions. Much like we ask our Pastor or teacher for clarification.
Paul is specifically addressing questions raised about marriage. You can read the chapter in its entirety by clicking here.
Paul has addressed marriage issues, sex in marriage, widows, and the unmarried as well as divorce. Wow, a lot to cover in a few verses. Then he turns to our sensitive issue; Marriage to an unbeliever.
Let’s ponder here. Don’t you think it’s interesting that believers who were alive way back when, were also grappling with this very issue. Paul, obviously has addressed this issue before because he includes it in his reply to the church of Corinth. I don’t know about you, but for years and years I always felt like I was the only one living unequally yoked. I thought that my marriage situation was rare and new to the church because they (church leadership) never talked about it. EVER. I often felt isolated and forgotten. Being a married single person can be a difficult road to walk in a church setting.
However, here we are in Corinth at one of the original New Testament churches and they are dealing with what we live in 2014. Oh how I love the Lord that He knew all these years later we would need His wise counsel and encouragement right from His Holy and powerful Word.
Yikes, over a thousand words already and we are just getting to the good stuff. Okay, let’s pick up on Monday with the next line. And can you help me out? What are your thoughts about the precept upon precept study? Are you in? And can you help me with other scripture passages that are specific to living unequally yoked. Hint: There are more than you think.
I love you my friends. Let’s let the LIVING Word change our hearts and our homes. See you in the comments.