I continue this study of the Book of First Corinthians with Chapters 5-8, which contain much discussion on internal church relations as well as marriage.
Notes on Chapters 5-8
- If there is an unrepentant sinner in the church, he should be removed (1 Corinthians 5:1-2). They are to be delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh for the purposes of their ultimate salvation (1 Corinthians 5:5).
- A little sin is like a little leaven and just as a little leaven can leaven the whole lump so too can sin corrupt the whole body, both as applied to the individual body or the corporate body of the church (1 Corinthians 5:6).
- Do not associate with unrepentant sinners who claim they are brothers in Christ. Do not even eat with them. (1 Corinthians 5:9-11). “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:12).
- Do not sue your brother in Christ but settle disputes within the church (1 Corinthians 6:1-6). Lawsuits amongst Christians harm your reputation and the reputation of Christians generally (1 Corinthians 6:7). If need be, suffer wrong and loss from a brother for the sake of peace (1 Corinthians 6:7-8).
- Do not allow yourself to be dominated by any fleshly desire (Paul particularly highlights food and sexual immorality) (1 Corinthians 6:13,16-20).
- Celibacy is good (and is a gift from God) because it frees you from the worldly concerns of pleasing your partner (1 Corinthians 7:1,7,28). However, it is better to marry if you can’t control your impulses (1 Corinthians 7:8,36).
- Married people should not deprive each other of sex, except for a limited time for the sake of one’s prayers (1 Corinthians 7:5).
- We should not divorce but if we do we should remain separate and unmarried or else be reconciled to our partner (1 Corinthians 7:10-11).
- The Christian should not leave his wife because she is not a believer, because she and their children are made holy by the believer (and vice versa for the wife that is a Christian) (1 Corinthians 7:12-16). If the unbelieving partner wants to separate then let them go (1 Corinthians 7:15). It does not appear from my reading (and review of commentary) that being made “holy” means that the believing partner “saves” the other partner or their children but that they are consecrated because of the believing partner and the believing partner is not defiled or corrupted because of the marriage.
- Live the life that has been laid out for you by God, that is that believing in Jesus Christ does not necessarily mean your life will radically change in terms of the externals (1 Corinthians 7:17-22).
- We are not to be slaves to men although if we are in a position of slavery we are still free in Christ (and should seek our freedom if we can obtain it) (1 Corinthians 7:21-23). Paul’s letter to Philemon I believe indicates quite clearly the position of Christianity for any who would question it: anti-slavery.
- This world is passing away as we speak, and we should hold all things of this world (relationships and possessions) lightly (as if we did not have them) (1 Corinthians 7:29-31). This way we can be free from anxieties (1 Corinthians 7:32).
- Food does not affect our relationship with God (I would add so long as we don’t make an idol of it); I believe Paul here is saying all is lawful for us to eat but if your brother is hung up on something then don’t eat it when you’re with him if it makes him stumble (it’s about his perception, not reality) (1 Corinthians 8:10-13). This is something that I have not seen being very well respected in the body of Christ, where others are bothered by eating something and their brothers go ahead and eat that thing anyways. I think this isolates the person and may pressure them into doing something outside of their measure of faith, which is sin for them and sinful for those who make him stumble.