RE: 1 Corinthians 7:27,28

From: Mr. Lemuel G. Abarte (
Date: Fri Aug 07 1998 - 01:57:34 EDT

Dear Steve,

The matters discussed in 1 Corinthians 7 are very categorical and case-status oriented, in my opinion. In verses 27, 28, a separation and or divorce did take place. I am not sure whether from a practical standpoint, assuming we were in Roman times when Paul wrote this epistle, that that would not be considered a divorce since it looks like LUW, from the way Paul used the verb, does mean to be set free, released, or separated. At least the semantic range seem to indicate that the person is no longer living with his wife for some reasons which Paul never specified. Perhaps Paul does categorize into a group those who were divorced, separated or released from their obligations to their wives in a broad range of circumstances within the classified group of PARQENOS.

Paul classifies the circumstance in a Graeco-Roman atmosphere where the Lord Jesus Christ did not discuss before as Paul did explain (verse 25).

I would take verse 39 as another category in the classification of widows. I think the emphasis of Paul does show in his classification of the social groups where each believer belonged. He offered advice per the classified group. The case of the widows is that their husbands were dead.

Perhaps it was not the "one body" principle that Paul was trying to de-emphasize (verse 39). Rather, that the husband was dead as per the classification and that death was the one being emphasized in that category. In verse 27, a separation, an annulment, a divorce, a release did take place. Remarriage is an option and in that Paul did advise "advisedly"(verse 28). Considering the verses that follow, it looks like verses 32-35 do consider remarriage as an option.

The interim verses are more or less doctrinal to orient the believer and his circumstances to the wider perspective of God's purposes in history. But verse 32 does resume the case in point.

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Amato []
Sent: Thursday, August 06, 1998 4:49 PM
To: Biblical Greek
Cc: Biblical Greek
Subject: Re: 1 Corinthians 7:27,28

At 08:00 AM 8/6/98 +0800, you wrote:
>My understanding is that the Hebrew custom made betrothal technically a
marriage before sexual relations take place (Matthew 1:19).
>But APOLUO and its cognates seem to mean that the case of separation is
really called divorce (Matthew 19:1-15; Mark 10:1-12).
>The Graeco-Roman custom allowed the woman to divorce her husband.
>It seems that the second part of 1 Corinthians 7:27 does not rule out that
the man did live with his wife for sometime as husband and wife, that a
divorce took place, and he is a divorcee. My understanding of MH ZHTEI
GUNAIKA is that the divorcee should not be in a hurry to marry again.

But the lack of the exception clause in the Mark and Luke passages on this
subject would seem to invalidate that idea. As well as would would

1Cor 7:39 A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her
husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to
the Lord.

It seems that "death" and not "divorce" nullifies a marriage.

However, I agree with you that Matthew is referring to the betrothal period
- which is why perhaps the exception clause is found only in his gospel,
which reputably was written to more Jewish Christians, and being more
applicable to them as they have such a betrothal period. Notice also that
he uses the word translated "fornication" rather than "adultery" - perhaps
again pointing to the lack of consummation of the marriage bond.

In other words, the marriage can be nullified during the betrothal period
if the marriage had not yet been consummated.

This would different categories of "divorced" people. Some can remarry,
but for others, it would be adultery while their "spouse" (in the eyes of
God) was still alive.

At least that's my conclusion. Food for thought.

Steve Amato

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