How Would You Interprete 1 Corinthians 7:14?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by DaChaser1, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. DaChaser1

    DaChaser1
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    1 Corinthians 7:14
    New International Version (NIV)

    14 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.

    As regarding children now being "Holy?"

    and what si the sanctification mentioned here?
     
  2. Deacon

    Deacon
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    You ask, "How would you interpret 1 Corinthians 7:14?"

    My answer …in context.


    The term "salvation" obviously is more limited in meaning from its full sense since Paul added in verse 7:16, “For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” (ESV).

    I feel Paul's qualification in verse 7:12 indicates that this is a situational admonition, simply good advice under the authority of the apostle Paul.

    I think the NLT renders the meaning of verse 7:14 most plainly and quite accurately.

    “For the Christian wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the Christian husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not be holy, but now they are holy.”
    (1 Corinthians 7:14, NLT)

    Rob
     
  3. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    I don't think the NLT paraphrase is particularly helpful. The question of what the 'holiness' of the children means is still not explained. Many paedobaptists base their beliefs on this verse. It's important to know what it means.


    Before turning to look at the text in depth, I want to draw attention to a particular point in the writing of 1Corinthians. Paul writes to the whole church (1:2) and addresses them in the Second Person plural- “you”, occasionally joining himself to them by using the First person plural, “we” (eg.6:14; 8:4 ). However, when he writes specifically to a section of the church, he uses the Third Person; for example, 3:4; 4:1; 6:16; 7:36 etc. It is important to keep this in mind as we approach Chapter 7.

    It is clear from 7:1 that in this section of the letter, Paul is answering some questions that the Corinthians have written to him. In verses 1-9, he is answering then on the subject of marital relations in general and the advisability of marriage. In verse 10-11, he is addressing the married section of the church and therefore uses the Third Person. ‘A wife is not to depart from her husband’. In verse 12ff, he addresses those believers who have an unbelieving spouse, again using the Third Person. Clearly, there was a concern within the Corinthian church as to whether a marriage could continue when one partner had been converted and the other remained an unbeliever. One assumes that they had Old Testament Scriptures in mind like Exodus 34:15-16, Ezra 9 & 10 and Nehemiah 13:23-28.

    Whilst it is undoubtedly true that Christians should not marry non-Christians, in the circumstances where a couple had married as unbelievers and one partner had become converted, Paul states that the Christian is not to instigate divorce proceedings, ‘For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband.’ As we saw earlier, the Greek word for ‘sanctified’ is hagiazo. This is the very word and the same grammatical construction used in 1:2 to describe the church members at Corinth, save that they are,’sanctified in Christ Jesus’. However, in 7:14, although the same expression is used, Paul must have had something else in mind. Whatever ‘sanctified’ unbelievers might be, they are not those who are ‘called to be saints’, nor do they, ‘call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.’ By definition, they are still in their sins since they have not trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. There is no suggestion that they possess any spiritual benefits conferred by their unbelieving partners save perhaps that mentioned in 1Peter 3:1-2.

    To understand the apostle’s teaching, it is necessary to bear in mind that the basic meaning of sanctification is to set apart or to be set apart for some special purpose. For example, in 1Tim 4:4-5, the word is used with reference to food: ’For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer’ (NASB). Obviously the food receives no special qualities from this sanctification which will lead to its salvation! It is made suitable for its purpose (being eaten!) by prayer and by God’s word that declares it to be so.

    So all Paul is saying in the first part of 7:14 is that there is no need for a believer to separate himself from an unbelieving spouse. As Calvin says, the believing party is not contaminated by contact with the unbeliever, but there is certainly no salvific benefit for the non-Christian. Just a little further on (v16 ), Paul asks, ‘For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband?’. She doesn’t!

    Then Paul goes on to make a hypothetical argument. ’Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but now they are holy’ (Gk. hagios). The important thing to note is that Paul has switched from the Third Person to the Second Person. It would have been natural for him to continue in the Third Person and say, ‘Otherwise their children would be unclean’ but he doesn’t do that. The reason is that he is addressing the whole church at this particular point.

    Paul’s argument is this; if one had perforce to separate physically from unbelievers to avoid contamination from them, then Corinthian parents would have to separate from their own children. ’That which is born of the flesh is flesh’ (John 3:6 ) and all children are born with the contamination of a sinful nature. What was true for the unbelieving spouse would also be true for all children until they were converted. But in fact, Paul is saying that, just as the believer in the marriage sanctifies an unbelieving spouse so as to be able to live together, so believing parents sanctify their children just so as to be able to bring them up in a Christian manner and, if God wills, to see them brought to faith.

    I suggest that if the baptism of infants were taking place in Corinth, Paul would certainly not have written this way. If children of believers were already ‘sanctified’ by virtue of their birth (contra John 1:13 ), or if they really could be brought into the New Covenant by baptism, he would not have suggested that they might be ‘unclean.’ Therefore I conclude that infant baptism was not being practised in Corinth.

    [taken from my blog. Read the full article at http://marprelate.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/holy-infants/ ]

    Steve
     
  4. Deacon

    Deacon
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    I don't know Martin, baptism is something you have to carry into this text.
    It would be foriegn to Paul's purpose for the passage.

    My simple understanding follows the text:

    Verse 1
    "What was written to Paul: Paul was in agreement: "It's good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman"

    YET:
    Verses 2-7 To the married stay as you are – with full conjugal rights – with exceptions

    Verses 8-9 To the unmarried and widows - stay as you are – with exceptions

    Verses 10-11 To the married- don't separate- remain as you are – with exceptions.

    Verses 12-16 To those with unbelieving spouses- remain as you are – with exceptions.

    CONCLUSION

    Verse 17 “Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches.” (ESV)

    Rob
     
  5. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    Yes, but with respect, you haven't annwered the question that Da Chaser1 asked at the beginning. What is the holiness of the children and what is the nature of the sanctification? If the children are 'holy,' why should they not be baptized? As I said, this is probably the verse that causes some Baptists to become Presbyterian.

    Steve

    Steve
     
  6. Deacon

    Deacon
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    Once again, baptism is not the point Paul is concerned about here.

    Here is my understanding of Pauls argument.

    1) The children mentioned in this passage are "holy" in the same sense as the unbelieving father and mother have holiness conferred on them. They are not made believers and not "saved" (clarified in verse 16).

    2) A Common Belief: Children in a marriage are special, [holy, set-apart, sanctified, acceptable, i.e. legitimate]. Children outside of marriage are "unclean", illegitimate.

    3) The flow of Paul's argument here: Paul is conveying is that if the children of a marriage are "holy" [set apart, sanctified, legitimate] then by virtue of this fact, since the kids are "holy” [set apart, sanctified, legitimate] so too is the unbelieving spouse. Therefore since the spouse is legitimate there is no reason to separate.

    Rob
     
  7. OldRegular

    OldRegular
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    Baptist Board there is a problem! DaChaser1 is following the lead of his mentor, JesusFan. Of the 20 active threads on page 1 of the Theology Forum he is responsible for 8 usually consisting of no opinion by himself.
     
  8. freeatlast

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    Rob thank you for that answer as I think it is well thought out and very good. I do have a question. Because of verse 13 that speaks about one being a believer and one not do you believe the passage is saying that at least one has to be a believer to be a sanctified marriage or does the believer part not play into this?
     
  9. Deacon

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    Well Paul doesn't deal with unchristian couples in this passage so you'd have to look to other passages for an answer to that question.

    Certainly marriage was ordained by God (Genesis 2:24) yet without Christ's work we are all children of wrath.

    Over the ages the church is all over the place on this issue.

    Rob
     
  10. DaChaser1

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    Marriage as an istitution started and approved by God means that ALL marriages are valid before God, its that when one or both parents are also Christians, then the presense of God within that home through one or both sets apart the family, in the sense God is now in there to make it considered 'Holy"
     
    #10 DaChaser1, Jan 17, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2012
  11. DaChaser1

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    think that what is in view here is that its more that the presense of God in the person of the saved parent allows the family unit to be considered set apart and "Holy unto the Lord"

    Children not auto saved just by having saved parents, think more that the Lord Himself in now directly in their midst as result of that!

    that is why children bnot to be baptised, as still no certaility of salvation until they personally received the Lord!
     

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