Bible Polygyny

But this I say, brothers, The time is short. It remains that both those who have wives should be as not having one. 1Co 7:29

 

1 Corinthians 7 is a passage written during the Acts period when the Lord's return was expected and the advice given was appropriate for the coming tribulation.

Have you ever heard a sermon on this verse?
1Co 7:29 But this I say, brothers, The time is short. It remains that both those who have wives should be as not having one.

Imagine the pastor beginning his sermon by quoting this verse to ensure husbands were to live as though they did not have any wives. I'm sure the wives would be very encouraged.

Have you heard teaching that the unmarried state is best (1Co 7:38), well, why are most of us Christians married? Guess we are thankful it was only Paul's advice right?

Will we acknowledge that divorce is permitted in cases other than adultery as in the following verse?
1Co 7:15 But if the unbelieving one separates, let him be separated. A brother or a sister is not in bondage in such cases, but God has called us in peace.

If Paul clearly says those unequally yoked together are not bound why are folk suffering with non believing spouses? Let the denominations clear them of such marriages as Paul did. But wait, is Paul contradicting the Lord who said the only grounds for divorce was adultery? It seems Paul recognized that "separation" was common among Gentiles and that the unbelievers who separated were not bound.

These passages in Corinthians were written when the time was short, literally. Paul wrote in 1Cor.15 that not all of the Corinthians were going to die, Paul said "we shall not all sleep (die)" 1Cor.15:51 and the we included Himself. In 1Thess.4:15, 17 Paul writes "we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord". This was also written during the Acts period.

So, when Paul says, husbands should live as thought they don't have wives, he was writing in the light of the fast approaching tribulation which was to precede the coming of the Lord. Woe to those who are with child, warns the Lord in Matt.24.

So to be married to an unbeliever (1Cor.7:15) when the trouble started was not good for peace. This is not advice for today.

At Acts 28, Israel was set aside and the imminent return of the Lord was postponed and this explains why, in his letters to Timothy written after Acts 28, after Corinthians, Paul wants the younger widows to marry (1Tim.5:14) and the bishops should have at least the first wife (1Tim.3:2). Paul did not advise everyone to stay single one minute then change his mind the next. The circumstances were changed by God and Paul's instructions changed to reflect God's changes.

So, during the Acts period in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul responds to some questions concerning marriage and those who were suffering the frustration of passion. Despite his advice in 1Cor.7:8-9, he advices folks to get married if they have no self control;
1Co 7:9 But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn.

To this chapter written during Acts the anti-polygamists go desperately seeking a plain statement regarding the number of wives a man must have and to this end they quote;
1Co 7:2  But, because of the fornications, let each have his own wife, and let each have her own husband.

This verse does not teach that a man can only have one wife. Here is the context;
1Co 7:1 Now concerning what you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
1Co 7:2 But, because of the fornications, let each have his own wife, and let each have her own husband.

The context should be considered further back in chapter 6 where intimacy with a harlot is more than inappropriate for a believer since Paul writes "shall I take the members of Christ and make them the members of a harlot? Let it not be!"

In other words, 1Cor.7:1-2 is not defining marriage structure but confining intimacy within marriage. This is Paul's point here. To avoid fornication let each his own wife and each (wife) her own husband.

Now let us read together verses 10-11 of the same chapter;
1Co 7:10 And to the married I command (not I, but the Lord), a woman not to be separated from her husband.
1Co 7:11 But if she is indeed separated, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to leave his wife.

Notice, only the wife is to be reconciled to her husband if she separates and the husband is not to leave his wife but he does not have to be reconciled to her if he does.

Once again the anti polygynists struggle to find a plain statement of Scripture that polygyny is evil. With none at their disposal they cling to verses which under close examination do not condemn polygyny but in fact show it was part of the Christian assembly.

Polygamy is one husband keeping himself to each of his wives and each of the wives keeping to her husband. 1Cor. 7:2 provides the antidote to fornication. Marriage is purity and honor and polygamy remains an honorable marriage.

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