Paul's opinion in Scripture

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Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I've always wondered about the exegesis and implications of 1 Corinthians 7:25 (ESV), which reads "Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy." How is Paul's opinion to be counted as Scripture in this case? While he does indeed say that the Lord had confirmed him and thus his judgment as "trustworthy" in this case, that would not automatically mean that it is universally binding, and thus fit for the canon. Furthermore, if it Paul's "trustworthiness" established by God validates his advice to the same level as the rest of Scripture, why would he even have mentioned that he has no word from the Lord in that case?

I don't doubt the canon, I'm just trying to understand how we are to go about interpreting this statement.

Chris
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
The importance of godly counsel

This passage (25-40) is a marvelous teaching for us about giving godly counsel.

Contextually, this passage is still connected with the subject of marriage begun earlier. Earlier in the passage (v. 10) he uses such a phrase as "I give this charge (not I but the Lord)," which in the judgment of many exegetes is a restatement of Jesus own teaching (see Mt 5:32, and others). Then, in verse 12 he gives further revelation authoritatively writing, "I say (I not the Lord)." Some have (wrongly) concluded that the first is authoritative and the second is just Paul's opinion. Not so. Paul is revealing further the mind of the Lord, and the command is binding.

So, with respect to verse 25, I judge Paul to be repeating that he has no additional command from the Lord (himself, when he was on the earth) with regard to betrothals. But Paul gives godly counsel--[i:49124b8c93]apostolic [/i:49124b8c93] counsel--that has to do with, as he puts it, "the present distress." Here is advice for the moment in the early church. As he says later, it is distinguished from command, because he expressly states that to proceed with marriage is no sin (v. 28). Paul is tremendously careful, therefore, to distinguish his specific answer to the specific question from a declaration of universal truth. But the BASIS for his counsel he shows is universal truth (see vv 29-37). In verse 38 he contrasts not Sin and Righteousness, but "doing well" and "doing better."

The challenge for us is to note well HOW Paul weaves infallible revelation [b:49124b8c93]principles [/b:49124b8c93]into his whole discussion of "the present distress." We have the benefit here of seeing the minister of the Word applying unchanging truth to a specific circumstance and giving godly counsel, being careful not to legislate beyond God's own Word.

Hope this is helpful. :wr50:
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
Ahem.

Most... respectable.... scholars acknowledge that in 1 Cor 7:10, Paul is referencing expressed teaching of Jesus while he was on earth. 7:12 (and 25) were not expressed statements of Jesus while on earth. Thus Paul differentiates between his words and Jesus' words.
Paul's words are nonetheless inspired and are jsut as binding and authoritative as any of Jesus' words.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Thanks. At first glance I thought Paul was saying he had no revelation and/or inspiration from God above, but contextually I see how he is almost certainly referring to Christ's words while on earth.

:wink:

Chris
 
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