Given the high view of marriage and sexuality in Scripture, Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians are odd and out of character. Why would Paul think it good for everyone to be as he is?
Jeremiah 16 provides a clue. In verse 2, Yahweh instructs Jeremiah not to take a wife or raise children “in this place,” because Yahweh is bringing distress on the fathers, mothers, and children who are born in doomed Jerusalem: “They will die of deadly diseases, they will not be lamented or buried; they will be as dung on the surface of the ground and come to an end by sword and famine, and their carcasses will become food for the birds of the sky and for the beasts of the earth” (v. 4). In view of the present distress, Yahweh says, Jeremiah ought not marry or have children. Jeremiah would remain unmarried as a prophetic sign of Yahweh’s determination to withdraw peace from His bride (v. 5).
As Paul makes clear in various places, he is an apostle like Jeremiah, not only in being called from the womb but also in his singleness, a sign of the approaching doom on Jerusalem and Judaism.
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 2:09 pm
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