Does 1 Cor 7:2 exclude gays and lesbians from marriage?
No, 1 Corinthians 7:2 does not exclude gay and lesbians from a same sex marriage richly blessed by God. Many anti-gay christians wrongly interpret words which describe marriage in the Bible, in order to attack gays and lesbians. When God describes Adam, a male and Eve, a female, in Genesis 2, according to the anti-gay crowd, He leaves no room to affirm any other marriage relationships, like two men or two women or polygamous marriages.
When God says in 1 Corinthians 7:2, that every man should have his own wife and every woman should have her own husband, according to the anti-gay crowd, He leaves NO ROOM to affirm any relationship except one man with one woman. "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband." KJV, 1 Cor 7:2
The anti-gay crowd argues that God intentionally used language in these verses which excludes any possibility that two men or two women could get married. They reason, If God had wanted us to believe it's okay for two men or two women to marry, He would have said so and since God didn't write it the way they think He should have, they will never accept gay and lesbians getting married.
How can gays answer1.
such goofy illogic?
We answer with logic and common sense. Is their illogic a thoughtful way to interpret scripture? Here is a practical example why it may not be. The Bible clearly says, charging usury (interest) when you loan your brother money, is wrong and you're not to do it, Leviticus 25:36-37, Deuteronomy 23:19. "Take thou no usury (interest) of him."
To be consistent in dealing with verses which express gender, we MUST take God's use of words at face value, according to the anti-gay crowd. Gender is important and if God uses a word indicating gender, then we MUST read that in a strictly literal way.
Charge men interest? No!
Charge women interest? Yes!
Let's apply the "literal logic" of the anti-gay crowd and see how it works out. It is wrong and sinful to charge your BROTHER interest but it is not wrong to charge your wife, sister, daughter, aunt or grandma interest. Just as God carefully pointed out that marriage involves him and her, one male and one female, He carefully limits His prohibition on charging interest to males. Males are the only ones God says you may not charge interest to.
The "literal logic" the anti-gay crowd uses against gays and lesbians who want to marry a same sex partner, also "proves" from the Bible that in ancient Israel, it was perfectly okay to charge interest to any female Israelite as long as you didn't charge interest to male Israelites.
Obviously, that is a childish, goofy and sophomoric way to understand the Bible. God isn't that silly and we should not be that silly. God was not saying that Israelites could not charge interest to males but could charge interest to women. And God was not saying in 1 Cor 7 that only one man and one woman could marry each other. In the Old Testament polygamy was a biblical family value,
blessed and honored by God.
Women are NOT sinners!2.
Men are sinners!
Our example for this "absurd but logical by anti-gay standards" teaching is Romans 5:12. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"
Romans 5:12, KJV
Using the "literal logic" of the anti-gay crowd, this verse teaches us that WOMEN are NOT sinners. We pay careful attention to the gender language God uses in Romans 5:12, as the anti-gay crowd does in 1 Cor 7, and discover that Adam's sin ONLY passed on to all his male descendants. Obviously sin did NOT pass on to any women because God only mentions men. If God wanted us to believe that women were also sinners, He would have said so.
Of course, any student of the Bible can easily discover that the Greek word translated men in Romans 5:12, ἄνθρωπος or anthrōpos,
is a generic masculine noun which describes all of mankind, men and women.
Do you see how silly their "literal logic" is when we apply it the way they apply it - with no study, no context, no grasp of the meaning of the Greek text behind the English words, no attempt to understand the spirit and not just the letter of the text? We can now draw conclusions from what the Bible actually says in context instead of what it is presumed to teach.
- In the Bible, God blessed marriages different than the Adam and Eve marriage. It does no injustice to scripture to believe that today, God blesses gay marriages which are within the Biblical moral framework - committed, faithful, non-cultic.
- We do not have the right to interpret some verses like 1 Cor 7 in an illogically literal way (one male with one female only) and then refuse to interpret other verses in the same illogically literal way, like verses about usury or verses about sin, Romans 5:12.
- God's grace allowed Him to bless Abraham and Sarah even though their marriage was an incestuous brother-sister marriage (Abraham himself admits this fact), Genesis 20:2, 12, 16, which was also polygamous, Genesis 16:1-3 where Hagar is called Abraham's wife, and included concubines with whom Abraham had sex and sired children, Genesis 25:1-6.
Most modern Christians, including gays and lesbians, would never accept incestuous or polygamous marriages today nor would they accept concubines. Yet incestuous brother-sister marriages and polygamous marriages were culturally acceptable in ancient times, represented biblical family values and God affirmed and blessed those cultural situations and left us a clear record of His blessing in scripture.
Common sense and personal experience tell us God blesses gay and lesbian marriages which are committed, faithful, non-cultic. And today (October, 2014), 19 U.S. states accept gay marriage as a legal institution and 11 more states are in line to make gay marriage legal as their cases wend their way through the courts.
So to answer your question, No, 1 Cor 7:2 does not exclude gays and lesbians from marriages which God will richly and abundantly bless.
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This page updated October 4, 2014