- Consider what the Bible has to say about care for widows and widowers – see for example Ex. 22:22; Deut. 24:20-21; Isa. 1:17; 1 Tim. 5:3-16; Jam. 1:27 – and then see what Paul specifically says about remarriage for widows – e.g., Rom. 7:1-3; 1 Cor. 7:7-9, 39-40; 1 Tim. 5:11,14. How can we as a church more effectively help the widows and widowers amongst us? Does the church have a role in helping widows/widowers to find another spouse?
- Divorce is not something that God likes (Mal. 2:16) but the reality of living in a fallen world means that it is a part of life and concessions were made in the OT to permit it in certain circumstances, but these were being abused by the time of Jesus – see Matt. 5:31-32; 19:1-12; Mk. 10:2-10. Paul also has some things to say about divorce – see 1 Cor. 7:10-16. What are the two grounds permitted in the NT for divorce? If Jesus gave one, and Paul added another, is it then okay to add more reasons for divorce today? Why or why not?
- 19:1-12 is primarily about divorce and remarriage but at the end of the passage, Jesus talks about eunuchs – usually men – who were single because of a physical impairment resulting from a birth defect or war, but there were also some who had chosen to remain single for the sake of the kingdom. In 1 Cor. 7:25-35 Paul gives some reasons for staying single. What are these reasons? Are they still relevant for us today and should we encourage people to follow them? Why or why not?
- In the sermon, it was suggested that everyone expresses their sexuality through emotional and social interactions with other people (both men and women) but that only married couples can engage in erotic and physical expressions of sexuality (i.e. having sex), which leaves singles wondering whether there is any way that they can express their sexuality in a physical way. If sexuality can be expressed in emotional and social ways, is it necessary to also express it in a physical way? In what ways can sexuality be expressed physically besides the act of sex?
- What is the difference (if any) between a ‘Christian single’ and a ‘single Christian’? What part of each term is determinative and what part is descriptive? Do you see a benefit in using one term over the other?
- It is often assumed that ‘purity’ is a particular concern for singles and that it means abstaining from sex until marriage, but the NT seems to present a call to everyone to be pure. See, for example, Mt. 5:8; 15:19f.; Jn. 15:3-4; 1 Jn. 3:2-3; Acts 15:20; Rom. 13:13; 1 Cor. 6:18ff.; Eph. 5:3; Phil. 1:9-11; 1 Th. 4:3-7; 1 Tim. 5:22; Tit. 2:5; James 1:27. Discuss what purity means for marrieds as well as singles. Identify some specific ways in which married people should keep their marriages pure, and identify some ways that single people can be pure, and remain pure
- It was suggested in the sermon that marriage expresses the divine will to form a close community of fellowship on the basis of exclusive love and fidelity to a covenant, while singleness presents an image of the universal, non-exclusive, and expanding nature of divine love that seeks to encompass all of humanity in the relationship of community. Discuss this suggestion. Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?
8. What are the implications of the sermon’s message for you personally? If you are married what will you do to keep your marriage strong and pure, and how will you develop relationships with singles that will be helpful both to them and to you? If you are single, how has the sermon challenged you and what changes will you make in your interactions with others, both other singles and married couples
This post filed under