On the first page of God’s holy word He provides the very first commandment, which is to follow our heavenly Father’s example by separating light from darkness, then God says that He gave us a greater light (the sun) to rule by day and lesser lights (the moon and the stars) to rule by night. Similarly God has provided greater light to rule the saints and many more lesser lights to govern the disobedient. Just as the sun’s light is greatly superior to that of the moon and the stars, so also must the fundamental general teaching of Scripture supersede and provide clarity to His myriads of lesser commands and instructions. Though the myriads of lesser lights exist for specific guidance they must never cross the boundaries set forth by Scripture’s fundamental general teaching–brightest lights.
What are these fundamental general teachings of Scripture? Just as mankind lives in the light of the sun day after day and year after year without giving the sun much thought, in the same way God’s children live in the light of fundamental general teachings without giving them much thought—these are understood as God’s light by and in and through which we live.
These fundamental general teachings include: the knowledge of who God is in all of His attributes and to have no other gods besides Him, to know who mankind is after the fall, to glorify God in everything we do, to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, to separate light from darkness (be holy as I am holy), to love others as you love yourself, and to believe in God’s only begotten Son as the savior of the world, to be heralds of the gospel of Christ Jesus, to name a few.
Then, God provided the myriads of commandments not to rule a holy people, but unholy peoples…those who want to kill, steal, rape, covet, curse, lust, sloth, pervert, adulterate, fornicate, and the like. So then, it is critical that Christians interpret God’s myriads of commands consistent with those fundamental general teachings of Scripture.
A perfect example is when the Pharisees accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath because He healed people on the Sabbath. Technically, one could argue that they had a point. According to God’s laws the Sabbath was to be a day of rest and Jesus was working miracles on the Sabbath. Yet we know that it was Jesus who was in the right and not the Pharisees because Jesus was glorifying His Father in heaven (one of the great lights) by healing the sick and preaching repentance and belief in Him (another of the great lights).
The Pharisees were in the habit of improperly interpreting God’s commands. However, when properly interpreted and/or applied none of God’s laws will ever cross the boundary lines established by God’s fundamental general teachings of light.
Whenever the interpretation of any biblical passage contradicts one or more of the fundamental general teachings, then we know that the interpretation is wrong. This is precisely what happens when Christians prohibit divorce for the unequally yoked in marriage. They arrive at their conclusion by interpreting Paul’s words in First Corinthians 7 as a universal prohibition against divorce for believers who realize they are unequally yoked to a child of Satan. This conclusion and therefore interpretation contradicts the fundamental general teachings of separating light from darkness and to glorify God in whatsoever you do.
God’s word properly interpreted will never contradict itself. So then, since the fundamental general teachings to separate light from darkness and to glorify God in whatsoever you do are not in any way ambiguous, then it becomes manifestly obvious that any prohibition against marital divorce for the condition of being unequally yoked is unbiblical and therefore man-made.
But What of 1 Corinthians 7
In First Corinthians 7 Paul is actually providing a temporary injunction to allow enough time for the believer to determine whether or not their unbelieving spouse will soften or harden to the same gospel that brought them to Christ. So that he would not be misunderstood, Paul even clarifies, in his second letter to the same Corinthian churches, his original intentions in his first letter. In this second letter Paul carries forward into the New Testament a significant and succinct defense of God’s fundamental general teaching of Scripture, which is ubiquitous in the Old Testament, to separate light and darkness especially in our human relationships (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:2) of which marriage is the greatest.
The blog author is aware that people will point to a word (any number of possibilities) or a phrase in the First Corinthian 7 passage to prove their point that Paul intends it as a universal command, but they need to realize that the interpretation they insist upon causes a conflict with Scripture’s fundamental general teaching of separating light from darkness. They must come to an interpretation that does not contradict greater and more straightforward biblical truths; and particularly those that make up the fundamental general teachings of Scripture.
“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.’ Therefore, ‘COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,’ says the Lord” (2 Corinthians 6:14-17a).