Question: Why does the Church teach that marriage is essential for full exaltation, when Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:1 that it is good for a man not to marry?

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Question: Why does the Church teach that marriage is essential for full exaltation, when Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:1 that it is good for a man not to marry?

The evidence of Paul’s writings leads to the conclusion that he not only tolerated marriage among the saints, but encouraged and exhorted them to marry and bear children

Paul indicated that marriage is an essential part of the gospel framework, and asserted that one of the signs of apostasy in the last days would be teachings against marriage. (See 1 Timothy 4:1–3.) Certainly Jesus was foremost in importance to Paul, just as he should be in the hearts of men today, and on occasion Paul had to remind men called to the ministry to be fully dedicated to the Lord’s work. Nevertheless, Paul understood and taught that in the presence of the Lord, the man will not be without the woman, neither the woman without the man.[1]

There are several things that should be understood if one is to correctly interpret this chapter in Paul's letter to the Corinthians.

  1. The statement, "it is good for a man not to touch a woman" was probably not Paul's.
  2. Paul may well have been married himself, but traveling in the ministry without his wife.
  3. Paul taught the importance of marriage in many places.
  4. The reason for Paul's advice to the unmarried was for an unusual and a temporary situation.
  5. Paul is careful to point out that this advice to remain single for the time being is not God's commandment, but was only his personal (though very wise) opinion.
  6. Paul is clear that marriage, not celibacy, is a requirement for church leadership.

Notes

  1. C. Wilfred Griggs, "I Have a Question," Ensign (February 1976), 34.