Original Research

Reading 1 Corinthians 7:10–11 in the context of intimate partner violence in Nigeria

Solomon O. Ademiluka
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 40, No 1 | a1926 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v40i1.1926 | © 2019 Solomon O. Ademiluka | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 August 2018 | Published: 30 September 2019

About the author(s)

Solomon O. Ademiluka, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

In Nigeria, most of the mainline churches forbid divorce and remarriage, and one of the passages most popularly quoted in support of this doctrine is 1 Corinthians 7:10–11. The traditional interpretation teaches that marriage is ‘for better, for worse’ and should be between one man and one woman for life. In view of the fact that this mode of interpretation is capable of enhancing the already high rate of domestic violence, this work examines the text in the context of intimate partner violence (IPV) in Nigeria. Applying the analytical and exegetical methods, the essay investigates the possible correlation between the doctrine of no divorce and IPV. The research found that when understood against its specific context, 1 Corinthians 7:10–11 permits divorce and remarriage on grounds of adultery, and allows a deserted Christian spouse to remarry. It can also be deduced from the chapter that when IPV poses threat to life, divorce may be the appropriate response, and the affected spouses are free to remarry. In this way, a proper understanding of the passage can go a long way to reducing the rate of domestic violence in Nigeria. It is noteworthy, however, that the overall intent of the text is to protect marriage as a permanent institution, hence even when divorce has taken place, the church and concerned couples should still seek reconciliation.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The work employs the analytical approach for the investigation of the correlation between the doctrine of no divorce and IPV, and the exegetical method to the study of 1 Corinthians 7:10–11 and other related texts.


Keywords

divorce; remarriage; Christians; Nigeria; IPV

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