I Corinthians 7

Marriage is by divine wisdom prescribed for the preventing of fornication. Man and wife cannot separate at pleasure, nor for any other cause than what Christ allows, for it is a divine institution and is a compact for life by God’s appointment. Even though a Christian has been united to an unbeliever, before having accepted Christ, they are one flesh, they are to abide together and the believing one is to be sanctified for the sake of the unbelieving one.

1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.

9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.

18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.

19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.

22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.

23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.

26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.

27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.

37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.

38 So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.

39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

1 Corinthians 7:1-14 – Marriage Bonds

   The Apostle first addresses the unmarried, I Corinthians 7:1, etc. He speaks elsewhere reverently of marriage, Ephesians 5:23. Forbidding to marry is in his judgment a symptom of apostasy, I Timothy 4:1-3. His recommendations here were evidently due to the special circumstances of that difficult and perilous time. The loftiest conception of marriage is the wedding of two souls, each of which, has found its affinity; the Apostle is treating here the only conception of marriage entertained by these recent converts from paganism. He deals with them on their own level, with the determination of ultimately leading them to view marriage from Christ’s standpoint. It is often well to fast from lawful things, that we may surrender ourselves more absolutely to the Spirit of God.
   In addressing the married, I Corinthians 7:10, etc., Paul is not dealing with the formation of marriage ties; they are settled by II Corinthians 6:14. He is deciding what course shall be followed, when either a husband or a wife has become a Christian, the other remaining unchanged. He decides that the Christian should not separate, so long as the unbelieving partner is willing to continue their life together. —Through the Bible Day by Day

1 Corinthians 7:15-24 – Serve God in Your Calling

   There was much unsettlement in regard to marriage in the church at Corinth. An unnatural asceticism was showing itself in some quarters and a lawless self-indulgence in others. Against these tendencies Paul resolutely set himself. While he held that marriage should be contracted only in the Lord, he also taught that where it had been consummated it should not be dissolved at the instance of the Christian, though the wish of the unbelieving partner might be acceded to. Children, also, born when one of their parents was a heathen, might be reckoned clean.
   The Apostle refers both to vocation and to the Christian life as a divine calling, I Corinthians 7:18-24. We are all called to our trade or profession as much as a student is to the ministry. It is interesting that a man will speak of his business as his calling. God has a purpose for each of us, and summons us to fulfill it. Unless we are specially led to do otherwise, we should, on entering the Christian life, remain in the same calling in which our former life was spent. The only difference is that we are to stay in it with God, I Corinthians 7:24. In every service, however lowly, we should have an eye toward Christ. All may be done in Him, with Him, for Him. —Through the Bible Day by Day

I Corinthians 7:24—Let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

   Strong temptations to restlessness beset the early Christians. The great change through which they had passed from heathenism to Christ threatened to dissolve all the ties by which they had been held, in the home, the business, and the State. Very necessary and wholesome, therefore, was the apostle’s advice. Stay as you are, until God clearly leads you into something else—only with this difference, whatever be the vocation of your life, therein abide with God. Paul was only careful that the thought of God should penetrate their entire existence; all else would come right in time; and he was only anxious that they should be laid hold of by that central, vivifying, transmuting influence.
   Practice the presence of God.—A godly brother used to say that we should establish ourselves in a sense of God’s presence by an act of the will, which put aside wandering, frivolous, and evil thoughts, and that we should be continually conversing with Him; that we ought to give ourselves up to God, making Him the end of all our actions, and seeking our only satisfaction in doing his will; and that even the set times of prayer should not greatly differ from other times, because all were equally filled with God.
   Such a sense equalizes our lot.—The slave realizes that he is God’s free man; the master that he is God’s slave. The poor are enriched, and the rich are convicted of their poverty. So this holy brother said that, in his business in the kitchen (to which naturally he had a great aversion), having accustomed himself to do everything there for the love of God and with prayer, he had found everything easy, and was very well pleased to continue in the same post so long as it was God’s will. —Our Daily Homily

1 Corinthians 7:25-40 – Counsel for Times of Emergency

   The virgin here referred to is probably the young woman who was engaged to be married, and the counsel is expressly defined to be advice, and given only under the pressure of the times, when the dissolution of all things seemed at hand. It seemed wiser not to enter upon matrimony because everything was in flux, but no sin was contracted if marriage took place, so long as it was only in the Lord, I Corinthians 7:39. As pilgrims we should hold all earthly things but lightly, I Corinthians 7:30.
   The allusion of I Corinthians 7:31 is to the shifting scenery of a theater. The fashion of the age is like the ever-changing moving-picture films that flash before the audience and cannot be arrested or recalled. Surely the unmarried among us should ponder carefully the recommendations of I Corinthians 7:32-34, the first of which refers to the man and the second to the wife. Where both are Christians, however, surely there may be union in caring for the things of the Lord, that the great cause of His Kingdom may be expedited rather than hindered. But everything in this chapter, as well as the general New Testament teaching, emphasizes the absolute importance of marriage being only in the Lord, I Corinthians 7:39. —Through the Bible Day by Day