Search Tools

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
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.
And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
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.
Art thou called being a servant? care ° not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.
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.
Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
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.
I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.
Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.
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;
And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.
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:
But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.
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.
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.
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.
So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

7:6 by permission. The “permission” given Paul was obviously from the Lord, since no one was above Paul in terms of apostolic authority. Thus, he was claiming—not denying—divine inspiration. He did not have an explicit “commandment” to cite for this teaching, either from the Mosaic law or the teachings of Christ, but rather he had direct divine authorization.

7:10 yet not I. In this case, Paul was not citing his own divinely-inspired authority for his teaching (as in I Corinthians 7:6, 12), but to a specific teaching of Scripture (e.g., Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:3-6). The Lord had already established and commanded the marriage relation to be permanent.

7:12 not the Lord. Again Paul is claiming, not disclaiming, divine authority for his teaching. In fact, he is even boldly superseding a command given by God through Ezra to the Jews. After returning from their captivity in Babylon, the Jews had taken wives from the unbelieving people of the land, and God told them: “Separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange [i.e., foreign] wives” (Ezra 10:11). In the Christian context, however, a Christian is commanded not to divorce a non-Christian spouse, as long as the latter is willing to remain in the marriage.

7:14 now are they holy. If one member of the marriage is a believer, then he or she has been “sanctified”—that is, “set apart” in a special relation—unto God. By that very fact, then both the unbelieving spouse and their children have also been “set apart,” inevitably sharing some of the blessings that God promises the believing partner. The most obvious such blessing is the greater possibility that the children, as well as the non-Christian spouse, will be won to Christ by the believing spouse (I Corinthians 7:16).

7:15 bondage in such cases. If the unbelieving husband or wife chooses to leave the relationship, however, there remains nothing else the believer can do. The Christian spouse should remain unmarried (I Corinthians 7:11) as long as there is any possibility of reconciliation. Otherwise he or she “is not under bondage”—that is, no longer bound by the law to remain with the other spouse. The situation seems analogous to that in which one partner dies. “If the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband…so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man” (Romans 7:2-3). Once the ex-husband or ex-wife marries another, then the previous marriage relation is as permanently severed as if it had been severed by death, with no further possibility of reconciliation. When that becomes the case, it seems plain that there is no further “bondage” of any sort, so that the believer is free to remarry—but, of course, only “in the Lord” (I Corinthians 7:39).

7:25 give my judgment. There had been no previous commandment specifically concerning virgins, except to refrain from fornication, so Paul gives his own inspired judgment (note I Corinthians 7:40). Before giving his advice concerning virgins, however, he points out that the imminent “distress” (I Corinthians 7:26,29)—possibly referring to the soon-coming severe persecutions of Christians by the Romans—would indicate that it might be better to remain unmarried, even though getting married was certainly no sin (I Corinthians 7:28).

7:32 carefulness. In its former usage it means “worrying.”

7:36 if any man. This evidently is a reference to the virgin’s father, who normally determined when, and to whom, his daughter would marry (see I Corinthians 7:38).

7:39 only in the Lord. It is always outside of God’s will for a believer to marry an unbeliever (note II Corinthians 6:14). God can forgive sin, of course, including this sin, but such a direct act of disobedience is dangerous. Such marriages more commonly result in the believer backsliding than the unbeliever coming to Christ. Such basic differences should be resolved before marriage, not after.

About the New Defender's Study Bible