1 Corinthians 7


We are reminded here of the subject of this epistle and that is advice to the church on how to deal with those who commit fornication. In this case it was one who had relations with his father's wife. I assume this to be his stepmother. This was something to be judged by the church and not something to be taken to the secular courts.

  • 1Corinthians 7:1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

Paul believed those in the ministry were better off remaining single and in order to give themselves wholly to the service of God. This was never a commandment of God but advice from Paul on what he thought was better. It was given by God's permission but was not a commandment from God. Many cannot live like that and it causes them to fall into temptation and sin later on if they force themselves to try.

  • 1Corinthians 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

There was never a commandment and Paul never started a commandment that priests or other ministers of the gospel could not marry. In fact it is a sign of falling away from the truth not adhering to the truth. This must always be a personal choice.

  • 1Corinthians 7:3 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.

The married couples were not to defraud one other except when they mutually agreed to set aside a time for prayer and fasting in order to seek God as individuals.

  • 1Corinthians 7:6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

Notice that Paul makes it clear on this point to be speaking of his own preference. This part is not a commandment from God.

  • 1Corinthians 7:7 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.

Some men are able to concentrate totally on the Lord and do without marriage, others cannot.

  • 1Corinthians 7:8 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.

This could mean to burn with passion some take it to mean to burn in hell from the sin that causes one to give into lust. It seems to me that it would mean to burn with passion and lust of the flesh would could lead to sin, ruin his ministry and could eventually cause one to lose his soul if he allowed the sin continue on unabated until total apostasy set in. 

  • 1Corinthians 7:10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

Here Paul returns to the commandment of the Lord.

God hates divorce and putting away. It is clear that if one marries they are to remain faithful and not depart from their spouses.

  • 1Corinthians 7:11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

If the situation is so unbearable that separation is the only solution, they are to remain unmarried.
Paul makes it clear here that God does not approve of marriage splits.

  • 1Corinthians 7:12 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 a 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.

Children are not defiled by a mixed marriage. Its better to avoid a marriage with unbelievers, but if one finds himself or herself in a marriage with an unbeliever, they are not to try to escape it. An unbelieving spouse is not grounds for divorce.

  • 1Corinthians 7:15 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.

Here Paul speaks and it is not a commandment of the Lord that if an unbelieving spouse departs, then of course the innocent party should not be in bondage.

  • 1Corinthians 7:16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

There is always a possibility of winning the unsaved spouse to Christ but there is never any guarantee. If we go ahead and marry someone who is an unbeliever with the hope of winning them to the Lord, it just may backfire and they pull the believer away from the Lord. 

  • 1Corinthians 7:17 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.

We can't force celibacy on everyone. We all have different gifts and callings.

  • 1Corinthians 7:18 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.

Keeping the commandments of God is the main idea, not the ritual of circumcision. Keeping the commandments is the same as being circumcised. This can be said of any religious ritual or outward act. Keeping the commandments would be considered greater than any religious ritual.

  • 1Corinthians 7:20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

God calls us to certain positions and gives us the ability and gifts to help us fulfill our calling. We are to abide and be faithful in that which the Lord has called us into. Sometimes we may miss His calling and then we may have to leave what we are doing and find out what the Lord has for us to do but once we find it, that should be what we work and labor in and occupy until His returns. 

  • 1Corinthians 7:21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.

If possible servants should be free to serve only the Lord.

  • 1Corinthians 7:22 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.

Christ bought and paid for us all, we should not own slaves. Servants should be paid a decent wage and not be made to feel that he or she is less important than the employer. It is even better though that the servants be free to serve the Lord.

  • 1Corinthians 7:24 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.

This is again Paul's words and not Christ's. If we want to serve God with all our heart, soul, mind and spirit, it is better to stay single but if we choose to marry it is not sin and we can serve God as a couple and as a family.

  • 1Corinthians 7:29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

In times of severe persecution where believers are scattered, jailed and put to death, it is the same as having no marriage.

  • 1Corinthians 7:30 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;

When our treasure is in heaven, we will lose nothing. In times of tribulation, the things we thought were important become trivial. 

  • 1Corinthians 7:31 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.

Paul prefers to see completely committed men to give themselves entirely over to the Lord without distraction. Yet we see here that the Lord gives no such commandment. Generally speaking it makes sense that if one is called into a field where he has to travel in remote regions unsafe for women and children, staying single may be the best option. There are some types of ministries though that work better if a person is married.

  • 1Corinthians 7:36 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.

Marriage is preferable to avoid fornication and sin if one cannot control his natural desires of the flesh. This should always be an individual decision and never imposed by a father, a church or anyone else. Back in those days a virgin was given in marriage many times without her consent. To remain unmarried was considered a disgrace so whether or not to allow a virgin daughter to marry was not her own decision. That is why Paul is instructing fathers here.

Now we can decide for ourselves and no one knows our weakness in the flesh better than we as an individual and can best decide whether to take Paul's advice or marry.

  • 1Corinthians 7:37 Nevertheless he that standeth steadfast 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.

If a spouse of the believing Christian dies, he or she is free to marry again but should be sure that they marry someone who also believes and that the marriage is in the will of God.

  • 1Corinthians 7:40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

The sum of this is that it is better to give ourselves completely to God and not be distracted. We need to make it clear though that this is not the commandment of God but our own personal choice. Making it a commandment will be adding to the gospel and placing a burden upon those trying to live godly lives.

 Corinthians 8

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