1 Corinthians 7:1-16 Celibacy, Marriage & Divorce

The Corinthians were struggling with sexual immorality even through they were saved. Paul now addresses marriage and the responsibilities therein as well as its benefits versus sexual immorality.

1 Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” (1 Corinthians 7:1)

In the previous sections of his letter Paul wrote about issues he had learned about through he house of Chloe. Now he would answer questions from the Corinthians themselves, he begins with the old testament saying about men not touching women which than applied to apostles, justifying his mission which he endeavored as a single man.

2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:2-3)

Because sexual immorality was an issue within the Corinthian church Paul advises that it is better to marry and develop long lasting relationships than surrender to sexual temptation. the apostle calls on believers to abide by the word of God as they grow in Christ, yoked with another Christian.

4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (1 Corinthians 7:4-5)

Because self-control was all but absent among Corinthian beliefs until this day, Paul declares marriage an equal give and take relationship by which both husbands and wives surrender themselves to each other, except for occasions when worshiping God through fasting and prayer. The apostle calls on believers to resist sexual temptation which stems from evil.

6 But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. 7 For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.” (1 Corinthians 7:6-7)

Paul’s wish was that all men would possess the ability to resist sexual temptation. The apostle had the gift of self-control which he knew not all men possessed. He points out those lacking self-control surely were gifted in other areas where he himself was weak. Admitting weakness is essential in the growth of any believer. Through acknowledgment one is empowered to seek help, found in the word of God and in the body of Christ which is the church.

8 But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; 9 but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 Corinthians 7:8-9)

Again Paul calls on the unmarried who cannot resist sexual temptation, to marry and work out their salvation according to the word of God. As for those who are blessed with self-control, the apostle invites them to remain unmarried as they strive to advance the gospel as a single man or woman thereby focusing on their mission rather than a carnal relationship.

10 Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.” (1 Corinthians 7:10-11)

Paul now delivers God’s command about divorce, about separation, that no man or woman should depart from a spouse. If for some reason a husband or wife should find themselves in a situation involving divorce, they should not remarry. Instead those separated from a spouse should consider their situation one resulting from God’s perfect plan and as such, they should serve as Paul did and embrace celibacy as they work out their salvation and advance the gospel of Jesus Christ.

12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him.” (1 Corinthians 7:12-13)

Here Paul calls on Christians to remain married in the event their spouse is not a believer. Using such opportunities to witness to the unbeliever, those in Christ are called to a mission that involves teaching the gospel to a spouse in hope they too would be saved.

14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.” (1 Corinthians 7:14)

Paul describes unbelieving spouses and children resulting from such a marriage as “sanctified” or “hagiazō”, Greek for “made holy” or “purified”. Unbelieving spouses and their children are not saved but they are also not “unclean” which is of the world and not of God’s. Through exposure to the word and the ways of God, unbelieving spouses and children are made holy.

15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?” (1 Corinthians 7:15-16)

Paul here reveals believers are not bound to unbelievers if they choose to leave a marriage divided by faith. Though acceptable, separation from an unbelieving spouse is not recommended since no one knows for certain if or when their unbelieving spouse will be saved.

Marriage is indeed sacred, not to be taken lightly. the word of God is clear as to the responsibilities for each spouse in a marriage. There should be no divorce among Christians. In the rare event believers should separate, neither should remarry. Marriage to unbelievers should be considered an opportunity to witness, one blessed by God. Let us pray!

Father God;
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.

Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.

God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.

May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.

We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.

Praise God,
Amen!

This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre
Email: DanielStPierre@ThriveThroughChrist.com

Posted in Bible Studies.