World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
7. Sexual Immorality and Marriage
1Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2But, because of fornications, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3Let the husband render unto the wife her due: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4The wife hath not power over her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power over his own body, but the wife. 5Defraud ye not one the other, except it be by consent for a season, that ye may give yourselves unto prayer, and may be together again, that Satan tempt you not because of your incontinency. 6But this I say by way of concession, not of commandment. 7Yet I would that all men were even as I myself. Howbeit each man hath his own gift from God, one after this manner, and another after that. 8But I say to the unmarried and to widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. 9But if they have not continency, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. 10But unto the married I give charge, yea not I, but the Lord, That the wife depart not from her husband 11(but should she depart, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband); and that the husband leave not his wife. 12But to the rest say I, not the Lord: If any brother hath an unbelieving wife, and she is content to dwell with him, let him not leave her. 13And the woman that hath an unbelieving husband, and he is content to dwell with her, let her not leave her husband. 14For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the brother: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15Yet if the unbelieving departeth, let him depart: the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us in peace. 16For how knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? Or how knowest thou, O husband, whether thou shalt save thy wife? 17Only, as the Lord hath distributed to each man, as God hath called each, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all the churches. 18Was any man called being circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Hath any been called in uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised. 19Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing; but the keeping of the commandments of God. 20Let each man abide in that calling wherein he was called. 21Wast thou called being a bondservant? Care not for it: nay, even if thou canst become free, use it rather. 22For he that was called in the Lord being a bondservant, is the Lord's freedman: likewise he that was called being free, is Christ's bondservant. 23Ye were bought with a price; become not bondservants of men. 24Brethren, let each man, wherein he was called, therein abide with God. 25Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: but I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be trustworthy. 26I think therefore that this is good by reason of the distress that is upon us, namely, that it is good for a man to be as he is. 27Art thou bound unto a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife. 28But shouldest thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Yet such shall have tribulation in the flesh: and I would spare you. 29But this I say, brethren, the time is shortened, that henceforth both those that have wives may be as though they had none; 30and those that weep, as though they wept not; and those that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and those that buy, as though they possessed not; 31and those that use the world, as not using it to the full: for the fashion of this world passeth away. 32But I would have you to be free from cares. He that is unmarried is careful for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord: 33but he that is married is careful for the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34and is divided. So also the woman that is unmarried and the virgin is careful for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married is careful for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35And this I say for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is seemly, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. 36But if any man thinketh that he behaveth himself unseemly toward his virgin daughter, if she be past the flower of her age, and if need so requireth, let him do what he will; he sinneth not; let them marry. 37But he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power as touching in his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, shall do well. 38So then both he that giveth his own virgin daughter in marriage doeth well; and he that giveth her not in marriage shall do better. 39A wife is bound for so long time as her husband liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is free to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. 40But she is happier if she abide as she is, after my judgment: and I think that I also have the Spirit of God.
12. to the rest—the other classes (besides "the married," 1Co 7:10, where both husband and wife are believers) about whom the Corinthians had inquired, namely, those involved in mixed marriages with unbelievers.
not the Lord—by any direct command spoken by Him.
she be pleased—Greek, "consents": implying his wish in the first instance, with which hers concurs.
13. the woman—a believer.
let her not leave him—"her husband," instead of "him," is the reading of the oldest manuscripts The Greek for "leave" is the same as in 1Co 7:12, "put away"; translate, "Let her not put away [that is, part with] her husband." The wife had the power of effecting a divorce by Greek and Roman law.
14. sanctified—Those inseparably connected with the people of God are hallowed thereby, so that the latter may retain the connection without impairing their own sanctity (compare 1Ti 4:5); nay, rather imparting to the former externally some degree of their own hallowed character, and so preparing the way for the unbeliever becoming at last sanctified inwardly by faith.
by … by—rather, "in … in"; that is, in virtue of the marriage tie between them.
by the husband—The oldest manuscripts read, "by the brother." It is the fact of the husband being a "brother," that is, a Christian, though the wife is not so, that sanctifies or hallows the union.
else … children unclean—that is, beyond the hallowed pale of God's people: in contrast to "holy," that is, all that is within the consecrated limits [Conybeare and Howson]. The phraseology accords with that of the Jews, who regarded the heathen as "unclean," and all of the elect nation as "holy," that is, partakers of the holy covenant. Children were included in the covenant, as God made it not only with Abraham, but with his "seed after" him (Ge 17:7). So the faith of one Christian parent gives to the children a near relationship to the Church, just as if both parents were Christians (compare Ro 11:16). Timothy, the bearer of this Epistle, is an instance in point (Ac 16:1). Paul appeals to the Corinthians as recognizing the principle, that the infants of heathen parents would not be admissible to Christian baptism, because there is no faith on the part of the parents; but where one parent is a believer, the children are regarded as not aliens from, but admissible even in infancy as sharers in, the Christian covenant: for the Church presumes that the believing parent will rear the child in the Christian faith. Infant baptism tacitly superseded infant circumcision, just as the Christian Lord's day gradually superseded the Jewish sabbath, without our having any express command for, or record of, transference. The setting aside of circumcision and of sabbaths in the case of the Gentiles was indeed expressly commanded by the apostles and Paul, but the substitution of infant baptism and of the Lord's day were tacitly adopted, not expressly enacted. No explicit mention of it occurs till Irenæus in the third century; but no society of Christians that we read of disputed its propriety till fifteen hundred years after Christ. Anabaptists would have us defer baptism till maturity as the child cannot understand the nature of it. But a child may be made heir of an estate: it is his, though incapable at the time of using or comprehending its advantage; he is not hereafter to acquire the title and claim to it: he will hereafter understand his claim, and be capable of employing his wealth: he will then, moreover, become responsible for the use he makes of it [Archbishop Whately].
15. if … depart—that is, wishes for separation. Translate, "separateth himself": offended with her Christianity, and refusing to live with her unless she renounce it.
brother or a sister is not under bondage—is not bound to renounce the faith for the sake of retaining her unbelieving husband [Hammond]. So De 13:6; Mt 10:35-37; Lu 14:26. The believer does not lie under the same obligation in the case of a union with an unbeliever, as in the case of one with a believer. In the former case he is not bound not to separate, if the unbeliever separate or "depart," in the latter nothing but "fornication" justifies separation [Photius in Æcumenius].
but God hath called us to peace—Our Christian calling is one that tends to "peace" (Ro 12:18), not quarrelling; therefore the believer should not ordinarily depart from the unbelieving consort (1Co 7:12-14), on the one hand; and on the other, in the exceptional case of the unbeliever desiring to depart, the believer is not bound to force the other party to stay in a state of continual discord (Mt 5:32). Better still it would be not to enter into such unequal alliances at all (1Co 7:40; 2Co 6:14).
16. What knowest thou but that by staying with thy unbelieving partner thou mayest save him or her? Enforcing the precept to stay with the unbelieving consort (1Co 7:12-14). So Ruth the Moabitess became a convert to her husband's faith: and Joseph and Moses probably gained over their wives. So conversely the unbelieving husband may be won by the believing wife (1Pe 3:1) [Calvin]. Or else (1Co 7:15), if thy unbelieving consort wishes to depart, let him go, so that thou mayest live "in peace": for thou canst not be sure of converting him, so as to make it obligatory on thee at all costs to stay with him against his will [Menochius and Alford].
save—be the instrument of salvation to (Jas 5:20).