Scripture: I Corinthians 7

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READ and STUDY the WORD

Instructions On Christian Marriage

1 Corinthians 7:1-40 (WEB) Now concerning the things about which you wrote to me: it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But, because of sexual immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband give his wife the affection owed her, and likewise also the wife her husband. The wife doesn’t have authority over her own body, but the husband. Likewise also the husband doesn’t have authority over his own body, but the wife. Don’t deprive one another, unless it is by consent for a season, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer, and may be together again, that satan doesn’t tempt you because of your lack of self-control.  But this I say by way of concession, not of commandment. Yet I wish that all men were like me. However each man has his own gift from God, one of this kind, and another of that kind. But I say to the unmarried and to widows, it is good for them if they remain even as I am. But if they don’t have self-control, let them marry. For it’s better to marry than to burn. 10 But to the married I command—not I, but the Lord—that the wife not leave her husband 11 (but if she departs, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband not leave his wife.  12 But to the rest I—not the Lord—say, if any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she is content to live with him, let him not leave her. 13 The woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he is content to live with her, let her not leave her husband. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 Yet if the unbeliever departs, let there be separation. The brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us in peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife.  17 Only, as the Lord has distributed to each man, as God has called each, so let him walk. So I command in all the assemblies.  18 Was anyone called having been circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Has anyone been 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 each man stay in that calling in which he was called. 21 Were you called being a bondservant? Don’t let that bother you, but if you get an opportunity to become free, use it. 22 For he who was called in the Lord being a bondservant is the Lord’s free man. Likewise he who was called being free is Christ’s bondservant. 23 You were bought with a price. Don’t become bondservants of men. 24 Brothers, let each man, in whatever condition he was called, stay in that condition with God.  25 Now concerning virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who has obtained mercy from the Lord to be trustworthy. 26 Therefore I think that because of the distress that is on us, that it’s good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Don’t seek to be freed. Are you free from a wife? Don’t seek a wife. 28 But if you marry, you have not sinned. If a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have oppression in the flesh, and I want to spare you. 29 But I say this, brothers: the time is short, that from now on, both those who have wives may be as though they had none; 30 and those who weep, as though they didn’t weep; and those who rejoice, as though they didn’t rejoice; and those who buy, as though they didn’t possess; 31 and those who use the world, as not using it to the fullest. For the mode of this world passes away. 32 But I desire to have you to be free from cares. He who is unmarried is concerned for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33 but he who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife. 34 There is also a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. 35 This I say for your own profit; not that I may ensnare you, but for that which is appropriate, and that you may attend to the Lord without distraction. 36 But if any man thinks that he is behaving inappropriately toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of her age, and if need so requires, let him do what he desires. He doesn’t sin. Let them marry. 37 But he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no urgency, but has power over his own will, and has determined in his own heart to keep his own virgin, does well. 38 So then both he who gives his own virgin in marriage does well, and he who doesn’t give her in marriage does better.  39 A wife is bound by law for as long as her husband lives; but if the husband is dead, she is free to be married to whomever she desires, only in the Lord. 40 But she is happier if she stays as she is, in my judgment, and I think that I also have God’s Spirit.

Questions and Answers:

1. Why did Paul say “let each man have his own wife and let each woman have her own husband” (I Corinthians 7:2)? Paul said this because of the sexual immorality in their culture.  [My Bible notes: Christians in Corinth were surrounded by sexual temptation.  The city had a reputation even among pagans for sexual immorality and religious prostitution.  It was to this kind of society that Paul delivered these instructions on sex and marriage.]

2. Over whose body did Paul say wives and husbands had authority (I Corinthians 7:4)? Paul said wives and husbands had authority over each other’s body.

3. Of what were husbands and wives not to deprive each other (I Corinthians 7:5)? Husbands and wives were not to deprive themselves of each other unless by consent they were giving themselves to fasting and prayer.

4. What did Paul say about the unmarried and the widows (I Corinthians 7:8-9)? Paul said it was good if the unmarried and the widows remained as he was (single), but if they didn’t have self-control, let them marry. For it would be better to marry than to burn.

5. What did Paul say to the married (I Corinthians 7:10-11)?  Paul said the wife should not leave her husband, but if she did, she should remain unmarried or else reconcile with her husband. And that the husband should not leave his wife.

6. What did Paul suggest to those believers who were married to unbelievers (I Corinthians 7:12-13)? Paul said if any believing husband had an unbelieving wife and she was content to live with him, that he should remain with her.  And a believing wife who was married to an unbelieving husband should also remain with him.

7. What was Paul’s reason for saying this about believers and unbelievers who were married to each other (I Corinthians 7:14)? Paul believed the unbelieving husband was sanctified in his wife and the unbelieving wife was sanctified in her husband. Otherwise their children would be unclean, instead of holy. [My Bible notes: The blessings that flow to believers don’t stop with them, but extend to others. God regards marriage as “sanctified” (set apart for His use) by the presence of one Christians spouse.  The children of such a marriage are to be regarded as “holy” (because of God’s blessing on the family unit) until the children are old enough to decide for themselves.]

8. What does Paul say about an unbeliever who leaves the marriage (I Corinthians 7:15)? Paul says if the unbeliever leaves, let him go. The believer is not under bondage to stay.

9. What did Paul suggest in I Corinthians 7:25-28a)? Paul suggested that if a man was single he should remain single.  If he was married, he shouldn’t seek to be free.  If he was single, he shouldn’t seek a wife.  But Paul believed if a man decided to marry it wasn’t a sin to do so.  And the same with a woman if she decided to marry it wasn’t a sin either.

10. Why did Paul make these suggestions (I Corinthians 7:28b-32)?  Paul wanted to spare the believers from oppression. [My Bible notes: Paul probably foresaw the impending persecution that the Roman government would soon bring upon Christians.)

11. For what did Paul say the unmarried were concerned (I Corinthians 7:32)? Paul said the unmarried were concerned for the things of the Lord, how to please Him.

12. For what did Paul say the married men were concerned (I Corinthians 7:33)? Paul said the married were concerned about the things of the world, how to please their wife.

13. What did Paul say about the unmarried woman (I Corinthians 7:34a)? The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit.

14. What did Paul say about the married woman (I Corinthians 7:34b)? Paul said the married woman cares about the things of the world, how to please her husband.

15. What does Paul say about wives (I Corinthians 7:39-40)? Paul said a wife was bound by law to her husband as long as he lived but if he died she was free to marry another, only in the Lord.  But Paul said in his judgment (and he believed he had God’s Spirit) the widow would be happier if she stayed a widow.

HEAR the WORD

I Corinthians 7:16-24 (WEB) 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife.  17 Only, as the Lord has distributed to each man, as God has called each, so let him walk. So I command in all the assemblies.  18 Was anyone called having been circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Has anyone been 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 each man stay in that calling in which he was called. 21 Were you called being a bondservant? Don’t let that bother you, but if you get an opportunity to become free, use it. 22 For he who was called in the Lord being a bondservant is the Lord’s free man. Likewise he who was called being free is Christ’s bondservant. 23 You were bought with a price. Don’t become bondservants of men. 24 Brothers, let each man, in whatever condition he was called, stay in that condition with God. 

MEDITATE on the WORD

Ponder the above verses. What do you believe was Paul’s chief purpose for writing these verses? My Bible notes: Paul was urging married couples to seek unity and not separation.  Apparently, the Corinthians were ready to make wholesale changes without thinking through the ramifications.  Paul was writing to say that people should be Christians where they were. 

MEMORIZE the WORD

I Corinthians 7:14 (NIV) For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband.  Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

LOVE and LIVE the WORD

If we become a Christian after marriage and our spouse isn’t a believer, we can still live for Christ.  We shouldn’t assume that we are in the wrong place or stuck with the wrong person.  It may be just where God wants us.

TEACH and SHARE the WORD

Perhaps there is someone you know who needs to be encouraged by I Corinthians 7:14.

PRAY the WORD

Lord, I pray we believers will value our marriages (I Corinthians 7:14).  Lord, I pray we will live at peace (I Corinthians 7:15). Lord, I pray we will keep Your commands (I Corinthians 7:19). Lord, I pray whether we are married or single we will stay devoted to You (I Corinthians 7:35).  In Christ Jesus’ name I pray.  AMEN.

ENCOURAGEMENT

“May you and I whether married or single seek God’s will.” <>< Dona