Articles and Notes

1 Corinthians 7


1) To be impressed with basic principles governing marriage and the single life

2) To see the importance of studying scripture in its proper context


At this point in Paul's letter, he begins to address those things about which the Corinthians had written to him (7:1). In this chapter he discusses matters relating to marriage and the single life. The first half deals with issues involving those married (1-24), and the last half covers those who are single (25-40). It is important to notice that some of what Paul says is in light of the "present distress" being experienced by the Corinthians; also that much of what he says is clearly identified as his personal judgment, not necessarily the commandments of the Lord. In such cases, it is not a matter of right versus wrong, but good versus better.




1. It is good to marry to avoid sexual immorality (1-2)

2. Proper attitudes to govern the marriage relationship (3-4)

3. Abstinence appropriate for short times devoted to fasting and prayer (5-6)

4. Living the single life with self-control a gift from God, so unmarried and widows should marry if they cannot exercise self-control (7-9)


1. As commanded by the Lord (10-11)

a. A wife is not to depart from her husband; if she does, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled (10-11a)

b. A husband is not to divorce his wife (11b)

2. As instructed by Paul (12-16)

a. Christians are not to divorce their unbelieving spouses (12-13)

b. Because of the "sanctifying influence" the believer can have on the family (14)

c. If the unbeliever departs, the believer is not under bondage, let the unbeliever depart (15)

d. These instructions given in view of the possibility of the believer being able to save the unbelieving spouse (16)


1. As the Lord has called each one, so let him walk (17)

2. The example of circumcision versus uncircumcision, where keeping the commandments of God is what is important (18-20)

3. The example of being a slave versus being free, where one might improve their condition if it is possible and profitable (19-24)



1. Paul gives his personal judgment in light of the "present distress": remain as you are (25-26)

2. Of course if you are married, remain so; but those who are single would be spared much trouble in the flesh in light of what is to come (27-31)

3. Remaining unmarried enables them to serve the Lord without distraction, and be totally devoted to Him (32-35)

4. If it is necessary, the single may marry (36)

5. The choice is not between good and bad, but between good and better (37-38)


1. They are free to marry, but only "in the Lord" (39)

2. Though Paul's personal judgment is that such a one will be happier to remain single, which is also the advice (though not demanded) of the Spirit of God (40)


1) List the main points of this chapter

- Instructions Concerning Those Married (1-24)
- Instructions Concerning Those Single (25-40)

2) What are Paul's instructions to married Christians? (3-5,10-11)

- Render affection that is due to one another
- Do not deprive one another, except for short periods of fasting and prayer
- Do not leave or divorce your spouse

3) What does he advise those who are unmarried and widows? (8-9,25-40)

- It is better to remain as they are
- But if they marry, that is alright

4) What does he tell Christians married to unbelievers? (12-16)

- If the unbelievers are willing to live with them, do not divorce them
- If the unbelievers depart, the Christians are not under bondage, let the unbelievers go

5) What underlying principle is governing Paul's instructions in this chapter? (17-24)

- For people to remain in whatever position they find themselves when they are called by God
- Though where change is possible and profitable, such is permitted

6) What advantage do the single have over the married? (32-35)

- They are better able to serve the Lord without distraction

7) What restriction does Paul place on widows who desire to remarry? (39)

- They are to marry "only in the Lord"

1 Corinthians 7

Principles of marriage

[1Co 7:1-40 NKJV] 1 Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: [It is] good for a man not to touch a woman. 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. 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. 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. 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].

Keep your marriage vows

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. 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. 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. 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?

Live as you are called

17 But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches. 18 Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God [is what matters]. 20 Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. 21 Were you called [while] a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use [it]. 22 For he who is called in the Lord [while] a slave is the Lord's freedman. Likewise he who is called [while] free is Christ's slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brethren, let each one remain with God in that [state] in which he was called.

To the unmarried and widows

25 Now concerning virgins: I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give judgment as one whom the Lord in His mercy has made trustworthy. 26 I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress--that [it is] good for a man to remain as he is: 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you. 29 But this I say, brethren, the time [is] short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, 30 those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, 31 and those who use this world as not misusing [it]. For the form of this world is passing away. 32 But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord--how he may please the Lord. 33 But he who is married cares about the things of the world--how he may please [his] wife. 34 There is 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 And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction. 36 But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry. 37 Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well. 38 So then he who gives [her] in marriage does well, but he who does not give [her] in marriage does better. 39 A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But she is happier if she remains as she is, according to my judgment--and I think I also have the Spirit of God.

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