1 CORINTHIANS CHAPTER 7

OBSERVATION STAGE

The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand within the normative rules of language, context and logic .which limits the observer to the content offered by the letter of I Corinthians. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.

I) [1 Cor 6:15-7:24]:

A) [1 Cor 6:15-20]:

(v. 6:15) '''Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!

(v. 6:16) Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh."

(v. 6:17) But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

(v. 6:18) Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.

(v. 6:19) Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

(v. 6:20) you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

1) Sexual Immorality Unites One With One's Illegitimate Partner And Defiles The Marriage

"Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh." =

Notice that sexual immorality with a prostitute, or for that matter anyone outside of marriage unites that individual with one. Hence to do this when one is married, i.e., adultery, defiles the marriage and creates an illegitimate union with another. It breaks the bond and unity of the marriage.

II) [1 Cor 7:1]:

"Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry."

A) PAUL RESPONDS WITH ADVICE RELATIVE TO WHAT THE CORINTHIANS WROTE ABOUT: IT IS GOOD FOR ONE NOT TO MARRY - ON THE OTHER HAND THIS IS NOT A MANDATE FOR BELIEVERS NOT TO MARRY

Paul responds with advice relative to what the Corinthinans wrote about: "It is good for a one not to marry. Evidently Paul is focusing on best serving the Lord and living a godly life. This is not to say that one should not marry. This is a general statement and not a mandate that every one should not be married. Otherwise how would the human race procreate - which is one of God's commandments?

III) [1 Cor 7:1-2]:

(v. 1) "Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.

(v. 2) But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband."

A) IN VIEW OF SO MUCH IMMORALITY, GENERALLY SPEAKING EACH MAN SHOULD HAVE HIS OWN WIFE AND EACH WOMAN HER OWN HUSBAND

"But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband." =

Notice that the opening statement that it is good for a man not to marry to some end not stipulated is given an 'on the other hand' response: on the other hand, because there is such immorality which pertains to one's liability to become immoral as a result of remaining single, pointing in the main to sexual immorality, Paul stipulates as a compromise that each man and woman should be married. This is a general statement, and not a mandate that every one should be married.

IV) [1 Cor 7:1-3]:

(v. 1) "Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.

(v. 2) But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.

(v. 3) The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.

(v. 4) The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife."

A) HUSBANDS AND WIVES SHOULD FULFILL THEIR MARITAL DUTY TO SATISFY THEIR SPOUSES SEXUAL NEEDS

"The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband" =

Paul advised in view of so much immorality for each one to be married and spouses were to make an effort to fulfill one another's sexual needs so as not to fall into temptation.

B) THE HUSBAND'S BODY DOES NOT BELONG TO HIM ALONE NOR THE WIFE'S SIGNIFYING THAT EACH SPOUSE HAS OWNERSHIP OF ONE ANOTHER'S BODIES RELATIVE BUT NOT NECESSARILY LIMITED TO SEXUAL INTERCOURSE

(v. 3) "The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. (v. 4) The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife." =

The husband's body does not belong to him alone nor the wife's signifying that each spouse has ownership of one another's bodies relative but not limited to sexual intercourse.

V) [1 Cor 7:1-5]:

(v. 1) "Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.

(v. 2) But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.

(v. 3) The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.

(v. 4) The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.

(v. 5) Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."

A) HUSBANDS AND WIVES ARE NOT TO DEPRIVE ONE ANOTHER OF SEXUAL NEEDS EXCEPT BY MUTUAL CONSENT AND THAT ONLY FOR A TIME IN CONSIDERATION OF THE POSSIBILITY OF LACK OF SELF-CONTROL, IN ORDER TO DEVOTE THEMSELVES TO PRAYER

(v. 3) "The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. (v. 4) The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. (v. 5) Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." =

Husbands and wives are not to deprive one another of sexual needs except by mutual consent and that only for a time in consideration of the possibility of lack of self-control, in order to devote themselves to prayer.

VI) [1 Cor 7:1-6]:

(v. 1) "Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.

(v. 2) But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.

(v. 3) The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.

(v. 4) The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.

(v. 5) Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

(v. 6) I say this as a concession, not as a command."

A) PAUL SAYS WHAT HE HAS SAID IN VV. 1-5 AS A CONCESSION NOT AS A COMMAND IN ACCORDANCE WITH ONES OWN LIFE TO LEAD BEFORE THE LORD

"I say this as a concession, not as a command." =

Notice that verses 1-5 is couched in terms of concession not command, i.e., not a doctrinal statement which is to be obeyed by all believers. Paul concedes the possibility that believers may decide to marry instead of remaining single in order to serve the Lord, in which case husbands and wives must concede that they have mutual duties toward one another not the least of which is to tend to one another's sexual needs. This implies that each believer has his own life to lead before the Lord and may decide to marry or not. The implication is that the best way to serve the Lord is as a single person, but each is to decide for himself in view of one's particular situation, gifts and propensities.

VII) [1 Cor 7:1-7]:

(v. 1) "Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.

(v. 2) But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.

(v. 3) The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.

(v. 4) The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.

(v. 5) Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

(v. 6) I say this as a concession, not as a command.

(v. 7) I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that."

A) PAUL WISHES THAT ALL MEN WERE AS FOCUSED AND LARGELY WITHOUT DISTRACTIONS AS HE IS. BUT ADDS THAT EACH MAN HAS HIS OWN GIFT FROM GOD AND LEAVES IT UP TO EACH TO MAKE UP HIS OWN MIND - ESPECIALLY AS TO WHETHER TO MARRY OR NOT

"I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that" =

Paul so far has provided some godly advice in which he says he wishes that all men were as he is, evidently single and completely focused on serving the Lord, and gifted as such, largely without the distractions of marriage, family and sexual responsibility and activity and worldly activities one might otherwise be engaged in. On the other hand, he offers that believers are individuals each with "his own gift from God" so as to leave such decisions to each one, especially as to whether to marry or not.

VIII) [1 Cor 7:1-9]:

(v. 1) "Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.

(v. 2) But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.

(v. 3) The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.

(v. 4) The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.

(v. 5) Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

(v. 6) I say this as a concession, not as a command.

(v. 7) I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.

(v. 8) Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.

(v. 9) But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.'

A) PAUL ADVISES THE UNMARRIED AND WIDOWS THAT IT IS GOOD FOR THEM TO STAY UNMARRIED LIKE HE IS, EVIDENTLY TO BEST LIVE OUT A GODLY LIFE AND SERVE THE LORD EXCEPT THEY SHOULD MARRY IF THEY CANNOT CONTROL THEMSELVES RATHER THAN TO BURN WITH PASSION

(v. 6) "I say this as a concession, not as a command. (v. 7) I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. (v. 8) Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. (v. 9) But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.' " =

Author Paul refers to the unmarried and widows relative to serving the Lord and advises them that "It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am." Evidently Paul is unmarried. On the other hand, if they cannot control their sexual passion, they should marry.

IX) [1 Cor 7:10]:

(v. 10) "To the married [believers who are married are in view] I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband."

A) PAUL PROVIDES A COMMAND FROM THE LORD RELATIVE TO BELIEVERS NOT SEPARATING, I.E., NOT DIVORCING

"To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord)" =

Notice that here Paul commands fellow believers relative to divorce in the manner described: "not I, but the Lord". Heretofore, his points were godly advice to be taken relative to one's own personal walk with God.

B) THE SUBJECT OF DIVORCE OF BELIEVERS IS AT HAND RELATIVE TO ALL MARRIAGES, JEW AND GENTILE ALIKE

"A wife must not separate from her husband" =

"must not separate" = "me .chOristhEnai", Str. # 5563

.........................................lit.,"not let to be separated" = aorist, passive, infinitive.

Available meanings of this word in accordance with usage: to put asunder, put away as in divorce, (Mk 10:9; Mt 19:6); separate, depart. "This is a commonly used term for divorce", (Greek-English Lexicon, Arndt & Gingrich, Univ of Chicago, 1957, p. 899).

1) [Compare Gen 2:20b-24]:

(v. 20b) "But for Adam no suitable helper was found.

(v. 21) So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh.

(v. 22) Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

(v. 23) The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man."

(v. 24) For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh."

2) [Compare Mt 19:4-6]:

(v. 4) "Haven't you read," He [Jesus] replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'

(v. 5) and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?' [Gen 2:20b-24]

(v. 6) So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

"separate" = "chOrizetO", divorce in this context. Str. # 5563 same root word as in 1 Cor 7:10.

Notice that marriage in general of all mankind, not just under the Law, is presented in Mt 19:4-6 by Jesus Christ from the perspective of Genesis 2:20b-24 as not to be separated, i.e., divorce is not acceptable between a husband and wife. Relative to the word "separate" = "chOrizetO", divorce is in view, not physical separation. To interpret the word rendered "separate" to mean that a wife must never physically separate from her husband would impose a non-sensical rule that would prohibit a husband from going on a trip without his wife, nor tend the herds or crops by himself nor even prevent a wife from distancing herself from a physically abusive husband - something that the Mosaic Law has made provision for. Hence we are left with the word "separate" meaning divorce, which is confirmed by verse 11.

X) [1 Cor 7:10-11]:

(v. 10) "To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from [divorce] her husband.

(v. 11) But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife."

A) DIVORCE NOT JUST PHYSICAL SEPARATION OF BELIEVERS WHO ARE MARRIED IS IN VIEW BECAUSE OF THE WORD RENDERED "UNMARRIED" TO WHICH DIVORCE NOT PHYSICAL SEPARATION APPLIES. THIS PARALLELS THE NEXT PHRASE IN THE VERSE, "AND A HUSBANDS MUST NOT DIVORCE

"But if she [a wife] does [separate from her husband] she must remain unmarried" =

"If ....and even she separates let her remain unmarried"

"Ean de ..kai ..chOristhE .....menetO ...........agamos"

If one is in a position of being a wife and then described as "separate" from her husband, wherein she now has the opportunity to marry but is exhorted to remain unmarried, then this points to the fact that she must have gotten divorced, not just physically separated from her husband. So "separate" = "chOristhE" in the context of these verses means "divorced."

"A wife must not separate from [divorce] her husband... And a husband must not divorce his wife" =

Paul then parallels the command that a wife must not separate from her husband with "and a husband must not divorce his wife" corroborating that Paul is speaking of divorce not just physical separation when he uses the word rendered "separate" = "chOristhE".

B) HUSBANDS AND WIVES WHO ARE BELIEVERS MUST NOT DIVORCE. IF THEY DO, THEY ARE TO REMAIN UNMARRIED OR ELSE BE RECONCILED - EVIDENTLY POINTING TO AN UNWARRANTED DIVORCE WHEREIN THE MARRIAGE IS NOT BIBLICALLY DISSOLVED

(v. 10) "To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from [divorce] her husband.

(v. 11) But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife."

Paul acknowledges that husbands or wives must not divorce. If they do, they are to remain unmarried or else be reconciled. This evidently points to unwarranted divorce wherein the marriage is not dissolved; for Paul addresses one legitimate reason for divorce later on in his letter.

C) SINCE VERSES 12-15 PROVIDE FOR ONE INSTANCE OF LEGITIMATE DIVORCE, IT IS NOT SUMMARILY RULED OUT IN THE CASE OF NT BELIEVERS - UNWARRANTED DIVORCES ARE IN VIEW

(v. 10b) "A wife must not separate from [divorce] her husband. (v. 11) But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife, (v. 12) To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. (v. 13) And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. (v. 14) 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. (v. 15) But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace." =

In consideration of verses 12 to 15 which Paul does provide for an instance of legitimate divorce and remarriage, we may conclude that Paul does not rule out all cases for divorce. What he does prohibit evidently are unwarranted divorces.

XI) [1 Cor 7:10-13]:

(v. 10) "To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.

(v. 11) But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

(v. 12) To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.

(v. 13) And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him."

A) NOT A COMMAND BUT GODLY ADVICE FROM PAUL FOLLOWS

"To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord)" =

Paul does not provide here an absolute command from the Lord, but advice from his perspective to be individually received by believers in accordance with their own walk before the Lord.

B) PAUL OFFERS ADVICE NOT A COMMAND FROM THE LORD NOT TO DIVORCE A SPOUSE WHO IS AN UNBELIEVER WHO IS WILLING TO LIVE WITH THE BELIEVER SPOUSE

(v. 12) To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. (v. 13) And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him." =

Paul offers godly advice for a believer married to an unbeliever not to divorce his/her spouse if the unbelieving spouse is willing to live with one. This advice is evidently not a command from the Lord, but advice from Paul to the believing spouse, which implies that marriages of believers and unbelievers are not God's choice, and may be dissolved by divorce.

C) PAUL IMPLIES THAT IT IS NOT ADVISABLE TO MARRY AN UNBELIEVER

(v. 12) To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. (v. 13) And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him." (cont.) =

Notice that Paul implies that marriage between an believer and an unbeliever is not advisable - to the point of indicating that divorce is an option unless the unbeliever chooses to remain in the marriage.

XII) [1 Cor 7:10-14]:

(v. 10) "To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.

(v. 11) But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

(v. 12) To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.

(v. 13) And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.

(v. 14) 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."

A) THE UNBELIEVING SPOUSE AND THE MARRIAGE'S CHILDREN HAVE BEEN SANCTIFIED BY THE BELIEVING SPOUSE - SET APART FOR GOD'S PROTECTION, BLESSINGS AND SERVICE TO HIM WHO WOULD OTHERWISE BE SPIRITUALLY UNCLEAN - I.E., BE SEPARATED FROM GOD

(v. 13) "And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. (v. 14) 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." =

"has been sanctified" = "hEgiastai", perfect tense, set apart to God as a result of the believing spouses' relationship to God, whereupon God will bless and provide opportunities to them to serve Him.

"unclean" = "akatharta", in this context an uncleanness, impurity relative to one being estranged from God - a spiritual uncleanness due to children's parents if the parents are not believers, i.e., not children of God. Thus the entire family of unbelieving parents would be estranged from a family relationship with God.

The children and the unbelieving spouse of a believers have been sanctified, i.e., set apart to God's blessing, protection and service to God as a result of his/her spousal relationship with a believer. On the other hand, outside of such a relationship with a believing spouse one is "unclean" which refers to the absence of a spiritual connection with God. This is especially important where children are involved, for children otherwise would also be unclean, lacking this relationship with God, (until and if they become believers themselves).

[The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 10, Regency Ref. Library, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1984, p. 230]:

"The word "hEgiastai" ('to sanctify') does not refer to moral purity - Paul is certainly not teaching that the unbelieving partner is made morally pure. What the word emphasizes is a relationship to God, a claim of God on the person and family to be set apart for Him... The perfect tense of the verb "hEgiastai" stresses that, being in a Christian family, the unbeliever has already become and continues to be a part of a family unit upon which God has His claim and which He will use for His service. The same is true of children born in such a family. That God has laid His hand on the Christian means that God has laid His hand on the children, and set them apart from Himself. They are holy (hagia, 'set apart for God') and not "unclean" - that is not spiritually separated from God, as was and is the case in unbelieving families."

XIII) [1 Cor 7:10-15]:

(v. 10) "To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.

(v. 11) But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

(v. 12) To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.

(v. 13) And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.

(v. 14) 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.

(v. 15) But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace."

A) A BELIEVER/SPOUSE IS ADVISED BY PAUL TO LET AN UNBELIEVER/SPOUSE SEPARATE FROM THE MARRIAGE WHO CHOOSES TO SEPARATE, I.E., SIGNIFYING AN EXHORTATION TO DIVORCE AN UNBELIEVER/SPOUSE WHO ABANDONS THE MARRIAGE

(v. 13) "And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. (v. 14) 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. (v. 15) But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so, (lit. separate). A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace." =

But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so, (lit., separate). =

"ei de ..ho apistos ......................chOrizetai chOrizesthO"

"If .but the unbelieving spouse .separates, .let him or her separate"

Notice that the word "chOrizetai" is from the same root word from verse 11, "chOristhE" which refers to separation by divorce. Hence the word "chOrizesthO" rendered by the phrase "let him or her do so, (lit. separate)" in verse 15 also refers to divorcing the unbeliever who chose to abandon his family.

Since a believer/spouse is advised by Paul not to divorce an unbeliever/spouse who is willing to live with him/her, (v. 13), implying that divorce is warranted in such a case;

and on the other hand, since a believer/spouse is advised by Paul to let an unbeliever spouse 'separate' if that unbeliever/spouse separates from the marriage;

then the phrase "let him or her do so, (lit. separate)" signifies an exhortation to divorce the abandoning unbeliever.

XIV) [1 Cor 7:10-16]:

(v. 10) "To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.

(v. 11) But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

(v. 12) To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.

(v. 13) And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.

(v. 14) 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.

(v. 15) But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.

(v. 16) How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?"

A) PAUL PROVIDES FURTHER REASON WHY A BELIEVER SHOULD NOT DIVORCE HIS/HER UNBELIEVING SPOUSE WHO CHOOSES TO REMAIN: HE/HER MAY BE SAVED BY REMAINING IN THE MARRIAGE

(v. 12) To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. (v. 13) And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. (v. 14) 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. (v. 15) But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. (v. 16) How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?" =

Paul provides further reason why a believer should not divorce an unbelieving spouse who chooses to remain in the marriage: "How do you know... whether you will save your [spouse]" pointing to the possibility that unbeliever may be saved as a result of remaining in the marriage and being influenced by the believer/spouse unto salvation.

XV) [1 Cor 7:17-24]:

(v. 17) Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.

(v. 18) Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised.

(v. 19) Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God's commands is what counts.

(v. 20) Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.

(v. 21) Were you a slave when you were called? Don't let it trouble you--although if you can gain your freedom, do so.

(v. 22) For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord's freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ's slave.

(v. 23) You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.

(v. 24) Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to."

A) WHATEVER SITUTATION GOD HAS ASSIGNED TO AN INDIVIDUAL BELIEVER IS THE ONE HE HAS BEEN CALLED TO AND IS TO RETAIN UNTIL GOD DIRECTS OTHERWISE - THAT INCLUDES MARRIAGE

The key then is to permit God's sovereignty to be the rule in one's life. Whatever situation God has evidently placed an individual believer in is the one he is to operate from until God changes the scenario. This points to the permanency of marriage, as God offers little option get out of a marriage. Life decisions are thus to be made in the light of one's appointed service to God within the framework of the principles of the Word of God. Divorce then for married believers is generally not to be considered. Divorce due to abandonment is an exception only for those married to an unbeliever.

B) THE ISSUE OF MARITAL UNFAITHFULNESS INCLUDING ADULTERY RELATIVE TO DIVORCE IS NOT ADDRESSED

Since divorce is warranted in this passage for the instance of abandonment of an unbeliever, and since the issue of marital unfaithfulness including adultery relative to divorce is not addressed; then divorce due to adultery cannot be ruled out. It simply is not addressed here by Paul.