Principles for Married Life
Verse 1 – Now concerning the things of which you wrote me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
The Corinthians had written to Paul, asking several questions concerning Christian life. The first question had been whether it was good to be married.
Verse 2 – Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.
Paul says marriage is honorable, and that the relations of domestic life should be formed to avoid evils which otherwise result. The world is the witness of the evils which flow from the neglect of his advice. Look at the evil that has grown out of the celibacy of the clergy among priests in the papists.
Verse 3 – Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.
Verse 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.
The phrase “have the right” in this context refers to sexual relations. The equal rights of husband and wife, in Scriptures, are everywhere maintained. They are to regard themselves as united in a most intimate union, and in tender ties.
Verse 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.
Verse 6 – But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment.
Verse 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 .
Paul plainly says that a man should stay single only if he has the divine gift to do so.
Verse 8 – But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am;
Verse 9 – but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion (lust).
Some people just don’t like being single. Some on the other hand, don’t mind it at all. However, Paul says if a person does not have self-control over sexual desires, then they need to marry, because he has already stated that sex outside of marriage is sin.
Principles for the Married Believer
Verse 10 – Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband.
In the previous verses, Paul said it was not a command, but now in this verse it is from the Lord a command.
Verse 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.
God hates divorce. The marriage tie is so sacred that it should not be dissolved by the will of either party. This is when both are Christians, born-again. If one leaves the other, then they are to remain unmarried.
Paul doesn’t cover abuse by one or the other spouse, because they are supposed to be Christ like in their relationship with each other. But no one should tolerate abuse, whether physical or mental.
Verse 12 – But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother (Christian) has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her.
That means that the husband was saved after marriage but the wife was not. It has to mean this because if you are born-again you are not supposed to be joined with a non-believer when you marry.
Verse 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.
Verse 14 – For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.
Sanctification used here does not mean that the unbelieving spouse becomes holy, or becomes a Christian. This simply means that because they are married, it is proper for them to stay and live together. In these types of situations, for the children’s sake, it is best to not separate.
Verse 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.
Verse 16 – For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how d you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?
Principle of Abiding in God’s Call
Verse 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.
Verse 18 – Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised.
Verse 19 – Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters.
Pleasing and obeying God is more important than observing traditional circumcision.
Verse 20 – Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called.
Paul is saying that when someone becomes a Christian, he or she can continue in their occupation or profession, or stay married, or stay single, if they choose. In other words, you don’t have to quit your job and start preaching or if you are married to an unbeliever, get a divorce. (The profession of course means, that it wasn’t an immoral or unethical job.)
Every job can become Christian work. Because God has placed you where you are, we are to look for opportunities to share the gospel and do good to others.
Verse 21 – Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it.
Verse 22 – For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedom. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave.
Verse 23 – You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.
Verse 24 – Brethren, let each one remain with God in that calling in which he was called.
People today are slaves to sin until they commit to Christ, who alone can conquer sin’s power. Once a Christian, sin and fear no longer have any claim over us. Our freedom is gained through Christ because we were bought with a price – Christ’s blood.
Verse 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.
This was one of the questions of which were asked by the Corinthians. Should they give their virgin daughters in marriage. Paul said that he had no commandments from the Lord on this, but only advice.
Verse 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:
Verse 27 – Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife.
Paul is not forbidding a man or woman from marrying again after their spouse has died. He’s not talking about a divorce. He’s simply saying that if you find yourself single, it would be better not to remarry because you can devote more of yourself to the Lord.
Verse 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.
Married couples do have more troubles than singles, for instance in their emotions regarding each other. On the other hand, a single person doesn’t answer to anyone except God. Whether married or single, we must learn to be content and keep our focus on Christ.
Verse 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,
Yes, people who are married have certain responsibilities, but they are not to entangle the person so much that they don’t have time to do the Lord’s work.
Verse 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,
Verse 31 – and those who use this world as not missing it. For the form of this world is passing away.
The general idea in all these expressions is, that in whatever situation Christian’s are in , they should be dead to the world, and not let their emotions control them from the passing event.
Verse 32 – But I want you to be without care He who is unmarried cares for things that belong to the Lord – how he may please the Lord.
Verse 33 – But he who is married cares about the things of the world – how he may please his wife.
Verse 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 spirit. But she who is married cars about things of the world – how she may please her husband.
As a single person, I can study and have all the devotion time I choose. I wouldn’t’ be able to do this commentary if I was married and had children.
Verse 35 – And this I say for your own prophet, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper , and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.
Verse 36 – But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly towards a virgin, if she is past the flower of her youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes; he does not sin; let them marry.
Verse 37 – Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well.
Verse 38 – So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better.
Paul is talking about the father of the virgin daughters.
Principles of Remarriage
Verse 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.
Only in the LOrd – that is to one who is a Christian.
Verse 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.
Those are some pretty strict guidelines for being married and being single in the Christian walk. However, what do we actually see within the church in our society today? We see a divorce rate as high among believers as we do among unbelievers. Why do yo think that is? I believe it’s because some have never learned to put others first and to make sacrifices in order to have peace! Husbands don’t treat their wives as Christ treats the church and wives are not devoted to their husbands, because their husbands don’t treat them as they should, so it’s a vicious circle. This shouldn’t be.