1Co 7:1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.Paul responded that it is good not to marry, for those who have the necessary gift of self control.
1Co 7:2 But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.
1Co 7:8 But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I.Paul then turned his attention to the subject of divorce. Before examining the teachings in the following sections, let's spend a bit of time understanding the practice Paul was talking about.
1Co 7:9 But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
(NIV)Undoubtedly this was because of the difficulty that would otherwise arise in the next verse, where Paul says "But if you do marry, you have not sinned." Did Paul really say that about someone who had been divorced? Perhaps. The more literal translations (ASV, NASV, ESV, RSV, KJV, etc) all translate the two words the same -- but none translate both as "divorced". Still it is hard to imagine what else to be "loosed from a wife" would mean. It's certainly a strange way to describe a widower! If Paul had intended to speak only of widowers, making a distinction between widowers and those who were divorced, surely he would have chosen a different term. So the difficulty remains, and honest students of the scriptures need to wrestle with it.
1Co 7:27 Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife.
(NAS)A survey of several translations on these verses shows some subtle but potentially important differences in the translation:
1Co 7:10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband
1Co 7:11 (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.
1Co 7:10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.
1Co 7:11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
1Co 7:10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband
1Co 7:11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.
(HCSB)A literal translation of Paul's words:
1Co 7:10 I command the married--not I, but the Lord--a wife is not to leave her husband.
1Co 7:11 But if she does leave, she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband--and a husband is not to leave his wife.
1Co 7:10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
1Co 7:11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
1Co 7:10 But I command the ones being married (not I, but the Lord), [that] a woman [is] not to be separated from her husband;The most striking discrepancy between these translations is whether a person "should" or "must" not separate from a spouse. Either is a reasonable translation based on the underlying Greek grammar. However, since Paul specifically stated that this was instruction from the Lord, it is hard not to understand it as a command. Yet in the very next verse, Paul addressed the scenario of a woman who has separated despite the command. If leaving was sin, common sense would tell us that repentance would require reconciliation--but that is not what Paul said. Rather, he taught that she could either remain separate or be reconciled to her husband. (Paul did not offer as a third option, to marry a different man.) What should we make of that? Perhaps we should recognize that there are circumstances where a person is justified in leaving his or her spouse. Drawing a bright and sharp scriptural line between the justified and unjustified scenarios is a much more difficult task.
1Co 7:11 but if indeed she is separated, remain unmarried, or be reconciled to the husband; and a husband not to leave [his] wife.
1Co 7:15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.This is what is commonly known as the "Pauline exception", since some understand this as permission for the Christian to marry another person after the non-Christian spouse leaves. Others believe it means the Christian is no longer bound by the marriage (ie, they are free to be unmarried, and not bound to the unbeliever); otherwise they might have to abandon the church, in order to remain with the non-Christian spouse. Doing that seems unthinkable, and yet perhaps that was at least part of what Paul was saying. So the "Pauline exception" is yet another disputed topic in this chapter.
1Co 7:39 A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.Marriage is intended to last until death of one partner-- "Until death do you part..." After the death of one partner, the other is free to remarry---but only to a Christian spouse. This strongly suggests that Christians in general should only marry Christians.
1Co 7:40 But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God.
Labels: First Corinthians