Paul's Marriage Manual - 1 Corinthians 7

Paul's Marriage Manual

1 Corinthians 7:1-40

A Sunday school teacher asked his class, "What does God say about marriage?"  Someone answered, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."  

The church at Corinth had questions about marriage, which they asked the apostle Paul.  The seventh chapter of 1 Corinthians begins, "Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me...."  Here we find the apostle's reply.

Paul believed that it was good to be unmarried.  Had he himself been married?  Was he a widower?  We really don't know about his marital status.  When he wrote to the Corinthian church Paul was not married.  He said, "But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am."  To those who were virgins he advised "that it is good for a man to remain as he is."  1 Corinthians 7:1, 8, 26.

Why was it good to be unmarried?  Paul believed that celibacy was good "because of the present distress."  This may be a reference to the persecution of believers.  He also wrote, "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."  This is difficult to understand.  Then he compared married and unmarried people, saying, "He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord---how he may please the Lord.  But he who is married cares about the things of the world---how he may please his wife."  1 Corinthians 7:29, 32, 33.

Under no circumstances did Paul approve of sex outside of marriage.  Today in the United States more than 4,000,000 unwed couples live together.  The Bible calls them fornicators.  Their sexual activity contributes to more than 4,000 abortions each day.  The women in ungodly relationships often suffer domestic abuse and depression.  The divorce rate is extremely high among those who have had premarital sex.

Paul was not opposed to marriage.  In fact he recommended it.  Some people had trouble exercising self-control, especially in a morally bankrupt city like Corinth.  According to Paul's marriage manual, "Because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband."  He reasoned that "it is better to marry than to burn with passion."  1 Corinthians 7:2, 9. 

Paul had a good word for a widower whose husband had died.  He said, "She is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord."  1 Corinthians 7:39.  It is never God's will for a believer to marry outside of the faith.  Always marry in the Lord.  Christian homes are set apart by God for His blessing.


Father, we know that marriage is ordained of You.  We want to please You in all that we do.  Lead us by Your Spirit.  Keep us from immorality.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!


To Eat or Not to Eat - 1 Corinthians 8


All About God

Scripture taken from the
New King James Version.
Copyright ©
1979, 1980, 1982
by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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