Let’s begin by reading 1 Corinthians 7:1, “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” It is obvious from this verse that the Corinthians had written to the Apostle Paul and asked questions dealing with marriage. This chapter has Paul’s answers to those questions.

This chapter can be divided like this:

  • Verses 1-6 deal with the married life.
  • Verses 7-9 deal with the single life.
  • Verses 10-16 speak of separation and divorce.
  • Verses 17-24 speak of believers abiding in the different callings and
  • Verses 25-40 contrast the unmarried and married life.

There are a few verses in this chapter that have concerned some people. Let’s look at a few of them. First, let’s consider the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:8, “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.” Along with that, let’s read verses 25-26, “Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.” Marriage was created by the Lord and is an honorable institution. Paul is not disparaging marriage here. As he says, he was single. Because of the ‘present distress’, or the hard life through persecution, that believers in that day were subjected to, he advised that some should consider remaining single. As he goes on the say in verse 28, “But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned…”

Now let’s look at verses 8-9, “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.” Some have wondered what this means, that “it is better to marry than to burn.” While some people were intended to remain single, most were not. If a person has strong desires for a husband or wife, it is not likely that they were intended to be single, so it is better to get married that to burn with desire.

Now let’s look at 1 Corinthians 7:12, “But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.” Some have insisted that the Apostle Paul is only giving his opinion here and his words are not the words of the Lord. Paul had stated in verse 10, “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband.” The Lord, Himself, had spoken on divorce in the Gospels, so Paul simply repeats the instruction of the Lord here. Dealing with a man who had an unbelieving wife, the Lord had not directly addressed that issue, so Paul gives a fresh revelation in verse 12. Was Paul not inspired to write that verse? Was this not a teaching from the Lord? Consider Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 14:37, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 7 is such a rich chapter in this very valuable book. I encourage you to spend time in reading and meditating on this chapter and the entire book. It is full of practical teachings. It is as relevant for us today as the day it was written. (165.10)