Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians

Chapter 7

Paul discusses marriage, 1-3; showing it to be a remedy against fornication, 4-9, and that the bond thereof ought not lightly to be dissolved, 10-19. Every man must be content with his vocation, 20-24. Virginity therefore to be embraced, 25-34; and for what respects we may either marry, or abstain from marrying, 35-40.

1 Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid lewdness, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render to the wife due benevolence, and likewise also the wife to the husband. 4 The wife does not have power of her own body, but the husband does, and likewise also, the husband does not have power of his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another, except with consent for a time, so that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer. And come together again so that Satan may not tempt you for your incontinence. 6 But I speak this by permission and not as a commandment. 7 For I wish that all men were as I myself. But every man has his proper gift from God, one after this manner and another after that.

8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I am. 9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry, for it is better to marry than to burn.

10 And to the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, do not let the wife depart from her husband. 11 But if she departs, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband, and do not let the husband put away his wife.

12 But to the rest I speak, not the Lord, if any brother has a wife who does not believe and she is pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 13 And if a woman has a husband who does not believe and he is pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving departs, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you shall save your husband? Or how do you know, O man, whether you shall save your wife?

17 But as God has distributed to every man, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And thus I ordain in all churches. 18 Is any man called being circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? Let him not become circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God, [that is something]. 20 Let every man continue in the same calling in which he was called.

21 Are you called being a servant? Do not care for it, but if you may be made free, use it rather. 22 For he who is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's free-man. Likewise also, he who is called, being free, is Christ's servant. 23 You are bought with a price. Do not be the servants of men. 24 Brothers, let every man in the state in which he is called continue in it with God.

25 Now concerning virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord. Yet I give my judgment as one who has obtained mercy from the Lord to be faithful. 26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man to be so. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you marry, you have not sinned, and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless, such will have trouble in the flesh, but I spare you. 29 But I say this, brothers, the time is short, so that from now on, those who have wives may be as though they had none, 30 And those who weep as though they did not weep, and those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, and those who buy as though they did not possess, 31 And those who use this world as not abusing it. For the fashion of this world passes away.

32 But I wish to have you without anxious care. He who is unmarried is anxious for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord. 33 But he who is married is anxious for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. 34 There is also a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman is anxious for the things of the Lord so that she may be holy, both in body and in spirit. But she who is married is anxious for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 And this I speak for your own profit, not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is proper and so that you may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

36 But if any man thinks that he behaves himself improperly toward his virgin, if she has passed the flower of her age, and need so requires, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin. Let them marry. 37 Nevertheless, he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will and has thus decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well. 38 So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better.

39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives. But if her husband is dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But she is happier if she remains so, according to my judgment—and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 1st Corinthians, Chapter 7[➚]


[v.3] - Reference, 1st Peter 3:7.

[v.19] - Text in square brackets added for implied meaning. From John Gill's Exposition: "but the keeping of the commandments of God; that is something; not that the commands of God, and the observance of them, are of any avail to procure the pardon of sin, acceptance with God, justification in his sight, and eternal salvation; yet they are of moment, as they are the commands and ordinances of God; and ought to be kept in faith and fear, as they were delivered from a principle of love, and with a view to the glory of God; and though for keeping of them there is no reward of debt, yet in keeping of them there is a reward of grace; peace of mind is had, and the presence of God enjoyed; obedience to them, upon Gospel principles and motives, is a fruit of grace, an evidence of faith, and of the new creature; it is the ornament of a Christian profession, and is profitable to men."

[v.23] - Reference, Acts 20:28; 1st Corinthians 6:20; Titus 2:14; 1st Peter 1:18-19, 3:18; Revelation 5:9.

[v.39] - Reference, Romans 7:2. See also, Numbers, ch. 30.