Useful Bible Studies > 1 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 7

Advice to Christians whose husbands or wives are not Christians

1 Corinthians 7:12-13

We like the way that Paul carefully separated his own opinions from Godís commands. Many church leaders today do not do that. They constantly speak as if they are declaring Godís word. And sometimes people do not know whether they are following a mere human idea, or a command from God.

Here Paul was advising men whose wives were not Christians. A Christian man should marry a Christian woman (2 Corinthians 6:14). But these men had married before they became Christians.

When someone becomes a Christian, that person has not merely changed his opinions about religion. There is a complete change that affects every part of that personís life (2 Corinthians 5:17). That person has new attitudes, and he behaves in a completely different way. His former friends may now oppose him. He may have to suffer because of his relationship with Christ. His constant desire now is to please God.

That change had happened in the lives of these men, but their wives were not Christians. Perhaps those wives served false gods. And perhaps they were doing things that their husbands now considered evil.

Paulís opinion was that, if possible, those men should remain with their wives. But he did not think that anyone should try to force anyone else in this matter. If the wives wanted to leave their husbands, the husbands should allow it. And certainly, a husband should not try to force his wife to change her religion.

There were Christian women in a similar situation; Paul gave them the same advice. But Paul was not making any rules here. God had not spoken to him about this matter, and there was no clear command in the Bible. So in every situation, people should pray that God will guide them.

Next part: The effect when one member of a family becomes a Christian (1 Corinthians 7:14-15)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.