The Book of 1 Corinthians Bible Study Chapter 7 Part 2 Leave a Comment / Love Israel Connection Blog / By Rivka Korman We go on to 1 Cor 7:10-16 Divorce is not the context for these verses. They are NOT talking about divorce. The Bible gives us only one legitimate reason for divorce and that is adultery (Yeshua didn’t change this law when he was asked about it. He referred the people back to the law of Moses – Matt 19:3-10). This doesn’t mean that if a spouse commits adultery we go out as quick as we can to get a divorce. If it is possible, we should allow for repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation. Some marriages afflicted by adultery can be saved (some cannot). v10: To the married: Paul is speaking to those who have a spouse right now, and who will continue to have this spouse into the foreseeable future. Paul’s objective here is that this marriage continues…that it doesn’t come to an end. · I command, yet not I but the L-rd: When Paul phrases his writing in this way it means that he is not revealing something new to them. This is based upon the OT – usually from something taught in the law of Moses (This is probably based on Deut 24). · Depart: Be separated from. It is the will of G-d that the husband and wife remain together (obviously this would not be the case if this was an abusive relationship).v11: But: This is an important word. It shows a contrast.· If she does depart: She needs to either remain unmarried or seek reconciliation with her husband. This woman does not have permission to remarry. She needs to live as an unmarried woman – single i.e. not have any relationships with other men. · A husband is not to divorce (the literal word means ‘send away’ and is not the Greek word for divorce)his wife: Here again we see equality. What is true for the one holds true for the other. We all live by the same standard – male and female. If a man is not happy in his relationship with his wife (and she has not committed adultery) he does not have the authority to send her away. v12: I, not the L-rd: Everything that Paul writes in the New Covenant is inspired by the Holy Spirit – it is truth from G-d. When Paul says ‘I, not the L-rd’ what he is saying is that there’s no Old Testament citation for this – there were no believers in the OT as Yeshua hadn’t died yet. This is a new revelation, for believers, that Paul personally received – it is binding or incumbent upon the believer, as it’s still the truth of G-d. · Brother: In the New Covenant the term ‘brother’ implies a believer. · A wife who does not believe: It is never appropriate for a believer to marry a non-believer. The implication here is that this (non-believing) couple married – one came to faith after marriage, but one didn’t. · Let him not divorce (same word as v11 – to send away) her: If the unbelieving wife (or husband v13) are willing to live with their believing spouse then they should not be separated from one another. v13: Let her not divorce (send away) him: Under Jewish law a woman couldn’t divorce her husband. This verse gives us a strong indication that this word (ἀφιέτω) should not be translated ‘divorce’ for this very reason (as already discussed, this Corinthian church would have been made up of a large portion of Jewish believers – they would have been aware of these laws and Paul would have addressed them knowing this). v14: Sanctified: This word ‘sanctified’ (holy) is a word that is connected to the purposes of G-d. The primary purpose of marriage is to ‘be fruitful and multiply’. Even though the circumstances aren’t ideal (from G-d’s perspective, a believer dwelling with a non-believer in marital covenant is not ideal) G-d honours this marriage covenant though (He recognises it as a legitimate marriage) as it serves the purpose for which He created it – producing children. · Your children would be unclean: If G-d didn’t recognise this marriage then the children born into it would be considered illegitimate (in the Torah, illegitimacy had a negative and shameful effect on children). · Now they are holy: G-d has a purpose for them. He is acknowledging them as true sons and daughters. v15: (The unbeliever) Departs: Is separated from (again, this Scripture has nothing to do with divorce). · A brother or a sister: This rule applies to both male and female fellow believers (equality emphasised again). · Not under bondage: The believing person is not to be seen as guilty of unfaithfulness toward their marriage obligations if the unbelieving person walks away from their marriage covenant. This verse does not mean that this frees up the believer to marry again. · G-d has called us to peace: The believing community should not look down on or excommunicate the believing person whose unbelieving spouse walked away from their marriage covenant. The believer is considered blameless in this situation (they chose G-d – became a believer – which in turn caused their spouse to turn away from them). G-d has called us to peace, to unity. v16: This verse is vital to understanding this passage. The believing person is still referred to as a wife or a husband to the unbelieving spouse. The heart of G-d (v11) is that the believing spouse either remains unmarried (getting involved in another relationship is outside the norms of our faith) or seeks reconciliation with the departed spouse. · How do you know…whether you will save (your spouse): This is the hope and prayer. The implication is this: If the believing spouse remains faithful, if they remain obedient to their covenant marriage (even though their spouse has separated from them), there is a possibility of reconciliation, peace (the will of G-d to be done). The one left behind (i.e. the believer) can have an influence in bringing the non-believer to salvation. Obviously, the implication is that if they come to salvation they’re going to want to renew their covenant and the marriage can be restored.