|1 Corinthians 7 |
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 sexual immorality, let every man have [relations with] his own wife, and let every woman have [relations with] her own husband. [In this verse, let every man "have his own wife" means "have relations with his own wife," and means "let every woman "have relations with her own husband," (for proof see the Net Bible's footnotes 1 and 2 to this verse). This verse does not mean, "let every man be married and let every woman be married;" that interpretation, which is all too common, severely conflicts with the rest of this chapter's pleas to stay unmarried if possible. Paraphrased, this verse means: if you are married, have relations with your spouse to avoid sexual immorality. In the below verses Paul says to only withdraw from relations with your spouse by common consent, and resume them after a season of prayer and fasting if you don't yet have self-control, (verse 5), which is a concession, not a command, (verse 6); for he wishes all men to be capable of not touching a woman like him, verses 1 and 7. See other scriptures that support the same.]
3 Let the husband render to the wife due loving kindness, as likewise also the wife should give to the husband.
4 The wife does not have rights of her own body for the husband does; and likewise the husband does not have rights of his own body for the wife does.
5 Do not deprive each other of your body, except by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer and then resume relations so that Satan cannot tempt you because of your lack of self-control. [If you independently, (without mutual consent), withhold sexual relations with your spouse, you risk major alienation of your spouse. If you hear a command to cease sexual relations, and your spouse does not agree, the command is not from the Lord; instead, it is the devil hoping to cause you anguish, your loss of confidence, and even the dissolution of your marriage. Like Mat 17:21 and Mark 9:29, in this verse earlier manuscripts read prayer only, but scribes in later manuscripts added the word fasting, making it fasting and prayer instead.]
Like Mat 17:21 and Mark 9:29, in this verse earlier manuscripts read prayer only, but scribes in later manuscripts added the word fasting, making it fasting and prayer instead.]
6 But I speak this as a concession, and not as a commandment.
7 For I wish that all men were like I am myself. But every man has his proper gift from God, one in this manner, and another in a different manner.1
8 I say therefore to the unmarried people and widows: It is good for them if they remain single, as I am.
9 But if they do not have self-control, let them marry, for it is better to marry than to burn [in lust].2 [Do not assume that marriage will cure your lust for sex with others in general. See the footnote below for these two verses.]
10 And to the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, "Let the wife not depart from her husband.
11 But and if she departs, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband; and let not the husband divorce his wife."
12 To the rest I (not the Lord) say this: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is content to live with him, let him not divorce her.
13 And if a woman has a husband who does not believe, and he is content 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; else your children would be unclean; but now are they holy.
15 But if the unbelieving spouse departs, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under obligation [to oppose or follow] in such cases. God has called us to peace.
16 For what do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O man, whether you will save your wife?
17 But as God has assigned to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him continue to walk. This is my order to all churches.
18 Was any man called when already circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was any called when uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised.
19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commands [heard from within your heart] of God is.
20 Let every man remain in the same calling in which he was called.
21 Have you been called as a slave? Do not be worried about it; but if you can become free, do so.
22 For he who is called in the Lord, while a slave of man, is the Lord's free man; likewise he who is called as a free man, is Christ's slave.
23 You have been bought with a price; do not be slaves to [the interests of] men.
24 Brethren, let every man, in whatever position he is called, remain in it with God.3
25 Now concerning the unmarried, I have no command from the Lord; yet I give my judgment, as one who by the mercy of the Lord is made trustworthy.
26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress — that it is good for a person to remain as he is.
27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife.
28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a maiden marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh as I am trying to spare you. [The trouble in the flesh is the distraction of trying to please your spouse, which can conflict with your seeking the Kingdom as your highest priority in life; or when the kingdom is attained, being unable to attend upon the Lord without distraction, (verse 35 below). He who is married cares for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife, (verse 33 below).]
29 But this I say, brothers, the time is short.4 From now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; [To be as though you have no wife means to stand apart from your wife, uninvolved in her affairs and desires.]
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 though not absorbed by it and with indifference; for the present form of this world passes away.5 [You are to be in the world but not of the world. From the Word of the Lord within: "Stand apart from this fast paced world; you can't be in it." Friendship with the world, (and people of the world), is enmity with God. James 4:4. When you enter the Kingdom, the world passes away to your sight and consciousness.]
32 But I would have you without worries and cares. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;
33 But he who is married cares for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.
34 There is difference also between a wife and an unmarried maiden. The unmarried woman cares for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit; but she who is married cares for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I restrain you, but for what is pleasing, and that you may attend upon the Lord without distraction.
36 But if any man thinks that he is behaving unfairly towards his engaged maiden, and if she has past the flower of her age, and the need [of the maiden's future security and peace of mind] so requires marriage, let him do what he will, he does not sin; let them be married.
37 Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so decreed in his heart that he will keep her as his maiden friend, does well.6
38 So then he who takes her in marriage does well; but he who does not take 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 will; but only [a person] in the Lord.7
40 But in my judgment, she is happier if she remains single; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God [in this].
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1 Do not deprive each other of your body, except by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer and then resume relations so that Satan cannot tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But I speak this as a concession, and not as a commandment. For I wish that all men were like I am myself. But every man has his proper gift from God, one in this manner, and another in a different manner. When a man and wife are freed from lust, there is a love that does not depend on receiving pleasure.
There is a gift from God to be freed from lust: there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it. Mat 19:12. To receive this gift from God, a person must hate their lust for bodies of others with a passion. When it is received, you are able to love your spouse like a brother in Christ, for in Christ there is neither male nor female, all are one, all are sons of God.
It is impossible to overcome one's sexual desires until one of the following happens: 1) a person, (married or unmarried), becomes painfully aware that their desires apply to attractive persons in general, and that awareness then leads to a strong desire to be rid of them; or 2) in sympathy for the weakness of a person's spouse who is committed to ridding his or her sexual desires for attractive persons in general, that he or she is a willing and enthusiastic supporter to their spouse's efforts, which support would include consent to withdrawal from relations according to Paul's instructions in 1 Corinthians 7:2,5-7.
Any decision to strive to live as brother and sister, has to be one of mutual consent. If either spouse desires to continue sexual relations, the other must comply, according to the tenet of love: love is not self-seeking; for marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled. Even if a seeker is married to a non-believer; or if a seeker is married to a believer that has no interest in overcoming their sexual desires; if that seeker truly desires to overcome his or her sexual desires, it is possible with the Lord's help, (for all things are possible with God). However, sexual relations with that uninterested spouse would not be withheld because that is firmly stated by Paul as requiring mutual consent; in that case the seeker's participation in sexual relations would be an act of submission or deferral to their spouse.
If you independently, (without mutual consent), withhold sexual relations with your spouse, you risk major alienation of your spouse. The devil would love to successfully order you to cease sexual relations independent of your spouse's desires in order to create a hostile relationship in your marriage, destroying your peace and confidence, possibly even your marriage. In my experience I never heard the Lord suggest I give up sexual relations; and I don't think you will either because I know from His messages to me that He wants us to become so sick of our weakness that we ourselves decide to do something about it. My motivation was simple — the lust for most any attractive woman that I knew was adultery, and had to be overcome in order to enter the kingdom. (In heaven there is no marriage or giving in marriage, there is no male or female, all are sons of God, and all are like the angels of God). There were several times of abstinence with return to relations after a time. The final time my wife and I had agreed the time had come to cease sexual relations; and when that had begun, the Lord then encouraged me to continue that abstinence, and the sexual desires melted away within several months.
Whatever the motivation, the overcoming of sexual desires is a gift from the Lord, given over time to those who desperately want to be rid of them. From the word of the Lord within: "sexual desires can be overcome." This applies to both males and females, to both heterosexual and homosexual desires, providing there is a fervent commitment to become completely free of them — but, as Mat 19:11-12 states: "all men cannot receive this;" (because they cannot believe overcoming sexual desires is even possible).
In early Quaker, kingdom-dwelling Stephen Crisp's several sermons, he spoke of the necessity to overcome sexual desires as extracted below:
The faith that falls short of sanctification, and redemption from sin, is such a faith as God never gave his people; it came some other way into the world, and it has captivated most of the sons and daughters of men, and they have expelled the true faith (as much as in them lies) that saving faith that purifies and cleanses men from sin, and gives them victory over the world, and have got another faith in the place of it; and they live in their sins, and in their lusts and sexual desires, and still remain in captivity.
Let me tell you, men of the greatest wisdom, courage and strength, of the most excellent natural talents that any man can have, are not able to grapple with their enemy the devil by their own power; there are seeds of sin, and lust, and sexual desires sown in all their hearts; so far this is right and sound doctrine, that no man can do anything in his own power and strength.
For so long as men or women stand in unity with their lusts and sexual desires, with the spirit of this world, and the way of it, they are not capable of receiving what should lead them into the way of holiness;
And when a man finds such divine assistance, his faith is strengthened and confirmed, and so he fights the good fight of faith, and at last gets the victory; victory over his sin, and his own lusts, and sexual desires, and victory over the assaults and temptations of the adversary; and at last he comes, through the grace of God, to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live righteously, soberly and godly in this present world.
Many, in our days, have put up their petitions and prayers to God, that he would reveal to them the state and condition of their souls. The Lord has answered them, and despite all the profession that they have past made of his name, and of their faith in his Son Jesus Christ, and of the work of redemption, yet he has often declared: you are still unredeemed, you are still in your sin, and lusts, and sexual desires prevail over you; you are still in bondage. This is God's answer to many; but there is something arises in their minds, that they are not willing to believe this; they think they are better than God has told them.
If a man is ever so wise, and rich, and great in the world; if he is a prince or an emperor, without being a partaker of the divine nature, he is a child of wrath. Now if these children of wrath meet with something that convinces them; if they are touched and become a sensible people, then crowns and diadems are nothing to them. Such a one will say, "if I am a child of wrath, a captive to sin and my own lusts and sexual desires, yet for all that I will go to a religious meeting, where I hope the word of God will be preached; I hope to meet with something there that will do me good; and I have a desire that I may be translated out of a natural state, from being a child of wrath, to be brought into the kingdom of God.
2 I say therefore to the unmarried people and widows: It is good for them if they remain single, as I am. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry, for it is better to marry than to burn [in lust]. Many people read this and assume that if they get married, their burning lust for bodies will disappear. If you ask any of the millions of married men who are addicted to porn, they will tell you that they have serious lack of control with massive lust for women in general. Even married men who have nothing to do with porn, will tell you that they cannot control their behavior.
If you are sexually active in an unmarried state, do not assume that marriage will eliminate your habits, which result from a lack of fear of God, and which fear should at least be the fear of seriously disappointing Him — if not a fear of actually piercing Him who is within you by your uncontrolled behavior; for each time you sin, you are piercing Christ within you. If you have sorrow and regret, with resolve to not repeat the same mistake again, you have godly sorrow. From the Word of the Lord within: "your godly sorrow is a soothing balm to the wounds you have inflicted on me;" if your sorrow is truly godly sorrow, that results in repentance from your sinful behavior, but the sorrow of the world produces death and no repentance.
And if you have previously been married, you are not free to mary others so long as a previous spouse is alive, (per verse 39 of this chapter). If you have previously made the mistake of remarriage, do not attempt to dissolve your current marriage, which would only make matters more chaotic and further dishonor the truth.
The fact that divorce and remarriage is not permitted until the death of a previous spouse makes your selection of a proper spouse very crucial to your future peace and happiness. So, before you assume that you need to get married, you had better wait on the Lord to guide you — not only guide you as to whether to get married or not, but also guide you as to whom you should marry and when. Only the Lord knows if marriage will be of help to your lust for bodies in general; and since your lust for the opposite sex blinds you to their true qualities, only the Lord knows who is a truly compatible spousal candidate for you. Further, the Lord forbids us marrying people outside the true faith, outside belief in the true gospel, outside the true hope. God destroyed the earth, partially because the sons of God mingled with heathen flesh: Genesis 6: the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair, and they took wives of any of them that they chose. See Footnote 6 below.
Also, if you are already married, do not read this and for some reason mistakenly assume that you should get a divorce. Even if you are married to an unbeliever, you are to remain married as long as they choose to remain living with you, verses 12 - 15 above.
From the Word of the Lord within, "there is far too little love in the world today, and I look with favor on any love between men and women." Remember the Woman at the Well? She had five previous husbands, and was living unmarried with another man. But, Christ selected her, taught her, and then sent her out to witness and preach to the rest of the City. John 4:5-30. So, obviously he was not concerned. She was evidently in a committed relationship. Fidelity is what is important, not a ring; and not a ceremony from a "preacher" or civilian magistrate — neither of which have His authority. You cannot be unfaithful to man and faithful to God. So adults, who are living together in a committed relationship, or people who have divorced and remarried, are not living in sexual immorality, at least in the Lord's eyes. You can be his disciple if you are living together in a committed relationship, but be sure your commitment is a commitment not only of yourself, but your partner also, (a committed relationship requires both parties to be committed, not just one). Realize, when you have matured spiritually to be able to speak and act according to His commands, your lack of a publicly recognized marriage would be a stumbling block for many people, and for that reason you will probably eventually want to remove that stumbling block out of love for your fellow man. You can get formally married any time you choose, or you can wait until you hear Him tell you to formalize your relationship with a legal marriage for the eyes of the world. The early Quakers' marriages took place in their meetings without a ring and without a man marrying, which you can read about in George Fox's Letter #264. When there are meetings of the true faith established again, marriages will be similarly performed; until then, perhaps a Justice of the Peace, a Judge, or the County Clerk, (not a priest or a preacher), is the best alternative for formalizing a relationship into a legal marriage.
3 Brethren, let every man, in whatever position he is called, remain in it with God. In particular, this applies to being married or not. Other than marriage, the exception is: if you were called in a dishonest occupation, you must immediately find another job that does not defraud or injure people.
4 But this I say, brothers, the time is short. From now on those who have wives should be as though they had none.
The time is short until the day of the Lord occurs for this group of believers. Paul was not insane, as neither was Jesus, Peter, John, and James — they all said, soon, the time is near, a little while, he stands at the door because the Lord's return occurred to those who had purified themselves in their hope and faith of his appearance in them. The apostles did not exaggerate, they did not lie, they were not deluded; they were all one in the Holy Spirit, in whom is no lie or delusion. So, they spoke truly. The Lord's coming is a personal experience of those who purify their hearts by faith and their souls by obedience to the truth; at is the end of the crucifixion of the believer's selfish spirit on the inward cross of self-denial.
5 those who use this world, as though not absorbed by it and with indifference.
You are to be in the world but not of the world. From the Word of the Lord within: "You must stand apart from this fast paced world; you can't be in it." Friendship with the world (and people of the world), is enmity with God. James 4:4. You are to be polite to everyone, to be at peace with everyone, but you should not be socializing with them; their conduct and conversation will corrupt you. Even at work, where you are obviously associated with people of the world, you should not join in their useless conversations. The things of the world we use include the tools of our trade, our computer, our cars, our house, etc.; these we use, but we are not in love with them, and we are ready to part with anything the Lord clearly commands, recognizing that he only commands us to part with those things that we would dearly miss if gone. If your profession requires you to use things that are not ordinary, even luxurious, from the Word of the Lord within, "It is no sin to enjoy the comforts of life necessary for your occupation."
for the present form of this world passes away.
The world, seen through your eyes, by natural light, disappears when you enter the kingdom of heaven, where you walk by the light of God, seeing through the eyes of God only, the eyes of your heart; and what you see is only what you are shown by God what to do. The world passes away and disappears, along with its desires and lusts. 1 John 2:17.
From the Word of the Lord within:
6 But if any man thinks that he is behaving unfairly towards his engaged maiden, and if she has past the flower of her age, and the need [of the maiden's future security and peace of mind] so requires marriage, let him do what he will, he does not sin; let them be married. Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so decreed in his heart that he will keep her as his maiden friend, does well.
Between the Bible translations of verses 36-38, which you can see by clicking here, there is a great deal of confusion between translators as to whether the virgin spoken of is a (virgin daughter), a virgin (girl friend), or sometimes a virgin man himself (37). None of the translations make total sense; so the above is suggested as the probable intended original meaning. If a believer is engaged to a woman, should that woman be aging past the beauty of her youth, and should she be worried about becoming an old maid without the security of a husband, then they can marry without any sin. But it would be better if they stayed unmarried because it is easier when single to stay devoted to the Lord.
7 if her husband is dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; but only [a person] in the Lord. The Lord forbids us marrying people outside the true faith, outside belief in the true gospel, outside the true hope. God destroyed the earth, partially because the sons of God mingled with heathen flesh: Genesis 6: the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair, and they took wives of any of them that they chose. From George Fox's Letter# 264:
Marriage is a figure of Christ and his church, as the apostle instanced in Ephesians. And therefore they were not to be unequally yoked, believers with unbelievers. The law of God did forbid it; they were not to give their sons and daughters to the heathen, or marry with them, for it grieved the Lord in the old world, and brought destruction upon those bad marriages. When the sons of God saw the daughters of men were fair, and they took them wives of all which they chose, who corrupted the earth, and filled it with violence. But such as mingled with the heathen and unbelievers, and followed strange flesh, they went from the spirit, they lost the sonship; through such the earth was corrupted and filled with violence; and such could not know God's joining, who went from the spirit, and from the law and gospel; and such are mingled among heathens and unbelievers, and follow strange flesh, and corrupt their own, who go from the spirit, by which they have been sanctified and led into the sonship.
And such as marry with unbelievers and heathen, go contrary to the law of God, and grieve him and their righteous parents.
However, if you are already married to a non-believer, do not seek to get free from them, as Paul plainly states in this chapter's verses 12 -15 above.
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