What does 1 Corinthians 7:10 mean?
ESV: To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband
NIV: To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.
NASB: But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife is not to leave her husband
CSB: To the married I give this command--not I, but the Lord--a wife is not to leave her husband.
NLT: But for those who are married, I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord. A wife must not leave her husband.
KJV: And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
NKJV: Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband.
Verse Commentary:
Verses 10 and 11 deal with divorce, but Paul's point here is not to address all divorce for all reasons. Prior verses have dealt with a mistaken view held by some of the believers at Corinth. Namely, that Christians should not have sex, even if they were married, and that the most spiritual Christian life is one of celibate and/or unmarried devotion to Christ. Perhaps this was a response to the pervasive sexual immorality in wider Corinthian culture. Perhaps it borrowed these ideas from other moral philosophies and teachings of the day.

In any case, this may have created some problems in the church. If this was a common misconception, some might have stopped having sex with their spouses.

Worse, others might have thought that in order to attain some higher level of spirituality, they would have to divorce their spouses.

Paul has clearly and firmly rejected these ideas. He addressed the issue of sex in marriage earlier (1 Corinthians 7:2–5). Now he states unequivocally that women should not separate from—or divorce—their husbands, especially for this reason. He will say the same for husbands in the following verse.
Verse Context:
First Corinthians 7:1–16 includes Paul's teaching about sex and marriage for Christians. Some in Corinth apparently thought even married believers should not have sex. Paul rejects that idea, insisting that married Christians belong to each other and should not deprive each other in this way because of the temptation to sexual sin. Also, married believers should not divorce in order to somehow be closer to God. The Lord intends marriage to be for life. Those married to unbelievers may, by staying in the marriage, help lead the other person to Christ.
Chapter Summary:
Paul rejects an idea concerning the Corinthian believers: that married Christians should not have sex. Perhaps some even thought marriages should be dissolved and avoided. On the contrary, Scripture says married Christians should have regular sex in order to avoid temptation. Those who are married ought to remain married. Unmarried believers with the gift of celibacy, however, should consider remaining single in order to avoid the troubles of marriage. That is Paul's personal preference, though that gift is not given to all others. Single believers can devote themselves to serving Christ without distraction. The time is short. All believers should live and serve Christ now as if this world is passing away.
Chapter Context:
First Corinthians 7 follows Paul's teaching in the previous chapter, which focused mostly on avoiding sexual immorality. Here he commands married husbands and wives not to deprive each other of sex, or get divorced, in a misguided attempt to be more spiritual. Unmarried people who can live contentedly without sex, however, should consider remaining single in order to serve Christ undivided. Getting married is good, but the time is short. The form of this world is passing away. Unmarried people should think about the opportunities to avoid trouble and serve Christ that come with staying single.
Book Summary:
First Corinthians is one of the more practical books of the New Testament. Paul writes to a church immersed in a city associated with trade, but also with corruption and immorality. These believers are struggling to properly apply spiritual gifts and to resist the ungodly practices of the surrounding culture. Paul's letter gives instructions for real-life concerns such as marriage and spirituality. He also deals with the importance of unity and gives one of the Bible's more well-known descriptions of love in chapter 13.
Accessed 5/24/2024 9:55:41 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com