What does 1 Corinthians 7:14 mean?
ESV: For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
NIV: For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
NASB: For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.
CSB: For the unbelieving husband is made holy by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy by the husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is they are holy.
NLT: For the believing wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the believing husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not be holy, but now they are holy.
KJV: For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
Verse Commentary:
Paul has instructed Christians who are married to unbelieving spouses not to divorce, if the unsaved spouse is willing to stay in the marriage.

By God's design, marriage is the most intimate of all human relationships (Genesis 2:24). Why, then, would a Christian man or woman imagine God desiring them to separate from their spouse? Perhaps the Christians in Corinth were concerned that being in union with an unbeliever would make them unclean in God's eyes. Would their unsaved spouse cause God to see them as being guilty of the sin and unbelief of their spouse?

Paul's answer is that the opposite is true. A Christian's unbelieving spouse and children are, instead, "made holy." This is true for both husbands and wives, but has to be carefully understood.

Paul is not saying a person's unbelieving spouse and children are eternally saved simply by being married to or parented by a Christian. Saving faith cannot be borrowed, inherited, or willed to someone else. Scripture's clear teaching is that individuals must come to faith in Christ on their own in order to receive the grace of God's forgiveness for sin (Matthew 10:34–36; 1 Corinthians 3:13; Galatians 6:3–5). Further, Paul writes in verse 16 that an unbeliever might be saved through the witness of a Christian spouse. That, in and of itself, proves that simply being married to a believer does not automatically bring eternal salvation to a non-Christian.

What Paul does seem to be saying is that God regards the unbelieving spouse and children of a Christian person as a holy spouse and children. This is precisely because the husband and wife are united as one, and one of them is united with Christ. In this life, on this side of eternity, they are included with the people of God who have been set-apart for His purposes.

The Christian is not stained by his or her non-Christian spouse; the non-Christian spouse, instead, becomes blessed by God so long as they remain married.
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.
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