Throughout this letter, Paul is leading the people in the Corinthian Church to one central point in 1 Corinthians 8:6 (LEB) yet to us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we are for him, and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we are through him. There isn’t anything else that will really matter in the end. Though some in his day worried about food sacrificed to idols, and many then and now struggle being single with a desire to be marriage and others who were married struggle with relationships with unbelieving spouses, Paul’s one goal for them was in 1 Corinthians 7:35 “to promote appropriate and devoted service to the Lord without distraction”.
Let Each Have Their Own Spouse
1 Corinthians 7:1–11
Paul suggests that it is good for people to remain celibate as he was. However, if you marry, then you have a duty to each other and you should fulfill your obligation.
The Unbelieving Is Sanctified
1 Corinthians 7:12–24
Now Paul talks to those that are married but their spouse is not saved, they have an unbelieving spouse. He might easily have said that you should separate yourself fro them, but that is not how God’s love operates. First, God made male and female for each other. It is God’s desire to have a godly seed. He wants us to have children and for them to know Him as they grow up and have their own children. God would not separate a child from their parents. Second, God wants every person to know His love and who is better to share that than one who is born again. As a believing spouse, you know the Love of God and what Jesus Christ suffered for your own redemption. Aren’t you willing to suffer a little hardship dealing with an unbelieving spouse so that maybe they will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? This doesn’t mean that every person will be saved. When God called you, you came. He is calling them and they must make their choice. If they depart, as Paul says, you are not bound.
I Want You to be Free From Care
1 Corinthians 7:25–32
Paul recognizes the trials of life and that the time of Christs return is near. Even though this was written two thousand years ago, there is still an urgency to bring the gospel of the kingdom to the unsaved. For Paul, the world is passing away so don’t waste yourself on things corruptible.
One Who is Married Cares for the Things of the World
1 Corinthians 7:33–40
The final thoughts about marriage in 1 Corinthians 7:33 are that “the one who is married cares for the things of the world” and it is true, we want to please our spouse. So what Paul is trying to do is in 1 Corinthians 7:35 “to promote appropriate and devoted service to the Lord without distraction”. And while some would say, that Paul was a remnant of a chauvinistic all male culture, with his comments in 1 Corinthians 7:39-40, I think he is simply recognizing the truth of the circumstance in the Corinthian Church, as it is even today in many Churches, women seem to answer God’s call more easily than men. And Paul’s statement is certainly true for men, just as it is for women, marriage is for life.
There Is One Lord, Jesus Christ
1 Corinthians 8:1–13
This is not something that we understand but for them, “in Corinth, there were people who all their lives, up until now, had really believed in the gods of Greece and Rome; and they could not quite rid themselves of a lingering belief that an idol really was something, although it was a false something. Whenever they ate meat offered to idols, they had qualms of conscience. They could not help it; instinctively they felt that it was wrong”.1
Paul uses this common cultural problem, food sacrificed to idols (which to some represented gods), to make a major statement about God and Jesus Christ in
1 Corinthians 8:6 (LEB) yet to us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we are for him, and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we are through him.
Then in 1 Corinthians 8:7 he says, “but this knowledge is not in everyone”. This statement is just as true today as it was then because every person that comes into the earth must grow and learn and come to a knowledge of God in their own life. Paul’s point, in 1 Corinthians 8:8 is that “food does not bring us close to God”. But people have many misconceptions about who God is and how to approach Him. If someone believes they must bow themselves in some religious way, who are we to trample on their tender heart? Instead, shouldn’t we honor their reverence and teach them gently that God loves them and has called them and in
Hebrews 4:14–16 (LEB) Therefore, because we have a great high priest … 16 Therefore let us approach with confidence to the throne of grace, in order that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
You Must Not Muzzle an Ox While it is Threshing
1 Corinthians 9:1–9
Those Who Proclaim the Gospel Live From the Gospel
1 Corinthians 9:10–17
I Have Enslaved Myself to All
1 Corinthians 9:18–27
We see by his missionary journey’s that Paul wasn’t a slave to anyone but the Lord. And, that is his point. He has fully given himself to the work of the gospel which means that he has sought to understand how people perceive the world around them so that he could reach them with the truth of God’s kingdom and his offer of life through Jesus Christ.
- 1 Corinthians 7:12–24 The Unbelieving Is Sanctified
- 1 Corinthians 7:33–40 One Who is Married Cares for the Things of the World
- 1 Corinthians 8:1–13 There Is One Lord, Jesus Christ
- 1 Corinthians 7:1-40
- 1 Corinthians 8:1-13
- 1 Corinthians 9:1-27
- 1. Barclay, W. (2002). The Letters to the Corinthians (3rd ed., p. 89). Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press.