First Corinthians 7 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • February 20, In the year of our Lord Christ, 2019 

  1. 7.1 | Touching

    1 Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
    1. Evidently the Corinthian Church had written to Paul with questions. 
    2. They wanted to know about the relationship between men and women in marriage. 
    3. What did Paul mean by touching? 
      1. Does it include greetings? 
      2. What is the context? 
  2. 7.2–6 | Preventing Sexual Immorality

    2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment.
    1. What is one of the purposes of marriage? 
      1. What are other purposes? 
      2. The Bible recognizes the strong attraction between men and woman. 
    2. If one of the purposes of marriage is avoiding sexual immorality, then what should the husband and wife do about it? 
    3. In marriage, who has authority over your body? 
      1. According to verse 5, what did Paul mean? 
      2. What is the exception? 
        1. Why would someone want to be alone while fasting and praying? 
        2. What might Satan do if you are separated for too long? 
    4. What did Paul say by way of concession? 
  3. 7.7–9 | Remaining Unmarried

    7 For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that. 8 But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; 9 but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
    1. How did Paul wish that all men were? 
    2. Can everyone so live? 
    3. What did Paul encourage the unmarried and widows to do? 
  4. 7.10–11 | Do Not Depart

    10 Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.
    1. Is departing from your spouse the Lord’s way? 
    2. If one does depart, what are the options? 
  5. 7.12–17 | Do Not Divorce Unbelievers

    12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife? 17 But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches.
    1. Should believers divorce their unbelieving spouses? 
    2. What does the believing spouse do for the marriage? (v. 14) 
      1. How does this affect the children? 
      2. Are the children of mixed couples legitimate? 
      3. Which came first: Christianity? or Marriage? 
    3. The believe should not seek to depart, but what should you do if an unbeliever departs? 
      1. What is the assumption in this context? 
        1. Is it that the unbeliever might depart because of the belief of the other spouse? 
        2. Are we so bound to a spouse that we can abandon our faith for the sake of the unbelieving spouse? 
    4. To what has God called us? 
    5. Verse 16 explains verse 15 more. 
      1. Some believers think that by abandoning their faith or the church, they can later bring the unbeliever to Christ. 
      2. However, Paul argued that you cannot know that will happen. 
      3. Are you willing to lose your soul? 
    6. Paul reiterated in verse 17 that we should remain in the state in which the Lord called us. 
  6. 7.18–24 | Remain in the State in Which You Were Called

    18 Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters. 20 Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. 21 Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. 22 For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called.
    1. Verses 18–20 explain further that we should remain as we were called. 
      1. What matters to God? 
      2. If keeping His commandments is what matters to Him, would He endorse abandoning Christianity to save your marriage? 
    2. What should we do in the condition in which we were called? (vv. 21–22) 
    3. Why should we not become slaves of men? 
      1. This takes us back to what Paul had been discussing, especially in verse 15. 
      2. We are not slaves to men in the sense that we forsake our faith for the sake of man. 
  7. VII.7.25–28 | Virgins

    25 Now concerning virgins: I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give judgment as one whom the Lord in His mercy has made trustworthy. 26 I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress—that it is good for a man to remain as he is: 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you.
    1. Under what circumstance is it good to remain as you are? 
      1. Why is it better? 
    2. If the single do marry, have they sinned? 
    3. What trouble might marriage bring during persecution? 
  8. VIII.7.29–31 | Hard Times Coming

    29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, 30 those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, 31 and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away.
    1. Paul warned that persecution would pull families apart. 
    2. Marriage makes enduring persecution more difficult. 
  9. 7.32–35 | Marriage Can Be a Distraction

    32 But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. 33 But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife. 34 There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. 35 And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.
    1. Here Paul explained himself some more. 
    2. What does marriage do to our attention concerning the Lord? 
    3. Is the distraction of marriage necessarily wrong? 
    4. What point did Paul make? 
  10. 7.36–38 | Letting Virgins Marry

    36 But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry. 37 Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well. 38 So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better.
    1. What do you think Paul discussed here? 
    2. What had he been discussing? 
      1. He had addressed whether the single should marry or not. 
      2. What then is he saying about virgins, marriage, and their fathers? 
      3. What do you think of a man asking a woman’s daughter if he can marry her? 
    3. Does a father do well for giving his virgin in marriage? 
      1. Who does better than the father who gives his daughter in marriage? 
      2. Remembering the context, why does the father who does not give his daughter in marriage do better? 
  11. 7.39–40 | Widows

    39 A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But she is happier if she remains as she is, according to my judgment—and I think I also have the Spirit of God.
    1. For how long is a married couple bound to one another? 
    2. What happens to that bond when the other dies? 
    3. What did Paul mean by, “only in the Lord”? 
    4. Even for a woman, and we would say the same for a man, is better to remain single, in light of the existence of persecution. 
    5. Why did Paul say that he had the Spirit of God?