1 Cor. 7:10-24 – No Divorce


In Ch. 1- 6  Paul dealt  with the sins reported to be known in the Corinthian Church Divisions / Sexual immorality / Eyes off Christ

A) But Here in Ch. 7 Paul switches gears & begins to  direct his attention toward some questions that  they had written to him: several subjects .


B) marriage & Singleness / Divorce (1 Cor. 7:), food offered to idols (1 Cor. 8-10), spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:), the resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15:),

1)  and the missionary offering for the Jews (1 Cor. 16:).


C) In the first part of this chapter Paul deals w/ the issues of sex - singleness marriage & Celibacy - focused last week v. 1-9

1)  Here in v. 10- 16 he changes focus to discuss the topic of Divorce & remarriage .


D) This was probably another question that they wrote to Him about because there were believers who were married to unbelievers

1)  Which meant that their spouses were most likely involved in idolatry of some sort


E) And they were wondering do we have to stay in these marriages ?

1)  Some of the believers had spouses who left them when they became Christians - they were wondering what do we do now !/  Remarry ?


So these are some of the issues that they were dealing w/ & wondering about !

A) Now Under Roman law and customs of that day, four types of marriage were practiced.



B) If a man and woman slave wanted to be married, they might be allowed to live together in what was called “tent companionship.”

1)  But The arrangement lasted only as long as the owner permitted.


C) He was perfectly free to separate them, to arrange for other partners, or to sell one or the other.

1)  Many of the early Christians were slaves, and some of them had 

   lived—perhaps were still living—in this sort of marital relationship.


A 2nd type of marriage was a form of common law marriage that recognized a couple to be husband & wife after they had lived together for a year.



Then there was a third type of marriage , in which a father would sell his daughter to a prospective husband.


The fourth type of marriage was much more elevated. The Patrician class, the nobility, were married in a service in much the same way as we do today .


So that was the marriage climate in Corinth in that day . And their were people who were in all 4 types represented in the church! Pick up v. 10

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.

A) Note 1st Paul begins by addressing those who were married -  idea is both believers - that is the ref. Now to the married -   Both believers


B) I command, Paul is stating his apostolic authority here by giving them a command - yet not I but the Lord- but he is telling them anything new!

1)  Paul is reminding them that Jesus had already taught on this -

C) In Matt. 5/ 19 & Mark 10 Jesus taught on the subject of marriage & Divorce !


C) Paul was the Lord’s spokesman - Jesus had taught the truth during His earthly ministry. Quoting Genesis 2:24, Jesus said, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh,” and then added, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matt. 19:5–6).



D) marriage is for better or for worse / till death do us part /

Divorce or separation are issues that shouldn’t be among Christians



Now there are problems that arise in EVERY marriage  challenges / adjustment s ( kids/  jobs / in-laws   ( Ted's story )

A) Trials - ( Finances


B) Spiritual attack /     - but when those Problems come - we need to stick it out ! / Not run or quit



C) So Paul declares a wife is not to depart from her husband  -


B) But then he says in v. 11  But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.

1)  Now here Paul seems to indicate there might be a situation where separation might be necessary.


D) But Paul’s instructions here are clear - let her remain - unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.




A) One such instance that comes to mind is that in the area of physical abuse

      No woman is called to be a punching bag. Physical safety


A man is not to divorce his wife !!!    Divorce is not a word that should be in the Christian's Vocabulary.

A) Study on marriage - the key is divorce - divorce yourself from the idea

1)  not an option


B) DIVORCE Rampant in the world /  Man's casual attitude toward divorce  is seen in the   words of this father to his daughter the day before her wedding

 Honey try to make a last a while - at least until I get the wedding paid off




If that is the PROBLEM IN THE CHURCH   Statistics 1out of 2


A) Why does it happen -  Jesus declared in Matt. 19: 8 HARDNESS OF HEART   "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.



What is "hardness of heart?"

A) Well, it really means a stubborn willfulness, a refusal to listen to what God has to say and a determination to do it your own way.


B) That is a hardened heart. A soft heart is one that is open to instruction, one that is willing to listen to what God is saying

1)  seeking to obey it and to walk softly before God expecting him to

      help fulfill what he has asked. That is a softened heart

C). A hardened heart is exactly the opposite.

1)  It is one partner or the other, or both, determining that he or she is not going to pay any attention to what God has said.


D) They want their own way; / the way they have chosen, and

       they want it now. That is a hardened heart.


E) You see it in the case of Pharaoh of Egypt, back in the days when Moses was sent to him. He hardened his heart; he determined to do it his way;

1)  he refused to give heed to the God of Glory who was speaking to him

 and insisted on carrying it    out according to his own desire.


F) That kind of condition, a hardened heart, can turn a marriage into a living




So Jesus said "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives,


B) But UNDERSTAND It was not Moses who permitted divorce in Israel; it was God speaking through Moses.

1)  Many HAVE READ  our Lord's statement there & have thought it to mean that - Moses initiated the  whole process,

2)  or that it was Moses who thought up divorce.


C) See  Moses, was a prophet, &  like one of the apostles. He is a spokesman for God,

1)  Thus  Moses had no authority and no right to interject his own desires or understanding or will over what God had said.


D) Therefore, it was not Moses who decided to let people get divorced; it was God who spoke through Moses, and thus permitted divorce.


Does that mean God permits what God hates?"   A.  Yes. Of course He does. A) In fact In life we see a lot  of God permitting what God hates.


B) God hates sin, but he allows it to continue in our race and he allows people to make wrong decisions even though he hates the decisions they make.

    1)We are faced everywhere in Scripture with the permissive will of God.


C) This is on par with the scriptural statement that God is not willing that any should perish. Yet many do perish. ( Every day - people perish)



1)  he wants people who will respond to His love / see what he did & love Him in return w/ all their hearts


E) So  the very same reason that people go to hell is the root cause of why people get divorced - HARDNESS OF HEART


BEGINS W/ HARDNESS TO THE LORD - that is seen in selfishness

that manifest itself in adulteries

A) Note  two provisions -both conditions of selfishness  the Lord gave -  Sexually immorality


B) Weakness of our flesh - but God can restore


B) Paul gives another provision here  v. 12        Departure


12  But to the rest   Mixed marriages - believers married to unbelievers / do we stay - 


C) Hard for those folks - ( really feel - around other believers -  men & women who love God - who can have fellowship - go home & you can’t

1)  Some the greatest aspects of the Christian life you are not able to experience w/ your mate.

D) Paul what about us ??


But to the rest I, not the Lord, say:


That is not a denial of inspiration or an indication that Paul is only giving his own opinion. It is only to say that God had not given any previous revelation on the subject, but Paul was now setting it forth.


 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.


A) Pretty simple Paul says don’t divorce - don’t seek to get out of that relationship  if willing to stay !    why ?


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.


Being unequally yoked, one  with an unbeliever, can be frustrating, discouraging, and even costly.  But it need not be defiling because one believer can sanctify a home.


A) Now The word  sanctify does not refer to salvation; otherwise the spouse would not be spoken of as unbelieving. It refers to being set apart,


B) In God’s eyes a  home is set apart for Himself when the husband, wife, or,  

     any other family member, is a Christian.

1)  Such a home is not Christian in the full sense, but it is superior to one that is totally unbelieving.


C) One Christian in a home graces the entire home. God’s indwelling that believer & all the blessings and graces that flow into the believer’s life from heaven will spill over to enrich all who are near.


D) Joseph is a fruitful branch - branches run over the wall !!!

1)  Each person still has to make a personal decision for Christ -


E) But God can still bless the home !!!!  


YOUR MISSION FIELD  1 Pet3:1  Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,


SO THE BELIEVER IS TO HANG IN THERE -as long as the unbeliever is willing to dwell - BUT WHAT IF THE UNBELIEVER LEAVES?


A) Willingness is the Key -   Gone for months - prostitutes & bikers


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.




A) Free to divorce & remarry - not in bondage to live rest of my life / bondage to being single


B) But then he goes right back to talking about how it can work -


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.

18  Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. 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.