Instruction about Christian Marriages
1 Cor. 7:10-16
Marriage is supposed to be a simple matter but nowadays it has become a complicated topic. It’s
shouldn’t be but because of the hardness of people’s heart and hard-headedness, it has become one
of the controversial issues not only between believers but also between unbelievers. So many
reasons, so many alibis were being said to justify their wrong actions. What does the Word of God
tell us about marriage?
Illustration 1: I’ll Cling to You
During his courtship with a young woman named Julia Dent, Ulysses S. Grant once took her out for a
buggy ride. Coming to a flooded creek spanned by a flimsy bridge, Grant assured Julia that it was
safe to cross. “Don’t be frightened,” he said. “I’ll look after you.” “Well,” replied Julia, “I shall cling to
you whatever happens.”
True to her word, she clung tightly to Grant’s arm as they drove safely across. Grant drove on in
thoughtful silence for a few minutes, then cleared his throat and said, “Julia, you said back there that
you would cling to me whatever happened. Would you like to cling to me for the rest of our lives?”
She would, and they were married in August 1848. Source unknown
I. Rules about Christian Marriages (1 Cor 7:10, 11).
A. “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord (1 Cor. 7:10): The Lord
Jesus Christ clearly and simply gave the only basis for divorce, infidelity to the
marriage relationship (Matt. 5:31, 32; 19:3-12, Mark 10:12; Luke 16:18).
1. The Lord had spoken plain words about divorce. Paul supports his own inspired
command by the command of Christ. “Let not the wife depart…” (verses 10b,
2. God’s will, is that the husband or wife should not depart from his or her spouse
(1 Cor. 7:10). No divorce.
3. God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16). His will from the beginning of the creation was
for one man to marry one woman and for them to cleave to one another and
not depart (Mat. 19:4-8; Gen. 2:24).
4. What about a situation wherein there is physical abuse? If there is a problem
other than fornication that is so serious that one of the marriage partners
leaves, both are to remain unmarried or be reconciled.
Illustration 2: Monogamous Marriages
A new study from the University of Chicago lends credence to what the Bible has taught for two
millennia: monogamous marriage yields the most satisfying romance to be had. Contrary to what
network scriptwriters might have us believe, the survey found that married spouses have sex more
often and enjoy it more than singles.
Other important findings:
88 percent of married couples report having emotionally satisfying sex lives
94 percent of married couples were faithful sexually in the past year
New Man, January/February, 1995, p. 12
II. Teachings about Mixed Marriages (1 Cor. 7:12-16)
A. Mixed marriages between a believer and an unbeliever are treated as a separate
category and different instructions are given.
B. It was a common thing for one member of the family to be converted and the others
not. Jesus while on earth with His own lips had not given commandment regarding
such things. He promised the Holy Spirit’s counsel (John 16:13) to guide the apostles
“into all truth.” Paul was thus inspired.
C. If either husband or wife is converted, and the other is not, they must not on this
account forsake the unbelieving spouse, provided he or she is pleased to remain.
“For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife…” (I Cor. 7:14): Paul does not
mean that the unbelieving husband is saved by the faith of the believing wife. He
means that the marriage relation is sanctified so that there is no need of a divorce. If
either husband or wife is a believer and the other agrees to remain, the marriage is
holy and need not be set aside.
D. In simple words, the saved partner must do everything possible to maintain the
marriage union and win the unsaved partner to Christ.
E. The children born of a mixed marriage (a pagan man, and a Christian wife, or vice
versa) are not as if born out of wedlock unclean or unholy. “Holy is contrasted with
unclean and means the same as sanctified or set apart (1 Cor. 7:14) in a special
relation unto the Lord. One of the most important here is the children and the
unbelieving spouse may be won to Christ by the believing spouse (1 Cor. 7:16).
F. If the unbelieving partner insists on separation, the believing partner is to let him or
her go. If there is no possibility of conversion of the unbelieving partner, the
Christian “is not under bondage in such cases” (verse 15). Wilful desertion of the
unbeliever sets the other free, a case not contemplated in Christ’s words in Matt.
5:32 and 19:9. Somebody said that the Christian partner, thus released, may marry
again. But that is by no means clear, unless the unbeliever marries first. “For what
knowest thou, O wife…” (I Cor. 7:16): The Christian is to be gentle, forbearing and
true to Christ. The Christian mate may be the means used of God to win the other to
Christ. This has occurred in many instances (I Pet. 3:1, 2). The believer ought to be
sure that there is no hope before he agrees to break the marriage bond.
III. Clear Biblical Teaching regarding marriage, divorce, and remarriage
A. Adultery (Mat. 19:9)– if a person is divorced due to adultery then that person is
free from the limitations of that marriage. The offended party can legally marry
again with no consequences biblically speaking
B. Abandonment (1 Cor. 7:15) – if the unbeliever wants out of the marriage, the
believer is to allow them to go uncontested and grant them the divorce, and
they are under no marital repercussions and have no restrictions on being
C. After life or death (Rom. 7:2)
Illustration 3: A Covenant, Not a Contract
Marriage is a covenant, not a contract. There is a big difference. God made a blood covenant with
Abraham in Genesis 15 by cutting five animals in two and laying their carcasses on both sides of a
path, with God “walking through” these body parts. This represents the absolutely binding nature of
a covenant, for it says that “If I ever violate this covenant, may I be torn in two just like these
Have you thought of your marriage covenant in that way?
Don’t ever give up on your marriage, no matter what comes your way. When friction festers into
fights, new “oil” is needed to relubricate the relationship. When romance disappears into a dull fog
of mundane sameness, fresh oxygen is needed to fan the cooling embers into sparks that will
rekindle the glowing flames of love. When chronic financial distress threatens the emotional
equilibrium of the home; or when dysfunctions and compulsions surface like white caps in the bay to
rock the family boat; or when in-law interference, tangled expectations, health crises or other
predictable issues persist as huge problems that won’t go away, biblical words of help and
encouragement are needed to revive the marriage out of the emergency room and carry it gently
into rehabilitative therapy. Whether it’s the hot flare-ups of polarization or the long dry dredges of
boredom and disillusionment, decide now that you will fight what infects the intimacy of your
Keep your vows. Never give up. God will reward your faithfulness.
Heart-warming Bible Illustrations.
God’s will about marriage is for husband and wife to keep their marriage vows. No
divorce except for fornication. For cases where a spouse is converted and the other not,
the believing spouse should not put away the unbelieving spouse but by all means win
him or her to Christ. If the unbeliever wants out of the marriage, the believer is to allow
them to go and grant them the divorce.