A Study of 1st Corinthians 7:15

“But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.”
(1 Corinthians 7:15)

We have to read this verse very carefully.

First of all we know that God has already established very clearly that there cannot be divorce. And if there is divorce there cannot be remarriage.

“What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
(Matthew 19:6)

And further on in 1st Corinthians 7, God declares through the Apostle Paul:

“The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.”
(1 Corinthians 7:39)

So what is 1st Corinthians 7:15 speaking about?

Well Paul here is speaking about a saint who is married to a spouse who is an unbeliever. One who does not pay attention to what God Almighty has set forth in His Word concerning the life-long bond of marriage and they insist on a separation.

They seek to put asunder what God has joined together.

Impossible ofcourse, but unsaved man sets him or herself up as the ruler of their lives and so they seek to do as they please and stick their fist up to God.

So what is a believer to do in such circumstances?

Well, they certainly cannot chain their spouse so that they cannot leave. They simply have no choice but to allow the separation to occur. Such a believer is not in bondage. When a believer has an unsaved spouse who insists on a divorce, he or she is to allow this, the believer does not have to fight against it because “God hath called us to peace”.

However, the believer will ofcourse want to do everything they can to make the marriage work and try and be as loving as they can be in order to try and bring about a reconciliation if at all possible.

And ofcourse the character of the believer is one who will desire to obey God, and in doing this they will want to ensure that they do not remarry after the separation has occured as the Word of God expressly declares that nothing but death dissolves this marriage bond.

1 Corinthians 7:10
And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

1 Corinthians 7:11
But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

Marriage is God’s bond, it is He who joins man and wife into a one flesh union, and if He declares that nothing but death breaks that bond, then it is so.

Now, regarding the word “bondage”. Despite what those who oppose the Word of God in this regard say, this has nothing to do with the marriage bond itself being broken, because as we clearly see in many places in the Word of God that nothing but death breaks this marriage bond.

“The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.”
(1 Corinthians 7:39)

For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
(Romans 7:2)

Furthermore, and the main point I want to make concerning this is that this word “bondage” here in 1st Corinthians 7:15 is a completely different greek word than the word “bound” which we read of the 1st Corinthians 7:39 and Romans 7:2.

Verse 15 speaks of being in bondage (slavery/to be enslaved), and verse 39 speaks of being bound (tied firmly/knitted together) in marriage.

Marriage binds a wife to her husband for life; but a deserted spouse is not a slave (in bondage/enslaved) to the dread of guilt, excommunication, etc.

“God hath called us to peace”

Marriage is not slavery or bondage but fear of guilt is and thankfully God has shown His people here in 1st Corinthians 7:15 that in such circumstances they are not in bondage.

It is a real shame, but an expected one, that man has so abused this passage in order to seek an excuse for remarriage, which is contrary to everything else we read in the New Testament where remarriage is clearly forbidden.

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