1 Corinthians 7:10-16 says, “Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 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. 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. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 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. 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. 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?”
Paul is basically saying here that if a married couple ends up having different views, where one is a believer and the other is not, as long as they are willing to live together, they should do so. He even states that the example of the believing spouse could win over the unbelieving spouse to the truth. Paul here was merely echoing Christ’s instruction about the unbreakable and sacred nature of the marriage tie (Matthew 19:4–6, 9).
These verses also elaborate that there might be instances in which a non-Christian wife would be so opposing to the gospel that she would not wish to live with her Christian husband. In such cases the husband could not prevent the separation. If, on the other hand, the unbelieving wife desired to remain with her believing husband, he is not at liberty to seek a separation. The marriage vow is sacred, and cannot be set aside by any change in the religious beliefs of either party.
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