Summary: Divorce between a believer and an unbeliever
When The Wrecking Ball Hits A Home (part 3)
The Scofield Reference Bible. How many of you have either heard of it or perhaps even have a copy of it yourself? The Scofield Reference Bible is a study Bible that provides excellent helps such as introductory notes to each book of the Bible, maps, a concordance, a cross reference system, and footnotes that explain the meaning of verses. It’s a wonderful study tool.
I was introduced to the Scofield Reference Bible during my freshman year at Washington Bible College. Several of my professors recommended it, so I got a copy. It contained the King James translation of the Bible. And so this is the Bible I used throughout my college and seminary years.
When I graduated from seminary and got out into the ministry, the New King James Version appeared on the market. It updated the old, archaic language of the King James Version. And Nelson publishers soon put out the Scofield Reference Bible using the New King James translation. So this is the Bible I used for my years of teaching ministry before I came to Shiloh. Then when I came here to Shiloh, I knew you used the New International Version. And after being here a while, I eventually started using the NIV. I figured that it would be easier for me to switch to your translation of the Bible than it would be for all of you to switch to mine.
But I cut my spiritual teeth on the Scofield Reference Bible. And I used it for many years in ministry. But no matter what translation you use—the King James, New King James, New International, or whatever—they all teach the same thing in 1 Corinthians 7:10-16.
This morning is my third message in a three part series on divorce and remarriage. We noted last week that in 1 Corinthians 7:10-16, Paul is addressing 3 groups.
The first group is found in verses 10 and 11. And it is Believers who are married to Unhappy Believers. In verse 10, Paul is referring to Christ’s teaching on divorce and remarriage as found in Matthew 19. There Jesus states God’s ideal and intended design for marriage: 1 man and 1 woman together for a lifetime. But in that same passage Jesus states an exception. Jesus permits divorce and remarriage in the case of marital unfaithfulness—sexual immorality.
In 1 Corinthians 7:10, Paul only states God’s ideal as presented by Christ. But Paul is a realist. And so in verse 11 he states a concession. If believers do divorce, they are to remain unmarried so they may be reconciled.
We pick up our study this week in verse 12 where Paul addresses a second group. He addresses Believers married to Unhappy Believers in verses 10-11. Now, in verses 12-14, Paul addresses Believers married to Happy Unbelievers.
Look at what Paul writes beginning in 1 Corinthians 7:12: “To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.”
Paul starts out by saying, “To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord).” Some liberal theologians claim that Paul is admitting that he is not speaking with divine authority—that his words are merely his opinion and not inspired Scripture. But that is not what Paul is saying here. In verse 10 Paul says, “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord).” All Paul is saying is that he is not giving new revelation. He is simply reminding the Corinthians of what Jesus taught. But in verse 12 he says, “To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord).” Here Paul says that he is giving new revelation. He is dealing with an issue that Jesus did not address. In Matthew 19, Jesus addressed the issue of believers married to believers. But Jesus did not address the issue of believers married to unbelievers. So, Paul here is speaking with divine authority. He is giving inspired instructions concerning an issue that Jesus did not address.
So, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, Paul is giving instruction to Believers who are married to Happy Unbelievers. And Paul tells them …
1. IF THE UNBELIEVER IS CONTENT TO LIVE WITH YOU, THEN DON’T DIVORCE
Look at verses 12 and 13 again. “To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.”