|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:10-16 Man and wife must not separate for any other cause than what Christ allows. Divorce, at that time, was very common among both Jews and Gentiles, on very slight pretexts. Marriage is a Divine institution; and is an engagement for life, by God's appointment. We are bound, as much as in us lies, to live peaceably with all men, Ro 12:18, therefore to promote the peace and comfort of our nearest relatives, though unbelievers. It should be the labour and study of those who are married, to make each other as easy and happy as possible. Should a Christian desert a husband or wife, when there is opportunity to give the greatest proof of love? Stay, and labour heartily for the conversion of thy relative. In every state and relation the Lord has called us to peace; and every thing should be done to promote harmony, as far as truth and holiness will permit.
Verse 15. - If the unbelieving depart. The sense of the word rendered "depart" is rather "wishes to be separated." Is not under bondage; literally, has not been enslaved. Our Lord assumes one cause alone - unfaithfulness - as adequate for the disruption of the marriage tie; but he was not contemplating, as St. Paul is, the case of mixed marriages. To peace; rather, in peace. Peace is to be the sphere in which the calling comes, and in which it issues. Milton, in his 'Tetrachordon,' quotes Maimonides to the effect that "divorce was permitted by Moses to preserve peace in marriage and quiet in the family." Similarly, a voluntary separation might be the only possible means of preserving moral peace where the union was between souls separated from each other by so vast a gulf as those of a pagan and a Christian.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But if the unbelieving depart,.... If the unbelieving party, man or woman, separate themselves from the believing party on account of religion, and in hatred to it, and will not live with the believer unless Christ is denied, his Gospel abjured, and his ordinances and worship relinquished:
let him depart; he or she, though not without making use of all proper means to retain them; but if, after all, they will go, unless such things are complied with as are unreasonable and sinful, they are not to be held, but let go; and the deserted person may sit down contented, being not to be blamed, the fault entirely lying upon the deserter:
a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. The Ethiopic version reads it, "to such an one"; one that is called by grace a church member, and so a brother or sister in Christ, is not to be subject to an unbeliever in matters of conscience, in things appertaining to the worship of God, and the service and glory of Christ; nor, being in such circumstances, that either Christ must be forsaken, or the unbeliever will depart, are they obliged to yield to such an one, but rather suffer a departure; nor are they bound to remain unmarried, but are free to marry another person, after all proper methods have been tried for a reconciliation, and that appears to be impracticable; desertion in such a case, and attended with such circumstances, is a breach of the marriage contract, and a dissolution of the bond, and the deserted person may lawfully marry again; otherwise a brother, or a sister in such a case, would be in subjection and bondage to such a person:
but God hath called us to peace; which ought to be sought after and maintained, so far as it can be consistent with truth, the glory of God, the honour of Christ, and interest of religion. The believing party being threatened with a desertion, ought as much as possible to seek for peace and reconciliation, and do all that can be to prevent a departure; for saints are called by the grace of God, to follow after and cultivate peace, not only with one another in their Christian communion as saints, but with all men, even their enemies, and especially with such as are so nearly allied; wherefore the departure should not be easily admitted, or a new marriage be suddenly entered into, reconciliation, if it can be obtained, being most eligible and becoming a Christian.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. if … depart—that is, wishes for separation. Translate, "separateth himself": offended with her Christianity, and refusing to live with her unless she renounce it.
brother or a sister is not under bondage—is not bound to renounce the faith for the sake of retaining her unbelieving husband [Hammond]. So De 13:6; Mt 10:35-37; Lu 14:26. The believer does not lie under the same obligation in the case of a union with an unbeliever, as in the case of one with a believer. In the former case he is not bound not to separate, if the unbeliever separate or "depart," in the latter nothing but "fornication" justifies separation [Photius in Æcumenius].
but God hath called us to peace—Our Christian calling is one that tends to "peace" (Ro 12:18), not quarrelling; therefore the believer should not ordinarily depart from the unbelieving consort (1Co 7:12-14), on the one hand; and on the other, in the exceptional case of the unbeliever desiring to depart, the believer is not bound to force the other party to stay in a state of continual discord (Mt 5:32). Better still it would be not to enter into such unequal alliances at all (1Co 7:40; 2Co 6:14).
1 Corinthians 7:15 Parallel Commentaries
1 Corinthians 7:15 NIV
1 Corinthians 7:15 NLT
1 Corinthians 7:15 ESV
1 Corinthians 7:15 NASB
1 Corinthians 7:15 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible