1 Corinthians 7:16
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

New Living Translation
Don't you wives realize that your husbands might be saved because of you? And don't you husbands realize that your wives might be saved because of you?

English Standard Version
For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Berean Study Bible
How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Berean Literal Bible
For how do you know, wife, if you will save the husband? Or how do you know, husband, if you will save the wife?

New American Standard Bible
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?

King James Bible
For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For you, wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Or you, husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?

International Standard Version
Wife, you might be able to save your husband. Husband, you might be able to save your wife.

NET Bible
For how do you know, wife, whether you will bring your husband to salvation? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will bring your wife to salvation?

New Heart English Bible
For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For what do you know, woman, if you will save your husband, or you, man, if you will save your wife?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
How do you as a wife know whether you will save your husband? How do you as a husband know whether you will save your wife?

New American Standard 1977
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?

Jubilee Bible 2000
For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or what knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

King James 2000 Bible
For how do you know, O wife, whether you shall save your husband? or how do you know, O man, whether you shall save your wife?

American King James Version
For what know you, O wife, whether you shall save your husband? or how know you, O man, whether you shall save your wife?

American Standard Version
For how knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? Or how knowest thou, O husband, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

Douay-Rheims Bible
For how knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband ? Or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife ?

Darby Bible Translation
For what knowest thou, O wife, if thou shalt save thy husband? or what knowest thou, O husband, if thou shalt save thy wife?

English Revised Version
For how knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O husband, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

Webster's Bible Translation
For how knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

Weymouth New Testament
For what assurance have you, O woman, as to whether you will save your husband? Or what assurance have you, O man, as to whether you will save your wife?

World English Bible
For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Young's Literal Translation
for what, hast thou known, O wife, whether the husband thou shalt save? or what, hast thou known, O husband, whether the wife thou shalt save?
Study Bible
Principles of Marriage
15But if the unbeliever leaves, let him go. The believing brother or sister is not bound in such cases. God has called you to live in peace. 16How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? 17Regardless, each one should lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is what I prescribe in all the churches.…
Cross References
Romans 11:14
in the hope that I may provoke my own people to jealousy and save some of them.

1 Peter 3:1
Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your husbands, so that even if they refuse to believe the word, they will be won over without words by the behavior of their wives
Treasury of Scripture

For what know you, O wife, whether you shall save your husband? or how know you, O man, whether you shall save your wife?

O wife.

1 Corinthians 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made …

Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that wins souls is wise.

Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels …

1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed to yourself, and to the doctrine; continue in them: for …

James 5:19,20 Brothers, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him…

1 Peter 3:1,2 Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, …

how. Gr. what.

(16) For what knowest thou, O wife . . .?--This verse has been very generally regarded as a kind of modification of the previous one, as if the Apostle suggested that it might be advisable not to let the unbelieving partner depart from the marriage union when he so desired, in any case where there was even a chance of the believing partner effecting his or her conversion. The true meaning of the passage is, however, precisely the opposite. The Apostle declares that the remote contingency of the unbeliever's conversion is too vague a matter for which to risk the peace which is so essential an element in the Christian life. If the unbelieving partner will depart, do not let any thought as to the possible influence you may exercise over his religious convictions--about which you cannot know anything, but only at most vaguely speculate--cause you to insist upon his remaining.

Some historical results, arising from the view that this is a suggestion of the good which may result from such union being continued, are interestingly alluded to by Stanley in his note on this passage:--"This passage, thus interpreted, probably had a direct influence on the marriage of Clotilda with Clovis, and Bertha with Ethelbert, and consequently on the subsequent conversion of the two great kingdoms of France and England to the Christian faith."

Verse 16. - For what knowest thou, O wife, etc.? The meaning is as follows: - You may, perhaps, plead that, by refusing to sever the union, the believing partner may convert the unbelieving; but that possibility is too distant and uncertain on which to act. St. Peter does indeed show that so blessed a result is possible ("That, if any obey not the Word, they also maybe won... by the conversation of the wives," 1 Peter 3:1); but he is only speaking of cases in which the unbelieving husband did not wish the union to be dissolved. The ancient misinterpretation of the passage (due to neglect of the context and of the argument as a whole) viewed it as an argument for mixed marriages, founded on the chance of thereby winning souls. Most misinterpretations of Scripture have done deadly harm; this one, however, has been overruled for good, and led, as Dean Stanley points out, to such happy marriages as that of Clotilde with Clovis, and Bertha with Ethelbert of Kent. For what knowest thou, O wife,.... These words may be understood, as containing a reason either why the believing party should be easy at the departure of the unbeliever, after all proper methods have been used in vain to retain him or her; taken from the uncertainty and improbability of being of any use to them, to bring them to the knowledge of Christ, and salvation by him; "for what knowest thou, O wife"; thou dost not know, thou canst not know, thou canst not be sure,

whether thou shall save thy husband? be the means of bringing of him under the means of grace, and so of his conversion and salvation; there is no likelihood of it, since he is such an implacable enemy to Christ, and so bitterly averse to the Gospel, and the ordinances of it; and therefore since he is determined to separate, even let him go: or else, as rendering a reason why the believer should seek for peace and reconciliation, and by all means, if possible, continue to dwell with the unbeliever; taken from hopes of being serviceable under a divine influence and blessing, for their spiritual and eternal good, the wife for the good of the husband; by whose conversation he may be won over, and prevailed upon to entertain a better opinion of the Christian religion; to take a liking to the Gospel, and to attend upon the ministry of the word, which may be made the power of God unto salvation to him:

or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shall save thy wife; this may possibly be done, in the same manner as now suggested: persons in such a relation have often great influence upon one another, and are by divine Providence often great blessings to each other, in things spiritual as well as temporal. This puts me in mind of a case related by the Jewish doctors (a):

"it happened to a holy man that he married a holy woman, and they had no children; say they, we are of no manner of profit to the blessed God; they stood up and divorced one another; he went and married a wicked woman, and she made him wicked; she went and married a wicked man, "and she made him righteous";''

or, to use the apostle's phrase, "saved him".

(a) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 17. fol. 14. 4. 16. What knowest thou but that by staying with thy unbelieving partner thou mayest save him or her? Enforcing the precept to stay with the unbelieving consort (1Co 7:12-14). So Ruth the Moabitess became a convert to her husband's faith: and Joseph and Moses probably gained over their wives. So conversely the unbelieving husband may be won by the believing wife (1Pe 3:1) [Calvin]. Or else (1Co 7:15), if thy unbelieving consort wishes to depart, let him go, so that thou mayest live "in peace": for thou canst not be sure of converting him, so as to make it obligatory on thee at all costs to stay with him against his will [Menochius and Alford].

save—be the instrument of salvation to (Jas 5:20).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.
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