Year of the Bible

1 Corinthians 7

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Commentary on the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, Chapter 7:

In this chapter Paul’s “Q&A style” shifts to specifically responding to questions he received in writing from the community of believers in Corinth (vs. 1).  The believers in Corinth have asked Paul if husband and wife should be celibate within marriage or not. Why would Christians have such a question? The goodness of creation, including the human body, was not a widespread belief in the ancient world. Paul proposes that there is value in celibacy, and it is even his preference (though Paul is humble enough to not replace the wider beliefs of the Church with his own personal preference) (vs 6-8, 40). At the same time, physical intimacy within marriage reveals a radical equality of men and women, the husband gives his body to his wife, and the wife gives her body to the husband (vs. 3-5). This equality between man and woman in marriage is stunningly different from the secular culture of the 1st century (and beyond), where the inherent superiority of men over women was unquestioned, and women’s bodies were viewed as the property of men. Paul’s practical response points to the truth that God creates all humans with equal dignity. Because of God’s redemptive work, we can glorify God in our bodies (6:20) as we “lead the life which the Lord as assigned” to each of us (vs. 17).


First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, Chapter 7:

Concerning Marriage

1 Now concerning the mat­ters about which you wrote.
It is well for a man not to touch a woman. 2 But because of the temptation to immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own hus­band. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not refuse one another ex­cept perhaps by agreement for a season, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, lest Satan tempt you through lack of self­ control. 6 I say this by way of concession, not of command. 7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.
8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. 9 But if they cannot exercise self­ control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.
10 To the married I give charge, not I but the Lord, that the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband)— and that the husband should not divorce his wife.
12 To the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not di­vorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband. Otherwise, your chil­dren would be unclean, but as it is they are holy. 15 But if the un­believing partner desires to sepa­rate, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. For God has called us to peace. 16 Wife, how do you know wheth­er you will save your husband? Husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?

Leading the Life the Lord Has Assigned

17 Only, let every one lead the life which the Lord has assigned to him, and in which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 18 Was any one at the time of his call already cir­cumcised? Let him not seek to re­ move the marks of circumcision. Was any one at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 19 For neither cir­cumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keep­ing the commandments of God. 20 Every one should remain in the state in which he was called. 21 Were you a slave when called? Never mind. But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity. 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 So, brethren, in what­ ever state each was called, there let him remain with God.
25 Now concerning the un­married, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the impending distress it is well for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. 28 But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a girl marries she does not sin. Yet those who marry will have worldly trou­bles, and I would spare you that. 29 I mean, brethren, the appoint­ed time has grown very short; from now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the form of this world is passing away.
32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; 33 but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or virgin is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivid­ed devotion to the Lord.
36 If any one thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. 37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has de­termined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. 38 So that he who marries his betrothed does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better.
39 A wife is bound to her hus­band as long as he lives. If the husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But in my judgment she is happier if she re­mains as she is. And I think that I have the Spirit of God.


*Daily Lectio Divina Question:

Paul says “everyone should live as the Lord has assigned, just as God called each one.” (v. 17) Lord, what vocation are you calling me to? And if I’m living my vocation, how am I living it well and in what ways are you calling me to improve?




Revised Standard Version; Second Catholic Edition. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2006). Permission to use the RSV-2CE given for Bishop's Year of the Bible by Ignatius Press. Many thanks to Ignatius for this.If you're looking for a good Catholic edition of the Bible, look no further

1 Corintios 7

1 Corintios 7

7 1 En cuanto a lo que me habéis escrito,

más le vale al hombre no tocar a una mujer;

2 pero ante el peligro de fornicación,

que cada uno tenga su mujer y cada una su


3 Que el marido cumpla su deber

conyugal con la mujer; y lo mismo la

mujer con el marido. 4 La mujer no es

dueña de su propio cuerpo, sino el marido;

del mismo modo, el marido no es

dueño de su propio cuerpo, sino la mujer.

5 No privéis al otro de lo que es suyo,

a no ser de mutuo acuerdo, durante algún

tiempo, para dedicaros a la oración;

y de nuevo volved a vivir como antes,

para que Satanás no os tiente por vuestra

incontinencia. 6 Esto lo digo como

condescendencia, no como mandato.

7 Me gustaría que todos los hombres

fuesen como yo; pero cada cual tiene de

Dios su propio don, uno de una manera,

otro de otra.

8 Pero a los no casados y a las viudas

les digo que más les vale permanecer

como yo. 9 Y si no pueden guardar continencia,

que se casen; mejor es casarse

que abrasarse.

10 En cambio, a los casados, les mando,

no yo sino el Señor: que la mujer no

se separe del marido, 11 y en caso de que

se separe, que permanezca sin casarse o

que se reconcilie con su marido; y que el

marido no despida a su mujer.

12 A los demás les digo yo, no el Señor:

si algún hermano tiene una mujer

no creyente, y ella consiente en habitar

con él, que no la despida; 13 y si alguna

mujer tiene un marido no creyente, y

éste consiente en habitar con ella, que

no despida al marido. 14 Porque el marido

no creyente es santificado por la mujer,

y la mujer no creyente es santificada

por el hermano. De no ser así, vuestros

hijos serían impuros, y ahora son santos.

15 Pero si el no creyente se separa,

que se separe. En este caso, ni el hermano

ni la hermana quedan ligados; porque

Dios nos ha llamado a vivir en paz.

16 Pues ¿qué sabes tú, mujer, si salvarás

a tu marido? ¿Qué sabes tú, marido, si

salvarás a tu mujer?

17 Por lo demás, que cada uno permanezca

en la condición que le asignó el Señor,

en la que tenía cuando le llamó Dios. Así lo

dispongo en todas las iglesias.

18 ¿Fue llamado alguien cuando estaba

circuncidado? Que no lo oculte. ¿Ha

sido llamado alguien cuando no estaba

circuncidado? Que no se circuncide.

19 Nada es la circuncisión ni es nada

la falta de circuncisión: lo importante es

la observancia de los mandamientos de

Dios. 20 Que cada uno permanezca en la

vocación en que fue llamado. 21 ¿Fuiste

llamado siendo siervo? No te preocupes;

y aunque puedes hacerte libre,

aprovecha más bien tu condición; 22 porque

el que siendo siervo fue llamado

en el Señor, es liberto del Señor. Igualmente,

el que fue llamado siendo libre,

es siervo de Cristo. 23 Habéis sido comprados

mediante un precio; no os hagáis

esclavos de los hombres. 24 Que cada

uno, hermanos, permanezca ante Dios

en el estado en que fue llamado.

25 En cuanto a la virginidad, no tengo

precepto del Señor, pero doy un consejo,

como quien por la misericordia

del Señor merece confianza. 26 Así pues,

considero que, por la presente necesidad,

más le vale al hombre permanecer

como está. 27 ¿Estás unido a una mujer?

No busques la separación. ¿No estás

unido a una mujer? No busques mujer.

28 Si te casas, no pecas, y si una virgen

se casa, no peca. Sin embargo, así tendrán

la tribulación en la carne, que yo

querría evitaros. 29 Hermanos, os digo

esto: el tiempo es corto. Por tanto, en

lo que queda, los que tienen mujer, vivan

como si no la tuviesen; 30 y los que

lloran, como si no llorasen; y los que se

alegran, como si no se alegrasen; y los

que compran, como si no poseyesen; 31 y

los que disfrutan de este mundo, como

si no disfrutasen. Porque la apariencia

de este mundo pasa. 32 Os quiero libres

de preocupaciones. El que no está casado

se preocupa de las cosas del Señor,

de cómo agradar al Señor; 33 el casado

se preocupa de las cosas del mundo, de

cómo agradar a su mujer, 34 y está dividido.

La mujer no casada y la virgen se

preocupan de las cosas del Señor, para

ser santas en el cuerpo y en el espíritu; la

casada, sin embargo, se preocupa de las

cosas del mundo, de cómo agradar a su

marido. 35 Os digo esto sólo para vuestro

provecho, no para tenderos un lazo,

sino en atención a lo que es más noble

y al trato con el Señor, sin otras distracciones.

36 Si alguno considera que no se

comporta honestamente con su virgen,

ya que ella está en la flor de la edad, y

es conveniente que se case, ponga por

obra su deseo; no peca: que se casen.

37 Pero el que permanece firme en su corazón,

no por necesidad, sino pudiendo

disponer por voluntad propia, y en

su corazón determina guardarla virgen,

hará bien. 38 Por tanto, quien desposa a

su virgen obra bien; y quien no la desposa

obra mejor.

39 La mujer está ligada a su marido,

mientras él vive; pero si muere su marido,

queda libre para casarse con quien

quiera, pero sólo en el Señor. 40 Más feliz

será, sin embargo, si permanece así, según

mi consejo; que pienso que yo también

tengo el Espíritu de Dios.


Pregunta de Lectio Divina del día de hoy

Pablo dice ´ que cada uno permanezca en la condición que le asignó el Señor, en la que tenía cuando le llamó Dios´(v. 17) Señor ¿a qué vocación me estás llamando? Y, si estoy viviendo mi vocación, ¿en qué la estoy viviendo bien y en qué  maneras me  estás llamando a mejorar?


La Biblia de Navarra

Permiso para usar esta versión de la primera edición de la Biblia de Navarra

para el Año de la Biblia del Obispo 

dado por Ediciones Universidad de Navarra, S.A. (EUNSA).