Question: What part of Paul's advice regarding marriage actually represents Paul's opinion?

Table of Contents

Question: What part of Paul's advice regarding marriage actually represents Paul's opinion?

In verse 12, he explains that, in his advice to the unmarried, it is he who is speaking and not the Lord

As Paul counsels those who are married, he says

(10) And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: (11) But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. (12) But to the rest speak I, not the Lord... (1 Corinthians 7:10-12)

Note how he begins by saying that he is commanding, and how he then stops himself and makes it clear that his advice to the married is actually God's commandment – those who are married should stay together. Then, in verse 12, he explains that, in his advice to the unmarried, it is he who is speaking and not the Lord.

Of course, verse 12 goes on with further advice:

(12) ... If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

so that his opening statement in verse 12, "But to the rest speak I, not the Lord," seems to be introducing a new subject. However, we need to remember that there were no verses and no punctuation in what Paul wrote. Certainly, "But to the rest speak I, not the Lord" makes more sense as a closing of the previous subject than as an introduction to the next, since the rest of verse 12 is not actually addressed to "the rest" (i.e., to those not married) at all, but is again advising those who are married. At any rate, Paul makes clear in a later verse that his advice to the unmarried to remain single is not the Lord's commandment, but is his own wise advice.

(25) Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. (26) I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be. (1 Corinthians 7:25-26)

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