First Corinthians 7:17-24


Guiding Principle:

Live out your Christian life where you were at when God called you.

Stay where you are and do not think changing your circumstances will change you spiritually.


Mixed marriage is the topic but the theme becomes –

1)     Living at peace (7:15) and

2)     Staying where you are (7:17)


Point: Do not think you are more spiritual by changing your physical situation


So, 7:1 “Good not to marry (“touch”) was the Corinthian’s attempt to be more spiritual by changing their natural principles, laws and institutions.


In Christ your relationship with God is altered completely at the point of salvation or “calling”.

There is nothing more to do and nothing to improve your spiritual condition.

Leaving your wife (husband), your career,  etc. will not make your spiritual experience better.

Instead, because of your relationship with God you have a transforming presence in your marriage, workplace, relationships, etc.


Paul will now illustrate this with two other examples:

1)     Circumcision – here in Corinth it is a sociological issue and not a religious issue like in Galatia.

2)     Slavery


These examples are used to support his statements concerning:

1)     Sex in marriage

2)     Marriage to a non-believer

The Point remains:  Do not change these (sex, marriage) in an attempt to improve your spiritual life.



kalew” or “calling” is used 8x (the noun “klhsiV” is used 1x)


“Calling” is used:

1)     with each condition listed: circumcised, uncircumcised, slave, free

2)      with the imperative “remain”


Outline of Paul’s argument:

1)     The term “call” describes the born again experience.

2)      The “call” came to people in any one of many social situations.

3)      These two realities (saved as a member of the kingdom of God and a citizen with natural responsibilities and needs) overlap in a variety of issues and circumstances:

a.       Since God calls people while they are in any and every social situation this proves that the social or natural situation is irrelevant

b.      Since the social situation (marriage, Jew, slave, business man) is irrelevant at the time of the call it remains irrelevant after the call.

c.       But, since these social situations are irrelevant then if change does occur (slave becomes free, career changes, etc.) then this change is also irrelevant in light of your spiritual condition.




Nevertheless” refers back to verse 15 where an exception was made to marriage with the unbeliever leaving.  “Nevertheless” then returns to Paul’s point that change in circumstances is not to be sought due to a person having become a Christian.


ei       mh         ekastw            wV         memeriken          o   kurioV        ekaston

    Only              to each             as         has divided        the Lord             each


wV       keklhken             o        qeoV       outwV          peripateitw

as       has called                       God           so              let him walk


kai      outwV       en       taiV        ekklhsiaiV           pasaiV          diatassomai.

And         so          in          the          churches               all                   I command



Retain” or “Remain” is imperative and so is a command.  It is the word “peripateitw” and means “to make one’s way, to make progress, to make due use of ones opportunity, to regulate one’s life, to conduct one’s self”


This verse sets forth the basic principle:

“Live out your Christian life where you were at when God called you!


Gal. 3:28 states a similar principle:  It does not matter if you are a Jew, Greek, male, female, slave or free.  You are fine.


This same principle is restated at the end of this argument in 7:24:

“Each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to.”


Paul’s concern is not that the people can not change their position in life but that they not change it due to poor theology.

Paul is telling them that they can live out their natural lives without damaging their spiritual life. 

It is proper to live out your natural life


Two  areas they are to live their Christian life:


1.      That assigned - It is the word “memeriken and means “to part, too apportion a share, to deal, to distribute, to give.

2.      The one called to – It is the word “keklhken ” it is a reference to being called to partake in divine blessing of redemption or salvation.





An incredible statement by Paul the former Pharasee.


But Paul can not let this be turned into a statement like “Obedience to God is nothing.”



Calling” is klhsei

“He was Called” is eklhqh

These are both the same root word