12 “But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him.”
But to the rest I, not the Lord, say:
Now Paul turns to the subject of Christians married to non-Christians (7:12-14). The “rest” refers to Christians married to non-Christians. Corinthian believers wanted to know whether a Christian being married to a non-Christian changed the nature of marriage. Were they as members of the body of Christ to remain married to non-believers? This was a sincere question by the Corinthians seeking a proper understanding of the Christian life. Marriage to an unbeliever does not defile the believer.
The phrase “not the Lord” does not deny inspiration of Scripture but only indicates that the Lord did not speak to this issue while He was on earth. Jesus never gave a total exposition on divorce while He lived on earth.
If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her.
Paul argues that marriage to a non-believer does not change the nature of marriage so, when people become Christians, they are to remain married. If the non-believer wants to remain married, then the believer should remain married.
And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him.
In both cases, whether the believer is the husband or the wife, continuance in marriage is dependent upon the willingness of the non-Christian to continue the marriage. Christians should not divorce against the will of the unbeliever.
As a general principle, a Christian is not to divorce the unbelieving partner.
An unequal yoke to a non-believer can be frustrating but it is not grounds for divorce. The believer is not to take the initiative in divorcing the unbeliever.
1 Peter 3: 1Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.