1 corinthians7:14 question


1 Corinthians 7:14
For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his believing wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.

Does this mean if a person marries an non believer or unbaptized he or she will be “saved” through their partner?


No, but he(she) may be helped by the spose to reach God


This portion of counsel was in refutation to the marital severance laws of that time. It was common in Jewish circles to consider that for converts into Judaism, their former lives would be severed including marriages. If a person from a pagan marriage were to convert, the former pagan life would be considered ritually unclean including any children that were the fruit of that marriage.

St. Paul is speaking here about the dignity of marriage being such that a Christian convert can elevate the marriage, and far from others remaining unclean, can through their actions bring about the conversion of the other. As such, the severance laws are not applicable for Christians. St. Peter also speaks about the spouse’s impact on the other in more detail later in his first epistle in chapter 3.

As an aside, the Pauline privilege, (a consideration during the annulment process), is rooted in this passage.


As always with scripture context is everything, so let’s have a look.

***[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?
[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 remove 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 whatever state each was called, there let him remain with God.

***[FONT=Georgia]So the answer to your question is right there in verse 16.
***[16] Wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?

***[FONT=Georgia]From context then we see that St. Paul is not suggesting salvation just by being married to a believer, but the consecration of the children of such a union, and that in a Jewish context of unclean vs clean.


…I think that the term you’re looking for is “spouse.”

No. There’s no blanket Salvation.

At the time that this passage was written people had been living together (couplings, civil union, marriages). Not all who heard the Gospel Believed. So there would be a number of families where only the husband or the wife had become Christian. St. Paul counsels against separation (divorce) since through the Faith of one spouse the other spouse and their children could become converts. An outright divorce/separation would cause enmity between the couple and the non-Believer and the children could not only remain non-Believers but might even become anti-Christians.

Maran atha!



Holy and saved are not exactly the same thing.
One must be holy if they are saved, but you can be holy without being saved.
Holy means precious to God, and implies cleanness.
(Jesus says that If a man is merely cleaned, he can still be invaded by seven spirits worse than the first. )

Therefore: A pregnant woman does not automatically make her children “saved” although Paul is making her out to be a source of holiness for her children. ( Clean vs. Unclean. )

You can look at it like this… When a man and a woman are married (Jesus and his Church) she is saved by him because they are one Flesh. But if he dies or divorces her for impurity, then she is damned unless she finds another spouse.

A human is the “likeness” of Jesus. Jesus is the head and source of life for his church.
We can reason by analogy that a wife of a Catholic receives grace because of her husband. But when he dies (for he is not the source of Eternal life) she has a problem
Her source of grace was through a husband who receives grace from the Son.
Human Marriage ends at death. That is part of the punishment Adam and Eve brought on marriage.

When you look at it like that, the reverse must also be true. The wife who sanctifies the unbelieving husband is granting him Grace because she is the body of Christ.
She is not the fountain of eternal life, but only a conduit.


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