1 Corinthians 7:

15But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

17Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. 18Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. 19Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts. 20Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.

21Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. 22For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 23You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. 24Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.

The word "called" is used 9 times in this passage? Is there a significance? Is Paul talking about a once-in-a-lifetime calling from God? How does this jive with Matthew 22:14 English Standard Version:

For many are called, but few are chosen.”

  • 1
    Paul is obviously talking to a Christian audience, meaning that he is addressing the ones that, to a certain extent, have already affirmatively answered the call; as an apostle, he called much more people, whilst preaching the gospel, but not all accepted his message about Christ.
    – Lucian
    Commented Aug 31, 2021 at 18:22

3 Answers 3


God called Abraham and we see God calling people again in scripture.

We also see this is his choice.

Brothers, consider the time of your calling: Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were powerful; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly and despised things of the world, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast in His presence. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God: our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Therefore as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”<

Frequently the word church comes from the word ekklesia .

Strong's Greek: 1577. ἐκκλησία (ekklésia) — 114 Occurrences

1577 ekklēsía(from 1537 /ek, "out from and to" and 2564 /kaléō, "to call") – properly, people called out from the world and to God,

To answer your question "What is the significance of the calls In first Corinthians 7.1

God's calling is of extreme importance because it affects everything in a person life and will definitely have a purpose of God in the future.

28And we know that God works together all things for good to those loving God, to those being called according to His purpose, 29because those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be firstborn among many brothers. 30And those whom He predestined, these also He called; and whom He called, these also He justified; and whom He justified, these also He glorified.< Romans 8:28

blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the One having blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms, 4just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world for us to be holy and blameless before Him, in love 5having predestined us for divine adoption as sons to Himself through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He has freely given us in the Beloved One, 7in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8which He lavished upon us in all wisdom and understanding, 9having made known to us the mystery of His will according to His pleasure, which He purposed in Him 10for the administration of the fullness of the times, to bring together all things in Christ—the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth— 11in Him, in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of the One working all things according to the counsel of His will 12for us, the ones having first trusted in Christ, to be to the praise of His glory, 13in whom you also, having heard the word of truth, the gospel your of salvation, in whom also having believed you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14who is the guarantee of our inheritance to the redemption of the acquired possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:18-30 <


Call translates the verb καλέω. In this passage three are perfect tense and six are aorist tense. Perfect tends to emphasize the continued results of a completed action. Aorist tends tends to be used for completed past action. The reason for the switch between the two isn't obvious.

What fits this passage is called refers to the time when a person comes to Christ. The perfect tense probably refers to the state one remains in, but that can't be strictly eliminated from the aorist.

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15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called [κέκληκεν perf.] you to peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? 17 Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned [κέκληκεν perf.] to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches [ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις lit. the called out]. 18 Was anyone at the time of his call [ἐκλήθη aor.] already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call [κέκληταί perf.] uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 19 For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 20 Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called [ἐκλήθη aor.]. 21 Were you a bondservant when called [ἐκλήθης aor.]? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called [κληθεὶς aor. part.] in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called [κληθεὶς aor. part.] is a bondservant of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. 24 So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called [ἐκλήθη aor.], there let him remain with God. (1 Cor. 7:15–24, ESV)

Paul used called assuming the Christian responded positively to that call. However, it is probably too much to use this passage to establish a complete theology about call. God did and does call people for other purposes.

  1. Jonah resisted God's call to a mission.

  2. Abraham was called and the call reaffirmed multiple times: Gen. 12:1-3; 13:14-16; 15:5-21; 17:1-14; 22:15-19; ...

  3. Peter's call as an apostle came four times: *Two* miraculous catches of fish in John 21 and significance?

Church ἐκκλησία means called out, but its meaning before meaning church was assembly. Thus it was called out to assemble, not directly related to the call to salvation. So, one can look at a call to assemble.


BDAG notes that the verb καλέω (kaleó) in 1 Cor 7 means:

#4 From the meanings to "summon" and "invite" there develops the extended sense choose for receipt of a special benefit or experience, call, ... in the usage of the NT, as well as that of the LXX, of the choice of persons for salvation: God (much more rarely Christ) calls 1 Thess 2:12, 1 Peter 2:9, 5:10, 1 Tim 6:12, 1 Cor 1:9, Gal 1:15, 2 Thess 2:14, Col 1;12, Rom 8:30, 9:24, 1 Cor 7:17-24, Eph 1:11, 2 Tim 1:9, etc.

All these uses of the verb kaleó as God's invitation to accept salvation is part of the great doctrine of God's election - that is, salvation is God's initiative:

  • Rom 5:6, 8 - For at just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. ... But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • Phil 2:13 - For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good purpose.
  • John 6:44 - “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
  • Rom 2:4 - Or do you disregard the riches of His kindness, tolerance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you to repentance?
  • Eph 2:5 [Christ] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our trespasses. It is by grace you have been saved!

Peter issues this warning:

  • 2 Peter 1:10, “make your calling and election sure”. This clearly allows for the possibility of losing one’s election. See also 2 Peter 2:21, 3:17.

Thus, God calls all people to salvation through faith in His Son Jesus. We see this played out many times in OT stories of people like Noah, Abraham, the messages of the prophets to call people to serve God, etc.

Further, not only does God call people to salvation, but also calls us to fulfill specific roles in God's work of reaching others (Matt 28:19) by providing abilities (spiritual gifts, 1 Cor 12, etc) and vocations to accomplish that work to which we are all called.

  • 1 Cor 7:17 - Regardless, each one should lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him and to which God has called him.

APPENDIX - God call to salvation is to all people

  • John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
  • John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave …”
  • John 12:32, “I [Jesus] … will draw all people to myself.”
  • John 12:47, “… for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.”
  • Acts 17:30, “God … commands all people everywhere to repent.”
  • Rom 3:23, 24, “… for all have sinned … and all are freely forgiven...”
  • Rom 5:8, 10, “… while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. … if, while were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him by the death of His Son, …”
  • Rom 5:15, “But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s [Adam’s] offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to the many.” [Note the same word, “many” applies to all people.]
  • Rom 5:18, “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all people, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all people, resulting in justification of life.”
  • Rom 11:32, “For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.”
  • 2 Cor 5:14, “…we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.”
  • 2 Cor 5:18, 19, “…God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ …”
  • 1 Tim 2:3, 4, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
  • 1 Tim 2:6, “[Jesus Christ] gave Himself as a ransom for all people.”
  • Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God appeared bringing salvation to all people.”
  • Heb 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
  • 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
  • 1 John 2:2, “He Himself [Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours [Christians to whom John writes] only but also for the whole world.”
  • Isa 53:6, “We all like sheep have gone astray … and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

The Bible frequently makes this same point of wanting to save all people by emphasising that God does not show favouritism but treats all people impartially (Duet 10:17-19, 2 Chron 19:7, Eze 18:25, Mk 12:14, Acts 10:34 Rom 2:10-11; Eph 6:9, 1 Pet 1:17).

Thus, God saved (“elected”) all people by extending His Grace to everyone, even before they sinned! Further, God did this without any input from us, nor request from us, nor consultation with sinners (Eph 2:5). Unfortunately, many will reject this wonderful, free offer.

  • Dottard, You put a great list together of God's salvation being for everyone. Just thought I would add a few more. Trustworthy is the saying, and worthy of full acceptance. For to this we toil and strive,because we have hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. Command and teach these things. 1 Tim. 4:8-10 Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 2 Tim.1:9 Grateful that God's will is greater than man's.
    – Sherrie
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 4:28
  • @Sherrie - good additions. Many thanks.
    – Dottard
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 5:05

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