The Bible is a timeless book that speaks to us in every era. However, some of the passages can be challenging to comprehend. One such text is 1 Cor 7:25-40, which deals with marriage and singleness. In this article, we will explore this passage and understand its relevance in today’s world.
The apostle Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to address the issues that the Corinthian church faced. The passage in question deals with the question of whether it is better to remain single or get married. In this context, Paul advises the people of Corinth to remain as they were when they came to faith.
Verse by Verse Analysis
Verse 25: “Now concerning virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who has obtained mercy from the Lord to be trustworthy.”
Paul starts by addressing the issue of virginity. He clarifies that he has no commandment from the Lord, but he is giving his opinion as someone who is trustworthy.
Verse 26: “I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress—that it is good for a man to remain as he is:”
Paul advises the Corinthians to remain as they are because of the present distress. The context of this statement is unclear, but Paul may be referring to the persecution of Christians.
Verse 27: “Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife.”
Paul advises those who are married to remain married, and those who are single to remain single.
Verse 28: “But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless, such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you.”
Paul clarifies that marriage is not a sin, but those who marry will face troubles in the flesh. However, he advises them to remain single to spare themselves from such troubles.
Verse 29: “But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none,”
Paul reminds the Corinthians that the time is short, and they should focus on the kingdom of God rather than their earthly relationships.
Verse 30: “those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess,”
Paul advises them to detach themselves from their emotions and possessions, and focus on the kingdom of God.
Verse 31: “and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away.”
Paul reminds them that the world is fleeting, and they should focus on eternal things.
Verse 32: “But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord.”
Paul advises the unmarried to focus solely on pleasing the Lord.
Verse 33: “But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife.”
Paul acknowledges that those who are married have to care for their spouses as well as the Lord.
Verse 34: “There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband.”
Paul reiterates that those who are unmarried can focus solely on pleasing the Lord, while those who are married have to care for their spouses as well.
Verse 35: “And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.”
Paul clarifies that he is not trying to restrict them but advising them for their own good, so that they can serve the Lord without any distractions.
Verse 36: “But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry.”
Paul advises those who have a desire to marry to go ahead and do so, as there is no sin in it.
Verse 37: “Nevertheless, he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well.”
Paul acknowledges that those who choose to remain unmarried do well if they are steadfast in their decision and have control over their will.
Verse 38: “So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better.”
Paul advises those who give their daughters in marriage to do well, but those who do not give them in marriage do better.
Verse 39: “A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.”
Paul clarifies that a wife is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if he dies, she is free to marry again, as long as it is within the Lord’s will.
Verse 40: “But she is happier if she remains as she is, according to my judgment—and I think I also have the Spirit of God.”
Paul concludes by stating that those who remain single are happier, according to his judgment, and he believes that this advice is from the Spirit of God.
Application to Today’s World
Paul’s advice may seem outdated in today’s world, where marriage is seen as an essential part of life. However, his advice is still relevant, as it reminds us to focus on eternal things rather than temporal relationships. In a world where divorce rates are high, Paul’s advice to remain single may be a better option for some individuals.
Furthermore, Paul’s advice to detach oneself from emotions and possessions is still relevant today. Many people are consumed by their possessions and emotions, which distract them from serving the Lord. By detaching oneself from these things, one can focus on God and serve Him without distractions.
1 Cor 7:25-40 is a challenging passage, but it reminds us to focus on eternal things and detach ourselves from temporal relationships and possessions. Paul’s advice is still relevant in today’s world, where people are consumed by their emotions and possessions. By following Paul’s advice, we can serve the Lord without distractions and live a more fulfilling life.