1 Corinthians 7:25-40 Concerning the Unmarried
25 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
29 What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.
32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
36 If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. 37 But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing. 38 So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does better.
39 A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. 40 In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is—and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.
Words to Live By:
Paul outlines two blessed estates, that of marriage and that of celibacy. We are often aware of the blessings of marriage, God’s unique gift that survived humanity’s fall into sin. Yet there are also responsibilities with marriage, and it is particularly important for the Christian to consider these when sitting down to “count the cost” of discipleship (Lk 14:28). In the Lord and by His grace, each person is fitted to one or to the other.
Living God’s Word:
Although Paul’s words were written almost two thousand years ago, his counsel rings true. Struggling marriages, quick divorces, and lonely singles are not a modern invention. Life in a fallen world is difficult. Paul’s responses to the Corinthian questions and mistakes are filled with wisdom, realism, truth—the evidences of inspiration by God’s Spirit. Some of his guidelines may not apply directly to us personally; others may be difficult to understand. But neither of those points relieves us from acting on what does apply and what we do understand. Take the clear steps of obedience, and much of the ambiguity will fall away.
Making it Real:
Are you living the life God has you living today to his glory?
Lord, help me understand my gifts and calling in accordance with Your Word and mission. O Christ, deliver me from all shame. Amen.