Lord God, you know my needs before I ask and you invite me to be with you. I surrender to you.
Read 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[a] 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.[b]
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.
- 1 Corinthians 7:36 Or if she is getting beyond the usual age for marriage
- 1 Corinthians 7:38 Or 36 If anyone thinks he is not treating his daughter properly, and if she is getting along in years (or if her passions are too strong), and he feels she ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. He should let her 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 to keep the virgin unmarried—this man also does the right thing. 38 So then, he who gives his virgin in marriage does right, but he who does not give her in marriage does better.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectBring to the Lord anything that’s bothering or distracting you, maybe everyday things demanding too much attention or big, worrying things to which you can’t see any solution. He longs to take the burden of them.
More tough instructions from Paul! He knows that the ‘present crisis’ (v 26; see also vs 29,31) – probably the Romans persecuting the Jews, or perhaps just turmoil in the church at Corinth – would put far greater pressure on marriages. It may help to keep these three main points in mind as you think about today’s verses: Paul clearly shows that he himself would rather be single than married – it’s his preference, he thinks that’s the best way, and he speaks from that perspective (v 7); Christians should be content with their current situation and live it out fully to the glory of God (v 17); they should be as free as possible from any major distraction from serving the Lord (v 35). (Paul thinks that, for him, needing to care for and please a wife might be such a distraction.)
Read today’s passage again with these three thoughts in mind, to see if they help you with what it all might mean. Paul wanted the Corinthians to be able to live with ‘undivided devotion to the Lord’ (v 35). No wavering!
‘Lord, keep me single-mindedly devoted to you, not turned in on myself because of my own situation and needs, or distracted by the short-lived things of the world. I want to live for what counts for eternity. Amen.’
Mighty God, help me today and in the future, to seek you and your kingdom above everything else.
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