Paul continues his instructional letter to the Christians in Corinth now addressing the unmarried virgins and widows. More of his own account than the Lord’s, the apostle’s advice is poured out in tune with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“25 Now concerning virgins: I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give judgment as one whom the Lord in His mercy has made trustworthy.” (1 Corinthians 7:25)
Paul clearly distinguishes his words as his own and not the Lord’s. He reinforces his mission as one appointed and trusted by God almighty.
“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: 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife.” (1 Corinthians 7:26-27)
Paul calls on the married and the unmarried to stay as they are and focus on serving the Lord, describing each one’s situation as good and according to God’s will. The married should serve as a team while the unmarried should seek and cultivate a relationship with Christ rather than a spouse.
“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.” (1 Corinthians 7:28)
Paul comforts parents who gave their virgin daughters for marriage which was customary at the time. In many countries of the East such arranged marriages continue to this day. The apostle shares his opinion about parents giving their daughters for marriage declaring he would be lenient toward them thereby releasing parents and virgins of guilt concerning marriage.
“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, 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, 31 and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away.” (1 Corinthians 7:29-31)
While marriage is not a sin, distraction from worship and service certainly goes against God’s mission for believers. Paul calls on married Christians to serve as if they were unmarried, surrendering themselves to the will of God, advancing the gospel with undivided hearts and all their strength.
All Christians are born in this world and die in it. As such we are called to push the gospel forward to the four corners of the world, using the world making certain to not misuse it.
“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. 33 But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife.” (1 Corinthians 7:32-33)
Paul reveals the fact those involved in marriage can more easily be distracted from worship and service to God. The apostle calls on married couples to rely on the Holy Spirit for strength when tempted by the enemy, when pulled toward distraction. Focus should be on the Lord, on the gospel and the fulfillment of our mission according to God’s perfect plan.
“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.” (1 Corinthians 7:34)
Again Paul describes those married as more likely to lose focus, tempted to please a spouse rather than God. While marriages last a lifetime, a finite duration, our relationship with God has eternal, infinite consequences.
“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. 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.” (1 Corinthians 7:35-36)
Paul once again releases parents of guilt if they should give their virgin daughters for marriage. The apostle once again mentions the fact virgins should aim their focus on the Lord and the fulfillment of His mission for their lives rather than seek marriage which would impact their focus.
“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. 38 So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better.” (1 Corinthians 7:37-38)
Because a married wife cannot serve in the same capacity as an unmarried virgin Paul distinguishes both as good, the married, and better the unmarried. Along with marriages often comes children, chores and distractions that prevent women from fully committing themselves to serving God hence the gauge used by Paul.
“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. 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.” (1 Corinthians 7:39-40)
Here Paul calls on widows to not seek husbands instead to seek and cultivate their relationship with the Lord serving wholeheartedly, free from distractions associated with marriage.
In this section of his letter to the Corinthians Paul calls on believers to remain as we are and focus on our mission to praise, worship and serve God. While marriage is not a sin, it will likely be a distraction. Married couples can of course serve and push the gospel forward, and this is good, but not like the unmarried whose focus and attention to God are potentially more abundant. Let us pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre