“To the Unmarried” 1 Corinthians 7:25-40
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1 Corinthians 7:25-40
As we continue with the Apostle Paul's writings on marriage, keep in mind the context. He is responding to direct questions from the Corinthian believers:
"Must a Christian get married? What about the unmarried young women in the church, and the older women, "past the flower of youth?" (vs. 36 NKJV)
"How about the men, those 'betrothed" to, and the fathers of "virgin daughters?" (vs. 37 NKJV)
Paul will give answer not from "the Lord's commandment" (vs. 25), but his "judgment as one, who by the Lord's mercy, is trustworthy." (vs. 1)
Keeping all of this in mind, understand that the primary directive here is to honor and serve Christ first in all we do "that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord." (vs. 35)
"I have no command from the Lord..."
* Paul knew of Christ's teachings concerning marriage, divorce and sexuality (Matt. 19:3-11), and his "judgment” concerning "virgins" was not specifically given by Christ.
"...one who...is trustworthy..."
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me trustworthy, appointing me to His service.
(1 Tim. 1:12)
Paul possessed the qualifications a judge should have. (1 Cor. 6:1-5)
"...the present crises..."
* Paul is writing of Corinth, it's hedonism, complete disregard for God and His commands, and the effect it had on believers living there.
Much like the U.S.A. today. Continuing on in this depth of depravity and sin will ultimately lead to God's judgment. (Rom. 1:18-34)
"...it is good for a man to remain as he is."
* During times of extreme hardship, including the period of time at "the end of the age" marrying and having children will make life more difficult.
How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!
"But if you do marry, you have not sinned..."
* Marriage before God is never a sin. It is His plan for us, and His creation. (Gen 1:27-28, 2:21-25)
"But those who marry will face many troubles in this life..."
* Marriage in the best of circumstances is difficult.
* During times of "crises" it can be even more difficult.
"The sea of matrimony is rough under the most favorable circumstances."
J. Vernon Magee
"...I want to spare you this."
* Paul is their shepherd, "spiritual father," and only wants what is best for his flock.
These next verses (29-31) describe the period of time just before "the last day."
Paul would later in this epistle, write to them of “the last trumpet” and the resurrection at the end of the age. (1 Cor. 15:51-52)
"...the time is short..."
* The tribulation period is seven years prior to the return of Christ.
* Every day we are closer to His second advent!
The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.
(1 Pet. 4:7)
"...those who have wives should live as if they do not."
* Paul is not saying to abandon your wives.
* Paul is saying that, in spite of the "crises," stress of the times we are to put Christ first.
If you are married, can you act as if you are not married by living for Christ first?
"Those who mourn, as if they did not..."
* Will you let tragedy and sorrow keep you from serving Christ?
"...those who are happy: as if they were not..."
* Will you let pleasure take the place of your relationship with God?
"...those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep..."
* Will you let your work or possessions take the place of God?
"Those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them."
* Anything in the world that God has given us for our use, is good as long as we remember:
- We are in the world, but not of the world, not to love the world.
Gk. - Kosmos - The sum of temporal possessions. (Strong's 2889)
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.
(1 Jn. 2:15)
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore,
anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
"For this world in its present form is passing away."
* Sooner rather than later!
* “World” – The world system, “the old order of things,” led by “the prince of this world.”
The point here is: Are the things in your life and the world controlling your life, or does Christ control your life?
"...be free from concern..."
* "Concern" – Care, worry, anxiety
"...an unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs - how he can please the Lord."
* Simply stated: Christ is his first priority or "concern."
"But a married man...how he can please his wife..."
* Rightfully so, this is a married man's responsibility. Pleasing his wife, loving his wife. (Eph. 5:25)
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her...
"And his interests are divided."
Family responsibility can distract from a pure focus on the kingdom. The unmarried person doesn't have to worry about bringing home groceries or changing dirty diapers.
"An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs...devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit..."
* Witness Martha and Mary:
"...live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord."
* If our attention is divided, so will be our devotion, and we are called to the devotion of a soldier in the Lord's army.
Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets
entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.
(2 Tim. 2:3-4)
In the following section of verses, there are two appropriate translations, both applicable.
First: Men engaged to virgins
"...acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to..."
* "Engaged" - Betrothed (NKJV), with all the rights and responsibilities thereof.
"...if his passions are too strong...he ought to marry..."
* Better to marry than fornicate.
But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
(1 Cor. 7:9)
"But the man...who is under no compulsion..."
* A different man, not bound by a betrothal or marriage contract. To break this contract was an official act with penalties.
"...has control of his own will..."
* "Will" – Control over his “passions.”
"...he who does not marry does better."
* In light of Paul's previous direction in verses 26, 29-31, "present crises" and "the time is short."
Second: Fathers of virgins
"...treating his daughter properly..."
* "Daughter" - Virgin daughter, betrothed or not.
"...and if she is getting along in years..."
* Daughters would marry at 14-20 years old, prime child bearing years in the ancient world, the most desirable time for betrothal.
"...or if her passions are too strong...he should let her get married."
* Best to let her marry during her prime child bearing years, and avoid the problem of unfulfilled passion. (vs. 9)
"...who has made up his mind to keep the virgin unmarried..."
* Again, a father who has decided to not allow his virgin daughter to marry, and there is no "marriage contract.”
"...he who gives his virgin (daughter) in marriage does right, but he who does not...does better."
* Again, for the same reason - "The time is short," "The present crises."
"A woman is bound to her husband..."
* To stay married until he dies. (Rom. 7:2-3)
"...but he must belong to the Lord..."
* She is to marry a believer only, not become "unequally yoked."
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
This is right for all of us, in marriage, as well as in life.
"I, too, have the Spirit of God."
* Paul could certainly claim that. I wonder about us!
The important thing here is to serve God, to put God first in your life.
If a person is married or unmarried, God should still be first in their life.
Unfortunately, there are many Christian couples where God does not have first place in their lives. And their marriage is not as blessed as it should and could be.
And others best serve the Lord as singles. (Matt. 19:10-12)
So, when considering marriage, the question you need to ask yourself:
In what way can I put the Lord first in my life?
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