1 Corinthians 7:25-40 … GUIDELINES FOR SINGLES AND FATHERS IN A HOSTILE CULTURE.
Q.1. Was it wrong for singles to marry? How dangerous was marrying during times of persecution? What made it wise to hide your beliefs and marital state? – (1 Cor.7:25-32) =
Q.2. Where was the focus for single believers? What added responsibilities did marriage bring? What was Paul’s desire for the believers? – (1 Cor.7:32-35) =
Q.3. What does Paul mean by acting unbecomingly to his daughter? What responsibility did a father fulfill for his single daughter? Is a widow free to marry? – (1 Cor.7:36-40) =
The Unmarried and the Widowed
25 Now concerning[a] the betrothed,[b] I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.26 I think that in view of the present[c] distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman[d] marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.
32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
36 If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed,[e] if his[f] passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. 37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. 38 So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.
39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.40 Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.
Q.1. Was it wrong for singles to marry? How dangerous was marrying during times of persecution? What made it wise to hide your beliefs and marital state? – (1 Cor.7:25-32) = Paul thought it best for people to remain single if God had not given them the gift of singleness (1 Cor.7:6-7). To save them from trouble, it was his opinion that because of the persecution of his days – that it is good for a man to remain as he is (1 Cor.7:25-26 c.f. Acts 8:1-3; 11:19; 18:2; 1 Cor.7:28-29). He indicates that under these conditions life was fleeting and that they should be wary of digging their roots into a life that was soon passing away (1 Cor.7:30-31). Nevertheless, Paul reiterates that – if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned (1 Cor.7:28). It was much easier to move and make decisions quickly without the responsibilities of a spouse and children and Paul explains that – I want you to be free from concern (1 Cor.7:32).
Q.2. Where was the focus for single believers? What added responsibilities did marriage bring? What was Paul’s desire for the believers? – (1 Cor.7:32-35) = Paul gives reasons why singleness could be better than marriage by highlighting that – … 32 one who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord … 34 The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit (1 Cor.7:32 & 34). By comparison the – one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife … and his interests are divided … and the one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband (1 Cor.7:33-34). Paul sought the best for believers and explained – … 35 This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord (1 Cor.7:35). Paul gives this advice particularly to those gifted not to marry and those experiencing persecution.
Q.3. What does Paul mean by acting unbecomingly to his daughter? What responsibility did a father fulfill for his single daughter? Is a widow free to marry? – (1 Cor.7:36-40) = It needs to be underscored that a father’s unbecoming actions would not be speaking of sexual abuse because this is roundly condemned in the Bible. It seems to be referring to a father reducing his daughter to servitude and preventing her marriage for selfish reasons. He instructs fathers – … if she is past her youth, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry (1 Cor.7:36). Provided the father had a clear conscience to keep his daughter unmarried and provide for her properly then that was acceptable (1 Cor.7:37). So what would make keeping her single better? At a time when there would not be an abundance of Christian husbands, it would be better for a virgin daughter to respect her father’s wishes and not to marry (1 Cor.7:38). Though Paul insists that a widow or widower may be happier not to marry, he makes it clear that such people are free to marry – A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord (1 Cor.7:39 c.f. 1 Cor.7:40).
(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)
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