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1 Corinthians 7:17

ESV Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.
NIV Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.
NASB Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this way let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches.
CSB Let each one live his life in the situation the Lord assigned when God called him. This is what I command in all the churches.
NLT Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches.
KJV But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.

What does 1 Corinthians 7:17 mean?

Previous verses contained Paul's instruction that Christians who are married should stay married and that single people should not necessarily seek to be married. In other words, people ought not seek to change their marital status as if one option or the other was mandatory. He was not teaching that people had to, as a matter of Christian morality, maintain their current relationship statuses. In the upcoming verses, Paul expands on that thought.

He now writes that this general principle applies to many other areas of life. Becoming a Christian does not mean, automatically, that God desires a person to completely change all their relationships, occupations, or locations. Rather, speaking in general terms, Christians should stay as they were when the God called them to faith in Christ. The first opportunities for discipleship, service, and obedience are right there.

He says in this verse that God is the one who has assigned these particular places in life to His people when they were called to faith. God intends to make use of each of us. For the most part, that means serving and obeying in the exact positions and relationships we were in when He called us. Some, of course, are called to go or move, either physically or socially. But that's not the case for everyone.

Paul intentionally adds that this isn't just a rule for the church in Corinth. It is the same rule he teaches in every church. His examples of this teaching will include circumcision and slavery.
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