1 Corinthians 7:25 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 7:25, NIV: 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.

1 Corinthians 7:25, ESV: Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.

1 Corinthians 7:25, KJV: Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.

1 Corinthians 7:25, NASB: Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I am offering direction as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy.

1 Corinthians 7:25, NLT: Now regarding your question about the young women who are not yet married. I do not have a command from the Lord for them. But the Lord in his mercy has given me wisdom that can be trusted, and I will share it with you.

1 Corinthians 7:25, CSB: Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I do give an opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is faithful.

What does 1 Corinthians 7:25 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Earlier, Paul referenced a letter sent to him by the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 7:1). It's possible this verse begins a response to a separate question from that letter. Paul may also be continuing to respond to the original statement in verse 1.

He begins by speaking, "about the betrothed," according to the ESV. The actual Greek word used here is parthenōn, which more literally means "virgins." The word, itself, doesn't say exactly who Paul has in mind. Often, "virgin" is used in Scripture to describe young, unmarried women. The context of the verses that follow, however, indicates Paul is addressing males who are engaged to marry young women. For that reason, translations such as the ESV present this as a reference to "betrothed" instead of "virgins."

What follows is not about whether Christians should have sex—that is, to lose their virginity—but about whether they should still get married if they are under an agreement to do so. Earlier passages dealt with a misconception among the Corinthians that becoming a believer meant renouncing marriage and sexuality. Paul disputed that, saying that God had plans for people in whatever state they were called to faith (1 Corinthians 7:17).

In the next verse, Paul will give his personal preference. He makes very clear, however, that his view is not a direct command from the Lord. He will add in verse 28 that someone who does not follow his advice here will not be guilty of sin. Instead, he asks his readers to receive his instructions about this one thing in view of his trustworthiness. He writes that it is only by God's mercy—not his own merit—that Paul's advice is worth trusting.

In other words, engaged people should carefully consider what he is about to say before deciding whether to go through with their marriage plans. As an experienced and reliable spiritual advisor, his opinion ought to carry weight.