1 Corinthians 7:27 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 7:27, NIV: Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife.

1 Corinthians 7:27, ESV: Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife.

1 Corinthians 7:27, KJV: Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

1 Corinthians 7:27, NASB: Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.

1 Corinthians 7:27, NLT: If you have a wife, do not seek to end the marriage. If you do not have a wife, do not seek to get married.

1 Corinthians 7:27, CSB: Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.

What does 1 Corinthians 7:27 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Corinthians are living in difficult times. Paul has added that situation to his list of reasons that they should not seek to change their situation, married or not, circumcised or not, slave or free (1 Corinthians 7:17–24).

Now he is addressing whether those who are engaged should go through with the marriage. Should a man betrothed to a woman break off that commitment considering Paul's teaching? Paul says they should not—but his suggestion for those not yet engaged is to not seek engagement. In other words, if you are bound by a promise to marry, go through with it. If you are not, don't look for a wife.

This is the first time in this conversation Paul addresses only men and not women. Remarkably for his time and place, Paul has previously given equal status to both men and women on questions of sex within marriage, authority over their own bodies, and whether to divorce. Here, though, his emphasis on men reflects the reality of his era: young women arranged to be married by their fathers often had little say about the matter.

Paul reminds both genders in the following verse that this is his personal advice and not the command of the Lord. If they do get married, they will not be committing a sin. There will be some drawbacks to pursuing a spouse, as a believer living in an unbelieving world.