1 Corinthians 7:28 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 7:28, NIV: But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.

1 Corinthians 7:28, ESV: But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that.

1 Corinthians 7:28, KJV: But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

1 Corinthians 7:28, NASB: But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such people as yourselves will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you.

1 Corinthians 7:28, NLT: But if you do get married, it is not a sin. And if a young woman gets married, it is not a sin. However, those who get married at this time will have troubles, and I am trying to spare you those problems.

1 Corinthians 7:28, CSB: However, if you do get married, you have not sinned, and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But such people will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you.

What does 1 Corinthians 7:28 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul's ongoing instruction in this passage is that Christians should generally maintain their current status in life. Meaning, they don't need to deliberately seek out radical changes such as marriage for the sake of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:17–24). Now he is addressing more specifically whether unmarried Christians should seek to be married. For the most part, his teaching is that they should not. Now he makes clear that they will not be guilty of sin if they do get married. The Lord is not commanding single people not to marry.

In fact, Paul has described two scenarios under which unmarried people should follow a typical path towards marriage. First, if their sexual appetite is so strong that they fight to maintain self-control and avoid sexual immorality, they should expect to get married. He wrote that it is better to marry than to burn with passion (1 Corinthians 7:9).

In the previous verse, he also added that a Christian who has committed to get married—one who is betrothed—should stay on that course and go through with it. Also, of course, a Christian who is currently married should remain married, to the extent that such a thing is up to him or her.

Beyond those expansive exceptions, however, Paul is definitely encouraging unmarried people to remain single. It's important to remember that Paul explicitly labelled this as his own personal advice, and preference. That encouragement is not, in any sense, a command from God (1 Corinthians 7:25–26).

Paul will soon explain the benefits of being single. Here, first, he points to the downside of being married. Married people experience worldly troubles. Paul's personal advice is for Christians who don't need to marry to avoid those troubles.

What troubles, exactly, accompany becoming one in marriage with a spouse? That question, by and large, will never be asked by someone who has been married for any length of time. The typical husband and wife can detail multiple aspects of life which make marriage challenging. Paul describes marriage as bringing anxiety and divided interests, as each spouse attempts to please his or her mate. None of this is meant to imply that marriage is not worthwhile or meaningful. Rather, Paul understands that becoming "one flesh" with another person adds complexity to life that shouldn't be embraced without clear thinking and pure motives.