1 Corinthians 7:34 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 7:34, NIV: and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world--how she can please her husband.

1 Corinthians 7:34, ESV: 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.

1 Corinthians 7:34, KJV: There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

1 Corinthians 7:34, NASB: and his interests are divided. 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; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

1 Corinthians 7:34, NLT: His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband.

1 Corinthians 7:34, CSB: and his interests are divided. The unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But the married woman is concerned about the things of the world--how she may please her husband.

What does 1 Corinthians 7:34 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has written that unmarried Christian men have one advantage over their married brothers in Christ. They can focus their lives fully on pleasing the Lord, which is the main objective of the Christian life. Married men must focus both on pleasing the Lord and pleasing their wives.

Paul now turns to women with the same idea. Unmarried or engaged—"betrothed"—women can fully focus their time and energy on serving the Lord, as well. Paul adds that they have the undivided opportunity to grow in their understanding of how to be holy in both body and spirit. Obviously, this does not mean a married woman is not holy in her body or spirit. Her sexual union with her husband does not mean that she is less holy in some way. All Christians, married or single, can lead holy lives (2 Corinthians 7:1). Unmarried women, however, are not divided between this pursuit and that of pleasing their husbands.

Again, Paul is not condemning marriage or married women. They are not lesser Christians. Marriage is a high calling for both men and women. But by definition, Christian marriage is a life spent in self-sacrificing service to another human being (Ephesians 5:22–33). Paul is not lowering the value of married life; he is elevating the value of the single life as an opportunity to serve Christ without division or distraction. Every Christian woman should seriously consider this opportunity and not marry simply to follow custom or fulfill other people's expectations.