What does 1 Corinthians 7:27 mean?
ESV: Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife.
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.
NASB: Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.
CSB: Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.
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.
KJV: Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.
NKJV: Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife.
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
First Corinthians 7:25–40 explores Paul's response to a question about those who are engaged to be married. Should they go through with it, considering his teaching that singleness provides opportunity to serve Christ undivided? Both are permitted, Paul insists, and you do well in either case. Paul's unique, personal view is that unmarried Christians can serve without the troubles that come with even the best marriages; they can remain fully focused on living for Christ. That is neither a command nor a judgment binding on anyone.
Chapter Summary:
Paul rejects an idea concerning the Corinthian believers: that married Christians should not have sex. Perhaps some even thought marriages should be dissolved and avoided. On the contrary, Scripture says married Christians should have regular sex in order to avoid temptation. Those who are married ought to remain married. Unmarried believers with the gift of celibacy, however, should consider remaining single in order to avoid the troubles of marriage. That is Paul's personal preference, though that gift is not given to all others. Single believers can devote themselves to serving Christ without distraction. The time is short. All believers should live and serve Christ now as if this world is passing away.
Chapter Context:
First Corinthians 7 follows Paul's teaching in the previous chapter, which focused mostly on avoiding sexual immorality. Here he commands married husbands and wives not to deprive each other of sex, or get divorced, in a misguided attempt to be more spiritual. Unmarried people who can live contentedly without sex, however, should consider remaining single in order to serve Christ undivided. Getting married is good, but the time is short. The form of this world is passing away. Unmarried people should think about the opportunities to avoid trouble and serve Christ that come with staying single.
Book Summary:
First Corinthians is one of the more practical books of the New Testament. Paul writes to a church immersed in a city associated with trade, but also with corruption and immorality. These believers are struggling to properly apply spiritual gifts and to resist the ungodly practices of the surrounding culture. Paul's letter gives instructions for real-life concerns such as marriage and spirituality. He also deals with the importance of unity and gives one of the Bible's more well-known descriptions of love in chapter 13.
Accessed 5/24/2024 10:12:22 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.