What does 1 Corinthians 7:28 mean?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
NKJV: But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you.
Verse Commentary:
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.
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 9:27:26 PM
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