What does 1 Corinthians 7:29 mean?
ESV: This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none,
NIV: What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not;
NASB: But this I say, brothers, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none;
CSB: This is what I mean, brothers and sisters: The time is limited, so from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none,
NLT: But let me say this, dear brothers and sisters: The time that remains is very short. So from now on, those with wives should not focus only on their marriage.
KJV: But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;
NKJV: But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none,
Verse Commentary:
Paul indicates that he is getting to a main point, saying "this is what I mean." Time is short in the sense that the Corinthians are living in the last arc of human history: between the death and resurrection of Jesus and the events that will trigger Christ's return. Though two thousand years have passed since Paul wrote these words, Christians are still living during that season, watching and waiting with eager expectation (Romans 8:23).

The time is short in another sense: our individual lives on this earth are short and uncertain. We come and go very quickly from the earth (James 4:14) in comparison to the long history of man and our eternal future after this life. Paul urged believers to accept the permanence of their place in eternity with Christ and the temporary nature of everything on this side of that moment. Christ's return to earth might yet be some years away, but any of us might be faced with eternity at any moment.

That's what Paul means when he says those who have wives should live as though they had none. He clearly doesn't mean this in an overly literal sense, given everything he has written so far. Spouses should not ignore each other or separate because the time is short. Paul has already taught clearly that husbands and wives should continue to be married and even to be sexually active (1 Corinthians 7:2–5). In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Christian men are to focus on their wives and marriages.

Having said that, all marriages are temporary. They end in death and do not continue in the next life (Matthew 22:30). No Christian should place their temporary commitment to their spouse above their eternal service to Christ.
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.
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