What does 1 Corinthians 7:31 mean?
ESV: and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.
NIV: those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.
NASB: and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the present form of this world is passing away.
CSB: and those who use the world as though they did not make full use of it. For this world in its current form is passing away.
NLT: Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away.
KJV: And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.
NKJV: and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away.
Verse Commentary:
Paul is urging Christians to embrace the reality that our time on this earth is short. In any number of ways, each person's earthly life can come to an end at any moment. The events that will trigger the Lord's return could happen at any moment. Beyond that, our lives on this side of eternity are fragile and pass very quickly (James 4:14).

How should we live in the here and now? Paul has given a counter-perspective to the view that this life as all there is. His quip is that we should be married as if we are not married. We should mourn, rejoice, and make purchases as if we do not experience those emotions or end up with any products. Clearly, he has something in mind other than a shallow, literal approach. Paul's point is that we should hold every temporary relationship and possession loosely while we grip tightly our commitment to serve Christ.

Now he adds a blanket statement to sum up this idea. Christians who deal with the world should live as if they don't. Of course, everyone deals with the world in one sense or another. We live here. We must navigate through relationships and decisions and lifestyle choices. Paul does not call us out of the world. Instead, he calls believers not to put any hope in finding lasting meaning and purpose in the form of the world that is passing away.

Paul phrased this same concept in clear terms when writing to the believers in Colossae. Here's how he put it in Colossians 3:1–4:

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:1–4).
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 7/23/2024 8:20:53 AM
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