What does 1 Corinthians 7:38 mean?
ESV: So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.
NIV: So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does better.
NASB: So then, both the one who gives his own virgin in marriage does well, and the one who does not give her in marriage will do better.
CSB: So, then, he who marries his fiancée does well, but he who does not marry will do better.
NLT: So the person who marries his fiancée does well, and the person who doesn’t marry does even better.
KJV: So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.
NKJV: So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better.
Verse Commentary:
This and the previous two verses provide challenges for modern translators of the original Greek texts. Are these verses written to Christian men who are engaged to be married or to the Christian fathers of young women who are engaged to be married? Bible scholars differ.

In either case, Paul's bottom line is that the engaged man or the father of the potential bride does well to marry her or give her in marriage. Either of them also does well to break off the engagement or to refuse to give her in marriage, provided Paul's conditions are met. The first condition is that the young woman will not be dishonored by an unseemly end to the engagement. The second one is that the man—or the young woman if the father is addressed—has the gift of celibacy, with his or her sexual desire under control.

At that point, with either decision being acceptable to God (1 Corinthians 7:25), Paul speaks again from his own personal preferences (1 Corinthians 7:6–7). If those conditions are met, the choice not to marry is one Paul, himself, prefers more than the good choice to get married. Nobody does anything wrong in either case.
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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