Summary: In this passage, Paul addresses an issue in detail that he had touched on earlier in 1 Corinthians 7.8-9. The issue was, “Does a Christian have to get married, and how about the unmarried women in the church who are not getting any younger” (see I Co 7.36).

December 19, 2012

Commentary on First Corinthians

By: Tom Lowe

Topic #6: Questions Concerning Marriage, 1 Corinthians 7.1-7.40

Lesson 6.4: Concerning the Unmarried

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 7.25-35

1 Cor 7.25-35 (KJV)

25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.

26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.

27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

28 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.

29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.


In this passage, Paul addresses an issue in detail that he had touched on earlier in 1 Corinthians 7.8-9. The issue was, “Does a Christian have to get married, and how about the unmarried women in the church who are not getting any younger” (see I Co 7.36). Perhaps Paul had in mind the parents of marriage-age girls. Jesus did not have anything to say about this particular topic, therefore the apostle gave his opinion like one taught by the Lord. He pointed out several things for them to consider, before getting married.

This lesson has been split into four sections:

Section 1: The personal judgment of Paul. 7:25–26.

Section 2: The prospect of tribulation. 7:27–28.

Section 3: The passing away of worldly fashions. 7:29–31.

Section 4: The problem of divided allegiance. 7:32–35.

Section 1: The personal judgment of Paul. 7:25–26.


25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.

Now concerning virgins (young women of marrying age-see notes on Chapter 6.5, verse 36)

It was a time of distress (see v 26), and society was undergoing change (see v 31). Some found it difficult to find time to serve the Lord (see v 29). There were probably economic and political pressures in Corinth that we are not aware of.

Several translations read: “Now concerning virgin daughters,” which I think is correct. That is really what he is talking about here. Paul is in the process of answering a question posed to him in a letter from the Corinthian assembly. They wanted to know whether they should continue in the same state or not, whether they should marry or not. From what Paul says next, we know that the Lord Jesus never addressed this issue.

I have no commandment of the Lord:

This does not mean that this verse is not inspired; it is just as inspired as any other verse. And Paul is correct when he says, “I have no commandment of the Lord,” because in our Lord’s instructions regarding marriage and divorce recorded in the Gospels, there is no record of His speaking directly to this issue. But Paul could have added that there is nothing mentioned concerning celibacy, or commanding persons to live a single life in the Old Testament law; but on the contrary there are many things directing and agitating to a marriage state; but the apostle did not have any command from the Lord Jesus Christ, under the Gospel dispensation, to recommend virginity; or any special orders, or peculiar revelation from the Spirit of God that would settle the argument.

This reveals that Paul knew the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ and what He taught. However, he specifically says here that concerning virgins he has no commandment from the Lord.

yet I give my judgment,

And so, the apostle says, “yet I give my judgment.” Once again, we cannot say that his advice is less inspired than something he may or may not quote from our Lord. He is giving his opinion as a capable judge because he had obtained the mercy of God and he wanted to be faithful to God. In other words, he possessed the qualifications a judge should have as he had told them in chapter 6. Remember, in Paul’s time the revealed word of God was incomplete. We now have the all of the revealed truth of God, and we do not need any new epistles or commandments from Spirit-filled, Spirit-controlled men. Paul was a special minister to the Gentiles, and God gave him revelations and the right to give out commands and teaching as the Holy Spirit directed him. He could instruct them in what was the most advisable, convenient, and prudent to be done, considering persons, times, and circumstances. But notice that the apostle does not make use of his power and authority to make decrees, and prescribe rules, that would bind their minds; instead, he humbly and modestly gives his opinion, and in order to get them to take his advice, he adds,

as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.

The meaning of this is not that he, through the goodness and mercy of the Lord, had preserved his virginity, and so he holds himself up as an example of celibacy; since it is not certain, that though the apostle was now single, that he had never been married; it seems rather that he had been married at one time, but was now single, and therefore this cannot be the gist of it. The meaning here is that the plainness, honesty, and integrity, which was apparent throughout the whole course of his life, and especially in his conversations with men; and particularly in giving advice about any matter, or declaring his opinion on any subject; greatly recommend him, and commands attention and regard for what he says. And faithfulness, in this sense is not natural; but an act of pure of grace; it is obtained not by a man's own power and strength, but by the grace and mercy of God. It is what Paul was ready to acknowledge upon all occasions: I labored more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me, (1 Co 15:10). And it is great mercy which those obtain from God who proves faithful in the ministry of his word.

He was a faithful apostle of Christ, and therefore his instruction was to be regarded as a rule of Christ. Though Christ had not delivered any universal law concerning virgins, He now gives instruction as an inspired apostle, one who had obtained mercy from the Lord to be faithful. Note, Faithfulness in the ministry is due to the grace and mercy of Christ.

26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.

I suppose, therefore, that this is good

“I suppose” does not mean that Paul was uncertain about what to do; on the contrary, he was very sure about the principle he was going to lay down.

The Greek word kalos is used here for “good,” meaning either something that is inherently good— that is, something well adapted to its circumstances or outcome; something good in quality or beneficial in its effect.

The topic is still whether it is better for a man to marry, or remain single. The opinion of the apostle is that it was better for persons that were single to continue so. However, this did not mean that if a man was married, he should seek a divorce (see v. 27). Paul’s instruction is for the unmarried, and his reason for it follows…

for the present distress, (necessity)

The Greek word used here for “distress” means that which arises from the pressure of external circumstances—as a result of which people tend to do that which they wouldn’t do under ordinary circumstances. He could be referring to the persecution against the Church and Christians that was just beginning to come to the forefront. Christians could lose their jobs, have personal property confiscated; they could be arrested and beaten, and even lose their life. Christians were under great pressure, and that is what caused much of the distress in their lives. Added to that was the common pressures of life; raising children, providing for a family, sickness, taxes, threats of war, sorrows, cares, debt, and trials. It was a time of great affliction and distress for all who were saved by grace and wished to serve God and his kingdom. The apostle was fully aware of the present condition of the Christians at Corinth, and that is why he thought it was advisable for those who were single to remain single; since they were often forced to move from place to place, to get away from persecution. This would be difficult for those who were married since they might have young children to take care of, and provide for: “And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!” (Matt 24:19; KJV). “For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck” (Luke 23:29; KJV).

I say, that it is good for a man so to be.

“For a man so to be” means he should not change his condition. Most Bible scholars agree that the meaning here is that it is good for a man to remain as he is at the time of his conversion. Because of the severe persecutions, the Christians were already undergoing, any drastic or hasty social changes could be detrimental rather than helpful to him as a believer.

“It is good for a man” to remain single. In Paul’s judgment, celibacy is to be preferred. Why? His answer is for the present distress. The Apostle Paul had already experienced intense persecution, and no doubt anticipated it would get worse. History records all too well that he was right.

The apostle does not add, "even as I"; as he does in 1 Corinthians 7:8—“I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I”— which seems to confirm the conjecture already made, that he was not a bachelor, but a widower; otherwise he would no doubt have reinforced this advice by his own example, as before. His advice is worded modesty, but delivered with the full force of apostolic authority. It is not the mere opinion of a private man, but the unique wisdom of the Spirit of God in an apostle, which gave it more weight. Those that were prejudiced against the apostle might have rejected this advice if it had it been given with a mere look of authority. Note, Ministers do not lose their authority by speaking humbly and with respect for others. They must become all things to all men, that they may do them good. This is good, says he, for the present distress. The early Christian Church was grievously persecuted. Their enemies were very bitter against them, and treated them very cruelly. They were continually persecuted. Since this was the state of things, he did not think it was advisable for Christians that were single to change conditions. The married state would encumber and expose the family to danger and make persecution more terrible, and render them less able to bear it.

Section 2:The prospect of tribulation. 7:27–28.

27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

Art thou bound unto a wife?

Are you bound to a woman; either by promise, or by engagement, or by legal marriage; all of which are an obligation, a bond, a union, and especially the latter; marriage is a bond that cannot be dissolved, except by the death of one of the parties, or unless there has been a case of adultery, or one of the parties has deserted the marriage: “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband” (1 Cor 7:2; KJV). Marriage is unique in that it is a bond with mutual obligations. The husband is bound by the law of marriage to live virtuously and to love his wife, take care of her, and provide for her. The wife is bound by the same law to live in like manner with her husband, and to submit to him, and obey him.

seek not to be loosed.

Paul is careful to reassure them that he does not condemn marriage in general, but he does put certain restrictions on the married parties: Do not leave her, or seek to be divorced or even desire to be freed from all obligations to her by death. “Seek not to be loosed” means that it is your duty to continue in the married relationship, and fulfill your responsibilities to your partner. And though one may suffer persecution within the marriage, and find life to be difficult; yet, to avoid these difficulties, they must not cast off nor break through the bonds of marriage. Duty must be done, and God trusted with events. But to neglect doing your marital duties is the way to put ourselves out of divine protection.

art thou loosed from a wife?

The situation here is the man that has never been married, or else he was married at one time, but she is dead now or the marriage was dissolved by a legal divorce. And therefore, he says, “If thou art loosed from a wife (in a single state, whether bachelor or widower, virgin or widow) do not seek a wife, do not hastily change conditions.”

seek not a wife.

Be content to live without a wife; do not go around looking for one, and do not enter into marriage; because it is best to remain single provided the person has the gift of continence (self control; able to control sexual desires); otherwise a man should marry, because it is better to marry than to burn: “Don't withhold yourselves from each other unless you agree to do so for a set time to devote yourselves to prayer. Then you should get back together so that Satan doesn't use your lack of self-control to tempt you” (1 Cor 7:5; GW). Although what Paul has said can never justify the dissolution of a marriage, hopefully it will discourage some from getting married. Notice that “bound” refers to marriage and “loosed” to divorce. This verse warns the divorced not to remarry, but also states that it is not a sin to do so.

Now Paul goes on to discuss other things with them, all in the light of the present distress. He mentions five things which are necessary, which are inevitable, and which are the common experience of mankind in this world. He discusses marriage, sorrow, joy, commerce, and then, their relation to the world in general. Marriage is the first one he discusses.

28 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.

But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned;

“Sure,” Paul says in effect, “It is all right to go ahead and marry, but remember that you will have trouble.” And they will. If you have an opportunity to council young people who are planning to marry, be sure to tell them that the romantic period will pass. When the first month’s rent comes due and there is not much money in the bank, believe me, romance flies out the window.

Of course, it is not sinful to marry. But the sea of matrimony is rough even under the most favorable circumstances. Paul is trying to save them from the trouble that lies ahead. That reminds me of the country boy who was being married. The preacher said to him, “Wilt thou have this woman to be thy lawfully wedded wife?” The young fellow answered, “I wilt.” And I guess he did! In our day we are seeing the shipwreck of a growing number of marriages—even among Christians. The divorces in Southern California, for example, are now about equal in number to the marriages. That reveals that we also have a “present distress.” Also, I recently heard that in America, for the first time in our nation’s history, more people are living together in an unmarried state, than are currently married.

If a man that has never been married, or one that has been and is now legally divorced, wants to marry, he commits no sin, and he breaks no law of God, far from it; marriage is an honorable state. We need to understand that the advice the apostle gave before was not meant to talk anyone out of getting married; marriage is neither sinful nor criminal, but under the present circumstances, where Christians were persecuted, it is more advisable not to marry; and what he says of a man holds equally true for a woman. However, Paul has never said that being married or single is more spiritual than the other state; this was the big error of the Corinthian Christians. But he did say, “For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that” (1 Cor 7:7; KJV). Men that have that special gift of God are able to control their sexual urges, and for them the single life is better: for all others—“it is better to marry than burn.”

Marriage is honorable and lawful; and though there may be circumstances where it is advisable not to enter into this relationship, nevertheless there is no law which prohibits it. The same advice would be proper now, if it were a time of persecution; or if a man is poor, and cannot support a family, or if he already has a dependent mother and sisters that he must support; it would be well to follow the advice of Paul. And when a man’s heart’s desire is to go out on some foreign mission field, the cares of family life would take up his time and efforts, and for that reason, the voice of wisdom may be in accordance with that of Paul; that a man who is free from these cares may give himself with more undivided interest, and work more successfully for the salvation of man.

and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned.

There is no law forbidding “virgins” (young women) to marry, any more than there is for young men; so, if they meet the criteria mandated by the law and their religion they are free to marry—they break no law of God, and consequently they do not sin. This verse refers to virgin daughters, but men are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 7:26: “I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.”Again, while it seemed prudent, in light of the impending persecution, not to marry, it was not wrong to do so.

nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh:

Young men and young women, who choose to marry, are no different than anyone else, since they generally promise themselves a great deal of pleasure, but married life usually involves a great deal of trouble; and that trouble comes even where they expected the most satisfaction and delight, "in the flesh"; the body, the outward man, and external circumstances of life. This "trouble" is the same as the present trouble mentioned before; the persecutions and tribulations the saints suffer in the flesh—this may be extended to include all the sorrows, troubles, and distresses which always seem to accompany the married life.

Marriage is not in itself a sin, but marrying at that time was likely to bring persecution upon them, and therefore he thought it advisable and expedient that those who could control their sensual urges should refrain from it; but Paul would not lay the yoke of celibacy on them; and therefore says, But I spare you. Note, how the Catholics are the opposite of the apostle Paul in this! They forbid many to marry, and entangle them with vows of celibacy, whether they can bear the yoke or not. If married, Paul says, thou hast not sinned. There is nothing morally wrong with getting married. Nevertheless, such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

but I spare you.

“But I spare you,” because I will not dwell on such a gloomy theme. I will not make you sad by describing the troubles that are coming your way. I will not do anything to discourage you from acting as you think right, for fear that you would become dejected, and fall into temptation and sin; or because of the great respect he had for the Corinthians, he gave the above advice, to keep themselves single, so that they might better bear afflictions and persecutions, and escape many of the troubles which others must endure. If you choose to marry, it is lawful; and I will not embitter your joys and hurt your feelings by describing your future difficulties and trials. The word flesh in the previous phrase denotes outward circumstances: They might have peace of mind, because religion would furnish that; but they would be exposed to poverty, persecution, and tragedy.

Section 3: The passing away of worldly fashions. 7:29–31.

29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

But this I say, brethren, the time is short:

This affectionate warning was given in the light of the insecurity, impermanence, and instability of life. Man’s time upon the earth is indeed "short" when compared with the longevity of the patriarchs. All earthly pursuits should be made and all obligations and conditions considered in the light of the tragic fact that "Upon my day of life the night is falling!" Let us not for one moment think that this principle was developed by Paul from a mistaken belief that the Second Advent was close at hand. There is not the slightest hint in this passage of Christ's second coming, except in the general sense of its being always proper for Christians to live expecting it and being prepared for it. The time of Christ's return was one point on which Jesus declared that the apostles could not be informed. It makes me tired to read the nit-picking of those esteemed theologians who teach in our universities, who are always babbling about how the apostles and the early church were mistaken about this. All of them with even elementary knowledge of what Jesus taught knew that the time of the Second Coming had not been revealed, not even to the Son of God—“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matt 24:36; KJV); and the various apostolic teachings with respect to "expecting" it were given in the light of that knowledge. Instead of a conceited gloating in their so-called "mistake" on this teaching, it would be far better for Christians today to take the same attitude as the apostles and pray, "Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20); such words have exactly the same meaning for us as they had for the apostles who articulated them, and in neither case can there be any kind of "mistake"!

But this I say. Whether you are married or not, or in whatever condition of life you may be, I would remind you that life is moving quickly to a close, and that its grand business is to be prepared to die. It does not matter what condition or rank of life you are in, if we are ready to depart to another and a better world.

The time is short. The time is constricted, limited, restricted, and tight. The word which is used here is commonly applied to the act of furling a sail, i.e., gathering into a compact roll and binding securely a sail against a spar; and is then applied to anything that is reduced within narrow limits. Perhaps there was a reference here to the fact that the time was contracted, or made short, by their impending persecutions and trials. But it is always equally true that time is short. It will soon fly away, and come to a close. I am currently in the so called “golden years”, and believe me, time has never gone so fast as it has since I retired. The idea the apostle has in mind here is, that the plans of life should all be formed in view of this truth, THAT TIME IS SHORT. No plan should be adopted which does not contemplate this; no commitment of life made when it will not be appropriate to think of it; no relationship entered into when the thought, "time is short," would be an unwelcome intruder: “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Peter 4:7; KJV).

Some criticize Paul, or even declare him a false prophet, because he says the time is short. But Paul is true to the heart and teaching of Jesus, who told all Christians in all ages to be ready and anticipate His return. Jesus told us all in Matthew 24:44, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” We are to be ready, and to regard the time as short, not only because Jesus can return at any time, but also because it cultivates a more obedient, on-fire walk with Jesus Christ. Even without considering the return of Jesus, it is worthwhile and accurate for Christians to live as if the time is short. The Psalmist expressed this attitude in Psalm 39:5: Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.

This is another reason, with which the apostle supports his advice to virgins, and unmarried persons, to remain as they are; since the time of life is so very short, and it is only a little while to the end of the world, and second coming of Christ; and therefore seeing the marriage state is so full of care and trouble, and it affords less time for the service of Christ and religion, he thought it advisable for them to continue in a single life, so they might be at leisure to make use of that little time they had for their spiritual good and welfare, the edification of others, and the glory of Christ.

it remaineth that both they that have wives

This does not mean that they are to treat their wives with unkindness or neglect, or fail in the duties of love and faithfulness. It is to be taken in a general sense, that they were to live above the world; that they were not to be overly attached to their wives; that they were to be ready to part with them; and that they should not permit attachment to them to interfere with any duty which they owed to God. They were in a world of trial and testing; and they were exposed to persecution; and as Christians they were duty-bound to live entirely for God; therefore, they should not allow attachment to earthly friends to alienate their affections from God, or to interfere with their Christian duty. In other words, they ought to be just as faithful to God, and just as pious, in every respect, as if they had no wife and no earthly friend. Such a consecration to God is difficult, but not impossible. Our earthly attachments and cares draw away our affections from God, but they do not need to do it. Instead of being the reason for alienating our affections from God, they should be the means of binding us more firmly and entirely to him and his cause. But regrettably! How many professing Christians live for their wives and children only, and not for God! How many allow these earthly objects of attachment to alienate their minds from God, rather than make them the justification for uniting more tenderly to him and his cause!

be as though they had none;

Paul is saying that in spite of the stress of the times, they are to put God first. If you are married, can you act as if you are not married by putting God first? Paul is not encouraging them to neglect their proper family duties, but he is encouraging them to live as if the time is short. It means that we will not live as if our earthly family was all that mattered, but we will live with an eye to eternity. A time is short attitude will not indulge the feelings and things of this world; weeping, rejoicing, having possessions, and being entertained must not get in the way of following Jesus. Morris had this to say about the world passing away: "There is nothing solid and lasting in this world system; it is its nature to pass away. It is folly for believers to act as though its values were permanent."

Paul does not intend for them to put away their wives, or imagine that they had none, or abandon the marriage bed; but instead, he suggests a moderate use of it; he would not have them give up themselves to carnal lusts and pleasures, even with their own wives, and spend all their time in their company: but since the time of life was short, and full of troubles, they should spend it in the service and worship of God, private and public, as much as possible; and not by indulging and satisfying the flesh.

30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

And they that weep, as though they wept not;

The apostle continues the general instructions he began in verse 29, which was for all Christians to carry themselves with an indifference towards the world and everything in it. He began with the marriage relationship: He said, “Those that had wives must be as though they had none.” In this verse he continues to give some general rules regarding three subjects that involve all of us; afflictions, worldly enjoyment, and our employment. As for afflictions: Those that weep must be as though they wept not; that is, we must not be depressed too much with any of our afflictions, or involve ourselves in the sorrow of the world, but keep up a holy joy in God in the midst of all our troubles, so that even in sorrow the heart may be joyful, and after all our grief is past we can once again be happy. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy will come in the morning. The great consolation of Christians is “heaven”: If we can get to heaven at last, all tears shall be wiped from our eyes; and the prospect of that should reduce our sorrows and hold back our tears.

The general idea in all these expressions is, that in whatever situation Christians are in, they should be dead to the world, and not excessively affected by passing events. It is impossible for human nature NOT to feel distressed when persecuted, maligned, slandered, or when earthly friends or family are taken away by death. But religion will calm the troubled spirit; light up a smile in the midst of tears; cause the beams of a calm and lovely morning to rise on the anxious heart; silence the commotions of the agitated soul, and produce joy even in the midst of sorrow. Religion will keep us from excessive grief, and sustain the soul even when the loss of a dear mother causes us to shed the tear of mourning. Christ sweat great drops of blood and Christians often weep; but the heart may be calm, peaceful, elevated, confident in God, in the darkest night and the severest tempest of calamity.

Those that weep over troubles, things afflicting marriage, and the loss of wives or children, should express their sorrow in such a manner and to such a degree, that is as if they wept not; not that the apostle aims to establish a enduring apathy, where a person would show no concern for these things; but the thrust of this teaching is for a moderate expression of sorrow that would not distract from expressions of holiness and religion: “As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Cor 6:10; KJV). The question you must ask yourself is, “Are you going to let some sorrow, some tragedy in your life keep you from serving God?”

and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not;

Here, the apostle speaks of worldly enjoyment: Those that rejoice should be as though they rejoiced not; that is, they should not make entertainment and comfort the focus of their lives. They must be reasonable in their entertainment, and not spend an inordinate amount of time engage in the enjoyments they value the most. It is good for a person to be satisfied with his circumstances and enjoy friends, family, and leisure activities, but rather than rejoice in them he should keep the mind calm, serious, and thoughtful, in view of the fact that all these things must soon come to an end. Oh, how this thought could silence the voice of inappropriate laughter! It would produce calmness, serenity, and heavenly joy, where now there is often unholy behavior; and true peace, where now there is only forced and boisterous partying!

The question is: Are you going to let pleasure take the place of your relationship with God, as many do?

and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

Here the apostle speaks about worldly commerce and employment: Those that buy must be as though they possessed not. Those that prosper in business, increase in wealth, and purchase fine homes, should hold these possessions as though they held them not, because they are temporary and will in time disappear: “Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven” (Prov 23:5; KJV). Our minds should not be captivated by buying and possessing. They keep many people from God’s word, his service and his church. Purchasing land and trying oxen kept the guests who were invited to the wedding-supper from attending: “And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused…And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused” (Luke 14:18-19; KJV).

Of course, all of us are buyers of some sort; but Paul has in mind those that purchase estates, buy expensive houses and lands, and become proprietors of large tracts of land and numerous buildings. The apostle does not want these people to keep it all for themselves, but to hold it as if they did not hold it, parting with it for the benefit of others. They should think of themselves as stewards, and not properly owners, and know that in just a little time they must give it all up, and that there is One who will hold them accountable for how they used it and disposed of it.

Something to Think About

Men may have a deed that will secure their property from their fellow-men; but no man can have a title that will not be taken away by death. Our lands and houses, our stocks and bonds and mortgages, our goods and belongings, will soon pass into other hands. Other men will plough our fields, reap our harvests, work in our shops, stand at our counters, sit down at our firesides, eat on our tables, and lie upon our beds. Others will occupy our places in society, have our offices, and sit in our seats in the sanctuary. Others will take possession of our gold, and appropriate it to their own use; and we will have no more interest in it, and no more control over it, than our neighbor has now, and we will not have the power to eject the man that has taken possession of our houses and our lands. As secure as our titles are, as safe as are our investments are, yet we will soon lose all interest in them by our death; and how might this consideration induce us to live above the world, and to secure a treasure in that world where no thief approaches, and no moth corrupts.

The question that arises from this is: “Will you let your business take the place of God? Many a man has made business his god.”

31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

And they that use this world, as not abusing it:

The world may be used, but it must not be abused. It is abused when it is not used for those purposes for which it was given, to honor God and do good to men—when, instead of leading us into obedience, it is made to feed our lust—when, instead of being a servant, it becomes our master, our idol, and it takes the place in our affections which should be reserved for God. And there is a great danger of abusing it in all these respects, if we love the world too much. We must keep the world out of our hearts, as much as it is within our power to do so, in order that we may not abuse it when we have it in our hands.

It is necessary for us to use the world, but we must use it properly; to furnish raiment, food, clothing, medicine, protection, etc. It is right to use the world, because it was made for these purposes. Those who have the privilege of owning an abundance of the things of this world, should use them in a reasonable and moderate manner; should not squander them away extravagantly, or spend them on their lusts, since that would be considered wasteful and abusive. The word translated using here refers to the lawful use of it.

You and I are in the world, not of the world; but this doesn’t mean that we are to walk around with an attitude toward the world of touch not, taste not, handle not. We are to use this world. I live in South Carolina, and I am awed by the forests that surround my little town. I use them—they bless my heart. I enjoy them. But I don’t fall down and worship any one of those trees! We are to use the things of this world but not abuse them. We are not to substitute them for the Creator.

The warning here is that we are not to abuse the world. The sense of it is not to use too much, too freely, and in an evil way that would abuse the world. It means that we are not to use it to excess; we are not to make it a mere matter of indulging our appetites, or to make that the main object and purpose of our living. We are not to give our appetites to excess or our bodies to lustful pursuits; our days and nights to fine dining and carousing. Mary and Martha had a visit from Jesus one day, and Martha was overwhelmed with all the preparations, according to Luke 10.40-42: “But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me…And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things…But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Mary had the right idea; she sat at Jesus feet and listened to what He had to say; while Martha was only concerned with dinner. Don’t get me wrong, Martha was not wrong in wanting to provide Jesus with a good meal; but she had her priorities wrong. It reminds me of something I read: “As the planets while turning on their own axis, yet revolve round the sun; so while we do our part in our own worldly sphere, God is to be the center of all our desires.”

We all have to use the world; but we must not misuse it. That is the charge here.

for the fashion of this world passeth away.

In 1 John 2:17, it is said that "the world passeth away and the lust thereof." The word "fashion" as it is used here is probably taken from the gaudy, shifting scenes of the drama; where, when the scene changes, the actors along with their imposing and splendid pageantry, passes off the stage. The form or fashion of the world is like a fabulous and constantly changing pageant. It is unreal and illusive. It lasts for only a little while; and then the scene changes, and the things that allured and enticed us pass away, and new actors and new scenes take their place. A similar idea is presented in the well-known and beautiful description by a great British dramatist: "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances. And one man in his time plays many parts." If this is the nature of the scenes in which we are engaged, how little should we set our affections on them, and how anxious should we be to be prepared for the real and unchanging scenes of another world!

The fashion of this world passeth away means the appearance, of the world, passeth away. It changes every day. It is in a continual flux. It is not so much a world as it is the appearance of one. All is show, there is nothing solid in it; and it is a transitory show too, and will quickly be gone. How proper and powerful an argument is this to enforce the former advice! How irrational is it to be affected with the images, the fading and transient images, of a dream! Surely man walketh in a vain show (Ps. 39:6), in an image, amidst the faint and vanishing appearances of things. And should he be deeply affected by such a scene?

After this world is burnt up, a new one, having a new form and fashion, will arise, in much more beauty and glory. It will be a new world with many new ways: there will be no more marrying, or giving in marriage, no more buying and selling, no more adversity and sorrow (and every other earthly activity); it will be all over and it will be as though they never occurred. These scenes will be all removed, and a new face of things will appear: therefore the apostle reminds us that our conduct and behavior, must be right and good.

Do the things of this life control your life, or does Christ control your life? This is what Paul is talking about.

Now he goes back to a discussion of marriage.

Section 4: The problem of divided allegiance. 7:32–35.

32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

But I would have you without carefulness.

Paul tells the Corinthian believers that he does not want them to be embarrassed by worldly cares; in fact, he says “But I want you to be without carefulness.” Without a doubt, carelessness is a fault; but a wise concern about worldly interests is a duty; but to be careful (full of care), to have an anxious and perplexing concern about them, is a sin. Now, I believe I can truthfully say that I don’t know anyone who is NOT, at one time or another, worried about something; it’s a sign of the times we live in. And during the First Century, Christians were being persecuted and the stress level was running high among believers, and that is the reason he addressed the subject at this time.

This is another reason why Paul preferred the single state, and advised virgins and unmarried men to stay unmarried. The married state is full of cares—worry, trouble, problems, anxiety, fear, and tension—but the single life is not burdened as much by such things; and therefore he wishes them to continue in a single state. The single man is not as likely to be anxious, and distracted by earthly things, things relating to respectability and providing for a family, and he will have more free time that can be used in the service of God. Jesus knew that the cares of the world would be a problem for His Church, and He addressed that issue with godly wisdom: “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?...Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?...Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?...And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin…And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these…Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (Matt 6:25-30; KJV).

careth for the things that belong to the Lord,

"The things of the Lord;" are the things of religion. He that is unmarried is not distracted by the cares of this life; his time is not absorbed, and his affections divided, by the responsibilities and concerns of raising a family, and especially by concern for them in times of sickness and persecution. He can focus all his attention on religion, because he doesn’t have to worry about changing the baby’s diapers or going out to buy food for the family. He is free to give his mind, body, and spirit to the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom. Paul's own example showed that this was the course which he preferred; and he also showed that in some instances it was lawful and proper for a man to remain unmarried, and to give himself entirely to the work of the Lord. But the Divine commandment—“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Gen 1:28; KJV)—and the approval and commendation given to marriage in the Scriptures, show that it was not God’s intention that celibacy should be the common condition of men and women.

In the light of the above, Paul notes that a person who is married has a problem with divided allegiance. As for the unmarried men; he “careth for the things that belong to the Lord.”

how he may please the Lord:

The Lord is pleased with any service done for Him, provided that it is done in faith, from a principle of love, and a desire to bring glory to Him, and do good for the condition of men and promote the Gospel for their salvation. These things are pleasing to the Lord; but they are not a means to eternal life, though they are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, and will be taken notice of with approbation, and rewarded with grace on another day.

The principle here is: “The unmarried have the potential to please God with less distraction.”

33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world,

It is only natural for the married man to be concerned about the welfare of his wife and family. He should love his wife and children, and anything he can do to make their lives better and more enjoyable should bless his heart; and he should praise God for giving him the good health, good mind, and good occupation that enables him to do so. But everything a man can do for his family is only temporary; the things they value may burn up in a fire, be stolen, lost, or taken away by God.

He who is married cares about the things of the world; how he may please his wife: Paul does not say this to condemn the married person; in fact, Paul is saying this is how it should be for the married person. There is something wrong if a married man does not want to please his wife, and something is wrong if a married woman does not care about how she may please her husband. There is definitely something wrong, when a man leaves the home, refuses to support his family or pay child support, and is no longer a part of the family. Again, Paul's reason for explaining these things is not to forbid marriage, but to put it into an eternal perspective. He isn't putting a leash on anyone; he is merely sharing from his own heart and experience.

A married person Careth for the things that are of the world, and that is the way it ought to be. In fact, it is a necessity for him to pay attention to the things of the world; to his business and the calling of life he is engaged in, so that he may provide food and clothing, and other necessaries for the support and sustenance of his family; therefore, he cannot give his undivided attention and interest to the things of religion. This would be especially true in times of persecution.

For Paul, the most important thing in life was not romantic love, but pleasing God. For him, he could please God better as a single man, because he had fewer distractions, but another may please God better as a married man, it depends upon our calling. Though Paul insists he does not want his teaching here to be regarded as a noose around anyone's neck, this has happened in the church. Roman Catholics insist on celibacy for its entire clergy, even if they are not gifted to be so. Many Protestant groups will not ordain or trust the single preacher.

how he may please his wife,

The married man is naturally concerned about how he may please his wife; how he may accommodate himself to her temperament and wishes, how to make her happy, and keep her satisfied. This is not true of every individual married man, as a matter of fact; there are some who do not even try to please their wives and provide for their families, and in my personal opinion, they are worse than infidels; and, on the other hand, there are others who love their wives and children and they take good care of them, so that both are satisfied. But this is not all they care about; they also care for the things of the Lord, and concern themselves with contributing to His honor and glory. The principle the apostle wants us to understand by all this is, that; generally speaking, married persons are greatly involved in worldly cares, and do not have the leisure time, and those opportunities, that single persons have to attend religious services and activities. That is why, in the apostle’s opinion, the single state is preferable, especially during times of persecution.

The apostle plainly suggests that there would be a danger that the man would be so anxious to please his wife that it would interfere with his direct religious duties. This may be done in many ways.

1) His affection may be taken from the Lord, and given to his wife. She may become the object of an improper attachment, and consequently take the place of God in his affections.

2) His time may be taken up in devotion to her, leaving little or nothing for prayer, and serving the Lord.

3) She may demand his company and attention when he ought to be engaged in doing good for others, and attempting to advance the kingdom of Christ.

4) She may be extravagant and fashionable, and bury the home in debt, and create a style of living that may be unsuitable for a Christian, and introduce him to society where his holiness will be injured, and his devotion to God lessened.

5) She may have erroneous opinions regarding the doctrines and duties of religion; and a desire to please her may lead him to incorrectly modify his views, and to adopt more liberal opinions, and to pursue a more careless lifestyle, and to overlook his religious duties. Many a husband has been injured by an extravagant, thoughtless, and irresponsible wife; and though that wife may be a Christian, yet her lifestyle may be such that it would greatly retard his growth in grace, and mar the beauty of his holiness.

34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

There is difference also between a wife and a virgin.

The sentence can be read: “There is also a difference between a woman that is married and one that is unmarried,” and the unmarried should include widows. Paul can use the term “virgin,” because in his time, with an occasional exception for rape, incest, and promiscuity, unmarried women were virgins. That would not be the case today. The apostle says that a similar difference exists between the condition of her that is married and her that is unmarried, which he had observed in the preceding verses (32 and 33), between the married and the unmarried man. But there is no difference in their nature, or sex, but in their state and condition, and in the cares, problems, anxiety, and fears which involve both of them. The Greek word here is “memeristai” which may mean, is divided, and be rendered, "The married and unmarried woman is divided in the same manner in which married and unmarried men are divided.” The married woman, whose thoughts are distracted with the cares of the world, and her mind divided between the Lord and her husband, between the things that please the one, and those that please the other; so that she cannot serve the Lord without being distracted, as the unmarried person may; see (1 Corinthians 7:35). Note, a woman undergoes a greater change of conditions than a man when entering into marriage.

The sole thought of the unmarried person who is consecrated to Christ is to please Christ.

The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord,

This cannot be understood as a general statement, because not everyone that is unmarried “careth for the things of the Lord.” That is something that can only be said about those who are blessed to have the grace of God. When they are single, they have more leisure time available to use as they prefer; to pray, study the Bible, listen to preaching, and if they have the gift for it, they may sing in the choir, teach Sunday School, or involve themselves in many of the other ways men and women can serve God. The woman that is unmarried cares about spiritual things, the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married cares for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. The unmarried woman, has more opportunities to partake of religious activities, and has fewer temptations to neglect her proper duty to God. Celibacy is not in itself a state of greater purity and sanctity than marriage; but the unmarried would be able to devote themselves to religion, because they would have fewer distractions from worldly cares. Mary and Martha were unmarried and lived with Lazarus, their brother. Martha was worried about fixing dinner for Jesus, while Mary just wanted to set at Jesus’ feet and listen to Him. “But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me…And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things...But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:40-42; KJV). What is the one thing needful? To Listen to Jesus! Isn’t that what we all should do?

that she may be holy both in body and in spirit:

She cannot have only a holy body, but her spirit must also be holy; because outward chastity, without internal holiness, will be of little benefit. That which is of the utmost importance is a close adherence (devotion, obedience, faithfulness) to the Lord, and to his worship and service, since that may be a means of preserving the body from external pollutions, and carrying on the internal work of grace upon the soul. That does not mean that unmarried persons are the only ones that are holy in body and spirit; there are some that are not holy in either body or spirit; and there are many married persons that are virtuous in their bodies, and possess their vessels in sanctification and honor, and are blessed with inward spiritual purity.

“Both in body and in spirit” means entirely holy; that she may be entirely devoted to God. Perhaps in her case the apostle mentions the "body," which he had not done in the case of the man, because her temptation would be principally in regard to that—the danger of decorating and adorning her person to please her husband.

But she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

“She may please her husband” in many ways, but not by coloring and styling her hair or by wearing costly jewelry, such as gold ear rings, and beautiful pearls; although this is all that some care about; but with good works, taking care of her household and family affairs, bringing up her children in an orderly manner, honoring and obeying her husband, doing everything to oblige him, and to engage his love and affection. This is not intended as criticism, only that this is her situation in life, and as a result she does not have the opportunities and advantages that the unmarried person has of serving the Lord. That is the reason the single life is represented as the most desirable lifestyle.

One must take care not to misconstrue the force of Paul’s argument here. It is not that he views the married life as less spiritual than the celibate life, but that the celibate life is less distracted by worldly cares. Hence, the single man or woman enjoys greater freedom and has a greater potential in terms of service

Marriage often brings care along with it, and sometimes it brings more than at others. It is the constant desire of those in that relationship to please each other; although this is more difficult to do for some reasons, and in some cases, than in others.

The apostle undoubtedly means to impress upon us the dangers to personal piety that exists in the married life, which would not occur in a state of celibacy; and that the unmarried female would have greater opportunities for devotion and usefulness than if she were married. And he implies that the married female would be in danger of losing her zeal, and marring her piety, by giving most of her attention to her husband, and by a constant effort to please him. Some of the ways in which this might be done are the following:

1) As in the former case (see 1 Corinthians 7:33), her affection might be transferred from God to her husband.

2) Her time will be occupied by giving attention to him and doing his will, and there would be danger that that attention would be allowed to interfere with time allotted to prayer and Bible study.

3) Her time, by necessity, would be interrupted by the cares of a family; and therefore she should set aside a time (perhaps early morning, when everyone else is asleep) for secret communion with God.

4) Before she was married she may have been zealous for the Lord, and actively helping others, but now she uses her time to please her husband. Now she may have laid aside her zeal and no longer helps the needy, and she has little to distinguish her from others.

5) Her piety may be greatly injured by false notions of what should be done to please her husband. If he is a worldly and fashionable man, she may seek to please him by wearing "expensive jewelry." Instead of cultivating the ornament of "a meek and quiet spirit," her main wish may be to decorate her person, an render herself attractive by adorning her person rather than developing her mind.

6) If he is opposed to religion, or if he has liberal opinions on the subject, or if he is skeptical and worldly, she will be in danger of relaxing her personal views in regard to the strictness of Christianity, and she may become conformed to his ideas. She will become less interested in the Church, the Bible, prayer-meeting, Sunday-school, Christian charity, and the doctrines of the gospel.

7) To please him, she will be found with the party-goers—joining clubs, entertaining, and being entertained—and she will forget that she has professed devotion to God only.

8) She is in danger, as the result of all of this: of forsaking her old religious friends, the humble and devoted friends of Jesus; and of keeping company only with the rich, the proud, and the worldly.

I wonder, how often does it become NECESSARY for God to step in, and to remove by death the object of the affection of his wandering child, and to clothe her in the black clothes of mourning, and to bathe her cheeks in tears, so that by the sadness of her loss she may be made better! Who can tell how many widows have been made such for this reason? Who can tell how much religion is injured by those who take away their affections from God?

Paul is making it very clear that the important thing is to put God first. That should be the determining factor for every person in a marriage relationship. I don’t care who you are or how spiritual you think you may be, if you are not putting God first in your marriage, then your marriage, my friend, is not the ideal Christian marriage.

35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

And this I speak for your own profit;

The apostle when giving the advice he did to unmarried persons—to remain single—had nothing in view that would demonstrate his apostolic authority or benefit him in any way; rather, he had nothing else in view than their secular and spiritual advantage. He wanted them to be better able to meet and grapple with persecution for the sake of the Gospel; that they might be freer from the cares and burdens of life, and more at liberty to serve the Lord. He desired for them to promote His glory, and that the Lord would bless them spiritually; that they would avail themselves of all their advantages and privileges, and pursue a course that would tend to advance their personal piety.

There is nothing within the text that might indicate that he thought that marriage was unlawful, or that the single life was a more sincere, and a more virtuous way of living, or that it was absolutely necessary and their duty to remain single. Everything he had said was meant to be simply advice; he had very skillfully laid before them the advantages and disadvantages of both states, and now he allows them the Christian liberty to do as they pleased; to take his advice, or not. And so Paul is able to say, “And this I speak for your own profit (advantage).” It is not that the apostle is trying to ensnare them, or mislead them, and he is not trying to contradict a divine ordinance. Rather, he is concerned about the distress which will surely accompany them should they become married.

Paul's personal preference is celibacy, but only for persons who were capable of it, and in certain circumstances, celibacy has always appealed to some in every age, who sought a more complete dedication, and it is not right to devalue such behavior. Shore pointed out that England's Queen Elizabeth I was one who made exactly the choice Paul recommended in these verses; although it was for a different purpose, nevertheless it served a high purpose. Elizabeth I declared that England was her husband and all Englishmen her children and that she desired no higher character or fairer remembrance of her to be transmitted to posterity than this inscription engraved upon her tombstone: "Here lies Elizabeth, who lived and died a maiden queen.”

not that I may cast a snare upon you,

The word rendered snare (brocon) means a cord, a rope, a bond; and the sense is, that Paul would not bind them by any rule which God had not made; or that he would not restrain them from that which is lawful, and which the welfare of society usually requires. Paul means that his object in his advice was their welfare; it was not meant to bind them or to restrain them from following a course which would lead to their real happiness. He intended only to promote their real and permanent advantages. The idea which is presented by the word snare, is usually conveyed by the use of the word yoke: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matt 11:29; KJV).

The image that comes to mind from cast a snare upon you is a cowboy throwing a noose over the horns of a steer. Paul is saying, “I will not give you rules that are hard for you to keep and could entangle you with the fear of committing sin where there is no sin. I do not want to interfere with your freedom to marry. Paul merely advises what, under the circumstances of that period, seemed most prudent.

Paul was careful not to prescribe virginity as a necessary lifestyle, and he did not insist that it was absolutely their duty to live a single life; because this would have laid an obligation upon them that would ensnare and entangle them, since some might have chosen the single life, who did not have the gift of continence (self-control), which might result in them being drawn into the sin of fornication, or into unnatural lust, and similar uncleanness; which would be very scandalous to the Church, and have a negative impact on the Gospel of Christ. But the apostle expressed his mind on the subject without doing harm to the Church or the gospel, and he did it in a manner that avoided ensnaring anyone.

but for that which is comely, and that you may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

The Greek word that was translated “comely” is euschemon which means “what is becoming.” It signifies that which is worthy of the position and high calling of the born again believer. The same word is used in 1 Corinthians 12.24, where it has to do with parts of the body: “For our comely parts have no need…” (1 Cor 12:24; (KJV). We should not allow anything to come into our lives that would get in the way of our testimony. Insofar as it is possible, we should conduct ourselves in such a manner and live under such conditions that will promote Christian stewardship at its highest, and lead us to do things that will glorify the Lord at all times.

The meaning of the statement “that you may attend upon the Lord without distraction” is that believers should not allow anything to come into their lives that would draw their attention, love, and service away from the Lord Jesus Christ. (The Greek word aperispos means “without distraction” and signifies “to apply oneself diligently to anything.”) Spiritually, our eye is to be focused on Jesus, our minds are to be settled on Him, and in all that we do, we are to do it to His glory

All that worry, stress, anxiety, and fear which disconnects the mind, and distracts it from the worship of God, is evil; because God must be attended upon without distraction. The whole mind should be engaged when God is worshipped. Those who are engaged in worshipping God should make it their whole business. But how is this possible when the mind is besieged with the cares of this life? Note, a Christian should arrange the affairs of his life, so he is not distracted by family concerns, and societies problems, in order that he may focus upon the Lord with a mind at peace and disengaged. This is the general axiom by which the apostle would have Christians govern themselves. But when applying this maxim the Christian must be cautious. The condition of life that is best for every man is it that which is best for his soul, and keeps him for the most part clear of the cares and snares of the world. By this maxim the apostle solves the case put to him by the Corinthians, whether it is advisable to marry? To this he says, that, due to the present persecution it would be better to continue unmarried which would free them from any cares and encumbrances, and allow them more free time for the service of God. Ordinarily, the less care we have about the world the more freedom we have for the service of God

The focal point of Paul’s advice is the promotion of faithful, undistracted devotion to the Lord.