It might be rather jarring for you, like jumping in a cold lake, but let’s just jump right into the text—
1 Corinthians 7:25 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.
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.
1 Corinthians 7:27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.
1 Corinthians 7:28 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.
Something was going on in Corinth that caused Paul to advise people not to marry. He called it “the present distress.” We really have no idea what this distress was. There are three main guesses (see Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, New Testament Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 18:238–239).
1) The distress is a sickness within the Corinthian church itself. We know that some had gotten sick and died because partaking of the Lord’s Supper wrongly (1 Corinthians 11:30). But why would Paul recommend everyone postpone getting married because of a sickness among some of the families?
2) The “present distress” has to do with the end of the world. Evidence supporting this is that in verse 29 he says that “the time is short” and and in verse 31 he says that “the fashion of this world passeth away.” However, if he has the end of the world in mind, why call it a “present distress”?
3) The third view is that the “present distress” refers to a local famine (or perhaps something similar, like a persecution of Christians). To call a temporary halt to marriages during a famine (which could last a few years) makes sense because it would be difficult to support a family and unwise to bring more mouths to feed into the world.
From time to time, we may experience a similar crisis in our lives, perhaps losing our job because of the collapse of economy or a drop in oil prices. What he says in this section would directly relate to us then.
But beyond that, the principles that Paul gives in this section can be drawn out and used to guide our lives both in good and bad times, and especially in these times when it seems that the end is nearer than it’s ever been before.
The first principle that we see is… Continue reading