In 1 Corinthians 7: 26, Paul says about marriage and singleness, “I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is.” No doubt there were many people in the first century — as I’m sure there are now — who cringe when they read that.

This “distress” could be a few things.  It may be the fact that the Corinthian church is messed up, where church goers are drunk at communion (ch. 11), a man is sleeping with his step mom (ch. 5), Christians are suing each other (ch. 6), and in general, the Corinthians are using their spiritual gifts to show off (chs. 12-14). This “distress” could also be a famine or other disaster in the area.  Furthermore, it may refer to the general perspective that we are living in the last days (cf. vv. 29-31).

Whatever the case, it doesn’t matter.  Paul’s point is that there are situations that would require one to think more intently on whether or not marriage is the best idea. It’s not a sin to marry; but it may be unwise. The application? If you are single, are  you giving God relationship ultimatums? Do you think you must be married?  Are you a slave to the idea of marriage? If you are married, is your spouse your idol? I confess that the latter is often the case for myself — and it is a daily temptation.

The remedy is to remember that “the present form of this world is passing away” (v. 31). We need an eternal perspective in every area of our life, especially in our marriage or in our singleness.

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6 thoughts on “A Quick Thought on Marriage and Singleness

  1. “Corinthians are using their spiritual gifts to show off” — this one resonated with me today simply because it goes along with a line of thought that the Lord and I have been working through together recently. I don’t know about with you, but my circle of friends and I talk frequently about longing for a greater release of His glory manifesting in signs and wonders that flow from lovesick hearts. We say we want to see the sick healed and those in bondage delivered, but the Lord is very tender to hold up His standard before my heart and let me see that my motives are rarely entirely pure. How easy it is to fall into that habit of using a taste of the Lord’s power for self-glorification.

    “are you giving God relationship ultimatums?” — that statement also packs a powerful punch…not just in the relationship spectrum, but in all areas. There’s such a fine line between “praying in faith” and telling God what to do. Thank you for highlighting this.

    Grace and peace to you…

  2. Great post James. We can’t argue with God about where and what and how He wants us to be. We accept the moment as from God and give thanks. That is tought I know. I have been on the shelf for awhile and haven’t wanted off. I think it looks like I am going to come off the shelf, but all in the Lord’s time and His doing.

  3. The fact is the “spiritual gifts” died off with the early church. For example, no one today is going to a hospital and healing the sick.

  4. Joe,

    I am leery of saying that spiritual gifts died off with the early church. First, I can’t find that in Scripture. Second, “healing” doesn’t have to be Benny Hinn, slaying in the Spirit-type stuff.

    Certainly you wouldn’t argue that all spiritual gifts “died off,” would you?

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