Brief notes on my translation of 1 Corinthians 7:25-40
25 Now concerning virgins, I have no command from the Lord. Yet, I give my opinion as one who has obtained mercy from the Lord to be faithful.
26 Therefore, I think it is best for this present distress that it is better for youp to remain as youp are.
[This is the reason for Paul’s counsel, not a command for celibacy].
27 Are yous married to a wife? Don’t seek to be separated. Are yous unmarried? Don’t seek a wife.
28 But and if yous marry, yous have not sinned, and if a virgin woman marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless, such will have distress in the flesh, and I want to spare youp .
29 But I say this, brethren, the time is short, so from now on those that have wives should be as though they had none,
[Paul anticipated the soon return of Jesus Christ. He didn’t know the date anymore than we know today. The Rapture is imminent. Compare John’s expectation in 1 John 2:18].
30 And those who weep as though they didn’t weep, those who rejoice as though they didn’t rejoice, and those who buy as though they didn’t own anything.
[Verses 29-31 is one thought. Paul teaches that earthly things need to be a lower priority and loyalty than the eternal. Wilbur Pickering writes: If the time was short two thousand years ago, it is now that much shorter. The point is that our lives should revolve around Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, not around our own desires and ambitions. There is no lack of marriage seminars that teach how to make each other happy, as if that were the major purpose in life. Not so. Everything in our lives should be subordinated to the interests of Christ’s Kingdom, not stroking each other’s ego. We like to forget 1 John 2:15-17, but to do so is not smart].
31 Those who make use of this world as not misusing it, for the present form of this world passes away.
32 I want youp to be without worry. He who is unmarried worries about the Lord’s things, how he can please the Lord,
33 But he who is married does worry about the world’s things, how he can please his wife.
34 There is difference also concerning a wife and unmarried virgin. The unmarried woman worries about the Lord’s things, so that she can be holy both in body and in spirit, but she that is married worries about the things of the world, how she can please her husband.
35 Now I say this for yourp own profit, not so that I can put a noose on youp, instead [it is] for what is appropriate for the circumstances and so that youp may attend to the Lord without distraction.
[Paul is giving pastoral advice based on the current situation believers were living in. It is not to be construed as advice for all believers or God’s standard for marriage. Concerning that time of suffering, see Acts 5:41, 2 Corinthians 1:7, and 2 Corinthians 4:11. Concerning marriage, see Hebrews 13:4 and 1 Timothy 5:14].
36 But if any man thinks that he might misbehave towards his virgin, if she might pass her prime, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin. Let them marry.
37 Nevertheless, he who continues resolved in his heart, having no need, having control over his will, and having firmly decided in his heart that he will keep his virgin [as she is] does well.
38 So then he who gives [her] in marriage does well, but he who doesn’t give [her] in marriage does better.
39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives, but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wants but only in the Lord.
[Paul again gives his pastoral advice to the married—do not divorce because you think a celibate life is more spiritual. If one is a widow or widower, then marriage is only allowed if the other is a believer].
40 But she is happier if she stays [unmarried], in my opinion, and I think that I also have the Spirit of God.
[Paul is not condemning marriage for widows and widowers. Many have been happier in marriage, but due to the distresses of the Corinthians at that time, Paul gives his opinion that it would be happier not remarried].