The First to the Corinthians 7:1-40

7  Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is better for a man not to touch a woman;  but because of the prevalence of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife+ and each woman have her own husband.+  Let the husband give to his wife her due, and let the wife also do likewise to her husband.+  The wife does not have authority over her own body, but her husband does; likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but his wife does.  Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent for an appointed time, so that you may devote time to prayer and may come together again, in order that Satan may not keep tempting you for your lack of self-control.  However, I say this by way of concession, not as a command.  But I wish all men were as I am. Nevertheless, each one has his own gift+ from God, one in this way, another in that way.  Now I say to those who are unmarried and to the widows that it is better for them if they remain as I am.+  But if they do not have self-control, let them marry, for it is better to marry than to be inflamed with passion.+ 10  To the married people I give instructions, not I but the Lord, that a wife should not separate from her husband.+ 11  But if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled with her husband; and a husband should not leave his wife.+ 12  But to the others I say, yes, I, not the Lord:+ If any brother has an unbelieving wife and she is agreeable to staying with him, let him not leave her; 13  and if a woman has an unbelieving husband and he is agreeable to staying with her, let her not leave her husband. 14  For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in relation to his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in relation to the brother; otherwise, your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15  But if the unbelieving one chooses to depart, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not bound under such circumstances, but God has called you to peace.+ 16  For wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband?+ Or, husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife? 17  Nevertheless, just as Jehovah has given each one a portion, let each one so walk as God has called him.+ And so I give this directive in all the congregations. 18  Was any man already circumcised when he was called?+ Let him not undo his circumcision. Has any man been called while uncircumcised? Let him not get circumcised.+ 19  Circumcision means nothing, and uncircumcision means nothing;+ what means something is the observing of God’s commandments.+ 20  In whatever state each one was called, let him remain in it.+ 21  Were you called when a slave? Do not let it concern you;+ but if you can become free, then seize the opportunity. 22  For anyone who was called in the Lord when a slave is the Lord’s freedman;+ likewise anyone who was called when a freeman is a slave of Christ.+ 23  You were bought with a price;+ stop becoming slaves of men.+ 24  In whatever state each one was called, brothers, let him remain in it before God. 25  Now concerning virgins, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my opinion+ as one who had mercy shown him by the Lord to be faithful. 26  Therefore, I think that it is best for a man to continue as he is in view of the present difficulty. 27  Are you bound to a wife? Stop seeking a release.+ Are you freed from a wife? Stop seeking a wife. 28  But even if you did marry, you would commit no sin. And if a virgin married, such a person would commit no sin. However, those who do will have tribulation in their flesh. But I am trying to spare you. 29  Moreover, this I say, brothers, the time left is reduced.+ From now on, let those who have wives be as though they had none, 30  and those who weep as those who do not weep, and those who rejoice as those who do not rejoice, and those who buy as those who do not possess, 31  and those making use of the world as those not using it to the full;+ for the scene of this world is changing. 32  Indeed, I want you to be free from anxiety. The unmarried man is anxious for the things of the Lord, how he may gain the Lord’s approval. 33  But the married man is anxious for the things of the world,+ how he may gain the approval of his wife, 34  and he is divided. Further, the unmarried woman, as well as the virgin, is anxious for the things of the Lord,+ that she may be holy both in her body and in her spirit. However, the married woman is anxious for the things of the world, how she may gain the approval of her husband. 35  But I am saying this for your personal advantage, not to restrict you, but to move you to what is appropriate and to constant devotion to the Lord without distraction. 36  But if anyone thinks he is behaving improperly by remaining unmarried, and if he is past the bloom of youth, then this is what should take place: Let him do what he wants; he does not sin.+ Let them marry.+ 37  But if anyone stands settled in his heart and has no necessity, but has authority over his own will and has made the decision in his own heart to remain unmarried, he will do well.+ 38  So also, whoever marries does well, but whoever does not marry will do better.+ 39  A wife is bound as long as her husband is alive.+ But if her husband should fall asleep in death, she is free to be married to whomever she wants, only in the Lord.+ 40  But in my opinion, she is happier if she remains as she is; and I certainly think I also have God’s spirit.

Footnotes

Study Notes

the congregation of God that is in Corinth: Paul founded the Corinthian congregation about 50 C.E. (Ac 18:1-11) While in Ephesus about 55 C.E., Paul wrote this first inspired letter to the Corinthians. (Compare 1Co 5:9.) The brothers in Corinth had recently written to Paul, asking questions about marriage and the eating of foods offered to idols. (1Co 7:1; 8:1) But Paul was aware of problems that were even more pressing. The congregation was tolerating a case of flagrant immorality. (1Co 5:1-8) And there were also divisions in the congregation. (1Co 1:11-13; 11:18; 15:12-14, 33, 34) There may also have been some uncertainty about the proper handling of the Lord’s Evening Meal. (1Co 11:20-29) Paul provided inspired direction on these matters, placing special emphasis on the importance of showing Christian love.​—1Co 13:1-13.

Now concerning food offered to idols: In the first century C.E., Greeks and Romans offered animal sacrifices to idols. Parts of the animal were placed on the altar. A portion went to the priests and a portion went to the worshippers for a meal or a feast. However, leftovers of the meat were often sold in the “meat market.” (1Co 10:25) The Corinthian Christians had written to Paul, asking whether it was acceptable to eat such meat. (1Co 7:1a) Inspired by holy spirit, Paul helped them understand that to mature Christians, “an idol is nothing.” (1Co 8:4) Still, he advised Christians against going to an idol temple to eat meat. Eating at the pagan temple could give the wrong impression to spiritually weak observers, who might conclude that the Christian was worshipping the idol. Some of those weaker Christians might be stumbled or even be influenced to the point of eating meat during idolatrous religious ceremonies. (1Co 5:9, 10; 8:9, 10) That would be in direct violation of the governing body’s decree found at Ac 15:28, 29.​—See study notes on 1Co 8:4; 10:25.

due: Lit. “debt; obligation.” The due mentioned here refers to sexual relations that are a natural part of God’s gift of marriage. Marriage partners should not intentionally withhold that blessing from each other except by mutual consent. (1Co 7:5) Jesus allows for another exception, that is, infidelity on the part of one mate, which gives the other the option to seek a divorce.​—Mt 5:32; 19:9.

Now concerning the things about which you wrote: As shown by what is stated here and at 1Co 8:1, the brothers in Corinth had written to Paul, asking about marriage and about the eating of foods offered to idols.​—See study notes on 1Co 1:2; 8:1.

not to touch a woman: That is, not to have sexual contact with a woman. This understanding harmonizes with other Bible verses where the expression “to touch” means to have sexual contact and sexual relations. (Ge 20:6, 7; Pr 6:29) Paul does not discourage sexual relations within marriage, since he recommends that husbands and wives render to each other the marital due. (1Co 7:3-5; see study note on 1Co 7:3.) When Paul says that “it is better for a man not to touch a woman,” it is in the context of recommending that unmarried Christians remain single.​—1Co 7:6-9; compare Mt 19:10-12.

sexually immoral people: This expression renders the Greek noun porʹnos, which is related to the noun por·neiʹa (sexual immorality, 1Co 5:1) and the verb por·neuʹo (to practice sexual immorality, 1Co 6:18). (See Glossary, “Sexual immorality.”) From ancient times, Corinth was known as a place where people had a morally decadent lifestyle and worshipped the goddess Aphrodite. That worship promoted sensuality and immorality. (Compare study note on 1Co 7:2.) Paul indicates that some Christians in Corinth had previously led an immoral lifestyle but had changed their conduct and were now good associates.​—1Co 6:11.

the prevalence of sexual immorality: This expression renders the plural form of the Greek word por·neiʹa. Some translations render the opening phrase: “Because sexual immorality is so common [or, “rampant”].” This well describes the situation in ancient Corinth.​—See study note on 1Co 5:9.

due: Lit. “debt; obligation.” The due mentioned here refers to sexual relations that are a natural part of God’s gift of marriage. Marriage partners should not intentionally withhold that blessing from each other except by mutual consent. (1Co 7:5) Jesus allows for another exception, that is, infidelity on the part of one mate, which gives the other the option to seek a divorce.​—Mt 5:32; 19:9.

by way of concession: Or “as being permissible.” Apparently referring to the advice Paul gave at 1Co 7:2.

as I am: The apostle Paul was unmarried at the time he traveled as a missionary. The Bible does not comment directly on whether he was ever married. Some of Paul’s comments seem to allow for the possibility that he was a widower.​—1Co 7:8; 9:5.

reconciled to God: The Greek verb ka·tal·lasʹso, used twice in this verse and twice in the passage at 2Co 5:18, 19, has the basic meaning “to change; to exchange.” It came to mean “to change from hostility to a friendly relationship.” As used of man’s relationship with God, it means to bring back into harmony or to cause to be friendly again. Paul used this verb when speaking of a woman’s being “reconciled with her husband” from whom she was separated. (1Co 7:11) The related verb di·al·lasʹso·mai appears at Mt 5:24 in Jesus’ instructions to “make . . . peace with your brother” before presenting an offering on the altar. (See study note on Mt 5:24.) Mankind needs to be reconciled to God because the first man, Adam, was disobedient, and he passed sin and imperfection on to all his descendants. As a result, mankind is in a state of alienation from God; they are at enmity with God, whose standards do not allow for his condoning wrongdoing.​—Ro 5:12; 8:7, 8.

be reconciled: Paul here used the compound verb ka·tal·lasʹso, which had the basic meaning “to exchange.” In the Christian Greek Scriptures, this verb is used with the meaning “to exchange hostility for a friendly relationship” or “to bring back into harmony.” Paul may here have used this verb in connection with marriage to show that strained marital relations could be exchanged for harmonious relations, just as it was possible to exchange a hostile relationship with God for a peaceful one.​—See study note on Ro 5:10.

I say, yes, I, not the Lord: Several times in this chapter, Paul makes a distinction between his own thought or opinion and the words of Christ. (See also verses 25, 40.) It seems that Paul was humbly reminding his readers that on certain questions, he was unable to quote directly from a teaching of Jesus Christ. However, Paul was able to offer his opinion as one of Christ’s apostles who was filled with holy spirit. As Jesus had promised, that spirit would guide his followers “into all the truth.” (Joh 16:13) Paul’s counsel was thus inspired of God and, like the rest of the Scriptures, provided authoritative and helpful direction for all Christians.​—2Ti 3:16.

an unbelieving wife: In this context, the expression rendered “unbelieving” does not refer to a wife who has no religious beliefs. It refers to one who does not have faith in Jesus and who is not dedicated to Jehovah. She could have been a Jewess or a believer in pagan gods.

unbelieving: In this context, Paul uses the term “unbelieving” to describe those who do not exercise faith in the ransom of Jesus Christ. Such people have not separated themselves from the unclean world and have not been set free from slavery to sin. Though unbelievers may be living honest, moral lives, they are not in themselves holy, or clean, in God’s eyes.​—Joh 8:34-36; 2Co 6:17; Jas 4:4; see study note on is sanctified in relation to in this verse.

is sanctified in relation to: The Greek verb ha·gi·aʹzo, here rendered “is sanctified,” and the corresponding noun haʹgi·os, meaning “holy,” denote being set aside for God. Anything sanctified would be holy, clean, set aside for God’s service. (Mr 6:20; 2Co 7:1; 1Pe 1:15, 16; see Glossary, “Holy; Holiness.”) This clean standing before God comes to those who exercise faith in God’s provision through his Son.​—See study note on unbelieving in this verse.

holy: Paul does not say that the unbelieving mate is made “holy” by the marriage bond. The unbelieving mate may engage in wrongdoing or unclean practices. Rather, Paul says that the unbelieving one is sanctified “in relation to” the believer. So God counts such a marriage relationship or union as clean, honorable. Because of the believer, the young children of the union are considered holy, under divine care and protection​—a better position than that of children who do not have even one believing parent.

depart: Or “separate.” At 1Co 7:10, 11, the Greek word kho·riʹzo, used here, is rendered “separate.”

just as Jehovah has given each one a portion: The “portion” refers to the person’s lot in life, the circumstances that Jehovah has given to each Christian or has allowed him to have. Paul encourages a Christian to walk, or to continue to live, without being preoccupied with changing his lot in life. He uses the Greek term rendered “each” twice in this verse, perhaps to emphasize God’s concern for the individual Christian. Although most Greek manuscripts use the term “the Lord” (Greek, ho Kyʹri·os) here, there are good reasons for using the divine name in the main text.​—See App. C3 introduction; 1Co 7:17.

God: Early Greek manuscripts read “God.” However, some later manuscripts use “Lord.” Some translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew (referred to as J7, 8, 10 in App. C4) read “Jehovah” in this part of the verse.

Let him not undo his circumcision: Paul may have been alluding to a practice on the part of some Jewish athletes who desired to participate in Hellenistic games, in which runners wore no clothing. In an effort to avoid scorn and ridicule, some Jews would try to ‘undo their circumcision’ by means of a surgical procedure aimed at restoring some semblance of a foreskin. Because arguments over circumcision were apparently dividing the congregation in Corinth, Paul urged Christians to refrain from trying to change the state in which they were called, whether circumcised or uncircumcised.​—1Co 7:17-20; Heb 13:17.

the Lord’s freedman . . . a freeman: A freedman (Greek, a·pe·leuʹthe·ros) was one who had been emancipated from slavery. In the Scriptures, this Greek term is used only here. However, “freedmen” were well-known in Corinth because a large number of them had populated the city when it was rebuilt by Rome. Some of them became Christians. Other Christians had never been slaves. Paul refers to one person of that group as a “freeman” (Greek, e·leuʹthe·ros), or one who was born free. However, Christians of both groups were “bought with a price,” Jesus’ precious blood. Therefore, a Christian who was a “freedman” or one who was “a freeman” in a physical sense was a slave of God and of Jesus Christ, subject to obeying their commands. In the Christian congregation, there was no difference between a slave, a freedman, and a freeman.​—1Co 7:23; Ga 3:28; Heb 2:14, 15; 1Pe 1:18, 19; 2:16; see Glossary, “Freeman; Freedman.”

unmarried daughters: Lit., “daughters, virgins.” In the Bible, the Greek term par·theʹnos, often rendered “virgin,” refers to “one who has never engaged in sexual intercourse” and can apply both to single men and to single women. (Mt 25:1-12; Lu 1:27; 1Co 7:25, 36-38) In this context, the Greek term emphasizes the idea that Philip’s four daughters had never been married.

I say, yes, I, not the Lord: Several times in this chapter, Paul makes a distinction between his own thought or opinion and the words of Christ. (See also verses 25, 40.) It seems that Paul was humbly reminding his readers that on certain questions, he was unable to quote directly from a teaching of Jesus Christ. However, Paul was able to offer his opinion as one of Christ’s apostles who was filled with holy spirit. As Jesus had promised, that spirit would guide his followers “into all the truth.” (Joh 16:13) Paul’s counsel was thus inspired of God and, like the rest of the Scriptures, provided authoritative and helpful direction for all Christians.​—2Ti 3:16.

virgins: Or “those who have never married.” The Greek word par·theʹnos, often rendered “virgin,” literally refers to “one who has never engaged in sexual intercourse” and can in a literal and figurative sense refer both to men and to women. (Mt 25:1-12; Lu 1:27; Re 14:4; see study note on Ac 21:9.) However, in a broader application, the verses that follow (1Co 7:32-35) apply not only to virgins but also to those who are unmarried.

I give my opinion: Here Paul expresses his personal opinion regarding marriage and singleness. He does not condemn or forbid marriage, but under inspiration he highlights the advantages of singleness in the Lord’s service.​—See study note on 1Co 7:12.

virgins: Or “those who have never married.” The Greek word par·theʹnos, often rendered “virgin,” literally refers to “one who has never engaged in sexual intercourse” and can in a literal and figurative sense refer both to men and to women. (Mt 25:1-12; Lu 1:27; Re 14:4; see study note on Ac 21:9.) However, in a broader application, the verses that follow (1Co 7:32-35) apply not only to virgins but also to those who are unmarried.

one: Lit., “flesh.” The Greek word sarx is here used in the sense of a human, a being of flesh and blood.​—See study notes on Joh 3:6; 17:2.

trials: Or “troubles; tribulation.” The Greek word used here basically means distress, affliction, or suffering resulting from the pressures of circumstances. It is often used with reference to the affliction associated with persecution. (Mt 24:9; Ac 11:19; 20:23; 2Co 1:8; Heb 10:33; Re 1:9) The tribulation might include imprisonment and death as a result of a course of integrity. (Re 2:10) However, other circumstances, such as famine (Ac 7:11), poverty, and adversities common to orphans and widows (Jas 1:27), even family life and marriage, may bring varying degrees of “tribulation.”​—1Co 7:28.

a virgin: See study note on 1Co 7:25.

tribulation in their flesh: The Greek word often rendered “tribulation” basically means distress, affliction, or suffering resulting from the pressures of circumstances. It could also be rendered “troubles; problems.” The Greek word rendered “flesh” is often used to refer to a human. (See study note on Ro 3:20.) In this context, the expression “tribulation in their flesh” refers to problems and trials that are common to a married couple, who become “one flesh” in God’s eyes. (Mt 19:6) Some translations use such renderings as “troubles in life; the everyday troubles.” Such “tribulation” connected with marriage and family life may be due to sickness, economic hardships and, for Christians, persecution.​—See study note on 2Co 1:4.

world: The Greek word koʹsmos here refers to the world of mankind. In this context, the expression come into the world seems to refer primarily to Jesus’ going out among mankind at the time of his baptism rather than to his birth as a human. After his baptism, he carried out his assigned ministry, acting as a light bearer to the world of mankind.​—Compare Joh 3:17, 19; 6:14; 9:39; 10:36; 11:27; 12:46; 1Jo 4:9.

the world came into existence through him: Here the Greek word koʹsmos (“world”) refers to the world of mankind, which is evident later in the verse where it says that the world did not know him. The Greek term was sometimes used in secular writings to refer to the universe and creation in general, and the apostle Paul may have used it in that sense when he was addressing a Greek audience. (Ac 17:24) However, in the Christian Greek Scriptures, the term generally refers to the world of mankind or a part of it. It is true that Jesus did share in the production of all things, including the heavens and the earth and all things in it. But the focus of this verse is his role in bringing humankind into existence.​—Ge 1:26; Joh 1:3; Col 1:15-17.

the world: The Greek word koʹsmos is closely linked with mankind in secular Greek literature and particularly so in the Bible. (See study note on Joh 1:10.) In this context, koʹsmos refers to the entire world of redeemable mankind who at Joh 1:29 are described as being guilty of “sin,” that is, sin inherited from Adam.

the whole world: The basic meaning of the Greek term koʹsmos, most often rendered “world,” is “order” or “arrangement.” In secular Greek literature, it may refer to the world of mankind, and it is often used in this sense in the Christian Greek Scriptures. (See study notes on Joh 1:9, 10; 3:16.) However, the term koʹsmos is not just a synonym for mankind. In the Bible, it retains its original sense of “order” or “arrangement,” since the world of mankind reflects a certain structure, being composed of various cultures, tribes, nations, and economic systems. (1Jo 3:17; Re 7:9; 14:6) That is the meaning of the term “world” in this and some other contexts. Over the centuries, the framework of things that surround and affect human life has grown in size and complexity as mankind has grown in population.​—See study note on Joh 16:21.

making use of the world: In many scriptures, the Greek word rendered “world” (koʹsmos) refers primarily to the world of mankind. (See study notes on Joh 1:9, 10; 3:16.) However, in this context, “the world” refers in a broader sense to the framework of things that affect human life​—the world system in which humans live and in which human society functions. It includes the things connected with the world’s economic system, such as housing, food, and clothing. (See study note on Lu 9:25.) One way Christians are “making use of” this world is by providing materially for themselves and their families. However, they avoid using the world to the full, that is, they do not let it be the all-absorbing priority in their lives.

the scene of this world is changing: The Greek word here rendered “scene” refers to the “fashion” or “form” of something, the “present scheme of things.” Paul may have been alluding to the theater of his day, comparing this world to a stage where scenes are changing and the actors pass quickly on and off the stage. This expression may also imply that the world in its present form​—its scheme or fashion of things​—“is passing away.”​—1Jo 2:17.

Stop being anxious: Or “Stop worrying.” The tense of the Greek verb in this prohibition indicates to stop doing an action already in progress. The Greek term for “anxious” can refer to worry that divides a person’s mind and distracts him, robbing him of joy. The same word occurs at Mt 6:27, 28, 31, 34.

stop being anxious: Or “stop worrying.” The tense of the Greek verb me·ri·mnaʹo in this prohibition indicates to stop doing an action already in progress. The Greek term for “being anxious” can refer to worry that divides a person’s mind and distracts him, robbing him of joy. Luke uses the same Greek word at Lu 12:11, 25, 26. This verb is used by Paul at 1Co 7:32-34 and Php 4:6.​—See study note on Mt 6:25.

the things of the world: Here the Greek word koʹsmos, rendered “world,” means the human sphere of life and its framework. These “things” would include the mundane or nonspiritual activities related to human life, including food, clothing, and housing. However, in this context, Paul was not referring to the things of the unrighteous world that Christians strive to avoid, such as those mentioned at 1Jo 2:15-17.​—See study note on 1Co 7:32.

is anxious: The expression “is anxious” renders the Greek verb me·ri·mnaʹo, the meaning of which depends on the context. In this verse, it is used in a positive sense, conveying the idea of being eager, rightly concerned, about attending to spiritual matters in order to please the Lord. In the following verses, it refers to husbands and wives who are concerned with the emotional, physical, and material needs of their mate. (1Co 7:33, 34) According to 1Co 12:25, this anxiety or concern is expressed by members of the congregation for one another. In other contexts, the Greek verb can refer to worry that divides a person’s mind and distracts him, robbing him of joy.​—Mt 6:25, 27, 28, 31, 34; Lu 12:11, 22, 25, 26; see study notes on Mt 6:25; Lu 12:22.

the things of the Lord: That is, everything that will promote the interests of the Son of God and of his Father, Jehovah. These things essentially concern a Christian’s life, worship, and ministry.​—Mt 4:10; Ro 14:8; 2Co 2:17; 3:5, 6; 4:1; see study note on 1Co 7:33.

the things of the Lord: That is, everything that will promote the interests of the Son of God and of his Father, Jehovah. These things essentially concern a Christian’s life, worship, and ministry.​—Mt 4:10; Ro 14:8; 2Co 2:17; 3:5, 6; 4:1; see study note on 1Co 7:33.

the things of the world: Here the Greek word koʹsmos, rendered “world,” means the human sphere of life and its framework. These “things” would include the mundane or nonspiritual activities related to human life, including food, clothing, and housing. However, in this context, Paul was not referring to the things of the unrighteous world that Christians strive to avoid, such as those mentioned at 1Jo 2:15-17.​—See study note on 1Co 7:32.

to restrict: Lit., “to cast a noose upon.” Used literally, this term may refer to putting a noose or a rope around the neck of an animal to catch it or to restrict its freedom. It was also used of restraining people in captivity. In this context, the term is used figuratively, conveying the idea of imposing restrictions on someone or controlling someone’s behavior. In giving counsel on marriage and singleness (1Co 7:25-34), Paul did not want to restrict the freedom of the Christians in Corinth; rather, he sought to assist them so that they could be devoted “to the Lord without distraction.”

by remaining unmarried: Or “toward his virginity.” The Greek word used here, par·theʹnos, is often rendered “virgin.” In this context, the reference is obviously not to a person who is a virgin or unmarried but to a person’s virginity, that is, to his or her remaining unmarried and a virgin. In the preceding verses, Paul was encouraging singleness, and this is a continuation of that discussion.

past the bloom of youth: This expression renders a compound Greek word (hy·perʹak·mos), which comes from the words hy·perʹ, meaning “beyond,” and ak·meʹ, meaning “bloom” or “highest part.” The second part of the expression was often used with reference to the blooming of flowers. Here “the bloom of youth” apparently refers to the time when a young person develops physical maturity to the point that childbearing is possible. However, such bodily changes are often accompanied by strong emotions that distort good judgment. In this context, Paul is discussing the advantages of being single. His counsel implies that during this time when a young person is physically mature but still developing emotionally and spiritually, it would be better to work on developing self-control rather than to rush into marriage.

by remaining unmarried: Or “toward his virginity.” The Greek word used here, par·theʹnos, is often rendered “virgin.” In this context, the reference is obviously not to a person who is a virgin or unmarried but to a person’s virginity, that is, to his or her remaining unmarried and a virgin. In the preceding verses, Paul was encouraging singleness, and this is a continuation of that discussion.

to remain unmarried: Or “to keep his own virginity.” As explained in the study note on 1Co 7:36, the Greek word par·theʹnos in this context refers, not to a person who is a virgin or unmarried, but to a person’s virginity, that is, to his or her remaining unmarried and a virgin. This understanding is in harmony with the context, since Paul is discussing the advantages of remaining single.​—1Co 7:32-35.

by remaining unmarried: Or “toward his virginity.” The Greek word used here, par·theʹnos, is often rendered “virgin.” In this context, the reference is obviously not to a person who is a virgin or unmarried but to a person’s virginity, that is, to his or her remaining unmarried and a virgin. In the preceding verses, Paul was encouraging singleness, and this is a continuation of that discussion.

to remain unmarried: Or “to keep his own virginity.” As explained in the study note on 1Co 7:36, the Greek word par·theʹnos in this context refers, not to a person who is a virgin or unmarried, but to a person’s virginity, that is, to his or her remaining unmarried and a virgin. This understanding is in harmony with the context, since Paul is discussing the advantages of remaining single.​—1Co 7:32-35.

marries: Or “gives his virginity in marriage.”​—See study notes on 1Co 7:36, 37.

only in the Lord: Or “only to a believer in the Lord; only if he is in union with the Lord,” that is, a fellow Christian. That inspired direction applies to all Christians. It is obvious that Paul is referring to a fellow believer because at Ro 16:8-11, he uses the expression “in the Lord” when speaking about fellow believers. At Col 4:7, he uses it along with such terms as “beloved brother,” “faithful minister,” and “fellow slave.” Christians with a Jewish background would already have been familiar with God’s Law to Israel not to “form any marriage alliances” with someone from the surrounding pagan nations. Jehovah warned Israel: “They [non-Israelites] will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods.” (De 7:3, 4) In the Christian era, the admonition to marry “only in the Lord” would therefore mean to marry only someone who is a worshipper of Jehovah and a follower of Christ.

Lord: In this context, the title “Lord” could refer either to Jesus Christ or to Jehovah God.

I give my opinion: Here Paul expresses his personal opinion regarding marriage and singleness. He does not condemn or forbid marriage, but under inspiration he highlights the advantages of singleness in the Lord’s service.​—See study note on 1Co 7:12.

in my opinion: See study note on 1Co 7:25.

Media