The Book of 1 Corinthians Bible Study Chapter 7 Part 4 Leave a Comment / Love Israel Connection Blog / By Rivka Korman 1 Corinthians 7:25-33 Note 1: Marriage is a covenant. G-d brings a man and a woman together, in this covenant of marriage, for the purpose of manifesting His glory to the world. This is one of the primary purposes of marriage. Marriage, although it has the potential to provide us with it, is not there primarily for our happiness or joy. Note 2: There is a hermeneutical clue in 1 Cor 7:25-40 that helps us to understand this passage. Two references in the text reveal to us what was impacting Paul’s statements in the unique time that he lived in (a time just prior to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem – AD 70 – and, therefore, the longest exile the Jewish people have experienced yet – 2000yrs of it. This was also written on the brink of a time of great persecution – not only for the Jewish people, but also for the believers). Paul wrote this passage, inspired by the Holy Spirit, in light of this time that was coming. v25: Virgins: On the Jewish marriage contract (the ketubah) the status of the woman was listed. The marriage that received the highest status was that of marriage to a woman whose status was ‘virgin’. Virgins were women with the highest moral conduct and spiritual character. They were women of purity and were very committed to the things of G-d.· I have no commandment from the L-rd: Paul is NOT making a suggestion here. When Paul uses this term, he is informing us that this is an instruction that cannot be found in the law of Moses but is a fresh, new revelation given to him through the Holy Spirit. It is truth and has relevance for us today (2 Tim 3:16-17). Paul’s purpose in writing this Scriptural revelation was to equip us with knowledge so that we can serve G-d faithfully. · Judgment: This is not the normal word for judgement. It is a word that has to do with knowledge. Paul has received revelation from the L-rd in this regard.· In his mercy: The translation here is a little obscure (see biblehub.com). Paul is speaking about himself being under (hypo) the L-rd’s mercy. Paul received mercy/forgiveness on the road to Damacus. At around the same time, he received a call to be an Apostle and therefore a call to be faithful (trustworthy) to the L-rd. In light of the authority that accompanied this call, in light of Paul’s faithfulness to G-d and to His Word, Paul is not suggesting something here – instead, this is a spiritual admonition. v26: The present distress: Because of the hard times that were coming upon the believers (persecution, the destruction of the temple a few years after this, etc) he wanted them to change their perspective – they did not live in normal times. He didn’t want them to become less faithful, but he wanted their faithfulness to be completely focused on G-d and not on a marital covenant. · Remain as he is: This speaks about a current status or condition. The implication: not to make drastic, lifechanging, marital decisions. v27: Bound: Married.· Do not seek to be loosed: Don’t make a change to your marital status – the marriage responsibilities needed to continue; despite difficult circumstances they would find themselves in. · Do not seek a wife: Paul was encouraging those who were unmarried, widowed etc to remain unmarried in light of ‘the present distress’. v28: If you do marry: Even in light of what was coming, Paul did not forbid marriage (neither for a man, nor for a woman). · Trouble (tribulation) in the flesh: Tribulation is a lot more intense for people who are married. A man who is attacked when he is alone is only concerned about resisting the enemy. A man who is attacked with his wife and children is now concerned with resisting the enemy but also concerned about protecting his family, his family’s well-being etc. · I would spare you: Paul wanted to spare them this added responsibility considering the difficult times coming. A political change is coming. v29: THIS I say: The word ‘this’ makes this text emphatic. · The time is short: This is the hermeneutical clue that is the indicator that helps us to rightly interpret and understand this passage. Paul was not referring to the end of what we call the church age. He was referring to the drastic change that was imminent within the empire and the accompanying persecution of the Jews and of the believers (many of whom were Jewish at that time). · Be as though they had none: In those dire circumstances, putting the L-rd first, over family responsibility, had to take precedence. v30: Weep…rejoice: In normal circumstances we often indulge ourselves with these emotions. Paul is saying that this is not a normal time. He is encouraging people to put these emotions aside as something of much greater significance is happening. People who are weighed down with the cares of life are not going to be prepared to live faithfully in light of what’s coming. Likewise, those for whom everything is going well (financially secure, good job etc) Paul encourages them to not let this mindset be at the forefront of their actions, as things are about to change. An emotional change is coming. · Buy…as those who do not possess: Those who are acquiring or purchasing things need to live as if their goods do not belong to them – a change is coming. We cannot be earthly minded at this time. Possessions, the cares of this life and the joys of this world CANNOT be the focus and foundation of our lives – especially at this time in history. An economic change is coming. v31: Misusing: Those who are utilizing the things of this world must not do so at an excessive level. The things of this world cannot be the objective of our lives. We must not heavily invest ourselves in this world – it is passing away. A physical change is coming. Note: The things that took place in 70 AD are going to manifest themselves again in the last days. This passage has great significance, therefore, for the times that we are about to enter into. v32-33: Without care: Paul wants those who are unmarried to be without earthly care so that they can focus solely on their responsibilities to G-d. Those who do not have a spouse, or a child, will find it easier to be concerned with the spiritual aspect of these times that are coming.