1 Corinthians 7:35


Sunday, 10 August 2014

And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction. 1 Corinthians 7:35

Paul’s words, “And this I say” is referring to the instructions on marriage that he has given from verses 25-34. In this, his words were “for your own profit.” Explained differently, what he has said is advice which is meant to help those in Corinth and to assist them in their thinking about the issue. Remember, in verse 26, he wrote of the “present distress” which they were facing. As a person who understood the complexities of the times and was able to process them in a valid Christian context, his words were intended as general guides for a sound life through that distress.

This is certain that the words are only recommendations and not directives because he next says that it was “not that I may put a leash on you.” The word translated as “leash” is the Greek brochon. This is its only use in Scripture and it implies a noose, snare, or cord which is used to restrain something or someone. The gist of his words then are that he was not intending to bind them with a man-made rule and thus add to the gospel of freedom which is found in Christ, nor to bind them from anything lawful within the society which didn’t contradict the gospel, but rather his intent was to provide sound, helpful, and fatherly advice for their welfare.

In contrast to such an over-reaching command, Paul simply wanted them to consider “what is proper” in order that “you may serve the Lord without distraction.” His intent then was solely for their good during the “present distress” and his words are not to be considered directives for any time at any point of the church age. Rather, in times of upheaval and distress, believers should be able to go to Paul’s words and determine a sound course of action that will keep them from trials and heartache, and yet able to serve the Lord fully and without additional burdens which could take away that full devotion.

Life application: Again we see the importance of context. Reading a single verse and applying it without context inevitably leads to crummy doctrine. But by checking the context of what is given, we can be certain that we are on the right path in our walk and in good stead with the Lord.

Lord God, I am so thankful to You for the guidance Your word gives. There are proverbs of wisdom which provide a general guide for our daily walk. There are words of exhortation to build me up and keep me thinking correctly. There are commands which if followed will ensure that I am right with You and in Your favor. And there are psalms of praise which show me how I too can express my own personal feelings to You in a way which is pleasing. These and so many other aspects of Your word fill me with wonder, delight, and surety that I am walking correctly in Your presence. Thank You for Your word! Amen.


1 Corinthians 7:34


Saturday, 9 August 2014

There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. 1 Corinthians 7:34

In the same manner as there is a difference between the unmarried and the married man (concerning focus on the Lord and proper allegiances to Him), there is also a difference in the case of women. Paul notes that “There is a difference between a wife and a virgin (meaning a female virgin). He is not at all speaking about the physical difference, but the same difference noted among men from the previous two verses as he next explains.

“The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord.” When a believer is unmarried, they have a much better opportunity to keep their minds and thoughts on the Lord. Their actions will be directed towards Him alone, and their spiritual life will be filled with Him as well. Because of this, “she may be holy both in body and in spirit.” Regardless of the surroundings, even in a time of certain distress, her actions will be directed toward Him. On the other hand, Paul notes the contrast which is found in a married woman by beginning with “but.”

“But she who is married cares about the things of the world – how she may please her husband.” When a woman marries, she is bound to her husband and will naturally set her affections on him. In a time of distress, this may be even more so. The cares of their marriage, the thought of losing him, and the separations which might arise may consume her mental and emotional strength and even debilitate her physically. When this occurs, she is no longer focusing on the Lord as much as the virgin would be.

Having said this, Paul is not in any way saying to not marry. Nor is he saying that there is anything wrong with marriage. He is speaking to those in Corinth at a time when there is a “present distress” as verse 26 noted. This distress, whatever it may have been, could only increase the troubles and trials associated with a marriage.

A good example of the divided allegiances that result in such an instance is found in the sisters Martha and Mary. One was worried about many things when Jesus was in the house. At the same time, Mary was content to sit and listen to Jesus. The account is found in Luke 10 and is a great example of what Paul is relaying concerning this issue of marriage even though it isn’t specifically speaking of marriage. Martha, like the married woman, was concerned with many things and her priorities reflected that –

“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’ And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.'” Luke 10:38-42

Life application: What is your priority? Are you following Christ, reading His word, and listening to the prompting of the Spirit in your life? Or, are you being distracted by many things and allowing them to shut His presence out of this one life He has granted you before you stand before Him? Make sure to spend this valuable time wisely. Spend it with Christ.

Time is fleeting Lord and the days go so fast
And yet there is so much for me to do
But when the sun is setting and the day is past
I look back and see I spent too little time with You

And so I commit to spending more time with You on the morrow
Surely I will do better when the sun rises anew
But at the end of the next day, again I’m filled with sorrow
I failed again, O Lord, to spent precious time with You

O God, give me a wise and discerning heart
Grant me the resolve to open Your word as I should do
And to walk with You and talk with You, yes help me to start
To spend my quickly fleeting life in sincere fellowship with You

Heavenly Father, my days are rushing forward and the time that is gone I cannot get back. And yet, so little of it has been spent in the pursuit of You. Help me to set my priorities aright and to pursue the knowledge of You now. I desire to stand before You approved and commended for the years I have lived. Help me in this Lord. I ask this that You will be glorified. Amen.



1 Corinthians 7:33


Friday, 8 August 2014

But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife. 1 Corinthians 7:33

This verse is set in contrast to the preceding one which read, “He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord.” When one is single, and if they are directed to the things of Lord, they will naturally care for doing those things which are pleasing to Him. However, the contrast is also usually the case. And so Paul notes it for our reflection by saying, “But he who is married cares about the things of the world.” This doesn’t mean such a person isn’t interested in pleasing the Lord at all, but his allegiances may become skewed, especially during times of distress.

Even if such times don’t currently exist, a man still needs to provide for his wife and keep her happy and content, but he can usually do it in a way in which both will be able to direct their lives toward pleasing the Lord. They can attend church together, pray over meals together, talk about the Lord’s goodness on walks, etc. However, if it is a time of distress, the man may become overly consumed with “how he may please his wife.”

If food is in shortage, the man will spend a great deal of effort in obtaining it in order to feed his beloved and any children that they have. Going to church may become a secondary matter as the time once available for this is lost in the struggle to live. And finding time to stop and praise the Lord in times of privation is naturally harder. This doesn’t mean that the love for the Lord is gone, but priorities become skewed during times of upheaval. How much more difficult it is to please the Lord when there are many additional burdens upon the man’s heart which he feels he must handle!

Life application: As has been noted over the previous few verses, the context of the times in which a person lives is important to consider when pondering life-changing decisions such as marriage or having children. This is why it is often good to stop and evaluate such decisions rationally and apart from the emotions which tug at our heart strings.

Lord God, today is open before me and I don’t know even a moment from now what will come about, but You do. And so I place this day in Your capable hands asking for just a few things. Give me the opportunity to speak to someone today about my faith in Jesus. Grant me patience with others so that I don’t bring discredit upon Your name. And should You call me home today, allow my last breath to be one which praises You. With these things, I will feel the day was well spent. Amen.


1 Corinthians 7:32


Thursday, 7 August 2014

But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. 1 Corinthians 7:32

In this verse, Paul reverts back to his words of verse 28 which said, “Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you.” After that came the intervening verses to build upon that thought and then this verse which begins with a confirmation that he has their best in mind and his words are intended not as commands, but as heartfelt words of counsel – as if a father to his children. And so he begins with “But I want you to be without care…”

If they will follow his exhortation, they will spare themselves trials and sadness that he is sure are coming because of “the present distress” (verse 26). And so to live “without care” he tells them, as an explanation, that “he who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord – how he may please the Lord.” This was his personal state and he knew it to be true. The man who is unmarried, particularly in times of distress, is not distracted by the marital issues which can complicate one’s life in many ways, and which inevitably will cause minds to be distracted from a clear and unhindered relationship with the Lord.

In contrast to this will come his words in the next verse which will be looked at separately.

Life application: Life happens. The more responsibilities we have, the easier it is to get distracted from a single-minded devotion to the Lord. This is particularly true when close relationships are involved. Having a spouse, children, or other family members to care for can cause our minds to be consumed with those details, leaving less time for pursuing Jesus. This does not mean being in such relationships is wrong, but if the world around us is in the middle of a time of distress, it would be better to consider not getting into overly burdensome relationships during such a time.

Lord, if I am a man of the dust which has been made into a jar of clay, then I am intended to be filled. I can be either be filled with precious contents, or something vile. I would choose to be a receptacle for Your goodness and Your Spirit. But also, if I am filled with You and then allow small amounts of wickedness to seep in, the contents will be tainted. And so daily, fill me anew with You and keep the world from seeping into the cracks of my life. Instead, seal me tightly with Your word and Your precious doctrine so that I may be a holy vessel, dedicated to You alone. Amen.




1 Corinthians 7:31


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

…and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away. 1 Corinthians 7:31

This verse finishes the thought analyzed in the preceding two verses. Again, to get clarity, we can take the first portion and apply his words to this final section. It would thus read as follows –

“But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on…those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away.”

Today for this final portion of the thought, Paul says that “those who use this world” should use it “as not misusing it.” This is speaking of the excess of life that can so easily ensnare us. We live in the world and must use the things of the world to continue to exist, but we are not to allow them to become our prime focus or center of hope and contentment.

Instead, we are to continually reevaluate our state and remember that those things we use and possess all came from the Creator and they are temporary, as is our very body. All these things are “passing away.” But there is a greater and eternal hope for those who have called on Christ. If our lives are filled with the lust of the world, then we have shown that this world is our desire and that God is less important to us than the world. John speaks of this exact thought, along with the transitory nature of this world, in his first epistle –

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17

Those things around us which seem fixed and firm are not. Even the mountains erode and can be leveled through a large cataclysm. If such magnificent and seemingly permanent structures are temporary, how much more those things we possess! The terminology for that which “is passing away” calls to mind the fleeting scenes of a movie. Our eyes take in the information and our brains process it, but it is actually gone from before us as soon as the next scene comes. It is nothing but a memory. This is exactly what Solomon speaks of in the book of Ecclesiastes. In his opening words, he says this –

“‘Vanity of vanities,’ says the Preacher; ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.'” Ecclesiastes 1:2

The word for “vanity” in this verse is havel. It literally means “vapor,” or “breath.” Solomon warns that just as exhaled breath on a cold morning quickly disappears, so is the sudden disappearance of the world around us. Everything is fleeting except God. Because this is so, we are admonished to call on Him and then remember Him now while we still have the chance. Someday, all things will be made new for those who have called on Christ. It will be an entirely different order and one which will endure for all eternity.

Life application: Don’t get so caught up in this temporary world that you miss the greater and eternal world to come. Don’t miss out on Christ!

Heavenly Father, everything that I used to think was permanent and lasting is actually just a temporary vapor. The years have quickly gone by and I’m suddenly not a young person any more. Friends have come and gone and the fun things that I thought gave me satisfaction have disappeared, one by one. The only thing that is truly constant is You. As so my hope, my joy, and my anticipation is truly in You alone. How I long for You. My soul is thirsty just for You. Amen.