1Co 7:25-28 “Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be. Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.”
It is clear throughout this letter that it was a time of upheaval among the brethren at Corinth. There was division within their ranks and persecution from those without. Paul advises caution in many things to the church at Corinth. He is also careful to point out when he is giving his best prayerful advice as opposed to having an actual injunction from the Lord in certain areas.
This is true of Paul’s advice concerning virgins. While we usually think of the woman when we read that term, the word as used in verse twenty-five applies to both men and women. Paul confesses there is no direct instruction to those who have never entered into the marriage covenant separate from those who have. All are to be obedient to the leadership of the Spirit of God and to keep His commandments.
Paul speaks here as one who is faithful by the Lord’s mercy. It is a great blessing of God to have people in our lives that have demonstrated their desire and purpose to follow Him in all things. Thus, when they offer their opinion on a matter, we are confident that they have given it prayerful consideration. Paul is calling our attention to the fact that he is such a one as this.
Note that Paul is not necessarily advising that people never marry. He calls their attention to the fact that his advice (judgment) is for “the present distress.” In the current state of turmoil in Corinth, if a man could abstain from marriage without sin, then Paul is encouraging them to do so, and the sisters to do likewise. While there was nothing sinful in getting married, it was going to add to the present troubles they were in.
Those of us who are blessed with faithful, loving companions understand what a great blessing it is. We also have some concept of what it means to desire to keep them from suffering. When we are persecuted in some manner, it is much easier for us to bear it if our companion is left out of it. This seems to be the sense of Paul’s advice here.
Most importantly, he is telling them again to remain in the estate they were called in (1Co 7:24). Are you currently married? Then do not seek to be free of the marriage; serve God where you are. Are you unmarried? The do not seek to be married; serve God where you are. If you do marry there is no sin in that, but be prepared for the additional concern for the welfare of your spouse. Paul’s stated intent was to try and help them through the present distress (“I spare you.”).
As servants of God, we need to always give diligent consideration to the advice (judgment) we offer. We need to examine the scriptures to see if there is a direct commandment of the Lord concerning the situation. We should always humbly recognize that any worthwhile judgement we might have to offer is the result of His mercy to us to be faithful. We need to be able to consider “the present distress” and to be quick to point out when we are speaking of that which we “suppose” based on our experience in serving Him.
May God grant us the wisdom to always say and do that which give honor and glory to Him and affords our brothers and sisters the least trouble possible in every situation!