1 Corinthians 7: Married or Single?

I am not married, so I am probably somewhat unqualified to speak an awful lot about marriage. However, I find it interesting that Paul speaks about the relative advantages of marriage and singleness in 1 Corinthians 7. This passage in particular stood out to me.

1Co 7:7  For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

1Co 7:8  I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.

1Co 7:9  But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

Paul was not married, and he thought that was a valuable thing. As he goes on to say later in the chapter, he did not have to worry about providing for a family if he did not have one. That meant that he could commit more of his attention to the calling that God had for him specifically.

However, as you can see in this passage, it is not as if marriage is a bad thing. Some people need that companionship. As Paul says in verse seven, everyone has their own gifts. Some people can remain single and be okay with that. Some people would really struggle without having a husband or wife. Above all, it is better to marry than to burn. It is rather vivid imagery, but I think the point is rather obvious. If you are called to get married, then that is what you should do. You don’t want to stumble into sin because you are neglecting the call that God placed in you to desire a spouse.

It does seem to me though that Christianity can get caught up in the necessity of the family, and on some level I think that is incredibly important. It is important for people to have children for obvious reasons. However, we also cannot forget that there are some people who, like Paul, simply do not need to get married. That is not their calling in life, and as Paul says, they have a different gift from God. They will have a gift of potentially more available time. They are still valuable members of the community.

The bottom line is that the body of Christ has room for everyone. That includes those who are married and single.


Posted on June 26, 2015, in 1 Corinthians and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Ah, but how do you know he wasn’t married before?

    • The tone of the chapter seems to indicate that they ought to remain single as Paul had done. He doesn’t explicitly say he was never married to your point, but I’m curious what makes you think that perhaps he was?

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