WEEK 2 - MOTIVATION FOR SEXUAL INTEGRITY
1 CORINTHIANS 7:25–40 (NASB95)
25 Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. 26 I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you. 29 But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; 30 and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; 31 and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away. 32 But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33 but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord. 36 But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry. 37 But he who stands firm in his heart, being under no constraint, but has authority over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well. 38 So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better. 39 A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God.
CONCERNING THESE THINGS
For us to understand Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, and in particular this passage, we have to be made aware of his belief that there was a soon approaching “Day of the Lord.” The “Day of the Lord” is known in the Hebrew tradition as time when God rights injustice. These times bring a dramatic change in the social order. To help understand this watch this video.
Paul wasn’t incorrect in his belief. The events in Jerusalem in 70 AD when the Romans laid siege to it and destroyed the temple was, in the opinion of many Biblical historians, a “Day of the Lord.”
This pastoral letter was written to a particular community at a specific time in history to give instructions for maintaining appropriate devotion to Jesus. This passage should help us to understand that we should live our lives with a watchful awareness that the present order of things is not ultimate.
What do you think Paul means by “secure undistracted devotion to the Lord?” (v. 35)
How important is community in light of a potential social upheaval?
What are we ultimately called to put our trust in?