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1 Corinthians 7:29-31

The Time Is Short

29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; 30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; 31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.


But this I say, brethren,.." Whatever your situation in life may be, married or unmarried, slave or freeman, rich or poor. Paul wanted you to hear this one most important point. "The time is short!"

Albert Barnes wrote, "The time is “contracted,” “drawn into a narrow space” (συνεσταλμένος sunestalmenos). The word which is used here is commonly applied to the act of “furling” a sail, that is, reducing it into a narrow compass; and is then applied to anything that is reduced within narrow limits. Perhaps there was a reference here to the fact that the time was “contracted,” or made short, by their impending persecutions and trials. But it is always equally true that time is short. It will soon glide away, and come to a close."

We are called, therefore, to remember this one point. The time is not only short, but is contracting with every passing minute. How much time will we waste serving the things of this world as time moves forward and as our opportunities to serve God shrink away? "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer." (1 Peter 4:7)

"It remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;" Certainly Paul does not mean that anyone should neglect or ignore their wives. To the contrary, they should make their marriage a tribute to God. The husband should use his time to serve the Lord and the wife should work by his side as his helpmeet. Such an arrangement strengthens both the marriage and the ministry.

Then Paul lists a number of other situations, all of which are to remind us that the time is short and that we should not be overly affected or influenced by this world. We should not be affected by those things that would cause us to weep, because they are short lived. The same applies to things that bring us joy. There is a much greater joy soon to come. Worldly possessions are nothing but temporary conveniences that will soon be gone. Do not get attached to them.

The world is here for our use, for our comfort and for our pleasures, but we should not become so enamored with it that we begin to abuse it. Food, clothing, and possessions should not become the reason for our existence, else they replace our desire for God and His righteousness. "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." (James 4:4) Love of the world is the same as idolatry.

"For the fashions of this world passeth away." The time is short and they will soon all be gone. The prophet Isaiah wrote, "The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever."

Paul's advise was for everyone to remain obedient servants of the Lord no matter what circumstances they are in. The world will be consumed, the time is short, but the word of God will last forever. Serve Him while you still have time.

Before The Lord:


If you are like me, the greatest struggle you have is to cut through the cares and demands of the world around you and find time to serve the Lord. Pray for the wisdom to use your time wisely. Ask the Lord to show you how you can use your relationships, responsibilities and possessions to better serve Him. Ask Him to remind you daily that the time is short.

For Further Study:

(v.29)
** the time. Job 14:1-2; Ps 39:4-7; Ps 90:5-10; Ps 103:15- 16; Eccl 6:12; Eccl 9:10; Rom 13:11-12; Heb 13:13-14; 1Pet 4:7; 2Pet 3:8-9; 1John 2:17; ** that both. Eccl 12:7-8, 13-14; Isa 24:1- 2; Isa 40:6-8; Jas 4:13-16; 1Pet 1:24;

(v.30) ** that weep. Ps 30:5; Ps 126:5-6; Eccl 3:4; Isa 25:8; Isa 30:19; Luke 6:21, 25; Luke 16:25; John 16:22; Rev 7:17; Rev 18:7;

(v.31) ** use. 1Cor 9:18; Eccl 2:24-25; Eccl 3:12-13; Eccl 5:18-20; Eccl 9:7-10; Eccl 11:2, 9-10; Matt 24:48-50; Matt 25:14-29; Luke 12:15-21; Luke 16:1-2; Luke 19:17-26; Luke 21:34; 1Tim 6:17-18; Jas 5:1-5; ** for. Ps 39:6; Ps 73:20; Eccl 1:4; Jas 1:10-11; Jas 4:14; 1Pet 1:24; 1Pet 4:7; 1John 2:17;

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