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1 Corinthians 7:32-35

Harmful Distractions

32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: 33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. 34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.


As Paul writes what he describes as his own opinion, rather than a direct commandment from the Lord, about marriage versus celibacy, he has only one motive for his words. He has told us in 6:20 and 7:23, "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." His purpose for all of this is simply that there be no distractions from our goal of glorifying God in all things.

"But I would have you without carefulness." All Christians, married or single, should have their lives and priorities arranged so that they have no anxieties or cares that would misdirect their thoughts and works from the task of glorifying God. A single man is more free to dedicate his time to the service of God than a married man is, however, that is not a guarantee that he will not fill his time with some other worldly pursuits.

The married man, on the other hand, would naturally be concerned with pleasing his wife. Indeed, it is his duty to provide for her and protect her as Christ does His church, but it should only be done as unto the Lord and to glorify Him. Marriage is a beautiful, God ordained institution, and Paul is by no means trying to minimize it. Sometimes, however, our relationships can cause us to be distracted from our purpose in Christ and that is not good.

He goes on to point out that the same difference exists between a virgin and a wife. The first is free to commit all of her time and energy to serving the Lord, while the other has worldly obligations to her husband, which can be distracting.

"And this I speak for your own profit;" It was not said to be mean, or judgmental or to cause problems with those who already were married. Paul wanted to give the Christian brothers and sisters at Corinth every advantage in their efforts to glorify God. Nor was it said to "cast a snare upon" any of them. The Greek word brochos is a noose or harness. It would be wrong for Paul to place some kind of new law or rule upon them, which had not been given by direct commandment from the Lord and that held them back or strangled them in their spiritual journey.

He finishes with the clarification that he only wants to state "that which is comely." In other words, he wanted to show them what was proper and fit for their individual circumstances so that their walk with Christ would be free of "distractions," or any unnecessary "anxieties." It should be our purpose to glorify God in everything that we do. To do it properly, we must lay aside all worldly considerations that would in any way interfere with that goal, whether they be in the single life or in marriage. A married person, whether the wife or the husband, also has an obligation to avoid placing worldly and distracting demands on their spouse. That too is for the Lord's glory.

Before The Throne:

Pray about your own marital status. Are you single? Does God have other plans, or should you remain that way? Pray that He would guide you in your decision, especially if you feel you need to marry. Pray for the spouse He wants you to have. Are you married? Pray that He will help you use your marriage to glorify Him. Ask Him to help you avoid harmful distractions. Pray that He will keep you from selfishly burdening your spouse so that he/she is hindered in the Lord's service.

For Further Study:

(v.32)
** I would. Ps 55:22; Matt 6:25-34; Matt 13:22; Phil 4:6; ** He that. 1Ti 5:5;

(v.33) ** careth. Neh 5:1-5; Luke 12:22; 1Thess 4:11-12; 1Tim 5:8; ** how. 1Cor 7:3; 1Sam 1:4-8; Eph 5:25-33; Col 3:19; 1Pet 3:7;

(v.34) ** careth. Luke 2:36-37; 2Cor 7:11-12; 2Cor 8:16; 2Cor 11:28; 1Tim 3:5; Titus 3:8; ** both. 1Cor 6:20; Rom 6:13; Rom 12:1-2; Phil 1:20; 1Thess 5:23; ** she that. Lu 10:40-42;

(v.35) ** not. 1Cor 7:2; 1Cor 7:5-9, 28, 36; Matt 19:12; ** comely. 1Cor 7:36; Eph 5:3; Phil 4:8; 1Tim 1:10; Titus 2:3; ** and that. Luke 8:14; Luke 10:40-42; Luke 21:34;

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