Undivided devotion to the Lord (1 Cor. 7:35)

“I say this

For your own benefit,

Not to lay any restraint

Upon you,

But to promote

Good order

And to secure

Your undivided devotion

To the Lord.”

τοῦτο δὲ πρὸς τὸ ὑμῶν αὐτῶν σύμφορον λέγω, οὐχ ἵνα βρόχον ὑμῖν ἐπιβάλω, ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὸ εὔσχημον καὶ εὐπάρεδρον τῷ Κυρίῳ ἀπερισπάστως.

Paul said (λέγω) this for their own benefit (τοῦτο δὲ πρὸς τὸ ὑμῶν αὐτῶν σύμφορον), not to lay (ἐπιβάλω) any restraint upon them (οὐχ ἵνα βρόχον ὑμῖν), but to promote good order (ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὸ εὔσχημον) and to secure their undivided (ἀπερισπάστως) devotion (καὶ εὐπάρεδρον) to the Lord (τῷ Κυρίῳ).  Only the Pauline letters used this word βρόχον, that means a noose, halter, snare, or cord, the word εὐπάρεδρον, that means attend to or devoted to, and the word ἀπερισπάστως, that means without distraction or being distracted.  Paul was not trying to make things harder for these Christian Corinthians with some extra burdens or restraints.  He was talking to them for their own benefit.  He wanted to promote good order with their undistracted attention to be on devotion to our Lord, Jesus Christ.  The practical difficulties of marriage made this hard for married people, both men and women.  Thus, there was his preference for the unmarried lifestyle.  Is marriage a help or hindrance from following Jesus Christ?

The married woman was concerned about her husband (1 Cor. 7:34)

“The married man

Has divided interests.

The unmarried woman

Or virgin

Is anxious

About the affairs of the Lord,

How to be holy

In body

And spirit.

But the married woman

Is anxious

About worldly affairs,

And how to please her husband.”

καὶ μεμέρισται. καὶ ἡ γυνὴ ἡ ἄγαμος καὶ ἡ παρθένος μεριμνᾷ τὰ τοῦ Κυρίου, ἵνα ᾖ ἁγία καὶ τῷ σώματι καὶ τῷ πνεύματι· ἡ δὲ γαμήσασα μεριμνᾷ τὰ τοῦ κόσμου, πῶς ἀρέσῃ τῷ ἀνδρί.

Paul said that thus the married man had divided interests (καὶ μεμέρισται).  The unmarried women (καὶ ἡ γυνὴ ἡ ἄγαμος) or the young virgins (καὶ ἡ παρθένος) were anxious (μεριμνᾷ) about the affairs of the Lord (τὰ τοῦ Κυρίου), how to be holy (ἵνα ᾖ ἁγία) in body (καὶ τῷ σώματι) and spirit (καὶ τῷ πνεύματι).  But the married woman (ἡ δὲ γαμήσασα) was anxious (μεριμνᾷ) about worldly affairs (μεριμνᾷ τὰ τοῦ κόσμου), and how to please her husband (πῶς ἀρέσῃ τῷ ἀνδρί).  Paul continued to harp on the practical matters.  The married man had divided interests between his wife and the Lord.  The unmarried women or the young virgins, like an unmarried men, were more concerned about the affairs of the Lord God, since they wanted to be holy in both their body and spirit.  On the other hand, the married women were like the married men.  They were more concerned about the affairs of the world and their family.  They too were worried about how to please their husbands.  Do married couples worry about pleasing each other?

The married man wants to please his wife (1 Cor. 7:33)

“The married man

Is anxious

About worldly affairs,

And how to please his wife.”

ὁ δὲ γαμήσας μεριμνᾷ τὰ τοῦ κόσμου, πῶς ἀρέσῃ τῇ γυναικί,

Paul explicitly said that the married man (ὁ δὲ γαμήσας) was anxious (μεριμνᾷ) about worldly affairs (τὰ τοῦ κόσμου), and how to please his wife (πῶς ἀρέσῃ τῇ γυναικί).  Paul said that being married, a husband would have to worry about taking care of his wife.  He would be concerned with the affairs of the world and not the affairs of the Lord.  Secondly, the married man would make sure that he was doing things that pleased his wife.  His attention would not be focused on the Lord, God.  Do married men worry more about pleasing their wives than anything else?

How to please the Lord (1 Cor. 7:32)

“I want you

To be free

From anxieties.

The unmarried man

Is anxious

About the affairs of the Lord,

How to please the Lord.”

θέλω δὲ ὑμᾶς ἀμερίμνους εἶναι. ὁ ἄγαμος μεριμνᾷ τὰ τοῦ Κυρίου, πῶς ἀρέσῃ τῷ Κυρίῳ

Paul said that I want you (θέλω δὲ ὑμᾶς) to be free from anxieties (ἀμερίμνους εἶναι).  The unmarried man (ὁ ἄγαμος) is anxious about the affairs of the Lord (μεριμνᾷ τὰ τοῦ Κυρίου), how to please the Lord (πῶς ἀρέσῃ τῷ Κυρίῳ).  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἄγαμος, that means unmarried or not in a state of wedlock.  Once again, Paul emphasized the role of the unmarried celibate from a practical point of view.  Paul wanted these Christians in Corinth to be free from any cares.  Thus, the unmarried man would be more concerned about the affairs of the Lord and how to please him, as opposed to the married man who would worry about how to please his wife.  Paul definitely had a preference for the unmarried man.  Do you think that the unmarried life is better than the married life?

The world is passing away (1 Cor. 7:31)

“Those who deal

With the world

Should be

As though they had no dealings with it.

The form of this world

Is passing away.”

καὶ οἱ χρώμενοι τὸν κόσμον ὡς μὴ καταχρώμενοι· παράγει γὰρ τὸ σχῆμα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου.

Paul said that those who deal with the world (καὶ οἱ χρώμενοι τὸν κόσμον) should be as though they had no dealings with it (ὡς μὴ καταχρώμενοι).  The form (γὰρ τὸ σχῆμα) of this world (τοῦ κόσμου τούτου) is passing away (παράγει).  Only the Pauline letters used this word καταχρώμενοι, that means to make full use of, use up, and the word σχῆμα, that means figure, shape, form, or appearance.  Paul indicated that those who had dealings with this world should be as if they had nothing to do with using the things of this world.  Paul said that the form or the shape of this world was going to pass away.  The end times, the judgment day of the second coming of Jesus was at hand.  Do not be worried about this world.  Are you worried about this world that you live in?

Mourning, rejoicing, and buying (1 Cor. 7:30)

“The appointed time means

That those who mourn

Should be

As though they were not mourning,

That those who rejoice

Should be

As though they were not rejoicing,

That those who buy

Should be

As though they had no goods.”

καὶ οἱ κλαίοντες ὡς μὴ κλαίοντες, καὶ οἱ χαίροντες ὡς μὴ χαίροντες, καὶ οἱ ἀγοράζοντες ὡς μὴ κατέχοντες,

Paul said that the appointed time means that those who mourn (καὶ οἱ κλαίοντες) should be as though they were not mourning (ὡς μὴ κλαίοντες).  Those who rejoice (καὶ οἱ χαίροντες) should be as though they were not rejoicing (ὡς μὴ χαίροντες).  Those who buy things (καὶ οἱ ἀγοράζοντες) should be as though they had no goods (ὡς μὴ κατέχοντες).  The end times were near.  There would be no time for mourning, rejoicing, or buying or selling goods.  The mourners should not seem to mourn.  The rejoicing ones should not seem to rejoice.  The market buyers should not have anything.  The end times of Jesus’ second coming in judgment would turn the world around.  Are you expecting the end times of Jesus at the second coming?

The appointed time is short (1 Cor. 7:29)


I tell you

That the appointed time

Has grown very short.

From now on,

Let those who have wives

Live as though

They had none.”

Τοῦτο δέ φημι, ἀδελφοί, ὁ καιρὸς συνεσταλμένος ἐστίν· τὸ λοιπὸν ἵνα καὶ οἱ ἔχοντες γυναῖκας ὡς μὴ ἔχοντες ὦσιν,

Paul told (Τοῦτο δέ φημι) his believing brothers (ἀδελφοί) that the appointed time has grown very short (ὁ καιρὸς συνεσταλμένος ἐστίν).  From now on (τὸ λοιπὸν), let those who have wives (ἵνα καὶ οἱ ἔχοντες γυναῖκας) live as though they had none (ὡς μὴ ἔχοντες ὦσιν).  Paul added another comment for his believing brothers in Corinth.  The appointed time of the second coming of Jesus had grown near.  Thus, he thought it would be better if those who had wives abstained from having sex, and live like they did not have wives.  Do you think that married couples should abstain from having sex?

You do not sin if you get married (1 Cor. 7:28)

“But if you marry,

You do not sin.

If a girl marries,

She does not sin.

Yet those who marry

Will have worldly troubles.

I would spare you that.”

ἐὰν δὲ καὶ γαμήσῃς, οὐχ ἥμαρτες, καὶ ἐὰν γήμῃ ἡ παρθένος, οὐχ ἥμαρτεν· θλῖψιν δὲ τῇ σαρκὶ ἕξουσιν οἱ τοιοῦτοι, ἐγὼ δὲ ὑμῶν φείδομαι.

Paul said that if you marry (ἐὰν δὲ καὶ γαμήσῃς), you do not sin (οὐχ ἥμαρτες).  If a virgin girl (ἡ παρθένος) marries (καὶ ἐὰν γήμῃ), she does not sin (οὐχ ἥμαρτεν).  Yet those who marry (οἱ τοιοῦτοι) will have (ἕξουσιν) fleshy worldly troubles (θλῖψιν δὲ τῇ σαρκὶ).  I would spare you that (ἐγὼ δὲ ὑμῶν φείδομαι).  Paul said that he was not opposed to marriage.  If unmarried man or a young virgin girl got married, it was not a sin.  However, anyone getting married would have all kinds of human tribulations and worldly problems.  He wanted to spare them all these difficulties.  There were certain demands of the married life that were problematic.  Paul wanted to protect people from those troubles.  Do you think that there are a lot of demands in a married life?

Bound or free to a wife (1 Cor. 7:27)

“Are you bound to a wife?

Do not seek to be free!

Are you free from a wife?

Do not seek marriage!”

δέδεσαι γυναικί; μὴ ζήτει λύσιν· λέλυσαι ἀπὸ γυναικός; μὴ ζήτει γυναῖκα.

Paul put it bluntly.  “Are you bound to a wife (δέδεσαι γυναικί)?  Do not seek to be free (μὴ ζήτει λύσιν)!  Are you free from a wife (λέλυσαι ἀπὸ γυναικός)?  Do not seek marriage (μὴ ζήτει γυναῖκα)!”  Only the Pauline letters used this word λύσιν, that means to be loosed by divorce, dissolution, or released.  Stay the way that you are.  If you are married to a wife, do not try to be released or get a divorce.  If you have been released or set free from a wife, then do not seek marriage.  You should stay in the same status as when God called you to follow Jesus Christ.  Do you like your local status now?

Remain as you are! (1 Cor. 7:26)

“I think

That in view

Of the present distress,

It is well

For a person

To remain

As he is.”

Νομίζω οὖν τοῦτο καλὸν ὑπάρχειν διὰ τὴν ἐνεστῶσαν ἀνάγκην, ὅτι καλὸν ἀνθρώπῳ τὸ οὕτως εἶναι.

Paul said that he thinks (Νομίζω) that in view of the present distress (διὰ τὴν ἐνεστῶσαν ἀνάγκην), it is well (οὖν τοῦτο καλὸν ὑπάρχειν) for a man or person to remain as he is (ὅτι καλὸν ἀνθρώπῳ τὸ οὕτως εἶναι).  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἐνεστῶσαν, that means to place in, to be at hand, to be present.  Paul thought as he had said earlier that every person should retain the same status that they had prior to their call to follow Jesus Christ.  However, his reason for this is a little ambiguous.  He talked about the present distress or danger.  Did he mean the end times, the second coming of Jesus Christ?  Was this something in general or a specific problem in Corinth?  Was he just talking about the daily pressures of married life?  Or was something going on in the Greek pagan Corinthian environment that would cause problems for the Christians there?  It is not clear, but it was a current problem of some kind.  Do you think that you will remain as you are?