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1 Corinthians 7:33-34 & meaning...

He 

who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife. There is also a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband.

1 Corinthians 7:33-34

Context

1 Corinthians 7 [30.] and those who weep, as though they didn’t weep; and those who rejoice, as though they didn’t rejoice; and those who buy, as though they didn’t possess; and those who use the world, as not using it to the fullest. For the mode of this world passes away. But I desire to have you to be free from cares. He who is unmarried is concerned for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but he who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife. There is also a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. 

1 Corinthians 7 [35.] This I say for your own profit; not that I may ensnare you, but for that which is appropriate, and that you may attend to the Lord without distraction.


Meaning:

  • Concerns of the Married: 

Verse 33 acknowledges that married individuals have additional concerns compared to those who are unmarried. The phrase "concerned about the things of the world" implies that marital responsibilities naturally involve attention to worldly matters, such as the well-being and happiness of the spouse. This includes practical considerations in the daily affairs of life.

  • Differences in Focus: 

Verse 34 draws a parallel between a wife and a virgin (an unmarried woman). The unmarried woman is described as caring about the things of the Lord, emphasizing her undivided devotion to spiritual matters. In contrast, the married woman's attention is divided, as she also cares about the things of the world, specifically how to please her husband.


Significance and Reflection:

Balancing Priorities: These verses prompt reflection on the delicate balance required in navigating the priorities of life, especially within the context of marriage. While marriage involves legitimate and important concerns, individuals, both husbands and wives, must be mindful of maintaining a balance that includes devotion to God and spiritual matters.

Undivided Devotion: The contrast between the concerns of the married and unmarried individuals underscores the potential for undivided devotion in singleness. Unmarried individuals, free from the responsibilities of a spouse, have a unique opportunity to focus wholeheartedly on the things of the Lord. This serves as a reminder of the spiritual advantages and opportunities that come with the single life.

Holiness in Body and Spirit: The passage highlights the pursuit of holiness, particularly for the unmarried woman. Her undivided attention on the things of the Lord is intended to contribute to her holiness both in body and spirit. This implies a holistic dedication that encompasses not only spiritual matters but also the sanctification of one's physical life.

Marriage as a Noble Calling: While the passage emphasizes the potential distractions of married life, it does not diminish the value or nobility of marriage. Instead, it acknowledges the legitimate concerns that arise within the marital relationship. The emphasis is on recognizing and managing these concerns in a way that honors God and maintains spiritual focus.


Cross References:

Matthew 6:33: The principle of seeking first the kingdom of God is echoed in Matthew 6:33. Both passages underscore the importance of prioritizing God's kingdom and righteousness in our lives, ensuring that spiritual concerns remain central despite other responsibilities.

Colossians 3:2: Colossians 3:2 encourages believers to set their minds on things above, not on earthly things. This aligns with the idea presented in 1 Corinthians 7:33-34, emphasizing the need for a spiritual perspective even while engaged in earthly responsibilities.


In conclusion, 1 Corinthians 7:33-34 provides valuable insights into the tensions and priorities individuals face, particularly in the context of marriage. It encourages a balanced approach that acknowledges the legitimate concerns of married life while highlighting the spiritual advantages of undivided devotion found in singleness. Ultimately, these verses prompt a thoughtful reflection on how individuals, regardless of their marital status, can live in a manner that honors God and seeks first His kingdom.


PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible