25 “Now concerning virgins: I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give judgment as one whom the Lord in His mercy has made trustworthy. 26I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress – that it is good for a man to remain as he is: 27Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you.”
Now concerning virgins: I have no commandment from the Lord;
Paul now transitions to a discussion on singles – virgins who had not experienced sex. The Lord did not discuss this topic while on earth, so Paul had no direct revelation from the Lord in His days on earth. God revealed the New Testament progressively and thus did not reveal everything upfront.
yet I give judgment as one whom the Lord in His mercy has made trustworthy.
God trusted Paul with singleness and gave him mercy to live as a single person and write the Word of God about singleness. The Lord has confidence (“trustworthy”) in Paul to write on this subject as an author of the New Testament.
I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress – that it is good for a man to remain as he is:
Singleness is better than marriage when Christians face duress. There was an attack on Christianity at the time of the writing of First Corinthians. Many Christians had been martyred, imprisoned, and even killed. Nero began his sadistic persecution of Christians ten years after First Corinthians was written. Persecution is more difficult for married people than single people.
Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife.
Although it is better to be single under duress, it does not justify divorce because marriage is a life commitment. However, if a person is single during duress, then it is better to remain single. Stability is the name of the game in times of upheaval.
But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned.
Paul further qualifies the issue of singleness in times of duress that it is not wrong to marry if they must. The issue is one of expediency and not of sin.
Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you.
Paul warns about the reality of marriage if singles marry in times of pressure; it will not make things easier because marriage brings “trouble in the flesh” under duress. People will have to make marital adjustments in times of trouble.
The phrase “but I spare you” shows Paul’s concern about singles marrying under a time of duress; he wanted to spare them from difficulties of marriage. There are marital adjustment issues, children to consider, and the possibility of losing a job in times of pressure.
It is not good to marry in times of distress.
It is not a good time to change ships when high seas rage. As a general principle, it is better to keep the status quo than to make a change when in trouble. This is especially true for a new marriage.
There are people in every congregation that feel it is their calling to play match-maker. It is not abnormal for people to remain single as Christians. It is important to take one’s time moving towards the altar. There are definite advantages to being single. The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence.
The explanation is well received and appreciated. Thank you.