1 Corinthians 7:29-34

29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none,

30 those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess,

31 and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away.

32 But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord.

33 But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife.

34 There is 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.

say (v.29) = declare

time is short (v.29) — The Greek verb used here signifies “has been drawn so as to be little in amount,” or “has been contracted.” The word denotes a season or a period providing an opportunity; it does not refer to length of time as such. Paul is here speaking of the time in which our life and circumstances are to be viewed and planned in the light of the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. We know He is coming, but we do not know the day or the hour — He may come this moment. Therefore, we should occupy until He DOES come; and for you and for me as individuals, the time IS short. — Greene, page 261.

from now on (v.29) — that which remains of our lives on earth

as though they had none (v.29) — not letting the marriage become more important than one’s relationship with Christ

The point of verse 30 is that we should live with the understanding that the joys, sorrows and things of this world are temporary.

not misusing it (v.31) — should be “not using it to the full”

form (v.31) = external appearance

without cares (v.33) — without preoccupations, without a split mentality

The word [cares] in all its forms always denotes a painful division and distraction of thought, but it does not always denote a sinful distraction, Since Paul also had the cares of the churches (2 Corinthians 11:28). And since Paul wants the believers to attend upon the Lord without distraction, without the spasms of cares and fretting, he urged the young people not to get married in those distressing days of persecution, unless there was a positive physical necessity. What he says about the unmarried as caring for the things of the Lord represents a high spiritual ideal life. Old bachelors and single women actually do not always put the Lord first, and do not always please the Lord, as Paul says they do, and married people do not always please their partner of life. He gives here only general and lofty ideals without stopping to make excuses for the many exceptions in the cold realities of life. One thing is sure, that Paul seeks to make the Lord preeminent above all the fleeting things of time. — Bultema, pages 64-65.


Paul is speaking here [verses 33 and 34] of matters in general. Naturally, a man who is married knows that it is his duty to supply the physical and material needs of his wife and family, and it is only reasonable that he would have less time for the things of the Lord. It is the duty of the head of a family to provide for those who depend on him. In 1 Timothy 5:8 Paul said, “If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel!” A man who is married is duty-bound to care for his family; and in so doing, his service to God is automatically limited. But if he is unmarried he is free to go to the ends of the earth if the Holy Spirit do leads … — Greene, page 265.

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