1 Corinthians7:1

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Now concerning those things that you wrote me [about], it is good for a man not to take a wife.

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You wrote me about some questions you have; here are my answers. First of all, in the situation you describe, it is best for a man not to get married.



The word used here is a strong word that can mean “to change or influence something by touching it, to fasten to or adhere to, to take hold of something, to appropriate, to assail, to touch, or to set something on fire.” There is another Greek word for a soft touch; this word denotes a touch that has lasting consequences. How translators render this verse depends on whether they take this word to mean “touch” or to mean “take hold of.” The first approach ends up with the statement “to not touch a woman;” the second approach ends up with “to not take a wife” (the same word was used for either “woman” and “wife”). Since it is a strong word, and since this entire chapter deals with marriage issues, I choose to understand this phrase as “to not take a wife”


In this section of 1 Corinthians 7, Paul is responding to some questions that were sent to him in a letter. Therefore, his response is specific to a certain situation, or set of circumstances. What was their situation? We are not told specifically, but we are given a hint. That hint does not come at the beginning of this section because the original recipients already knew what the situation was, so Paul just starts right in with his response. However, in verse 26 we find the key that opens this entire chapter for it gives the reason Paul gave all the churches this strange-sounding advice, that reason is “because of this present necessity (hardship).” Some have rendered it as “this present crisis,” which communicates the idea very well. From verse 1 through verse 40 Paul addressed people in various types of relationships involving marriage or singleness. Paul advised each of these groups to remain in the condition in which they found themselves because of the hardship they were going through. To me it sounds like he is referring to persecution.