Saturday 14 March 2020

Bible Book:
1 Corinthians

I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; (v. 29a)

1 Corinthians 7:25-31 Saturday 14 March 2020

Psalm: Psalm 16


Chapter seven of 1 Corinthians begins: “Now concerning the matters about which you wrote ...”. Paul then addresses six questions about marriage and relationships that were obviously concerning the Corinthian church, not surprising because of the Roman, Greek and Jewish influences in Corinth. Today’s reading is question five on his list and concerns virgins and whether or not they should marry “as the appointed time has grown short” (v. 29). This shortness of time could refer to two things: there was the clash with the Roman state, leading to persecution and martyrdom, so the future for this new faith in Jesus was hard to predict, and there was also the uncertainty around exactly when the Lord was going to return, thus winding up human life on Earth.

The whole of chapter seven needs to be read, therefore, with Paul’s sense of urgency and getting priorities right. Paul’s all-consuming drive and total conviction is to make sure that as many as possible know Jesus Christ as Paul himself has encountered him; to have a life-changing experience; to understand the depth of love that God demonstrated on the cross; to understand the grace and the joy of living each day with Christ. For Paul, anything that took anyone away from deepening this daily relationship with Jesus was a complete distraction that needed to be avoided – and time was short. This is an important context for verses 25-31.

Therefore, on the specific question of virgins getting married, Paul’s cautious advice is based on not getting distracted by family life, when there is so little time to get one’s relationship right with Jesus. “In view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are” (v. 26) seems like sensible advice! Paul’s view seems to be that remaining single or celibate will avoid the cares and problems, even “distress” (v. 28), that are part of living in a family. In passing, it may also be worth noting that Paul himself was not married. Nevertheless, the inference of the passage is that being celibate gives someone more time to devote to their relationship with Jesus.

Paul ends this section by reminding all in the Corinthian church, single or married, that they should hold loosely to the concerns of this world, whatever those may be. Time is short, so above all get yourselves right with Jesus before it is too late. This is a fitting thought to end this week’s passages on the theme of “One Foundation”.


To Ponder:

  • It is not easy to live a full life in the world as a faithful Christian disciple, whilst accepting those around us engaging in behaviour which we might not agree with. If someone asked you what your advice would be in order to keep close to Jesus, what would you answer?
  • Read prayerfully Singing The Faith 682: God of grace and God of glory.
    “God grant me wisdom and courage to live today, to join in today with the way of Jesus. Amen.”
Previous Page Friday 13 March 2020
Next Page Sunday 01 March 2020