1 Corinthians 7:25-40 - Further Teachings About Marriage

1. In this section, Paul is not giving commands from Jesus’ teachings. Where does he say his advice comes from? Is this as reliable as teachings that come from Jesus? (Acts 1:8)

A: In verse 25, Paul says the Lord has given him wisdom and again in verse 40, he says he is giving counsel from the Spirit of God. You can argue whether these teachings are or are not as reliable as if they came from Jesus, but it is very clear from Jesus’ final teachings that he expects us to rely upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit that lives in every believer. Acts 1:8 - “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

2. Paul continues his thoughts from earlier in Chapter 7 that you should be content with your place in life, whether married or unmarried so that you can do what? (Review from last lesson, verse 7:19 and 22.)

A: Vs 19 - Keeping God’s commands is what counts. Vs 22 - become a slave of Christ.

3. It is instructive to look at different Bible translations of the first phrase of the second sentence of Verse 7:28. What are your thoughts about this line?

NLT - However, those who get married at this time will have troubles,
NIV - But those who marry will face many troubles in this life,
CEV - But those who marry will have a lot of trouble,
English Standard - Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles,
New Life - But being married will add problems.
Worldwide English - People who marry will have trouble in this life.
The Message - When you marry, you take on additional stress in an already stressful time,

4. What does Paul mean in verses 29 and 31 when he says, “the time that remains is very short...this world as we know it will soon pass away”?

A: Some commentators say he is talking about the end times, of Jesus’ second coming, of judgement day. Others think he is saying that the time for doing the Lord’s work is becoming shorter every day especially for each one of us. When you’re 20 you think you have plenty of time because your whole life is ahead of you, but as you get caught up in the worldly rat race, vast amounts of time tend to pass without you accomplishing the really important things that the Lord would have you do. Getting a job, earning money, raising a family, maintaining your house and car, keeping in shape, pursuing a hobby, watching the football playoffs, and a zillion other things of this world tend to keep you occupied and distract you from doing the Lord’s work. All of a sudden you’re 60 years old and you realize that you’ve accomplishing quite a bit by worldly standards, but with respect to the Lord’s work, you’re pretty much in the same place as you were when you were 20.

Paul is saying that we should not get caught up in the ways of the world. He uses both positive and negative examples. Don’t get absorbed by sadness or happiness. And don’t focus so much on your marriage that you neglect to serve the Lord.

5. Is it easy to be free from the concerns of the worldly life? (Vs 32) Who does he say has the greatest problems?

A: Not at all; they are pulling at us from every direction. Paul points out that it is especially difficult for a man who is married as he has more responsibilities than an unmarried man and must think about how to please his wife. Likewise a married woman has similar issues.

Just consider something as simple as going on a missions trip. If I were single, I’d schedule a week of my vacation for the trip and go. Easy, done. But being married I have to consider, does my wife want to go? If she doesn’t, is it okay to leave her alone for a week? Will I then “owe” her a week of vacation? Would she rather go on a different missions trip? Does she think this is a good use of our money?

6. How has your marital status (single, married, divorced, widowed) helped you to serve Christ more effectively? How has it hindered your service?

7. (Verse 35) Regardless of your marital status, what is one specific way you can show your “undivided devotion” (NIV) or “serve the Lord” (NLT) this week?

8. In these verses, Paul writes as one convinced that he is guided by the Holy Spirit (vs 40). Are you personally convinced that you are totally guided by the Holy Spirit? Why or why not?

Bible study courtesy of www.SwapMeetDave.com

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