those who are married have a divided interest

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chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
1 Cor. 7:32 The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided.

I'm not sure I'm following Paul's thought process here. The same could be said for a man who has a job (he's anxious about the job and how to please his company/boss), or children to raise, or a house to clean, or a backyard to mow.

Without all those things we wouldn't be anxious about the duties we have to them. Why is being concerned about how to please my wife seen as a drawback? I find it sanctifying.
 

Jonathan95

Puritan Board Freshman
Why is being concerned about how to please my wife seen as a drawback? I find it sanctifying.
E.g. As a husband I can no longer do certain things because caring for my family has become a priority. It will not please my wife if I seek to go be a missionary in some far-flung nation.

Paul's just saying how when you're single you have more energy going into your worship of God and living your life to please Him. Being married adds more to your plate and takes away some of your ability to do what you once did.

I'm single and I have much free time to read and pray and serve. When I am married and raising a family much of the free time I have to do these things will be cut.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
I'm single and I have much free time to read and pray and serve. When I am married and raising a family much of the free time I have to do these things will be cut.
Amen to that. I'm thankful that the second table of the law applies to family and honors God, because a wife and children sap a huge portion of my time and energy. I'm not complaining in the slightest, only stating a fact of marriage and children.
 

Jonathan95

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm not complaining in the slightest, only stating a fact of marriage and children.
I understand you completely. Only recently have I come to really appreciate the blessing that being single has been.

It's funny. Now that I'm in a solid relationship that is on a good path toward marriage I find myself incredibly thankful for the ability to read/pray/serve in the capacity that I'm currently functioning at. Anyway, hope all of this helps the OP see Paul's reasoning a little clearer now.

God bless you all!
 

Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Sophomore
1 Cor. 7:32 The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided.

I'm not sure I'm following Paul's thought process here. The same could be said for a man who has a job (he's anxious about the job and how to please his company/boss), or children to raise, or a house to clean, or a backyard to mow.

Without all those things we wouldn't be anxious about the duties we have to them. Why is being concerned about how to please my wife seen as a drawback? I find it sanctifying.
perhaps the word "anxious" could be better understood in our day as "giving careful attention to" The unmarried man is not in a headship role--his duty is to grow in grace and knowledge while he's got the chance so he has a solid foundation in piety before he enters marriage, when his focus must shift to living out the things he has learned and will learn in the furnace of affliction that is married life. He has more than one soul to look out for after marriage; the scope of his responsibility is greater, and thus he cannot laser-focus on one thing like he could before.
 

chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
perhaps the word "anxious" could be better understood in our day as "giving careful attention to" The unmarried man is not in a headship role--his duty is to grow in grace and knowledge while he's got the chance so he has a solid foundation in piety before he enters marriage, when his focus must shift to living out the things he has learned and will learn in the furnace of affliction that is married life. He has more than one soul to look out for after marriage; the scope of his responsibility is greater, and thus he cannot laser-focus on one thing like he could before.
I agree with that, but isn't the affliction of marriage a good thing? "we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, etc." It makes you a better person.

Moreover, we are commanded to "giving careful attention to" others. "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." 1 Cor. 7:32-34 seems to suggest it's a contrast: you can either serve the Lord or serve your spouse, not both at the same time. But countless times we're taught that serving your spouse is serving the Lord. Col 3:18-24 "Wives...Husbands... Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord"
 

chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
E.g. As a husband I can no longer do certain things because caring for my family has become a priority. It will not please my wife if I seek to go be a missionary in some far-flung nation.

Paul's just saying how when you're single you have more energy going into your worship of God and living your life to please Him. Being married adds more to your plate and takes away some of your ability to do what you once did.

I'm single and I have much free time to read and pray and serve. When I am married and raising a family much of the free time I have to do these things will be cut.
Do you feel the same way about your job?
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
1 Cor. 7:38 he who refrains from marriage will do even better.

The whole chapter Paul pushes to remain single those who can.
We have to be careful here. Paul says:

"I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress—that it is good for a man to remain as he is..."

He is not giving advice to Christians in every circumstance for all time. In the NT church under persecution, for many, singleness was a better option. We know from many other scripture that marriage is not only good, but for most people better than singleness.
 

Joshua

Administrator
Staff member
1 Cor. 7:38 he who refrains from marriage will do even better.

The whole chapter Paul pushes to remain single those who can.
Yes, he does better in that sense of the context of the chapter, not he does better in every way. And ditto to what Tim says above with regard to it being in the present distress.
 

chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
Yes, he does better in that sense of the context of the chapter, not he does better in every way.
That's why I said "those who can." He pushes singleness for those who can keep their desires under control.
 

chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
We have to be careful here. Paul says:

"I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress—that it is good for a man to remain as he is..."

He is not giving advice to Christians in every circumstance for all time. In the NT church under persecution, for many, singleness was a better option. We know from many other scripture that marriage is not only good, but for most people better than singleness.
I can't quote it now, but Calvin says the "present distress" is a condition of all Christians.
 

Joshua

Administrator
Staff member
That's why I said "those who can." He pushes singleness for those who can keep their desires under control.
I believe you're wrongly juxtaposing a man who cares for the things of the LORD singularly versus a man who cares for his wife and family and, thereby, also serves the LORD. The Apostle is talking about certain circumstances, doubtless, and -in some ways- if these particular people are unmarried, they are not as fettered by others things. Nevertheless, even if they do marry, their service to neighbor (in this case, wife, family) unto the LORD is not some lesser estate.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
I can't quote it now, but Calvin says the "present distress" is a condition of all Christians.
I have read Calvin on it and I simply don't think he deals with "present" very well. There is an application throughout time, but Paul wasn't giving advice to all Christians in every circumstance, since he is dealing with a particular present distress that is not common to all believers throughout time.
 

Jonathan95

Puritan Board Freshman
Do you feel the same way about your job?
My job? Not really. Like, we all have to work. But we don't all have to be married. It's not like I'm choosing between working and marrying where each will take away a little time and energy. Marriage is exponentially different and harder I would think. And if you get married it will always add to your plate along with work and never in lieu of it.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
My job? Not really. Like, we all have to work. But we don't all have to be married. It's not like I'm choosing between working and marrying where each will take away a little time and energy. Marriage is exponentially different and harder I would think. And if you get married it will always add to your plate along with work and never in lieu of it.
To fill out a little: work is a requirement for all. Marriage is not.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
I can't quote it now, but Calvin says the "present distress" is a condition of all Christians.
I don't make a regular practice of reading Gill, but I agree with him on this:

"for the present necessity;
by which is meant not the shortness of life, and the necessity of dying, when husband and wife must part, upon which trouble ensues; nor the various sorrows, cares, encumbrances, trials, and exercises that attend a conjugal state, as bearing and bringing forth, and bringing up children, provision for the family which are common to all, and at all times more or less; but the present time of persecution, under which the churches of Christ were; agreeably the Syriac version reads it... "because of the necessity of the time", or season: using the very Greek word in text; as the Targumists also have frequently adopted it into their language, and use the phrase... "an hour, or time of necessity", for a time of great affliction and distress, just as the apostle does here; because this was the present case of the Christians, he thought it most prudent for such as were single to remain so; since as they were often obliged to move from place to place, to fly from one city to another, this would be very incommodious for married persons, who might have young children to take care of, and provide for..."
 

chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
I don't make a regular practice of reading Gill, but I agree with him on this:

"for the present necessity;
by which is meant not the shortness of life, and the necessity of dying, when husband and wife must part, upon which trouble ensues; nor the various sorrows, cares, encumbrances, trials, and exercises that attend a conjugal state, as bearing and bringing forth, and bringing up children, provision for the family which are common to all, and at all times more or less; but the present time of persecution, under which the churches of Christ were; agreeably the Syriac version reads it... "because of the necessity of the time", or season: using the very Greek word in text; as the Targumists also have frequently adopted it into their language, and use the phrase... "an hour, or time of necessity", for a time of great affliction and distress, just as the apostle does here; because this was the present case of the Christians, he thought it most prudent for such as were single to remain so; since as they were often obliged to move from place to place, to fly from one city to another, this would be very incommodious for married persons, who might have young children to take care of, and provide for..."
I can see that view, but I don't see how it fits the surrounding comments Paul makes about why he encourages singleness:
"those who marry will have worldy troubles"
"the appointed time has grown very short"
"the present form of this world is passing away"
"the married man is anxious about worldy things"

All of those things are true for every Christian for all time. To then say "the present distress" is for Apostolic age only is stretched.

Regardless, back to your original comment, the above surrounding comments show that Paul is giving advice to Christians in every circumstance for all time.
 

chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
To fill out a little: work is a requirement for all. Marriage is not.
Very minimal work is required to live. Should I work one hour less to make room for one more hour of prayer or Bible reading? Should I reject an offer of promotion because it will require more work and "worldly troubles"? Should I only work for myself so that my "devotion to the Lord is undivided"? Anxiety about how to please my company and boss would enter into my life if I took a job at a company.

This seems to be the "work" equivalent argument Paul is making about "marriage". And he hints at it in v31: "and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it."
 
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timfost

Puritan Board Senior
All of those things are true for every Christian for all time. To then say "the present distress" is for Apostolic age only is stretched.
You've misunderstood me, I apologize if I wasn't clear. I am not restricting this to Apostolic times. Rather, for times when the church is under severe persecution. This could occur any time but is not currently what the churches in the United States are facing. The principle may apply to other parts of the world, even now.

Regardless, back to your original comment, the above surrounding comments show that Paul is giving advice to Christians in every circumstance for all time.
So I do agree that this applies to Christians now, though possibly not in the case of the two of us.

With that in mind, most of your objections should apply to any persecuted church.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Very minimal work is required to live. Should I work one hour less to make room for one more hour of prayer or Bible reading? Should I reject an offer of promotion because it will require more work and "worldly troubles"? Should I only work for myself so that my "devotion to the Lord is undivided"? Anxiety about how to please my company and boss would enter into my life if I took a job at a company.

This seems to be the "work" equivalent argument Paul is making about "marriage". And he hints at it in v31: "and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it."
Christians are not only to work to live, but work to give.
 
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