SOAP Study - October 12, 2020

    10.12.20 | by Larry Williamson


    1 Corinthians 7:32-40

    32 I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. 33 But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. 34 His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.

    36 But if a man thinks that he’s treating his fiancée improperly and will inevitably give in to his passion, let him marry her as he wishes. It is not a sin. 37 But if he has decided firmly not to marry and there is no urgency and he can control his passion, he does well not to marry. 38 So the person who marries his fiancée does well, and the person who doesn’t marry does even better.

    39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but only if he loves the Lord.[a] 40 But in my opinion it would be better for her to stay single, and I think I am giving you counsel from God’s Spirit when I say this.


    • What verse stood out to you while you were reading?
    • What did you discover about God, yourself, and others?
    • How should this information impact your life?
    • What needs to be different about the way you are currently living?
    • Take some time to talk to God about the things you just learned and how you want your life to look different. Give God thanks for revealing these things to you, ask Him for wisdom and courage to move forward so that you can apply these things to your life.

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    In this section of scripture, Paul concludes his final instructions regarding marriage for the people in Corinth. I think this section's beginning provides the ultimate purpose of Paul, even writing this specific part to them by stating, "I want you to be free from the concerns of this life." Paul understands that marriage is a responsibility that requires time, energy, and resources. Because of this, he believes that should be held off so more of those things can be devoted to the ministry's work.


    The application process for this passage of scripture in Corinthians looks different for people in different life stages. For example, I am the unmarried man in this situation, and Paul tells me that my days and time should be committed to doing the Lord's work and seeking what pleases Him. Paul includes women who have never been married and those who have lost a spouse in this same category to be devoted to the Lord. I enjoy that in verse 35, Paul knows that what he is saying can sound restrictive, but he sees it as a valuable part of those around us that we can serve due to not being married. What is refreshing for me while reading this scripture is that often in our culture, singleness is treated as a preparation stage for marriage. Still, Paul views singleness as an opportunity to devote more to the Lord. We live in a relationship-centric world filled with romantic comedies, fairy tale romances, swiping right, and binging 'The Bachelor.' I think it is a good reminder for unmarried people that they have a significant opportunity and responsibility to the work of the Lord during this season of their lives.


    Father God, thank you for caring for people, no matter what stage of life they might be in. Let our hearts be delighted in your goodness and grace so that in every season of our lives, whether that's unmarried, divorced, widowed, engaged, or married. We trust that you can use us for your glory at all times.