SOAP Study - October 9, 2020
1 Corinthians 7:25-31
25 Now regarding your question about the young women who are not yet married. I do not have a command from the Lord for them. But the Lord in his mercy has given me wisdom that can be trusted, and I will share it with you. 26 Because of the present crisis,[a] I think it is best to remain as you are. 27 If you have a wife, do not seek to end the marriage. If you do not have a wife, do not seek to get married. 28 But if you do get married, it is not a sin. And if a young woman gets married, it is not a sin. However, those who get married at this time will have troubles, and I am trying to spare you those problems.
29 But let me say this, dear brothers and sisters: The time that remains is very short. So from now on, those with wives should not focus only on their marriage. 30 Those who weep or who rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions. 31 Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away.
PERSONAL SOAP STUDY
- 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.
ministry leader SOAP STUDY
I think this is a great time to remember that all of the things Paul is addressing in Chapter 7 are responses to questions from the Corinthian Christians. These are the topics that they care about. This is a good reminder that asking questions gets better results. Now, Paul is addressing what in other translations may say “virgins.” Paul is not talking about virgins in the way you might think. Paul is addressing single believers. Why? Because from his biblical expectation, unmarried believers are not to be sexually active. One of the good things from what Paul is saying is that he is developing a theology of singleness for us. For Paul, a kingdom single believer is an unmarried Christian who is freely committed to maximizing his or her life under the leadership of the LORD. He is bringing this up because of the present crisis facing Corinth at the time. In first-century Corinth, there was a severe shortage of grain, which was everything to their food situation. Paul isn’t against people getting married. He is simply for people remaining in where God has called them at the time. Remember verses 17-24. Paul is still talking about the same thing in this passage. For Paul, maybe remaining unmarried during a grain crisis is the right place to be right now? Maybe this is not the time for arranged marriages which were commonplace in Paul’s time? Paul is suggesting that these premarital couples ask the LORD for guidance, because we are to please God over the arrangers of this marriage. In this situation for the Corinthians couples who engaged, they might want to think about postponing their marriages. Why? Because this present crisis can’t last forever. And for the kingdom single believer, it means recognizing that Christian marriage has unique challenges. We are talking about God uniting two imperfect people. So because of the present crisis, no one should be running around flippantly looking for a spouse, either.
I know that we are all trying to live our lives with the backdrop of coronavirus and all the if’s that come with it. That is why I think this passage is so good for our souls now. In verse 31, Paul points us to a truth that can be jarring and frustrating at times. “For this world as we know it will soon pass away.” As believers in the mighty saving deeds of Jesus, we must not live with a temporary mindset as if this world as we know it now is all there is. When we make decisions, it should be based on an eternal perspective and not based on earthly pressures. If the LORD is leading you to postpone a marriage right now, that should be perfectly fine because we do not please the arrangers of the marriage. We please the LORD. And, if you went through with your marriage ceremonies, that should also be perfectly fine, too. For us, the key is that we lean on the guidance of the LORD over pleasing the world. For the Christian when we are spiritual healthy, we are not to be shaken by the messiness of things happening in the world nor are we disturbed if troubling times means putting off for a while or what could be for ever, the kind of life and social status that we might otherwise have expected to enjoy. Because the end is not my enjoyment in my life or my status. Instead, what ultimately matters is that we were faithful to the LORD in whatever strange times we found ourselves.
LORD, I confess to you that the world is not how I want it. And, we are trying to serve you the best we can in spite of all of the disappointments and frustrations in the background. Help me to see the forest through the trees! Help me to focus on what matters most. These present troubles will fade away and there may be future troubles, too. But, You remain the same. I can be faithful in You. Help me to count on You, even when I am failing on my end. Help me to see that You are better than my expectations for my life. Because time is limited. Help me to do the best I can with what time I have left!