Does 1 Cor. 7 say that we should not get married?

Paul says in 1 Cor. 7:8, “But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I.”  And, in 1 Cor. 7:24,27, “Brethren, let each man remain with God in that condition in which he was called… 27Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.”

Some people use these verses as a justification to avoid being married, while others think that Paul was telling Christians that the better state to be single.  But like all other verses in the Bible, they must be understood in context.  In 1 Cor. 7:26 Paul says, “I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is.”  There was probably a persecution occurring against Christians in Corinth.  After all, Corinth was a center for idolatry and much commerce was based upon idolatry.  As Christianity spread, various Idol makers, priestly offices, and other commercial enterprises based upon pagan temple worship would have been adversely affected.  The natural response by the pagans would have been to persecute the Christians.

So, Paul is forbidding marriage.  The verse is talking about the situation at the time and does not apply to us today; at least not yet.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.