(Vs. 25.) In these verses the apostle returns to the subject of marriage and addresses first those who have never been married. What he is about to say to them is not by a law or commandment of God, but is his own opinion and advice, with sincerity, as one counted faithful by the Lord himself.
(Vs. 26.) "My opinion; declares the apostle, "is that, because of this time of persecution, affliction and distress, it would be better if believers remained unmarried". Believers were put in prison, driven from place to place and life in general was most difficult.
(Vs. 27.) He advises those who are married by no means to desert one another nor seek to dissolve the marriage bond; on the other hand, if they are free from a wife, it would be better not to seek one.
(Vs. 28.) If a person who has never been married, or one who has been legally freed from a wife, think it fit to be married, he commits no sin. It is not a sin to be married. But those who choose married life shall have physical and earthly troubles, and Paul is concerned that they be spared from these troubles.
(Vs. 29.) Our days on earth are so short and full of trouble that an unmarried state is preferable. As for those who are married, it would be wise for them to give themselves to the worship of God, his gospel and his glory, both publicly and privately, and not be taken up overmuch with family and personal cares.
(Vs. 30, 31.) Every worldly relationship, sorrow, joy, possession and care is fading and perishing (Job. 1:21) Nothing about this world is permanent nor lasting. We may weep, but weeping endures for the night; joy comes in the morning. We may rejoice in earthly treasure, but only temporarily. We may buy and sell, but we really own nothing. Let us use the world and its material and physical qualities with a loose hand, neither too much depressed by its sadness nor too much elated over its joys. It will all pass away.
(Vs. 32.) The apostle's earnest desire is to have believers as free as possible from entangling physical, emotional and material cares that accompany marriage. The unmarried man is more at leisure and can more conveniently care for the things that have to do with grace and glory.
(Vs. 33, 34.) The married man must attend to business, provide food and clothing, educate and discipline children and make his family comfortable. He must be involved to a greater extent in the world than the unmarried man. The same is true of women, as stated in verse 34.
(Vs. 35.) Paul said these things to them for their own welfare and profit, not to put restrictions and burdens on them which they could not bear, but to promote their comfort and good, that they might attend to the things of God without distraction from worldly cares.
(Vs. 36.) If a man's daughter reaches the age for marriage and desires to be married, he should not take this opinion of the apostle and force her to remain unmarried. The father should give his blessing to the marriage. No one sins in this regard, neither the father nor the couple.
(Vs.37.) But where there is no necessity for marriage, where the woman or man has the gift of continency and is determined not to be married, there is no shame nor reproach in remaining single any more than in being married.
(Vs. 38.) The parents who give their daughters and sons in marriage do well. The parents who are not pressured by tradition or custom and allow their children to remain unmarried with parental help and blessings, do better.
(Vs. 39.) While a husband is living, the believing wife is bound by God's law to continue to live with him, but when he is dead, she is free to marry whom she will, providing that he, too, is a believer! No true believer is free to marry an unbeliever and expect God's blessing.
(Vs. 40.) In the apostle's opinion, a widow will be happier if she remains unmarried. He adds, "I think I have the mind of the Spirit in this matter."