Was Paul against marriage?

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Many wonder why did Paul advise the early church members not to get married when he said the following statements:

“It is good for a man not to touch a woman” ( 1 Corinthians 7:1).

“I wish that all men were even as I myself [i.e., not married]” ( 1 Corinthians 7:7).

“I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am” ( 1 Corinthians 7:8).

“It is good for a man to remain as he is” ( 1 Corinthians 7:26).

Was Paul against marriage? Paul clarifies himself and gives the reason for his opinion “I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress —that it is good for a man to remain as he is [single]” (1 Corinthians 7:26, emp. added). The “present distress” is likely to be oppression and persecution that the church, at Corinthians, was facing at the hands of the Romans.

Paul wanted to spare the Corinthians painful situations in marriage [ex. either deny Christ or see a family member put to death (Jeremiah 16:1-4)]. When Jesus spoke about the “great distress” that would come upon Jerusalem, He specifically warned “those who are pregnant” and “those who are nursing babies” (Luke 21:23). Jesus informed them that they would have greater difficulties surviving “the edge of the sword” that would come upon Jerusalem (Luke 21:24; Matthew 24:19-21). Similarly, Paul advised those in Corinth to remain unmarried “because of the present distress” (1 Corinthians 7:26).

Other than for the “present distress”, Paul taught that “marriage is honorable among all” (Hebrews 13:4). In this he was in line with what the Bible taught. At the creation, God blessed the marriage institution. He stated: “It is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18); thus He created a wife for Adam (2:21-24). Everything God had created and examined up until that point had been “good” (1:4,10,21,25). The one thing He stated as being “not good,” however, was man’s lack of human companionship. So, God created woman to be man’s helper and lifelong companion. And the scriptures confirm that , and that “he who finds a wife finds a good thing” (Proverbs 18:22).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team


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