I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
1 Corinthians 7:7-9
I like the fact that Paul knows when he’s putting his own views into the teaching. The word, wish, means a personal preference. He was unmarried and preferred to stay that way.
You may be asking, why did I say that he’s talking about formerly married people? The word he uses for unmarried usually means that they were married at one time, but now are single. That’s in contrast to later in the chapter when he uses the word, virgin – someone who was never married.
Also, we know from Scripture that Paul was a Pharisee who came from a family of Pharisees. His observance of tradition had been a source of pride before coming to Christ. Jewish tradition was that a man needed to be married in his early twenties at the latest.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Paul was married at one time. Traditionally, Pharisees needed to be married and it was a requirement for those who wanted to be a part of the Sanhedrin – the Jewish ruling body.
But what happened to Paul’s wife? The Scripture doesn’t clearly tell us, so there’s some speculation. In the above verse, he puts the two words together – unmarried males and female widows. Also, there was no widely used Greek word for male widowers.
Because of this, the most likely possibility was that he was a widower. The other is that his wife left him when he became a Christian. In any case, at this point, he’s unmarried with no desire to become married.
In talking about people who’ve been in a marriage relationship, but are now single, he gives some important truth. This is the foundation for a fulfilled life. He talks about our giftings from God.
He makes it clear that the call to be single is a gift from God. In the same way, the call to be married is also a gift from God. The important thing is that we desire to walk in the center of the Lord’s will for us.
The big question is, how do I know whether I’m called to be married or to remain single? To answer that, you need to check your heart.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
I believe that God gives us an internal compass that points to His will – peace. If it’s your desire to serve God wholeheartedly, then the peace of God will direct you.
If you feel perfectly satisfied to remain single, and have no desire to be married again, then run with that. Don’t let anyone pressure you to “test the field.” In all likelihood, you’re called to the gift of a single life.
If, on the other hand, you don’t feel complete without a mate, and you desire to once again be in a marriage relationship, then go in that direction. Seek God for His wisdom in finding the right one for you. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for desiring a mate.
The fact is that God loves us and wants the best for us if we simply pursue His will for our lives.
Question: How has the Lord confirmed His calling upon your life?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi