1 Corinthians 7:17-40

Talks for Growing Christians

Further Teaching on Marriage and Celibacy

1 Corinthians 7:17-40

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Lesson Number 9

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Decisions about change should be made in light of one’s call.
  2. Decisions about marriage should be made in light of one’s call.

Practical Application

  1. If you marry, marry in the Lord.


  1. Explain Paul’s statements in verses 12 and 25.
  2. What is Paul’s point in verses 25-35.
  3. What “present distress” was Paul speaking of in verse 26?
  4. What would be the benefits of remaining unmarried?


  1. Paul’s point is that in the gospel record when the Lord Jesus spoke about marriage, He did not address these questions.
  2. Celibacy is desirable, but not demanded.
  3. At that time there was some kind of persecution or difficult circumstances in Corinth that were not conducive for married life.
  4. Married life has responsibilities and concerns that could take away from full commitment to the Lord’s work. If you remain single you can be more efficient and dedicated in serving the Lord, because you are free from family responsibilities.


  1. In 1 Corinthians 7:17, Paul expanded his directives on marriage into a more general principle: When you become a Christian, start where you are. Don’t expect a big change in your circumstances. How has the Lord used your background and experiences to bring about a blessing for you?
  2. “Decisions about marriage should be made in light of one’s call.” Discuss the benefits and disadvantages of remaining single as a Christian.


  1. It is important not only to marry a Christian, but to marry in the Lord’s will. Wait for God’s choice!

Key Verses

  • “Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters.” 1 Corinthians 7:19
  • “Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called.” 1 Corinthians 7:24
  • “He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife.” 1 Corinthians 7:32-33

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