1 Corinthians 7:36-38

In my mind I have a narrow idea of what God wants.  If I am at a junction, I think of how I must choose one of the paths before me.  God could only possibly want me to take one path.  As for my will, my will, preferences and authentic choices are often obliterated by my view of God.  Not only is this stressful, according to our passage today I think that it is wrong.  We can see here the authentic choice an engaged person has – they can marry or stay single.  Even though one choice is better than the other neither choice is sinful.  Now is when the perfectionism creeps in.  We do not have to always make the best possible choice.  Sometimes second best is okay – even with God.  Of course, evil is not okay.  However, choosing to give less to one area is acceptable.

Here is an example.  Could you spend more time with your spouse?  Could you spend more time with your parents?  How much time should you spend with your children?  Do we have to give 1/3 to each so as not to sin?  Each person will find their own answer.  None of the good answers involve sin.  No-one cusses out their parents in this scenario.  One person may spend 50% of their time with their spouse.  Another may have a spouse who is in Iraq.  God will work with you and through you as you could make a spectrum of good choices.  Do you get the picture? 

1 Corinthians 7:36-38

36If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. 37But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing. 38So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does even better.[b]


  1. What is the choice presented in this paragraph?
  2. What are the two possible outcomes?
  3. Which one is sinful?
  4. When do you have to choose between two good things?
  5. How do you make a choice between two good things?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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