What is Paul really saying in this passage?
1 Corinthians 7:29
ESV - 29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none.
Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
In my opinion, Paul is saying that any Christian's relationship with God takes precedence over any human relationship -- even one as close as marriage. He is not advocating disregarding one's spouse, or living as though the spouse does not exist. However, in cases of irreconcilable conflict between an individual's loyalty to his or her spouse, and the individual's loyalty or obligation to God, the relationship with God must take precedence. (As Jesus Himself said in Luke 14:26, the person who loves father, mother, son, daughter, husband, or wife (and even including the person's own life) more than Him (as shown by the person's priorities and choices) is not worthy of Him.) For Paul, this prioritization was heightened by both the relative brevity of life in comparison to eternity, and the possibility of Jesus' imminent return that would bring the present age to an end. That was why he said that he wished that all Christians could remain unmarried as he was. However, he also realized that not all people were suited for that type of commitment, which was why he began the very same chapter containing the verse cited in the question with an extended discussion of spousal responsibilities.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.