Concerning the Unmarried - Page 7 (series: Lessons on 1 Cor.)
by John Lowe
33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.
But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world,
It is only natural for the married man to be concerned about the welfare of his wife and family. He should love his wife and children, and anything he can do to make their lives better and more enjoyable should bless his heart; and he should praise God for giving him the good health, good mind, and good occupation that enables him to do so. But everything a man can do for his family is only temporary; the things they value may burn up in a fire, be stolen, lost, or taken away by God.
He who is married cares about the things of the world; how he may please his wife: Paul does not say this to condemn the married person; in fact, Paul is saying this is how it should be for the married person. There is something wrong if a married man does not want to please his wife, and something is wrong if a married woman does not care about how she may please her husband. There is definitely something wrong, when a man leaves the home, refuses to support his family or pay child support, and is no longer a part of the family. Again, Paul's reason for explaining these things is not to forbid marriage, but to put it into an eternal perspective. He isn't putting a leash on anyone; he is merely sharing from his own heart and experience.
A married person Careth for the things that are of the world, and that is the way it ought to be. In fact, it is a necessity for him to pay attention to the things of the world; to his business and the calling of life he is engaged in, so that he may provide food and clothing, and other necessaries for the support and sustenance of his family; therefore, he cannot give his undivided attention and interest to the things of religion. This would be especially true in times of persecution.
For Paul, the most important thing in life was not romantic love, but pleasing God. For him, he could please God better as a single man, because he had fewer distractions, but another may please God better as a married man, it depends upon our calling. Though Paul insists he does not want his teaching here to be regarded as a noose around anyone's neck, this has happened in the church. Roman Catholics insist on celibacy for its entire clergy, even if they are not gifted to be so. Many Protestant groups will not ordain or trust the single preacher.
how he may please his wife,
The married man is naturally concerned about how he may please his wife; how he may accommodate himself to her temperament and wishes, how to make her happy, and keep her satisfied. This is not true of every individual married man, as a matter of fact; there are some who do not even try to please their wives and provide for their families, and in my personal opinion, they are worse than infidels; and, on the other hand, there are others who love their wives and children and they take good care of them, so that both are satisfied. But this is not all they care about; they also care for the things of the Lord, and concern themselves with contributing to His honor and glory. The principle the apostle wants us to understand by
all this is, that; generally speaking, married persons are greatly involved in worldly cares, and do not have the leisure time, and those opportunities, that single persons have to attend religious services and activities. That is why, in the apostle’s opinion, the single state is preferable, especially during times of persecution.
The apostle plainly suggests that there would be a danger that the man would be so anxious to please his wife that it would interfere with his direct religious duties. This may be done in many ways.
1) His affection may be taken from the Lord, and given to his wife. She may become the object of an improper attachment, and consequently take the place of God in his affections.
2) His time may be taken up in devotion to her, leaving little or nothing for prayer, and serving the Lord.
3) She may demand his company and attention when he ought to be engaged in doing good for others, and attempting to advance the kingdom of Christ.
4) She may be extravagant and fashionable, and bury the home in debt, and create a style of living that may be unsuitable for a Christian, and introduce him to society where his holiness will be injured, and his devotion to God lessened.
5) She may have erroneous opinions regarding the doctrines and duties of religion; and a desire to please her may lead him to incorrectly modify his views, and to adopt more liberal opinions, and to pursue a more careless lifestyle, and to overlook his religious duties. Many a husband has been injured by an extravagant, thoughtless, and irresponsible wife; and though that wife may be a Christian, yet her lifestyle may be such that it would greatly retard his growth in grace, and mar the beauty of his holiness.
34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
There is difference also between a wife and a virgin.
The sentence can be read: “There is also a difference between a woman that is married and one that is unmarried,” and the unmarried should include widows. Paul can use the term “virgin,” because in his time, with an occasional exception for rape, incest, and promiscuity, unmarried women were virgins. That would not be the case today. The apostle says that a similar difference exists between the condition of her that is married and her that is unmarried, which he had observed in the preceding verses (32 and 33), between the married and the unmarried man. But there is no difference in their nature, or sex, but in their state and condition, and in the cares, problems, anxiety, and fears which involve both of them. The Greek word here is “memeristai” which may mean, is divided, and be rendered, "The married and unmarried woman is divided in the same manner in which married and unmarried men are divided.” The married woman, whose thoughts are distracted with the cares of the world, and her mind divided between the Lord and her husband, between the things that please the one, and those that please the other; so that she cannot serve the Lord without being distracted, as the unmarried person may; see (1 Corinthians 7:35). Note, a woman undergoes a greater change of conditions than a man when entering into marriage.
The sole thought of the unmarried person who is consecrated to Christ is to please Christ.