1 Corinthians 7
So you may have a more accurate understanding of the following passage, words are highlighted according to their respective gender so you can know exactly what Paul is talking about. Gynaikos is not translated as “wife” since the Greek doesn’t make any distinction between “woman” or “wife.” The same applies to “man” and “husband” which come from the same Greek word. Pay attention to the unilateral focus. Woman is for man, not man for woman. This is based on the Young’s Literal Translation.
1 Corinthians 7:25-40 YLT
And concerning the virgins [feminine plural], a command of the Lord I have not; and I give judgment [γνώμη – view/opinion] as having obtained kindness from the Lord to be faithful: 26 I assume, therefore, this to be good [καλὸν – noble/honorable] because of the present distress [ἀνάγκην constraint/compulsion], that it is good [καλὸν – noble/honorable] for a man thus to be:
27 Have thou been bound [δέδεσαι – fastened/tied] to a woman? seek not to be loosed [λέλυσαι unfastened/released]; hast thou been loosed from a woman? seek not [ζήτει – search for/inquire] a woman. 28 But and if thou mayest marry, thou didst not sin [ἥμαρτες – miss the mark]; and if the virgin may marry, she did not sin [ἥμαρτες – miss the mark]; and such shall have tribulation [θλῖψιν – affliction/distress] in the flesh: and I spare you.
29 And this I say, brethren, the time [period] henceforth is having been shortened [Matt. 24:22, Mark 13:20] — that both those having women may be as not having; 30 and those weeping [κλαίοντες – mourning/lamenting/audible grief], as not weeping; and those rejoicing, as not rejoicing; and those buying [59 agorázō (from 58 /agorá, “the ancient marketplace, town-center”) – properly, to make purchases in the marketplace (“agora“)], as not holding fast [2722 κατέχοντες – bind, hold back, detain]; 31 and those using [χρώμενοι – dealing with] this world, as not using up [καταχρώμενοι – full use, overuse, excessive, consuming it up]; for passing away is the fashion [σχῆμα – exterior form, outer appearance] of this world.
Paul spoke to us prophetically, to those of the end time generation to give us instruction (Ps. 78:4 YLT), essentially telling us that we “should not be like our fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation” (Ps. 78:8 YLT). Note how Paul is making a distinction between “virgin” and “woman”. Paul is thinking of the bethulah-virgin. It is a spiritual distinction. Thus, “concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.”
There is a revelation to be found in the fact that Paul doesn’t have a command from the Lord about the virgins—the believing sisters, daughters of Sarah. As God never circumvented the authority entrusted to his chosen men (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob), the Lord has entrusted the bethulot to his Chosen. It is for the Lord’s bachurim to make the judgement for everything is given into their hands. Keep in mind the bachur-man is one who has obtained kindness from the Lord to be faithful. God doesn’t give his possessions to just anyone. God knows what he is doing.
32 And I wish you to be without care; the unmarried [masculine singular] is anxious for the things of the Lord, how he shall please the Lord; 33 and the married [masculine singular] is anxious for the things of the world, how he shall please the woman.
Whereas a bethulah will not be as a woman for she will want to have nothing to do with the world:
34 And distinguished [μεμέρισται – divided/partitioned] also is the unmarried woman and the virgin: she [the virgin] cares for the things of the lord [κύριος – lord, master, sir], that she may be holy both in body and in spirit [as the betrothed Bride of Christ does]; the one having been married cares for the things of the world, how she shall please the man.
Verse 34 has long confused translators because they failed to see the prophetic, spiritual meat of this passage. The terms lord and virgin answer to the Hebrew terms baal and beulat. The beulat, like Sarah, cares for the things of her baal, calling him such (1 Pet. 3:6). It is not sex that makes a virgin unholy in body. It is touching the unclean of the world (2 Cor. 6:17). Neither does abstaining from sex make one a virgin, holy in body. Physical virginity is nothing. Spiritual virginity, abstinence from the world, is everything. Giving your body to the world is unchaste, unclean, unholy. A virgin is a sister kept separate from the world. A virgin is a Church kept separate from the world.
Paul’s mind is a renewed mind fixed on the best things to come. To live is Christ, to die is gain. Paul’s frame of mind, I would say, is the most prophetic and spiritual of all the apostles. Does he waver back and forth throughout his letters between teaching us how to be earthly and teaching us how to be spiritual? Did he really intend for us to take a roller coaster ride with him? To have one foot in heaven and the other on earth? Up one moment, down the next? Where is your head, Paul? Is it above? Below? But Paul’s mind is decidedly above, “Set your minds on the things above, not the things on the earth” (1 Cor. 3:2). Go up, do not come back down.
35 And this for your own profit I say: not that I may cast a noose [βρόχος – slipknot around the neck] upon you, but for the seemliness [2158/eusxmōn (“comely”) focuses on the outward manifestation of godliness, i.e. as being winsome (encouraging) to others which attracts attention in a positive way] and devotedness to the Lord, undistractedly,
36 and if any one doth think [it] to be improper to his virgin, if she may be beyond the bloom of age, and it ought [ὀφείλει – indebted/obligated/owed] so to be, what he intends let him do; he doth not sin — let them marry. 37 And he who hath stood firm in his heart — not having necessity — and hath authority over his own will, and this he hath distinguished in his heart — to keep [τηρεῖν – guard/watch over] his own virgin — doth good [καλὸν – noble/honorable]; 38 so that one who is giving in marriage his virgin doth well [καλὸν – noble/honorable], and he who is not giving in marriage doth better.
39 A woman hath been bound [to the Law of her man] as long a time as her man may live, and if her man be fallen asleep, she is free to be married to whom she will — only in the Lord [the law of life];
Paul’s thoughts are infused and full of the thoughts of Christ and the Elect. He has already taught in this exact way about Christ’s death freeing us, his Chosen Bride, from his Body of death, so that we might be freed from the “law of our husband” (Rom. 7:1-3). Being free from the Law under which Jesus was previously born, the Bride is able to marry the new risen Christ. We were “married” to the body of Christ, and then put to death through it, if we took up our crosses to follow him (Rom. 7:4). This is where true Christian marriage ascends to a whole new level. When a man dies to the Law through the body of Christ, any woman who becomes his is bound to the law of Christ only (Gal. 6:2) which is a law of life, and not to the Law of works.
40 and she is happier [μακαριωτέρα – blessed/enviable] if she thus abides [μείνῃ – remains/stays]— according to my judgment; and I think I also have the Spirit of God.
She is happier and more blessed remaining a bethulah and becoming a beulat of a bachur than if she marries a Christian man who is still enslaved to the Law, works, and traditions of men. There is no happiness under the Law, and earthly men and women are divided, anxious for worldly things, and contractually bound to worldly things.