November 23 Daily Devotional

More Words to the Unmarried

Charles and Norma Ellis

Bible Reading:

1 Corinthians 7:24-35

24Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.
25Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
26I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.
27Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.
28But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.
29But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;
30And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;
31And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.
32But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:
33But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.
34There 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.
35And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.


As Paul continues in verse 25 he turns again to the single person. He reminds the Corinthians of the distress in which people were living at the time of his writing, and expresses his conviction that, to escape such distress, a young woman might well remain unmarried. This follows what he has been saying in verses 20 to 24.

This is the burden of verses 27 and 28, also. In whatever state you are, Paul advises, remain that way. To be married will be an extra burden. Of course it is not sinful to marry, but the extra involvements with the things of this world which necessarily come along with marriage will have a tendency to hinder the Christian in his performance of the work of the Lord.

We who are married and have children know how true this is. Often it seems that our days are so completely filled with the absolute necessities involved in the care of a family that our time with God is neglected. Paul is a realist. He sees these difficulties and so he writes to the Corinthians in this vein. We are not to shed our marriage and its responsibilities! On the other hand there may be occasions when to remain unmarried is God's will for the individual.

Do you think this is all very impractical in the 1980's? Do you think it is merely interesting historically but not pertinent to us? Well, maybe that is true in our country today, but the day may be coming when we, also, will have distressing times such as the Corinthians had. Surely in some parts of the world this is true today. Remember, too, that it is necessary to understand the background of these matters so that when Paul or other Bible writers are attacked because of their views, we may be able to give an explanation of their rationale and point the sceptic to God's all-embracing plan and purpose for His creation.

We are happy to have obtained permission to post as our current daily devotional Heirs Together of Life: Daily Bible Reading for Husbands and Wives, published by The Banner of Truth Trust. Don't be misled by the subtitle. As the book's "Preface" indicates (see below), although Heirs Together of Life is "especially prepared for couples,"the authors declare, "Since the basis for this guide is God's Word, we believe it would have value for any reader."

Charles and Norma Ellis are husband and wife and the authors not only of Heirs Together of Life (which was first published in 1980 and continues in print today), but also of Wells of Salvation (first published in 1985, and likewise still in print today). The latter contains a series of short studies covering the entire book of Isaiah, while the former contains a series of almost 200 short studies covering the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Both books by the Ellises can be ordered from the publisher, The Banner of Truth Trust. We trust that these daily Bible readings, posted daily on our site, will be helpful to you in your Christian walk before God. Whether married or not, all of us are members of families and members of the family of God.

Charles Ellis was educated at Wheaton College and Westminster Theological Seminary. Upon graduation from Westminster (where he earned not only a Th.B. but also a Th.M.), he was ordained to the ministry in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and pastored a number of OPC churches, including Immanuel OPC in West Collingswood, New Jersey; First OPC in Cincinnati, Ohio; Covenant OPC in East Orange, New Jersey; Knox OPC in Silver Spring, Maryland; and Lakeview OPC in Rockport, Maine. Less biographical information is available about his wife, but it is known that they served as parents of seven children. After retiring from the ministry, Charles Ellis went to be with the Lord in 2003, but he and his wife left us with a beautiful legacy in the two books they have given to the world, and we are proud to share the daily Bible readings from Heirs Together of Life here with you.