]” (1 Corinthians 7:26, emp. added). Exactly what “the present
distress” was at this time is unknown, but it likely involved oppression and persecution at
the hands of the Romans (possibly Emperor Nero).
Whatever the precise “distress” was in Corinth, it is clear that God inspired Paul to
write that it was in their best interest to remain unmarried. Perhaps he wanted to spare them
situations like someone telling them they would have to either deny Christ or see a family member
put to death (cf. Jeremiah 16:1-4). Even today, if a person is aware that severe persecution is
imminent, he likely will delay getting married and having children. When Jesus spoke about the
“great distress” that would come upon Jerusalem, He specifically warned “those who
are pregnant” and “those who are nursing babies” (Luke 21:23). Jesus informed them
that they would have greater difficulties surviving “the edge of the sword” that would
come upon Jerusalem (Luke 21:24; cf. Matthew 24:19-21). Similarly, Paul advised those in Corinth
to remain unmarried “because of the present distress” (1 Corinthians 7:26).
The Bible teaching on marriage is clear to the unbiased reader: marriage is indeed “
honorable among all” (Hebrews 13:4), and since the beginning it normally has been
“good” for mankind (Genesis 2:18). In certain instances, however, it might be
inadvisable. The apostle Paul mentions one such case in 1 Corinthians 7.
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