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In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul says regarding marriage,

Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is.

What is the "present crisis"?

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2 Answers 2

There are plenty of predictions by Jesus and more in the the Epistles that prepared believers not only for the widespread persecuatuon that befell as well as the destruction of Jerusalem. This seems to be a strigjtforward meaning of the crisis that many commnetators note. For example Hodge takes this view:

The awful desolation which was soon to fall upon Jerusalem and on the whole Jewish race, and which could not but involve more or less the Christians also, and the inevitable struggles and persecutions which, according to our Lord’s predictions, his followers were to encounter, were surely enough to create a deep impression on the apostle’s mind, and to make him solicitous to prepare his brethren for the coming storm. It is not necessary, therefore, to assume, as is so often done, that the apostle anticipated the second advent of Christ during that generation, and that he refers to the calamities which were to precede that event. (Charles Hodge Commentary on First Corinthians, P128)

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Bart D. Ehrman points out in Forged, p106 that Paul expected the second coming of Jesus imminently. This is made particularly clear in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, where he expected to be one of those present at the end: " Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." In 1 Corinthians chapter 7, Paul is telling his followers that it is better not to make new arrangements such as marriage when time is so short, but that if a person must marry, then so be it.

1 Corinthians 7:26 is more widely translated as "present distress," but "present crisis" is possible, although without further discussion it leads us to the possibly unwarranted conclusion that there is a crisis in the ordinary sense. Most importantly, verse 7:26 concludes with Paul advising that it is good for a person to remain as he is.

My reading of this is based on the immediately preceding verse, in which Paul says that he is about to give his judgement on what virgins should do. It follows from this that the "distress" is perhaps hormonal, or perhaps the love felt for another and consequent desire to tie the knot as soon as possible. In a broader interpretation, verse 26 would refer to much of what had preceded in chapter 7.

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