ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What Did Paul the Apostle Say About Marriage in the Bible?

Updated on April 8, 2013

Paul the Apostle

Illustration of Paul the Apostle
Illustration of Paul the Apostle

What Did Paul Say in the Bible?

What did Paul have to say in the Bible?

He actually had a lot to say, as he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write 13 books in the New Testament.

These are the books he wrote:

1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy
2 Timothy

An Open Bible


The Bible Talks about Marriage vs. Singleness

The Bible is known as Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, if you look at it as an acronym. God inspired 40 different authors to write the Bible, yet the Bible is unlike any other book ever written because of its divine inspiration. There is one thread of commonality that runs throughout the Bible, which is very unique, because the Bible doesn't contradict itself.

Every prophecy in the Bible has either come true - as it was fulfilled - or has yet to be fulfilled.

Archaeological finds continue to add more proof that the events described in the Bible took place, and give even more reasons for people to trust God's Word as true and accurate.

What is even more interesting, is that ancient manuscripts within 50 years of Jesus have been compared to the Bible we have today, and they are an exact match. The Bible has not changed, unless you are reading from one that has been intentionally changed by a cult.

Knowing all of this, the Bible is an excellent source on how a person should live.

Paul the Apostle wrote a good deal of the New Testament, and gives us some direction for Christian living.

In Genesis 2:18, the Bible says: "It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him."

In Genesis 2:22, God made a woman for the man, and formed her from a rib taken out of man.

Genesis shares that man was not meant to be alone, so he made a female for man.

In the New Testament, Paul the Apostle talks about singleness.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:8: "To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am."

Is Paul the Apostle ordering Christians to stay single?

Let's first let's look at the context of the passage, before making a "snap" judgment.

A Real Life Situation in a Church

There was a couple that took on the role of teaching a Sunday School class. They were a married couple teaching a 20's Singles class. At the end of each class, this couple would take prayer requests and then pray.

During the prayer, the couple would always make sure that they prayed that each Single person in the class would get married, as if being single was bad. They firmly believed that every person is supposed to get married.

Should this couple have taken the liberty to do this? Was their prayer in line with God's Known Will?

Context is Key

A very important lesson that I have learned about the Bible, is that it is critical to understand the context of the passage, before quoting a verse and taking it at face value. Not all verses in the Bible are standalone.

Some verses can have a general application - such as many verses of wisdom found in proverbs - but most of Paul's writings have context that must be understood before applying a verse as a general decree.

If we reference the verse from earlier (1 Cor. 7:8), then we must read the whole passage. Verse 9 says: "But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion."

So Paul tells unmarried Christians to stay single if they can, but if they are burning with lustful passion, then to consider marrying than to be tempted.

Why does Paul the Apostle suggest for unmarried Christians to stay single?

Illustration of Nero


Nero Sources

Sources on Nero:

  1. Wikipedia entry "Nero"
  2. Tacitus Annals XV
  3. Tertullian Apologeticum, lost text quoted in [3],Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, II.25.4.
  4. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History II.25.5

What Was the "Present Crisis" in 1 Cor. 7:26?

Paul the Apostle wrote 1 Corinthians when he was in Ephesus, for the church in Corinth (about 180 mil. away). So let's examine what the present crisis was that Paul was talking about.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:26: "Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is."

What is this present crisis, and did it have the Apostle Paul in "survival mode"?

One Theory Behind the Present Crisis

Around this time, Caesar Nero was the Roman Emperor (from 54 - 68 A.D). The impact that Nero had on Christians can be found in a simple web search.

Caesar Nero was persecuting Christians. That is clearly evident.

Wikipedia cites the following three things regarding Nero:

  1. "Non-Christian historian, Tacitus, describes Nero extensively torturing and executing Christians after the fire of 64."
  2. "Christian writer Tertullian (c. 155–230) was the first to call Nero the first persecutor of Christians. He wrote, 'Examine your records. There you will find that Nero was the first that persecuted this doctrine.'"
  3. "Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 275–339) was the first to write that Paul was beheaded in Rome during the reign of Nero."

Was Caesar Nero the present crisis that Paul was referring to?

We must first determine when 1 Corinthians was written. says it was written in 55 A.D. Wikipedia says between 53 - 57 A.D.

It is possible that the Apostle Paul could have been talking about Caesar Nero.

If Paul was referring to a life or death situation going on, then choosing not to court a woman during such a distressing time would make sense.

Remember, we are always in spiritual warfare with the enemy. In times when Christians are being persecuted locally, then it would require a special prayerful focus when petitioning God. Such meditation is harder to do when one is thinking about a potential love interest.

Abstract Dualism


1 Timothy 4:3

1 Timothy 4 talks about some people that will abandon the faith, and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

1 Timothy 4:3 says, "They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth."

"Spiritual" teachings that forbid people to marry are not from God. However, marriage should be as the Bible instructs - between one man and one woman.

How Dualism Impacted the Corinthian Church

Another factor that plays into the cultural context of the Corinthian church is dualism.

Dualism is the belief that material things - or "materialism" - was pure evil. Inversely, immaterial things were good and pure.

Some members of the Corinthian church believed that if a person was truly spiritual, he or she transcended the need for sex, as sex was linked to the material body. This school of thought clearly came from the dualistic thinking of the times.

If said person no longer needed sex because he was too spiritual, then there would be no obvious need for a wife, or the institution of Marriage. This is partly what the Apostle Paul was addressing in 1 Corinthians.

This is a distorted view on spirituality.

Such distortions wouldn't happen in today's churches, would it?


Take heed to what this church was dealing with.

Don't pretend to be spiritual and secretly burn with lustful desires, when you should really get married. But if a person can truly live for God as a single person, then take that route.

There are simply some things that a Christian cannot and should not do as a married person. Being single is better for traveling and mission work in dangerous places. However, it is a blessing to have a family and raise children up in the admonition of the Lord.

It is not wrong to be single, nor is it wrong to be married. If you can be happy and seek God joyously as a single person, then serve God as a single person.

If you want to get married, then seek God first on who you should marry. Then, build your house on a solid foundation, teaching your children to love the Lord.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)