Useful Bible Studies > 1 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 7

A rule for everyone’s circumstances

1 Corinthians 7:17

As he wrote this chapter, Paul tried not to make too many rules. Each person’s circumstances are different; each person must ask God to guide him. But here was a rule that seemed right in every circumstance:

People should serve God loyally whatever their present circumstances may be.

When a person becomes a Christian, that person receives new life in his spirit (John 3:5-7). However, most of the circumstances in that person’s existing life do not usually change. For example, that person may be rich or poor. They may be married or unmarried. They still do the same kind of work; they still live in the same place.

Every person desires better circumstances. And of course a Christian hopes and prays for circumstances where he can serve God better.

James worried about some Christians who were trying to improve their lives. They were moving to a different town in order to make profits. But they were not asking God what he wanted them to do. Instead, they were proud because of the success that they expected (James 4:13-16).

Often we desire things that God does not want us to have. But even if we desire good things, we may still not receive them. Or, like Job, we must wait to receive them (James 5:11).

So in the meantime, we must serve God loyally in our present circumstances. Our circumstances may change, and then we will have to serve God in new circumstances. God has permitted this situation so that we can serve him in it. He will even use our troubles and difficulties to teach us and to help us (Hebrews 12:5-11).

Next part: Advice for Christians about circumcision (1 Corinthians 7:18-19)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.