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Let’s read 1 Corinthians 7:7-9, “For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”  The Apostle Paul, for the cause of Christ, had never married.  His entire life was devoted to the service of the Lord.  So, he states here that his wish was that all men were like himself: single and wholly devoted to the service of the Lord.  However, the Apostle realized this was not the plan of God for every man.  Marriage was created and sanctioned by God, Himself.  Even though Paul never married, he realized he had the right to marry.  He wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:5, “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?”  He points out here that even as the brothers of the Lord had married, and Cephas, or Peter, was married, he also had the right to marry.  He chose to refrain from marriage so that he could serve the Lord more completely.

The Lord Jesus, speaking of marriage and divorce also addresses the reality that most men were not meant to live their lives without wives.  We read in Matthew 19:10-12, “His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”

The Apostle Paul goes on to emphasize that marriage is not sinful in 1 Corinthians 7:28, where he said “But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned…”  When the Lord leads two people to marry, it is not sin; it is a beautiful testimony to the Lord.  We read in Hebrews 13:4 that, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”  Aquila and Priscilla are an excellent example of a married couple who served the Lord together.  Paul considered them both as fellow servants of the Lord as he wrote in Romans 16:3, “Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus.”

So, what does it mean when scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 7:9, “But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”?  As the Lord and Paul both stated, not all men were meant to remain unmarried.  If they cannot contain, or control their needs for a woman’s companionship and pleasure, it is proper that they should be married.  It is far better to marry than to burn with passion for a woman.  If the Lord desires for someone to remain single, He will certainly give them the ability to live celibate lives.  The desire for a woman shows the Lord has not called a person to live without companionship.  To refrain from marriage while longing for a woman is not what the Lord intended for anyone.  To burn with lust for a woman would be sin; so to avoid that sin, it is better for a man to go ahead and get married; the Lord has not called this person to live a single life.  (101.3)