In this passage, Paul compares married life and singleness. He begins by addressing female virgins. In this case, he does not give a command, but his opinion. In verse 26, he says that he thinks it is good for people to remain in the married or single condition in which they live. However, he lets them know that marriage is not a sin. However, the reason that he is giving his opinion is that he is trying to spare them from the trouble that comes from marriage. Nevertheless, he says that the time until judgment day has been shortened, so that everyone should avoid living in worldliness, such as living for marriage, or in depression, or in careless joy, or in materialism. The reason for this is that the world is passing away.

In verse 32, Paul gives the Corinthians another reason that he is giving his opinion about marriage and singleness: he wants them to be free from the concern of marriage. He says that those who are unmarried are mainly concerned about pleasing the Lord, but those who are married have two concerns: pleasing the Lord, and pleasing his or her spouse. In verse 35, Paul gives them another reason for telling them what he thinks: to benefit them, and to secure their undistracted devotion to the Lord.

In verse 36, Paul addresses fathers with virgin daughters. He tells them that it is permissible to give their daughters in marriage, and it is permissible to not give them in marriage. However, Paul tells those who do not that they are doing better than those who do.

Paul concludes by addressing widows; they are free to marry any man who is spiritually united to the Lord. However, Paul thinks that they are happier if they remain unmarried.