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Paul in 1 Cor 7:27, says

25 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife. (NIV)

According to Matthew (19:11-12), Jesus said

11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” (NIV)

Do both of these quotes say one should prefer celibacy to marriage?

Note:I did read the answers here. Its a situational explanation of 1 Cor 2:27, which is incomplete in light of second verse quoted here in my opinion.

  • 2
    "not a word from God but his opinion." I am sorry, but is that not what Paul says – Jonathan Chell May 21 '15 at 15:38
  • @JonathanChell, true. Will correct. – Jesse P Francis May 22 '15 at 13:07
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Do both of these quotes say one should prefer celibacy to marriage?

The short answer is: no

Notice in Matt 19:11-12 Jesus begins by saying "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given" and he concludes "The one who can accept this should accept it." clearly then he is speaking about a particular class of people.

Paul is speaking about a particular class of people as well. His words have to be taken int he context of his argument, for example he has already stated:

1 Corinthians 7:8-9 But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; 9 but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. (NKJ)

He goes on to say:

1 Corinthians 7:28 But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you. (NKJ)

The teaching is the same, some people are able to live a single life, others are not. Those who are able should do so, those who are not should marry.

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As a state, yes, virginity (consecrated to God) is to be preferred to marriage. St. John Chrysostom's commentary on 1 Cor. 7 and St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Thelogica II-II q. 152 a. 4 ("Whether virginity is more excellent than marriage?") make this very clear.

This is because consecrated virginity has a higher goal: immediate union with God Himself. In marriage, a husband "is divided" between "how he may please his wife" (1 Cor. 7:33) and "how he may please God" (v. 32).

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