Lectionary Calendar
Friday, May 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 7

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-7

1 It is unfortunate that our word "judge" usually takes on the sense of condemnation. The saints are not to condemn the world but to rule it during the eons. Saints in Israel will possess the kingdom on earth. We shall administer the rest of the universe. This destroys utterly the crude conceptions of "heaven" usually entertained. We shall not be idle, but, as members of Christ's body, will direct and control the angels, including the utmost bounds of the empyrean. If, then, such a future is for the saints, how incongruous for us to appeal to the unjust to settle our differences! It is a deplorable state of affairs when brethren in Christ go to law against one another. It shows that one or the other is unjust and so is not a fit subject for the sphere of God's rule. When the kingdom is established there will be no room for those whose conduct is contrary to the strict justice which will be its chief characteristic. If a believer has a case against another believer he should never have it tried before unbelievers. If they cannot settle it between themselves, they should choose some wise man, a believer in whom there is mutual confidence, and submit their case to him, and abide by his decision. If this is impracticable, it rests with the aggrieved one to submit to the injury or loss rather than bring disgrace on the name of Christ. All that we do should be done with the single object of glorifying God, even if it entails shielding one who has wronged us, because his reputation cannot but affect the estimate with which the saints are held by the unbelievers in the world. We are not under law, but under grace. Let us use this rule in dealing with our brethren.

11 The city of Corinth was noted for its profligacy and, as the evangel makes its special appeal to sinners , some of the Corinthian saints could look back at a past of very doubtful character. But the evangel they received had cleansed and sanctified and acquitted them. In God's sight, at any rate, they no longer bore these characters, and His grace would constrain them to conduct themselves accordingly.

12 This is a necessary consequence of justification and the reign of grace. All is allowed to the one who has been vindicated by God. Nothing can ever touch his position before God in Christ. But this knowledge will not lead us to be lax in our conduct, as some might suppose.

15 The exalted honor of being members of Christ is the most powerful incentive to keep our bodies free from the gross sin which still afflicts humanity as it did in the days when this epistle was penned.

19 Wherever God dwells is the temple of God, and is hallowed by His presence. It was not the stately buildings or the sacred ritual or even the sacrifices which hallowed the sanctuary, but the presence of the glory of God in the holiest of all. The very ground of the desert was holy where Moses met Jehovah ( Exo_3:5 ). So our body, whatever its physical appearance or condition, has become a temple by virtue of the divine Spirit which indwells us. It is no longer ours, but His, and like the tabernacle in the wilderness and the temple in Jerusalem, should allow nothing that defiles to enter its precincts. God does not dwell in temples made with hands, but in the bodies of His saints. Holy conduct and loving acts are the ritual.

1 In this chapter Paul distinguishes carefully between his spiritual judgment and a commandment of the Lord. He gives the ideal, yet modifies it to suit the conditions under which the Corinthians lived. It will be noted that conduct pleasing to God always conforms to the divine activities. When God deals out justice He requires the same in His saints. When He is gracious, as in this economy, He is pleased when we deal with one another according to the higher dictates of grace. Perhaps we can carry this even further. Redeemed Israel is the bride of the Lambkin. His relation to them is figured by the marriage tie. The present ecclesia, however, is His body, a much closer and more vital union. Hence the ideal for the present time is to remain as Paul was. It was doubtless ideal, in this sense, for Peter to have a wife. Paul's celibacy is undoubtedly in accord with the great truths with which he was commissioned, which disregard all physical relationships, being spiritual conditions to be realized among the celestials, where marriage has no place. Perhaps these considerations account for the undecided tone and temporary character of this chapter.

Verses 8-30

8 It is evident that the preceding concession is only a general rule, not applicable to those not then married. Their relations are to be regulated by mutual consideration, but the unmarried need to consult only their own condition.

10 The law of divorce, in Scripture, varies according to the character of God's ways in each economy. Because of the hardness of their hearts God gave them the provisions in the law. This is no rule for us today. Where both are believers there is no divorce in this economy. The reason for this is evident, even as the reason for divorce in Israel. Israel was married to Jehovah, but He had to divorce her for her sins. But we are the body of Christ, and no one can be separated from His own body! Our union with Him is unbreakable. This should be reflected in our earthly relationships.

11 When there has been a separation, a woman may not marry again so long as her husband is living.

12 The rule where one is an unbeliever is modified to suit conditions. The believer is to make no move toward separation, but if the unbeliever obtains a divorce the believer is entirely free.

13 While it is not right for a believer to marry an unbeliever, grace makes ample provision for such, especially as many are called while married to an unbeliever. Just as everything which touched the altar was holy ( Exo_29:37 ), so the unbeliever is hallowed by association with one of God's saints.

17 It is evident thar God plans the time to call each of His saints. Some are in one station in life and some in another; some in one occupation and others in a different one. An important principle is laid down here which it were well for the saints to heed. It is this: The occupation and condition in which we were when God called us indicates, in a general way, what He would have us be. There is to be no radical change except in the case of those called in idleness or questionable occupations. There should, however , be a great change in our conduct, for we are to remain in our vocations with God. This it is which transforms the slave into the Lord's freedman, and makes the freeman a slave of Christ. This is the vital principle which replaces the outward rite of circumcision. It is not of great moment what a man may do for a livelihood, if he does it in such away as to please God and bring no reproach on His name.

23 Slavery has quite gone out of fashion, but those who have been bought with the blood of Christ should not be slow to acknowledge that in their case, it still exists. We are not our own. Let us glory in this. Not only are we His servants, but we are His slaves. We have no right to our own will and way. We are slaves of the Lord Christ, but not of any man, though he be

Christ's apostle.

25 The record of Paul's opinion is as much inspired as the injunction of the Lord. It is evident that no set rule can be laid down for the regulation of such matters which would not lead to license or undue restraint. So we have only the apostle's opinion, based on the condition of affairs in Corinth at the time. There was evidently much laxity of morals, due perhaps to the fact that the members of the Corinthian ecclesia had been themselves involved in the loose manners for which the city was noted, and to the low level of conduct prevailing all about them. This opinion does not apply at all times or places, for it would lead to monasticism. Hence the apostle is careful to add that those who do not follow his advice are not guilty of any wrong action.

Verses 31-40

31 The transient, fleeting character of all of this world's relationships and experiences should warn us not to let them take an undue hold upon our hearts. We cannot but use the world to a limited extent. Its joys and sorrows affect us, whether we will or no. If it were a permanent system instead of a temporary stage in the process of God's plan, our attitude would be different. In the semi-permanent millennial system, the saints will not be restrained from the full use of the world of that day. But the present system is distinctly hostile to God and occupation with it is calculated to interfere with our fellowship with God and the enjoyment of

His permanent purpose.

32 No doubt both Paul and Peter were representative men whose personal affairs were in accord with the dispensations given them by the Lord. Peter went about with a wife, for the relationship between the Lord and the remnant in Israel, to whom Peter belonged, was figured by the marriage tie. They were the bride of the Lamb. Paul, on the other hand, revealed a nearer and closer union, that of the human body, in which Christ was the head and His saints the members. Paul, consequently, never married, but devoted himself undistractedly to the Lord's service. This is the ideal for this economy, yet the apostle is most careful not to press it as an injunction, for, unless such a course is entered upon whole-heartedly and with faith and fortitude which few possess, it would lead only to failure.

39 In this economy of grace there is no room for divorce. The marriage tie is binding for life. What Moses gave the hard-hearted sons of Israel is no rule for us. And even the single cause to which our Lord confined divorce was based on the kingdom code, not on the superabundance of grace in which we revel. Death alone can sever the marriage bond today, so far as two saints are concerned. If one, however, is an unbeliever, and deserts the believer, this also leaves the believer free. But, apart from this, it is entirely out of keeping with God's grace for two who have tasted of His favor, to seek to sever the tie.

1 Except in heathen lands, the question of eating that which has been offered in sacrifice to idols, is no longer a pertinent one, but the principle handed down is quite as important as ever. Those who are advanced in the faith know that there is no difference between food offered to idols and any other. Before God they may freely eat, but not before their brethren whose faith is not established. So we may freely do many things before God which might offend our brethren and cause them to stumble. Let us not flaunt our liberty in their faces, but rather let us refrain from that which may result in harm to a weak brother. Let us walk in love.

6 We have here a marvelously exact and concise definition of the relationship which we sustain to God and to the Lord, which, in turn, throws much light on their respective relationship to each other. Briefly put, God is the Source and Object of all; Christ is the Channel of all. Thus it is always found. We are never said to come out of Christ, but out of God. Indeed, Christ asserts that He Himself, came out of God ( Joh_8:42 ). All is out of God ( Rom_11:36 ). But God never deals with us except through His Anointed. Creation began in the Son of God and was carried out through Him. He has the same place in redemption. There is no conflict, for, while the Son, as the Image of the Father, is entitled to be called God and to receive the same honor as the Father, yet He Himself insists that His Father is greater than all ( Joh_10:29 ). All that He had was received from His Father. His very life was a gift ( Joh_5:26 ), and He lived by the Father ( Joh_6:57 ). He did the Father's will, not His own. He sought the Father's glory, not His own. He was one with the Father, and desired that the disciples might become partakers of that unity ( Joh_17:22 ). So that He Himself was in every way, out of the Father. On the other hand, He is the only Way to the Father, the only means through Whom we may know God. Hence, while all is sourced in God the Father, all is channeled through the Son. It is only by clinging closely to the exact language of Holy Writ that we may hope to gain a clear conception of the relation of the Father to the Son.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/1-corinthians-7.html. 1968.
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