Lectionary Calendar
Monday, June 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 7

Edwards' Family Bible New TestamentFamily Bible NT

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Verse 1

The things whereof ye wrote ; these were certain things about which the Christians at Corinth had, in a letter to Paul, requested him to give his views.

Good for a man ; best under the peculiar circumstances to which the letter of the Corinthians related.

Not to touch a woman ; not to be married.

Verse 2

Nevertheless ; notwithstanding it may sometimes be best for persons not to be married, it is in all ordinary cases best that they should be.

His own wife-her own husband ; no man is allowed by God to have at once more than one wife, and no woman to have more than one husband. The union for life of one man and woman in marriage is an appointment of God, designed for the continuance and benefit of the human race. All who are in proper circumstances, and are so disposed, ought to be permitted to form such a union; and all who do form it, should faithfully discharge its duties.

Verse 3

Due benevolence ; these words express the mutual duty of husband and wife towards each other, as explained in verses 1 Corinthians 7:4-5 . Whatever increases temptations to evils which marriage was designed to prevent, or renders it ineffectual for the purposes for which it was instituted, should be carefully avoided.

Verse 4

Not power ; not to live apart, even for a time, without mutual consent.

Verse 5

Defraud ye not one the other ; deprive not one another by separation of any safeguard against temptation. Do nothing which shall tend to impurity, or give Satan advantage over you.

Verse 6

By permission ; this was a subject about which persons were permitted to judge for themselves; and on which they should exercise an enlightened and conscientious Christian discretion.

Verse 7

Even as I ; I wish they had the same self-control, and could live as contentedly in any condition to which Providence calls them. He evidently refers to his condition as unmarried.

Proper gift of God ; control over one’s bodily appetites and passions is one of these gifts; but all do not have it in the same high degree.

Verse 8

It is good for them ; it was well, under their then peculiar circumstances, to remain as Paul was, unmarried, provided they thought so, and could do it without inconvenience.

Verse 9

To burn ; be disturbed with ungratified passion, or tempted by it to the commission of sin. God bestows on different persons different gifts, and places them in different conditions. That course which is wise for one may not be so for another. Their wishes as well as their situations and habits may be different and it may be best for them to pursue different courses.

Verse 10

Not I , but the Lord ; not Paul only, but Jesus Christ. Matthew 5:32 ; Matthew 19:3-10 .

Verse 12

Not the Lord ; he had not given specific directions about the case which follows, and Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, proceeded to do it.

Believeth not ; believeth not the gospel. It is evident that some of the Corinthians had scruples about the lawfulness of living in the marriage relation with an unbeliever, and that this was one of the points on which they had asked Paul’s advice. The obligations, rights, and privileges of marriage continue through life, notwithstanding any changes in religious character which may take place in either of the parties; and married persons, wherever it be practicable consistently with duty, should live together, for the purpose of promoting each other’s highest temporal and eternal good.

Verse 16

For what knowest thou ; another argument why the believing party should continue to live with the unbelieving. The Christian party may be instrumental in saving the other.

Verse 17

As God hath distributed to every man ; assigned him his place and lot in life. The apostle here begins an exhortation to contentment in present circumstances.

So let him walk ; let each one continue in the condition and business to which God in his providence calls him, and do all the good he can.

Verse 18

Being circumcised ; having been circumcised as a Jew.

Let him not become uncircumcised ; not try to undo or disavow his circumcision.

Verse 19

Is nothing ; as to acceptance with God.

The commandments of God ; the keeping of them was all that he required, and this might be done whether a man was circumcised or not.

Verse 20

In the same calling ; let a man after his conversion continue in the same business in which he was before, provided it is a moral and useful one, and the providence of God does not call him to change it.

Verse 21

Called ; converted to Christ.

Care not for it ; be not so anxious to change your condition as to unfit you to discharge its duties.

If thou mayest be made free ; in the original, If thou canst be free; that is, if thou art able in doing right to be free, use it rather ; be free, because freedom is a better state than servitude. In it, persons can more generally own and search the Scriptures, worship God according to the dictates of an enlightened conscience, and discharge the duties which God requires of husbands and wives, parents and children, as rational, accountable, redeemed, immortal beings. Men should continue in the situation in which God has placed them, and in the business, if it be moral and right, to which they are accustomed; unless without committing sin they can change them for the better. If they can, they are bound to do it; and in a manner accordant with the revealed will of God.

Verse 22

Called in the Lord ; converted.

Is the Lord’s freeman ; through divine power and grace, he is delivered from the condemnation and bondage of sin; and under the teaching of the Holy Ghost pursues his own free choice, cheerfully, as an affectionate child, doing the will of his Father in heaven.

Is Christ’s servant ; not an involuntary, but a willing servant; who chooses to be his, delights in his laws, and is to receive a great reward.

Verse 23

Ye ; Christians of all countries and conditions, high and low, rich and poor, bond and free.

Are bought with a price ; redeemed from endless bondage to sin, Satan, and death by the precious blood of Christ.

Be not ye the servants of men ; act from supreme regard not to them, but to Christ. Honor him, manifest his spirit in every condition, and faithfully discharge its appropriate duties.

Verse 24

Abide with God ; in union with God, and acting in such a manner as to meet his approbation and enjoy his favor.

Verse 25

I have no commandment of the Lord ; God had given no specific command concerning the marriage of virgins in times of great and peculiar trials. Therefore Paul, in answer to their inquiry, gave his view of the matter.

Verse 26

I suppose ; in my judgment.

For the present distress ; on account of the peculiarly distressing circumstances in which they were then placed.

So to be ; to remain, during the continuance of those trials, unmarried. But some understand the words "so to be" as meaning, to be so as he is now-to remain in his present state, whether married or unmarried. And this agrees with the following verse.

Verse 28

She hath not sinned ; in marrying even in those troublous times, if she chose this, and thought it best for her.

Trouble in the flesh ; special trials in those times of peculiar difficulty and danger.

I spare you ; am sparing of you; have a fatherly feeling towards you, and in giving you this advice seek your comfort.

Verse 29

Be as though they had none ; live above the world and its temporary relations, remembering how soon this earthly scene, with all its joys and sorrows, will be over, and eternity come in its place. So also are the following clauses to be understood. No worldly circumstances should so disturb or occupy our minds as to unfit us in any measure for duty; nor should we desire any more worldly enjoyment than God shall graciously give us in doing his will.

Verse 31

Not abusing it ; not using it to excess, depending upon it, or seeking your chief good in it.

The fashion ; circumstances and condition of earthly things.

Passeth away ; like a shadow or dream. Psalms 39:6 ; 1 John 2:17 .

Verse 32

Without carefulness ; not distracted by worldly cares.

Careth for the things that belong to the Lord ; is able to give his undivided attention to them.

Verse 33

Careth for the things that are of the world ; he is more exposed than the unmarried, in peculiarly troublous times, to be so engrossed with cares as to be hindered from wholly following the Lord.

Verse 35

Not that I may cast a snare ; his object was not to bind all to act alike, but to induce each to take the course which would be most proper, and in which he or she could best serve God.

Verse 36

Behaveth himself uncomely ; acts unsuitably towards his daughter or one under his care, in withholding her from marriage. If she is of a proper age, and is disposed to be married, he would do well to consent to it.

Verse 37

Nevertheless ; on the other hand.

Having no necessity ; if circumstances do not call for her marriage, he does well to let her remain unmarried.

Verse 38

He that giveth her in marriage ; when circumstances require it, doeth well ; that which is right.

He that giveth her not ; when circumstances do not require or favor it, doeth better ; what will be more comfortable for her, that is, "for the present distress," as is to be understood throughout this chapter.

Verse 39

Only in the Lord ; only within the limits of the Christian body. Others interpret these words to mean, only in the spirit of obedience to the Lord. But the former is the preferable view. So important is the institution of marriage, so honorable in all, and so numerous its blessings to those who faithfully discharge its duties, that those who, in the fear and love of God, marry, though in troublous times, do well; even in cases where, if their wishes had been different, it would have been better, at least for them, had they for a time remained unmarried.

Verse 40

So abide ; continue unmarried during these troublous times, if she can so remain consistently.

I have the Spirit of God ; to guide me in the views expressed on this subject.

Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/fam/1-corinthians-7.html. American Tract Society. 1851.
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