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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 7

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New TestamentRobertson's Word Pictures

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Verse 1

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote (περ δε ων εγραψατε). An ellipsis of περ τουτων, the antecedent of περ ων, is easily supplied as in papyri. The church had written Paul a letter in which a number of specific problems about marriage were raised. He answers them seriatim. The questions must be clearly before one in order intelligently to interpret Paul's replies. The first is whether a single life is wrong. Paul pointedly says that it is not wrong, but good (καλον). One will get a one-sided view of Paul's teaching on marriage unless he keeps a proper perspective. One of the marks of certain heretics will be forbidding to marry (1 Timothy 4:3). Paul uses marriage as a metaphor of our relation to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Romans 7:4; Ephesians 5:28-33). Paul is not here opposing marriage. He is only arguing that celibacy may be good in certain limitations. The genitive case with απτεσθα (touch) is the usual construction.

Verse 2

Because of fornications (δια τας πορνειας). This is not the only reason for marriage, but it is a true one. The main purpose of marriage is children. Mutual love is another. The family is the basis of all civilization. Paul does not give a low view of marriage, but is merely answering questions put to him about life in Corinth.

Verse 3

Render the due (την οφειλην αποδιδοτω). Marriage is not simply not wrong, but for many a duty. Both husband and wife have a mutual obligation to the other. "This dictum defends marital intercourse against rigorists, as that of ver. 1 Corinthians 7:1 commends celibacy against sensualists" (Findlay).

Verse 4

The wife (η γυνη). The wife is mentioned first, but the equality of the sexes in marriage is clearly presented as the way to keep marriage undefiled (Hebrews 13:4). "In wedlock separate ownership of the person ceases" (Robertson and Plummer).

Verse 5

Except it be by consent for a season (ε μητ [αν] εκ συμφωνου προς καιρον). If αν is genuine, it can either be regarded as like εαν though without a verb or as loosely added after ε μητ and construed with it.

That ye may give yourselves unto prayer (ινα σχολασητε τη προσευχη). First aorist active subjunctive of σχολαζω, late verb from σχολη, leisure (our "school"), and so to have leisure (punctiliar act and not permanent) for prayer. Note private devotions here.

That Satan tempt you not (ινα μη πειραζη). Present subjunctive, that Satan may not keep on tempting you.

Because of your incontinency (δια την ακρασιαν [υμων]). A late word from Aristotle on for ακρατεια from ακρατης (without self-control, α privative and κρατεω, to control, common old word). In N.T. only here and Matthew 23:25 which see.

Verse 6

By way of permission (κατα συνγνωμην). Old word for pardon, concession, indulgence. Secundum indulgentiam (Vulgate). Only here in N.T., though in the papyri for pardon. The word means "knowing together," understanding, agreement, and so concession.

Not of commandment (ου κατ' επιταγην). Late word (in papyri) from επιτασσω, old word to enjoin. Paul has not commanded people to marry. He has left it an open question.

Verse 7

Yet I would (θελω δε). "But I wish." Followed by accusative and infinitive (ανθρωπους εινα). This is Paul's personal preference under present conditions (1 Corinthians 7:26).

Even as I myself (ως κα εμαυτον). This clearly means that Paul was not then married and it is confirmed by 1 Corinthians 9:5. Whether he had been married and was now a widower turns on the interpretation of Acts 26:10 "I cast my vote." If this is taken literally (the obvious way to take it) as a member of the Sanhedrin, Paul was married at that time. There is no way to decide.

His own gift from God (ιδιον χαρισμα εκ θεου). So each must decide for himself. See on 1 Corinthians 1:7 for χαρισμα, a late word from χαριζομα.

Verse 8

To the unmarried and to the widows (τοις αγαμοις κα ταις χηραις). It is possible that by "the unmarried" (masculine plural) the apostle means only men since widows are added and since virgins receive special treatment later (verse 1 Corinthians 7:25) and in verse 1 Corinthians 7:32 ο αγαμος is the unmarried man. It is hardly likely that Paul means only widowers and widows and means to call himself a widower by ως καγω (even as I). After discussing marital relations in verses 1 Corinthians 7:2-7 he returns to the original question in verse 1 Corinthians 7:1 and repeats his own personal preference as in verse 1 Corinthians 7:7. He does not say that it is better to be unmarried, but only that it is good (καλον as in verse 1 Corinthians 7:1) for them to remain unmarried. Αγαμος is an old word and in N.T. occurs only in this passage. In verses 1 Corinthians 7:11; 1 Corinthians 7:34 it is used of women where the old Greeks would have used ανανδρος, without a husband.

Verse 9

But if they have not continency (ε δε ουκ εγκρατευοντα). Condition of the first class, assumed as true. Direct middle voice εγκρατευοντα, hold themselves in, control themselves.

Let them marry (γαμησατωσαν). First aorist (ingressive) active imperative. Usual Koine form in -τωσαν for third plural.

Better (κρειττον). Marriage is better than continued sexual passion. Paul has not said that celibacy is

better than marriage though he has justified it and expressed his own personal preference for it. The metaphorical use of πυρουσθα (present middle infinitive) for sexual passion is common enough as also for grief (2 Corinthians 11:29).

Verse 10

To the married (τοις γεγαμηκοσιν). Perfect active participle of γαμεω, old verb, to marry, and still married as the tense shows.

I give charge (παραγγελλω). Not mere wish as in verses 1 Corinthians 7:7; 1 Corinthians 7:8.

Not I, but the Lord (ουκ εγω αλλα ο κυριος). Paul had no commands from Jesus to the unmarried (men or women), but Jesus had spoken to the married (husbands and wives) as in Matthew 5:31; Matthew 19:3-12; Mark 10:9-12; Luke 16:18. The Master had spoken plain words about divorce. Paul reenforces his own inspired command by the command of Jesus. In Mark 10:9 we have from Christ: "What therefore God joined together let not man put asunder" (μη χοριζετω).

That the wife depart not from her husband (γυναικα απο ανδρος μη χορισθηνα). First aorist passive infinitive (indirect command after παραγγελλω) of χοριζω, old verb from adverbial preposition χωρις, separately, apart from, from. Here used of divorce by the wife which, though unusual then, yet did happen as in the case of Salome (sister of Herod the Great) and of Herodias before she married Herod Antipas. Jesus also spoke of it (Mark 10:12). Now most of the divorces are obtained by women. This passive infinitive is almost reflexive in force according to a constant tendency in the Koine (Robertson, Grammar, p. 817).

Verse 11

But and if she depart (εαν δε κα χωρισθη). Third class condition, undetermined. If, in spite of Christ's clear prohibition, she get separated (ingressive passive subjunctive),

let her remain unmarried (μενετω αγαμος). Paul here makes no allowance for remarriage of the innocent party as Jesus does by implication.

Or else be reconciled to her husband (η τω ανδρ καταλλαγητω). Second aorist (ingressive) passive imperative of καταλλασσω, old compound verb to exchange coins as of equal value, to reconcile. One of Paul's great words for reconciliation with God (2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Romans 5:10). Διαλλασσω (Matthew 5:24 which see) was more common in the older Greek, but καταλλασσω in the later. The difference in idea is very slight, δια- accents notion of exchange, κατ- the perfective idea (complete reconciliation). Dative of personal interest is the case of ανδρ. This sentence is a parenthesis between the two infinitives χωρισθηνα and αφιενα (both indirect commands after παραγγελλω).

And that the husband leave not his wife (κα ανδρα μη αφιενα). This is also part of the Lord's command (Mark 10:11). Απολυω occurs in Mark of the husband's act and αφιενα here, both meaning to send away. Bengel actually stresses the difference between χωρισθηνα of the woman as like separatur in Latin and calls the wife "pars ignobilior" and the husband "nobilior." I doubt if Paul would stand for that extreme.

Verse 12

But to the rest say I, not the Lord (τοις δε λοιποις λεγω εγω, ουχ ο Κυριος). Paul has no word about marriage from Jesus beyond the problem of divorce. This is no disclaimer of inspiration. He simply means that here he is not quoting a command of Jesus.

An unbelieving wife (γυναικα απιστον). This is a new problem, the result of work among the Gentiles, that did not arise in the time of Jesus. The form απιστον is the same as the masculine because a compound adjective. Paul has to deal with mixed marriages as missionaries do today in heathen lands. The rest (ο λοιπο) for Gentiles (Ephesians 2:3) we have already had in 1 Thessalonians 4:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:6 which see. The Christian husband married his wife when he himself was an unbeliever. The word απιστος sometimes means unfaithful (Luke 12:46), but not here (cf. John 20:27).

She is content (συνευδοκε). Late compound verb to be pleased together with, agree together. In the papyri.

Let him not leave her (μη αφιετω αυτην). Perhaps here and in verses 1 Corinthians 7:11; 1 Corinthians 7:13 αφιημ should be translated "put away" like απολυω in Mark 10:1. Some understand αφιημ as separation from bed and board, not divorce.

Verse 13

Which hath an unbelieving husband (ητις εχε ανδρα απιστον). Relative clause here, while a conditional one in verse 1 Corinthians 7:12 (ε τις, if any one). Paul is perfectly fair in stating both sides of the problem of mixed marriages.

Verse 14

Is sanctified in the wife (ηγιαστα εν τη γυναικ). Perfect passive indicative of αγιαζω, to set apart, to hallow, to sanctify. Paul does not, of course, mean that the unbelieving husband is saved by the faith of the believing wife, though Hodge actually so interprets him. Clearly he only means that the marriage relation is sanctified so that there is no need of a divorce. If either husband or wife is a believer and the other agrees to remain, the marriage is holy and need not be set aside. This is so simple that one wonders at the ability of men to get confused over Paul's language.

Else were your children unclean (επε αρα τα τεκνα ακαθαρτα). The common ellipse of the condition with επε: "since, accordingly, if it is otherwise, your children are illegitimate (ακαθαρτα)." If the relations of the parents be holy, the child's birth must be holy also (not illegitimate). "He is not assuming that the child of a Christian parent would be baptized; that would spoil rather than help his argument, for it would imply that the child was not αγιος till it was baptized. The verse throws no light on the question of infant baptism" (Robertson and Plummer).

Verse 15

Is not under bondage (ου δεδουλωτα). Perfect passive indicative of δουλοω, to enslave, has been enslaved, does not remain a slave. The believing husband or wife is not at liberty to separate, unless the disbeliever or pagan insists on it. Wilful desertion of the unbeliever sets the other free, a case not contemplated in Christ's words in Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9. Luther argued that the Christian partner, thus released, may marry again. But that is by no means clear, unless the unbeliever marries first.

But God hath called us in peace (εν δε ειρηνη κεκληκεν ημας or υμας). Perfect active indicative of καλεω, permanent call in the sphere or atmosphere of peace. He does not desire enslavement in the marriage relation between the believer and the unbeliever.

Verse 16

For how knowest thou? (τ γαρ οιδασ;). But what does Paul mean? Is he giving an argument against the believer accepting divorce or in favour of doing so? The syntax allows either interpretation with ε (if) after οιδας. Is the idea in ε (if) hope of saving the other or fear of not saving and hence peril in continuing the slavery of such a bondage? The latter idea probably suits the context best and is adopted by most commentators. And yet one hesitates to interpret Paul as advocating divorce unless strongly insisted on by the unbeliever. There is no problem at all unless the unbeliever makes it. If it is a hopeless case, acquiescence is the only wise solution. But surely the believer ought to be sure that there is no hope before he agrees to break the bond. Paul raises the problem of the wife first as in verse 1 Corinthians 7:10.

Verse 17

Only (ε μη). This use of ε μη as an elliptical condition is very common (1 Corinthians 7:5; Galatians 1:7; Galatians 1:19; Romans 14:14), "except that" like πλην. Paul gives a general principle as a limitation to what he has just said in verse 1 Corinthians 7:15. "It states the general principle which determines these questions about marriage, and this is afterwards illustrated by the cases of circumcision and slavery" (Robertson and Plummer). He has said that there is to be no compulsory slavery between the believer and the disbeliever (the Christian and the pagan). But on the other hand there is to be no reckless abuse of this liberty, no license.

As the Lord hath distributed to each man (εκαστω ως μεμερικεν ο κυριος). Perfect active indicative of μεριζω, old verb from μερος, apart. Each has his lot from the Lord Jesus, has his call from God. He is not to seek a rupture of the marriage relation if the unbeliever does not ask for it.

And so ordain I (κα ουτως διατασσομα). Military term, old word, to arrange in all the churches (distributed, δια-). Paul is conscious of authoritative leadership as the apostle of Christ to the Gentiles.

Verse 18

Let him not become uncircumcized (μη επισπασθω). Present middle imperative of επισπαω, old verb to draw on. In LXX (I Macc. 1:15) and Josephus (Ant. XII, V. I) in this sense. Here only in N.T. The point is that a Jew is to remain a Jew, a Gentile to be a Gentile. Both stand on an equality in the Christian churches. This freedom about circumcision illustrates the freedom about Gentile mixed marriages.

Verse 19

But the keeping of the commandments of God (αλλα τηρησις εντολων θεου). Old word in sense of watching (Acts 4:3). Paul's view of the worthlessness of circumcision or of uncircumcision is stated again in Galatians 5:6; Galatians 6:15; Romans 2:25-29 (only the inward or spiritual Jew counts).

Verse 20

Wherein he was called (η εκληθη). When he was called by God and saved, whether a Jew or a Gentile, a slave or a freeman.

Verse 21

Wast thou called being a bondservant? (δουλος εκληθησ;). First aorist passive indicative. Wast thou, a slave, called?

Care not for it (μη σο μελετω). "Let it not be a care to thee." Third person singular (impersonal) of μελε, old verb with dative σο. It was usually a fixed condition and a slave could be a good servant of Christ (Colossians 3:22; Ephesians 6:5; Titus 2:9), even with heathen masters.

Use it rather (μαλλον χρησα). Make use of what? There is no "it" in the Greek. Shall we supply ελευθερια (instrumental case after χρησα or δουλεια)? Most naturally ελευθερια, freedom, from ελευθερος, just before. In that case ε κα is not taken as although, but κα goes with δυνασα, "But if thou canst also become free, the rather use your opportunity for freedom." On the whole this is probably Paul's idea and is in full harmony with the general principle above about mixed marriages with the heathen. Χρησα is second person singular aorist middle imperative of χραομα, to use, old and common verb.

Verse 22

The Lord's freedman (απελευθερος Κυριου). Απελευθερος is an old word for a manumitted slave, ελευθερος from ερχομα, to go and so go free, απ- from bondage. Christ is now the owner of the Christian and Paul rejoices to call himself Christ's slave (δουλος). But Christ set us free from sin by paying the ransom (λυτρον) of his life on the Cross (Matthew 20:28; Romans 8:2; Galatians 5:1). Christ is thus the patronus of the libertus who owes everything to his patronus. He is no longer the slave of sin (Romans 6:6; Romans 6:18), but a slave to God (Romans 6:22).

Likewise the freeman when called is Christ's slave (ομοιως ο ελευθερος κληθεις δουλος εστιν Χριστου). Those who were not slaves, but freemen, when converted, are as much slaves of Christ as those who were and still were slaves of men. All were slaves of sin and have been set free from sin by Christ who now owns them all.

Verse 23

Ye were bought with a price (τιμης ηγορασθητε). See on 1 Corinthians 6:20 for this very phrase, here repeated. Both classes (slaves and freemen) were purchased by the blood of Christ.

Become not bondservants of men (μη γινεσθε δουλο ανθρωπων). Present middle imperative of γινομα with negative μη. Literally, stop becoming slaves of men. Paul here clearly defines his opposition to human slavery as an institution which comes out so powerfully in the Epistle to Philemon. Those already free from human slavery should not become enslaved.

Verse 24

With God (παρα θεω). There is comfort in that. Even a slave can have God at his side by remaining at God's side.

Verse 25

I have no commandment of the Lord (επιταγην Κυριου ουκ εχω). A late word from επιτασσω, old Greek verb to enjoin, to give orders to. Paul did have (verse 1 Corinthians 7:10) a command from the Lord as we have in Matthew and Mark. It was quite possible for Paul to know this command of Jesus as he did other sayings of Jesus (Acts 20:35) even if he had as yet no access to a written gospel or had received no direct revelation on the subject from Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:23). Sayings of Jesus were passed on among the believers. But Paul had no specific word from Jesus on the subject of virgins. They call for special treatment, young unmarried women only Paul means (1 Corinthians 7:25; 1 Corinthians 7:28; 1 Corinthians 7:34; 1 Corinthians 7:36-38) and not as in Revelation 14:4 (metaphor). It is probable that in the letter (1 Corinthians 7:1) the Corinthians had asked about this problem.

But I give my judgment (γνωμην δε διδωμ). About mixed marriages (1 Corinthians 7:12-16) Paul had the command of Jesus concerning divorce to guide him. Here he has nothing from Jesus at all. So he gives no "command," but only "a judgment," a deliberately formed decision from knowledge (2 Corinthians 8:10), not a mere passing fancy.

As one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful (ως ηλεημενος υπο κυριου πιστος εινα). Perfect passive participle of ελεεω, old verb to receive mercy (ελεος). Πιστος is predicate nominative with infinitive εινα. This language, so far from being a disclaimer of inspiration, is an express claim to help from the Lord in the forming of this duly considered judgment, which is in no sense a command, but an inspired opinion.

Verse 26

I think therefore (νομιζω ουν). Paul proceeds to express therefore the previously mentioned judgment (γνωμην) and calls it his opinion, not because he is uncertain, but simply because it is not a command, but advice.

By reason of the present distress (δια την ενεστωσαν αναγκην). The participle ενεστωσαν is second perfect active of ενιστημ and means "standing on" or "present" (cf. Galatians 1:4; Hebrews 9:9). It occurs in 2 Thessalonians 2:2 of the advent of Christ as not "present." Whether Paul has in mind the hoped for second coming of Jesus in this verse we do not certainly know, though probably so. Jesus had spoken of those calamities which would precede his coming (Matthew 24:8) though Paul had denied saying that the advent was right at hand (2 Thessalonians 2:2). Αναγκη is a strong word (old and common), either for external circumstances or inward sense of duty. It occurs elsewhere for the woes preceding the second coming (Luke 21:23) and also for Paul's persecutions (1 Thessalonians 3:7; 2 Corinthians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 12:10). Perhaps there is a mingling of both ideas here.

Namely . This word is not in the Greek. The infinitive of indirect discourse (υπαρχειν) after νομιζω is repeated with recitative οτ, "That the being so is good for a man" (οτ καλον ανθρωπω το ουτως εινα). The use of the article το with εινα compels this translation. Probably Paul means for one (ανθρωπω, generic term for man or woman) to remain as he is whether married or unmarried. The copula εστιν is not expressed. He uses καλον (good) as in 1 Corinthians 7:1.

Verse 27

Art thou bound to a wife? (δεδεσα γυναικι;). Perfect passive indicative of δεω, to bind, with dative case γυναικ. Marriage bond as in Romans 7:2.

Seek not to be loosed (μη ζητε λυσιν). Present active imperative with negative μη, "Do not be seeking release" (λυσιν) from the marriage bond, old word, here only in N.T.

Seek not a wife (μη ζητε γυναικα). Same construction, Do not be seeking a wife. Bachelors as well as widowers are included in λελυσα (loosed, perfect passive indicative of λυω). This advice of Paul he only urges "because of the present necessity" (verse 1 Corinthians 7:26). Whether he held on to this opinion later one does not know. Certainly he gives the noblest view of marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33. Paul does not present it as his opinion for all men at all times. Men feel it their duty to seek a wife.

Verse 28

But and if thou marry (εαν δε κα γαμησηις). Condition of the third class, undetermined with prospect of being determined, with the ingressive first aorist (late form) active subjunctive with εαν: "But if thou also commit matrimony or get married," in spite of Paul's advice to the contrary.

Thou hast not sinned (ουχ ημαρτες). Second aorist active indicative of αμαρτανω, to sin, to miss a mark. Here either Paul uses the timeless (gnomic) aorist indicative or by a swift transition he changes the standpoint (proleptic) in the conclusion from the future (in the condition) to the past. Such mixed conditions are common (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 1020, 1023). Precisely the same construction occurs with the case of the virgin (παρθενος) except that the old form of the first aorist subjunctive (γημη) occurs in place of the late γαμηση above. The MSS. interchange both examples. There is no special point in the difference in the forms.

Shall have tribulation in the flesh (θλιψιν τη σαρκ εξουσιν). Emphatic position of θλιψιν (pressure). See 2 Corinthians 12:7 σκολοπς τη σαρκ (thorn in the flesh).

And I would spare you (εγω δε υμων φειδομα). Possibly conative present middle indicative, I am trying to spare you like αγε in Romans 2:4 and δικαιουσθε in Galatians 5:4.

Verse 29

But this I say (τουτο δε φημ. Note φημ here rather than λεγω (verses 1 Corinthians 7:8; 1 Corinthians 7:12). A new turn is here given to the argument about the present necessity.

The time is shortened (ο καιρος συνεσταλμενος εστιν). Perfect periphrastic passive indicative of συστελλω, old verb to place together, to draw together. Only twice in the N.T., here and Acts 5:6 which see. Found in the papyri for curtailing expenses. Calvin takes it for the shortness of human life, but apparently Paul pictures the foreshortening of time (opportunity) because of the possible nearness of and hope for the second coming. But in Philippians Paul faces death as his fate (Philippians 1:21-26), though still looking for the coming of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:20).

That henceforth (το λοιπον ινα). Proleptic position of το λοιπον before ινα and in the accusative of general reference and ινα has the notion of result rather than purpose (Robertson, Grammar, p. 997).

As though they had none (ως μη εχοντες). This use of ως with the participle for an assumed condition is regular and μη in the Koine is the normal negative of the participle. So the idiom runs on through verse 1 Corinthians 7:31.

Verse 30

As though they possessed not (ως μη κατεχοντες). See this use of κατεχω, old verb to hold down (Luke 14:9), to keep fast, to possess, in 2 Corinthians 6:10. Paul means that all earthly relations are to hang loosely about us in view of the second coming.

Verse 31

Those that use the world (ο χρωμενο τον κοσμον). Old verb χραομα, usually with the instrumental case, but the accusative occurs in some Cretan inscriptions and in late writers according to a tendency of verbs to resume the use of the original accusative (Robertson, Grammar, p. 468).

As not abusing it (ως μη καταχρημενο). Perfective use of κατα in composition, old verb, but here only in N.T., to use up, use to the full. Papyri give examples of this sense. This is more likely the idea than "abusing" it.

For the fashion of this world passeth away (παραγε γαρ το σχημα του κοσμου τουτου). Cf. 1 John 2:17. Σχημα is the habitus, the outward appearance, old word, in N.T. only here and Philippians 2:7. Παραγε (old word) means "passes along" like a moving panorama (movie show!). Used of Jesus passing by in Jericho (Matthew 20:30).

Verse 32

Free from cares (αμεριμνους). Old compound adjective (α privative and μεριμνα, anxiety). In N.T. only here and Matthew 28:14 which see.

The things of the Lord (τα του Κυριου). The ideal state (so as to the widow and the virgin in verse 1 Corinthians 7:33), but even the unmarried do let the cares of the world choke the word (Mark 4:19).

How he may please the Lord (πως αρεση τω Κυριω). Deliberative subjunctive with πως retained in an indirect question. Dative case of Κυριω. Same construction in verse 1 Corinthians 7:33 with πως αρεση τη γυναικ (his wife) and in 1 Corinthians 7:34 πως αρεση τω ανδρ (her husband).

Verse 34

And there is a difference also between the wife and the virgin (κα μεμεριστα κα η γυνη κα η παρθενος). But the text here is very uncertain, almost hopelessly so. Westcott and Hort put κα μεμεριστα in verse 1 Corinthians 7:33 and begin a new sentence with κα η γυνη and add η αγαμος after η γυνη, meaning "the widow and the virgin each is anxious for the things of the Lord" like the unmarried man (ο αγαμος, bachelor or widow) in verse 1 Corinthians 7:32. Possibly so, but the MSS. vary greatly at every point. At any rate Paul's point is that the married woman is more disposed to care for the things of the world. But, alas, how many unmarried women (virgins and widows) are after the things of the world today and lead a fast and giddy life.

Verse 35

For your own profit (προς το υμων αυτων συμφορον). Old adjective, advantageous, with neuter article here as substantive, from verb συμφερω. In N.T. here only and 1 Corinthians 10:33. Note reflexive plural form υμων αυτων.

Not that I may cast a snare upon you (ουχ ινα βροχον υμιν επιβαλω). Βροχον is a noose or slip-knot used for lassoing animals, old word, only here in N.T. Papyri have an example "hanged by a noose." Επιβαλω is second aorist active subjunctive of επιβαλλω, old verb to cast upon. Paul does not wish to capture the Corinthians by lasso and compel them to do what they do not wish about getting married.

For that which is seemly (προς το ευσχημον). Old adjective (ευ, well, σχημων, shapely, comely, from σχημα, figure). For the purpose of decorum.

Attend upon the Lord (ευπαρεδρον). Adjective construed with προς το, before, late word (Hesychius) from ευ, well, and παρεδρος, sitting beside, "for the good position beside the Lord" (associative instrumental case of Κυριω). Cf. Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus (Luke 10:39).

Without distraction (απερισπαστως). Late adverb (Polybius, Plutarch, LXX) from the adjective απερισπαστος (common in the papyri) from α privative and περισπαω, to draw around (Luke 10:40).

Verse 36

That he behaveth himself unseemly (ασχημονειν). Old verb, here only in N.T., from ασχημων (1 Corinthians 12:23), from α privative and σχημα. Occurs in the papyri. Infinitive in indirect discourse after νομιζε (thinks) with ε (condition of first class, assumed as true).

If she be past the flower of her age (εαν η υπερακμος). Old word, only here in N.T., from υπερ (over) and ακμη (prime or bloom of life), past the bloom of youth, superadultus (Vulgate). Compound adjective with feminine form like masculine. Apparently the Corinthians had asked Paul about the duty of a father towards his daughter old enough to marry.

If need so requireth (κα ουτως οφειλε γινεσθα). "And it ought to happen." Paul has discussed the problem of marriage for virgins on the grounds of expediency. Now he faces the question where the daughter wishes to marry and there is no serious objection to it. The father is advised to consent. Roman and Greek fathers had the control of the marriage of their daughters. "My marriage is my father's care; it is not for me to decide about that" (Hermione in Euripides' Andromache, 987).

Let them marry (γαμειτωσαν). Present active plural imperative (long form).

Verse 37

To keep his own virgin daughter (τηρειν την εαυτου παρθενον). This means the case when the virgin daughter does not wish to marry and the father agrees with her,

he shall do well (καλως ποιησε).

Verse 38

Doeth well (καλως ποιε). So Paul commends the father who gives his daughter in marriage (γαμιζε). This verb γαμιζω has not been found outside the N.T. See on Matthew 22:30.

Shall do better (κρεισσον ποιησε). In view of the present distress (1 Corinthians 7:26) and the shortened time (1 Corinthians 7:29). And yet, when all is said, Paul leaves the whole problem of getting married an open question to be settled by each individual case.

Verse 39

For so long time as her husband liveth (εφ' οσον χρονον ζη ο ανηρ αυτης). While he lives (τω ζωντ ανδρ) Paul says in Romans 7:2. This is the ideal and is pertinent today when husbands meet their ex-wives and wives meet their ex-husbands. There is a screw loose somewhere. Paul here treats as a sort of addendum the remarriage of widows. He will discuss it again in 1 Timothy 5:9-13 and then he will advise younger widows to marry. Paul leaves her free here also to be married again, "only in the Lord" (μονον εν Κυριω). Every marriage ought to be "in the Lord."

To be married (γαμηθηνα) is first aorist passive infinitive followed by the dative relative ω with unexpressed antecedent τουτω.

Verse 40

Happier (μακαριωτερα). Comparative of μακαριος used in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3).

After my judgment (κατα την εμην γνωμην). The same word used in verse 1 Corinthians 7:25, not a command.

I think (δοκω). From δοκεω, not νομιζω of verse 1 Corinthians 7:26. But he insists that he has "the spirit of God" (πνευμα θεου) in the expression of his inspired judgment on this difficult, complicated, tangled problem of marriage. But he has discharged his duty and leaves each one to decide for himself.

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/1-corinthians-7.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.
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