corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.11.12
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
1 Corinthians 7

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 7

1 Corinthians 7:3. ὀφειλήν] Elz. and Matt. read ὀφειλομένην εὔνοιαν, against decisive evidence. Erroneous explanation.—1 Corinthians 7:5. τῇ νηστείᾳ καί after σχολάσητε (not σχολάζητε, Elz.) is an inappropriate addition in the ascetic interest; and συνέρχεσθε, in place of ἦτε, is a gloss.—1 Corinthians 7:7. γάρ] A C D* F G א*, min(1012) It. Copt. Goth. and several Fathers have δέ. Approved by Griesb., and adopted by Lachm. Tisch. and Rück. The γάρ was an incorrect gloss upon the δέ.

Instead of ὅς ὅς, read, with Lachm. and Tisch., following the majority of the uncials, . In 1 Corinthians 7:10 again, Lachm. and Rück. put χωρίζεσθαι in place of χωρισθῆναι (with A D E F G); but, considering the weight of authority on the other side, ἀφιέναι must dissuade us from the change.—1 Corinthians 7:13. αὔτος] approved also by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. Rück. and Tisch. The evidence against αὐτός (Elz.) is conclusive. But this induces us to read αὓτη in 1 Corinthians 7:12 also (with Lachm. Tisch. and Rück.).

αὐτόν) Lachm. Tisch. and Rück. have τὸν ἄνδρα, approved by Griesb. also, and on conclusive grounds. αὐτόν has crept in from uniformity to 1 Corinthians 7:12. Had there been a gloss, we should have found a corresponding variation of αὐτήν in 1 Corinthians 7:12 as well.—1 Corinthians 7:14. ἀνδρί] The uncials from A to G, א*, Copt. Baschm. It. Jerome, and Augustine, read ἀδελφῷ. Recommended by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. Rück. and Tisch. ἀνδρί is an explanatory addition.—1 Corinthians 7:15. ἡ΄ᾶς] Tisch. has ὑ΄ᾶς, but the evidence for it is weaker; and ὑ΄ᾶς would easily come in from 1 Corinthians 7:14.—1 Corinthians 7:17. κύριος] Elz. and Matt. read θεός, and, after κέκληκεν: κύριος. Against conclusive testimony; κύριος was glossed and dislodged by θεός, and then afterwards reinserted in the wrong place. Hence in G, Boern. we have κύριος κύριος θεός.—1 Corinthians 7:18. Instead of the second τις ἐκλήθη, Lachm. Tisch. and Rück. read κέκλεταί τις, with A B א, min(1013), and additional support from D* F and G, which have τις κέκλ. The Recept(1014) is a mechanical repetition from the first clause of the verse.—1 Corinthians 7:28. γή΄ῃς] B א have γα΄ήσῃς; and, since in A we have γα΄ήσῃ, and in D E F G λάβῃς γυναῖκα, which is plainly a gloss, the evidence preponderates in favour of γα΄ήσῃς (Lachm. Tisch.); γή΄ῃς arose out of what follows.—1 Corinthians 7:29.(1015) After ἀδελφοί Elz. has ὅτι, against A B K L א, min(1016) Baschm. Syr. p(1017) Vulg. Eus. Method. Basil, Theodoret, Hierat. al(1018) An exegetical addition.

τὸ λοιπόν ἐστιν] A B א, min(1019) Copt. Syr. p(1020) Arm. Slav. Eus. Ephr. Basil, Cyr. have ἐστι τὸ λοιπόν. Now, seeing that D* has simply ἐστι λοιπόν, and F G 67** Boern. Vulg. Method. Tert. Jerome, Ambrosiast. al(1021) have ἐστί, λοιπόν ἐστιν, the reading of A, etc., is best accredited. That in the Received text originated in the wish to indicate the fact that τὸ λοιπόν was regarded as belonging to what had gone before,—a connection which is expressly set forth in several codd(1022) vss(1023) and Fathers (see Tisch. and Reiche). As to whether a comma should be placed between ἐστίν and τὸ λοιπόν, which is done by Lachm. Tisch. Rück. and Scholz, see the exegetical remarks on the verse.—1 Corinthians 7:31. τῷ κόσ΄ῳ τούτῳ] Lachm. Tisch. and Rück. read τὸν κόσ΄ον, with A B א, also D* F G 17, which, however, add τοῦτον. The dative was a correction to bring it into accordance with the common usage; τοῦτον ( τούτῳ) again an addition from what follows.—1 Corinthians 7:32-34. ἀρέσει] Lachm. and Rück. have ἀρέσῃ, with A B D E F G א 21 46, Eus. al(1024) But it was very natural that, in place of the future (K L, almost all the min(1025) Clem. Or. Meth. Ath. Epiph. and many others), the more usual subjunctive should creep into the text.—1 Corinthians 7:34.(1026) μεμέρισται κ. τ. λ(1027)] καὶ ΄ε΄έρισται] occurs in A B D* א, min(1028) Syr. p(1029) Copt. Vulg. Cyr. Jerome, and many other Fathers, and is joined to what precedes it by most of the codd(1030) Copt. Vulg. Cyr. Jerome (who expressly states that this connection is according to the original), Pel. Bede, al(1031) On the other hand, it is construed with what follows by Syr(1032) Arr. Arm. It. Chrys. Theodoret, Basil, Oecum. Theophylact, Tert. Ambr. Aug. Sedul. and Latin codices in Jerome. The καί after μεμέρ., which is wanting in Elz., is conclusively attested by A B D*** F G K L א, min(1033) Aeth. Vulg. It. Chrys. al(1034) Going on with the verse, we find ἄγαμος after γυνή in A B א, some min(1035) Vulg. and several Fathers; while, on the other hand, there is no ἄγαμος after παρθένος in Vulg. Jerome, Aug. Euseb. al(1036) We have the choice left us, therefore, between the following two readings (and modes of connecting the words): (1) [ καί] μεμέρισται καὶ γυνὴ καὶ παρθένος· ἄγαμος μεριμνᾷ κ. τ. λ(1037), and (2) καὶ ΄ε΄έρισται. καὶ γυνὴ ἄγα΄ος καὶ παρθένος ἄγα΄ος ΄ερι΄νᾷ κ. τ. λ(1038) The latter is adopted by Lachm. and Rück.; but is not to be preferred, because it offers no difficulty whatever, and, consequently, no occasion for any change. The former, on the contrary (found in D*** F G K L, and many min(1039) It. Slav. Chrys. Theodoret, Dam.), presented a stone of stumbling in the μεμέρισται, which was either not understood at all, or misunderstood. Where not understood, it was left out altogether (so even Cyprian: “uxori. Sic et mulier et virgo innupta cogitat,” etc.); where misunderstood (that μερίζεσθαι must mean curis distrahi, see Jerome, adv. Jovin. i. 7), it was connected with the preceding clause by καί (which appears, therefore, to be spurious). This made γυνή be taken as mulier vidua (Aeth.); and hence ἄγαμος was either pushed forward (Vulg.), or else left in connection with παρθένος, and the same word added to γυνή as well (A B א, Lachm.). Scholz, too, has the words as in our reading,(1040) but spoils it by his quite wrong and abrupt method of punctuation: τῇ γυναικί· μεμέρισται. καὶ γυνὴ καὶ παρθένος ἄγαμος μεριμνᾷ κ. τ. λ(1041)1 Corinthians 7:34. τὰ τοῦ κόσ΄ου] omitted in B alone, which, however, is approved of by Buttmann (Studien u. Krit. 1860, p. 370).—1 Corinthians 7:37. ἐδραῖος· ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ] Lachm. reads ἐν τῇ καρδ. αὐτοῦ ἑδραῖος, which has conclusive evidence in its favour; on the other hand, there is no sufficient ground for omitting ἑδρ. (as Griesb. does) or αὐτοῦ (deleted by Tisch.). As regards ἑδραῖος in particular, which is omitted only by F G, It. Aeth., it was very likely to be left out as being unessential, so far as the sense was concerned, after ἕστηκεν.

αὐτοῦ τοῦ] is deleted by Lachm. Rück. and Tisch. in accordance with A B א. In place of it, Tisch., following the same authorities, has ἐν τῇ ἰδίᾳ καρδίᾳ. The evidence, however, for αὐτοῦ τοῦ (the uncials D E F G K L) is too weighty and uniform, while τοῦ again was in appearance so cumbrous and superfluous, and such a natural occasion for writing ἰδίᾳ instead of αὐτοῦ presented itself in the preceding ἰδίου θελή΄., that our conclusion is to retain the Recept(1042).

Instead of ποιεῖ, A B א 6 17 37, Copt. have ποιήσει (as also where it occurs for the second time in 1 Corinthians 7:38), which is adopted by Lachm. and Rück. (B 6 17 37 have ποιήσει also the first time in 1 Corinthians 7:38.) But in default of internal reasons for a change, these witnesses, having no support from the Fathers, and next to none from the vss(1043), are too weak to warrant it.—1 Corinthians 7:38. ἐκγαμίζων] Lachm. and Rück. have γαμίζων τὴν παρθένον ἑαυτοῦ. Now it is true that γαμίζων occurs in A B D E א 17 23 31 46, Clem. Method. Basil., and τὴν παρθ. ἑαυτ. (or τ. ἑαυτ. παρθ., so Rück.) in much the same codices and Syr(1044) Erp. Arm. Baschm. Aeth. Vulg. Clar. Germ. Clem. Basil. al(1045) But the whole reading is manifestly of the nature of a gloss, ἐκγαμίζων being explained sometimes by γαμίζων τὴν παρθ. ἑαυτ., sometimes by the addition to it of τὴν παρθ. ἑαυτ. The latter phrase crept into the text beside ἐκγαμ., the former in place of it.

Instead of δέ read καὶ ; so Griesb. Lachm. Schulz, Rück. Tisch., upon conclusive evidence. The antithesis gave rise to the δέ.—1 Corinthians 7:39. After δέδεται Elz. has νόμῳ, against A B D* Fa(1046) א**, min(1047) with many vss(1048) and Fathers. Taken from Romans 7:2, although Reiche doubts this.

ἐὰν δέ] Tisch. has ἐὰν δὲ καί, upon insufficient evidence; the καί might easily come in through writing the next syllable twice over, or by a clerical error such as κεκοιμηθη (so F G).

CONTENTS.

Instructions regarding marriage, matrimonial intercourse, and divorce (1 Corinthians 7:1-17); then an excursus upon the theme that the reception of Christianity ought not to alter the outward relations of life (1 Corinthians 7:17-24); lastly, about virgins—as to how far celibacy in general is advisable for both sexes (1 Corinthians 7:25-34), and whether a father does better to let his daughter remain single, or give her away in marriage (1 Corinthians 7:35-38). The same advice, to remain unmarried, is given to widows (1 Corinthians 7:39 f.). Comp on this chapter, Harless, die Ehescheidungsfrage, 1861.


Verse 1

1 Corinthians 7:1. δέ] leads over to the answering of questions put in the letter from Corinth.

ἐγράψατέ μοι] Differences of opinion must have prevailed respecting the points discussed in this chapter, and these had been laid before the apostle by the church. In particular, there must have been at Corinth opponents of marriage. This is wrongly denied by Baur, who imagines merely an attempt made among the Corinthians to defend fornication from the analogy of marriage; of which there is not a trace in the apostle’s words. Whether, now, the doubts in question, more especially as to the lawfulness of marriage,(1050) were mixed up with the subsistence of the parties at Corinth, it is impossible to make out with any certainty, although in itself it seems likely that a matter of opinion so important practically would be turned, with other points, to account in the interest of party. Grotius holds that those who raised such points of debate were “sub Christianorum nomine philosophi verius quam Christiani.” But such of the Greek philosophers as advocated views adverse to marriage did so upon the ground of the cares and dangers connected with marriage (see Grotius in loc(1051)), not from any doubt regarding its morality, as, according to 1 Corinthians 7:28; 1 Corinthians 7:36, must have been the case among the Corinthians. Further, it is certain that the adversaries of marriage could not be of the Petrine party; for Peter himself was married (Matthew 8:14; 1 Corinthians 9:5), and the Judaizing tendency, which cannot be proved to have had an Essene-Ebionitic character in Corinth (Schwegler, I. p. 163 f.(1052)), could be nothing else but favourable to marriage (see Lightfoot, Horae, p. 189). Olshausen (comp also Jaeger, Kniewel, Goldhorn, Ewald) decides for the Christ-party, in whose idealistic tendency he considers there were contained the germs both of moral indifference and of false asceticism. But this party’s idealism in general is a pure hypothesis, which is as little established by proof as their Essenism in particular, to which Ewald traces back the rejection of marriage among the Corinthians.(1054) In the last place, that it was the followers of Paul (Storr, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Pott, Neander, Räbiger, Osiander, Maier; Rückert refuses to give a decision), who—in opposition, perhaps, to the Petrine party, and appealing to the celibacy of Paul himself, he never having been married (see on 1 Corinthians 7:8)—overvalued celibacy, and pronounced marriage to stand lower in point of morality and holiness, is the most likely view, for this reason, that the apostle’s sentiments upon this point were in themselves, as we see from the chapter before us, quite of a kind to be readily misunderstood or misinterpreted by many of his disciples—more especially in partisan interests—as being unfavourable to marriage.(1055) It merely required that men should overlook or wish to overlook the conditional character of the advantages which he ascribes to single life. The opponents of marriage referred to in 1 Timothy 4:3 were of a totally different class. Those with whom we are now concerned did not forbid marriage and so endanger Christian liberty (otherwise Paul would have written regarding them in quite another tone), but simply undervalued it, placing it morally below celibacy, and advising against it, hence, too, as respects married persons, favouring a cessation from matrimonial intercourse and even divorce (1 Corinthians 7:3 ff., 1 Corinthians 7:10 ff.).

καλὸν ἀνθρώπῳ] With respect to what you have written to me ( περὶ κ. τ. λ(1056), absolute, as in 1 Corinthians 16:1; 1 Corinthians 16:12; Bernhardy, p. 261; Bremi, a(1057) Demosth. Ol. p. 194; Maetzner, a(1058) Antiph. p. 170), it is good for a man, etc., that is to say: it is morally salutary(1059) for an (unmarried) man not to touch a woman. That, in a general theoretical point of view, is the prevailing axiom, which I hereby enunciate as my decision; but in a practical point of view, seeing that few have the gift of continence, the precept must come in: because of fornication, etc., 1 Corinthians 7:2. In Paul’s eyes, therefore, the γυναικὸς μὴ ἅπτεσθαι is, indeed, something morally salutary in and by itself; but this affirmation, made from a general point of view, finds its necessary limitation and restriction in the actual facts of the case, so that just according to circumstances marriage may be equally a duty. Hence the καλὸν κ. τ. λ(1060) is not appropriate for the defence of celibacy in general (“si bonum est mulierem non tangere, malum ergo est tangere,” Jerome, a(1061) Jovin. i. 4, and see especially Cornelius a Lapide in loc(1062)).

ἅπτεσθαι, like tangere in the sense of sexual intercourse (Genesis 20:16; Genesis 21:11; Proverbs 6:29). See Wetstein and Kypke, II. p. 204 f. Marriage is the particular case coming under this general γυναικὸς ἅπτεσθαι, to be treated of in detail hereafter. Rückert, failing to recognise this progress in the apostle’s argument (so, too, Kling in the Stud. u. Krit. 1839, p. 444), holds that the reference is to sexual intercourse in marriages already formed (and that nothing is said of entering into matrimonial connections). Did Paul, as Kling supposes, here give it as his opinion that “a chaste life, as of brother and sister, was more consonant, on the part of married persons, with delicacy of moral feeling” ( καλόν); this would be a sentimental error, which ought not to be attributed to him, whether considered in itself, or in view of his high appreciation of marriage as a union of the sexes (2 Corinthians 11:2; Romans 7:4; Ephesians 5:28 ff.).

The axiom is enunciated without a μέν, because it is, in the first place, conceived simply in itself; the limitation which follows is added with δέ by way of antithesis. Comp on Ephesians 5:8, and Fritzsche, a(1064) Rom. II. p. 433. Precisely so, too, in 1 Corinthians 7:8.


Verse 2

1 Corinthians 7:2. In order, however, that offences in the way of fornication (see on this plural of the abstract, Kühner, II. p. 28; Maetzn. a(1065) Lycurg. p. 144 f.) may be avoided in practice, the rule holds good: Let every man have(1066) a wife of his own (properly belonging to himself in marriage), etc. On διά, comp Winer, p. 372 [E. T. 497]. Rückert, de Wette, and Maier are wrong in maintaining that ἐχέτω is permissive merely,

Rückert, indeed, making it so only to the extent of a man’s retaining his wife. The latter is disproved by 1 Corinthians 7:9-10, and the former by the fact that the immediately following ἀποδιδότω in 1 Corinthians 7:3 is not to be taken as permissive, any more than the γαμησάτωσαν which answers to ἐχέτω in 1 Corinthians 7:9. It is opposed, further, by the consideration that διὰ τὰς πορνείας is a determining element of a moral kind, which must therefore necessarily lead not to a mere permissibility, but to a positive obligation (already noted by Erasmus). This injunction, however, is a moral rule, to which exceptions may occur from higher considerations in cases where no danger of fornication is apprehended and there is the “donum continentiae,” as Paul himself had shown by his own example,—in which, nevertheless, no support whatever is given to any sort of celibacy enforced by law, a thing which, on the contrary, our text decidedly discountenances. Rückert thinks further that Paul exhibits here a very poor opinion of marriage; and Baur (in the theol. Jahrb. 1852, p. 15 ff.) has more fully developed this idea so as to assert that the apostle’s view of marriage is at variance with the moral conception of it which now prevails.(1068) Comp also Rothe, Ethik, III. p. 614. But can it be true, then, that he, who looked upon the union with Christ itself as the analogue of wedded life, valued marriage only as a “temperamentum continentiae”? No! what he does is this: out of all the different grounds on which marriage rested in his mind, he selects just that one which, in the first place, specially concerned his readers (remember the κορινθιάζεσθαι), and in the second place, had peculiar weight in connection with the nearness of the Parousia. That approaching catastrophe might furnish him with sufficient reasons for leaving unmentioned those higher ends of marriage which reached forth into a more remote future, and confining himself to the immediate practical relations of the brief, momentous present. See 1 Corinthians 7:26 ff. Keeping in view the present ἀνάγκη, the near approach of the Lord, and the necessity, therefore, of an undivided surrender to Him, Paul had, under these given circumstances, recognised in the state of single life what in and by itself was καλὸν ἀνθρώπῳ, if only no fornication and heat were conjoined therewith. It is from this point of view, which was presented to him by the then existing condition of things (and hence without at all contradicting Genesis 2:18), that the apostle handles the subject, discussing it accordingly in a special aspect and from one particular side, while the wider and higher moral relations of marriage lie beyond the limits of what he has now in hand.

Observe, further, how sharply and decisively the expression in 1 Corinthians 7:2 (comp Ephesians 5:22; Ephesians 5:25) excludes not only concubinage and sexual intercourse apart from marriage generally, but also all polygamy.


Verse 3-4

1 Corinthians 7:3-4. The occasion for this injunction, which otherwise might very well have been dispensed with, must have been given by the statement in the letter from Corinth of scruples having arisen on the point. See on 1 Corinthians 7:1.

τὴν ὀφειλήν] the due in the matter (Romans 13:7), i.e. according to the context, as euphemistically expressed, the debitum tori.(1071) See 1 Corinthians 7:4. The word does not occur at all in Greek writers; see Lobeck, a(1072) Phryn. p. 90. Nor does it in the LXX. and the Apocrypha.

γυνὴ τοῦ ἰδίου σώμ. κ. τ. λ(1073)] Explanatory of 1 Corinthians 7:3. The wife has no power over her own body, namely, as regards cohabitation, but the husband has that power; likewise ( ὁμοίως) also, on the other hand, the converse holds, so that “neutri liceat alteri conjugale debitum poscenti denegare,” Estius. Corresponding statements of the Rabbins may be seen in Selden, uxor. Hebr. iii. 6, 7.

Bengel says happily respecting ἰδίου, that it forms with οὐκ ἐξουσιάζει, an elegans paradoxon.


Verse 5

1 Corinthians 7:5. Withhold not yourselves from each other, unless it were perhaps (nisi forte, comp 2 Corinthians 13:5; Luke 9:13) that ye did so as occasion emerged ( ἄν), by agreement for a time (supply ἀποστερῆτε ἀλλήλ.; see on Luke 9:13). The obvious meaning is euphemistically expressed by ἀποστερ.; ἄγαν τοίνυν ἁρ΄οδίως τοῦτο τέθεικεν ἐπὶ τῶν οὐ συ΄φώνως τὴν ἐγκράτειαν αἱρου΄ένων, Theodoret.

ἵνα σχολάσητε κ. τ. λ(1075)] ἵνα introduces the design of the concession just made ἐκ συμφών. πρὸς καιρόν: in order that ye may have free leisure for prayer—may be able to give yourselves to it without being drawn away and distracted by sensual desire and the pleasures of sense. What Paul means is not the ordinary praying of the Christian heart, which ought to ascend ἀδιαλείπτως (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Ephesians 6:18), but such extraordinary exercises in prayer as they might have determined specially to devote themselves to for a longer period (a series of days). We are not to assume that such domestic devotions, as the apostle here plainly supposes to be engaged in by husband and wife in common, had been already then connected with Christian festivals; probably they were still entirely dependent upon the wants and wishes of individuals. But the idea of cohabitation being excluded for a time by religious exercises, is found both among the Jews (Exodus 19:15; 1 Samuel 21:4) and the heathen. See Wetstein and Dougt. Anal. II. p. 111 f. Comp Test. XII. Patr. p. 673: καιρὸς γὰρ συνουσίας γυναικὸς αὐτοῦ, καὶ καιρὸς ἐγκρατείας εἰς προσευχὴν αὐτοῦ.

καὶ πάλιν ἦτε] still dependent on ἵνα, indicates σεμνῶς the being together again for matrimonial intercourse. With respect to ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό,(1077) comp on Acts 1:15.

ἵνα μὴ πειράζῃ κ. τ. λ(1079)] design of the καὶ πάλιν ἦτε: in order that Satan may not tempt you to sin (to breach of the marriage-vow) on account of your incontinency, because ye are incontinent; for “Satanas vitiorum scintillas excitat,” Grotius. ἀκρασία, which occurs again in the N. T. in its older form of ἀκράτεια, Matthew 23:25, comes from ἀκρατής ( κρατεῖν), and is the opposite of ἐγκράτεια. See Lobeck, a(1080) Phryn. p. 524; Stallbaum, a(1081) Plat. Rep. p. 461 B. Rückert conjectures that the word means: not mingling in matrimonial intercourse (on account of your non-participation therein). This is quite against usage; for ἀκρᾱσία (with the α long, from ἄκρατος), in the Ionic form ἀκρησίη, means bad mixture, as opposed to εὐκρασία. See Theophrastus, c. pl. iii. 2. 5; TDio Cassius, lxxvii. 22. Paul had reason enough to affirm incontinency of the Corinthians generally, and to call their attention in warning to this lack of moral strength, on which the devil would base his attempts to find access to them with his temptations. Comp 2 Corinthians 2:11.


Verse 6

1 Corinthians 7:6. τοῦτο] does not refer to what follows (J. Cappellus, Rosenmüller), which it does not suit; nor to 1 Corinthians 7:2 (Beza, Grotius, de Wette, Gratama, Baur, Hofmann); nor to all that has been said from 1 Corinthians 7:2 onwards (Bengel, Pott, Flatt, Billroth, Rückert, Osiander), for 1 Corinthians 7:2-4 contain precepts actually obligatory; nor to κ. πάλιν ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ἦτε (Origen, Tertullian, Jerome, Cornelius a Lapide, al(1083)), which is but a subordinate portion of the preceding utterance. It is to this utterance: μὴ ἀποστερεῖτεἀκρ. ὑμῶν, which directly precedes the τοῦτο, that it can alone be made to refer without arbitrariness,—an utterance which might have the appearance of an ἐπιταγή, but is not intended to be such. What Paul means is this: Although I say that ye should withhold yourselves from each other by mutual agreement only perhaps for the season of prayer, and then come together again, so as to escape the temptations of Satan; yet that is not to be understood by way of command, as if you might not be abstinent at other times or for a longer period ἐκ συμφώνου, but by way of indulgence (“secundum indulgentiam,” Vulgate), so that thereby concession is made to your lack of continency, it is allowed for. Theophylact puts it well: συγκαταβαίνων τῇ ἀσθενείᾳ ὑμῶν, and Erasmus: “consulo vestris periculis.”

συγγνώ΄η occurs here only in the N. T. (Ecclus., pref. 1 and 1 Corinthians 3:13), but very often in Greek writers,—not, however, in the LXX. It means invariably either forgiveness, or, as here, forbearance, indulgence, γνώμη κριτικὴ τοῦ ἐπιεικοῦς ὀρθή, Aristotle, Eth. vi. 11. Hammond and Pott transgress the laws of the language by making it the same as κατὰ τὴν ἐμὴν γνώμην. So even Valckenaer; comp Calovius, Flatt, Heydenreich, al(1085) Ewald, too, renders without any support from the usage of the language: “with the best conscience.”


Verse 7

1 Corinthians 7:7. I do not say by way of command that you should withhold yourselves only for the time of prayer and then be together again; but indeed ( δέ) I wish that every one had the gift of continency, as I myself, and so could restrain himself, not merely at such isolated periods for some particular higher end; still (and that justifies what I said: κατὰ συγγνώμην) this gift is not vouchsafed to all. There is no more ground for supposing that μέν should be supplied (after λέγω) in connection with this δέ, than there is in 1 Corinthians 7:2 (against Rückert).

ὡς καὶ ἐμαυτόν] as also I myself, that is to say, endued with the donum continentiae, ἐν ἐγκρατείᾳ, Chrysostom. See what follows. He does not mean his state of single life, but its charismatic basis. The καί is, as for instance in Acts 26:29, the quite commonly used καί of comparison.

χάρισμα] a special endowment bestowed by divine grace, fitting him for the purposes of the kingdom of God. Comp on 1 Corinthians 12:1-4; Romans 12:6. It is of course, and necessarily (because communicated through the Spirit), conceived as existing within the church. The words πάντας ἀνθρώπους do not contradict this; for Paul could most warrantably wish to all men that gracious gift, which he as a Christian was conscious that he possessed, and as to which he knew that even within the Christian pale it was vouchsafed to one and withheld from another.

μὲν οὕτως κ. τ. λ(1087)] is not to be understood as if the first οὕτως meant the gift of continence, and the second a man’s suitableness for wedded life (de Wette, with older commentators, beginning with Theodoret and Theophylact), but in a quite general sense: the one has his peculiar gift of grace after this fashion, the other in that; the one so, the other so. Under this general statement, the possession of continence, or some other gracious endowment in its place, is included. As to the double οὕτως, comp LXX. 2 Samuel 11:25 : ποτὲ μὲν οὕτως καὶ ποτὲ οὕτως καταφάγεται ῥομφαία, also Judges 18:4; 2 Kings 5:4; 2 Samuel 17:15. It is not so used in Greek writers.


Verse 8-9

1 Corinthians 7:8-9. λέγω δὲ] leads on from what is contained in 1 Corinthians 7:7 (from the subjective wish of the apostle and its objective limitation) to the rules flowing therefrom, which he has now to enunciate. Rückert holds that the transition here made by Paul is from the married to the unmarried. But were that the case, τοῖς δὲ ἀγάμοις would require to stand first (comp 1 Corinthians 7:10); the emphasis is on λέγω.

τοῖς ἀγάμοις] what is meant is the whole category, all without distinction, including both sexes, not simply widowers (Erasmus, Beza, Grotius, Calovius, Estius, al(1090), including Pott, Heydenreich, Billroth, Ewald); for the phrase opposed to it, τοῖς γεγαμηκόσι, in 1 Corinthians 7:10, embraces both sexes; and hence ἀγάμ. cannot apply to the unmarried men alone (Rückert). The additional clause, κ. ταῖς χήραις, by no means justifies a restrictive rendering; for in it the καί does not mean also (Hofmann), but, as the connective and, singles out specially from the general expression something already included in it: and in particular the widows. The idiom is an ordinary one both in classical and N. T. Greek (Matthew 8:33; Mark 16:7; and often elsewhere); see Fritzsche, a(1091) Marc. p. 11, 713. Comp here Soph. O. R. 1502: χέρσους φθαρῆναι κἀγάμους. It was a special wish of Paul’s, therefore, that the widows should remain unwedded, doubtless in the interests of the church (Romans 16:1; 1 Timothy 5:9 ff.).

καλὸν (as in 1 Corinthians 7:1) αὐτοῖς, sc(1093) ἐστι; comp 1 Corinthians 7:40.

ἐὰν μείνωσιν κ. τ. λ(1095)] if they shall have remained as I also (have remained), i.e. unmarried. The opposite of this is γαμησάτωσαν, 1 Corinthians 7:9. The ὡς κἀγώ therefore receives here from the context a different meaning than in 1 Corinthians 7:7. Luther, Grotius, and others infer from this passage that Paul was a widower;(1096) so, too, Ewald. But this conclusion rests upon the assumption, which is linguistically inadmissible, that ἀγάμοις denotes widowers alone (i.e. χῆροι); and, moreover, would not be a safe inference even were the assumption sound. Acts 7:58, moreover, is against this; for one could not place Paul’s marriage after the stoning of Stephen.

οὐκ ἐγρατεύονται] to be closely joined together: are incontinent. See Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 122; Maetzner, a(1097) Antiph. p. 267; Ameis on Hom. Od. ii. 274. The verb ἐγκρατεύεσθαι (Sirach 19:6) is foreign to the older Greek, although this precise phrase: οὐκ ἐγκρατ., is sanctioned by Thomas, p. 30, and Phryn. p. 442. See Lobeck, a(1098) Phryn. l.c(1099)

γαμησάτ.] Regarding the later form of the aorist ἐγά΄ησα, see Lobeck, a(1100) Phryn. p. 742.

πυροῦσθαι] to be in a flame, of vehement emotions (2 Corinthians 11:29; 2 Maccabees 4:38; 2 Maccabees 10:35; 2 Maccabees 14:45; of love, Anacreon, 1 Corinthians 10:13); it means here, “occulta flamma concupiscentiae vastari,” Augustine, de sancta, virginit. 34. Comp Suicer, Thes. II. p. 895; from the Rabbins, the history of Amram in Lightfoot, Horae, p. 190; from the classics, Jacobs, Del. Epigr. v. 34.

κρεῖσσον] not because it is the least of two evils (Rückert, Kling; comp Estius), but because to marry is no sin (1 Corinthians 7:28; 1 Corinthians 7:36), while to burn is sinful (Matthew 5:28).


Verse 10

1 Corinthians 7:10. But to those who have married; this is opposed to the γαμησάτωσαν, which referred to future marriages. Accordingly, just as γαμησάτ. applied only to Christians of both sexes leading a single life, so γεγαμηκόσι, too, refers exclusively to married persons both of whom were Christians. It is perfectly correct, therefore, to designate the married persons, where one party in the union was not a Christian, by τοῖς λοιποῖς, 1 Corinthians 7:12; for, apart from the cases discussed down to 1 Corinthians 7:12, there are no others remaining to be spoken of except those living in mixed marriage. Rückert understands τοῖς γεγαμηκόσι to mean specially the newly married people; Paul, he holds, has a particular case in view, in which a single man perhaps had married a widow, which had been disapproved of by some; and, because the apostles had given an opinion in 1 Corinthians 7:8 unfavourable to such marriages, he must now forbid the dissolution of a union of that sort when once formed. But the fact of the ἀγάμοι and the widows being coupled together in 1 Corinthians 7:8 lends no support whatever to this, for ἀγάμοις applies to both sexes. Moreover, were the perfect participle, which is the present of the completed action, meant here to convey the notion of “newly married,” this would need to be indicated either by some addition (such as νεωστί), or undoubtedly at least by the context. The fact, again, that Paul speaks first and chiefly of the wife (which Rückert explains on the ground of the wife having desired a separation), may very reasonably be accounted for, without supposing any special design, in this way, that the cases in which a wife separated herself from her husband presented to the Christian consciousness the most anomalous phenomenon in this sphere, and notwithstanding might not unfrequently occur in the wanton city of Corinth even within the Christian society.(1103) This is quite sufficient, without there being any need for assuming that the apostle had been questioned about some case of this kind (Hofmann), particularly as the passage itself gives no sign of any such interrogation, but simply disposes of the point in the evenly course of the discussion regarding marriage, and with a view to its completeness.

οὐκ ἐγὼ, ἀλλʼ κύριος] The negation is absolute. Paul knew from the living voice of tradition what commands Christ had given concerning divorce, Matthew 5:31 f., Matthew 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18. Hence κύριος, sc(1104) παραγγέλλει, for the authority of Christ lives on in His commands (against Baur, who infers from the present, which is to be supplied here, that Paul means the will of Christ made known to him by inspiration). It is otherwise in 1 Thessalonians 4:15. As regards the ἐγώ, again, Paul was conscious (1 Corinthians 7:40) that his individuality was under the influence of the Holy Spirit. He distinguishes, therefore, here and in 1 Corinthians 7:12; 1 Corinthians 7:25, not between his own and inspired commands, but between those which proceeded from his own (God-inspired) subjectivity and those which Christ Himself supplied by His objective word. Since, now, the πνεῦμα θεοῦ in no way differs from the πνεῦμα χριστοῦ (Romans 8:9-11), κυρίου ἐντολαί (1 Corinthians 14:37 according to the Text. recept.) could be predicated of the former class of precepts also, although neither in the same sense as of the latter, in which Paul’s own subjectivity had no share whatever, nor with the same force of absolute obligation; but, on the contrary, only in so far as the other party recognises them as ἐντολὰς κυρίου (1 Corinthians 14:37).

μὴ χωρισθῆναι] let her not be separated, which, however, is not purely passive here (as in Polybius xxxii. 12. 7), but means: let her not separate herself. Isae. viii. 36, p. 73. For the rest, 1 Corinthians 7:13; 1 Corinthians 7:15 prove that this phrase and μὴ ἀφιέναι in 1 Corinthians 7:11 are not so different, that the former can be used only of the wife and the latter only of the husband.


Verse 11

1 Corinthians 7:11. From ἐάν to καταλλ. is a parenthesis pure and simple, disjoined from the rest of the sentence which continues with καὶ ἄνδρα. But in case she should perhaps ( ἐὰν δέ) even ( καί, i.e. in fact, actually; see Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 132 f.) be separated (have separated herself); in this Paul is not granting something in the way of exception, as though the preceding injunction were not to be taken too strictly (which is set aside at once by οὐκ ἐγὼ, ἀλλʼ κύρ., 1 Corinthians 7:10), but he supposes a future case, which will possibly arise notwithstanding the commandment of the Lord’s just adduced. The ἐὰν καί therefore, with the δέ of antithesis, introduces, as in 1 Corinthians 7:28, an occurrence which will possibly be realized in the experience of the future (Hermann, a(1105) Viger. p. 834; Winer, p. 275 [E. T. 367]). This in opposition to Rückert, who maintains that the words refer to that specific case (see on 1 Corinthians 7:10), and mean: if, however, she should perhaps have already separated herself before receiving this decision; and likewise to Hofmann, who renders: if such a separation has actually already taken place within the church, thereby presupposing that such a thing will henceforth never take place there again.

μενέτω ἄγαμος] assumes that her marriage is not to be looked upon as really dissolved; hence she would be guilty of adultery should she contract another union. Comp Matthew 19:9.

] or else; comp on 1 Corinthians 9:15.

καταλλαγήτω] passive, leaving it undefined as to who was the active subject in the case (see Buttmann, I. p. 368; Winer, p. 245 [E. T. 328]): let her be reconciled, be friendly again with her husband. The voluntary separation of the wife from her husband is, in fact, just the cancelling of her peaceful relation to him, which is to be restored again.

καὶ ἄνδρα γυν. μὴ ἀφιέναι] and that a husband put not away a wife, send her from him, separate himself from her. Comp Herod. v. 29: ἀπέντα ταύτην τὴν γυναῖκα. The clause added by Christ (in accordance with Schamai’s doctrine): παρεκτὸς λόγου πορνειάς, Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9, does not occur in Luke 16:18 or Mark 10:11. We are not warranted in supposing that Paul was not aware of this exception having been recognised by Christ, or that he had perhaps never heard of it at all, for the simple reason, that the validity of this ground of divorce was self-evident. Comp on Matthew 5:32.


Verse 12

1 Corinthians 7:12. The λοιποί are those who, before their conversion, had entered into marriage with a non-believer, so that one of the two had become a Christian and the other not. See on 1 Corinthians 7:10.

οὐχ κύρ.] For, as respected such marriages, Christ had given no command. He had no occasion to do so. Observe how suitably Paul refrains here from again using παραγγέλλω.

συνευδοκεῖ] approves with him (comp on Romans 1:32), joins in approving; for Paul takes for granted that the Christian partner on his side approves the continuance of the union.(1111) It is alien to the scope of the passage to hold, with Billroth, that in συνευδ. is implied the contempt of the heathen for the Christians. Regarding οἰκεῖν μετά, to dwell with, of living together in marriage, see Seidler, a(1112). Eur. El. 99: ἐν γάμοις ζευχθεῖσαν οἰκεῖν, comp 212.

It may be noted, moreover, that 1 Corinthians 7:12 f. does not give permission to a Christian to marry a non-belie1Co 7:“Non enim dixit: si quis ducit, sed: si quis habet infidelem,” Pelagius. περὶ τῶν πρὸ κηρύγματος συναφθέντων ἔφη, Theodoret.


Verse 13

1 Corinthians 7:13. καὶ οὗτος] a common turn of expression (instead of ὃς κ. τ. λ(1114)) in connection with καί. See on Luke 10:8 and Kühner II. p. 526.

΄ὴ ἀφιέτω τ. ἄνδρα] let her not put away her husband, not send him from her. To translate otherwise (let her not leave him) is, in view of 1 Corinthians 7:12, altogether arbitrary. The Vulgate renders correctly: “non dimittat virum.” The apparent unsuitableness of the expression is happily explained by Bengel (on 1 Corinthians 7:10): “Separatur pars ignobilior, mulier; dimittit nobilior, vir; inde conversa ratione etiam mulier fidelis dicitur dimittere, et vir infidelis separari, 1 Corinthians 7:13; 1 Corinthians 7:15.” In the mixed marriage Paul regards the Christian partner, even when it is the wife, as the one who, for the sake of Christianity, would have to send away the non-believer, were this in accordance with Christian principles. But these do not permit of it, and so the Christian wife is not to send away the non-believing husband, if he is willing to dwell with her; that would be on her part a presumptuous violation of duty. Comp Harless, Ehescheidungsfr. p. 85. This view of the apostle’s has no connection with the right conceded even to wives among the Greeks and Romans of divorcing themselves from their husbands (loose principles on this subject were held also among the Rabbins; see Lightfoot, Hor. p. 191). But certainly Paul did not regard the Christian partner in a mixed marriage as the one who was to rule in general (in opposition to Olshausen); the head in every marriage, if it was to continue at all, was, in his view, according to Genesis 3:16, the husband. 1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Corinthians 14:34; Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:11 f.


Verse 14

1 Corinthians 7:14.(1116) For—this justifies the injunction given in 1 Corinthians 7:12-13the unholiness of the non-believing partner is taken away in virtue of his personal connection with the believer; he is sanctified—this sanctification having its causal basis in the person of the Christian consort with whom he stands in married union, and the possible stumbling-block of self-profanation through continuing in such a marriage being thereby removed. Paul’s judgment, therefore, is that the Christian ἁγιότης, the higher analogue of the Jewish theocratic consecration to God, affects even the non-believing partner in a marriage, and so passes over to him that he does not remain a profane person, but through the intimate union of wedded life becomes partaker (as if by a sacred contagion) of the higher divinely consecrated character of his consort, who belongs to the Israel of God, the holy φύραμα (Galatians 6:16; Romans 11:16).(1117) The clause: ἐπεὶ ἄρα τὰ τέκνα κ. τ. λ(1118), shows that what the ἄπιστος is here said to have entered upon is not the moral holiness of the new birth (the subjective condition of which is nothing else but faith), but the holy consecration of that bond of Christian fellowship which forms the ἐκκλησία θεοῦ, of which holiness, as arising out of this fellowship, the non-believing husband, in virtue of the inner union of life in which he stands to his Christian consort, has become a partaker (not, of course, without receiving a blessing morally also). The non-believer is, as it were, affiliated to the holy order of Christians by his union of married life with a Christian person, and, so soon as his spouse is converted to Christ and has thereby become holy, he too on his part participates in his own person (not “simply in his married relationship,” to which Hofmann, following older interpreters, unwarrantably restricts the meaning of the text) in his consort’s holiness, the benefit of which he receives in virtue of his fellowship of life with her, so that he is no longer ἀκάθαρτος as hitherto, but—although mediately after the fashion described—a ἡγιασμένος. The manifold misinterpretations of the older commentators may be seen in Poole’s Synopsis and Wolf’s Curae (e.g. Calovius and others hold that ἡγ. refers to the usus conjugalis as sanctified per preces fidelis conjugis; Tertullian, Jerome, Theodoret, Castalio, Estius, al(1119), think that it points to his being destined to be converted afterwards, so that the meaning would be candidatus fidei est). Observe, moreover, in how totally different a way Paul regarded the relation of the Christian who had connected himself with a harlot (1 Corinthians 6:15). In that case the harlot is the preponderating element, and the members of Christ become unholy, members of an harlot.

With ἐν τῇ γυν. and ἐν τῷ ἀνδ., comp ἐν σοὶ πᾶσʼ ἔγωγε σώζομαι, Soph. Aj. 519; ἐν σοί ἐσμεν, Oed. R. 314, and the like; Ellendt, Lex Soph. I. p. 597.

ἐπεὶ ἄρα κ. τ. λ(1121)] because according to that (if, namely, that ἡγίασται did not hold good; comp 1 Corinthians 5:10), i.e. because otherwise your children are unclean, profane. That Christians’ children are not profane, outside of the theocratic community and the divine covenant, and belonging to the unholy κόσμος, but, on the contrary, holy, is the conceded point from which Paul proves that the non-believing husband is sanctified through his believing wife; for just as in the children’s case, that which makes them holy is simply the specific bond of union with Christians (their parents); so, too, in the case of the mixed marriage, the same bond of union must have the same influence.(1123)

Had the baptism of Christian children been then in existence, Paul could not have drawn this inference, because in that case the ἁγιότης of such children would have had another basis.(1124) That the passage before us does not even contain an exegetical justification of infant baptism, is shown in the remarks on Acts 16:15 (against de Wette in the Stud. u. Krit. 1830, p. 669 ff., Neander, Olshausen, Osiander, and older expositors). Neither is it the point of departure, from which, almost of necessity, paedobaptism must have developed itself (Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 423); such a point is rather to be found in the gradual development of the doctrine of original sin.

ὑμῶν] should not be restricted, as is done by most expositors, following Chrysostom (so recently, Pott, Flatt, Ewald, Harless), to those involved in mixed marriages;(1125) but, as Paul himself makes clear by changing the person, referred to the readers as Christian in general(1126) (de Wette, Schrader, Rückert, Olshausen, Osiander, Neander, Maier, Hofmann; Billroth is undecided), not, however, to the exclusion of the children of a mixed marriage, since it must be logically inferred that these, too, could not fail to have from their Christian father or mother at least “quandam sanctitatis adsperginem” (Anselm). In how far the offspring of mixed marriages were counted holy by the Jews, may be seen in Wetstein and Schoettgen in loc(1127)

νῦν δέ] but so, as in 1 Corinthians 7:11.


Verse 15

1 Corinthians 7:15. Paul had before enjoined that the Christian partner should not make a separation if the non-Christian consents to remain. But what, if the non-Christian partner seeks separation? In that case they were to let such an one go without detention ( χωριζέσθω, permissive, see Winer, p. 291 [E. T. 390]); “suas sibi res habeat; frater sororve sit aequo animo,” Bengel. And the reason for this was: “A believer in such circumstances is not enslaved, nay, surely ( δέ after the negative clause) it is in peace that God has called us,” so that this our calling forbids such a living together as would be unpeaceful through constraint.

οὐ δεδούλ.] is not enslaved, so, namely, as still to remain bound in marriage to such a χωριζόμενος.(1128) The expression brings out the unworthy character of such a relationship. Comp Galatians 4:3; Plato, Pol. ix. p. 589 E Soph. Trach. 256; 4 Maccabees 3:3 f., 1 Corinthians 13:2. See, on the other hand, the simple δέδεται in 1 Corinthians 7:39.

ἐν τοῖς τοιούτοις] not, as Hofmann takes it: “In matters of the natural life,” to which marriage belongs, but in accordance with the context: under such circumstances, i.e. in such a position of things, where the non-believing consort separates himself. Luthers renders well: “in solchen Fällen.” Comp ἐν τοῖσδε, Soph. Oed. Tyr. 892. ἐν τούτοις, Plut. Glor. Ath. p. 350 A Philippians 4:11; ἐν οἷς, Antiph. i. 6, and Maetzner in loc(1131), p. 131. Only a comma should be placed after τοιούτοις

ἐν εἰρήνῃ] is not the same as εἰς εἰρήνην (Rosenmüller, Flatt, Rückert, following older expositors; comp also Billroth), or ἵνα ὦ΄εν ἐν εἰρ. (de Wette, Osiander, Gratama, Maier); for that which is stated is not to what God has called us (see, on the other hand, 1 Corinthians 7:22; 1 Peter 5:10), but in what ethical form God’s call has taken place. He has so called us, namely, to the Messiah’s kingdom, that He therewith caused peace to be proclaimed to us in respect of our relation to others (Ephesians 2:14 ff.). Analogous to this is the ἐν in Ephesians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; comp also on Galatians 1:6. To understand, however, the εἰρήνη as referring to the peace of the soul with God (Harless, Hofmann) would be possible only if δεδούλ. were to be referred to binding of the conscience. And even in that case we should expect as correlative rather ἐν or ἐπʼ ἐλευθερίᾳ (Galatians 5:13).

REMARK.

Since desertion ( χωρίζεται) appears here as an admissible ground for divorce, this has been thought to conflict with Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9, and various explanations have been attempted (see Wolf in lo(1134)). But the seeming contradiction vanishes, if we consider 1 Corinthians 7:12, according to which Jesus had given no judgment upon mixed marriages; Matthew 5:32, therefore, can only bind the believing consort, in so far that he may not be the one who leaves. If, however, he is left by the non-believing partner, then, as this case does not fall under the utterance of Christ, the marriage may be looked upon as practically dissolved, and the believing partner is not bound. But to apply, as is often done, the permissive χωριζέσθω also to such marriages as are Christian on both sides—the χωριζόμενος, that is to say, being an unchristianly-minded Christian (Harless)—is exegetically inadmissible, seeing that the λοιποί who are here spoken of (see 1 Corinthians 7:12) constitute the specific category of mixed marriages, in which, therefore, the one partner in each case falls to be reckoned among τοὺς ἔξω. So also pref. to 4th ed. p. vii. f.

Our text gives no express information upon the point, whether Paul would allow the Christian partner in such a union to marry again. For what οὐ δεδούλωται negatives is not the constraint “ut caelebs maneat” (Grotius, al(1135)), but the necessity for the marriage being continued.(1136) It may be inferred, however, that as in Paul’s view mixed marriages did not come under Christ’s prohibition of divorce, so neither would he have applied the prohibition of remarriage in Matthew 5:32 to the case of such unions. Olshausen is wrong in holding a second marriage in such cases unlawful, on the ground of its being, according to Matthew, l.c(1137), a μοιχεία. Christ Himself took no account of mixed marriages. Nor would 1 Corinthians 7:11, which does not refer to marriages of that kind, be at variance with the remarriage of the believing partner (in opposition to Weiss, bibl. Theol. l.c(1138)).


Verse 16

1 Corinthians 7:16. Confirmation of the foregoing thought, that the Christian is not bound in such cases, but, on the contrary, ought, in accordance with his vocation, to live in peace; for neither does the (Christian) wife know whether she, by continuing to live with her (non-believing) husband, shall be the means of his conversion, nor does the (Christian) husband know, etc. This uncertainty cannot be the basis of any constraint to the hurt of their peace. Comp de Wette, Osiander, Neander, Ewald, Maier, Hofmann. Most expositors, on the other hand, from Chrysostom downwards, take εἰ in the sense of εἰ μή (see also Tholuck, Bergpredig. p. 251 f.), and hold that 1 Corinthians 7:16 enunciates a new reason for not breaking up the marriage, namely, the possibility of the conversion of the non-believing husband. ἀνάδεξαί φησιν ἐπὶ χρησταῖς ἐλπίσι τὸν πόνον· ἔχεις τὸν θεὸν τῆς προθυμίας ἐπίκουρον, Theodoret. That is to say, they find in ἐν δὲ εἰρήνῃ κ. τ. λ(1140) the thought: yet the Christian partner should do everything to maintain peace and bear with the heathen consort,—and either link to this the new reason given in 1 Corinthians 7:16 (Flatt, Rückert, Olshausen, following Calvin and others), or else regard 1 Corinthians 7:15 as a parenthesis (Grotius, al(1141)). But the parenthetic setting aside of 1 Corinthians 7:15 is as arbitrary as the turn given to the idea of ἐν δὲ εἰρήνῃ κ. τ. λ(1142) is contrary to the context. With respect again to taking εἰ as equivalent to εἰ μή, it is perfectly true that εἰ, following upon the notion of uncertainty, may answer in meaning to εἰ μή) Thuc. ii. 53. 2; Krüger, § lxv. 1. 8; Esther 4:14; 2 Samuel 12:22; Joel 2:14; Jonah 3:9); but the thought which would thus emerge does not suit the connection here, because in it the point is the οὐ δεδούλωται, to which the proposed rendering of the εἰ would run counter.(1143) Moreover, this use of εἰ is foreign to the N. T., often though it occurs in the classics (see especially Kühner, a(1144) Xen. Mem. i. 1. 8, Anab. iii. 2. 22).

τί] precisely as the German: “was weisst du, ob,” etc., so that in sense it is the same as: how, in how far (Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 823); it is not therefore the accusative of the, object. Comp τὶ οἴει, τὶ δοκεῖς, Xen. Hier. i. 15. Regarding the future σώσεις, comp Stallbaum, a(1147) Gorg. p. 249; Klotz, a(1148) Devar. p. 508.


Verse 17

1 Corinthians 7:17. εἰ μή] is meant, according to Grotius, to introduce an exception from the τὶ οἶδας: “Illud quidem, quod dixi, non scis,. sed hoc debes scire;” or, more exactly, since εἰ μή is not the same as ἀλλά (see on Galatians 1:7): Nothing but the duty dost thou know, etc. Comp my 3d edition. But this mode of joining on the verse is very harsh and forced in itself, and is, besides, unsuitable for this reason, that 1 Corinthians 7:16 was only a subordinate thought, to which εἰ ΄ὴ κ. τ. λ(1150) as a newly introduced leading idea stands in no logical nexus. The logical connection of εἰ μή, nisi, etc., is, on the contrary, to be sought in the leading thought of the foregoing passage, which was οὐ δεδούλωται κ. τ. λ(1151) This οὐ δεδούλωται θεός was enunciated without any limitation being put upon it hitherto. It was further confirmed in 1 Corinthians 7:16. Paul desires now, in order to avert all frivolous and reckless procedure, to add to it the necessary limitation in the shape of a general principle of a practical kind, which should never be forgotten in connection with it.(1152) We may paraphrase accordingly somewhat in this fashion: “The believer is not in bondage in this matter, having, on the contrary, been called in peace, and not so much as knowing whether he shall save his non-believing consort; he is not in bondage, only(1153) he is not to use this freedom in a light and regardless way, but to remember that it is limited by the rule that every one ought to abide in a conservative spirit by the position in which God has placed and called him, and to conduct himself accordingly, instead of possibly seeking to break it up without any very pressing cause” Comp as in substance agreeing with this, Olshausen, de Wette, Osiander, Ewald, Maier. Pott holds that χωρίζεται should be supplied after εἰ ΄ή; but the antithesis would require εἰ δὲ ΄ή, and the rule which follows would be very superfluous in a case where no separation had taken place, more especially after 1 Corinthians 7:12 f. Vater and Rückert supply σώσεις: “But even if thou shouldst not, the general rule applies in every case.” Were that correct, we should of necessity find εἰ δἐ καὶ ΄ή. Lastly, there is the view of those who would join εἰ ΄ή to the preceding clause ( τινές in Theophylact, Knatchbull, Homberg, Hammond, Olearius, Morus, and recently Hofmann): if thou shalt save thy wife, if (or) not?(1155) Now this is not, indeed, excluded by the μή (as Rückert thinks, who requires οὐ; but see Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 123); still the addition would be quite inappropriate to the sense of the two questions, for these convey the idea: thou knowest not at all if, etc., with which the alternative necne does not harmonize,—on which ground, too, Hofmann makes 1 Corinthians 7:16 to be the concluding confirmation of the whole admonition beginning with τοῖς δὲ λοιποῖς in 1 Corinthians 7:12. This, again, is impossible, for this reason, that the first part of the counsel given to the λοιποί has already received its confirmation in the γάρ of 1 Corinthians 7:14, and in accordance therewith the γάρ of 1 Corinthians 7:16 must now refer in the way of confirmation only to the second part of the said counsel, as contained in 1 Corinthians 7:15. Hofmann’s interpretation is in the most complicated opposition to the plan and development of the postle’s argument. Rinck, in his Lucubr. crit. p. 142 f. (and o previously Theodoret), connects from εἰ μή on to κύριος with the preceding passage: “nescis enim, an salvum eum facturus sis, nisi prout quemque Dominus adjuverit.” But ἑκάστῳ ὡς ἐμέρ. . κ. and ἕκαστον ὡς κέκλ. . θ. are manifestly parallel, and, as such, contain not a frigid repetition (Rinck), but an earnest exhaustion of the thought.

ἑκάστῳ ὡς] the same as ὡς ἐκ., but with emphasis on the ἑκάστῳ. Comp 1 Corinthians 3:5, 1 Corinthians 10:16; Romans 12:3. As the Lord (God) hath apportioned to each (has bestowed his outward lot), as (i.e. κλήσει, 1 Corinthians 7:20) God hath called each (to he Messiah’s kingdom), so let him walk, i.e. according to the standard of this outward position (without seeking, therefore,) break with it or step out from it, 1 Corinthians 7:20; 1 Corinthians 7:24) let him regulate is conduct, his course of life. ἐμέρισεν, has given his portion (Polybius, xxxi. 18. 3, xi. 28. 9; Sirach 45:20; 2 Maccabees 8:28; 4 Maccabees 13:18), refers to the earthly relations of life, according to which, e.g., a man may be married to this person or that (and it is to this relationship that the primary application is to be made), may be circumcised or uncircumcised, a slave or free,(1157) etc. See 1 Corinthians 7:18 ff. These relationships of life are here regarded as a whole, out of which each individual has received his μέρος from God ( τὸ ΄ε΄ερισ΄ένον, Lucian, D. D. xxiv. 1), in accordance with the varying modes ( ὡς) of the divine apportionment. Comp the classical εἱ΄αρ΄ένη, sors attributa. We have neither to supply περιπατεῖν (Hofmann), nor anything else. What the Lord has apportioned is just the μέρος, which each man has. Reiche, Comm. crit. I. p. 175 ff., understands μερίζειν in the theocratic-Messianic sense, and makes κύριος refer to Christ: “in qua vitae externae sorte ac statu ( ὡς, conf. 1 Corinthians 7:18) cuique Dominus beneficiorum suorum quasi partem tribuit.” According to this, what would be meant would be the μερὶς τοῦ κλήρου τῶν ἁγίων (Colossians 1:12), which, however, refers to the bliss of the future αἰών, and would require, therefore, to be understood here proleptically. But there are two consideration which put a decided negative upon this view; first, the reference assumed for the absolute ἐμέρ. is not suggested by the context, (see, on the contrary, 1 Corinthians 7:18 ff.); and, in the second place, logically the calling must go first, since before it there can be no mention of the Messianic μερίζειν (Romans 8:30; Romans 10:14; Colossians 1:12). This holds also against the essentially similar interpretation of Harless, which co-ordinates ἐμέρ. with the calling.

κέκληκεν] a completed transaction continuing to the present in its results, hence the perfect; the aorist ἐμέρ., on the other hand, indicate something merely which took place as an act of the past, and this act occurred before the κέκληκεν, at birth, or some other point in life.

καὶ οὓτως κ. τ. λ(1159)] showing the importance of this rule, which Paul is not by any means laying down simply with a view to the special state of things at Corinth, but, etc., ἵνα τῷ ἔχειν καὶ ἄλλους κοινωνοὺς προθυμότεροι περὶ τὴν ὑπακοὴν διατεθῶσι, Theophylact.

διατάσσ.] I ordain, appoint, 1 Corinthians 11:34, 1 Corinthians 16:1. Observe the evidence here of apostolic power over the church.


Verse 18

1 Corinthians 7:18 ff. Further explanation of this injunction by way of example, and not bearing simply on the case of Christians living in mixed marriage.(1160)

The protases do not convey a question either here or in 1 Corinthians 7:27, being in the rhetorically emphatic form of the hypothetic indicative. See Bernhardy, p. 385. Comp Kühner, II. p. 561.

΄ὴ ἐπισπάσθω] ne sibi attrahat, sc(1162) praeputium. A surgical operation frequent among the later Jews (1 Maccabees 1:15, and Grimm in lo(1163); Josephus, Antt. xii. 5. 1), described in detail by Celsus, vii. 25. 5, or otherwise performed, by which a sort of foreskin was again drawn over the glans—resorted to not only in cases of perversion to heathenism, but also from shame or fear of heathen eyes, before which men sought to avoid appearing (in baths, for example, or otherwise) as circumcised. With Christians this might especially be occasioned by a shrinking from the eyes of Gentile converts. See, besides Wetstein, Groddeck in schoettgen’s Horae, p. 1159 f.; Lightfoot, p. 194; Lübkert in the Stud. u. Krit. 1835, p. 657. Such persons were styled מַשׁוּכִים. See Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 1274.

ἐν ἀκροβ.] Comp Romans 4:10.


Verse 19

1 Corinthians 7:19. Comp Romans 2:25 ff.; Galatians 5:6. From the Christian point of view it matters nothing whether a man be circumcised or not; comp 1 Corinthians 8:8.

ἀλλὰ τήρησις ἐντολ. θεοῦ] but keeping of the commands of God, sc(1167) τὰ πάντα ἐστι, as in 1 Corinthians 3:7. According to he Christian idea (Romans 13:8), there is no difference between this and the faith that worketh by love (Galatians 5:6). Billroth is wrong in taking it as: “In themselves circumcision and uncircumision are alike indifferent; such things are of importance only in so far as they are an observing of the commandments of God;” for ἀκροβ. cannot be included with the other under τήρ. ἐντ. θεοῦ.


Verse 20

1 Corinthians 7:20. An emphatic repetition of the rule after giving the illustration of it. Comp 1 Corinthians 7:24.

ἐν τῇ κλήσει ἐκλήθη] Since Calvin, expositors have often understood κλῆσις of the outward position in life, like our calling [Beruf], and have supplied ἐν before in accordance with the pure Attic idiom (Stallbaum, a(1169) Plat. Phaed. p. 76 D Kühner, a(1170) Xen. Mem. ii. 1. 32). So, recently, Rückert. But although κλῆσις (Dionys. Hal. Antt. v. 18) does expressly correspond to the Latin classis, a division of the burgesses, according to the true derivation of that technical term from the Greek, yet even profane writers never use κλῆσις in the sense of avocation [Beruf] (rank, and the like); and in the whole N. T. the Christian meaning of καλεῖν and κλῆσις is that in which they are invariably used, and so here also: in the calling (to the Messianic kingdom) through which ( being the dat. instrum., as in 2 Timothy 1:9) he was called. This may have been, that is to say, κλῆσις going forth from God to a circumcised man or an uncircumcised, to a slave or a freeman, etc. If, now, the man, for example, who was called in circumcision by a vocatio circumcisi thereafter restores the foreskin, so as to give himself out for an uncircumcised person, he does not abide in the calling through which he was called. The right interpretation is already given be Chrysostom and Theophylact ( ἐν οἵῳ βίῳ καὶ ἐν οἵῳ τάγματι καὶ παλιτεύματι ὢν ἐπίστευσεν, ἐν τούτῳ μενέτω· κλῆσιν γὰρ τὴν εἰς τὴν πίστιν προσαγωγήν φησι). Comp 1 Corinthians 7:17 : ὡς κέκληκεν θεός The emphatic ἐν ταύτῃ (1 Corinthians 6:4) points at the misdirected yearning for another state of matters through which another κλῆσις would present itself, as e.g. through the ἐπισπᾶσθαι a being called ἐν ἀκροβυστίᾳ, etc.


Verse 21

1 Corinthians 7:21. ΄ή σοι μελέτω] let it give thee no concern, let it be all the same to thee. Hom. Il. ii. 338, x. 92; Plato, Phaed. p. 95 B Tim. p. 24 B Wisdom of Solomon 12:13; Mark 4:38, al(1172) What it is that ought to give him no concern, is plain from the immediate context, namely, his being called as a slave; not, as Hofmann would read into the text, his seeming to be doomed to lifelong slavery.

ἀλλʼ εἰ καὶ κ. τ. λ(1173)] but, even if thou art in circumstances to become free, use it rather, namely, the having been called as a slave; make use rather (instead of becoming free) of thy “vocatio servi” by remaining true to thy position as a slave. Comp 1 Corinthians 7:20. So, in substance, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact. Camerarius, Estius, Wolf, Bengel, and many of the older interpreters; among more modern expositors, de Wette, Osiander, Maier, Ewald,(1175) Baur (in the theol. Jahrb. 1852, p. 26 ff.), also Vaihinger in Herzog’s Encykl. XIV. p. 474 f.; Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 417 f. The ἀλλά is nothing else than the German sondern, corresponding to the preceding μή σοι μελ., and εἰ καί is etsi (Herm. a(1176) Viger. p. 832; Stallbaum, a(1177) Plat. Apol. p. 32 A Baeumlein, Partik. p. 151), so that it conveys the sense: even although, if even; and in the conditional clause the emphasis is made by καί to fall upon δύνασαι. The Syriac, however (“elige tibi potius quam ut servias”), and most modern commentators, supply τῇ ἐλευθερίᾳ after χρῆσαι, with Luther, Erasmus, Castalio, Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Cornelius a Lapide, and many others (a view mentioned, too, by Chrysostom). Paul’s advice, they hold, is rather to avail oneself of the opportunity of becoming free. But this is grammatically incorrect, because it goes in the face of the καί,(1178) and contrary also to the connection, for Paul would thus be contravening his own thrice-repeated injunction: let each man remain, etc. The ground specially founded on (in a very unhermeneutical way) by Rückert, that the old interpretation is against the spirit of the apostle, is untenable; for the advice to use the opportunities of obtaining freedom—an advice comparatively unimportant and paltry in view of the Parousia believed to be at hand—by no means corresponds with the apostle’s lofty idea that all are one in Christ (Galatians 3:28; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 3:11); that in Christ the slave is free and the freeman a slave (1 Corinthians 7:22); as, indeed, 1 Corinthians 7:22 can furnish a confirmation of 1 Corinthians 7:21 only on the ground of the old exposition, descending from Chrysostom, al(1179), of μᾶλλον χρῆσαι. It may be added, that that idea of true Christian equality carries in itself the germ of the abolition of slavery; the latter is the ripe fruit of the former. The moral consciousness of Christendom has not in this respect advanced beyond the standpoint of Paul (Baur); it is but a further development of the same principle which he enunciates, the future influence of which, however, upon the removal of slavery the apostle himself was not led to consider more closely from his expectation of the nearness of that great change which was to bring in for all believers the glorious liberty of the children of God. He left slavery, therefore, unassailed, as he did civil relations in general, not even asking, in his letter to Philemon, that Onesimus should be set free, but introducing the idea of Christian love, unity, and equality (1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 6:8; Philemon 1:16; Colossians 4:1),—an idea, the consequence of which is necessarily the cessation of slavery, although just as necessarily it was not natural for the apostle, with his eye turned to the approaching Parousia, to single out this consequence and apply it for an age of the world which, in his view, was on the point of passing away. It may be further noted that he does not forbid an exchange of slavery for freedom, which was in itself allowable; but he dissuades from it as a trifling way of dealing with the position in question, under the circumstances of the time, when viewed from the height of the Christian standpoint.


Verse 22

1 Corinthians 7:22. For the converted slave is Christ’s freedman; in like manner, too ( ὁμοίως καί introduces the precise reversal of relations which here also takes place), the freeman who becomes a Christian is the slave of Christ. That moral freedom (comp John 8:36) and this moral slavery are of course essentially identical (Romans 6:16 ff.; Ephesians 6:6; Colossians 3:24); but Paul grounds here his admonition in 1 Corinthians 7:21 by showing that the matter may be looked at from a twofold point of view: the Christian slave should recognise his relation to Christ as that of an ἀπελεύθερος χριστοῦ,(1181) and the freeman’s relation as that of a δοῦλος χριστοῦ. This will serve in his case this end, not by any means (as Hofmann illogically inserts into the text, despite the ΄ένειν again required in 1 Corinthians 7:24) that he should count it unnecessary to remain in the position of a slave,(1182) but, on the contrary, that he should abide contentedly in his station without coveting after freedom.

ἐν κυρίῳ κλ. δοῦλ.] the slave who is called in the Lord, i.e. who has received the Christian calling. That is to say, this κλῆσις has not taken place, as any other might, out of Christ, but in Him, as being the distinctive element in which it has its specific character. The ἐν κυρίῳ, which might have been understood of itself, is expressly added here, because it was meant to be an emphatic correlate to the κυρίου which follows. It is wholly foreign to the argument to imagine a contrast here with the earthly master (Hofmann), as in Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22; Colossians 4:1.

ἀπελεύθερος with the genitive is not used here in the common sense of libertus alicujus, some one’s manumitted slave, for the master hitherto had been sin or Satan (see on 1 Corinthians 6:20); but simply a freedman belonging to Christ (comp κλητοὶ ἰησοῦ χ., Romans 1:6), after Christ, namely, has set him free from the service of another (comp Ignatius, ad Romans 4). This was self-evident to the consciousness of the reader.


Verse 23

1 Corinthians 7:23. For a price (see on 1 Corinthians 6:20) were ye (my readers in general) bought (namely, by Christ to be His slaves); become not (therefore) servants of men; i.e. do not make yourselves dependent upon what men wish and demand of you, instead of allowing your conduct to be moulded by Christ’s will and service. Paul designs that this should be applied to the mistaken submission shown on the part of the church to such as wished that men should break up or alter their civil relationships and other existing situations to please them, and in compliance with their solicitations and deceptive suggestions. This more specific reference of the warning, in itself conveyed in general terms, we may naturally gather from 1 Corinthians 7:24. Instigations and seductions of this kind, arising partly, perhaps, from fanatical excitement, must plainly have occurred at Corinth in connection with circumstances of the details of which we are ignorant; for otherwise the whole of the minute instructions from 1 Corinthians 7:17 to 1 Corinthians 7:24 would lack any concrete basis. The interpretation with which Chrysostom and Theophylact content themselves is therefore much too vague: that Paul is forbidding men-pleasing generally, and compliance with immoral demands. So also Theodoret’s view, that he enjoins μὴ δουλοπρεπὲς ἔχειν φρόνημα. Osiander and Neander’s rendering is too general also (“every kind of wrong dependence”). It is altogether alien to the context, 1 Corinthians 7:17-24, to suppose that ἀνθρώπων refers to Paul, Cephas, Apollos, etc. (Rückert), and that the meaning is substantially the same as had been expressed in 1 Corinthians 3:21 by μηδεὶς καυχάσθω ἐν ἀνθρώποις (Hofmann). Equally out of accordance with the subject in hand is Billroth’s exposition (given before by Vatablus), that the apostle exhorts the slaves not to do their service for the sake of men, but for the Lord’s sake (Colossians 3:22). Heydenreich, on the other hand, holds (with Menochius, Hammond, Knatchbull, Mosheim, Michaelis, Zachariae) that he is admonishing the freemen not to sell themselves into slavery. But, even putting out of account the second person plural, which directs the words to the readers generally, were that the meaning, Paul would undoubtedly have called attention to a new illustration of his rule, as he does in 1 Corinthians 7:18; 1 Corinthians 7:21. And how unlikely a thing that men went into slavery in those days for the sake of Christianity (for according to the connection it is this motive which must be presupposed, not: for gain’s sake)!


Verse 24

1 Corinthians 7:24. To conclude the whole digression, the weighty rule is once more enunciated ( ἐν κ. τ. λ(1185): In whatever relationship, in whatever outward position, etc.), and now with the strengthening clause παρὰ θεῷ, which describes the ἐν τούτῳ μένειν according to its moral and religious character; that outward abiding is to be of such a kind that therein the man shall abide inwardly with God (the caller), which moral relation of fellowship is locally represented in a concrete way by παρά (“a Deo non recedens,” Estius). Comp Theophylact,—who, however, makes out a special reference to immoral obedience to masters,

Schrader, Rückert, Neander, Osiander. De Wette limits the meaning to the relation of a Christian slave, as in 1 Corinthians 7:22, which, after the general 1 Corinthians 7:23, is inadmissible. The common interpretation, “coram Deo” (Calvin), “Deo inspectante” (Grotius), which would imply: “perpetuo memores, vos in ejus conspectu versari” (Beza, comp de Wette), would correspond to the current phrase ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ. Hofmann makes ἐν and ἐν τούτῳ refer to Christ (comp 1 Corinthians 7:22); the call took place in Christ to God, and therefore every one is to have in Christ (on His mediatorial foundation) his abiding with God. The perfect conformity of 1 Corinthians 7:24 with 1 Corinthians 7:20 ought, had it stood alone, to have prevented this misinterpretation. But besides, the call is given from God, not to God, but to eternal Messianic life (comp on 1 Corinthians 1:9).


Verse 25

1 Corinthians 7:25. δέ] indicating the transition to a new section in the discussion on marriage.

παρθένων] virgins. We are not to understand this (with Theodore of Mopsuestia, Bengel, Semler, Zachariae, Schleusner, Schulz, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Pott, Olshausen, Ewald) of the unmarried of both sexes, young men and maidens, which is contrary to the ordinary usage of the language (see too, 1 Corinthians 7:34; 1 Corinthians 7:36-37); for in such passages as Revelation 14:4, Oecumenius, Quaest. Amphil. 188; Nonnus on John 19:26; Fabricius, Pseudepigr. V. T. II: pp. 92, 98; also Arist. Eq. 1302, the word is maidenly; and that it ever with Greek writers means a single man in the proper sense, is at least very doubtful.

γνώμην] view, opinion. As regards γνώμ. δίδωμι (2 Corinthians 8:10), see the examples in Kypke, II. p. 205.

The sense most in accordance with the context for πιστός is that of reliable, i.e. trustworthy (1 Timothy 4:9). The more general faithful (in the service of Christ; so Billroth, Rückert, Ewald) is less suitable; and least of all the simple believing, as Hofmann would have it. Paul’s being an ἀξιόχρεως σύμβουλος (Theodoret) he ascribes to the mercy of Christ; for he knows well in himself that that characteristic would not belong to him without Christ’s gracious call to the apostleship, and without enlightenment and aid from Him. Comp also 1 Corinthians 7:40. Hence ὡς (quippe) ἐλεημένος κ. τ. λ(1191)

[1191] . τ. λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.


Verse 26

1 Corinthians 7:26. In carrying out his theme de virginibus, Paul proceeds as follows: first, in the passage extending to 1 Corinthians 7:35 he gives a general recommendation of single life to both sexes, and only then deals with the subject of virgins exclusively on to 1 Corinthians 7:38.

οὖν] therefore, introduces now the γνώμη in accordance with what was said in 1 Corinthians 7:25.

ἀνθρώπῳ] refers, as the more detailed remarks in 1 Corinthians 7:27 ff. prove, not to virgins alone (Hofmann), as applied to whom, besides, it would be an awkward expression,(1192) but means: a person, including both sexes. It is otherwise in 1 Corinthians 7:1.

οὕτως] so, as he is, i.e. unmarried, which follows from τ. παρθένων, 1 Corinthians 7:25. To be so Paul esteems salutary ( καλόν, as in 1 Corinthians 7:1), not absolutely and in itself, but because the Parousia is near, and still nearer, therefore, must be the general calamities which are to precede it, the dolores Messiae, חבלי משיח (see on Matthew 24:3). These form the instant (1 Corinthians 3:23) distress, i.e. a distress which is impending and has already begun to set in. Comp Matthew 24:19. The persecutions (Pott, Flatt, Hofmann, after older expositors) are only a part of it. Matrimonial cares and sufferings, again (Schulz, following Theophylact and others), are not meant at all. See 1 Corinthians 7:39 ff.

As little are we to understand “impending constraint through marriage” (Cropp in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1866, p. 103), against which θλῖψιν alone, in 1 Corinthians 7:28 and 1 Corinthians 7:31, testifies with sufficient clearness. Comp rather τῇ ἐνεστώσῃ ἀνάγκῃ, 3 Maccabees 1:16, the distress having set in, and see generally on Galatians 1:4.

The construction is anacoluthic, so that τοῦτο, which belongs to νομίζω, prepares for the following κακὸν ὑπάρχειν on to οὕτως εἶναι (comp on Romans 2:3 and Kühner, § 631. 2); but then ὅτι καλὸν κ. τ. λ(1196), which states the contents of the νο΄ίζω, instead of ending simply with ἀνθρώπῳ τὸ οὓτως εἶναι, begins from the beginning again, and that with a ὅτι, which comes in in place of the construction with the infinitive (Kühner, § 771. 5). A manifest confusion of expression, into which in dictation Paul might be especially likely to fall by forgetting, after the enunciation of the principal thought διὰ τ. ἐνεστ. ἀνάγκ., that he had already said καλὸν ὑπάρχειν. Hence, too, it is more natural to connect διὰ τ. ἐνεστ. ἀνάγκ. with what precedes it than hyperbatically with ὅτι κ. τ. λ(1197) (Ewald, Hofmann(1198)). Translate: My opinion, then, is this, that it is good on account of the impending distress,—that it is good [I think] for a person to he in such a position. Heydenreich holds wrongly—as the fact of there being no αὐταῖς added is enough of itself to show—that τι should be read, so that Paul would say that what is good for the man is good for them, namely, single life. De Wette takes τοῦτο as equivalent to παρθένον εἶναι, and then renders ὅτι by because: “because it is in general good for a man to be unmarried.”(1199) But this “in general” is not in the text, and yet of necessity it would have required to be there, for without it the argument emerges as an idem per idem; and in truth, even were the “in general” expressed, the main statement would be an inappropriate one, since it would contain nothing to establish the essential element διὰ τ. ἐνεστ. ἀνάγκην. The anacoluthon of the passage belongs to those in which “celeritate quadam abrepti novam enuntiationem inchoamus priore nondum absoluta,” Bremi, a(1200) Lys. Exc. V. p. 442.


Verse 27

1 Corinthians 7:27. Lest the γνώμη in 1 Corinthians 7:26 should be misinterpreted as favouring divorce, he now prefaces his further discussion of the subject with the rule, which is appropriate here only as a caveat: let not the married desire to be loosed. The construction is as in 1 Corinthians 7:18.

γυναικί] dativus communionis, as in Romans 7:2, and with Greek writers. It is plain, especially from 1 Corinthians 7:29; 1 Corinthians 7:34, that δέδ. γυν. does not mean betrothal (Ewald and Hofmann), but that γυνή denotes a married wife.

λέλυσαι] does not imply: art thou separated from (Mosheim, Semler), but art thou free from, unentangled with a wife, single (“sive uxorem habueris, sive non,” Estius; comp so early an interpreter as Photius)? See 1 Corinthians 7:28, and comp Xenophon, Cyr. i. 1. 4, where λελύσθαι ἀπʼ ἀλλήλων is equivalent to αὐτόνομα εἶναι.


Verse 28

1 Corinthians 7:28. οὐχ ἥμαρτες] But should it be the case that thou shalt have married, thou hast not sinned therein. Comp Matthiae, p. 1203; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 172 [E. T. 199]. Hofmann is wrong here also (comp on 1 Corinthians 7:11) in holding that ἐὰν δὲ καί means: but if already actually, etc.

γήμῃ παρθ.] Here as in 1 Timothy 5:11 the term γαμεῖν is applied, indeed, to the woman (see on 1 Corinthians 7:39), but without violation of rule, since it is not joined with an accusative. Comp Fritzsche, a(1206) Marc. p. 424.

τῇ σαρκί] not in the ethical sense, but (comp Galatians 4:13) for the material, animal part of man’s nature. In troublous times the married man is exposed to special anguish from sufferings of this kind (hunger, nakedness, sickness, misusage, banishment, etc.). Whether we have here a dative of appropriation (trouble for the flesh; see on 1 Corinthians 12:7; Bernhardy, p. 88), or whether it belongs to the verb, cannot well be determined.

ἐγὼ δὲ ὑμ. φείδομαι] but I, for my part, deal tenderly towards you, in advising you rather to remain unwedded; for by this advice, if you will follow it, I spare you from such θλῖψις.


Verses 29-31

1 Corinthians 7:29-31. This, however, I say, i.e. of what follows I assure you. Comp 1 Corinthians 15:50. δέ leads over to something wherewith Paul (“as it were prophesying,” Ewald) designs to secure the more acceptance for the counsel, which he has given with the view of sparing his readers. Pott, Flatt, and others take τοῦτο δέ φημι κ. τ. λ(1209) as a more precise explanation of θλῖψιν τοιοῦτοι, and then 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 as a more precise explanation of ἐγὼ δὲ ὑ΄. φείδ. Two things militate against this—first, the more emphatic import of φη΄ί (comp also 1 Corinthians 10:15; 1 Corinthians 10:19; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 906), which is stronger than λέγω; and secondly, the correct view of συνεσταλ΄. (see below). Rückert takes it: “Happen, however, what may, marry ye or not, this remark I cannot suppress.” But were that the meaning, τοῦτο δέ φ. would require to follow at once after οὐχ ἥ΄αρτε.

καιρός] the space of time,—subsisting up to the Parousia,—not our earthly lifetime in general (Calvin, Vorstius, Estius, al(1211)); neither is it merely the time yet to elapse ere that ἀνάγκη arrives (Reiche), which would be more distinctly indicated than by the simple καιρός; besides, the ἀνάγκη has already begun to make itself felt, ἐνεστῶσα, 1 Corinthians 7:26.

συνεσταλ΄ένος] is taken by most recent expositors (Schulz, Rosenmüller, Stolz, Pott, Heydenreich, Flatt, Rückert, Olshausen, Neander; Billroth is undecided) as meaning calamitosum. But without warrant of usage; for in passages such as 1 Maccabees 3:6 (comp Polyb. v. 15. 8, xxiv. 5. 13; Plato, Lys. p. 210 E Isocrates, p. 176 A Philo, Quod omn. prob. liber, p. 609), 1 Corinthians 5:3, 2 Maccabees 6:12, 3 Maccabees 5:33, συστέλλω means to humble, to overthrow, which does not suit with καιρός. The correct translation is that of the old interpreters (so also de Wette, Osiander, Ewald, Maier, Hofmann, Weiss): compressed, i.e. brought within narrow limits (Plato, Legg. iii. p. 691 E Demosth. 309. 2; Lucian, Icar. 12; comp συστολή, abbreviation). The space of time remaining is only of brief duration. In connection with this, τὸ λοιπόν is generally made to refer to what precedes (Peschito, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Beza, Grotius, al(1214), including Billroth, Olshausen, de Wette, Osiander, Reiche, Ewald, Maier, Neander): the time is henceforth (in posterum, see Fritzsche, a(1215) Matth. p. 777; Kühner, a(1216) Xen. Anab. ii. 2. 5) cut short,—a mode of connecting the words, however, which makes τὸ λοιπόν convey a superfluous idea. Others hold that it refers to what follows (Tertullian, Cyprian, Jerome, Vulgate, Erasmus, Calvin, al(1217), including Heydenreich and Rückert), and that in the sense of “ergo agendum, quod sequitur,” Estius; comp Luther: “weiter ist das die Meinung.” But how obscure the expression would thus be! The telic sense of ἵνα, too, would be deprived of its logical reference to what precedes. Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Hofmann, adopting the reading which puts ἐστί before τὸ λοιπόν (see the critical remarks), place a comma after the verb: συνεσταλ΄. ἐστίν, τὸ λοιπὸν ἵνα κ. τ. λ(1219), i.e. the time is shortened, in order that in future, etc. Comp as regards this position for ἵνα, on Ephesians 3:18; Galatians 2:10; Romans 11:31. This is preferable, because τὸ λοιπόν is thus put emphatically forward in its essential and important meaning: in order that henceforward these relationships may be dealt with in a wholly different way than hitherto. Comp upon the subject-matter, Matthew 24:42 ff.

ἵνα introduces the design of συνεσταλμ. ἐστι in the arrangements of God.(1222) Beza, Billroth, Schrader, Hofmann make it refer to τοῦτο δέ φημι. But we may see from παράγει γὰρ κ. τ. λ(1223) in 1 Corinthians 7:31 that Paul was thinking of so great results as the aim, not of his assertion, but of the thing asserted,—a view which agrees thoroughly with his religious contemplation of the world, Romans 5:20; Romans 7:13; Romans 8:17; Romans 11:31; 2 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 7:9, al(1224) He looks upon everything as fitted into the plan of moral redemption under the government of God.

ἵνα καὶ οἱ ἔχ. γυν. κ. τ. λ(1225)] The meaning is: In order that each may keep himself inwardly independent of the relations of his earthly life,—that the husband should not by his married state lose the moral freedom of his position of a Christian in heart and life; that the sorrowful should not do so through his tribulation, nor the joyful through his good fortune, nor the merchantman through his gain, nor he who uses the world through his use of it. We see the reverse of this independent attitude in Luke 14:18-20. There the heart cleaves to temporal things as its treasure, Matthew 6:21. By giving ἵνα its proper reference, it is made clear that Paul neither designs to lay down rules here (“that the married ought to be as though unmarried,” etc., Rückert, with many others), nor to depict the uncertainty of temporal possessions (Grotius and Pott); which latter meaning is what Reiche also brings out: “quandoquidem propediem mutata rerum terrestrium facie, laetitiae et tristitiae causis mox evanidis, tempus deficiet malis bonisve sensu percipiendis.”

καὶ οἱ ἔχοντες γυν.] Even the married. This καί singles out the first point for special emphasis, because it was the one on which the discussion chiefly turned; καί in the instances which follow is the simple and.

οἱ ἀγοράζ. ὡς μὴ κατέχ.] the buyers as not possessing (2 Corinthians 6:10), that, namely, which they buy.

ὡς μὴ καταχρ.] may mean, like the Latin abuti, so far as the word in itself is concerned, either: as not abusing it (Syriac, Tertullian, Theodoret, Theophylact, Oecumenius, Luther, Beza, Cornelius a Lapide, al(1226), including Olshausen and Billroth, the latter of whom considers that Paul gives us here the explanation of his foregoing paradox), or: as not using it (Vulgate, Calvin, Grotius, Estius, al(1227), including Pott, Rückert, de Wette, Osiander). Comp 1 Corinthians 9:18. So frequently in Greek writers; see Krebs, p. 291; Loesner, p. 280 f. The latter of the two meanings should have the preference here from the analogy of the preceding clauses. The compound verb—which ought not to have the sense of at one’s own pleasure (Hofmann) imported into it—serves merely to give greater emphasis to the idea; see Bremi, a(1229) Isocr. Panegyr. § ix. p. 21; Herodian. viii. 4. 22. Translate: Those who use this (pre-Messianic) world as not making use of it. There is no reason either for taking καταχρ. in the sense of using up (Reiche, Ewald), because this meaning, although in itself admissible on linguistic grounds (Diog. Laert. v. 69; Lys. p. 153. 46; Isocr. p. 55 D), only weakens the force of the antithesis in a way contrary to the relation subsisting between all the other antitheses.

χρῆσθαι in the sense of uti with an accusative (see the critical remarks) occurs here only in the N. T.;(1230) in classic Greek not at all (in Xen. Ages. xi. 11, the true reading is τῷ μεγαλόφρονι), and seldom in later Greek (Schaefer, a(1231) Gregor. Cor. p. 691). See also Bornemann, Acta apost. I. p. 222. καταχρῆσθαι, however, often occurs in that sense with the accusative (Lucian, Prom. 4; Plut. Demetr. 23), and it may have been occasioned here by the writer’s thinking of the compound verb. Comp Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 157 f. [E. T. 181].


Verse 31-32

1 Corinthians 7:31-32. Lachmann places only a comma after τούτου, in which he is followed by Billroth, Rückert, Olshausen, and Maier. From παράγει on to εἶναι would thus form collectively a ground for the preceding καὶ οἱ χρώμενοι κ. τ. λ(1233) This would be correct, if the foregoing words conveyed an exhortation, or if ἵνα in 1 Corinthians 7:29 were dependent upon τοῦτο δέ φη΄ι. Since, however, what is conveyed in the preceding statement is the design of God, the full stop after τούτου should be retained; the words from παράγει on to τούτου form thus a confirmatory addition to οἱ χρώ΄ενοι καταχρώ΄ενοι, while θέλω δέ, again, marks the advance to something new, to what Paul, in view of this passing away of the fashion of this world, now desires of his readers, namely, that they should be ἀμέριμνοι, i.e. without worldly cares (see 1 Corinthians 7:33-34).

παράγει] is passing away, in accordance with the καιρὸς συνεσταλμ. in 1 Corinthians 7:29. τὸ σχῆ΄α, habitus, i.e. status externus. See Wetstein. It is not the transitory character of earthly things in general that is meant (so most of the older expositors and Billroth; comp also Hofmann), but the expiry of the αἰὼν οὔτος, the end of which is the world-embracing catastrophe of the Parousia, the transformation of the form of this world, and therewith of its whole temporal constitution, into the new heaven and the new earth. Comp 1 John 2:17; Revelation 21:1; Romans 8:19 ff.; 2 Peter 3:10; Matthew 5:18. Grotius, Valckenaer, and Flatt are wrong in holding that the meaning is: “non manebunt, quae nunc sunt, res tranquillae, sed mutabuntur in turbidas,” and that the expression is taken from the language of the theatre (changing the scene, Eurip. Ion. 166; Lucian, Herm. 86). Our rendering is demanded by 1 Corinthians 7:26; 1 Corinthians 7:29, and by the eschatological view of the N. T. generally.

θέλω δὲ κ. τ. λ(1236)] Comp ἐγὼ δὲ ὑμ. φείδομαι in 1 Corinthians 7:28.

τὰ τοῦ κυρίου (the cause of Christ) is more precisely defined by what follows.

The readings ἀρέσει, how he shall please, and ἀρέσῃ, how he may please (see Stallbaum, a(1238) Sympos. p. 216 C Fritzsche, a(1239) Marc. p. 350), are equally suitable so far as the sense is concerned.


Verse 34

1 Corinthians 7:34. Taking the reading μεμέρ. κ. γυνὴ κ. παρθένος (see the critical remarks), we have: The wife, too, and the maiden are divided,(1240) i.e. they are severed from each other as regards their interests, are separate in what they care for, personae, quae diversae trahuntur. The way in which μερίζεσθαι is used (see Reiche, Comment. crit. I. p. 195) to denote division into different tendencies, views, party-positions, is well known (Matthew 12:25-26; Mark 3:24-26; Polybius, viii. 23. 9; Herodian, iii. 10. 6, iv. 3. 3); but the expression is selected here in reference to the different kinds of μεριμνᾶν. Theophylact says well: οὐ τὴν αὐτὴν ἔχουσι φροντίδα, ἄλλα ΄ε΄ερισ΄έναι εἰσὶ ταῖς σπουδαῖς, καὶ ΄ὲν περὶ ἄλλα σπουδάζει, δὲ περὶ ἄλλα. Comp Theodoret. The simple rendering: “There is a difference” (Chrysostom, Luther, Grotius, Mosheim, Zachariae, Heydenreich, and others), would still conduct one back to the sense divisa est, but would give too general and meaningless an idea.

΄εμέρ. is in the singular, because it stands at the head of the sentence, and γυνὴ κ. παρθένος embraces the female sex as a whole made up of two halves. Comp Kühner, II. p. 58 f.; Bernhardy, p. 416; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 110 f. [E. T. 126].

ἵνα ἁγία κ. τ. λ(1243)] Comp 2 Corinthians 7:1. This moral consecration to God of her whole personality, which she strives after, is the πῶς ἀρέσει τῷ κυρίῳ explicated. One can hardly conceive that Paul avoided the latter phrase on the ground of possible misconstruction (Hofmann). This, considering the sacredness of the idea of ἀρέσκειν τῷ κυρίῳ, would be a piece of prudery, which is unlike him.

NOTE.

There is no ground for inferring from 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 that Paul, himself unwedded, looked “somewhat askance” upon marriage (Rückert). To assume any such onesidedness of view on his part would be a very hasty proceeding (see on 1 Corinthians 7:2). On the contrary, what we have here is not his view of how, from the nature of the case, things must necessarily subsist,(1245) but only his experience of how in point of fact they usually did subsist. This experience he ( ἄγαμος) had arrived at, on the one hand, by consideration of his own case and that of many other unmarried persons; and, on the other, by observing the change of interests which was wont to set in with those who married. We have here, therefore, a purely empirical support for the preference of celibacy,—a preference, however, which with Paul is simply relative, depending upon the nearness of the Parousia and the end of the world, and also upon the subjective gift of being holy in body and spirit (comp Acts 14:4). The expectation of these events being so near has remained unfulfilled, and thereby is invalidated the Pauline support which has been often found in our text for celibacy, which, as a legal requirement, is in principle thoroughly un-Pauline (comp 1 Corinthians 7:35). The apostle, moreover, is speaking generally, and not to one special class among his readers.


Verse 35

1 Corinthians 7:35. τοῦτο] refers to the recommendation of single life contained in 1 Corinthians 7:26-34.

πρὸς τὸ ὑμ. αὐτῶν συμφ.] for your own advantage. The genitive with συμφέρον used as a substantive, as in 1 Corinthians 10:33; see Stallbaum, a(1248) Plat. Rep. p. 338 C.

οὐχ ἵνα κ. τ. λ(1249)] explaining more in detail, negatively and positively, the πρὸς συ΄φέρον. To cast a noose upon one is a figurative expression, originally borrowed from the chase (less probably, from warfare), for the idea of depriving of freedom (bringing under binding and limiting relations). Comp Proverbs 7:21, and see Wetstein and Loesner in loc(1251) The sense of “giving occasion to scruples” (Billroth, comp Bengel) does not correspond so well with the figure and the connection.

ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὸ εὔσχ. κ. τ. λ(1253)] but to promote the habit of comeliness and undivided waiting upon the Lord (in faithfulness to Christ). For this habit prevailed chiefly, according to the apostle’s experience, on the side of the ἄγαμοι; see 1 Corinthians 7:32-34, where, too, he makes it clear beyond doubt what comeliness he means here—namely, such a manifestation of the inner life in all outward embodiment, as corresponds with consecration to the Lord. It is not merely chastity in the narrower sense that is intended, but all moral purity and consecration in so far as these manifest themselves in demeanour, in speech, gesture, bearing, etc., as the comely form of Christian life, as the ethical “decorum” of the Christian. Its sacred nature and the foul contrasts to it are set forth in Romans 13:13-14.

The dative of appropriation, τῷ κυρίῳ and ἀπερισπ., are conjoined with the εὐπάρ., used as a substantive, to make up the unity of the idea.

εὐπάρεδρος does not occur elsewhere. Hesychius explains it by καλῶς παραμένου.

ἀπερισπ.] “absque distractione, i.e. ἄνευ τοῦ μεριμνᾶν τὰ τοῦ κόσμου,” Kypke, II. p. 207. Comp περισπᾶσθαι, Luke 10:40. Regarding the connection of the word with the later Greek, see Lobeck, a(1255) Phryn. p. 415. Xenophon, Ages. i. 4, has ἀδιασπάστως. The adverb attaches itself to εὐπάρ., defining its meaning precisely. see on 1 Corinthians 12:28.


Verse 36

1 Corinthians 7:36. δέ] introduces something opposed to the εὔσχημον.

ἀσχημονεῖν] means ἀσχήμονα εἶναι (comp εὐσχημονεῖν = εὐσχήμονα εἶναι, Plat. Legg. v. p. 732 C), and may therefore be explained either in the active sense (to act dishonourably, conduct oneself in a dishonourable way, Plato, Pol. vi. p. 506 D, Theaet. p. 165 B Xen. de re eq. xi. 6; Herodian, v. 8. 16; Lucian, de sacrif. 7), or in the passive sense (to have dishonour, Eur. Hec. 407; Herodian, viii. 3. 21; Deuteronomy 25:5; Ezekiel 16:7). The former of the two interpretations is the common and the correct one, namely: if any one thinks that he is acting dishonourably towards his virgin (daughter or ward), i.e. if he thinks that he is bringing disgrace upon her; which means, however, not the disgrace of old maidenhood (see Soph. Ant. 810 ff., O. Rex. 1492 ff.; Eur. Hel. 291; comp Sirach 42:9; and Lennep, a(1258) Phalar. p. 362), but the dishonour of seduction, which the father or guardian fears he may give occasion to by refusing permission to marry; see the following context (against Theodoret: δὲ τὴν ἀγαμίαν ἀκοσμίαν ὑπολαμβάνων, Theophylact, al(1259)). Taking it in the passive sense, we have: if any one thinks to have disgrace in respect of his virgin (from seduction, or her being left unwedded). So in substance the Syriac (“despici”), Grotius, Mosheim, Zachariae, Heydenreich, Pott, Neander; comp Hofmann, who holds that what is here expressed is the matter of fact of its being the father’s fault that the daughter remains unmarried. But even apart from the consideration that ἀσχημ. is most commonly found in the active meaning (see also 1 Corinthians 13:5), there is this against the second rendering, that ἐπί with the accusative takes for granted that ἀσχημονεῖν implies activity, since it states the direction in which it is exerted (comp ἀσχημονεῖν εἴς τινα, Dion. Hal. ii. 26).

νομίζει] “Si perspecto filiae suae ingenio judicet, coelibatui non esse aptam,” Calvin.

ἐὰν ὑπέρακμ.] is the case, in connection with which that εἰ δέ τις ἀσχημονεῖν, κ. τ. λ(1262) is supposed: in case she pass her time, pass the highest point of her youthful bloom. As regards the ἀκμή itself, see Plato, Rep. p. 460 E: ἆρʼ οὖν σοι ξυνδοκεῖ μέτριος χρόνος ἀκμῆς τὰ εἴκοσιν ἔτη γυναικί, ἀνδρὶ δὲ τὰ τριάκοντα, and Stallbaum, a(1263) hunc loc.; other definitions of the age may be seen in Locella, a(1264) Xen. Eph. p. 145. Paul’s opinion is, that before the ἀκμή is reached the ἀσχη΄ονεῖν νο΄ίζει is not likely to take place with the father or guardian of the girl; but, judging from experience, he conceived that the maiden who is ὑπέρακ΄ος would be more ready to yield to a lover, if she is not allowed to marry. Respecting the word ὑπέρακ΄., which is not found in ancient Greek, see Eustath. Il. i. p. 11, 31; Od. p. 1915, 29. The classical writers use instead of it the perfect of παρακμάζειν, as in Xen. Mem. iv. 4. 23; or the adjective παρακμαστική, as in Galen, VI. p. 312, 14.

καὶ οὓτως ὀφείλει γίνεσθαι] depends on the εἰ:(1265) and if so (namely, that the virgin marry), it must be. Thus there is added to the subjective condition of things, expressed in δέ τις ἀσχημ. κ. τ. λ(1266), the corresponding (not heterogeneous, as Hofmann objects) objective condition on the part of the maiden, whose natural temperament makes marriage needful. It is quite akin to the German phrase: und wenn’s nicht anders sein kann [and if it cannot be otherwise]; the expression has a somewhat euphemistic turn, as referring to the daughter’s inclination to marriage, which determines the ὀφείλει. According to Rückert, κ. οὕτ. ὀφ. γίν. depends upon ἐάν: and she must remain so (i.e. unwedded). But the indicative ὀφείλει is decisive against this rendering; and what an amount of straining is needed to make γίνεσθαι, equivalent to remain! for she is unwedded, and, if she so remains, cannot become so.

θέλει ποιείτω] not: let him do what pleases him (so ordinarily; but this is contrary to the context; see what follows, and the preceding ὀφείλει), but: let him do what he intends (to give his virgin in marriage). Theodoret puts it well: τὸ δοκοῦν πραττέτω.

γαμείτωσαν] namely, the virgin and he who wishes to have her. It is arbitrary, considering the general form of the whole discussion (1 Corinthians 7:25), to maintain, as Rückert does, that the plural refers to a particular couple respecting whom the Corinthians had asked a question. “Wolf, Heydenreich, and others adopt a needlessly harsh assumption, that Paul passes here from the singular to the plural (the virgins). Billroth again propounds the very unlikely view that “the youths” should be supplied here as the subject, and αὐτήν as the object.


Verse 37

1 Corinthians 7:37. He who, on the other hand, stands stedfast in his heart, is of a stedfast and unchangeable mind, firm in disposition and resolution. Comp 1 Corinthians 15:58; Colossians 1:23; Colossians 4:12.

μὴ ἔχων ἀνάγκην] without having constraint (objective necessity), as he, in 1 Corinthians 7:36, whom the natural temperament of his virgin causes to fear the ἀσχημονεῖν before explained.

ἐξουσίαν δὲ ἔχει κ. τ. λ(1268)] contrasted with the ΄ὴ ἔχ. ἀνάγκ. ( δέ, but rather) as the correlative positive state of free disposal in respect of what he himself wills. Strictly speaking, therefore, we should have the participle here, but instead, there is again a change in the construction. Comp on 1 Corinthians 4:14; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 327 f. [E. T. 382].

τοῦτο] is not explained—though this is the common supposition—by the infinitive which follows; were that the case, we should have τὸ τηρεῖν, or (as in Od. i. 82; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; James 1:27, al(1270)) the simple infin. (comp the critical remarks). But Paul leaves the reader to gather from the connection what is meant by τοῦτο (namely, not giving the maiden in marriage). The design of this τοῦτο κέκρικεν (conclusum habet) is then declared by τοῦ τηρεῖν: in order to keep (to preserve in her maidenly state) his own maiden. And this is not a mere periphrasis for not giving in marriage (as de Wette objects), but rather the design which the father or guardian has in his τοῦτο κέκρικεν, by virtue of his right to dispose of his own child: observe the emphatic τὴν ἑαυτοῦ παρθένον. That the maiden’s will should be left entirely out of account by Paul, can surprise no one who is aware of the power given to fathers among the Jews (comp Ewald, Alterth. p. 267) and Greeks (Herm. Privatalterth. § 30. 2 ff.).

καλῶς ποιεῖ] in the sense of action, morally right, the positive side of the οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει of 1 Corinthians 7:36, and in so far stronger here; hence, too, it is represented in 1 Corinthians 7:38 by κρεῖσσον ποιεῖ in relation to the καλῶς ποιεῖ, which is equivalent to οὐχ ἁ΄αρτάνει.


Verse 38

1 Corinthians 7:38. Result of 1 Corinthians 7:36-37, καὶκαί, as well … as also. Paul had thought of saying καλῶς ποιεῖ in the second clause also, but thereupon strengthens his expression ( κρεῖσσον) so as to correspond with the relations of the two predicates, οὐχ ἁμαρτ. in 1 Corinthians 7:36, and καλῶς ποιεῖ in 1 Corinthians 7:37.

ἐκγαμ.] he who marries her (his virgin, 1 Corinthians 7:37) out (gives her out of his family in marriage). This going “out” is not taken into account in the second clause.

κρεῖσσον] for see 1 Corinthians 7:34. Regarding ἐκγαμ., comp Matthew 24:38; it is not preserved in Greek writers.


Verse 39-40

1 Corinthians 7:39-40. An appended rule respecting second marriage on the part of women, occasioned probably by questions from the Corinthians.

δέδεται] sc(1274) τῷ ἀνδρί; she may not separate herself from him and marry another. Comp 1 Corinthians 7:27; Romans 7:2.

θέλει γα΄ηθῆναι] to whom she desires to be married. Comp Mark 10:12. γα΄εῖ ΄ὲν γὰρ ἀνὴρ, γα΄εῖται δὲ γυνή, Schol. ad Eur. Med. 593. As regards the later form γαμηθῆναι, instead of the Attic γα΄εθῆναι, see Lobeck, a(1277) Phryn. p. 742.

΄όνον ἐν κυρίῳ] only in the Lord, not apart from Christ as the specifically determining element of the new union; only in a Christian way, i.e. only to a Christian, s.c. let her be married.(1278) So among the early interpreters, Tertullian, Cyprian, Ambrosiaster, Jerome, Theodoret, Grotius (who puts it happily: intra ecclesiam), Estius, al(1279), or also Olshausen and de Wette. This does not run counter to 1 Corinthians 7:12 ff., where, in fact, those mixed marriages are meant which date from the pre-Christian period, and in which only one spouse has become Christian. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Calvin, Beza, Calovius, Wolf, and others, including Pott, Flatt, Heydenreich, Billroth, Rückert, Osiander, Neander, Maier, Ewald, all understand the phrase to mean: in a Christian spirit, acting as a Christian should, in the fear of the Lord, etc. (several of the above-named interpreters, as Flatt, Rückert, Osiander, Neander, Maier, include also the point that the husband must be a Christian, or lay the chief stress upon this, as Hofmann and Weiss). But what we have here is plainly a limitation of the θέλει so emphatically put first. Moreover, the wider and more general the meaning ascribed to ἐν κυρίῳ, the more inappropriate it seems in connection with the foregoing definite rules, which all take for granted that the action is Christian.

΄ακαριωτ.] more blessed, i.e. not merely more spared from troubles (1 Corinthians 7:26; 1 Corinthians 7:28), but, in accordance with the higher reference which μακάρ. invariably has in the N. T., enjoying the blessed relation, which arises out of withdrawal from worldly cares and self-surrender to Christ. See 1 Corinthians 7:32-34. As to greater blessedness in heaven, which some have dragged in here in the interests of celibacy (Ambrosiaster, Cornelius a Lapide, al(1280), including Hirscher, Moral, III. p. 502), there is not a word of that in the text, even if we should read ἔσται in place of ἐστίν.

κατὰ τ. ἐ΄ὴν γνώ΄ην] ἐ΄ήν carries the emphasis of apostolic self-consciousness.

δοκῶ δὲ κἀγὼ κ. τ. λ(1281)] so that I therefore may expect you to regard my opinion, not as a mere individual judgment, but as arrived at under the influence of the Holy Spirit which is imparted ( ἔχειν) to me also, and hence as worthy to be received and followed.

Respecting δοκῶ, mihi videor, the note of Estius may suffice: “minus dicit, plus volens intelligi.” Comp 1 Corinthians 4:9.

κἀγώ] like other teachers who have received His gifts.

In the two expressions coming together—of which δοκῶ has a touch of irony (comp Dissen, a(1284) Dem. de Cor. p. 230 f.)—there is implied a side-glance, but whether precisely to the Petrine party (Neander, Räbiger, al(1285)) may be doubted. It is safer to say generally: to opponents of his full standing as an apostle in Corinth. Comp Calvin.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-corinthians-7.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology