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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Corinthians 7:36

But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry.


Adam Clarke Commentary

Uncomely towards his virgin - Different meanings have been assigned to this verse; I shall mention three of the principal.

  1. "In those early times, both among the Hebrews and Christians, the daughters were wholly in the power of the father, so that he might give or not give them in marriage as he chose; and might bind them to perpetual celibacy if he thought proper; and to this case the apostle alludes. If the father had devoted his daughter to perpetual virginity, and he afterwards found that she had fixed her affections upon a person whom she was strongly inclined to marry, and was now getting past the prime of life; he, seeing from his daughter's circumstances that it would be wrong to force her to continue in her state of celibacy; though he had determined before to keep her single, yet he might in this case alter his purpose without sin, and let her and her suitor marry."
  • "The whole verse and its context speaks of young women dedicated to the service of God, who were called παρθενοι, virgins, in the primitive Church. And a case is put here, 'that circumstances might occur to render the breach of even a vow of this kind necessary, and so no sin be committed.'"
  • "The apostle by παρθενος, does not mean a virgin, but the state of virginity or celibacy, whether in man or woman." Both Mr. Locke and Dr. Whitby are of this opinion, and the latter reasons on it thus: -
  • It is generally supposed that these three verses relate to virgins under the power of parents and guardians and the usual inference is, that children are to be disposed of in marriage by the parents, guardians, etc. Now this may be true, but it has no foundation in the text, for τηρειν την ἑαυτου παρθενον is not to keep his daughter's, but his own virginity, or rather his purpose of virginity; for, as Phavorinus says, He is called a virgin who freely gives himself up to the Lord, renouncing matrimony, and preferring a life spent in continency. And that this must be the true import of these words appears from this consideration, that this depends upon the purpose of his own heart, and the power he has over his own will, and the no necessity arising from himself to change this purpose. Whereas the keeping a daughter unmarried depends not on these conditions on her father's part but on her own; for, let her have a necessity, and surely the apostle would not advise the father to keep her a virgin, because he had determined so to do; nor could there be any doubt whether the father had power over his own will or not, when no necessity lay upon him to betroth his virgin. The Greek runs to this sense: if he had stood already firm in his heart, finding no necessity, viz. to change his purpose; and hath power over his own will, not to marry; finding himself able to persist in the resolution he had made to keep his virginity, he does well to continue a virgin: and then the phrase, if any man think he behaves himself unseemly towards his virgin, if it be over-aged, and thinks he ought rather to join in marriage, refers to the opinions both of Jews and Gentiles that all ought to marry. The Jews say that the time of marriage is from 16 or 17 to 20; while some of the Gentiles specify from 30 to 35. If any think thus, says the apostle, let them do what they will, they sin not: let them marry. And then he concludes with those words applied to both cases: so then, both he that marries doeth well, and he that marries not, doeth better.

    This last opinion seems to be the true sense of the apostle.

    It may be necessary to make a few general observations on these verses, summing up what has been said.

      1. Παρθενος here should be considered as implying not a virgin, but the state of virginity or celibacy.

    2. Ὑπερακμος, over-aged, must refer to the passing of that time in which both the laws and customs of Jews and Gentiles required men to marry. See above, and see the note on 1 Corinthians 7:6.

    3. Και οὑτως οφειλει γινεσθαι, And need so require; or, if there appear to be a necessity; is to be understood of any particular change in his circumstances or in his feelings; or, that he finds, from the law and custom in the case, that it is a scandal for him not to marry; then let him do what he wills or purposes.

  • Instead of γαμειτωσαν, let Them marry, I think γαμειτω, let Him marry, is the true reading, and agrees best with the context. This reading is supported by D*EFG, Syriac, in the Arabic, Slavonic, one of the Itala, and St. Augustine. Si nubat, if he marry, is the reading of the Vulgate, several copies of the Itala, Ambrose, Jerome, Ambrosiaster, Sedulius, and Bede. This reading is nearly of the same import with the other: Let him do what he willeth, he sinneth not, let him marry; or, he sinneth not if he marry.
  • The whole of the 37th verse relates to the purpose that the man has formed; and the strength that he has to keep his purpose of perpetual celibacy, being under no necessity to change that purpose.
  • Instead of ὁ εκγαμιζων, he who giveth her in marriage, I purpose to read ὁ γαμιζων, he who marrieth, which is the reading of the Codex Alexandrinus, the Codex Vaticanus, No. 1209, and of some others: with Clement, Methodius, and Basil. Την ἑαυτου παρθενον, his own virgin, is added after the above, by several very ancient and reputable MSS, as also by the Syriac, Armenian, Vulgate, Ethiopic, Clement, Basil, Optatus, and others; but it seems so much like a gloss, that Griesbach has not made it even a candidate for a place in the text. He then who marrieth, though previously intending perpetual virginity, doeth well; as this is agreeable to laws both Divine and human: and he who marrieth not, doeth better, because of the present distress. See 1 Corinthians 7:26.

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    Bibliography
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-corinthians-7.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    That he behaveth himself uncomely - Acts an unbecoming part, imposes an unnecessary, painful, and improper constraint, crosses her inclinations which are in them selves proper.

    Toward his virgin - His daughter, or his ward, or any unmarried female committed to his care.

    If she pass the flower of her age - If she pass the marriageable age and remains unmarried. It is well known that in the east it was regarded as especially dishonorable to remain unmarried; and the authority of a father, therefore, might be the means of involving his daughter in shame and disgrace. When this would be the case, it would be wrong to prohibit her marriage.

    And need so require - And she ought to be allowed to marry. If it will promote her happiness, and if she would be unhappy, and regarded as dishonored, if she remained in a state of celibacy.

    Let him do what he will - He has the authority in the case, for in the east the authority resided with the father. He may either give her in marriage or not, as he pleases. But in this case it is advisable that she should marry.

    He sinneth not - He errs not; he will do nothing positively wrong in the case. Marriage is lawful, and in this case it is advisable, and he may consent to it, for the reasons above stated, without error or impropriety.


    Copyright Statement
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    Bibliography
    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-corinthians-7.html. 1870.

    Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

    But if any man thinketh that he behaveth himself unseemly toward his virgin daughter, if she be past the flower of her age, and if need so requireth, let him do what he will; he sinneth not; let them marry.

    The RSV has butchered this text in the most deplorable and high-handed mistranslation of it that could possibly be imagined.

    If any man ... was used by Paul here for the purpose of including guardians of young women of marriageable age as well as parents; and to make "any man" in this passage refer to any man shacked up in some kind of platonic partnership with a member of the opposite sex is nothing but a shameful rape of this passage. As Foy E. Wallace noted, "They made the virgin daughter in this place the girlfriend of another man to whom the virgin was betrothed, advising him to be free in his behavior."[54] Wallace caught the spirit of the RSV exactly in his words: "The passage is perverted to allow sexual satisfaction `if his passions are strong,' and `to do what he will,' and `he does not sin' in such pre-marital relations."[55]

    Dummelow affirmed unequivocally that "any man" in the above passage means "any parent or guardian."[56] There is no way to understand this passage except in the light of the customs of the day, "And the father (or guardian) had control of the arrangements for his daughter's marriage."[57] The kind of situation assumed to have been the object of Paul's remarks (as in the RSV and New English Bible (1961)) was absolutely impossible in the first century. No father or guardian would have allowed such an arrangement (as that supposed) under any threat or circumstance whatever. Therefore, with the utmost confidence, the perversion of this place by some of the new translations and even by the RSV is condemned as being sinful, incorrect, and even blasphemous. It was not some passionate suitor Paul had in mind, but the daughter's father; because, as F. F. Bruce said, "The word rendered GIVETH IN MARRIAGE twice in 1 Corinthians 7:38 (English Revised Version (1885)) is normally used of a father's giving his daughter in marriage."[58] "The then universal custom of Jews, Greeks and Romans (was) that the father or guardian disposed of the daughter's hand (in marriage)."[59]

    If she be past the flower of her age ... and need so requireth ... Any denial of marriage to an aging daughter would indeed seem unseemly to a loving parent, who should feel no sense of sin in giving his daughter's hand in marriage.

    Let them marry ... This was the injunction to parents and guardians, and it has no reference at all to some passionate suitor shacked up with his girlfriend.

    Let him do what he will ... he sinneth not ... This means allow the parents or guardians in such cases to do what they believe is best; no sin is involved in contracting marriages, despite all that Paul had said about celibacy.

    [54] Foy E. Wallace, Jr., A Review of the New Versions (Fort Worth, Texas: The Foy E. Wallace, Jr., Publications, 1973), p. 433.

    [55] Ibid.

    [56] J. R. Dummelow, op. cit., p. 904.

    [57] S. Lewis Johnson, op. cit., p. 610.

    [58] F. F. Bruce, op. cit., p. 93.

    [59] John William Russell, Compact Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1964), p. 415.


    Copyright Statement
    James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

    Bibliography
    Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-corinthians-7.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    But if any man think,.... This some understand of a man that is engaged, or betrothed to a virgin, and protracts marriage, who may use his prudence in consummating it, if he pleases, for any thing the apostle has said to the contrary: but it is better to understand it of a parent, or one that has the care and guardianship of virgins; if such an one is of opinion,

    that he behaveth himself uncomely towards his virgin: by exposing her to contempt and reproach, in retaining her at home, and not giving her in marriage when at proper age for such a state; it being reckoned reproachful to be at, or past the age of marriage, or to be in years, and not married; or by so doing lay her under temptation to do that which is uncomely, to commit fornication, which would be uncomely, both to him, and to her; and such a tendency has living in a single state, contrary to inclination. The apostle may have respect to a Jewish tradition founded upon the supposed sense of Leviticus 19:29 "do not prostitute thy daughter to cause her to be a whore"F19T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 76. 1. .

    "Says R. Eliezer, this is he who marries his daughter to an old man. Says R. Akiba, (who was contemporary with the apostle,) this is he who detains his daughter at home when she is marriageable.'

    If she pass the flower of her age; that is, one that is arrived to years of maturity, is ripe for marriage, and is what the Jewish doctors call בגרת; who, according to them, was one of twelve years and a half oldF20Maimon. Hilchot Ishot, c. 2. sect. 2. , at which age virgins were judged fit to marry: hence that saying of theirsF21T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 113. 1. .

    "if thy daughter, בגרה, "is ripe", or come to the flower of her age, make thy servant free and give her to him.'

    Moreover, according to their canons, such an one was no longer under her father's power; for so runs the canonF23Misn. Nidda, c. 5. sect. 7. ,

    "hrgbv Nwyk "when she is at the flower of her age", she is no more under her father's power:'

    her father cannot make void her vows, though a husband canF24Misn. Nedarim, c. 10. sect. 2. T. Bab. Nedarim, fol. 70. 2. Maimon. Hilch. Nedarim, c. 11, sect. 7. :

    and need so require: that she be given in marriage to a man; if she has not the gift of continence; if she is in danger of falling into the sin of fornication, and the father or guardian are sensible of this:

    let him do what he will, he sinneth not; he is under no obligation by what the apostle had said to detain her in a single life; he may give her in marriage if he pleases: he may

    do what she will, as it may be rendered; comply with her inclination and desire in marrying her to some person; in doing which, neither he nor she will break any law of God, and so not sin therein:

    let them marry; let parents marry their children when this is the case; let the young men and young women marry who are so disposed; there is no reason why they should not; there is nothing contrary to it in the word of God, nor in the advice of the apostle; nay, according to him, it was much better to marry than to burn, or to be exposed to any snare and temptation.


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    The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
    A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

    Bibliography
    Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-corinthians-7.html. 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

    17 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of [her] age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he h sinneth not: let them marry.

    (17) Now he turns himself to the parents, in whose power and authority their children are, warning them that according to the former doctrine they consider what is proper and convenient for their children. That they neither deprive them of the necessary remedy against incontinency, nor force them to marry, if neither their will does lead them, nor any necessity urges them. And again he praises virginity, but of itself, and not in all.

    (h) He does well: for so he expounds it in (1 Corinthians 7:38).


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    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

    Bibliography
    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-corinthians-7.html. 1599-1645.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    uncomely — is not treating his daughter well in leaving her unmarried beyond the flower of her age, and thus debarring her from the lawful gratification of her natural feeling as a marriageable woman.

    need so require — if the exigencies of the case require it; namely, regard to the feelings and welfare of his daughter. Opposed to “having no necessity” (1 Corinthians 7:37).

    let them marry — the daughter and her suitor.


    Copyright Statement
    These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
    This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

    Bibliography
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-corinthians-7.html. 1871-8.

    Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

    That he behaveth himself unseemly (ασχημονεινaschēmonein). Old verb, here only in N.T., from ασχημωνaschēmōn (1 Corinthians 12:23), from αa privative and σχημαschēma Occurs in the papyri. Infinitive in indirect discourse after νομιζειnomizei (thinks) with ειei (condition of first class, assumed as true).

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

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

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


    Copyright Statement
    The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

    Bibliography
    Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/1-corinthians-7.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

    Vincent's Word Studies

    Behaveth himself uncomely ( ἀσχημονεῖν )

    Acts unbecomingly, either by throwing temptation in the daughter's way by constraining her to remain unmarried, or by exposing her to the disgrace which was supposed to attach to the unmarried state. But Paul, in his preceding words, has regarded the latter consideration as set aside by the peculiar circumstances of the time.

    His virgin ( τὴν παρθένον αὐτοῦ )

    Rev. properly inserts daughter. It is an unusual expression for daughter. Xenophon uses it with the word θυγάτηρ daughter(“Cyropaedia,” iv., 6,9), and Oedipus speaks of his two daughters as my maidens (Sophocles, “Oedipus Tyrannus,” 1462)

    Pass the flower of her age ( ᾐ ὑπέρακμος )

    Rev., correctly, be past. Beyond the bloom of life. Plato fixes the point at twenty years (“Republic,” 460). Diogenes Laertius says: “An undowered maiden is a heavy burden to a father after she has outrun the flower of her age” (“Lycon,” v., 65)

    Let them marry

    Evidently there was assumed to be another in the case beside the father and the virgin.


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    Bibliography
    Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/1-corinthians-7.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.

    But if any parent think he should otherwise act indecently - Unbecoming his character. Toward his virgin daughter, if she be above age, (or of full age,) and need so require, 1 Corinthians 7:9, let them marry - Her suitor and she.


    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

    Bibliography
    Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-corinthians-7.html. 1765.

    Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

    That he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin; his virgin daughter; that is, that he wrongs her by putting a constraint upon her inclinations to enter into the marriage state. The general sense of the passage (1 Corinthians 7:36-38) is, that, if the father find the affections of a daughter so fixed, that to prohibit her marriage would be an injury to her, it is proper to allow the marriage to take place; though it would be better for her, in such a time of persecution and trial, if she would consent to remain single.


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    Bibliography
    Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/1-corinthians-7.html. 1878.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    36.But if any one thinketh that it were unseemly for his virgin. He now directs his discourse to parents, who had children under their authority. For having heard the praises of celibacy, and having heard also of the inconveniences of matrimony, they might be in doubt, whether it were at all a kind thing to involve their children in so many miseries, lest it should seem as if they were to blame for the troubles that might befall them. For the greater their attachment to their children, so much the more anxiously do they exercise fear and caution on their account. (439) Paul, then, with the view of relieving them from this difficulty, teaches that it is their duty to consult their advantage, exactly as one would do for himself when at his own disposal. (440) Now he still keeps up the distinction, which he has made use of all along, so as to commend celibacy, but, at the same time, to leave marriage as a matter of choice; and not simply a matter of choice, but a needful remedy for incontinency, which ought not to be denied to any one. In the first part of the statement he speaks as to the giving of daughters in marriage, and he declares that those do not sin in giving away their daughters in marriage, who are of opinion that an unmarried life is not suitable for them.

    The word ἀσχημονεῖν (to be unseemly) must be taken as referring to a special propriety, which depends on what is natural to the individual; for there is a general propriety, which philosophers make to be a part of temperance. That belongs equally to all. There is another, that is special, because one thing becomes one individual that would not be seemly in another. Every one therefore should consider (as Cicero observes) what is the part that nature has assigned to him. (441) Celibacy will be seemly for one, but he must not measure all by his own foot; (442) and others should not attempt to imitate him without taking into view their ability; for it is the imitation of the ape — which is at variance with nature. If, therefore, a father, having duly considered his daughter’s disposition, is of opinion that she is not prepared for celibacy, let him give her away in marriage. (443)

    Bythe flower of her age he means the marriageable age. This lawyers define to be from twelve to twenty years of age. Paul points out, in passing, what equity and humanity ought to be exercised by parents, in applying a remedy in that tender and slippery age, when the force of the disease requires it. And it requires to be so. In this clause I understand him as referring to the girl’s infirmity — in the event of her not having the gift of continency; for in that case, necessity constrains her to marry. As to Jerome’s making a handle of the expression sinneth not, for reviling marriage, with a view to its disparagement, as if it were not a praiseworthy action to dispose of a daughter in marriage, it is quite childish. (444) For Paul reckoned it enough to exempt fathers from blame, that they might not reckon it a cruel thing to subject their daughters to the vexations connected with marriage.


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    Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/1-corinthians-7.html. 1840-57.

    Vv. 36. "But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will; he sinneth not; let them marry."

    Paul introduces his advice by δέ, but, because this counsel is in contrast to the thought expressed, 1 Corinthians 7:35. The antithesis of ἀσχημονεῖν to τὸ εὔσχημον is manifest.

    The verb ἀσχημονεῖν may have the active or passive sense: to behave uncomely toward any one, or: to be the object of unsuitable treatment. Of these two meanings the first only agrees with the preposition ἐπί which follows, and which indicates the object of the action; comp. also 1 Corinthians 13:5. But it might be a question whether the verb should not be taken here in an impersonal sense: "that there is no uncomeliness for his virgin." I know no example of this usage; but the if she pass the age, which has embarrassed Hofmann, would fall in better with this meaning than with the active sense. The proposition ἐὰν ᾖ would then be the logical subject of ἀσχημονεῖν. Several commentators (de Wette, Meyer, Edwards even) think that the dishonour of which Paul speaks is that which the virgin contracts by allowing herself to be drawn into evil. But the apostle"s thought is far removed from such a supposition; and he would have expressed it by saying: "if any one fears," and not: "if any one thinks." He is speaking solely of that sort of shame which attached to the position of spinster, still more among the ancients than among us; comp. Psalms 78:63, and a passage quoted by Heinrici (p. 213).

    With the words: "If she pass the flower of her age" ( ὑπέρακμος), we must, of course, understand without marrying.

    The meaning of the word οὕτως, thus, so, is explained by the beginning of the verse and by the contrast to 1 Corinthians 7:26; it is the state of marriage, whereas in 1 Corinthians 7:26 the context would show that it was the state of celibacy. Hofmann, after Theophylact, makes the proposition καὶ οὕτως the principal one: "If any one..., well! so it must be." But there would be a glaring tautology with the three following propositions, and there would be no ground for the καί. The καί here signifies, and consequently. The ὀφείλει, it must be, follows first from the father"s judgment, determined by the general prejudice, and next from the circumstances (the desire of the daughter and mother) which press in favour of a consent, which nothing but the firmly opposed conviction of the father could prevent. Under these conditions, things must take their course.

    In what follows the apostle means: "He might, no doubt, have done better for his child"s happiness; but he has not made himself liable to any reproach." Holsten thinks that the subject of ἁμαρτάνει is the virgin; but it is the father who is regarded as acting throughout the whole passage.

    The subject of γαμείτωσαν, let them marry, is, quite naturally, the virgin and the young man who asks her in marriage. For there is no reason to suppose that the apostle is alluding, as Rückert has thought, to a definite couple, about whom the Corinthians had addressed a question to him.

    The second case:


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    Bibliography
    Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/1-corinthians-7.html.

    Scofield's Reference Notes

    sinneth

    Sin. (See Scofield "Romans 3:23").


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    Bibliography
    Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/1-corinthians-7.html. 1917.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.

    Ver. 36. If she pass the flower] Childhood is counted the flower of age: so long the apostle would have marriage forborne. While the flower of the plant sprouteth, the seed is green, unfit to be sown.


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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-corinthians-7.html. 1865-1868.

    Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

    The next case, which our apostle speaks to, is concerning virgins, who are under the power of others, (and not at their own disposal,) as parents and guardians, namely, whether it be best and most advisable for them to dispose of their virgins in marriage or not?

    The apostle answers, that in this case particular respect must be had to particular circumstances; as, namely, if she be of marriageable years, and be fully satisfied in his own mind that he wrongs not his daughter in declining to marry her, if he has a perfect freedom in his own will, and his will is not contradicted by his daughter's desire, he doth well, yea, he doth best, not to marry her; best, with respect to the distressed condition of the church, best, with respect to the troubles of the world, which she will be the more free from; and best, with respect to the young woman's liberty and freedom for the service of God, and the exercises of religion.

    Learn hence, That although children are to be disposed of in marriage by their parents, yet parents have no such absolute power over their children, as to hinder them from marriage, or to compel them to it. To do either is very sinful, very unnatural.


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    Burkitt, William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/1-corinthians-7.html. 1700-1703.

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

    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.


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    Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-corinthians-7.html. 1832.

    Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

    1 Corinthians 7:36. τὶς, any man) a parent.— ἀσχημονεῖν) viz. ἑαυτὸν.— τὴν παρθένον αὐτοῦ) a virgin, his daughter.— νομίζει, thinks) Antithesis to, I think (suppose), 1 Corinthians 7:26.— εἂν ὑπέρακμος) if she pass, ἀκμὴν, the flower, of her age without marriage, as it were despised by suitors.— ὀφείλει, it so ought to be [need so require, Engl. V.] [because he cannot see how better to consult the advantage of his daughter.—V. g.], having no necessity, in the following verse is the antithesis.— οὐχʼ ἁμαρτάνει, he sinneth not) The matter is sweetly expressed by short clauses.


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    Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/1-corinthians-7.html. 1897.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely: there is a general and a particular uncomeliness; some things are uncomely with respect to all persons; of such things the apostle doth not here speak; but of a particular uncomeliness with respect to the circumstances of particular persons. Neither doth uncomely here signify a mere indecency and unhandsomeness, but such a behaviour as suiteth not the general rules of the gospel, which judgment is to be ruled by the circumstances of persons, as they more or less desire marriage.

    If she pass the flower of her age; if she be of marriageable years, or rather, if she beginneth to grow old,

    and need so require, and be desirous of marriage, so as the parent seeth reason to fear that, if he gives her not in marriage, she will so dispose of herself without asking her father’s advice or leave, or be exposed, possibly, to worse temptations: which two things seem to interpret that term, if need so require.

    Let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry; in such a case as this a Christian parent shall not sin, if he disposeth her in marriage let her marry to such a person as she loveth, and her parent seeth proper for her. He speaks in the plural number because marriage is between two persons. The reason of this determination is, because the apostle, in his former discourse, had no where condemned a married estate during the present distress of things, as sinful or unlawful, but only as inexpedient, or not so expedient as a single life during the present distress; he had before determined, 1 Corinthians 7:9, that it was better to marry than to burn. Now no inexpediency of a thing can balance what is plainly sinful. If therefore the case be such, that a man or woman must marry, or sin, through marriage brings with it more care and trouble, yet it is to be preferred before plain sinning.


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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-corinthians-7.html. 1685.

    Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

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


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    Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/1-corinthians-7.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

    Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

    36. δέ. On the other hand.

    ἀσχημονεῖν. See Lucian, De Sacrif. c. 7 ἡ Ῥέα δὲ πῶς οὐκ ἀσχημονεῖ; Our modern colloquial English has imitated this expression. It is ‘bad form’ to do this or that. See ch. 1 Corinthians 12:23, 1 Corinthians 13:5, and Romans 1:27; Revelation 16:15. See also εὔσχημον, 1 Corinthians 7:35 and ch. 1 Corinthians 12:23-24, 1 Corinthians 14:40.

    τὴν παρθένον αὐτοῦ. I.e. his daughter. The advice here given is to parents. In St Paul’s time, and in most continental countries now, it is the parents who decide on the marriage of their children. In France, and in some other foreign countries, the young people very often do not even see one another before they are contracted. But St Paul thinks it might in some cases be ‘unseemly’ conduct on the part of a parent to refuse a proposal of marriage for a daughter who desired to serve God in the married state. ‘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. 287) and Greeks (Herm. PrivAlterth. § 30 ff.).’ Meyer.

    ἐὰν ᾖ ὑπέρακμος. Either [1] as A. and R.V., if she be past the flower of her age, or more probably [2] if she have reached the age of maturity, implying her having past the period at which she attained it. The word is not found in classical Greek. In Eustathius, the well-known commentator on Homer, the word is used in sense [1]. Here the context seems to require [2]. The classical equivalent for [1] is παρακμάζω. Aesch. Epist. 10 uses ὑπέρωρον in sense [2].

    καὶ οὕτως ὀφείλει γίνεσθαι. Literally, and so it ought to be; that is, if it be fair and reasonable that the wish of either or both parties should be carried out, and it would be harsh to act otherwise. Some think that the reference is to the disgrace incurred by a maiden, especially a Jewish maiden, who had passed the age of maturity and was still unmarried—a disgrace which also attached to a Jewish father who had not provided a suitable marriage for her. Cf. Sirach 7:25, ‘Marry thy daughter, and thou hast performed a weighty matter.’ The Rabbis advised rather that a slave should be released as a husband for the daughter, than that she should remain unmarried. Others, again, think that the danger of sin (1 Corinthians 10:2; 1 Corinthians 10:5; 1 Corinthians 10:9) is here referred to. See Sirach 42:9.

    γαμείτωσαν. I.e. the daughter and her suitor.


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    "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/1-corinthians-7.html. 1896.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    36. Behaveth himself uncomely—Either by bringing upon her the discredit of celibacy, or exposing her to the danger of incontinence by disregarding her inclinations.

    Pass… flower—And so the plea of immaturity is past. So—Refers to marry at the close of the verse. A closer rendering would be, ought so to become. St. Paul, though recognising the absolute legal authority of the parent, holds that the daughter’s wishes, character, and happiness should be the paramount consideration in the Christian parent’s decision.

    Let him do what he will—What Paul assumes from these considerations will be the father’s purpose.

    Let them—May mean the daughter and her suitor; or it may refer to daughters, generally, in such circumstances.


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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-corinthians-7.html. 1874-1909.

    William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

    36. If any one thinks that he is deporting himself injudiciously toward his virgin, if she may be old enough to marry, and it ought so to be, let him do what he willeth: he does not sin, let them get married.” Here is a case of a Christian father whose daughter has arrived at marriageable age, and has a good opportunity to marry a worthy Christian man; her father, feeling that she will be more efficient for the Lord in celibacy, like Paul, their spiritual father, has refused to give her in matrimony till the matter has assumed the attitude of rather a serious domestic controversy, the daughter and her Christian lover anxious to get married, and her father hitherto having withheld his consent. Now Paul says in that case let the man walk in the light which God gives, following the leading of the Spirit and Providence. “Let him do what he will,” i. e., give his daughter in matrimony or withhold her that she may be a more efficient soul-saver. In either case, he sins not.

    If he decides in favor of matrimony, “let them marry,” i. e., this Christian man’s daughter and her Christian lover. It is all right.


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    Godbey, William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/1-corinthians-7.html.

    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    ‘But if any man thinks that he behaves ignobly towards his virgin, if she be past the flower of her age, and if need so demands, let him do what he will. He does not sin. Let them marry.’

    There is some difficulty in interpreting the following verses in determining whether it is speaking of two persons who are in some sort of platonic relationship or to the relationship of daughter to father, or both. No mention of ‘daughter’ is made in the Greek so that much depends on the interpretation of Greek words. For example does gamizo (1 Corinthians 7:38) mean ‘marry’ or ‘give in marriage’. Both are possible, but the fact that gameo has been used previously may suggest the second. But it is not of vital importance because the principle remains the same whichever we take.

    In this verse reference is made to ‘his virgin’. Does this mean his virgin companion or does it mean his virgin daughter, or both? It may be intended to be inclusive. The use of ‘them’ in ‘let them marry’ slightly favours the first, as only the virgin and the one who is acting on her behalf have previously been mentioned, while connection with 1 Corinthians 7:38 may be seen as supporting the second. However, it may simply be that Paul assumes the husband without mentioning him.

    But the principle is that if the virgin is likely to suffer through her virginity, whether it be emotionally, psychologically, sexually, through the attitudes of society, or in any other way, especially when she begins to get a little older, then she should either be allowed to marry a husband, or her platonic companion should marry her. Her basic needs have to be considered and met, and to do otherwise would be wrong and sinful. In this case for her not to marry would be wrong.


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    Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/1-corinthians-7.html. 2013.

    Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

    Paul urged any man not to feel that he must remain single or that he and his virgin girlfriend (or daughter) must forgo sexual fulfillment after marriage ( 1 Corinthians 7:1-7). He might have been reluctant to marry (or give her in marriage) because of what Paul had written about the single state being preferable ( 1 Corinthians 7:8; 1 Corinthians 7:28-34). He might also have hesitated because of ascetic influences in the church that were due to a false sense of "spirituality" and possibly an overreaction to the fornication in Corinth.

    "Roman and Greek fathers had the control of the marriage of their daughters." [Note: Robertson, 4:135.]


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    Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/1-corinthians-7.html. 2012.

    The Expositor's Greek Testament

    1 Corinthians 7:36. By a contrastive δὲ P. passes from the εὔσχημον at which his dissuasive was aimed, to the ἀσχημονεῖν that might be thought to result in some cases from following it.—The vb(1202) (= ἀσχήμωι εἶναι) signifies either to act unbecomingly (1 Corinthians 13:5), or to suffer disgrace, turpem videri (Vg(1203)); the antithesis, and the ad junct ἐπὶ τὴν παρθένον, dictate the former sense, which is post-classical.—On νομίζε (is of opinion), see 1 Corinthians 7:26. It was socially discreditable, both amongst Greeks and Jews (cf. Sirach 42:9), to keep one’s daughter at home, without obvious reason, for any long period beyond adult age; a Christian father might feel this discredit for his religion’s sake (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:32), and might be reproached as doing his child and society a wrong.— ἐὰν ὑπέρακμος, “if she be past the bloom (of youth)”—the μέτριος χρόνος ἀκμῆς, fixed by Plato (Rep., vi., 460 E) at twenty, the œtas nubilis.— καὶ οὕτως ὀφείλει (see parls.) γίνεσθαι—“and so matters ought to proceed” (pr(1204) inf(1205))—states a further presumable reason for consent: duty may require it—where, e.g., the girl has been promised, or is so situated that a continued veto may give rise to peril or scandal (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:2). In such circumstances the father’s course is clear: “let him do what he wills” ( θέλει); cf. 1 Corinthians 7:35. γαμείτωσανi.e., the daughter and her suitor, the claim of the latter being hinted at in the previous ὀφείλει: pr(1206) impv(1207); “Let the marriage take its course”.


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    Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-corinthians-7.html. 1897-1910.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    Let him do what he will, he sinneth not, &c. The meaning is not as libertines would have it, that persons may do what they will, and not sin; provided they afterwards marry: but that the father with regard to the giving his virgin in marriage, may do as he pleaseth: and that it will be no sin to him if she marries. (Challoner)


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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-corinthians-7.html. 1859.

    Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

    1 Corinthians 7:36 But if any man thinketh that he behaveth himself unseemingly toward his virgin {daughter}, if she be past the flower of her age, and if need so requireth, let him do what he will; he sinneth not; let them marry.

    "that he behaveth himself unseemingly toward his virgin (daughter)"-"is not acting properly" (Gspd) "The arranging of marriages by parents wasn"t a Pauline invention. He took it as he found it." (McGuiggan pp. 117-118)

    Apparently the "unseemingly" behaviour, would be not allowing a daughter to marry, who isn"t cut out for the celibate life. (,9)

    "past the flower of her age"-"beyond the peak, bloom, zenith, etc..", here the word refers to full sexual maturity. (Lenski p. 326); "Past her youth" (TCNT) "With women it frequently is used to refer to "coming of age", especially puberty..for the woman, therefore, it would mean either that she is getting "past her prime", or "was fully developed sexually., and therefore ready for marriage." (Fee p. 352)

    "and if need so requireth"-"if it must be so" (NASV), i.e. and 7:2. "and so the matter is urgent" (Mon); "and it has to be" (RSV)


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    Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/1-corinthians-7.html. 1999-2014.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    think. Same as "suppose", 1 Corinthians 7:26.

    behaveth, &c. = acts unseemly. Greek. aschemoneo. Only here and 1 Corinthians 13:5.

    virgin, i.e. virgin daughter.

    pass, &c. = be of full age. Greek. huperakmos. Only here.

    need so require = it ought to be so.


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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-corinthians-7.html. 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.

    Behaveth ... uncomely - is not treating his daughter becomingly, in leaving her unmarried beyond the flower of her age, and debarring her from lawful gratification as a marriageable woman.

    Need so require - if regard to the feelings and welfare of his daughter require it. Opposed to "having no necessity" (1 Corinthians 7:37).

    Let them marry - the daughter and her suitor.


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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-corinthians-7.html. 1871-8.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (36) But if any man think.—Here the writer turns to the duty of parents, and there is a further explanation to such that the previous expressions are not binding commandments, but apostolic advice. If the case arises that a parent thinks he would be acting unfairly towards his unmarried daughter (i.e., exposing her to temptation) by withholding his permission for her marriage, he ought to do as he feels inclined—i.e., let the lover and his daughter marry.

    Let him do what he will.—This sentence does not—as it may at first sight in the English appear to do—imply that he may consent or not, and whichever course he adopts he does right. It is implied, in the earlier part of the sentence, that he thinks he ought to give his consent, and therefore that is what he wishes to do. Let him do that which he so wills, says St. Paul, and he need not in doing so fear that he does wrong.


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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-corinthians-7.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.
    his virgin
    Some interpret this of a man's continuing in a state of celibacy, and render [parthenos (parqeÑnov)] not a virgin, but virginity; but such a construction of the original appears without example. It appears most obvious to explain it of a parent, or guardian, who had the charge of a virgin; and Kypke has shown that [ ()] is an elegant phrase for his virgin daughter.
    the flower
    1 Samuel 2:33
    and need
    9,37
    he sinneth

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-corinthians-7.html.

    Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians

    But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of (her) age, and need so require, let him do what he will he sinneth not: let them marry.

    This and the following verse are addressed to fathers, for with them, according to the usage both of Jews and Greeks, rested the disposal of the daughters of the family. Though the apostle regarded marriage at that time as inexpedient, he tells fathers that they were perfectly free to exercise their own judgment in giving their daughters in marriage, or keeping them single. If any man (i.e. any father) thinketh he behaveth himself uncomely towards his virgin. The word ( ב ̓ ףקחלןםו ́ ש) may be taken either actively or passively. The meaning may therefore be, ‘If any father think he exposes himself to disgrace by keeping his daughter unmarried;' as it was considered a reproach to be unmarried. Or, ‘If he think that he exposes her to disgrace.' The latter interpretation is to be preferred because agreeable to the common use of the word, and because it is required by the preposition ( ו ̓ ני ́), which indicates the object of the action of the verb. If she pass the flower of her age. This is one of the conditions of the case on which Paul gives his advice. The daughter must be of full age; and secondly, there must be some reason why in her case marriage is necessary: if need so require. The daughter's happiness may be involved. Under these circumstances the father may do what he will; he does not sin in giving his daughter in marriage, and, therefore, let them i.e. the parties) marry. In all cases of indifference, where no moral principle is concerned, our conduct must be regulated by a wise consideration of circumstances. But where a thing is in its own nature either right or wrong, there is no room for discretion.


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    Hodge, Charles. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hdg/1-corinthians-7.html.

    The Bible Study New Testament

    In the case of an engaged couple. In these next verses, Paul discusses the right to marry. He has strongly defended and recommended celibacy because of the present distress. But he does not forbid marriage! He finds no SIN in marriage, and leaves the final decision in each case to the responsible parties involved. Some see in this verse "partners in celibacy," where a couple live together in celibacy like brother and sister, without marriage. The same principle holds true in either case: when physical needs are too strong, it is better to marry than to burn with passion (1 Corinthians 7:9). There is no sin in this. He is not talking about premarital sex (which is sin), but about getting married! "Partners in celibacy" may have believed marriage to be an unholy thing (see note on 1 Corinthians 7:1). But God himself decreed marriage (see note on 1 Corinthians 7:2).


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    Bibliography
    Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "The Bible Study New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/1-corinthians-7.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

    : But if any man thinketh that he behaveth himself unseemingly toward his virgin (daughter), if she be past the flower of her age, and if need so requireth, let him do what he will; he sinneth not; let them marry.

    Verses36-38 are difficult to interpret. Because a proper explanation of the text is complex, some have used this passage to say Paul authorized premarital sex ("let him do what he will"). Paul was not endorsing premarital sexual activity or unmarried cohabitation (these types of activities are forbidden by the information in chapters5,6). Sexual sin will keep people out of heaven ( 1 Corinthians 6:9-11); if people will not repent of it, fellowship must be withdrawn (5:1-5 , 11).

    One of the first problems in interpreting these verses is identifying the "man" at the beginning of verse36. Does this describe the father of a young woman or does it refer to a woman's fianc? Although a strong case can be made for this being a fianc, this commentary accepts the other view (i.e. a young woman's father).

    In the Corinthian's culture, parents often had complete control over their children (this control extended to the point of fathers arranging marriages for their daughters). However, "In the lower social classes from which most of the members of the Corinthian church were drawn the contracting of marriages would often be left to the young people concerned and would not be viewed as the possibility of the parents" (A New Testament Commentary, Howley, Bruce, and Ellison, p390). This background information suggests Paul answered another of the Corinthians' questions. Perhaps they were asking, "What was the father's role in giving away his virgin daughter?" If the father did not arrange his daughter's marriage, what was he supposed to do? What responsibilities did he have?

    If readers wonder why these questions were even asked, Holman () provides a thoughtful answer. "Apparently some members of the Corinthian church sought to control others in these matters, perhaps by pressuring them to pursue the ‘highest' spiritual status." Just as some Christians today want to tell others "how to do things" (i.e. "how to raise children" and "how to be a good Christian"), such appears to have also happened at Corinth. Advice is not wrong and in many cases it is needed. Matters that are not doctrinal, however, need to be decided by each individual or within a person's own family. Christians may offer input and advice to others (usually after it is requested), but they need to be wary of thinking they know how to best guide the lives of other Christians (compare Matthew 7:3-5). We must be busy in the Lord's work, but not busybodies (a meddler in the affairs of others).

    In answering the questions Paul said a father could behave "unseemingly" (uncomely, disgracefully, or dishonorably) towards his daughter. This word (aschemoneo) is a present tense verb and it is only used here and. Gingrich and Danker (p119) defined it as "to feel that one ought to be ashamed" (in the KJV it is translated "uncomely"). It seems to picture a situation where a young lady and her fianc wanted to get married, but the girl's father opposed the marriage. Perhaps the father's opposition was based on the "distress" mentioned in verse26. Whatever the reason, the young lady felt frustration by her father's opposition and her father may have also struggled in telling her no. Another key word is "thinketh" (nomizo). This is a present tense verb and is explained in the commentary on verses26-28.

    In the ASV the text says "virgin (daughter)." In the KJV the text simply reads "virgin." A literal reading of the passage is virgin (the ASV tries to complete the thought by adding the word daughter). In the Greek New Testament there is a standard word for daughter (thugater); Paul could have used this word, but he specifically chose the word virgin (parthenos). We cannot know the exact reason why he chose one word over another, but one wonders if he was not suggesting that purity (i.e. virginity) was considered the normal state of unmarried people who were Christians. From an early age young people need to be taught God's plan for human sexuality. Rather than let children learn the "facts of life" from places like public schools, this instruction needs to be given in the home and be based on God's word.

    The expression "if she be past the flower of her age" comes from a single word (huperakmos) that is found only here in the New Testament. It is an adjective and it is formed from two different Greek words. The first part of the term is based on a preposition (huper) that meant "above, beyond." The remainder of the word is based on a noun (akme) that meant "the peak of development" or "climax." Here the word may mean one of two things. It could "refer to a woman who has exceeded the age of marriageability and whose father or guardian is concerned that she marry. It may also refer to a man whose sexual desire is on the verge of being out of control with the woman to whom he is engaged" (CBL, GED, ). Whichever view is right (and this commentary accepts this first view), the term tells us Paul was dealing with ladies old enough to marry (Plato said the "flower" of a girl's age was20 years old). Paul was not dealing with "under-age" girls-he described women mature enough to understand why it was unwise to marry at this time (verse26 , "distress"). Bengel (2:206) described these women as "Without marriage, as if despised by suitors."

    Another important detail is found in the words, "and if need so require" (this relates to the information in verses2,9). Paul realized there are those who need marriage to avoid sexual temptation and fornication. If young women needed to marry to satisfy their physical desires, this was acceptable (verse28 and Hebrews 13:4). The word translated need (opheilo) is also used in7:3. Here it means "general necessity" (Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, 2:551).

    Earlier in this chapter Paul told fathers their daughters could marry (verses2 , 9 , 28). Fathers knew what was right, but Paul still provided more information. He went out of his way to tell fathers that if their daughters wed, and they supported the marriages, this would be acceptable to God 36b: "Let him do what he will (allow the marriage, BP); he sinneth not: let them marry"]. Though the marriage of a daughter was permissible, Paul knew some fathers might still be hesitant. Thus, he continued to make his point in verses37-38.


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

    Bibliography
    Price, Brad "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:36". "Living By Faith: Commentary on Romans". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bpc/1-corinthians-7.html.

    Lectionary Calendar
    Saturday, October 31st, 2020
    the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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