1 CORINTHIANS CHAPTER 7

OBSERVATION STAGE

The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand within the normative rules of language, context and logic  which limits the observer to the content offered by the letter of 1 Corinthians especially the previous chapters. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture utilizing the same normative rules of reading / interpretation.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.

Manuscript Evidence from The New Testament And Translation Commentary, Philip W. Comfort, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Ill.

****** EXCERPT FROM 1 COR CHAPTER 6 ******

OR MOVE TO FIRST VERSE OF CHAPTER SEVEN 

[(1 Cor 6:12-20) Commentary On 1 Cor 6:15-20]:

(1 Cor 6:12 NASB) '''All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

(1 Cor 6:13 NASB) Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.

(1 Cor 6:14 NASB) Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power,

(1 Cor 6:15 NASB) Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be!

(1 Cor 6:16 NASB) Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, "The two shall become one flesh."

(1 Cor 6:17 NASB) But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

(1 Cor 6:18 NASB) Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.

(1 Cor 6:19 NASB) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, Whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

(1 Cor 6:20 NKJV) For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.'''

In 1 Cor 6:15, Paul paints an horrific picture: "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? [His emphatic answer is] 'May it never be!' [For the temporal world as it is since the Fall will all be done away with]. So author and apostle Paul continues to write of what believers are responsible for relative to their temporal bodies - mind, body and soul.

So in 1 Cor 6:16, Paul wrote '''Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, "The two shall become one flesh." ''' This implies that there is an effect - in this case a deleterious effect which both individuals have upon one another when they have intercourse when it is outside the bounds of marriage, i.e., immoral. Perhaps the most evident effect of immoral behavior is the one that is upon the mind / ones thinking which thinking is in opposition to the mindset of God and His Righteousness, even self-destructive emotionally and spiritually. For example, while committing immoral acts, ones emotions will distract one from maintaining a productive temporal / spiritual life misdirecting it toward the immorality one is committing instead of focusing upon and walking in, (not according to), the Light of Jesus Christ . At the very least, time spent in immoral behavior could have been best spent in enhancing ones spiritual life and one's value toward earning rewards in heaven at the Judgment Seat of Christ .

Whereupon in 1 Cor 6:17 Paul wrote, "But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him," in the sense of the believer who directs his mortal life toward faithfulness / responding positively toward studying and obeying the directions of God's Word, especially the epistles of the Greek [New Testament] bible leading to a oneness in spirit, i.e., a spiritual harmony One [God the Father] with another [His child, the believer - the absolutely Righteous and infinite God with His flawed, finite child, insofar that it is limited by the finite capacity of the believer in limited harmony with the infinite capacity of God his Father which provides the most beneficial position for one's eternal existence, allowing for the grace of God to eternally bless his child all the more.

Then in 1 Cor 6:18 which reads, "Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body," addresses the depreciating spiritual / eternal value to the believer while he is committing immorality - especially immorality which involves ones physical body.

Finally, in 1 Cor 6:19-20, Paul writes as follows:

(1 Cor 6:19 NASB) "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, Whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

(1 Cor 6:20 NKJV) For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's;''' 

In 1 Cor 6:19 Paul writes to the believer that he should know that his body is a temple of the Holy Spirit Who resides in him, Whom he has as a gift from God Who gave the Spirit to the believer to be forever in him; and thereby the believer is no longer his own self but he is not the possession - the eternal possession - of God. These two verses address the future experience we will have in eternity, i.e., our eternal destiny for which all believers are to mainly focus upon: their eternal destiny; and not have their chief focus upon the temporal past or present or even future. That said, temporal matters are to be attended to in order to enhance one's eternal destiny; not the least of which is to maximize the potential of their bodies in order to best serve the Lord out of gratitude and for eternal rewards - as Scripture commands. That means healthy diet, exercise, rest, leading a moral lifestyle, proper study of Scripture to learn and share with others - even to regularly place oneself in position to share that learning with others. For Paul reminds us that we should know that the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit referring to the Spirit's occupying of the believer's human spirit in order to enhance the believer's eternity all the more as the believer responds positively to the Spirit's leading .

And as it states in 1 Cor 6:20, we believers are to act in accordance with our eternal position in Christ as given to us via the indwelling Holy Spirit out of gratitude for the price which we were bought with by Jesus Christ on the cross in payment for our sins of the whole world.

[(1 Cor 6:15-20) Bible Knowledge Commentary On 1 Cor 6:15-20]:

"6:15-17. So too the work of the Spirit (cf. 12:13) has affected Christians' present destiny and joined them to Christ (6:15). Could a Christian practice immorality without grieving Christ? (cf. 12:26) Never!

The union of two people involves more than physical contact. It is also a union of personalities which, however transient, alters both of them (6:16). Paul quoted Genesis 2:24 (The two will become one flesh) not to affirm that a man and a prostitute are married but to indicate the gravity of the sin (cf. Eph. 5:31-32).

A Christian's union with Christ likewise affects both him and the Savior, and one cannot act without affecting the other.

6:18. Corinthian Christians, when faced with immorality, should respond as did Joseph (Gen. 39:12) - they should run. Flee from sexual immorality. Immorality was a unique sin but not the most serious (cf. Matt. 12:32). It was, however, an offense against the sinner and those with whom he was related.

It is possible that the statement All other sins a man commits are outside his body (the word "other" is a translator's addition and is not represented by any word in the Gr. text) should be taken as a third slogan (cf. 1 Cor. 6:12-13) bandied about by some in Corinth. If so, then Paul's rejoinder (he who sins sexually sins against his own body) is a straight-forward denial. The Greek construction is similar to that in verse 13.

6:19-20. Among those grieved was the Holy Spirit Who indwells every Christian (Who is in you; cf. 12:13; 1 John 3:24). Also God the Father is grieved, for He seeks honor (Matt. 5:16), not shame, from those who are bought at a price (cf. 1 Cor. 7:23), that price being "the precious blood of Christ" (1 Peter 1:19)."

[(1 Cor 6:15-20) Expositor's Commentary On 1 Cor 6:15-20]:

'''Every action we contemplate should be tested by two questions: "Is it beneficial?" and "Will it overpower and enslave me and so have a detrimental effect on the church and my testimony for Christ?" Hodge (in loc.) entitles this section "Abuses of the Principle of Christian Liberty" but the passage includes far more than that. The main thrust of these verses argues against sexual immorality and for the glorifying of God in the Christian's body.

15-17 A further argument that the Christian's body is for the Lord is that God's people are members of his mystical body (cf. 1 Cor 12:27). So Christians may not unite their bodies with that of a prostitute. For they should understand that sexual relations involve more than a physical act - they join the two persons together (v. 16; quoting from Gen 2:24; cf. Matt 19:5). Since Christians have been joined in union to the Lord, they dare not form another union with a prostitute. Verse 17 states the case even more strongly: the one who cleaves (kollomenos) to a prostitute is one body with her, but the one who cleaves (kollomenos) to the Lord is united to him spiritually. In saying this, Paul is not making the union of normal marriage mutually exclusive of the union of God with his people. In Ephesians 5:21-32 Paul teaches that the human marriage union is valid and is to be viewed in the light of the Christian's higher union with the Lord - the wife to be subject to her husband "as to the Lord" and the husband to love his wife "as Christ loved the church" What Paul argues against in 1 Corinthians 6:15-17 is that the unholy union with a prostitute is a wicked perversion of the divinely established marriage union.

Notes on v. 15

15 The negative optative μὴ γένοιτο (me genoito) indicates a strong wish - literally tr. "may it not be," more freely rendered, "Never!" "By no means!" "Perish the thought!" Robertson calls this use of the optative the volitive, which stresses the wish, the will (A.T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, 5th ed. [New York: Harper and Brothers, 1923], pp. 936, 937)."

18 Paul goes on to say that the one who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body - that is, by weakening and perverting the very life process, as well as human character. In contrast, other sins are "outside the body."

19, 20 Now Paul talks positively about how the Christian should view his body. First, he should consider that his body, including his whole personality, is the temple - the sacred dwelling place - of God, the Holy Spirit (cf. the Shekinah glory in the tabernacle, Exod 40:34). Second, the Christian has received the Spirit from God to help him against sin. Third, the Christian has no right to pervert and misuse his body, for he is not his own master but has been purchased by God for a price (v. 20). That price, though not mentioned here, is the blood of Jesus Christ (Eph 1:7; 1Pet 1:18, 19 et al.). The picture is of a slave of sin (Rom 6:17; cf. 1Cor 7:23) being purchased from the horrible system of slavery.

The conclusion of the matter is that the Christian is to glorify God in his body. Because "body" and "temple" are both singular, some understand the teaching to be that not only each believer's body is a temple, but the whole body of believers is a temple (Grosheide, in loc.). However, since in the context Paul is writing about individuals and since the individual Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, it is best to understand v. 19 to mean that each individual Christian's body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. (Naos is the temple itself [cf. John 2:20, 21] in distinction from hieron, the entire temple area.)

"You were bought" is in the aorist tense, pointing back to Christ's redemptive work on the cross (Matt 20:28). There may be implications of the Christian's having been freed from becoming overpowered by sin (Rom 6:17, 18) and Satan (Col 1:13) and being benevolently enslaved to Christ (Rom 1:1) and to righteousness (Rom 6:18) in reflection of the Corinthian situation in which the "slave was from the time of his manumission the slave of the god" (Craig, in loc.)'''

Notes

16 The ὀἴδατε (oidate, "know") in vv. 16, 19 goes beyond just knowing a fact. It implies recognition and understanding. The negative οὐκ (ouk) with a question implies in the argument a positive reply. The verb κολλάω (kollao, "cleave") in this participial form, which can be taken as a middle as the context suggests, stresses the sexual offender's personal initiative and responsibility "he joins himself to" the prostitute.

Whereas the Gen 2:24 quotation uses σαρξ (sa/rx, "flesh") in LXX, Paul uses the word σῶμα (soma, "body"), but the same idea is in mind: the physico-spiritual life of the individuals is involved.

18 The present tense (durative action) of φεύγετε (pheugete), meaning "be fleeing from," suggests that constant vigilance against sexual immorality is called for.

20 The words "and in your spirit, which are God's," found in KJV, are not supported by many of the best ancient MSS and are not necessary nor central to Paul's argument regarding the Christian's use of his body. The words may have been added by scribes in later MSS, first in the margin and then in the text, to complete the thought on the nature of man as body and spirit and "to soften Paul's abruptness" (B.M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament [New York: United Bible Societies, 1971], p. 553).

****** END OF EXCERPT FROM 1 COR CHAPTER 6 ******

I) [1 Cor 7:1-40]:

(1 Cor 7:1 NASB) Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.

(1 Cor 7:2 NASB) But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.

(1 Cor 7:3 NASB) The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.

(1 Cor 7:4 NASB) The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

(1 Cor 7:5 NASB) Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

(1 Cor 7:6 NASB) But this I say by way of concession, not of command.

(1 Cor 7:7 NASB) Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.

(1 Cor 7:8 NASB) But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I,

(1 Cor 7:9 (NASB) But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

(1 Cor 7:10 NASB) But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband

(1 Cor 7:11 NASB) (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

(1 Cor 7:12 NASB) But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her.

(1 Cor 7:13 NASB) And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.

(1 Cor 7:14 NASB) For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.
 
(1 Cor 7:15 NASB) Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.

(1 Cor 7:16 NASB) For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

(1 Cor 7:17 NASB) [Nevertheless], as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches.

(1 Cor 7:18 NASB) Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised.

(1 Cor 7:19 NASB) Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.

(1 Cor 7:20 NASB) Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called.

(1 Cor 7:21 NASB) Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that.

(1 Cor 7:22 NASB) For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave.

(1 Cor 7:23 NASB) You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.

(1 Cor 7:24 NASB) Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called.

(1 Cor 7:25 NASB) Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy.

(1 Cor 7:26 NASB) I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is.

(1 Cor 7:27 NASB) Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.

(1 Cor 7:28 NASB) But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you.

(1 Cor 7:29 NASB) But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none;

(1 Cor 7:30 NASB) and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess;

(1 Cor 7:31 NASB) and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.

(1 Cor 7:32 NASB) But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;

(1 Cor 7:33 NASB) but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,

(1 Cor 7:34 NASB) and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

(1 Cor 7:35 NKJV) And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.  

(1 Cor 7:36 NASB) 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.

(1 Cor 7:37 NASB) But he who stands firm in his heart, being under no constraint, but has authority over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well.

(1 Cor 7:38 HCSB) So then he who marries his virgin does well, but he who does not marry will do better.

(1 Cor 7:39 NASB) A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

(1 Cor 7:40 NASB) But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God."

A) [(1 Cor 6:19-20 & 7:1-2) Commentary On 1 Cor 7:1-2]:


(1 Cor 6:19 NASB)
"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, Whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

(1 Cor 6:20 NKJV) For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's;''' 

(1 Cor 7:1 NASB) "Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.

(1 Cor 7:2 NASB) But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband."

In 1 Cor 6:19 Paul writes to the believer that he should know that his body is a temple of the Holy Spirit Who resides in him, Whom he has as a gift from God Who gave the Spirit to the believer to be forever in him; and thereby the believer is no longer his own self but he is not the possession - the eternal possession - of God. These two verses address the future experience we will have in eternity, i.e., our eternal destiny for which all believers are to mainly focus upon: their eternal destiny; and not have their chief focus upon the temporal past or present or even future. That said, temporal matters are to be attended to in order to enhance one's eternal destiny; not the least of which is to maximize the potential of their bodies in order to best serve the Lord out of gratitude and for eternal rewards - as Scripture commands. That means healthy diet, exercise, rest, leading a moral lifestyle, proper study of Scripture to learn and share with others - even to regularly place oneself in position to share that learning with others. For Paul reminds us that we should know that the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit referring to the Spirit's occupying of the believer's human spirit in order to enhance the believer's eternity all the more as the believer responds positively to the Spirit's leading .

And as it states in 1 Cor 6:20, we believers are to act in accordance with our eternal position in Christ as given to us via the indwelling Holy Spirit out of gratitude for the price which we were bought with by Jesus Christ on the cross in payment for our sins of the whole world.

Therefore, Paul turns in chapter 7 to marriage in 1 Cor 7:1-2 which reads, 

(1 Cor 7:1 NASB) "Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.

(1 Cor 7:2 NASB) But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband." 

1) [(1 Cor 7:1) Manuscript Evidence]:

(1 Cor 7:1 NASB) "Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman."

WH NU p46, Sinaiticus, B, C, 33, 1739 have "concerning the things you wrote"
TR, A, D, F, G, Psi, Maj have "concerning the things you wrote to me"

The WH NU reading has the testimony of the earliest manuscripts, as well as that of 33 and 1739. The addition in TR makes explicit what is implicit in the text - namely, that Paul was referring to a letter that the Corinthians had sent to him.

So it is evidently up to the individual believer whether to be married or not - as led by the Holy Spirit and depending upon circumstances orchestrated by the sovereignty of God, but in accordance with the volition of the individual. In one case Paul makes the case that it is good for a man not to touch a woman in the sense of sexual intercourse, with the presumption of being married, implying that he might better serve the Lord with less divided attention to his / her responsibilities to the spouse. On the other hand, Paul emphatically states that "because of immoralities in society, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband so that temptations might not impede or even destroy the individual's service to the Lord. This second choice might be made because of one being too distracted by the temptations of this world, especially sexual temptations, which would distract one from ones service to the Lord. Either choice - to be married or stay single evidently depending upon the individual's circumstances as sovereignly implemented by God yet as directed by that individual's volition, and by the leading of the Holy Spirit, yet as determined by the volition of the individual, and never contradicting God's foreordination and decrees .

2) [(1 Cor 6:19-20; 7:1-2) Compare Expositor's Bible Commentary On 1 Cor 7:1-2]:

(1 Cor 6:19 NASB) "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, Whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

(1 Cor 6:20 NKJV) For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's;''' 

(1 Cor 7:1 NASB) "Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.

(1 Cor 7:2 NASB) But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband."

"Christian obligations in marriage (7:1-16)

1 As to the question of the church on the pros and cons of being married, Paul may seem to agree completely with those who argued for a celibate life, and this in contrast to Genesis 2:18, "It is not good that the man should be alone" (RSV) and the usual Jewish view in favor of the married state. (The rabbis considered that marriage was an "unqualified duty for a man" [Craig, in loc.].) But Paul's statement of 7:1 is not to be taken absolutely; it is his suggestion specifically for Corinth because of some present crisis there that he refers to in 7:26 (cf. 7:29, 35). Part of this crisis may have been connected with possible times of persecution they might have to suffer for the Lord.

It is difficult to hold, as some do, that Paul here is teaching against marriage because he felt the second coming of Christ was necessarily near (Craig, in loc., and Parry, in loc.). If that were his position, he would naturally have argued against marriage in his other letters also. In Ephesians 5 and 1 Timothy 3 he speaks in favor of marriage. Further, in 1 Timothy 4:1-3 Paul states that "forbidding to marry" is one of the signs of the approaching end-time apostasy, and in Hebrews 13:4 it is said that "marriage should be honored." 

[Note from biblestudymanuals.net: Paul's epistles no where indicate that the Second Coming of Christ was near; especially since the Rapture would have taken out the church before the Second Coming 7 years earlier and thus being married or not being married on account of the imminency of the Second Coming would have been an issue because the church would not have been on the earth at the time of the Second Coming. It would have been caught up into heaven 7 years before the commencement of the 7 year Tribulation Period, . Secondly neither the Rapture nor the Second Coming were imminent because none of the events of the 7 year tribulation period which beginning of that period was co-imminent with the Rapture had occurred and still have not occurred to this day . So marriage would not have been an issue during the first century AD because of the Rapture or the Second Coming being imminent. And we have had more than 2,000 years taking place with no indication of an approaching Rapture / Second Coming]

2 cont.) [Expositor's Bible Commentary, cont.]:

"As Hodge has remarked, distresses and crises are connected with both the first and second comings of Christ and, we could add, in the time in between (1 Corinthians, in loc.; cf. Matt 24:3-14; 1 Peter 1:10-12). However, reference to "crises" (7:26) need not be pressed to mean that the Corinthian Christians should not get married because the Lord was to come shortly.

2-7 Having said that it would be good under the present circumstances not to get married, Paul hastens to add that the general rule for marriage should apply. The reason, especially true at Corinth, is the prevalence of sexual immorality - porneias is plural - and they also might be tempted to fall into this sin. Since the temptation might affect either sex, Paul specifies that each man is to have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

So that there will not be abnormal situations in the Christian marital status that may lead to sexual immorality (v. 5), the apostle gives instruction as to the normal sexual behavior and attitude that the Christian man and wife should have (vv. 3-6), and in doing so he argues against a forced asceticism."

3) [(1 Cor 6:19-20; 7:1-2) Compare Bible Knowledge Commentary On 1 Cor 7:1-2]:

(1 Cor 6:19 NASB) "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, Whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

(1 Cor 6:20 NKJV) For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's;''' 

(1 Cor 7:1 NASB) "Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.

(1 Cor 7:2 NASB) But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband."

"A. Counsel concerning marriage (chap. 7)

1. Marriage And Celibacy (7:1-9)

Paul had spoken in chapter 6 on the dangers of sexuality outside of marriage. Then he turned to the duty of sexuality within marriage. Probably abandonment of marital duties on the part of some in Corinth had contributed to the immorality he had just described.

7:1. The phrase not to marry may be an overtranslation of the Greek phrase "not to touch a woman." Paul probably intended it as a euphemism for sexual intercourse (cf. Gen. 20:6; Prov. 6:29). This too may have been a slogan for some in Corinth (cf. 1 Cor. 6:12-13) who argued that even those who were married should abstain from sexual intercourse. All that Paul said, however, was that celibacy was a good state and not to be depreciated.

7:2. However, marriage with sexual intercourse was much more common. For an individual to try to maintain a celibate state apart from the enablement of God (cf. v. 7) would lead to immorality. For that reason Paul encouraged people to marry."

B) [(1 Cor 7:1-9) Commentary On 1 Cor 7:3-9]:

(1 Cor 7:1 NASB) "Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.

(1 Cor 7:2 NASB) But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.

(1 Cor 7:3 NASB) The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.

(1 Cor 7:4 NASB) The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

(1 Cor 7:5 NASB) Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

(1 Cor 7:6 NASB) But this I say by way of concession, not of command.

(1 Cor 7:7 NASB) Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.

(1 Cor 7:8 NASB) But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I,

(1 Cor 7:9 NASB) But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion;" [presuming one's sex-life is sufficient to satisfy ones needs]

1) [(1 Cor 7:3) Manuscript Evidence for 1 Cor 7:3]:

(1 Cor 7:3 NASB) "The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband."

WH NU p11, p46, Sinaiticus, A, B, C, D, F, G, Psi, 33, 1739, cop have "the husband [must] fulfill his [marital] duty to his wife."

TR, Maj, syr has "the husband [must] give his wife the kindness that is due [her]"

The WH, NU reading is strongly supported by the manuscript evidence. The varient reveals that some translator or scribe tried to soften Paul's command that a husband had an obligation to satisfy his wife sexually.

So in view of the fact that the world of the Corinthian believers was largely immoral which especially included sexual immorality - as well as the world of today almost everywhere, Paul recommended one not be married:

(1 Cor 7:1 NASB) "Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman."

or because of such immoralities:

(1 Cor 7:2 NASB) "But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband."

Each to have his own spouse is thus recommended because of immoralities which evidently were very influential in the Corinthian society - and evidently influential throughout the ages unto today. These recommendations were not commanded by Paul, (cp 1 Cor 7:6 NASB: "But this I say by way of concession, not of command.")

Whereupon in 1 Cor 7:3, Paul wrote about the duties that husbands and wives have toward one another especially in view is sexual intercourse with one another:

(1 Cor 7:3 NASB) The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.

(1 Cor 7:4 NASB) The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does."

2) [(1 Cor 7:5) Manuscript Evidence for 1 Cor 7:5]:

(1 Cor 7:5 NASB) "Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."

WH, NU, p11(vid), p46, Sinaiticus*, A, B, C, D, F,  G, psi, 1739, cop have "you may devote yourselves to prayer

variant/ TR, Sinaiticus2, Maj, syr have "you may devote yourselves to fasting and to prayer"

The addition, which is late, reflect the ascetic tendencies of certain scribes influenced by the monastic movement. Paul would probably not be calling for one form of abstinence - fasting - in the same passage where he is clearly speaking against sexual abstinence.

Furthermore, Paul wrote in 1 Cor 7:5 in consideration that the believers in Corinth were indeed depriving one another of sexual intercourse which put their spouses in jeopardy of being tempted because they are characterized themselves as lacking in self-control:

(1 Cor 7:5 NASB) Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Paul stated that spouses should agree to have intercourse at certain / regular times with one another to accommodate one another's needs so that they will not jeopardize one another into temptation because of their lack of control as Paul declared they had. Even in this day and place, this is good to follow Paul's commands. 

But in 1 Cor 7:6 Paul writes of the final analysis relative to this matters: he indicates that believers are to take Paul's words advisedly, i.e., by way of concession not by way of command:

(1 Cor 7:6 NASB) "But this I say by way of concession, not of command."

Paul then wrote in 1 Cor 7:7-9,
"Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that. (1 Cor 7:8 NASB) But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I, (1 Cor 7:9 NASB) But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion;" [presuming your sex-life is sufficient]"

3) [(1 Cor 7:9) Manuscript Evidence for 1 Cor 7:9]:

(1 Cor 7:9 NASB) "But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion;" [presuming your sex-life is sufficient]"

TR, NU, p46, Sinaiticus2, B, C2, D, F, G, Psi, 1739, Maj have the aorist verb rendered "to marry"

This is a change from previous editions of the Nestle text (and from WH, which read the present verb "gamein," based on Sinaiticus*, A, C*, 33. The latter word suggests "living in a state of marriage;" whereas the former connotes nothing more than "getting married." As such, the Greek word, "gamesai" is more natural in the immediate context. It is better to get married than to burn."


So in 1 Cor 7:9 which reads in the NASB, "But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion; [presuming your sex-life is sufficient]," Paul wrote of his own personal experience - he was single and celibate. He chose to remain unmarried and celibate, indicating that for him it potentially offered him a better scenario to remain more faithful which implied that this might be the case a believer's service to God. So when one is single / without a spouse, ones attention and responsibilities are not so divided because the single / celibate believer has more and greater opportunity to better serve the Lord. Yet Paul indicated that each believer received different gifts with which to serve God with his own personal choices. So there indeed was an allowance for the personal volition of each believer to enter into how he might chose to conduct his life before God.

On the other hand, God is sovereign. He has foreordained, decreed and implemented all things; yet never does God override the volition of man. So man will choose what he will choose, but it will never contradict what God has already foreordained, decreed and implemented . So Scripture commands each individual 
believer to an ongoing and diligent study of God's Word so that he might conduct his / her life in accordance with God's commands via the leading of the Holy Spirit within and the circumstances which God has provided for His child in order to choose to make godly choices - even making provision for forgiveness of sins through confession of known sins and purification from all temporal sins up to that confession when His child makes the wrong choice which he will constantly make, ( ).

4) [(1 Cor 7:1-9) Bible Knowledge Commentary On 1 Cor 7:3-9]:

(1 Cor 7:1 NASB) "Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.

(1 Cor 7:2 NASB) But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.

(1 Cor 7:3 NASB) The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.

(1 Cor 7:4 NASB) The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

(1 Cor 7:5 NASB) Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

(1 Cor 7:6 NASB) But this I say by way of concession, not of command.

(1 Cor 7:7 NASB) Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.

(1 Cor 7:8 NASB) But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I,

(1 Cor 7:9 NASB) But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion;" [presuming your sex-life is sufficient]

"7:3-4. Paul stressed the equality and reciprocity of the husband and wife's sexual relationship by emphasizing the responsibilities of each to satisfy the other.

7:5. Some in Corinth were trying to practice celibacy within marriage. Apparently this refraining from sex within marriage was a unilateral decision of one partner, not a mutually agreed-on decision (vv. 3-4). Such a practice sometimes led to immorality on the part of the other mate (v. 5b; cf. v. 2). Paul commanded that they stop this sort of thing unless three conditions were met: (a) The abstention from sexual intercourse was to be a matter of mutual consent on the part of both husband and wife. (b) They were to agree beforehand on a time period at the end of which normal intercourse would be resumed. (c) This refraining was to enable them to devote themselves to prayer in a concentrated way.

7:6. Paul presented this possibility for temporary abstention from sexual intercourse in marriage as a concession if the preceding stipulations were met. He did not want his advice construed as a command. The suggestion that Paul was referring to marriage itself as a "concession" is unlikely in view of Genesis 1:28, the first command to mankind in the Bible, and in view of Paul's Jewish background where marriage was obligatory for all men except the sexually impotent (Mishnah Niddah 5.9).

7:7. Paul, however, did not want any stigma to be attached to the single state, so he affirmed, as he had done earlier (v. 1), that celibacy was good. Paul, in fact, thought it to be an excellent state, and wished that everyone could see the benefits of celibacy from his point of view. He realized, however, that marriage or remaining single was more than a matter of weighing alternative benefits; each was a gift from God. It is God who enables each Christian to be married or single (cf. Matt. 19:12).

7:8-9. What Paul wrote in verses 1-2 he now pointedly applied to those in Corinth who were unmarried but were sexually experienced (cf. "virgins," v. 25). The unmarried included divorced persons of both sexes as well as widowers, with widows mentioned separately (cf. vv. 39-40). For these Paul affirmed the suitability of remaining single, if they had the appropriate enablement from God (v. 7). Paul, no armchair theologian, anticipated the practical question of how a person can know whether he or she is able to remain celibate. Paul gave his judgment; if one lacks sexual control, he does not have the gift of celibacy, and should marry."

5) [(1 Cor 7:1-9) Expositor's Bible Commentary On 1 Cor 7:2-9]:

(1 Cor 7:1 NASB) "Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.

(1 Cor 7:2 NASB) But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.

(1 Cor 7:3 NASB) The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.

(1 Cor 7:4 NASB) The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

(1 Cor 7:5 NASB) Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

(1 Cor 7:6 NASB) But this I say by way of concession, not of command.

(1 Cor 7:7 NASB) Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.

(1 Cor 7:8 NASB) But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I,

(1 Cor 7:9 NASB) But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion;" [presuming your sex-life is sufficient]

"2-7 Having said that it would be good under the present circumstances not to get married, Paul hastens to add that the general rule for marriage should apply. The reason, especially true at Corinth, is the prevalence of sexual immorality - porneias is plural - and they also might be tempted to fall into this sin. Since the temptation might affect either sex, Paul specifies that each man is to have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

So that there will not be abnormal situations in the Christian marital status that may lead to sexual immorality (v. 5), the apostle gives instruction as to the normal sexual behavior and attitude that the Christian man and wife should have (vv. 3-6), and in doing so he argues against a forced asceticism. He argues that they should have normal sexual relations and he strengthens his argument by stating that the bodies of the marriage partners belong to each other. The verb exousiazo literally means "has rights over"; that is, "has exclusive claim to," which has already been shown in the teaching of 1 Corinthians 6:16, "the two will become one flesh." Having stated the principle in v. 4, Paul adds the command that husbands and wives are not to withhold these normal marital rights from each other, except by mutual consent and agreement, and that only for a specified purpose and a specified period of time (v. 5). This he says is so that they may spend time in prayer - i.e., that as those who are also united to Christ (6:17), they may exercise their rights and privileges in communing with God. But when this separate time of prayer is over, the married pair are to come together again, lest Satan tempt one or the other partner with sexual immorality because of their possible lack of sexual self-control. Paul recognizes the strong but normal sexual drive in the human being (cf. Gen 1:28, "be fruitful... fill the earth").

The present tense of the verb apostereite ("deprive") in the prohibition in v. 5 indicates that some at Corinth were practicing a kind of celibacy within marriage. The construction may be translated, "Do not deprive one another (as you are doing)," or "Stop depriving one another." Through the word kairon, "time" - i.e., a specific period of time - the apostle impresses on Christians the limitation of time to apply for marriage partners to agree to be parted from one another.

Paul is quick to point out that Satan, the enemy of Christians (1 Peter 5:8), is present to motivate the people of God to use even good and normal human processes wrongly and so to displease God.

When Paul states (in v. 6) that he says "this" not by direct command (from the Lord) but by permission or concession (syngnomen), it is not clear what the "this" refers to (cf. Hodge, in loc.). Some refer it to v. 5, "come together again," but this thought is in a subordinate clause and does not fit the context that husband and wife were to be separated only for a limited time. Others refer it to the whole of v. 5, with the inference that they could separate for other reasons than that given in v. 5 and for unlimited periods, but this is against the commands of vv. 3, 4. So it is better to understand "this" to refer to v. 2, indicating that though marriage is desirable and is according to God's creation plan, it is not mandatory. That this is Paul's meaning is evident from v. 7 where he says he really wishes all men were single like him. However, he recognizes that God gives each man his own gracious gift (v. 7). Some are given the desire or the inclination to be married, and some have the power to refrain from marriage. Charisma ("gift of grace") seems to mean the wholesome inclination given by God either to pursue marriage or to refrain from it.

8, 9 Paul gives advice to the single, whom he now classifies as the unmarried and the widows. It is, he states, good or advisable (kalon, cf. v. 1) for them to remain in their single state for the reasons spelled out in 7:26, 32-35. (Observe that in another situation Paul counsels the younger widows to marry [1Tim 5:14].) But now he hastens to add a postscript. If the situation is such that these persons cannot control their sexual desires, they should marry. The explanation (gar, "for") Paul gives is that it is better to get married than be inflamed with sexual desire, which is hard to control outside of marriage. Pyrousthai, related to pyr ("fire"), means "burn" or "be enflamed," and is here used figuratively of sexual desire."

C) [(1 Cor 7:10-16) Commentary On 1 Cor 7:10-16]:

(1 Cor 7:10 NASB) "But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband

(1 Cor 7:11 NASB) (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

(1 Cor 7:12 NASB) But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her.

(1 Cor 7:13 NASB) And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.

(1 Cor 7:14 NASB) For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.
 
(1 Cor 7:15 NASB) Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.

(1 Cor 7:16 NASB) For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?"

So Paul writes in 1 Cor 7:10-16 on the matter of marriage - instructions / commands which come through the apostle Paul but express instructions from the Lord, with believers in view, beginning with dissolving or not dissolving ones marriage in 1 Cor 7:10-11: "But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband. So the wife is not to leave her husband, (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife." Paul gives instructions to married people qualifying those intructions as being not from himself but commands from the Lord; yet at the same time allowing for circumstances wherein there is a divorce with no particulars stipulated. Yet these are the Lord's instructions, not just suggestions from Paul. These instructions are commands in 1 Cor 7:11 and elsewhere in Scripture on the particular subject of divorce: the wife should not leave her husband which is qualified by: "but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband. Likewise if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband, and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

Paul also writes in 
1 Cor 7:12-14 "to the rest I say, not the Lord" in the sense that this is Paul's admonition, not necessarily a command from the Lord to the rest of those who are affiliated with the church at Corinth and elsewhere, i.e., to those believers who are are married to unbelievers as follows:

(1 Cor 7:12 NASB) "But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her.

(1 Cor 7:13 NASB) And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.

(1 Cor 7:14 NASB) For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy."

1) [(1 Cor 7:14) Manuscript Evidence for 1 Cor 7:14]:

(1 Cor 7:14 NASB) "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy."

All three editons TR, WH, NU, p46, Sinaiticus*, A, B, C and in all English versions have 
"for the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife."
 
Some Western witnesses such as D, F, G, syr(h) add "the believing" to "wife" to make explicit what is already implicit in the text: The wife has to be a believer in order to sanctify her unbelieving husband.
So if a believer has a spouse who is an unbeliever and that unbelieving spouse consents to live with the believer, then Paul declares that the believer should not divorce the spouse. This is applicable for both men and women. No distinctions are made. And Paul gives the explanation that the unbelieving spouse who remains in the marriage is thereby sanctified in the sense of set apart under God's  protection and blessings afforded to the believing spouse as well as any children that come from that union. Paul stipulates that outside of the umbrella of the marriage with an unbeliever, the children are unclean, but inside they are holy, i.e., set apart to God - His blessings and protection.

So continuing on in 1 Cor 7:12-14, which reads, 
(1 Cor 7:12 NASB) "But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. (1 Cor 7:13 NASB) And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. (1 Cor 7:14 NASB) For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy." - Paul was giving personal advise and not a command from the Lord to the congregation at Corinth; and for that matter to all believers including those who were unbelievers who were married to believers who consent to live with their believing spouses. Believers were not to divorce their unbelieving spouses who consented to live with them. There is one possibility here that might have special significance: suppose a believer may have recently become a believer, and the spouse so far has not become a believer. There are other possibilities as well which might be applicable. In any case, Paul is giving his advice but in relatively strong terms. Note that this is stipulated as if there is the possibility that a believer has an option to divorce his spouse, but Paul strongly advises against it.

b) [(1 Cor 7:15) Manuscript Evidence for 1 Cor 7:15]:

(1 Cor 7:15 NASB) "Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace."

WH, NU, Sinaiticus*, A, C, cop(bo) have "God has called you"
TR, P46, Sinaiticus2, B, D, F, G, Psi, 33, 1739, Maj, syr, cop(sa) have "God has called us"

Although the two pronouns "umas" and "emas" were often confused for one another in the course of textual transmission (because they look alike and were pronounced similarly), in this case "emas" ("us"), is the more difficult reading and better attested. It is more difficult to imagine Paul saying that God had called "us" to peace with respect to maintaining or breaking marital relations, when he himself was obviously excluded from such issues. But Paul had a habit of being inclusive in his exhortations.


On the other hand, in 1 Cor 7:15-16, Paul writes relative to the opportunities and responsibilities of the believer toward his / her unbelieving spouse relative to his / her salvation unto eternal life: "
Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?" Of course this implies that it is indeed the Christian's responsibility especially to share gospel to his / her spouse.

Note that the phrase rendered, "but God has called us to peace," actually begins 1 Cor 7:16, the next verse, rather than being a part of 1 Cor 7:15. For Paul affirms with this
phrase, ""but God has called us to peace," that God has called Christians to live in peace with one another regardless of whether or not one was a believer or whom one was married to. So it indeed could be understood as a separate sentence begining the next but related context. The same conjunction (de = but) which introduced the exception at the beginning of this verse was repeated by Paul, probably to indicate another shift in thought and a return to the main point in this section, namely, the importance for the Christian spouse of preserving the marriage union and living "in peace" with the non-Christian.

2) [(1 Cor 7:10-16) Bible Knowledge Commentary On 1 Cor 7:10-16]:


(1 Cor 7:10 NASB) "But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband

(1 Cor 7:11 NASB) (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

(1 Cor 7:12 NASB) But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her.

(1 Cor 7:13 NASB) And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.

(1 Cor 7:14 NASB) For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.
 
(1 Cor 7:15 NASB) Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.

(1 Cor 7:16 NASB) For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?"


"Paul's advice to married Christians is summed up in verse 24 after he addressed, in turn, individual Christians married to one another (vv. 10-11), Christians married to non-Christians (vv. 12-16), and other external physical and vocational states for Christians (vv. 17-23).

7:10-11. Paul's direction to Christians married to one another was like that of Jesus Himself (Mark 10:2-12): as a rule, no divorce (cf. Matt. 5:32). The difference in language between separate (chōristhnai) on the part of the wife (1 Cor. 7:10) and divorce (aphienai) on the part of the husband (v. 11) was probably due to stylistic variation as the word translated "separate" (chōrizō) was commonly used in the vernacular as a term for divorce (William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 4th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957, p. 899). When problems occurred in a Christian marriage, the resolution was to be sought in reconciliation (cf. Eph. 4:32), not in divorce.

7:12-13. The rest referred to Christians who were married to non-Christians. Jesus, in the course of His ministry, never had addressed this issue (cf. vv. 10, 25). But Paul, with no less authority (cf. v. 25) did. Some divorces may have been initiated because of the command of Ezra to the Israelites in Jerusalem after the Exile (Ezra 10:11) to divorce themselves from pagan spouses. Paul affirmed that the same principle should operate in a believer-unbeliever marriage as in a marriage of two Christians: as a rule, no divorce. A Christian husband must not divorce (aphietō) an unbelieving wife, and a Christian wife must not divorce (aphietō) a non-Christian husband.

7:14. Divorce was to be avoided because the Christian spouse was a channel of God's grace in the marriage. Within the "one flesh" relationship the blessing of God which came to the Christian affected the family as a whole (cf. Jacob in Laban's household [Gen. 30:27] and Joseph in Potiphar's [Gen. 39:5]; also cf. Rom. 11:16). It is in this sense that the unbelieving spouse was sanctified and the children were holy.

7:15. However, there were exceptions to the rule of no divorce. If the unbeliever insisted on a divorce, he was not to be denied (the word trans. leaves is chōrizetai, the verb used in v. 10). Should this occur, the Christian was not bound to maintain the marriage but was free to marry again (cf. v. 39). Paul did not say, as he did in verse 11, that the Christian in this case should "remain unmarried." (However, some Bible students say that not being "bound" means the Christian is not obligated to prevent the divorce, but that it does not give freedom for remarriage.)

The second part of this verse in which Paul affirmed that God had called Christians to live in peace could be understood as a separate sentence. The same conjunction (de, but) which introduced the exception at the beginning of this verse was repeated by Paul, probably to indicate another shift in thought and a return to the main point in this section, namely, the importance for the Christian spouse of preserving the marriage union and living "in peace" with the non-Christian. (For a similar digression in a discourse on the general rule of no divorce, see Matt. 19:9.) Paul's point was that a Christian should strive to preserve the union and to keep the peace, but with the understanding that marriage is a mutual not a unilateral relationship.
7:16. Paul then stated a second (cf. v. 14) and crucial reason why a Christian should stay married to a non-Christian. God might use the Christian mate as a channel of blessing (cf. v. 14), leading ultimately to the point where the unbelieving spouse would believe the message of the Cross and experience salvation (cf. 1 Peter 3:1-2)."

3) [(1 Cor 7:10-16) Expositor's Bible Commentary On 1 Cor 7:10-16]:

(1 Cor 7:10 NASB) "But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband

(1 Cor 7:11 NASB) (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

(1 Cor 7:12 NASB) But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her.

(1 Cor 7:13 NASB) And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.

(1 Cor 7:14 NASB) For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.
 
(1 Cor 7:15 NASB) Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.

(1 Cor 7:16 NASB) For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?"

"10-16 Paul's next major concern relates to Christians and divorce. What he states in v. 10 "to the married" (gegamekosin) is by "command" (parangello) - not his own, but the command of the Lord. For he has stated above that for the unmarried to remain so was a "good" thing if a person could control his sexual desires. But for a married couple to stay together is not just "good" - it is commanded by the Lord. How specifically Paul is citing the words of Jesus depends on whether at this time he had access to the notes of one of the gospel writers or to one of the Gospels themselves.

Paul could have had access to notes on the Gospels or to a Gospel itself, acquired from the apostles when Paul visited the Jerusalem area in the earlier part of his ministry (cf. Acts 9:26-28; 11:30; 15:1, 2). That such material, as well as any accurate oral tradition regarding Jesus, was available is seen from the statement given by Luke, Paul's close companion, that there were gospel accounts being drawn up and that he, Luke, had obtained accurate information from the eyewitnesses of the gospel events (Luke 1:1-4). Furthermore, the formula for the Lord's Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23ff. certainly gives evidence that Paul acquired accurate information from an oral or written source concerning Jesus' teaching.

The burden of Christ's command was that the married were not to be divorced (Matt 5:32; 19:3-9; Luke 16:18) - a principle Paul summarizes from both sides of the marriage partnership - the woman is not to be separated from (or, possibly, separate herself from; cf. note on v. 10) her husband, and the husband must not divorce his wife (v. 11). There seems to have occurred at Corinth such a separation of a wife from her husband, for Paul says, "If she does [separate], she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband." The change of verb tenses emphasizes the direction of Paul's thinking. She is to remain unmarried (present tense continuous action) like the other unmarried (v. 8), or, better, she is to be "reconciled" to her husband (aorist, accomplished action). The stress of the passage on maintaining the marriage bond unbroken definitely strengthens the injunction for separated marriage partners to become reconciled.

In vv. 12-16 Paul adds instructions beyond those given in Scripture by the Lord Jesus - instructions having to do with mixed marriages, where one partner has, since marriage, become a Christian. Paul addresses himself to this problem and later to the subject of virgins marrying (7:25-40) when he says, "To the rest [to the others with marital questions] I say this...."

The factual indicative condition in v. 12 (as in v. 13), "If any brother has a wife who is not a believer [as some do]...," shows that there were mixed marriages in the Christian community in this pagan city. Since Paul preached in Corinth for over a year and a half (Acts 18:11, 18), with many turning to the Lord, we may conclude that while he was still with them many marriages became mixed marriages. Had he at that time given them advice about this? Doubtless, he had. But the problem then was probably not so acute for the unbelieving partner when the other partner was a new Christian. The unbelieving one may have thought this stand for Christ was a passing fad or a superstition. As time went on, however, the condition in many Corinthian homes became more serious. In spite of Paul's teaching about Christian living and the sanctity of the home (cf. Eph 4-6), the unbelieving partners in some instances were threatening to leave their Christian husbands or wives. So Paul was confronted with the question, "What should the Christian marriage partners do?" We should note first, in the light of 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 (cf. Ezra 10:10), that Paul would not have allowed an already professing Christian to marry an unbeliever. But on the question of what should be done by a husband or wife who has turned to the Lord after marriage, Paul is decisive (vv. 12, 13). If the unbelieving partner is content or willing to live with the Christian, then the Christian must not divorce the partner - for the sake, Paul implies, of the marriage bond God has ordained. The present tense prohibition, me aphieto, stresses that the marriage relationship is not to be broken at any time. The literal meaning is "He [she] is not to be attempting at one point or another to divorce her [him]."

Rather (v. 14), the Christian partner should think of the truth that the Lord can use him as a godly, holy influence in such a mixed family relationship and in helping that family to be consecrated (set apart) to God. The word hagiazo ("to sanctify") does not refer to moral purity - Paul is certainly not teaching that the unbelieving partner is made morally pure. What the word emphasizes is a relationship to God, a claim of God on the person and family to be set apart for him (cf. Acts 20:32; 26:18). The perfect tense of the verb hegiastai stresses that, being in a Christian family, the unbeliever has already become and continues to be a part of a family unit upon which God has his claim and which he will use for his service. The same is true of children born in such a family. That God has laid his hand on the Christian means that God has laid his hand on the children, and set them apart for himself. They are holy (hagia, "set apart for God") and not "unclean" - that is, not spiritually separated from God, as was and is the case in unbelieving families. The Bible's teaching elsewhere about the Christian parent and his covenant children set apart for God is also relevant to this passage. Consider Genesis 17:1-14, where the children of God's people of the OT are included among God's covenant people, and Acts 2:38, 39, where it is emphasized that God's promise applies to the children of believers, whether of those who are "near," the Jews, or those "afar off," the Gentiles (cf. Eph 2:12, 13). Covenant children are to be counted a part of God's people and should be nurtured in the Christian faith and in the fear of the Lord (Eph 6:4).

Dealing with the actual situation at Corinth, Paul realizes that in some instances the unbelieving marriage partner will not stay. So he teaches that in such an event (v. 15) the believer must let the unbelieving partner go - "If [in fact - an actual condition] the unbeliever leaves, let him do so." At this point, Paul adds two reasons: First, in this case the believer is not "bound," for the unbeliever by willful desertion (the other legitimate reason for divorce besides sexual immorality [Matt 19:9]) has broken the marriage contract. The Greek perfect form of the verb is graphic - i.e., "the Christian brother or sister is not in a bound condition as a slave." A second reason for allowing an unwilling partner to leave is that God has called his people to live in peace, which would not be possible if the unbelieving partner were forced to live with the believer. Try to live with the unbelieving partner in the peace that God gives (Philippians 4:6, 7), but do not attempt to force the unbeliever to stay.

The force of v. 16 tempers any tendency to foster or encourage a rupture in the marriage. For Paul is teaching that the believer is to try to keep the mixed marriage together in the hope that the testimony of the believer will be used by God to bring the unbeliever to Christ. The factual condition of v. 16 suggests there is a good hope that God in his providence will do just that."

D) [(1 Cor 7:17-24) Commentary On 1 Cor 7:17-24]:

(1 Cor 7:17 NASB) "[Nevertheless], as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches."

1) [(1 Cor 7:17a) Manuscript Evidence for 1 Cor 7:17a]:

(1 Cor 7:17a NASB) "[Nevertheless], as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches."

The scribe of P46 originally wrote the aorist verb "EmErisEn" rendered ("assigned"), which is also the reading in Sinaiticus2, (A), C, D, F, G, Psi, Maj. Then the scribe himself corrected this word by changing the sigma to kappa: "EmEriken," rendered "has assigned." He should have also added a "mu"= "m" at the beginning of the word to make it "mEmEriken, the perfect tense of the verb. (NA27 incorrectly cites P46 as reading "mEmEriken," although that was probably the scribe's intention.) This correction reveals that the scribe probably knew of both readings; thus, both variants are very early. The perfect tense was perpetuated in the Alexandrian tradition: Sinaiticus*, B, 1739, while the aorist turned up in many later manuscripts. TR, NU print the aorist, while WH preferred the perfect. The difference in meaning is that the aorist emphasizes the one-time action of God's distribution of gifts to the various members of the church, while the perfect emphasizes the long-lasting effect of this distribution.

2) [(1 Cor 7:17b) Manuscript Evidence for 1 Cor 7:17a & b]:

(1 Cor 7:17 NASB) "[Nevertheless], as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches."

WH NU P46, Sinaiticus, A, B, C, D, F, 33, 1739, syr, cop(p) have "as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each one."

1st variant / TR, Maj, syr(h) have "as God has assigned to each one, as the Lord has called each one"

2nd variant / Psi, 1881 have "as God has assigned to each one, as God has called each one"

The manuscrpt evidence overwhelmingly suppports the WH NU reading. The first variant, found in the majority of the manuscripts, is a change influenced by a similar passage, Ro 12:3. The second variant is an extension of the first. The first variant became part of the TR, and so it was translated in KJV and NKJV.

In 1 Cor 7:17 which reads, (1 Cor 7:17 NASB) "[Nevertheless], as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches," the Greek words "ei me," literally, "if not" are best translated, "but" or "nevertheless" [NIV] which both best convey the concept that Paul is expanding his thought of the Christian's call to other areas besides that of marital status. So the Christian should live for the Lord wherever the Christian is in his life and in all areas of his life. This, Paul says, is the principle that he directed, i.e., established to be followed as the Lord has called each believer in all the churches (cf. Eph 5:21-6:9; Col 3:18-4:1) - a principle that transcends all boundaries, and is applicable to all believers anywhere and anytime.

(1 Cor 7:18 NASB) Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised.

[In 1 Cor 7:18 Paul continues the train of thought from the previous verse wherein believers whose circumstance is such that they have already been circumcised, i.e., believers who are Jews -  are not to then choose to become "uncircumcised," in the sense of become like Gentiles attempting to change their circumstances. Nor should believers who are Gentiles, the uncircumcised then choose to become circumcised in the sense of to become like Jews.

Note that the Judiazers often insisted that water baptism was indeed part of becoming a Christian [
cf. Acts 15:1-5; Gal 3:1-3; 5:1; Gal 2:3-5 ]

(1 Cor 7:19 NASB) Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.

(1 Cor 7:20 NASB) Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called.

[In 1 Cor 7:19-20, Paul brings home his point that ones circumstances in life, for example, if one is a Jew or a Gentile is nothing relative to the value of eternal matters - the believer's grand eternal destiny. On the other hand what matters in the temporal life relative to temporal blessings and rewards in the eternal life is the keeping of the commandments of God; which for Paul meant being controlled by the Spirit (cf. Rom. 2:25-29). Although keeping the commandments of God is a measure of the believer's faithfulness as well as the operation of the grace of God to perfect the believer's inevitable failure day by day to be perfect in his mortal life; it is not the means by which one may gain eternal life, (Rom 2:25, 29; Gal 5:6). What matters is that every Christian should realize he is Christ's slave and needs to render obedience to Him. Every vocation then becomes Christian service performed for the Master (cf. Eph. 6:5-8). By repetition, this verse emphasizes the principle in v. 17 which are as follows:

(1 Cor 7:17 NASB) "[Nevertheless], as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches."

In 1 Cor 7:17, the Greek words "ei me," literally, "if not" are best translated, "but" or "nevertheless" [NIV] which both best convey the concept that Paul is expanding his thought of the Christian's call to other areas besides that of marital status: So the Christian should live for the Lord wherever the Christian is in his life and in all areas of his life. This, Paul says, is the principle that he directed, i.e., established to be followed as the Lord has called each believer in all the churches (cf. Eph 5:21-6:9; Col 3:18-4:1) - a principle that transcends all boundaries, and is applicable to all believers anywhere and anytime.


In the New Testament the Greek word rendered "has called" is used of God's effectual call of His people to salvation (cf. Rom 11:29; Heb 3:1), but here in this context [in 1 Cor 7:17] it must be taken to include one's station in life; i.e., His circumstances.

(1 Cor 7:21 NASB) Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that.

[In 1 Cor 7:21, Paul continues to address the believer's present circumstances when he becomes a believer and as he continues in his temporal life as a believer. Whereupon, Paul asks a key question that presents a believer who is in
an extreme temporal life circumstance of slavery being called in the sense of being called by God to believe in Christ unto eternal life. His was in a very lowly position in life in which to live out the temporal life especially now that he has become a Christian. So if the slave did inevitably believe and became saved unto eternal life ,  nevertheless that individual was a slave when he became saved unto eternal life, so what is to become of him? Paul writes, "Do not worry about it" in the sense of that he was to leave his present temporal circumstance in the hands of his Savior, Jesus Christ and not worry about it. Paul is not speaking against human betterment or social service, but he is stressing that the believer is to live for the Lord without anxiety in his present situation. If he was a slave when he became a Christian, Paul writes that he should live on as a Christian even though he might remain a slave - still subject to the society his lives in during his temporal life. For Paul indicates that his life is now in the hands of his Savior and that believer, albeit a slave in his temporal life  - nevertheless his eternity - is now to be in view as he walks with Jesus moment to moment. On the other hand, Paul writes within the same verse, "Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that." Note that Scripture does not teach that being a Christian guarantees material or social betterment or change for the better or worse. On the other hand, all things have been decreed by God, circumstances are sovereignly implemented in accordance with God's purpose for each of His children; yet nothing is done to override man's volition to go for or against whatever God has led his child toward or against .

(1 Cor 7:22 NASB) For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave.

So in 1 Cor 7:22, relative to the matter of the Christian living for the Lord wherever the Christian is in his life and in all areas of his life - his station, circumstances, etc., which Paul addressed beginning in 1 Cor 7:17-21: Paul writes in 1 Cor 7:22, "For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave." So in view is Paul's redirection of the believer's life from focusing on his temporal circumstances as a slave to a new focus upon his relationship with the Lord as the Lord's freedman. This implies that the circumstances of ones temporal life - no matter how menial or glorious in this temporal world, it pales in comparison to what is in store for the believer in eternity who is a freedman of the Lord / slave to Christ.

In 1 Cor 7:23-24, which reads,
"You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called;" Paul continues the train of thought that now that the believer is a freedman of the Lord / slave to Christ, he is not to revert to his old circumstance as a slave to men in the temporal life; he is encouraged to consider his new position to which he was called as a freedman yet slave to the Lord Jesus Christ - an interesting apparent contradiction, yet supernatural corroboration. For to be a freedman from temporal enslavement through faith in Christ is to become a slave to Christ in the most wonderful relationship life one could ever afford: eternal life serving Christ without being subjected to evil or being evil oneself only righteous with unimaginably wonderful enjoyable circumstances forever - without end!. And he is to remain with God with respect for and to his new and eternal position and destiny and act accordingly. For the believer was bought with a price, i.e., Christ's propitiation / payment for his sins  securing the believers redemption .

3) [(1 Cor 7:17-24) Expositor's Bible Commentary]:

(1 Cor 7:17 NASB) "[Nevertheless], as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches.

(1 Cor 7:18 NASB) Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised.

(1 Cor 7:19 NASB) Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.

(1 Cor 7:20 NASB) Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called.

(1 Cor 7:21 NASB) Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that.

(1 Cor 7:22 NASB) For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave.

(1 Cor 7:23 NASB) You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.

(1 Cor 7:24 NASB) Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called."


"17 The expression ei me ("nevertheless") at the beginning of this verse presents problems of interpretation. To take it as "unless," "except that," makes it difficult to relating the verse to what Paul has just said about the Christian who is married to an unbeliever, that he may possibly lead his partner to the Lord. It is best to translate the ei me as "but" (NKJV / KJV) or "nevertheless" (NIV), meaning that Paul is expanding his thought of the Christian's call to other areas besides that of marital status. The Christian should live for the Lord wherever he is. This, Paul says, is the principle that he orders to be followed in all the churches (cf. Eph 5:21-6:9; Col 3:18-4:1)  - a principle that transcends all boundaries.

18, 19 The apostle's first application of this principle is to the religio-national distinctions related to being Jews or Gentiles, being circumcised or uncircumcised. In a Gentile situation like that in Corinth, some Christian Jews may have tried to obliterate the OT covenant mark of circumcision (cf. 1 Macc 1:15). On the other hand, Judaizers tried to force circumcision on the Gentile Christians (cf. Acts 15:1-5; Gal 3:1-3; 5:1). Paul argues that this outward sign of circumcision with its stress on the Jew versus the non-Jew now has no significance. If a person was a circumcised Jew when he was saved, he should not become uncircumcised. If he was an uncircumcised Gentile, he should not be circumcised in order to become Jewish. Circumcision and uncircumcision now make no difference (Rom 2:25, 29; Gal 5:6), but keeping God's command is essential (v. 19; cf. John 14:15).

20 By repetition, this verse emphasizes the principle in v. 17. In the NT, klesis [to call] is used of God's effectual call of his people to salvation (cf. Rom 11:29; Heb 3:1), but here [in 1 Cor 7:17 & 20] it must be taken to include one's station in life.

21-23 ... But Paul's stress is on one's not being "troubled" as a Christian in his social situation, and the all ei kai can just as well be translated "but if also" or "although also." So then the meaning would be "But if also you can gain your freedom, you had better take that opportunity," or, as NIV has it, "although if you can gain your freedom, do so." Observe, however, that the Bible teaches that Christianity does not guarantee material or social betterment but makes it a matter of individual responsibility (cf. Ps 73; Acts 11:29; 20:35).

Verse 22 refers to v. 21a. Paul is saying, "If you were a slave when God called you, don't let it trouble you—you are the Lord's freedman. If you were free when called, remember you are Christ's slave." The spiritual antithesis is striking. The Lord has freed the Christian from the penalty of sin (2Cor 5:21) and from Satan and his kingdom (Col 1:13) and bound us as "slaves" to himself (Rom 1:1).

Verse 23 points up the priority of Christ's authority over the Christian. In all earthly service he is to realize that his obedience and service is to Christ, not men. The reason is that God bought us with the price of Christ's blood (1Cor 5:7; 1Pet 1:18, 19). So because on this higher level we are slaves to Christ, we are not to become mere slaves of men. We serve faithfully in our earthly position, but we serve as slaves of Christ (cf. Eph 6:5-9, Col 3:24, 1Tim 6:2).

In Verse 24 Paul repeats the command of vv. 17, 20 but adds the phrase para theo ("before God"), as though he is saying, "God is looking on you and is there with you to help you."

4) [(1 Cor 7:17-24) Bible Knowledge Commentary]:


(1 Cor 7:17 NASB) "[Nevertheless], as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the curches."

(1 Cor 7:18 NASB) Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised.

(1 Cor 7:19 NASB) Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.

(1 Cor 7:20 NASB) Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called.

(1 Cor 7:21 NASB) Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that.

(1 Cor 7:22 NASB) For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave.

(1 Cor 7:23 NASB) You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.

(1 Cor 7:24 NASB) Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called."


"7:17. The general principle which Paul affirmed in dealing with decisions affecting a Christian's marital status was again stated three times (vv. 17, 20, 24; cf. also v. 26): in brief, "stay put." The call to conversion radically altered an individual's spiritual relationship but need effect no changes at all in physical relationships that were not immoral.

7:18-19. The external operation of circumcision or the obliteration of the same (cf. [apocryphal] 1 Maccabees 1:15-16) was a matter of little importance compared with keeping God's commands, which for Paul meant being controlled by the Spirit (cf. Rom. 2:25-29).

7:20-23. Likewise, a Christian's vocational situation is a matter of little consequence (if status can be changed, well and good; if not, it is not a matter for worry). What matters is that every Christian should realize he is Christ's slave and needs to render obedience to Him. Every vocation then becomes Christian service performed for the Master (cf. Eph. 6:5-8).
7:24. The fact that God had called each one to a vocation and sought from each one faithful service in that calling elevated and sanctified both the work and the worker. A Christian could then "live in peace" (v. 15) in his calling and carry it out as one responsible to God."


E) [(1 Cor 7:25-
40) Commentary On 1 Cor 7:25-40]:

1) [1 Cor 7:25]:

(1 Cor 7:25 NASB) "Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy."

In 1 Cor 7:25, Paul addresses the subject of women, evidently of marriageable age, who are not yet married. Note that the presumption is that they are virgins. Author Paul stipulates that he has no command of the Lord, but he gives his opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. So the weight of his opinion is something that is to be trusted and seriously taken under advisement, albeit not by direct teaching from the Lord Jesus Himself, but nevertheless
  part of the inspired Word of God.

a) [(1 Cor 7:25) Expositor's Bible Commentary]:

(1 Cor 7:25 NASB) "Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy."

"25-35 Paul argues that "because of the present crisis" it is better for a man or woman to remain in their present state, whether married or single (v. 26). He advises this because there is such a short time to do the work of the Lord (v. 29); and anyway the material conditions of this world are changing and disappearing—"this world in its present form is passing away" (v. 31). Paul introduces certain corrective statements lest the Corinthians draw false conclusions from the main principle. In saying that they should stay married, he insists that marriage itself is not a matter of right or wrong (v. 28). Paul also argues that the real problem they face in their present world situation is the proper expenditure of their time and energies. He is desirous that they devote their energies to the service of the Lord, and this they can do better if they are unmarried (vv. 32-34). But he hastens to add that he does not mean to hamper them in such a way as to keep them from marrying—he only wants to help them. His advice, he implies, is not an argument for the superiority of celibacy or the obligatory nature of it (v. 35).

25 Here the apostle makes it clear that he is not relying directly on a command from the Lord—i.e., from Jesus—as he was, for example, in Acts 20:35. Rather, he says that he is giving his own opinion on the matter, but that his opinion is to be taken seriously because by the Lord's mercy he is trustworthy and they should therefore listen to him. So he is not suggesting that his command is any less inspired but is only calling attention to the fact that what he is presenting is not derived from a direct teaching of Jesus himself."

b) [(1 Cor 7:25) Bible Knowledge Commentary]:

(1 Cor 7:25 NASB) "Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy."

"3. Marriage And Ministry (7:25-38)
The basic principle Paul had been setting forth (viz., to continue in one's present position) was then applied to those who had never married. Apparently this was in response to a question put to him. Paul urged them to remain single, for three reasons: (a) an impending time of distress for Christians (vv. 26-28), (b) the imminent return of Christ (vv. 29-31), and (c) the opportunity for undistracted service for Christ (vv. 32-35).

7:25. Virgins here were sexually inexperienced people who had never married. Jesus had never specifically addressed the propriety of marriage per se (cf. Matt. 19:10-12, 29) but Paul gave his judgment on the issue which they could take as trustworthy counsel. (He of course was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and hence his "judgment" was as authoritative as Christ's words; cf. 1 Cor. 7:40.)

2) [1 Cor 7:26-28]:

(1 Cor 7:26 NASB) "I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is."

(1 Cor 7:27 NASB) Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.

(1 Cor 7:28 NASB) But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you."

So in 1 Cor 7:26, Paul writes
"I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is," in the sense that because of the distress of his time in the first century [and for anytime], that it is best not to increase the already stressful life of one living in this world in the first century and evidently in any age by changing ones marital status or other circumstances in ones life without good / godly cause. This is evidently so as not to increase the already stressful life of one living in this world. Paul presents his point in a gentle, undemanding yet authoritative way giving the individual the opportunity to consider his / her circumstances to make a godly choice under his own auspices - of course under the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Nevertheless, Paul provides several circumstances and potential / godly solutions that might guide one to make a godly choice which follow in the next two verses:

In 1 Cor 7:27 Paul wrote, "
Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife." Paul's 'tone' is a bit more abrupt perhaps to reinforce taking a serious consideration of such changes in ones life / responsibilities which might add stress to an already stressful life - with a view to the time of the first century under the rule of Roman empire and the region in which Corinth is located which has its own pagan culture and religions to contend with relative to leading a godly Christian life. On the other hand, Paul's words might apply to believers of all ages and regions around the world relative to their own particular stresses in life. In other words, Paul is saying, "remain married if you are married; single if you are single."

a) [(1 Cor 7:28) Manuscript Evidence for 1 Cor 7:28]:

(1 Cor 7:28 NASB) "But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you."

A few Western manuscripts (D, F, G), changed the expression rendered "but if you marry," supported by excellent witnesses (P15, P46, Sinaiticus, A, B, C, etc.) to "but if indeed you take a wife").

Then in 1 Cor 7:28 which reads, "But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you," author and apostle Paul makes it clear that marital relationships bring with them obligations to one another which might add trouble or additional difficulties in times of persecution as the believers in Corinth might be experiencing in the first century, as other kinds of responsibilities might do as well in already troubled times in other times in history.

So Paul is trying to spare a believer from bringing upon himself / herself additional responsibilities which might complicate things when inevitable troubles come, which he indicates in this passage are coming in their time, (ref. 1 Cor 7:29-31). Furthermore, Paul indicates that  additional responsibilities may themselves be all the more troubling in their already troubled world. Paul is implying that when persecution / troubled times come as Paul indicated would in that time of the first century, its onslaught could be handled more aptly by single rather than by married persons, (ref. 1 Cor 7:29-31). On the other hand, Paul indicates that the one who chooses to marry and the one who chooses to remain single is free to make his or her choice, and it would not be a sinful one, but one of personal choice afforded to individuals in this church age when they are qualified to marry in accordance with God's Word.

b) [(1 Cor 7:26-28) Expositor's Bible Commentary]:

(1 Cor 7:26 NASB) "I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is."

(1 Cor 7:27 NASB) Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.

(1 Cor 7:28 NASB) But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you."

"26, 27 Each person should remain as he now is "because of the present crisis." What this is he describes in v. 27. In other words, remain married if you are married; single if you are single.

28 Here Paul hastens to make it plain that there is nothing sinful in marriage, whether entered into by a widow, a widower, or by a virgin. His main motive in dissuading the unmarried from marriage is to spare them the hardship and suffering in physical life ("in the flesh") that accompanies times of trouble and persecution."

c) [(1 Cor 7:26-28) Bible Knowledge Commentary]:

(1 Cor 7:26 NASB) "I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is."

(1 Cor 7:27 NASB) Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.

(1 Cor 7:28 NASB) But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you."

"7:26-28. The present crisis may have referred to persecution then being suffered by the Corinthians (cf. John 16:33; 2 Tim. 3:12; 1 Peter 4:12) or to an experience of suffering which Paul anticipated would shortly befall them (in which case the words could be trans. "impending crisis"). In view of his silence in the letter about any present suffering on their part the latter point of view (and trans.) is preferred. (Cf. 1 Cor. 4:8 which intimates a perceived state of well-being or even positive euphoria.) Still, when persecution came, as Paul felt it surely would, its onslaught could be handled more ably by single than by married persons. However fearsome the thought of martyrdom (cf. 13:3) might be to a single person, it was doubly so to a married person responsible for a spouse and children. With these conditions in view marriage would not be wrong (if you do marry, you have not sinned), but it would be inexpedient.

3) [(1 Cor 7:29-31) Commentary On 1 Cor 7:29-31]:

(1 Cor 7:29 NASB) "But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none;

(1 Cor 7:30 NASB) and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess;

(1 Cor 7:31 NASB) and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away."

In 1 Cor 7:29a & b which reads [underlined], 
"But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; Paul indicates that the time has been shortened for the first century believers in Corinth [and believers everywhere and in every age according to God's sovereignty / man's volition] limiting opportunities for all believers to conduct their lives in service to the Lord. For Paul indicates that there will be difficulties which will come upon the believers in Corinth in the first century [and for all believers everywhere and in all times each in his own circumstance by the sovereignty of God and the volition of man] which will impede, even curtail opportunites to witness for the Lord and be of service to Him in their temporal lifetimes. And this even includes persecution as indicated in 1 Cor 7:29-31 by Paul for the Corinthians in their time and other believers in their times. So the time for doing the Lord's work is now - and it is / will be shortened opportunities. For the powers that are in control of the world, yet as limited by the sovereignty of God, will shut down opportunities for believers to serve God in any way that they can impede believers. This does not mean that Paul was speaking of the Rapture or the Second Coming of Christ, as some might contend; for may years have transpired without either the Rapture or the Second Coming occurring. Hence for the time remaining, Paul admonished the Corinthian believers not to be overwhelmed by the social and material problems of the world but to live as for the Lord as they utilize temporal circumstances primarily to serve eternity and not give precedence to enjoying the temporal life. Instead he was calling for a commitment to eternal matters and a corresponding detachment from the institutions, values, and substance of this world which was passing away (1 Cor 7:31). Such a commitment was more easily made and enacted by a single person.

a) [(2 Cor 4:18) Compare 2 Cor 4:18]:

(2 Cor 4:18 NASB) "while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

Then in 1 Cor 7:29c, which is underlined reads, "But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none;" i.e., because times are going to be rough, one who has a wife must conduct himself as if he were not married in the sense of putting their service to the Lord in priority to their relationship with their wife.

Whereupon, in 1 Cor 7:30-31, which read
(1 Cor 7:30 NASB) "and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; (1 Cor 7:31 NASB) and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away," admonish believers not to weep over temporal matters so much as if they did not weep; or rejoice over temporal matters to such an extent as if they had not ever rejoiced about anything; or buy things to such an absorbed extent as if they possessed nothing; or use the temporal things in the world as though they had not made full use of it all the time. The point being that they are not to be so fully inmeshed, dominated, absorbed with the temporal world / temporal things that it takes away from considering anything eternal. But believers are to focus primarily upon eternal matters, utilizing temporal things to enhance ones focus upon the eternal which begins with the proficient & proper study of Scripture . Although the temporal, physical life is so much better perceived / observed by us in our limited mortal bodies with our 6 senses to work with, than with our perceptions of the eternal world because we are not so well equipped to understand the spiritual / eternal things of the universe as believers will be so equipped in our resurrection bodies - now only having what Scripture says; we are nevertheless instructed to focus on eternal matters, utilizing things in the temporal world to serve God with a view to eternity wherein our experience in our resurrection bodies will in the future be so much the greater to be able to serve Him and enjoy eternity. So Paul indicates that should the temporal life brings sadness, Paul writes to live beyond it, do not be bound by it. If things are joyous, do not be engrossed in them. Those who are blessed with material possessions are not to cling to them, as though they were to have them always.

Note that 1 Cor 7:31b [underlined] stipulates
"and those who use the [temporal] world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away;" in the sense that the current heavens and earth will be destroyed and there will be a new heavens and a new  earth .

b) [(1 Cor 7:29-31) Expositor's Commentary On 1 Cor 7:29-31]:

(1 Cor 7:29 NASB) "But this I say, brethren, l the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none;

(1 Cor 7:30 NASB) and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess;

(1 Cor 7:31 NASB) and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away."


"29-31 The apostle explains that the time for doing the Lord's work is short and is coming to an end. This does not necessarily mean that he is speaking of the second coming of Christ, for Paul may have been anticipating severe persecutions and a resulting curtailment of freedom to witness. So for the time remaining Paul admonishes them not to be overwhelmed by the social and material problems of the world but to live as for the Lord. By "those who have wives should live as if they had none" (v. 29) he means, "Live for the Lord in marriage." If life brings sadness, live beyond it, do not be bound by it. If things are joyous, do not be engrossed in them. Those who are blessed with material possessions are not to cling to them, as though they were to have them always. The reason for this challenge is that the material things (this is the meaning of schema, v. 31, "the present form") of this world are changing and disappearing (cf. Col 3:12-14).
Expositor's Bible Commentary, The - Volume 10: Romans through Galatians.

c) [(1 Cor 7:29-31) Bible Knowledge Commentary On 1 Cor 7:29-31]:

(1 Cor 7:29 NASB) "But this I say, brethren, l the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none;

(1 Cor 7:30 NASB) and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess;

(1 Cor 7:31 NASB) and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away."

"7:29-31. The second reason Paul felt the single state was advantageous was the potential it offered for detachment from temporal situations. The phrase the time is short  ... was also a summary philosophy of life for Paul who lived not for the temporary but for the eternal (cf. 2 Cor. 4:18). This detachment from temporal matters should characterize all Christians but it was more complex for the married (cf. Mark 13:12) for whom, nonetheless, devotion to their Lord should occupy first place in life (Luke 14:26). Paul certainly was not recommending abandoning marital duties (cf. 1 Cor. 7:3-5).

Instead he was calling for a commitment to eternal matters and a corresponding detachment from the institutions, values, and substance of this world which was passing away (v. 31). Such a commitment was more easily made and enacted by a single person."

4) [(1 Cor 7:32-35) Commentary On 1 Cor 7:32-35]:

(1 Cor 7:32 NASB) "But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;

(1 Cor 7:33 NASB) but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,

(1 Cor 7:34 NASB) and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

(1 Cor 7:35 NKJV) And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction."

a) [(1 Cor 7:33-34) Manuscript Evidence for 1 Cor 7:33-34]:

(1 Cor 7:33 NASB) "but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,

(1 Cor 7:34 NASB) and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband."

WH, NU, P15, B, cop(sa) have "how he can please his wife, (34) and he is divided. And the unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the things of the Lord."

variant 1 / P46, Siniaticus, A, 33, 1739, 1881, Origen (according to 1739) have "how he can please his wife, (34) and he is divided. And the unmarried woman or unmarried virgin is concerned about the things of the Lord."

variant 2 / TR, D(2), F, G, Psi, Maj have "how he can please his wife. (34) There is a difference between the wife and the virgin; the unmarried woman is concerned about the things of the Lord."

The critical apparatus of the NA(27) and of UBS(4) lists a few more variants than the ones noted above, but these three readings represent the major textual differences. In context, a fuller rendering of the NU text is as follows: "But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world - how he can please his wife - (34) and he is divided. And the unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs." The first variant has a repetition of "the unmarried;" it is perhaps the result of scribal expansion. However, other scribes could have found it redundant and therefore deleted the second phrase rendered "the unmarried." Both of these readings, however, connect the phrase "and he is divided" with the end of 7:33. As such, the text means that a married man is divided in his interests - between the Lord and his wife. The second variant (in the TR) alters the meaning significantly by bringing 7:33 to a close with the words "how he may please his wife" and then beginning 7:34 with a word about how there is a distinction of motives between a wife and a virgin.


4 cont) [(1 Cor 7:32-35) Commentary On 1 Cor 7:32-35 cont.]:

(1 Cor 7:32 NASB) "But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;

(1 Cor 7:33 NASB) but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,

(1 Cor 7:34 NASB) and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

(1 Cor 7:35 NKJV) And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction."

So in the matter of 1 Cor 7:32-35 relative to serving the Lord best which has in view limiting ones focus to things which will maximize ones service to the Lord, one must have an undivided interest in circumstances in this temporal life which will best serve the Lord. This is not to say that one must abandon being focused upon living in the temporal life such as meeting ones temporal needs for food, shelter, clothing, rest, exercise, fellowship, etc.; but one must spend time doing such temporal / essential things in a manner in which will keep the temporal life in a maximized condition in order to serve the Lord and less to serve ones personal temporal desires outside of that service. So having a focus upon being married or unmarried is, according to Paul not so well advised for the believer of this age if he is to serve the Lord; but he does not rule it out - it's up to the individual. For Paul writes in 1 Cor 7:32-35 NASB, "But I want you to be free from concern [about other things that do not enhance ones service to the Lord]. One
who is unmarried [= a believer who is unmarried who is diligent about being faithful to the Lord is in view] is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord," evidently because he is not required to also focus upon the temporal circumstances of his spouse.

Paul also writes of the man who is a believer who is married, relative to the matter of serving the Lord in 1 Cor 7:33-34a which is underlined:

(1 Cor 7:33 NASB) "But one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, (1 Cor 7:34a NASB) and his interests are divided."

Whereupon Paul writes in 1 Cor 7:34b of women who are not married, underlined as follows:
(1 Cor 7:34b NASB) The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit;"

So here in 1 Cor 7:34b, the woman who is not married and the virgin who is not married, if they stay that way they may have a better opportunity to be "holy both in body and spirit," i.e., faithfully serving the Lord without spending time on divided interests in this temporal world, thus her interests are not divided relative to serving the Lord.

So in 1 Cor 7:34b, Paul focuses again upon the believer not having the responsibility toward the temporal care of another through marriage which would divide the believer's endeavors / interests between serving the Lord and taking care of a spouse.

Then in 1 Cor 7:34c, which reads,
"but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband," Paul again points to "one" - in this case a believer who is a woman who is married. And he writes that she is to be concerned about the things of the world, i.e., temporal things, relative to how she may please her husband, implying leaving less to be concerned about serving the Lord. Her life is to be one of having divided interests.

Finally, Paul summarizes these points in 1 Cor 7:32-34 in 1 Cor 7:35 NKJV as follows: "And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction."

Notice that author Paul gives the believer an option to choose marriage or not with the proviso that he / she is "to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord." ThisPaul's message to the Corinthian believers evidently encourages the believer to decide on being married or not with Paul's leaning toward staying single most likely with the Corinthian believers' particular circumstances in mind, since he has addressed this letter to them firsthand with a view to the difficulties they are facing or will face relative to their being faithful in the Christian life. Albeit, the reader might take under advisement within their own particular circumstances.

b) [Compare 1 Cor 9:3-5]:

(1 Cor 9:3 NASB) "My defense to those who examine me [Paul] is this:

(1 Cor 9:4 NASB)
Do we not have a right to eat and drink?

(1 Cor 9:5 NASB) Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?"

c) [(1 Cor 7:32-35) Expositor's Bible Commentary]:

(1 Cor 7:32 NASB) "But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;

(1 Cor 7:33 NASB) but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,

(1 Cor 7:35 NKJV) And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction."

"32-35 Paul goes on to argue that if they want marriage, they must realize that it brings extra cares. And he wants them to be free from concern. They must observe that married persons, whether men or women, have their attentions centered on the desires and needs of their spouses (vv. 33, 34). In saying that the unmarried woman or virgin is concerned with how she may please the Lord (v. 34), Paul implies that the married person is apt to neglect this Christian duty. Since the apostle upholds the right and privilege of marriage even for himself (1 Cor 9:3-5), he must here be advising against marriage because of particular abuses and tensions at Corinth. He gives the advice, he says, for their own profit or benefit (symphoron), not to restrain them or put them in a noose (brochos). Rather, he wants them to live properly in complete and undivided devotion to the Lord (v. 35)."

d) [(1 Cor 7:32-35) Bible Knowledge Commentary]:

(1 Cor 7:32 NASB) "But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;

(1 Cor 7:33 NASB) but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,

(1 Cor 7:35 NKJV) And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction."

"7:32-35. Paul's third reason [for remaining single] was a development of the second. The single state has potentially fewer encumbrances and distractions than the married state, so it more easily facilitates a spirit of undivided devotion to the Lord. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned His followers against letting concern for the material aspects of this life distract them from devotion to God (Matt. 6:25-34). The poor widow (Mark 12:44) gave all her material sustenance to God as an act of singular devotion. A married man or woman with a needful concern for the well-being of his family would have been less likely to do that. The situation illustrates Paul's point that the single life with its greater simplicity in obligations allows a potentially greater commitment of time, resources, and self to the Lord than would be possible for a married person dutifully carrying out the marital and familial obligations attached to that state."

5) [(1 Cor 7:36-40) Commentary On 1 Cor 7:36-40]:

(1 Cor 7:36 NKJV) "But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry.

(1 Cor 7:37 NKJV) Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well.

(1 Cor 7:38 HCSB) So then he who marries his virgin does well, but he who does not marry will do better.

(1 Cor 7:39 NASB) A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

(1 Cor 7:40 NASB) But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God."

Author Paul returns to the subject of remaining single with a male believers who is a virgin and a woman who is a virgin especially in view when he wrote in 1 Cor 7:36 NKJV as follows:
 

"But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin ["his" in the sense of being bethrothed to a woman who is a "virgin," with the presumption that he too is a virgin because he is bethrothed to her] if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry," with the implication that he is not faulted for choosing to marry his bethrothed, both of whom are virgins, as is proper for believers. Notice the word rendered "them" conveys the context of a man and a woman who are bethrothed to be married, and not a father who gives away his daughter to be married, as some contend.

a) [(1 Cor 7:38) Manuscript Evidence on 1 Cor 7:38]:


WH, NU, P15(vid), Sinaiticus*, A, P, 33, 1739, syr (P46, B, D "autou" instead of "eautou) have "the one marrying his own virgin"

variant / TR Siniaticus(2), Psi, Maj have "the one giving [her] in marriage"

The WH, NU reading is supported by the best manuscript evidence (with one variation of the pronoun). Nonetheless, this expression has been very problematic for interpreters, who have seen it either as [a] way of saying that a fiance marries his virgin fiancee or of saying that a father gives away his virgin daughter in marriage. The ambiguity is taken away in TR, which conveys the notion of a father giving away his virgin daughter in marriage. This is reflected in KJV and NKJV, as well as in NASB and [in the] margins of other modern versions.


5 cont) [(1 Cor 7:36-40) Commentary On 1 Cor 7:36-40 cont]:

(1 Cor 7:36 NKJV) "But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry.

(1 Cor 7:37 NKJV) Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well.

(1 Cor 7:38 HCSB) So then he who marries his virgin does well, but he who does not marry will do better.

(1 Cor 7:39 NASB) A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

(1 Cor 7:40 NASB) But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God."

So Paul goes on in 1 Cor 7:37 & 38 to clarify this matter that he touched upon in 1 Cor 7:36 as follows:

(1 Cor 7:37 NKJV)
 "Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, ["keep her" in the sense of marry her] does well," indicating that it is permissible for one to marry or not - a personal choice]

(1 Cor 7:38 HCSB) So then he who marries his virgin does well, but he who does not marry will do better."

So in 1 Cor 7:38 Paul concludes that the one who marries his bethrothed who is a virgin as well does well, but should he not marry, he will do even better - in the sense of serving the Lord that much the more due to having greater opportunity and circumstances to do so provided he follows through in faithfulness to those opportunities and circumstances that the Lord provides for him.

b) [(1 Cor 7:39) Manuscript Evidence for 1 Cor 7:39]:

(1 Cor 7:39 NASB) "A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord."

WH, NU, P15(vid), P46, Sinaiticus*, A, B, D*, 0278, 33, 1739 have "a woman is bound"

variant1 / TR, Sinaiticus2, D(1), F, G, Psi, Maj, syr have "a woman is bound by law"

variant2 / K, cop(bo) have "a woman is bound by marriage"

The WH NU reading is fully supported by a wide range of witnesses; in a fuller context it is rendered, 'a woman is bound as long as here husband lives." Both variants are gap-fillers created by scribes who wanted to tell their readers just exactly how a woman was bound to her husband. The first variant was influenced by Ro 7:2; the second is a natural filler.

c) [(1 Cor 7:40) Manuscript Evidence for 1 Cor 7:40]:

(1 Cor 7:40 NASB) "But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God."

Most manuscripts read, "and I think I have the Spirit of God." P15 and P33, however, have a different title here: "Spirit of Christ." The title "Spirit of Christ" is far less common than "the Spirit of God;" the former appears only in Ro 8:9 and 1 Pet 1:11, the latter in many NT verses. It would be much more likely that scribes changed "the Spirit of Christ" to "the Spirit of God" than vice versa. In this chapter Paul has made the point of separating his advice from the Lord's directives (see 7:10, 25). Nonetheless, he claims that his advice concerning virgins and the unmarried is to be heeded because he has the Spirit of God / Christ. Having made the Lord (that is, the Lord Jesus Christ) the source of reference throughout this chapter, it would be natural for Paul to conclude with an affirmation of his possesson of "the Spirit of Christ" rather than "the Spirit of God."

But these arguments, based on internal evidence, cannot outweigh the fact that all other manuscripts read, "the Spirit of God."


To repeat on the previous context before coming to vv. 39-40,
So in 1 Cor 7:38 Paul concludes that the one who marries his bethrothed who is a virgin as well does well, but should he not marry, he will do even better - in the sense of serving the Lord that much the more due to having greater opportunity and circumstances to do so provided he follows through in faithfulness to those opportunities and circumstances that the Lord provides for him.

So
the same theme, Paul adds in 1 Cor 7:39-40 as follows:

(1 Cor 7:39 NASB) "A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

(1 Cor 7:40 NASB) But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God."

So in 1 Cor 7:39 above, Paul indicates that a wife is bound to stay married as long as her husband lives - believers are in view - but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes; BUT "only in the Lord" in the sense that she must not marry an unbeliever or a believer who might be unequally yoked with her in the Lord.

And then in 1 Cor 7:40 above, Paul presents his opinion in this matter: that a woman who is a believer is happier if she remains as she is, in the sense of happier serving the Lord if, after her husband dies, she remains single rather than to remarry, even to not marry at all. Hence she can serve the Lord all the better and happier. Whereupon, Paul writes "
and I think that I also have the Spirit of God," which he wrote to affirm His authority, i.e., that his words in this letter are not only of value because of who he is but "also" because they have been inspired by the Spirit of God. This last phrase evidently indicates that there was some question as to his authority as representing God from some within the congregation of believers at Corinth. Nevertheless, his words apply to believers throughout the age and beyond.

d) [(1 Cor 7:36-40) Expositor's Bible Commentary On 1 Cor 7:36-40]:

(1 Cor 7:36 NKJV) "But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry.

(1 Cor 7:37 NKJV) Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well.

(1 Cor 7:38 HCSB) So then he who marries his virgin does well, but he who does not marry will do better.

(1 Cor 7:39 NASB) A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

(1 Cor 7:40 NASB) But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God."

"36-40 Paul teaches that a virgin of marriageable age must be treated honorably, whether she becomes married or not. It may be right for her either to marry or remain single.

"36 But who is meant by "he" is in v. 36, the father of the virgin or the man who is engaged to her? Some have even interpreted the second view to mean that the virgin was a "spiritual" bride who lived with the man as a virgin. This latter view presents problems in the light of the Scriptures that teach that a man is to cleave to his wife and they are to be one flesh (Gen 2:24) and to "be fruitful" (Gen 1:28). The decision as to whether the "he" is father or fiance turns on the meaning of gamizo ("marry") in v. 36. Frequently, verbs ending in izo are causative. If this is so here, then the translation "he who causes or gives his virgin to be married" would mean that "he" indicates the father, who in ancient times arranged for his daughter's marriage. But another viable view is that gamizo is not causative here, but is equivalent to gameo ("to marry"). If so, then "he" refers to the man who is considering the possibility of marrying his fiancee. Two arguments speak in favor of the second interpretation. First, v. 38b has no object expressed for the verb gamizo and so the verb can better be translated "marry," not "cause to marry." Second, gameo ("marry") is used in the plural in v. 36, "They should get married," where one might expect the singular form of gamizo if Paul meant to say, "Let him give her in marriage."
So the teaching is that if the situation in Corinth seems to be unfair to a particular virgin and especially if (ean with the subjunctive) she is passing her prime marriageable years, then the fiance should go ahead and marry her. The word hyperakmos literally means "beyond the peak" of life, and so can be translated "if she should be getting along in years." Paul adds that there is no sin in their getting married (v. 36).

NOTES ON vv. 36-40

36 The indicative condition of fact (v. 36a) assumes that such a situation really exists. Ἀσχημονεῖν (aschemonein, "to act improperly") in the light of what is implied by the clause "if she is getting past her prime of life" is best interpreted as meaning that the man could be treating his fiancee dishonorably by depriving her of the privilege of the marriage she desires. Paul seems to be making a play on words in using aschemonein, "to act improperly" when he has just used εὔσχημον (euschemon, "live in a right way, v. 35).

37, 38 In contrast, the man who feels no need to get married has done the right thing too. (The words "who is under no compulsion" refer to outward pressure to marry, such as some prior engagement contract or the pressure of a master on a slave.) However, Paul favors the man who does not marry (v. 38).

39, 40 In climaxing the discussion, Paul states that marriage is a life-long contract. If a woman marries, she is to cleave to her husband (Gen 2:24) till he dies. But when he dies, she is free to marry anyone she chooses, so long as he is a Christian. But, Paul says, the woman will be happier—freer from hardship and care—if she remains unmarried. This is his judgment for the Corinthian situation. When he says, rather modestly, "And I think that I have the Spirit of God," he means that in writing this also he is inspired by the Holy Spirit as were the other writers of Scripture. It is possible that some in Corinth were claiming inspiration; if so, Paul is contrasting himself with them in a veiled way.

"A woman is bound" (v. 39, dedetai, perfect tense) is a strong expression for the unbroken ties of marriage. The passive gamethenai ("to be married"; NIV, "to marry") indicates the women's consent to the new marriage relationship. The phrase monon en kurio ("only in the Lord") means that the woman should marry only a Christian. The NIV translation "but he must belong to the Lord" brings this out.

e) [(1 Cor 7:36-40) Bible Knowledge Commentary On 1 Cor 7:36-40]:


(1 Cor 7:36 NKJV) "But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry.

(1 Cor 7:37 NKJV) Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well.

(1 Cor 7:38 HCSB) So then he who marries his virgin does well, but he who does not marry will do better.

(1 Cor 7:39 NASB) A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

(1 Cor 7:40 NASB) But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God."

"7:36-38. The interpretation and translation of this passage is difficult, as the alternate marginal translation indicates. The issue revolves around whether the indefinite pronoun anyone (v. 36) refers to a father or to a prospective bridegroom. The niv translators, following most modern commentators, have adopted the latter point of view but have included the traditional interpretation in the margin. The strength of the bridegroom view lies in the fact that it permits a consistent subject for the verbs used throughout the passage, a strength which the niv translators forfeited by making the virgin the subject of the phrase getting along in years. This decision was possibly prompted by the need to explain why the bridegroom might be thought to act improperly (i.e., his delay in consummating the marriage may, with her advancing age, adversely affect her chance of ever getting married). The bridegroom view, however, faces a lexical difficulty in the meaning of two verbs (gameō and gamizō) for marriage. In order to sustain the bridegroom view it is necessary to understand the terms as virtual synonyms, meaning "to marry." But gamizō usually means "give in marriage," and gameō means simply "marry," as these words do in the other New Testament passages where they occur together (Matt. 24:38; Mark 12:25). This distinction in meaning continued to be recognized even in the second century. (Apollonius Dyscolus Syntax 3. 153). So it seems that the marginal reading is to be preferred.

Paul, then, gave advice to a father who in the first-century culture exercised great decision-making authority in matters affecting his family. A father may have decided that his daughter should not marry, possibly due to reasons similar to those Paul had mentioned in 1 Corinthians 7:25-34. But in coming to this decision, the father had not reckoned with the fact that his daughter might not be able to remain single. She might not possess the gift of celibacy (v. 7). If so, Paul recommended that the father should not feel obligated to hold to his previous commitment but instead let his daughter marry. However, the father should feel free to follow through on his conviction to keep his daughter single (v. 37) if three conditions were met: (a) He had a settled and firm conviction about the propriety of her celibacy. (b) He was in a position where he was free to exercise his authority, that is, he was not a slave in which case the master could determine the daughter's destiny. (c) He was under no compulsion from evidence which suggested that his daughter was not able to remain single but required marriage instead. If these conditions were met, then the father did well not to give her in marriage."

4. Remarriage And Widows (7:39-40)
7   39-40. Paul's earlier counsel to widows (vv. 8-9) was to remain single. In that previous context, however, he acknowledged the fact that not all were equipped to do so. The only constraint Paul placed on a widow who sought remarriage was the obligation to marry another Christian (he must belong to the Lord) - an obligation which though previously unstated, he no doubt meant to apply to all who sought marriage partners. That point alone, however, affected a widow's options. Within that condition she might choose whom she wanted and find with that husband great happiness, though Paul added that in his judgment she would be happier if she remained single. This advice was not only from Paul's heart but also guided by the Spirit of God, who equipped both single and married Christians (v. 7) for their respective roles."


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