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This chapter starts the second division of this Letter: discussing the points which had been submitted to the apostle Paul in a letter from the church at Corinth, for his instruction and advice. The letter in which they asked the questions, which are here discussed, has been lost. It would have thrown some light on the answers which Paul has given to their inquiries in this chapter, had it not been lost. The first question which is discussed (verses 1-9), whether it was lawful and proper to enter into the marriage relation. How this question arose, is not at all possible to decide. It is likely, that it arose from disputes between the Jews, who not only held the lawfulness, but the importance of the marriage relationship, according to the doctrines of the Old Testament, and certain followers or friends of some Greek philosophers, who might have been the advocates of celibacy. Why they supported that doctrine is not known. This may have resulted in the doctrine of celibacy in the some churches, a doctrine that has been the cause of so much corruption in the celibacy of the clergy among the Catholics.
The Jews, on the other hand, defended the decency and duty of marriage. They regarded it as an ordinance of God. Between these two groups in the church, the question arose as to whether marriage was lawful and advisable.
As you read this, there are so many things to consider, the main one being: Has God changed His mind on all of this? NO! God does NOT change (Mal.3:6; Heb. 6:18; 13:8; Jam.1:17).
Paul Answers Several Questions about Marriage (1 Cor.7:1-9)
1 Cor. 7:1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. (KJV)
Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman . . . the Corinthians had written to Paul, seeking his advice about the condition of things in their church. It seems from this chapter that one thing they had trouble with, and about which they wanted advice, was marriage. Clearly there were different opinions in the Corinthian church about marriage. Probably the Jews thought it required, while other members of the church thought it not needed, if not wrong. The church members had Jewish, Roman and Greek backgrounds, each with their own marriage customs. It is good for a man not to touch a woman . . . not to marry. Good here may simply mean expedient (beneficial, convenient) in view of the unsettled state of the world, and the persecution of Christians in particular. To touch a woman means to have sex with a woman. The Jews placed a high value on marriage, whereas many Greeks, the Gnostics in particular, were inclined to mock and ridicule it. While not degrading marriage, Paul may be reassuring a certain group of the Corinthians that celibacy is an acceptable life-style for a Christian, and even to be preferred in some circumstances.
1 Cor. 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. (KJV)
Nevertheless . . . although celibacy is to be admitted as proper where it can be done, when a man has complete control of himself and his passions, and though in present circumstances it would be convenient, yet it is proper also to enter into marriage . . .
To avoid fornication . . . IF a man cannot control his passions, celibacy can lead to fornication, as has been made crystal clear with the Catholic priests’ scandal.
The word fornication is used here in the large sense of licentiousness (immorality) in general. Paul tells them that for the sake of the purity of society, and to avoid the evils of uncontrolled lust and the corruptions and crimes which go with an illicit intercourse, it is proper that they should marry. It was to this vice that they were mainly exposed to in Corinth. Paul wanted to keep the church from scandal. Paul says that marriage is honorable, and that the relations of domestic life should be formed, to avoid the evils which would otherwise result.
Let every man have his own wife . . . ONE wife, to whom he shall be faithful. Polygamy is unlawful under the Gospel; and divorce is unlawful.
And let every woman have her own husband . . . therefore, let every man and woman, honor the institution of God, and avoid the evils of immoral indulgence. The marriage vow should be honored by all.
Most people find it natural and want to marry, and would be continually tempted to sexual sin if they did not, for they would have no acceptable outlet for their natural desires. Ephesians 5 goes along well with this Passage.
1 Cor. 7:3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. (KJV)
Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband . . . few persons are at a loss for the meaning here, for the context is very plain; a man should fulfill his duty as a husband, and a woman should fulfill her duty as a wife. The word benevolence means to show kindness, compassion and love to each other.
1 Cor. 7:4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. (KJV)
The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife . . . the wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Neither of them should refuse what the other has a marriage right to request.
1 Cor. 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. (KJV)
Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency . . . do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer and fasting. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan will not be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control. There are a multitude of rules given in such cases by the rabbis, and even by heathen writers; for this was a matter in which common sense should always decide.
1 Cor. 7:6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. (KJV)
But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment . . . it was a custom of the more reliable rabbis, to make a difference between the things which they ordered on their own judgment, and those which they built on the authority of the law. We may understand that Paul here is saying that the directions already given were from his own judgment, and not from any Divine inspiration; and we may take it for granted that where he does not make this statement he is writing under the immediate afflatus of the Holy Spirit.
1 Cor. 7:7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. (KJV)
For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that . . . it seems that Paul was not married; and he wished that all that were then in the church were, like himself, unmarried; but this was in reference to the necessities of the church, or what he calls he present distress (verse 26), for it is sure he did not mean he did not wish that marriage should cease among men, and that human beings should no longer be propagated upon earth; nor did he wish that the church should always be composed of single persons. That would have been absurd.
1 Cor. 7:8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. (KJV)
I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I . . . it is thought that Paul speaks here of men who had been married, but were now widowers; as he does of women who had been married, but were now widows. And when he says even as I, he means that he himself was a widower; for several of the ancients rank Paul among the married apostles.
1 Cor. 7:9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. (KJV)
But if they cannot contain, let them marry . . . if they find it inconvenient and uncomfortable to continue as widowers and widows, let them remarry.
For it is better to marry than to burn . . . to burn is to be troubled, irritated, or made uneasy.
2 Cor. 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? (KJV)
Command to the Married (1 Cor.7:10-24)
1 Cor. 7:10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: (KJV)
And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband . . . Paul had spoken to those married before, but in another case, he now returns to them again, speaking to another case, which it seems they had put to him . . . Was it lawful for the husband to depart from his wife, or the wife from her husband, unless it were in the case of adultery; for although here be nothing spoken as to that case, yet it plainly must be excepted, as was so determined before by the Saviour (Mat.5:32; 19:8-9). But the Jews, and so too the heathens amongst whom these Corinthians lived, thought that the marriage bond could be broken for the slightest cause. Paul tells thee: Let not the wife depart from her husband . . . the wife may divorce her husband in case of fornication, but she may not leave her husband for any other cause.
1 Cor. 7:11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. (KJV)
But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. . . here, Paul puts it on the line. The wife is NOT to leave her husband, and the husband is NOT to leave his wife. If one or the other is going to leave, then they are NOT to remarry.
Now there was a new problem which presented itself in Corinth. After Paul had come and had preached the Gospel to them, a husband in a family would accept Christ but the wife would not. In another family it might be that the wife would accept Christ and the husband would not. What were the believers to do under such circumstances?
1 Cor. 7:12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. (KJV)
But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away . . . in regard to the rest of the persons referred to here, Paul said that he would give his opinion. The rest, or remainder, here referred to, relates particularly to the cases in which one party was a Christian, and the other was not. Not the Lord . . . (verse 6), Paul had no express command on the subject from the Lord; but it was his opinion as a servant of the Lord (verse 40). This was a case in which both he and they were to follow the principles of Christian caution and decency, when there was no specific rule or command. Many such cases may occur in this life on Earth. If any brother. . . any Christian, hath a wife that believeth not. . . is not a Christian; that is an unbeliever; And she be pleased to dwell with him . . . if she approves of living together still. There might be cases where the wife or the husband, that was not a Christian, would be so opposed to Christianity, and so violent in their opposition, that they would not be willing to live with a Christian. When this was the case, the Christian husband or wife could not prevent the separation. When this was not the case, they were not to seek a separation themselves. Let him not put her away . . . although she is a heathen, and although opposed to his religion, yet the marriage vow is sacred and unbreakable, and is not to be broken by any change which can take place in the opinions of either party. When there is a difference of opinion on the subject of religion, the marriage bond is not to be dissolved. The only effect of Christianity should be to make the converted husband or wife more affectionate, kind, loving, tender and faithful than they were before; and all the more so, since their partners are not saved. The Christian in this marriage has hope that the spouse they may be won to love the Saviour (verse 16).
1 Cor. 7:13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. (KJV)
And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him . . . a change of wording from the last verse, to fit the situation. The newly converted wife does not have the power or right to put away the unbelieving husband, nor eject him from his own home; even though she might think it is her duty to be separated from him. The apostle Paul counsels her not to do this; and this advice should still be followed today. She should still love her husband, and seek his welfare; she should still be a kind, affectionate and faithful wife; and all the more so . . . that she may show him the advantage of her religion, and win him over to it. She should bear much and bear it long. She should not leave him unless her life is rendered utterly miserable, or in danger; or unless he totally neglects to provide for her. In such a case, no rule of religion forbids her to return to her father's house, or to seek a place of safety and of comfort. But it is not to be a separation on account of a difference of religion, but for brutal treatment. Even then the marriage tie is not dissolved, and neither party are at liberty to marry again.
Has God changed His mind on all of this? NO! God does NOT change (Mal.3:6; Heb. 6:18; 13:8; Jam.1:17).
1 Cor. 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. (KJV)
The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy . . . the blessings that flow to believers do not stop there, but extend to others all around us. God regards the marriage as set apart for His use by the presence of one Christian spouse. The other spouse does NOT receive salvation automatically but is blessed by this relationship. The children of such a marriage have a godly influence because of the believing spouse, and are sanctified (set apart) because of God's blessing on the family unit, until they are old enough to make their own decision for Christ. Every single person must, on their own, personally accept Christ as their Saviour and Lord. http://www.hisservants.org/religion_or_christ_h_s.htm
1 Cor. 7:15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. (KJV)
But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace . . . if the unbeliever walks out of the marriage that is another story. Then the believer is free. Now the question which is asked is whether that one is free to marry again. I believe that under certain circumstances Paul would have given permission for that. I do not think we can put down a clear-cut rule either way for today. I think that each case stands or falls on its own merits. I'm afraid this can very easily be abused, even by professing Christians. I think that sometimes a husband or a wife tries to get rid of the other and forces them to leave in order that they might have a scriptural ground for divorce. God hath called us to peace . . . the stubborn and disagreeing party should not be compelled to fulfill such matrimonial engagements as would produce continual conflict and discord. At the same time each should take care that he give no cause for disagreements and separations, for the Author of the Gospel is the Author of peace (1 Cor.14:33; Heb.5:9; 12:2), and has called us to it.
1 Cor. 7:16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife? (KJV)
For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife . . . this should be the goal of the wife. Women who are married to unsaved men, should try to win them to Christ, by their loving attitudes and actions. This also should be the goal of the husband who is married to an unsaved woman. Winning a person for Christ should be uppermost in their thoughts.
Now . . . a question: Should a TRUE Christian marry someone who is an unbeliever? NO! Absolutely not! BEWARE!!! A marriage like that could bring disaster to you.
Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (KJV)
2 Cor. 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (KJV)
1 Cor. 7:17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. (KJV)
But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches . . . Paul is advising people to stay in the situation in which they are. They are not to walk out of their marriage after they have heard and accepted the Gospel. They are to stay married if the unbelieving partner will allow it.
1 Cor. 7:18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. (KJV)
Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? . . . native-born Jews were circumcised, Gentiles were not. Could a Jew reverse the condition of circumcism? No! He could not become uncircumcised. This could not be done literally. If a Jew was called, and became a believer, he was not to be concerned about becoming uncircumcised.
Is any called in uncircumcision? . . . uncircumcision means a Gentile, one who had not been circumcised. He was not to be circumcised if he was called and became a believer. Let him not be circumcised.
1 Cor. 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. (KJV)
Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God . . . circumcision and uncircumcision is of no importance in itself. It is not something which God now requires. We now live in the age or dispensation of grace (Rom.6:14-15; 11:6). It is simply an external ritual that can be of no importance one way or the other. The heart is all that God demands (Rom.2:25-29).
The ceremony of circumcision was a very important part of the Jews' relationship with God in the Old Testament. Before Christ came, circumcision was commanded by God for those Jews who claimed to follow Him (Gen.17:9-14), but after Christ's Sacrifice, circumcision was no longer necessary (Acts 15; Rom.4:9-11; Gal.5:2-4; Col.2:11). Pleasing God and obeying Him are far more important than observing traditional ceremonies.
For more on dispensations, see: http://www.worldlychaos.org/w_c_what_is_dispensationalism.htm
1 Cor. 7:20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. (KJV)
Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called . . . both the circumcised and uncircumcised, in Christ, have the exact same advantages; so any situation of life is equally friendly to the salvation of the soul, IF a man be faithful to the grace he has received. Therefore, in all situations, a Christian should be content, for all things work together for good to him who loves God (Rom.8:28).
1 Cor. 7:21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. (KJV)
Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather . . . slaves at that time abounded in Greece, and every part of the heathen world, so it was a very important subject to ask what should be done in such instances. The slaves that had been converted might argue that the institution of slavery was contrary to the rights of man; that it destroyed their equality with other men; that it was cruel, and oppressive, and unjust to the highest degree; and that therefore they should not to submit to it, but that they should break their bonds, and declare their rights as freemen.
In order to prevent restlessness, uneasiness and disobedience; in order to preserve the peace of society, and to prevent Christianity from being regarded as confusing and disorderly, Paul here states the way the slave was to act. And by referring to this case, which was the strongest which could occur, he planned no doubt to teach the duty of order and contentment in general. Care not for it . . . it was not to be a subject of deep anxiety and distress; slaves should not think it to be disgraceful. It was not to affect their spirits; but were to be content in the lot of life where God has placed them. If thou mayest be made free, use it rather . . . if they could in a proper way obtain their freedom, they were to do it, but if not, it should not be a continual, painful subject on their mind.
1 Cor. 7:22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. (KJV)
For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman . . . IF you are a TRUE Christian, you are indeed the Lord's servant! Simple as that! But, if you are a servant of the Lord, you are also the Lord’s freemen. The man who was a slave, and is converted to the Christian faith, does not impair or weaken any of the privileges to which he is entitled to as a Christian. Likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant . . . on the other hand, all free men, who receive the grace of Christ, must consider themselves the servants of the Lord . . . they are His property, to be used according to His Godly wisdom, who while in their state of subjection, will find the service of their Master to be perfect freedom.
1 Cor. 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. (KJV)
Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men . . . as servants, you have become the property of your master, the result of His paying a price for you . . . so now you are the Lord's property, because you have been purchased by the Blood of Christ.
Some look at this verse as in question form. Are ye bought with a price from your slavery?
In these verses Paul shows that the Christian religion does not end our civil connections; in reference to them, where it finds us, there it leaves us. In whatever relation we stood before our embracing Christianity, there is where we should stand.
1 Cor. 7:24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God. (KJV)
Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God . . . let every man live to God in whatsoever station he is placed by Providence. If he be a slave, God will be with him even in his bondage, IF he is faithful to the grace which he has received. It is very likely that some of the slaves at Corinth, who had been converted to Christianity, had been led to think that their Christian privileges absolved them from the need to continue as slaves; or, at least, brought them on a level with their Christian masters. A spirit of this kind could have led to confusion and disobedience, and brought scandal to the Church. It was therefore very proper for the apostle Paul to step in with his authority, for the persons concerned would no doubt respectfully obey.
The rules of Christianity reach into every condition of mankind. It is the duty of every Christian to be content with his lot, and to conduct himself in his rank and place as suits a Christian. Our comfort, happiness and peace really do depend on what we are to Christ, NOT what we are in the world. No Christian should try to make his faith or religion, an argument to break through any of our civil obligations. Christians should quietly and cheerfully abide in the condition and position in which the Lord has placed us.
Reasons for Marrying or Remaining Single (1 Cor.7:25-40)
The discussion for the remainder of this chapter is an answer to the second question which the Corinthians had asked Paul and is related to the first question. Remember that all this must be interpreted in the light of what Corinth was in Paul's day, and then it can be applied to the day in which we live. Corinth was an extremely corrupt place, and manhood was corrupted there. When women are corrupted, men descend to a level so low it is frightful. So there was this question among Christian parents in Corinth: What should they do about their marriageable daughters? Before they were converted, their friends were drunken sots who went up to the temple of Aphrodite to the prostitutes there.
What should the single Christian girls do now? Paul will deal with this question.
1 Cor. 7:25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. (KJV)
Now concerning virgins . . . this was yet another subject on which the Church at Corinth had asked the advice of the apostle Paul. The word virgin usually means a pure, unmarried young woman, but it is evident that the word here means young unmarried persons of either sex, as appears from (verses 26-27, 32-34) and (Rev.14:4). In verse 36, the word is supposed to mean the state of virginity or celibacy, and very probable reasons are assigned for it; and it is evident that persons of either sex in a state of celibacy are the persons intended.
I have no commandment of the Lord . . . there is nothing in the sacred writings that directly touches this point, nor did the Lord Jesus ever teach on it.
Yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful . . . Paul would give his opinion, since he had received the teaching of the Spirit, and had obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful to his heavenly gift.
1 Cor. 7:26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be. (KJV)
I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be . . . good here means convenient, (as before, verse 1). The present distress or need: by which, without doubt, the apostle Paul means, not the common needs of all men that are born once to die (Heb.9:27). For this present distress, the apostle gives his opinion that it was convenient and better, for those that could honestly abstain from marriage, to keep themselves in their single and unmarried condition.
1 Cor. 7:27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. (KJV)
Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife . . . if you have a wife, do not try to end the marriage. If you do not have a wife, do not seek to get married. If your situation is such as it does not please you to marry, do not seek a wife; the times are like to be full of trouble and difficulty.
1 Cor. 7:28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you. (KJV)
But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned . . . it is not sinful to marry, but marriage is rough going even under the best circumstances. Paul tells them that considering the distress of those times, the unmarried state was best, although he does not condemn marriage. There were those who opposed Paul, and who forbid many to marry, entangling them with vows to remain single. Paul urges all Christians to be totally indifferent and unresponsive toward the world (1 Jn.2:15-17). As to their relationships, they must not set their hearts on the comforts of this life on Earth, for worldly enjoyments is NOT their rest or peace. As to all worldly concerns; they must keep the world out of their hearts. All worldly things are show and go; nothing solid and eternal. All will one day be gone. This goes for Christians in today’s world as well. We must make wise decisions about worldly interests, for that is a duty; but we must be careful, because to have anxious desires or lust for things of the world, is a sin. Paul explains that each man must decide what is best for his own soul.
Each of us must consider the advantages, and the snares of our own life; that we may improve the advantages, and escape as all harm from the snares. A word of warning: no matter what
cares press upon our mind, may we always be sure we have adequate time left for the things of the Lord.
1 Cor. 7:29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; (KJV)
But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none . . . Paul is saying that no matter how stressful the times are, they are to put Christ first (Mat.10:37-38; 22:37; Lk.14:26). Paul is asking them, and us: If you are married, can you act as if you are not married in that you put Christ first?
1 Cor. 7:30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; (KJV)
And they that weep, as though they wept not . . . are you going to let some sorrow or tragedy in your life keep you from serving God?
And they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not . . . are you going to let some worldly pleasure take the place of your relationship to God? Think of how many do this! Football immediately comes to mind!
And they that buy, as though they possessed not . . . it is not wrong to buy and obtain property; but it should be done, knowing that all in this life is uncertain and must soon be left. You cannot get a permanent title on something that shall be taken away by death. Our lands and houses, our stocks and bonds and mortgages, all our possessions, shall soon pass into the hands of another. Others will plow our fields, reap our harvests, work in our shops, sit down by our fires, eat on our tables and lie in our beds. Only what we have sent on to Heaven will be permanent!
Matthew 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (KJV)
1 Cor. 7:31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away. (KJV)
And they that use this world, as not abusing it . . . while you have any of this world's goods you may use them, for without them you cannot live in the world. I don’t think people realize just how short our life on this Earth really is! IF they did, they might consider just how little time there is that you have them to use. This should govern us in the use of the world’s goods, so that we take heed we do not use them to any other purpose, than that for which God hath appointed and given them to you.
For the fashion of this world passeth away . . . this world is like a stage where there are many different scenes, with the present scene lingering but for a short time, then passing away, and another scene appearing. Those scenes appearing today in the form of princes and nobles, may tomorrow appear as beggars, and persons of a low estate. NO one knows what tomorrow may bring! You may not be here tomorrow! Brevity and frailty of life: (1 Chron.29:15; Job 7:6; 9:25; 14:2; Ps..39:5; 89:47; 90:3-6; 102:11; 103:15-16; Isa.40:6; Jam.1:10; 1 Pet.1:24).
1 Cor. 7:32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: (KJV)
But I would have you without carefulness . . . the reason Paul advised, during the present distressed estate of the church, a single rather than a married life, for those to whom God hath given the gift of restraint or self-control, is that those who are Christians might live as free from such cares that divide or distract men minds.
He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord . . . the single person that has a spiritual heart, is prepared to do God’s work, for they are free from other distractions and cares of marriage, caused by worldly situations. An unmarried servant of the Lord, will spend all his thoughts about his duty toward God, and how to please Him.
1 Cor. 7:33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. (KJV)
But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife . . . he that is married has other things which he must be concerned about; and besides that, he is obliged to provide for his family, as well as to fulfill his duty to God, and attend to the concerns of his own soul. The single man has very little trouble compared to the married man, who has a great deal.
Only for the present distress in the church, did Paul give this opinion that it was best for those who were single to continue so. The married man tries to please his wife. This is normal and natural, and Paul is not saying it is wrong to marry.
1 Cor. 7:34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. (KJV)
There is a difference also between a wife and a virgin . . . there is also a difference between a married and an unmarried woman.
The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit . . . the unmarried woman cares only for the things of the Lord, having no home duties to perform; so she is separated to God’s work, both in body and spirit. While she that is married cares also for the things of the world, how she may please her husband, having many home responsibilities to fulfill, for her husband leaves the care of the family to her, and all other household concerns.
1 Cor. 7:35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. (KJV)
This I speak for your own profit . . . that you may benefit yourselves of all your advantages and privileges, and pursue such a course as shall tend most to advance your personal piety and salvation.
Not that I may cast a snare upon you . . . snare here means a cord, a rope, a bond; and the sense is, that Paul would not bind them by any rule which God had not made; or that he would not restrain them from that which is lawful, and which the good of society usually requires. Paul means, that the object of his advice was their welfare; it was not meant to bind, fetter, or restrain them from any course which would be for their real happiness, but to promote their permanent advantage.
But for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction . . . Paul is making it very clear that the most important thing is to always put God first. That should be the deciding factor for every person in a marriage relationship, no matter who you are or how spiritual you think you may be. IF you do NOT put God first in your marriage, then your marriage, my friend, is not the ideal Christian marriage.
Now Paul again comes back to his judgment that the single person can attend upon the Lord without distraction.
1 Cor. 7:36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry. (KJV)
But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely . . . acts an unbecoming part; imposes an unnecessary, painful and improper restraint on his daughter.
Toward his virgin . . . his daughter, or his ward, or any unmarried female committed to his care.
If she pass the flower of her age . . . if she passes the marriageable age, and remains unmarried. It is well known that in the east it was regarded as especially dishonorable to remain unmarried; and the authority of a father, therefore, might be the means of involving his daughter in shame and disgrace. When this would be the case, it would be wrong to prohibit her to marry.
And need so require . . . she should be allowed to marry, if it will promote her happiness; and if she would be unhappy, and regarded as dishonored, if she remained unmarried.
Let him do what he will . . . he has the authority in this case; for in the east the authority rested with the father. He may either give her in marriage or not, as he pleases. But in this case it is advisable that she should marry.
He sinneth not . . . he will do nothing positively wrong in the case. Marriage is lawful, and in this case it is advisable; and he may consent to it, for the reasons above stated, without error.
1 Cor. 7:37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well. (KJV)
Nevertheless. . . Paul in this verse states some examples where it would not be proper to give a daughter in marriage; and the verse is a kind of summing up of all that he had said on the subject.
He that standeth steadfast in his heart . . . most commentators have understood this to be the father of the virgin, and suppose that it refers to his purpose of keeping her from marriage. To stand steadfast, is opposite to a disposition that is wavering and unsettled, and means a man who has command of himself, who sticks to his purpose, a man who has always stuck to his purpose, and to whose happiness and reputation it is important that he should be known as one who is not easily moved.
Having no necessity . . . where there is nothing in her disposition that would make marriage necessary, or when there is no engagement or obligation that would be violated if she did not marry.
But hath power over his own will . . . the father has power to do as he pleases, when there is no engagement, or contract made in childhood, or promise made in early life that would bind him. Often daughters were espoused, or promised, when they were very young; and in such a case a man would be bound to uphold the agreement.
And hath so decreed in his heart . . . has so judged, determined, resolved.
That he will keep his virgin . . . his daughter or ward, in an unmarried state. He has power and authority to do it, and if he does it he will not sin.
Doeth well . . . in either case, he does well. If he has a daughter, and chooses to retain her in an unmarried state, he does well or right.
1 Cor. 7:38 So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better. (KJV)
So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well . . . does right, violates no law and is not to be blamed for it.
But he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better. . . when Paul says the unmarried person does even better, he means the potential time available for service to God. The single person does not have the responsibility of caring for a spouse and raising a family. But, being single does not ensure service to God. Serving God depends on the commitment of the individual.
1 Cor. 7:39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. (KJV)
The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord . . . the unchanging doctrine of the New Testament is that marriage is a contract for life, between one man and one woman, indissoluble by the will of the parties or by any human authority; but that the death of either party leaves the survivor free to contract another marriage, meaning that they are free to marry another Christian. OH! How this world has forgotten this!
1 Cor. 7:40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God. (KJV)
But she is happier if she so abide . . . if she remain a widow, even if she could be married to a Christian.
After my judgment . . . in my opinion (verse 25).
And I think also that I have the Spirit of God . . . this implies that Paul was under the influence of the unfailing Spirit (Rom.8:9), and that his advice was such as agreed with the will of God. Paul said that he judged also of himself that he was divinely guided and directed in what he said. And as Paul in this could not be mistaken; he believed that he was under the influence of the Holy Spirit, so this advice should be regarded as of Divine authority, and as binding on all at the church at Corinth. It was necessary that Paul should proclaim Divine authority to counteract the teaching of the false instructors in Corinth (1 Cor.4:15); and that he should interrupt that authority in prescribing right and proper rules for the government of the church there, in view of the many evil temptations to which they were exposed.
The important thing is to serve God, to put God first in your life. If a person is married, God should still be first in his life. Sad to say, there are many Christian couples who are compatible, they are not going to the divorce court . . . BUT, God does not have first place in their life or their marriage. The question we need to ask our self is: How can I put God first in my life?
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