7:1 Now 1 concerning the things a whereof ye wrote unto me:
[It is] b good for a man not to touch a woman.
(1) He teaches concerning marriage that although a single life
has its advantages, which he will declare afterwards, yet
that marriage is necessary for the avoiding of fornication.
But so that neither one man may have many wives, nor any
wife many husbands.
(a) Concerning those matters about which you wrote to me.
(b) Commodious, and (as we say) expedient. For marriage
brings many griefs with it, and that by reason of the
corruption of our first estate.
7:32 Let the husband render unto the wife c due
benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
(2) Secondly, he shows that the parties married must with
singular affection entirely love one another.
(c) The word "due" contains all types of benevolence,
though he speaks more of one sort than of the other, in
that which follows.
7:43 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.
(3) Thirdly, he warns them, that they are in each other's
power, with regard to the body, so that they may not
defraud one another.
7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, 4 except [it be] with
consent for a time, that ye may d give yourselves to
fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan
tempt you not for your incontinency.
(4) He adds an exception: unless the one abstain from the other
by mutual consent, that they may the better give themselves
to prayer, in which nonetheless he warns them to consider
what is expedient, lest by this long breaking off as it
were from marriage, they are stirred up to incontinency.
(d) Do nothing else.
7:65 But I speak this by permission, [and] not of
(5) Fifthly he teaches that marriage is not necessary for all
men, but for those who do not have the gift of continency,
and this gift is by a special grace of God.
7:7 For I e 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.
(e) I wish.
7:86 I say therefore to the f unmarried and widows, It is
good for them if they abide even as I.
(6) Sixthly, he gives the very same admonition touching the
second marriage, that is, that a single life is to be
allowed, but for those who have the gift of continency.
Otherwise they ought to marry again, so that their
conscience may be at peace.
(f) This whole passage is completely against those who
condemn second marriages.
7:9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better
to marry than to g burn.
(g) So to burn with lust, that either the will yields to the
temptation, or else we cannot call upon God with a
7:107 And unto the married I command, [yet] not I, but the
Lord, Let not the wife depart from [her] husband:
(7) Seventhly, he forbids contentions and the granting of
divorces (for he speaks not here of the fault of whoredom,
which was then death even by the law of the Romans also) by
which he affirms that the band of marriage is not
dissolved, and that from Christ's mouth.
7:128 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.
(8) Eighthly, he affirms that those marriages which are already
contracted between a faithful and an unfaithful or infidel,
are firm: so that the faithful may not forsake the
7:149 For the unbelieving husband is h sanctified by the
i wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the k
husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they
(9) He answers an objection: but the faithful is defiled by the
company of the unfaithful. The apostle denies that, and
proves that the faithful man with good conscience may use
the vessel of his unfaithful wife, by this, that their
children which are born of them are considered holy or
legitimate (that is, contained within the promise): for it
is said to all the faithful, "I will be your God, and the
God of your seed."
(h) The godliness of the wife is of more force to cause
their marriage to be considered holy, than the
infidelity of the husband is to profane the marriage.
(i) The infidel is not sanctified or made holy in his own
person, but in respect of his wife, he is sanctified to
(k) To the faithful husband.
(l) The children are holy in the same sense that their
parents are; that is they are sanctified, or lawfully
espoused together, so the children born of them were in
a civil and legal sense holy, that is, legitimate. (Ed.)
7:1510 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A
brother or a sister is not under bondage in m such
[cases]: 11 but God hath called us to peace.
(10) He answers a question: what if the unfaithful forsake the
faithful? Then the faithful is free, he says, because he
is forsaken by the unfaithful.
(m) When any such thing happens.
(11) Lest any man upon pretence of this liberty should give an
occasion to the unfaithful to depart, he shows that
marriage contracted with an infidel ought to be kept
peaceably, that if it is possible the infidel may be won to
7:1712 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord
hath n called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I
in all churches.
(12) Taking occasion by that which he said of the bondage and
liberty of matrimony, he digresses to a general doctrine
concerning the outward state and condition of man's life,
as circumcision and uncircumcision, servitude and liberty.
And he warns every man generally to live with a contented
mind in the Lord, whatever state or condition he is in,
because those outward things, as to be circumcised or
uncircumcised, to be bond or free, are not of the
substance (as they call it) of the kingdom of heaven.
(n) Has bound him to a certain type of life.
7:1813 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not o
become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let
him not be circumcised.
(13) Nonetheless he shows us that in these examples all are not
of the same type: because circumcision is not simply of
itself to be desired, but such as are bound may desire to
be free. Therefore herein only they are equal that the
kingdom of God consists not in them, and therefore these
are no hindrance to obey God.
(o) He is said to become uncircumcised, who by the help of
a surgeon, recovers an upper skin. And this is done
by drawing the skin with an instrument, to make it to
cover the head. Celsus in book 7, chapter 25.
7:21 Art thou called [being] a servant? p care not for it: but
if thou mayest be made free, use [it] rather.
(p) As though this calling were too unworthy a calling for
7:22 For he that is called in the q Lord, [being] a servant,
is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called,
[being] free, is Christ's servant.
(q) He that is in the state of a servant, and is called to
be a Christian.
7:2314 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of
(14) He shows the reason of the unlikeness, because he that
desired to be circumcised makes himself subject to man's
tradition and not to God. And this may be much more
understood of superstitions, which some do foolishly
consider to as things indifferent.
7:2415 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein
abide with r God.
(15) A repetition of the general doctrine.
(r) So purely and from the heart, that your doings may be
approved before God.
7:2516 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the
Lord: yet I give my s judgment, as t one that hath
obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
(16) He commands virginity to no man, yet he persuades and
praised it for another reason, that is, both for the
necessity of the present time, because the faithful could
scarce abide in any place, and use the commodities of this
present life because of persecution. And therefore those
who were not troubled with families, might be the readier,
and also for the cares of this life, which marriage
necessarily draws with it, so that they cannot but have
their minds distracted: and this has place in women
(s) The circumstances considered, this I counsel you.
(t) It is I that speak this which I am minded to speak:
and the truth is I am a man, but yet of worthy credit,
for I have obtained from the Lord to be such a one.
7:26 I suppose therefore that u this is good for the x
present distress, [I say], that [it is] good for a man so
(u) To remain a virgin.
(x) For the necessity which the saints are daily subject
to, who are continually tossed up and down, so that
their estate may seem most unfit for marriage, were it
not that the weakness of the flesh forced them to it.
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 y flesh: but I z spare you.
(y) By the "flesh" he understands whatever things belong to
this present life, for marriage brings with it many
problems. So that he leans more to a single life, not
because it is a service more agreeable to God than
marriage is, but for those problems which (if it were
possible) he would wish all men to be avoid, so that
they might give themselves to God alone.
(z) I would your weakness were provided for.
7:29 But this I say, brethren, the time [is] a short: it
remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they
(a) For we are now in the latter end of the world.
7:30 And they that b weep, as though they wept not; and they
that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that
buy, as though they possessed not;
(b) By "weeping" the Hebrews understand all adversity, and
by "joy", all prosperity.
7:31 And they that use this c world, as not abusing [it]: for
the d fashion of this world passeth away.
(c) Those things which God gives us here.
(d) The guise, and shape, and fashion: by which he shows us
that there is nothing in this world that continues.
7:33 But he that is married e careth for the things that are
of the world, how he may please [his] wife.
(e) Those that are married have their minds drawn here and
there, and therefore if any man has the gift of
continency, it is more advantageous for him to live
alone. But those who are married may care for the
things of the Lord also. Clement, Strom. 3.
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 f spirit: but she that is
married careth for the things of the world, how she may
please [her] husband.
7:35 And this I speak for your own g 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.
(g) He means that he will force no man either to marry or
not to marry, but to show them plainly what type of
life is most advantageous.
7:3617 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely
toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of [her] age, and
need so require, let him do what he will, he h sinneth
not: let them marry.
(17) Now he turns himself to the parents, in whose power and
authority their children are, warning them that according
to the former doctrine they consider what is proper and
convenient for their children. That they neither deprive
them of the necessary remedy against incontinency, nor
force them to marry, if neither their will does lead them,
nor any necessity urges them. And again he praises
virginity, but of itself, and not in all.
(h) He does well: for so he expounds it in (1Co 7:38).
7:37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his i heart,
having no k necessity, but hath power over his own will,
and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his
virgin, doeth well.
(i) Resolved himself.
(k) That the weakness of his daughter does not force him,
or any other matter, that that he may safely still keep
her a virgin.
7:38 So then he that giveth [her] in marriage doeth well; but he
that giveth [her] not in marriage doeth l better.
(l) Provides better for his children, and that not in just
any way, but by reason of such conditions as are
7:3918 The wife is bound by the m 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 n
(18) That which he spoke of a widower, he speaks now of a
widow, that is, that she may marry again, but that she
does it in the fear of God. And yet he does not hide the
fact that if she still remains a widow, she will be free
of many cares.
(m) By the law of marriage.
(n) Religiously, and in the fear of God.