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1: It is good for a man - Who is master of himself. Not
to touch a women - That is, not to marry. So great and many are
the advantages of a single life.
2: Yet, when it is needful, in order to avoid
fornication, let every man have his own wife. His
own - For Christianity allows no polygamy.
3: Let not married persons fancy that there is any
perfection in living with each other, as if they were
unmarried. The debt - This ancient reading seems far more
natural than the common one.
4: The wife - the husband - Let no one forget this, on
pretence of greater purity.
5: Unless it be by consent for a time - That on those
special and solemn occasions ye may entirely give yourselves
up to the exercises of devotion. Lest - If ye should long
remain separate. Satan tempt you - To unclean thoughts, if
not actions too.
6: But I say this - Concerning your separating for a time
and coming together again. Perhaps he refers also to (1Co 7:2).
7: For I would that all men were herein even as I - I
would that all believers who are now unmarried would remain
"eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake" St. Paul, having
tasted the sweetness of this liberty, wished others to enjoy
it, as well as himself. But every one hath his proper gift
from God - According to our Lord's declaration, "All men
cannot receive this saying, save they," the happy few, to
whom it is given," (Mt 19:11).
8: It is good for them if they remain even as I - That
St. Paul was then single is certain and from (Ac 7:58),
compared with the following parts of the history, it seems
probable that he always was so. It does not appear that this
declaration, any more than (1Co 7:1), hath any reference at
all to a state of persecution.
10: Not I - Only. But the Lord - Christ; by his express
command, (Mt 5:32).
11: But if she depart - Contrary to this express
prohibition. And let not the husband put away his wife
- Except for the cause of adultery.
12: To the rest - Who are married to unbelievers. Speak
I - By revelation from God, though our Lord hath not left any
commandment concerning it. Let him not put her away - The Jews,
indeed, were obliged of old to put away their idolatrous
wives, (Ezr 10:3); but their case was quite different. They
were absolutely forbid to marry idolatrous women; but the
persons here spoken of were married while they were both in
a state of heathenism.
14: For the unbelieving husband hath, in many instances,
been sanctified by the wife - Else your children would have been
brought up heathens; whereas now they are Christians. As if
he had said, Ye see the proof of it before your eyes.
15: A brother or a sister - A Christian man or woman.
Is not enslaved - is at full liberty. In such cases: but God
hath called us to peace - To live peaceably with them, if it
17: But as God hath distributed - The various stations of
life, and various relations, to every one, let him take care
to discharge his duty therein. The gospel disannuls none of
these. And thus I ordain in all the churches - As a point of
the highest concern.
19: Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is
nothing - Will neither promote nor obstruct our salvation.
The one point is, keeping the commandments of God;
"faith working by love."
20: In the calling - The outward state. Wherein he
is - When God calls him. Let him not seek to change this,
without a clear direction from Providence.
21: Care not for it - Do not anxiously seek liberty. But
if thou canst be free, use it rather - Embrace the opportunity.
22: Is the Lord's freeman - Is free in this respect. The
Greek word implies one that was a slave, but now is free. Is
the bondman of Christ - Not free in this respect; not at liberty
to do his own will.
23: Ye are bought with a price - Ye belong to God;
therefore, where it can be avoided, do not become the
bondslaves of men - Which may expose you to many temptations.
24: Therein abide with God - Doing all things as unto God,
and as in his immediate presence. They who thus abide with God
preserve an holy indifference with regard to outward things.
25: Now concerning virgins - Of either sex. I have no
commandment from the Lord - By a particular revelation. Nor was
it necessary he should; for the apostles wrote nothing which
was not divinely inspired: but with this difference, - sometimes
they had a particular revelation, and a special commandment;
at other times they wrote from the divine light which abode
with them, the standing treasure of the Spirit of God. And
this, also, was not their private opinion, but a divine rule
of faith and practice. As one whom God hath made faithful in
my apostolic office; who therefore faithfully deliver what I
receive from him.
26-27: This is good for the present distress - While any
church is under persecution. For a man to continue as he is
- Whether married or unmarried. St. Paul does not here urge
the present distress as a reason for celibacy, any more than
for marriage; but for a man's not seeking to alter his state,
whatever it be, but making the best of it.
28: Such will have trouble in the flesh - Many outward
troubles. But I spare you - I speak as little and as tenderly
29: But this I say, brethren - With great confidence. The
time of our abode here is short. It plainly follows, that
even they who have wives be as serious, zealous, active, dead
to the world, as devoted to God, as holy in all manner of
conversation, as if they had none - By so easy a transition does
the apostle slide from every thing else to the one thing
needful; and, forgetting whatever is temporal, is swallowed up
30: And they that weep, as if they wept not - "Though
sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." They that rejoice, as if
they rejoiced not - Tempering their joy with godly fear. They
that buy, as if they possessed not - Knowing themselves to be
only stewards, not proprietors.
31: And they that use this world, as not abusing it - Not
seeking happiness in it, but in God: using every thing therein
only in such a manner and degree as most tends to the
knowledge and love of God. For the whole scheme and fashion
of this world - This marrying, weeping, rejoicing, and all the
rest, not only will pass, but now passeth away, is this moment
flying off like a shadow.
32: Now I would have you - For this flying moment.
Without carefulness - Without any incumbrance of your thoughts.
The unmarried man - If he understand and use the advantage he
enjoys - Careth only for the things of the Lord, how he may
please the Lord.
33: But the married careth for the things of the world
- And it in his duty so to do, so far as becomes a Christian.
How he may please his wife - And provide all things needful
for her and his family.
34: There is a difference also between a wife and a
virgin - Whether the church be under persecution or not. The
unmarried woman - If she know and use her privilege. Careth
only for the things of the Lord - All her time, care, and
thoughts centre in this, how she may be holy both in body
and spirit. This is the standing advantage of a single life,
in all ages and nations. But who makes a suitable use of it?
35: Not that I may cast a snare upon you - Who are not
able to receive this saying. But for your profit - Who are
able. That ye may resolutely and perseveringly wait upon the
Lord - The word translated wait signifies sitting close by a
person, in a good posture to hear. So Mary sat at the feet
of Jesus, (Lu 10:39).
Without distraction - Without having the mind drawn any way from
its centre; from its close attention to God; by any person, or
thing, or care, or incumbrance whatsoever.
36: But if any parent think he should otherwise act
indecently - Unbecoming his character. Toward his virgin
daughter, if she be above age, (or of full age,) and need
so require,(1Co 7:9),
let them marry - Her suitor and she.
37: Having no necessity - Where there is no such need.
But having power over his own will - Which would incline him
to desire the increase of his family, and the strengthening
it by new relations.
38: Doeth better - If there be no necessity.
39: Only in the Lord - That is, only if Christians
marry Christians: a standing direction, and one of the
40: I also - As well as any of you. Have the Spirit of
God - Teaching me all things This does not imply any doubt;
but the strongest certainty of it, together with a reproof of
them for calling it in question. Whoever, therefore, would
conclude from hence, that St. Paul was not certain he had the
Spirit of Christ, neither understands the true import of the
words, nor considers how expressly he lays claim to the
Spirit, both in this epistle, (1Co 2:16,14:37), and the
other. (2Co 13:3). Indeed, it may be doubted whether the word
here and elsewhere translated think, does not always imply
the fullest and strongest assurance. See (1Co 10:12).