1 Corinthians 7

1Marriage is to be used as a remedy against fornication. 10Christ hath forbidden to dissolve the bond thereof. 12Directions how to act where one of the parties is an unbeliever. 17Every man must abide in and fulfil the duties of the state wherein he was called. 25Directions concerning the marriage of virgins, respecting the distress of the times; 39and concerning the second marriage of widows.

1NOW concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is 1good for a man not 2to touch a woman.

1 By this word good here is not understood that which is honest, virtuous, or holy; for the apostle testifies that the married state is honorable, Heb. 13:4; as also the Holy Scripture throughout, but for that which has less trouble, encumbrance and inconvenience as the apostle expounds the same hereafter in verse 26.

2 That is, to marry or to know, as this word is also taken thus, Gen. 20:6.

2Nevertheless, to avoid 3fornication, let every man have 4his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

3 It is to express all manner of uncleanness and wantonness.

4 Gr. a wife of his own, that is, one married wife, and not many.

3Leta the husband render unto the wife 5due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

a 1 Peter 3:7.

5 Although this may be understood in general of all due duties between man and wife, Eph. 5:22, yet nevertheless it is here principally understood of those duties which are peculiar to marriage, as appears by the following verse.

4The wife hath not 6power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

6 Namely, to withhold her body from the husband without reason in this due benevolence, as the following verse declares.

5Defraudb ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and 7prayer; and come together again, that Satan 8tempt you not for your incontinency.c

b Joel 2:16.

7 He does not speak here of ordinary prayer, whereunto all Christians must be ready at all times, but of extraordinary necessities of prayer, whether those necessities concerned those married persons in particular, or the congregation of Christ in general, as by the joining of fasting appears, which is not required in all occasions, but in prayers in special necessities. See Exod. 19:15; Joel 2:16; Mat. 17:21; Acts 13:2.

8 That is, does not stir you up by this occasion to indecent lusts or other uncleanness.

c lack of self-control.

69But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

9 This is not to be understood of that which the apostle said on the second verse, seeing they who have not the gift of continence are not only permitted to marry, but also commanded, as also in the ninth verse; but of what was spoken immediately before of abstaining for a time and then coming together again, which he will leave to the liberty of the married persons according as they find themselves strong or weak therein, and according as their necessity and calling will bear.

7Ford10I would that all men were even as I myself. Bute every man hath his properf gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

d Acts 26:29.

10 The apostle declares, for the reasons which shall be related there, that he had rather they all had the gift of continence. Yet nevertheless that everyone must take notice of the gifts which he has received from God for this purpose; namely, the one to refrain himself, the other to make use of marriage in honor and moderation.

e Mat. 19:12; 1 Cor. 12:11.

f one’s own.

8I say therefore to 11the unmarried and widows, It is 12good for them if they abide even as I.

11 Namely, who are of themselves, as the Greek word implies. For, of the virgins, who are under the power of another, he will begin to treat hereafter in the 25th verse.

12 That is, advisable, useful and less troublesome. See verse 26.

9Butg if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry 13than to burn.

g 1 Tim. 5:14.

13 That is, it is good to marry that we may not be inflamed with sinful lusts through the desires of the flesh, and remain in danger to fall into uncleanness; which is always evil.

10And unto the married I command, yet 14not I, but the Lord, Leth not the wife depart from her husband:

14 Namely, as the first proposer of this command, but as one who repeats of what the Lord Christ has expressly commanded before. See Mat. 19:3, etc.

h Mal. 2:14; Mat. 5:32; 19:9; Mark 10:11; Luke 16:18.

11But and 15if she depart, 16let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

15 Namely, other than because of the husband’s adultery. See Mat. 5:32; 19:9.

16 That is, let her not be permitted any other marriage in the congregation, if she cannot be reconciled to her husband.

12But 17to the rest speak 18I, 19not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that 20believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell 21with him, let him not put her away.

17 Namely, believers, who are married to unbelievers.

18 Namely, as an apostle of Christ, instructed and moved by His Spirit.

19 Namely, by an express command, as it was in verse 10, previously. The reason hereof seems to be that Christ has preached the Gospel only among the Jews who were yet in God’s covenant, and not amongst the Gentiles, where this difference occurred at that time, which He caused for this reason to be propounded and commanded in its season by His apostles.

20 That is, a stranger from the christian religion, as the Gentiles were.

21 Namely, as those who are married use to do, and as it becomes them.

13And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

14For the unbelieving husband 22is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else 23were your children unclean; but now 24are they holy.

22 Gr. sanctified in the wife, as also afterward in the husband. Namely, in regard that believers are heirs of God’s covenant with their children, Gen. 17:7; Acts 2:39, which advantage the unbelieving husband cannot hinder by his unbelief, because the grace of God, in sanctifying such a marriage, is more powerful than the unbelief of the husband to desecrate the same.

23 That is, strangers from God’s covenant, as is testified of the unbelieving Gentiles and their seed, Eph. 2:12.

24 That is, are comprehended in the outward covenant of God, and have access to the signs and seals of God’s grace, as well as they who are born of both believing parents.

15But if the unbelieving 25depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is 26not under bondage 27in such cases: but God hath called us 28to peace.

25 That is, forsake the believer, or drives him from her, and obstinately makes void the bond of marriage from his side, as was then usual with the Gentiles, and now also with the Turks.

26 That is, not bound from their side to hold the bond of marriage any further, or to remain unmarried, as he had commanded the married persons in general, verse 11, from which command they are also excepted.

27 Namely, when they from their side thus break the bond of marriage, only, out of hatred to the faith.

28 Gr. in peace, that is, to live in peace and with a quiet conscience, whether it is in marriage or out of the same.

16Fori what knowest 29thou, O wife, whether thou 30shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

i 1 Peter 3:1.

29 Namely, who is a believer, and lives in peace with an unbelieving husband.

30 Namely, shall win him to Christ by your peaceable and Christian walk. See 1 Tim. 4:16; James 5:20; 1 Peter 3:1, 2.

1731But 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.

31 That is, let everyone be content and dispose himself according to the gifts and the calling which he has obtained of the Lord, whether it be in a married state or out of it; which afterwards he extends also to other callings of men, that by Christians, under the name of christian religion, the state of the civil order might not be disturbed, or the congregation be made hateful.

18Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become 32uncircumcised. Is any called 33in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.

32 As may be done by the art of surgery. See 1 Maccabees 1:16; Josephus, Antiq. lib. 12, cap. 6. Namely, as thinking that he would be the more acceptable to God thereby.

33 That is uncircumcised.

19Circumcision 34is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

34 That is, of no force unto godliness. Which the apostle understands chiefly of the times of the New Testament, when circumcision is no more a sacrament. See Gal. 5:6.

20Letj every man 35abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

j Eph. 4:1; Philip. 1:27; Col. 1:10; 1 Thes. 2:12.

35 That is, be quiet and be content.

21Art thou called being a servant? 36care not for it: but if thou mayest 37be made free, use it rather.

36 Namely, as if you would therefore please God the less, as long as you are a true Christian. See 1 Cor. 12:13, and Gal. 3:28.

37 Namely, by lawful and proper ways, as amongst the Gentiles, where slavery was in vogue, there were divers ways whereby the slaves might come to their freedom.

22For he that is 38called in the Lord, being a servant, is 39the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being 40free, is 41Christ’s servant.

38 That is, is converted to faith in Christ, being yet a servant or slave.

39 That is, freed by the Lord from the bondage of sin and of the devil. See John 8:34, 35, 36.

40 Namely, according to the civil or outward state.

41 That is, subject to His power and commandments, as a servant to his lord.

23Yek are bought 42with a price; be not ye 43the servants of men.

k 1 Cor. 6:20; Heb. 9:12; 1 Peter 1:18.

42 Gr. by price. See the last verse of the previous chapter.

43 Namely, to do anything for the service or obedience of men, which would be repugnant to the commands and the service of God. Or, suffer not yourselves in spiritual things to be brought in bondage by any men, that you should not freely use what the Lord has made free to us. See Gal. 5:1; Col. 2:20.

24Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide 44with God.

44 That is, as in the presence of God; or, duly acquit oneself in such a calling.

25Now concerning virgins I have 45no commandment of the Lord: yet I 46give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord 47to be faithful.

45 Or, ordinance; that is, no express command of God or of Christ; namely, that anyone ought to remain a virgin. Whereby it appears that the words of Christ, Mat. 19:12, He that is able to receive it, let him receive it, are not a command, but only a permission.

46 Or, say.

47 Namely, in my doctrine and ministry, and in that respect also in that which I here declare. See verse 40, and 1 Cor. 4:1, 2. Or, to be credible.

26I suppose therefore that this is 48good for the 49present distress, I say, that it is good for a man 50so to be.

48 That is, profitable and useful, as verses 1, 8.

49 Or, approaching necessity. Namely, of the congregation of Christ, which is now in continual trouble, persecution and banishment. See similar phrase, 2 Cor. 6:4, and 1 Thes. 3:7, which necessities may better and easier be endured by the unmarried than by the married, who are burdened with a family and children.

50 That is, unmarried; wherewith also is always to be understood the condition set down previously in the 8th and 9th verses, as also hereafter in the 35th and 36th verse of the gift of continence.

27Art thou bound unto a wife? 51seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

51 Namely, not even for the approaching necessity, as someone might have misinterpreted his previous words.

28But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have 52trouble 53in the flesh: 54but I spare you.

52 That is, oppression, discontents, and many cares.

53 That is, according to the external man, or, according to the present life. And this he says because of them who fancied to themselves nothing but ease and pleasure in a married state.

54 That is, I would gladly have you free from such encumbrances and troubles as marriage brings with it, as hereafter, verse 32, and the following is further declared, namely, that you may be able to serve the Lord the more freely.

29But this I say, brethren, 55the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as 56though they had none;

55 Gr. the time is drawn in, or together. This may be understood either of the time of every man’s life, seeing that the ages daily grow weaker and therefore a man must think the more upon spiritual things which are everlasting; or, of the time which the world shall yet stand, which is also said to be short in respect of the time passed, and therefore is called the last hour that we might the more carefully prepare ourselves speedily to look for Christ our Judge from heaven. See 1 Peter 4:7; 2 Peter 3:8. Others read, the time is short; it remaineth, etc.

56 Paul does not say this to forbid the married persons the use of marriage, for that would contradict what is said previously in verses 3, 4, 5, but to exhort them to moderation and consideration in that use, in order that their spiritual duties may not be hindered thereby, as also in what follows.

30And 57they that weep, as though they wept not; and 58they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, 59as though they possessed not;

57 That is, they who are in heaviness, especially for the mishaps which marriage brings with it, such as the death of husband, wife, children, or such like troubles and adversities which happen in marriage.

58 Namely, about the occasions, which sometimes the married state also gives for this purpose, in receiving of children, giving them in marriage, or other accommodations and recreations.

59 That is, not setting their heart upon it, so that by the use of the same they be turned away from the most important good. See Mat. 6:19, 33, as the following words also declare.

31And they that use this world, as not abusing it: forl60the fashion of this world passeth away.

l Isa. 40:6; James 1:10; 4:14; 1 Peter 1:24; 1 John 2:17.

60 That is, the things which the world esteem as a great good and happiness, but which are no other than an appearance thereof, as some performances in the theatre enact this, from which the Greek schema is taken. See Eccl. 1:2; 1 John 2:16, 17.

32But 61I would have you without carefulness.m Hen that is unmarried 62careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

61 That is, I wish, or I would be willing.

m anxiety*

n 1 Tim. 5:5.

62 That is, ought to take care, and can do it more freely, because he is not hindered by the care of housekeeping.

33But he that is married 63careth for the things that are 64of the world, how he may please his 65wife.

63 That is, is commonly disposed to do so, and is, by reason of the care of housekeeping and to please his spouse, more obliged to it.

64 The word world is here not taken for worldly lusts which are unlawful and forbidden everywhere in God’s Word, but for such things whereby the family is maintained in this world, such as meat, drink, clothes, dwelling, trading and the like, which are not unlawful in themselves, 1 Tim. 3:4, and 5:8, but nevertheless do trouble a man that he cannot always so earnestly and continually think upon what is spiritual, and in which the unmarried have less hindrance than the married, when the gifts and calling permit it. See an example hereof in Mary and Martha, Luke 10:39.

65 Not to do anything contrary to God’s will. For, so we may please no men, Luke 14:26; Gal. 1:10, but to live in love and peace with them, Eph. 5:25, which must so be understood also of the wives taking care towards the husband in the following verse.

34There 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.

35And this I speak 66for your own profit; not that I may cast 67a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without 68distraction.

66 That is, convenience and profit. And so he expounds in this verse what previously he called good or not good.

67 Namely, to bind you precisely to the unmarried life.

68 Or, not to be drawn off. Namely, with the cares and troubles of this world.

36But if any man 69think that he behaveth himself 70uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need 71so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.

69 Namely, from all the signs which he thereof traces, perceives or judges. He speaks here properly of parents or guardians under whom are the virgins.

70 That is, not well becoming or well advised, if he would hinder his virgin from marrying contrary to her nature or inclination; or else contrary to what the condition of his family requires.

71 Namely, to prevent greater trouble both in respect of her and of his family.

37Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having 72no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he 73will keep his virgin, doeth well.

72 Namely, either for himself for the preservation of his family and other occasions, which oftentimes necessitate parents to give in marriage their children; or by reason of the frailty of the children whereof is spoken in the previous verse.

73 Namely, unmarried.

38So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage 74doeth better.

74 That is, who does something beneficial or more profitable for the serenity of his virgin, as in verses 1, 8, 26, and as it is expounded in verses 35, 40.

39Theo wife is bound by 75the law as long as 76her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only 77in the Lord.

o Rom. 7:2.

75 Namely, of marriage. See Rom. 7:2.

76 Namely, except it be for the cause of adultery, Mat. 19:9, or of the departing of the unbelieving spouse, see verse 15.

77 That is, only that this be done in the fear of the Lord; to which purpose also especially serves, that she, now being free, does not yoke herself with unbelievers, 2 Cor. 6:14.

40But she is 78happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and 79I think also that I have thep Spirit of God.

78 Namely, as in respect of the troubles which marriage brings with it, as well of the freedom which she has to serve the Lord with less trouble, as is declared by the apostle heretofore. Yet this must also always be understood with the previous conditions, if she has the gift of continence, and her calling permits this, as he has defined this in verses 7, 17.

79 This the apostle says not as if he doubted thereof, but to speak modestly of himself, contrary to the false conceit, which some among them had of themselves. See above in verse 25.

p 1 Thes. 4:8.