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Chapter 7

7:1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote [peri de hōn egrapsate]. An ellipsis of [peri toutōn], the antecedent of [peri hōn], is easily supplied as in papyri. The church had written Paul a letter in which a number of specific problems about marriage were raised. He answers them seriatim. The questions must be clearly before one in order intelligently to interpret Paul’s replies. The first is whether a single life is wrong. Paul pointedly says that it is not wrong, but good [kalon]. One will get a one-sided view of Paul’s teaching on marriage unless he keeps a proper perspective. One of the marks of certain heretics will be forbidding to marry (1Ti 4:3). Paul uses marriage as a metaphor of our relation to Christ (2Co 11:2; Ro 7:4; Eph 5:28-33). Paul is not here opposing marriage. He is only arguing that celibacy may be good in certain limitations. The genitive case with [haptesthai] (touch) is the usual construction.

7:2 Because of fornications [dia tas porneias]. This is not the only reason for marriage, but it is a true one. The main purpose of marriage is children. Mutual love is another. The family is the basis of all civilization. Paul does not give a low view of marriage, but is merely answering questions put to him about life in Corinth.

7:3 Render the due [tēn opheilēn apodidotō]. Marriage is not simply not wrong, but for many a duty. Both husband and wife have a mutual obligation to the other. “This dictum defends marital intercourse against rigorists, as that of ver. 1 commends celibacy against sensualists” (Findlay).

7:4 The wife [hē gunē]. The wife is mentioned first, but the equality of the sexes in marriage is clearly presented as the way to keep marriage undefiled (Heb 13:4). “In wedlock separate ownership of the person ceases” (Robertson and Plummer).

7:5 Except it be by consent for a season [ei mēti [an] ek sumphōnou pros kairon]. If [an] is genuine, it can either be regarded as like [ean] though without a verb or as loosely added after [ei mēti] and construed with it. That ye may give yourselves unto prayer [hina scholasēte tēi proseuchēi]. First aorist active subjunctive of [scholazō], late verb from [scholē], leisure (our “school”), and so to have leisure (punctiliar act and not permanent) for prayer. Note private devotions here. That Satan tempt you not [hina mē peirazēi]. Present subjunctive, that Satan may not keep on tempting you. Because of your incontinency [dia tēn akrasian [humōn]]. A late word from Aristotle on for [akrateia] from [akratēs] (without self-control, [a] privative and [krateō], to control, common old word). In N.T. only here and Mt 23:25 which see.

7:6 By way of permission [kata sungnōmēn]. Old word for pardon, concession, indulgence. Secundum indulgentiam (Vulgate). Only here in N.T., though in the papyri for pardon. The word means “knowing together,” understanding, agreement, and so concession. Not of commandment [ou kat’ epitagēn]. Late word (in papyri) from [epitassō], old word to enjoin. Paul has not commanded people to marry. He has left it an open question.

7:7 Yet I would [thelō de]. “But I wish.” Followed by accusative and infinitive [anthrōpous einai]. This is Paul’s personal preference under present conditions (7:26). Even as I myself [hōs kai emauton]. This clearly means that Paul was not then married and it is confirmed by 9:5. Whether he had been married and was now a widower turns on the interpretation of Ac 26:10 “I cast my vote.” If this is taken literally (the obvious way to take it) as a member of the Sanhedrin, Paul was married at that time. There is no way to decide. His own gift from God [idion charisma ek theou]. So each must decide for himself. See on 1:7 for [charisma], a late word from [charizomai].

7:8 To the unmarried and to the widows [tois agamois kai tais chērais]. It is possible that by “the unmarried” (masculine plural) the apostle means only men since widows are added and since virgins receive special treatment later (verse 25) and in verse 32 [ho agamos] is the unmarried man. It is hardly likely that Paul means only widowers and widows and means to call himself a widower by [hōs kagō] (even as I). After discussing marital relations in verses 2-7 he returns to the original question in verse 1 and repeats his own personal preference as in verse 7. He does not say that it is better to be unmarried, but only that it is good [kalon] as in verse 1) for them to remain unmarried. [Agamos] is an old word and in N.T. occurs only in this passage. In verses 11, 34 it is used of women where the old Greeks would have used [anandros], without a husband.

7:9 But if they have not continency [ei de ouk egkrateuontai]. Condition of the first class, assumed as true. Direct middle voice [egkrateuontai], hold themselves in, control themselves. Let them marry [gamēsatōsan]. First aorist (ingressive) active imperative. Usual Koinē form in [-tōsan] for third plural. Better [kreitton]. Marriage is better than continued sexual passion. Paul has not said that celibacy is better than marriage though he has justified it and expressed his own personal preference for it. The metaphorical use of [purousthai] (present middle infinitive) for sexual passion is common enough as also for grief (2Co 11:29).

7:10 To the married [tois gegamēkosin]. Perfect active participle of [gameō], old verb, to marry, and still married as the tense shows. I give charge [paraggellō]. Not mere wish as in verses 7, 8. Not I, but the Lord [ouk egō alla ho kurios]. Paul had no commands from Jesus to the unmarried (men or women), but Jesus had spoken to the married (husbands and wives) as in Mt 5:31f.; 19:3-12; Mr 10:9-12; Lu 16:18. The Master had spoken plain words about divorce. Paul reenforces his own inspired command by the command of Jesus. In Mr 10:9 we have from Christ: “What therefore God joined together let not man put asunder” [mē chorizetō]. That the wife depart not from her husband [gunaika apo andros mē choristhēnai]. First aorist passive infinitive (indirect command after [paraggellō] of [chorizō], old verb from adverbial preposition [chōris], separately, apart from, from. Here used of divorce by the wife which, though unusual then, yet did happen as in the case of Salome (sister of Herod the Great) and of Herodias before she married Herod Antipas. Jesus also spoke of it (Mr 10:12). Now most of the divorces are obtained by women. This passive infinitive is almost reflexive in force according to a constant tendency in the Koinē (Robertson, Grammar, p. 817).

7:11 But and if she depart [ean de kai chōristhēi]. Third class condition, undetermined. If, in spite of Christ’s clear prohibition, she get separated (ingressive passive subjunctive), let her remain unmarried [menetō agamos]. Paul here makes no allowance for remarriage of the innocent party as Jesus does by implication. Or else be reconciled to her husband [ē tōi andri katallagētō]. Second aorist (ingressive) passive imperative of [katallassō], old compound verb to exchange coins as of equal value, to reconcile. One of Paul’s great words for reconciliation with God (2Co 5:18-20; Ro 5:10). [Diallassō] (Mt 5:24 which see) was more common in the older Greek, but [katallassō] in the later. The difference in idea is very slight, [dia-] accents notion of exchange, [kat-] the perfective idea (complete reconciliation). Dative of personal interest is the case of [andri]. This sentence is a parenthesis between the two infinitives [chōristhēnai] and [aphienai] (both indirect commands after [paraggellō]. And that the husband leave not his wife [kai andra mē aphienai]. This is also part of the Lord’s command (Mr 10:11). [Apoluō] occurs in Mark of the husband’s act and [aphienai] here, both meaning to send away. Bengel actually stresses the difference between [chōristhēnai] of the woman as like separatur in Latin and calls the wife “pars ignobilior” and the husband “nobilior.” I doubt if Paul would stand for that extreme.

7:12 But to the rest say I, not the Lord [tois de loipois legō egō, ouch ho Kurios]. Paul has no word about marriage from Jesus beyond the problem of divorce. This is no disclaimer of inspiration. He simply means that here he is not quoting a command of Jesus. An unbelieving wife [gunaika apiston]. This is a new problem, the result of work among the Gentiles, that did not arise in the time of Jesus. The form [apiston] is the same as the masculine because a compound adjective. Paul has to deal with mixed marriages as missionaries do today in heathen lands. The rest [hoi loipoi] for Gentiles (Eph 2:3) we have already had in 1Th 4:13; 5:6 which see. The Christian husband married his wife when he himself was an unbeliever. The word [apistos] sometimes means unfaithful (Lu 12:46), but not here (cf. Joh 20:27). She is content [suneudokei]. Late compound verb to be pleased together with, agree together. In the papyri. Let him not leave her [mē aphietō autēn]. Perhaps here and in verses 11, 13 [aphiēmi] should be translated “put away” like [apoluō] in Mr 10:1. Some understand [aphiēmi] as separation from bed and board, not divorce.

7:13 Which hath an unbelieving husband [hētis echei andra apiston]. Relative clause here, while a conditional one in verse 12 [ei tis], if any one). Paul is perfectly fair in stating both sides of the problem of mixed marriages.

7:14 Is sanctified in the wife [hēgiastai en tēi gunaiki]. Perfect passive indicative of [hagiazō], to set apart, to hallow, to sanctify. Paul does not, of course, mean that the unbelieving husband is saved by the faith of the believing wife, though Hodge actually so interprets him. Clearly he only means that the marriage relation is sanctified so that there is no need of a divorce. If either husband or wife is a believer and the other agrees to remain, the marriage is holy and need not be set aside. This is so simple that one wonders at the ability of men to get confused over Paul’s language. Else were your children unclean [epei ara ta tekna akatharta]. The common ellipse of the condition with [epei]: “since, accordingly, if it is otherwise, your children are illegitimate [akatharta].” If the relations of the parents be holy, the child’s birth must be holy also (not illegitimate). “He is not assuming that the child of a Christian parent would be baptized; that would spoil rather than help his argument, for it would imply that the child was not [hagios] till it was baptized. The verse throws no light on the question of infant baptism” (Robertson and Plummer).

7:15 Is not under bondage [ou dedoulōtai]. Perfect passive indicative of [douloō], to enslave, has been enslaved, does not remain a slave. The believing husband or wife is not at liberty to separate, unless the disbeliever or pagan insists on it. Wilful desertion of the unbeliever sets the other free, a case not contemplated in Christ’s words in Mt 5:32; 19:9. Luther argued that the Christian partner, thus released, may marry again. But that is by no means clear, unless the unbeliever marries first. But God hath called us in peace [en de eirēnēi keklēken hēmas] or [humas]. Perfect active indicative of [kaleō], permanent call in the sphere or atmosphere of peace. He does not desire enslavement in the marriage relation between the believer and the unbeliever.

7:16 For how knowest thou? [ti gar oidas;]. But what does Paul mean? Is he giving an argument against the believer accepting divorce or in favour of doing so? The syntax allows either interpretation with [ei] (if) after [oidas]. Is the idea in [ei] (if) hope of saving the other or fear of not saving and hence peril in continuing the slavery of such a bondage? The latter idea probably suits the context best and is adopted by most commentators. And yet one hesitates to interpret Paul as advocating divorce unless strongly insisted on by the unbeliever. There is no problem at all unless the unbeliever makes it. If it is a hopeless case, acquiescence is the only wise solution. But surely the believer ought to be sure that there is no hope before he agrees to break the bond. Paul raises the problem of the wife first as in verse 10.

7:17 Only [ei mē]. This use of [ei mē] as an elliptical condition is very common (7:5; Ga 1:7,19; Ro 14:14), “except that” like [plēn]. Paul gives a general principle as a limitation to what he has just said in verse 15. “It states the general principle which determines these questions about marriage, and this is afterwards illustrated by the cases of circumcision and slavery” (Robertson and Plummer). He has said that there is to be no compulsory slavery between the believer and the disbeliever (the Christian and the pagan). But on the other hand there is to be no reckless abuse of this liberty, no license. As the Lord hath distributed to each man [hekastōi hōs memeriken ho kurios]. Perfect active indicative of [merizō], old verb from [meros], apart. Each has his lot from the Lord Jesus, has his call from God. He is not to seek a rupture of the marriage relation if the unbeliever does not ask for it. And so ordain I [kai houtōs diatassomai]. Military term, old word, to arrange in all the churches (distributed, [dia-]. Paul is conscious of authoritative leadership as the apostle of Christ to the Gentiles.

7:18 Let him not become uncircumcized [mē epispasthō]. Present middle imperative of [epispaō], old verb to draw on. In LXX (I Macc. 1:15) and Josephus (Ant. XII, V. I) in this sense. Here only in N.T. The point is that a Jew is to remain a Jew, a Gentile to be a Gentile. Both stand on an equality in the Christian churches. This freedom about circumcision illustrates the freedom about Gentile mixed marriages.

7:19 But the keeping of the commandments of God [alla tērēsis entolōn theou]. Old word in sense of watching (Ac 4:3). Paul’s view of the worthlessness of circumcision or of uncircumcision is stated again in Ga 5:6; 6:15; Ro 2:25-29 (only the inward or spiritual Jew counts).

7:20 Wherein he was called [hēi eklēthē]. When he was called by God and saved, whether a Jew or a Gentile, a slave or a freeman.

7:21 Wast thou called being a bondservant? [doulos eklēthēs;]. First aorist passive indicative. Wast thou, a slave, called? Care not for it [mē soi meletō]. “Let it not be a care to thee.” Third person singular (impersonal) of [melei], old verb with dative [soi]. It was usually a fixed condition and a slave could be a good servant of Christ (Col 3:22; Eph 6:5; Tit 2:9), even with heathen masters. Use it rather [mallon chrēsai]. Make use of what? There is no “it” in the Greek. Shall we supply [eleutheriāi] (instrumental case after [chrēsai] or [douleiāi]? Most naturally [eleutheriāi], freedom, from [eleutheros], just before. In that case [ei kai] is not taken as although, but [kai] goes with [dunasai], “But if thou canst also become free, the rather use your opportunity for freedom.” On the whole this is probably Paul’s idea and is in full harmony with the general principle above about mixed marriages with the heathen. [Chrēsai] is second person singular aorist middle imperative of [chraomai], to use, old and common verb.

7:22 The Lord’s freedman [apeleutheros Kuriou]. [Apeleutheros] is an old word for a manumitted slave, [eleutheros] from [erchomai], to go and so go free, [ap-] from bondage. Christ is now the owner of the Christian and Paul rejoices to call himself Christ’s slave [doulos]. But Christ set us free from sin by paying the ransom [lutron] of his life on the Cross (Mt 20:28; Ro 8:2; Ga 5:1). Christ is thus the patronus of the libertus who owes everything to his patronus. He is no longer the slave of sin (Ro 6:6,18), but a slave to God (Ro 6:22). Likewise the freeman when called is Christ’s slave [homoiōs ho eleutheros klētheis doulos estin Christou]. Those who were not slaves, but freemen, when converted, are as much slaves of Christ as those who were and still were slaves of men. All were slaves of sin and have been set free from sin by Christ who now owns them all.

7:23 Ye were bought with a price [timēs ēgorasthēte]. See on 6:20 for this very phrase, here repeated. Both classes (slaves and freemen) were purchased by the blood of Christ. Become not bondservants of men [mē ginesthe douloi anthrōpōn]. Present middle imperative of [ginomai] with negative []. Literally, stop becoming slaves of men. Paul here clearly defines his opposition to human slavery as an institution which comes out so powerfully in the Epistle to Philemon. Those already free from human slavery should not become enslaved.

7:24 With God [para theōi]. There is comfort in that. Even a slave can have God at his side by remaining at God’s side.

7:25 I have no commandment of the Lord [epitagēn Kuriou ouk echō]. A late word from [epitassō], old Greek verb to enjoin, to give orders to. Paul did have (verse 10) a command from the Lord as we have in Matthew and Mark. It was quite possible for Paul to know this command of Jesus as he did other sayings of Jesus (Ac 20:35) even if he had as yet no access to a written gospel or had received no direct revelation on the subject from Jesus (1Co 11:23). Sayings of Jesus were passed on among the believers. But Paul had no specific word from Jesus on the subject of virgins. They call for special treatment, young unmarried women only Paul means (7:25, 28, 34, 36-38) and not as in Re 14:4 (metaphor). It is probable that in the letter (7:1) the Corinthians had asked about this problem. But I give my judgment [gnōmēn de didōmi]. About mixed marriages (12-16) Paul had the command of Jesus concerning divorce to guide him. Here he has nothing from Jesus at all. So he gives no “command,” but only “a judgment,” a deliberately formed decision from knowledge (2Co 8:10), not a mere passing fancy. As one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful [hōs ēleēmenos hupo kuriou pistos einai]. Perfect passive participle of [eleeō], old verb to receive mercy [eleos]. [Pistos] is predicate nominative with infinitive [einai]. This language, so far from being a disclaimer of inspiration, is an express claim to help from the Lord in the forming of this duly considered judgment, which is in no sense a command, but an inspired opinion.

7:26 I think therefore [nomizō oun]. Paul proceeds to express therefore the previously mentioned judgment [gnōmēn] and calls it his opinion, not because he is uncertain, but simply because it is not a command, but advice. By reason of the present distress [dia tēn enestōsan anagkēn]. The participle [enestōsan] is second perfect active of [enistēmi] and means “standing on” or “present” (cf. Ga 1:4; Heb 9:9). It occurs in 2Th 2:2 of the advent of Christ as not “present.” Whether Paul has in mind the hoped for second coming of Jesus in this verse we do not certainly know, though probably so. Jesus had spoken of those calamities which would precede his coming (Mt 24:8ff.) though Paul had denied saying that the advent was right at hand (2Th 2:2). [Anagkē] is a strong word (old and common), either for external circumstances or inward sense of duty. It occurs elsewhere for the woes preceding the second coming (Lu 21:23) and also for Paul’s persecutions (1Th 3:7; 2Co 6:4; 12:10). Perhaps there is a mingling of both ideas here. Namely. This word is not in the Greek. The infinitive of indirect discourse [huparchein] after [nomizō] is repeated with recitative [hoti], “That the being so is good for a man” [hoti kalon anthrōpōi to houtōs einai]. The use of the article [to] with [einai] compels this translation. Probably Paul means for one [anthrōpōi], generic term for man or woman) to remain as he is whether married or unmarried. The copula [estin] is not expressed. He uses [kalon] (good) as in 7:1.

7:27 Art thou bound to a wife? [dedesai gunaiki;]. Perfect passive indicative of [deō], to bind, with dative case [gunaiki]. Marriage bond as in Ro 7:2. Seek not to be loosed [mē zētei lusin]. Present active imperative with negative [], “Do not be seeking release” [lusin] from the marriage bond, old word, here only in N.T. Seek not a wife [mē zētei gunaika]. Same construction, Do not be seeking a wife. Bachelors as well as widowers are included in [lelusai] (loosed, perfect passive indicative of [luō]. This advice of Paul he only urges “because of the present necessity” (verse 26). Whether he held on to this opinion later one does not know. Certainly he gives the noblest view of marriage in Eph 5:22-33. Paul does not present it as his opinion for all men at all times. Men feel it their duty to seek a wife.

7:28 But and if thou marry [ean de kai gamēsēis]. Condition of the third class, undetermined with prospect of being determined, with the ingressive first aorist (late form) active subjunctive with [ean]: “But if thou also commit matrimony or get married,” in spite of Paul’s advice to the contrary. Thou hast not sinned [ouch hēmartes]. Second aorist active indicative of [hamartanō], to sin, to miss a mark. Here either Paul uses the timeless (gnomic) aorist indicative or by a swift transition he changes the standpoint (proleptic) in the conclusion from the future (in the condition) to the past. Such mixed conditions are common (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 1020, 1023). Precisely the same construction occurs with the case of the virgin [parthenos] except that the old form of the first aorist subjunctive [gēmēi] occurs in place of the late [gamēsēi] above. The MSS. interchange both examples. There is no special point in the difference in the forms. Shall have tribulation in the flesh [thlipsin tēi sarki hexousin]. Emphatic position of [thlipsin] (pressure). See 2Co 12:7 [skolops tēi sarki] (thorn in the flesh). And I would spare you [egō de humōn pheidomai]. Possibly conative present middle indicative, I am trying to spare you like [agei] in Ro 2:4 and [dikaiousthe] in Ga 5:4.

7:29 But this I say [touto de phēmi]. Note [phēmi] here rather than [legō] (verses 8, 12). A new turn is here given to the argument about the present necessity. The time is shortened [ho kairos sunestalmenos estin]. Perfect periphrastic passive indicative of [sustellō], old verb to place together, to draw together. Only twice in the N.T., here and Ac 5:6 which see. Found in the papyri for curtailing expenses. Calvin takes it for the shortness of human life, but apparently Paul pictures the foreshortening of time (opportunity) because of the possible nearness of and hope for the second coming. But in Philippians Paul faces death as his fate (Php 1:21-26), though still looking for the coming of Christ (3:20). That henceforth [to loipon hina]. Proleptic position of [to loipon] before [hina] and in the accusative of general reference and [hina] has the notion of result rather than purpose (Robertson, Grammar, p. 997). As though they had none [hōs mē echontes]. This use of [hōs] with the participle for an assumed condition is regular and [] in the Koinē is the normal negative of the participle. So the idiom runs on through verse 31.

7:30 As though they possessed not [hōs mē katechontes]. See this use of [katechō], old verb to hold down (Lu 14:9), to keep fast, to possess, in 2Co 6:10. Paul means that all earthly relations are to hang loosely about us in view of the second coming.

7:31 Those that use the world [hoi chrōmenoi ton kosmon]. Old verb [chraomai], usually with the instrumental case, but the accusative occurs in some Cretan inscriptions and in late writers according to a tendency of verbs to resume the use of the original accusative (Robertson, Grammar, p. 468). As not abusing it [hōs mē katachrēmenoi]. Perfective use of [kata] in composition, old verb, but here only in N.T., to use up, use to the full. Papyri give examples of this sense. This is more likely the idea than “abusing” it. For the fashion of this world passeth away [paragei gar to schēma tou kosmou toutou]. Cf. 1Jo 2:17. [Schēma] is the habitus, the outward appearance, old word, in N.T. only here and Php 2:7f. [Paragei] (old word) means “passes along” like a moving panorama (movie show!). Used of Jesus passing by in Jericho (Mt 20:30).

7:32 Free from cares [amerimnous]. Old compound adjective [a] privative and [merimna], anxiety). In N.T. only here and Mt 28:14 which see. The things of the Lord [ta tou Kuriou]. The ideal state (so as to the widow and the virgin in verse 33), but even the unmarried do let the cares of the world choke the word (Mr 4:19). How he may please the Lord [pōs aresēi tōi Kuriōi]. Deliberative subjunctive with [pōs] retained in an indirect question. Dative case of [Kuriōi]. Same construction in verse 33 with [pōs aresēi tēi gunaiki] (his wife) and in 34 [pōs aresēi tōi andri] (her husband).

7:34 And there is a difference also between the wife and the virgin [kai memeristai kai hē gunē kai hē parthenos]. But the text here is very uncertain, almost hopelessly so. Westcott and Hort put [kai memeristai] in verse 33 and begin a new sentence with [kai hē gunē] and add [hē agamos] after [hē gunē], meaning “the widow and the virgin each is anxious for the things of the Lord” like the unmarried man [ho agamos], bachelor or widow) in verse 32. Possibly so, but the MSS. vary greatly at every point. At any rate Paul’s point is that the married woman is more disposed to care for the things of the world. But, alas, how many unmarried women (virgins and widows) are after the things of the world today and lead a fast and giddy life.

7:35 For your own profit [pros to humōn autōn sumphoron]. Old adjective, advantageous, with neuter article here as substantive, from verb [sumpherō]. In N.T. here only and 10:33. Note reflexive plural form [humōn autōn]. Not that I may cast a snare upon you [ouch hina brochon humin epibalō]. [Brochon] is a noose or slip-knot used for lassoing animals, old word, only here in N.T. Papyri have an example “hanged by a noose.” [Epibalō] is second aorist active subjunctive of [epiballō], old verb to cast upon. Paul does not wish to capture the Corinthians by lasso and compel them to do what they do not wish about getting married. For that which is seemly [pros to euschēmon]. Old adjective [eu], well, [schēmōn], shapely, comely, from [schēma], figure). For the purpose of decorum. Attend upon the Lord [euparedron]. Adjective construed with [pros to], before, late word (Hesychius) from [eu], well, and [paredros], sitting beside, “for the good position beside the Lord” (associative instrumental case of [Kuriōi]. Cf. Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus (Lu 10:39). Without distraction [aperispastōs]. Late adverb (Polybius, Plutarch, LXX) from the adjective [aperispastos] (common in the papyri) from [a] privative and [perispaō], to draw around (Lu 10:40).

7:36 That he behaveth himself unseemly [aschēmonein]. Old verb, here only in N.T., from [aschēmōn] (1Co 12:23), from [a] privative and [schēma]. Occurs in the papyri. Infinitive in indirect discourse after [nomizei] (thinks) with [ei] (condition of first class, assumed as true). If she be past the flower of her age [ean ēi huperakmos]. Old word, only here in N.T., from [huper] (over) and [akmē] (prime or bloom of life), past the bloom of youth, superadultus (Vulgate). Compound adjective with feminine form like masculine. Apparently the Corinthians had asked Paul about the duty of a father towards his daughter old enough to marry. If need so requireth [kai houtōs opheilei ginesthai]. “And it ought to happen.” Paul has discussed the problem of marriage for virgins on the grounds of expediency. Now he faces the question where the daughter wishes to marry and there is no serious objection to it. The father is advised to consent. Roman and Greek fathers had the control of the marriage of their daughters. “My marriage is my father’s care; it is not for me to decide about that” (Hermione in Euripides’ Andromache, 987). Let them marry [gameitōsan]. Present active plural imperative (long form).

7:37 To keep his own virgin daughter [tērein tēn heautou parthenon]. This means the case when the virgin daughter does not wish to marry and the father agrees with her, he shall do well [kalōs poiēsei].

7:38 Doeth well [kalōs poiei]. So Paul commends the father who gives his daughter in marriage [gamizei]. This verb [gamizō] has not been found outside the N.T. See on Mt 22:30. Shall do better [kreisson poiēsei]. In view of the present distress (7:26) and the shortened time (7:29). And yet, when all is said, Paul leaves the whole problem of getting married an open question to be settled by each individual case.

7:39 For so long time as her husband liveth [eph’ hoson chronon zēi ho anēr autēs]. While he lives [tōi zōnti andri] Paul says in Ro 7:2. This is the ideal and is pertinent today when husbands meet their ex-wives and wives meet their ex-husbands. There is a screw loose somewhere. Paul here treats as a sort of addendum the remarriage of widows. He will discuss it again in 1Ti 5:9-13 and then he will advise younger widows to marry. Paul leaves her free here also to be married again, “only in the Lord” [monon en Kuriōi]. Every marriage ought to be “in the Lord.” To be married [gamēthēnai] is first aorist passive infinitive followed by the dative relative [hōi] with unexpressed antecedent [toutōi].

7:40 Happier [makariōterā]. Comparative of [makarios] used in the Beatitudes (Mt 5:3ff.). After my judgment [kata tēn emēn gnōmēn]. The same word used in verse 25, not a command. I think [dokō]. From [dokeō], not [nomizō] of verse 26. But he insists that he has “the spirit of God” [pneuma theou] in the expression of his inspired judgment on this difficult, complicated, tangled problem of marriage. But he has discharged his duty and leaves each one to decide for himself.

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