[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 Corinthians: Chapter 7)

7:1 {Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote} (\peri de hōn
. 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

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
(\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
(\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
. It is possible that by "the unmarried" (masculine
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

7:9 {But if they have not continency} (\ei de ouk
. 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
. Paul had no commands from Jesus to the unmarried (men
or women)
, but Jesus had spoken to the married (husbands and
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
(\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
. 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
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
. 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
. {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
. 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
. "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
. 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

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

7:21 {Wast thou called being a bondservant?} (\doulos
. 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
, even with heathen masters. {Use it rather} (\mallon
. Make use of what? There is no "it" in the Greek. Shall
we supply \eleutheriāi\ (instrumental case after \chrēsai\ or
? 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
. 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 \mē\. 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
. 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}
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

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
(\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
. Present active imperative with negative \mē\, "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
. {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.
. {As though they had none} (\hōs mē echontes\). This use of
\hōs\ with the participle for an assumed condition is regular and
\mē\ 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

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
. 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
(\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
. {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
. "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
. This means the case when the virgin daughter does
not wish to marry and the father agrees with her, {he shall do
(\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
. The same word used in verse 25, not a command. {I
(\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.

[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 Corinthians: Chapter 7)