|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:17-24 The rules of Christianity reach every condition; and in every state a man may live so as to be a credit to it. It is the duty of every Christian to be content with his lot, and to conduct himself in his rank and place as becomes a Christian. Our comfort and happiness depend on what we are to Christ, not what we are in the world. No man should think to make his faith or religion, an argument to break through any natural or civil obligations. He should quietly and contentedly abide in the condition in which he is placed by Divine Providence.
Verses 17-24. - Corroborative instances of the duty of remaining in the state wherein each was called. Verse 17. - But; literally, if not. The phrase introduces a caution. The rule is that the circumstances of our lives are regulated by the providence of God, and must not be arbitrarily altered at our own caprice. Christ allotted his portion to each Christian, God hath called each man; that lot and that call are to guide his life. "Qua positus fueris in statione mane" (Ovid). Hath distributed; rather, apportioned. So ordain I in all Churches. He proceeds to give specific instances to which his rule applies.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But as God hath distributed to every man,.... This text is so placed, and the words of it so expressed, as that it may have regard both to what goes before, and follows after; it may have respect to every man's proper gift, whether of continence, or of disposition to marriage, which every man has of God, 1 Corinthians 7:7, and accordingly ought to live in a single, or in a married state; or it may refer to the last verse,
what knowest thou, &c. and , which we render "but", be translated either "unless"; and then the sense is, thou knowest not, O man or woman, whether thou shalt save thy wife or husband, nor any other, unless God, who distributes his, grace to everyone as he pleases; or else it may be rendered if "not", and the sense be, if thou shouldst not save thy husband, or thou, man, shouldst not save thy wife; yet "as God hath distributed to every man" his own proper gift, both as to nature and grace; his proper sphere of usefulness, and the station in which he would have him be, and the place he would have him fill up, and the business he must do in life; so let him act, and
as the Lord hath called everyone; which is to be understood of that particular station of life, and those circumstances of it, in which men are providentially placed by God, or are found in when he calls them by his grace; as whether married or unmarried; whether joined to a believer or an unbeliever; whether circumcised or uncircumcised; whether bond or free; a servant or a master; and so may refer to what follows, as well as to what goes before:
so let him walk; contented with his station and kind of life, agreeably to the profession he makes of the Gospel, doing all the good he can to those he is concerned with:
and so ordain I in all churches; the decisions and determinations he had made, in the cases proposed to him about marriage, the rules and orders he had prescribed, what he had given out by way of precept or permission, by command or counsel, or what he was about to deliver, were no other than what he in common enjoined other churches; and therefore they ought not to think that they were used with more strictness and severity than others; and might be induced hereby to attend to what was advised or enjoined, since it was what was common to all the churches.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
7:17 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.
1 Corinthians 7:17 Parallel Commentaries
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