|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:25-35 Considering the distress of those times, the unmarried state was best. Notwithstanding, the apostle does not condemn marriage. How opposite are those to the apostle Paul who forbid many to marry, and entangle them with vows to remain single, whether they ought to do so or not! He exhorts all Christians to holy indifference toward the world. As to relations; they must not set their hearts on the comforts of the state. As to afflictions; they must not indulge the sorrow of the world: even in sorrow the heart may be joyful. As to worldly enjoyments; here is not their rest. As to worldly employment; those that prosper in trade, and increase in wealth, should hold their possessions as though they held them not. As to all worldly concerns; they must keep the world out of their hearts, that they may not abuse it when they have it in their hands. All worldly things are show; nothing solid. All will be quickly gone. Wise concern about worldly interests is a duty; but to be full of care, to have anxious and perplexing care, is a sin. By this maxim the apostle solves the case whether it were advisable to marry. That condition of life is best for every man, which is best for his soul, and keeps him most clear of the cares and snares of the world. Let us reflect on the advantages and snares of our own condition in life; that we may improve the one, and escape as far as possible all injury from the other. And whatever cares press upon the mind, let time still be kept for the things of the Lord.
Verses 25-40. - Advice respecting the unmarried. Verse 25. - Now concerning virgins. This is doubtless another reference to questions contained in the letter from Corinth. No commandment of the Lord. Christ had never directly dealt with this subject. I give my judgment. The word "commandment" is rendered in the Vulgate consillum, and the word "judgment" praeceptum; and thus, as Stanley points out, has originated the modern Romish distinction between "precepts" and "counsels of perfection," which, however, have clearly no connection with the real meaning of the passage. To be faithful. As a steward of his Word, which is the first essential of true ministry (1 Timothy 1:12). "Faith makes a true casuist" (Bengel).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now concerning virgins,.... Whether they should continue in the same state or not, whether they should marry or not, was one of the cases put to the apostle, and which the Corinthians wrote to him about, and to which he returns this answer:
I have no commandment of the Lord: neither in the Old Testament, in the law of Moses, or writings of the prophets; nothing is therein enjoined concerning celibacy, or commanding persons to live a single life; but on the contrary there are many things directing and exciting to a marriage state; nor had the apostle any command from the Lord Jesus Christ, under the Gospel dispensation, obliging to virginity; nor any special orders, or peculiar revelation from the Spirit of God, fixing and settling this point:
yet I give my judgment, what will be most advisable, convenient, and prudent to be done, considering persons, times, and circumstances. The apostle does not make use of his power and authority, as such, to make decrees, and prescribe rules, binding on the consciences of men; only humbly and modestly gives his opinion, which if thought well of, might be followed by them: and the more to engage them to take his advice, he adds,
as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful; the meaning of which is, not that he, through the goodness and mercy of the Lord, had with great integrity preserved his virginity, and so proposes himself, as an instance and example of retaining it; for it is not certain, that though the apostle was now single, that he had never been married; it seems rather that he had, and therefore this cannot be his sense; nor does he refer to his faithfulness, to the Gospel committed to his trust, and the faithful discharge of his whole ministerial service, and which was owing to divine grace and mercy; but to that plainness, honesty, and integrity, which appeared in the whole course and conduct of his life, and in all his conversation with men; and particularly in giving advice about any matter, or declaring his sentiments on any subject: and when a man is free and faithful, and openly and honestly tells his mind, it greatly recommends him, and commands attention and regard to what he says; and faithfulness, it may be observed, considered in this sense, is not of nature, but of grace; it is obtained not by a man's own power and strength, but by the grace and mercy of God; to which it is here ascribed.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
25. no commandment of the Lord: yet … my judgment—I have no express revelation from the Lord commanding it, but I give my judgment (opinion); namely, under the ordinary inspiration which accompanied the apostles in all their canonical writings (compare 1Co 7:40; 1Co 14:37; 1Th 4:15). The Lord inspires me in this case to give you only a recommendation, which you are free to adopt or reject—not a positive command. In the second case (1Co 7:10, 11) it was a positive command; for the Lord had already made known His will (Mal 2:14, 15; Mt 5:31, 32). In the third case (1Co 7:12), the Old Testament commandment of God to put away strange wives (Ezr 10:3), Paul by the Spirit revokes.
mercy of the Lord—(1Ti 1:13). He attributes his apostleship and the gifts accompanying it (including inspiration) to God's grace alone.
faithful—in dispensing to you the inspired directions received by me from the Lord.
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