|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.
Verse 35. - For your own profit. My advice turns simply on questions of expedience. Not that I may cast a snare upon you. He does not wish to "fling a noose" over them to win them over to his own private views, and entangle them in rules which they might not be able to bear. That which is comely. Seemliness; "the beauty of holiness" (Romans 13:13). Without distraction. The phrases used in this clause make it probable that St. Paul had heard how Martha was "anxious" and distracted (περιεσπᾶτο) about much serving, while Mary sat at Jesus' feet (Luke 10:39-41).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And this I speak for your own profit,.... The apostle suggests, that in giving the advice he did to unmarried persons to abide single, he had nothing else in view than their temporal and spiritual advantage; that they might be better able to meet and grapple with persecution for the sake of the Gospel; that they might be more free from the cares and encumbrances of life, and more at liberty to serve the Lord; whereby not only his glory, but their spiritual good, might be promoted; not that he thought that marriage was unlawful, or that the single life was a more honest, and a more chaste way of living, or that it was absolutely necessary, and an incumbent duty upon them to remain single, nor would he be so understood: all that he had said was by way of advice; he had very faithfully laid before them the advantages and disadvantages of both states, and now leaves them to their full liberty to do as they pleased to take his advice, or not:
not that I may cast a snare on you; as fowlers on birds: had he enjoined virginity as necessary, and insisted upon it, that it was absolutely their duty to live a single life; this would have been laying an obligation upon them, and an ensnaring and entangling of them: hereby some might have engaged in a single life, who had not the gift of continence, and so might have been drawn into the sin of fornication, or into unnatural lust, and such impurities as would be very scandalous unto, and highly reflect upon, the Gospel of Christ. But the apostle delivered himself on the subject with no such view, and in such a manner as is plain he meant not to ensnare any:
but for that which is comely, and that you may attend upon the Lord without distraction: all he aimed at, by advising them to a single life, was that they might more orderly and constantly, and without distraction of mind, through the cares of the world, wait upon the Lord, and serve him; which, in his opinion, was choosing the good part with Mary; whilst others, like Martha, were troubled, divided, and distracted with many things.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
35. for your own profit—not to display my apostolic authority.
not … cast a snare upon you—image from throwing a noose over an animal in hunting. Not that by hard injunctions I may entangle you with the fear of committing sin where there is no sin.
comely—befitting under present circumstances.
attend upon—literally, "assiduously wait on"; sitting down to the duty. Compare Lu 10:39, Mary; Lu 2:37, "Anna … a widow, who departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day" (1Ti 5:5).
distraction—the same Greek as "cumbered" (Lu 10:40, Martha).
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