|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:1-9 The apostle tells the Corinthians that it was good, in that juncture of time, for Christians to keep themselves single. Yet he says that marriage, and the comforts of that state, are settled by Divine wisdom. Though none may break the law of God, yet that perfect rule leaves men at liberty to serve him in the way most suited to their powers and circumstances, of which others often are very unfit judges. All must determine for themselves, seeking counsel from God how they ought to act.
Verse 6. - I speak this. The "this" applies to his advice in general, but especially to the last verse. By permission. This phrase is generally misunderstood. It does not mean that St. Paul was permitted though not commanded to give this advice, but that his gentle advice was given "by way of permission" to Christians, not "by way of injunction." He means to say that he leaves the details of their lives, whether celibate or married, to their individual consciences, though with large hearted wisdom and charity he would emancipate them from human and unauthorized restrictions. The clause is not, therefore, a parallel to the restrictions on the authority of his utterances, such as we find in vers. 12, 29, 40, and in 2 Corinthians 8:10; 2 Corinthians 11:17.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But I speak this by permission,.... Referring either to what he had said before, though not to all; not to 1 Corinthians 7:2 that for the avoiding of fornication, every man should make use of his own wife, and every woman of her own husband; since this is not by permission, but by command, Genesis 2:24 that carnal copulation should be between one man and one woman in a married state; nor to 1 Corinthians 7:3 for that married persons ought to render due benevolence to, and not defraud each other, having a power over each other's bodies, is a precept, and not a permission, Exodus 21:10 but to 1 Corinthians 7:5 their parting for a time, and coming together again: it is not an absolute command of God that they should separate for a time, on account of fasting and prayer, but if they thought fit to do so by agreement, they might; nor was there any positive precept for their coming together again directly, after such service was over. The apostle said this,
not of commandment; but, consulting their good, gives this advice, lest Satan should be busy with them, and draw them into sin; but if they had the gift of continence, they might continue apart longer; there was no precise time fixed by God, nor did the apostle pretend to fix any: or it may refer to what follows after, that he would have all men be as he was; though he laid no injunction, but left them to their liberty; unless it can be thought to regard marriage in general, and to be said in opposition to a Jewish notion, which makes marriage a "command";
"a man, they say (f), is bound to this command at seventeen years of age, and if he passes twenty and does not marry, he transgresses, and makes void an affirmative precept;''
but the apostle puts it as a matter of choice, and not of obligation.
(f) Maimon. Hilch, Isbot, c. 15. sect. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. by permission … not of commandment—not by God's permission to me to say it: but, "by way of permission to you, not as a commandment." "This" refers to the directions, 1Co 7:2-5.
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