1 Corinthians 7:27
Are you bound to a wife? seek not to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(27) Art thou bound unto a wife?—This is an explanation and re-assertion of the previous words “so to be.” Being “loosed from a wife” does not mean a separation after marriage, but simply “unmarried.”

1 Corinthians 7:27-28. Art thou bound to a wife? — “Because the directions which the apostle was about to give (1 Corinthians 7:36) to fathers, concerning the disposal of their children in marriage, were partly to be founded on the inclination and circumstances of the children, before he gave these directions, he very properly addressed the children themselves, and set before them the considerations by which their inclinations were to be regulated in that matter, namely, the inconveniences attending a married state, and the brevity and uncertainty of all human enjoyments; considerations which, he told them, ought to determine them to wish to remain unmarried under the present distress.” Seek not to be loosed — From her by an unjust divorce, or by deserting her. Art thou loosed? — Hath Providence never led thee into those engagements; or has it broken the bond by the death of thy former companion? Seek not a wife — If thou canst conveniently and virtuously continue as thou art; at least at present, till the storm, which now hovers over the church, be a little blown over, and more peaceful times return. But yet if thou marry, thou hast not thereby sinned: and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned — The marriage state is, no doubt, both lawful and honourable. Nevertheless, such shall have trouble in the flesh — Many outward troubles; but I spare you — I speak as little and as tenderly as possible. 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.Art thou bound unto a wife? - Art thou already married? Marriage is often thus represented as a "tie," a "bond," etc.; see the note at Romans 7:2.

Seek not to be loosed - Seek not a "dissolution" (λύσιν lusin) of the connection, either by divorce or by a separation from each other; see the notes on 1 Corinthians 7:10-17.

Art thou loosed from a wife? - Art thou unmarried? It should have been rendered "free from" a wife; or art thou single? It does not imply of necessity that the person had been married, though it may have that meaning, and signify those who had been separated from a wife by her death. There is no necessity of supposing that Paul refers to persons who had divorced their wives. So Grotius, Schleusner, Doddridge, etc.

27. Illustrating the meaning of "so to be," 1Co 7:26. Neither the married (those "bound to a wife") nor the unmarried (those "loosed from a wife") are to "seek" a change of state (compare 1Co 7:20, 24). Art thou bound by marriage, or bound by contract, do not use any sinful ways to be loosed from that bond, either by divorce or by a voluntary departure: if the unbeliever will depart, he or she may, you are not obliged to court their stay, but do not you put him or her away. Are you free from a wife, either as yet unmarried, or by the hand of God separated, in case you can without sin, abstain. If your circumstances be such as they do not oblige you to marriage, do not seek a wife; the times are like to be full of trouble and difficulty. Our Master said, Woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! Matthew 24:19. Art thou bound unto a wife?.... Or to a woman; either by promise, or by espousal, or by consummate marriage; either of which is a tic, or obligation, a bond, and especially the latter; marriage is such a bond as cannot be dissolved, but by the death of one of the parties; see Romans 7:2 unless in case of adultery, or of wilful desertion: and it is a bond which mutually obliges; as the husband is bound by the law of marriage to live chastely and lovingly with his wife, and to take care of her, and provide for her; so the wife is bound by the same law to live in like manner with her husband, and to submit unto him, and obey him:

seek not to be loosed; do not depart from her, nor seek to be divorced, nor even desire to be loosed by death:

art thou loosed from a wife? being either never married, or else if having been married the wife is dead, or legally divorced for a just cause:

seek not a wife, or woman; make no inquiry after one; be content to live without one; enter not into a marriage state, nor take any step towards it; it is best to continue loosed, for the reason above given, that is, provided the person has the gift of continence, otherwise not; see 1 Corinthians 7:5.

Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 7:27. Lest the γνώμη in 1 Corinthians 7:26 should be misinterpreted as favouring divorce, he now prefaces his further discussion of the subject with the rule, which is appropriate here only as a caveat: let not the married desire to be loosed. The construction is as in 1 Corinthians 7:18.

γυναικί] dativus communionis, as in Romans 7:2, and with Greek writers. It is plain, especially from 1 Corinthians 7:29; 1 Corinthians 7:34, that δέδ. γυν. does not mean betrothal (Ewald and Hofmann), but that γυνή denotes a married wife.

λέλυσαι] does not imply: art thou separated from (Mosheim, Semler), but art thou free from, unentangled with a wife, single (“sive uxorem habueris, sive non,” Estius; comp so early an interpreter as Photius)? See 1 Corinthians 7:28, and comp Xenophon, Cyr. i. 1. 4, where λελύσθαι ἀπʼ ἀλλήλων is equivalent to αὐτόνομα εἶναι.1 Corinthians 7:27-28 apply in detail the advice just given, and first as it bears on men, then on maidens.—δέδεσαι, λέλυσαι, pf. pass[1121] of present state determined by the past; μὴ ζήτει, pr[1122] impv[1123], “do not be seeking”. The two directions of 1 Corinthians 7:27 reinforce, from the new point of view, the instructions of 1 Corinthians 7:10-16; 1 Corinthians 7:8 respectively.—λέλυσαι, as opp[1124] of δὲδεσαι, applies either to bachelor or widower.

[1121] passive voice.

[1122] present tense.

[1123] imperative mood.

[1124] opposite, opposition.

In 1 Corinthians 7:28 the general advice of 1 Corinthians 7:27 is guarded from being overpressed; cf. the relation of 1 Corinthians 7:2 to 1 Corinthians 7:1 and 1 Corinthians 7:9 to 1 Corinthians 7:8. The punctuation of El[1125] and Nestle best marks the connexion of thought, closing 1 Corinthians 7:27 with a full st p, each of the parl[1126] ἐὰνἥμαρτες (-ν) clauses with a colon, and separating θλίψιν δὲ and ἐγὼ δὲ by a comma. In the second supposition (both with ἐὰν and sbj[1127] of probable contingency) P. reverts to the case of “the maiden,” from which he was diverted in 1 Corinthians 7:26; he makes her, by implication, responsible for her marriage, although in 1 Corinthians 7:36 ff., later, the action of the father is alone considered.—γαμέω is used in the act. here, and in 1 Corinthians 7:39, both of man and woman; cl[1128] Gr[1129] applies it to the latter in pass[1130]; cf. note on the double ἀφιέτω in 1 Corinthians 7:12 f. ἔγημα and ἐγάμησα are the older and later aors.—The aor[1131] in the apodosis—ἥμαρτες, ἥμαρτεν—is proleptic (Bn[1132] § 50; Bm[1133], pp. 198 f., 202), rather than gnomic (Mr[1134], Hn[1135], Ed[1136]), as though by way of general reflexion: the Ap. addresses specific instances—“thou didst not … she did not sin”; cf. for tense, John 15:11, Revelation 10:7.

[1125] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[1126] parallel.

[1127] subjunctive mood.

[1128] classical.

[1129] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[1130]
passive voice.

[1131] aorist tense.

[1132] E. Burton’s Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in the N.T. (1894).

[1133] A. Buttmann’s Grammar of the N.T. Greek (Eng. Trans., 1873).

[1134] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[1135] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[1136] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

The marriage Paul discourages is no sin, but will bring suffering from which he would fain save his friends. “But affliction for the flesh such (as may marry) will have, but I am seeking to spare you.” With θλίψις cf. σκόλοψ τῇ σαρκί (2 Corinthians 12:7; also 1 Corinthians 5:5 above); there is some thought, possibly, of recompense to “the flesh” which has had its way against advice. The affliction that Paul foresees is aptly indicated by Photius: “More easily and with small distress shall we endure if we have no wives and children to carry along with us in persecutions and countless miseries”. At such times, for those who have domestic cares, there arises “the terrible alternative, between duty to God and affection to wife and children” (Lt[1137]).—φείδομαι appears to be a conative present (see Bn[1138] § 11; cf. Romans 2:4, Galatians 5:4).

[1137] J. B. Lightfoot’s (posthumous) Notes on Epp. of St. Paul (1895).

[1138] E. Burton’s Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in the N.T. (1894).1 Corinthians 7:27. Δέδεσαιλέλυσαι, thou art bound—thou art loosed) There is an argument in the very words. When bound to a wife, a man is often prevented, with or without any blame to him, from being able so munificently to practise liberality and the other virtues, as he might wish. In the verb λέλυσαι, thou art loosed, the participle is latently contained [thou art one untied], and it has the force of a noun, so that loosed denotes not only him, who is no longer bound to a wife, but also him, who never was so bound. We find a similar phrase in Job 39:5.—μὴ, not) twice, i.e. thou art not forced to seek.Verse 27. - Seek not a wife. It is entirely alien from St. Paul's purpose to take this as an abstract or universal rule. He gives his reasons for it as a temporary necessity.
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