1 Corinthians 7:28
But and if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) But and if thou marry.—Better, If, however, thou hast married. The teaching here is not for some who will, after this advice, persist in marrying, but the reference is still to those who are actually married, and a further and clearer statement to them that the question is not one of sin, but merely of desirability.

If a virgin marry.—In the original it is emphatically “If the virgin have married.” It is possible that in the letter from Corinth some particular case was referred to in which a Christian parent had scruples as to allowing his daughter to marry, and while dealing, in reply, with the subject generally, the Apostle refers immediately here to the particular case which had given rise to the inquiry. He says that if she have married she will have committed no sin; but that she and those who, like her, have married, will have troubles in the flesh, i.e., earthly troubles. It is not a spiritual question.

But I spare you.—This might, at first sight, seem to imply that he does not desire to harass them by any detail of their troubles just referred to; but the true meaning, however, is that the Apostle states his desire in giving this advice is to spare them their troubles. Matrimony will involve you in earthly troubles when the expected distress comes: therefore, in advising you to remain unmarried, my desire is to spare you them.

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.Thou hast not sinned - There is no express command of God on this subject. The counsel which I give is mere advice, and it may be observed or not as you shall judge best. Marriage is honorable and lawful; and though there may be circumstances where it is advisable not to enter into this relation, yet there is no law which prohibits it. The same advice would be proper now, if it were a time of persecution; or if a man is poor, and cannot support a family; or if he has already a dependent mother and sisters to be supported by him, it would be well to follow the advice of Paul. So also when the cares of a family would take up a man's time and efforts; when but for this he might give himself to a missionary life, the voice of wisdom may be in accordance with that of Paul; that a man may be free from these cares, and may give himself with more undivided interest and more successful toil to the salvation of man.

Such shall have trouble in the flesh - They shall have anxiety, care; solicitude, trials. Days of persecution are coming on, and you may be led to the stake, and in those fiery trials your families may be torn asunder, and a part be put to death. Or you may be poor, and oppressed, and driven from your homes, and made wanderers and exiles, for the sake of your religion.

But I spare you - I will not dwell on the melancholy theme. I will not pain your hearts by describing the woes that shall ensue. I will not do anything to deter you from acting as you deem right. If you choose to marry, it is lawful; and I will not imbitter your joys and harrow up your feelings by the description of your future difficulties and trials. The word "flesh" here denotes outward circumstances in contradistinction from the mind. They might have peace of mind, for religion would furnish that; but they would be exposed to poverty, persecution, and calamity.

28. trouble in the flesh—Those who marry, he says, shall incur "trouble in the flesh" (that is, in their outward state, by reason of the present distress), not sin, which is the trouble of the spirit.

but I spare you—The emphasis in the Greek is on "I." My motive in advising you so is, to "spare you" such trouble in the flesh. So Alford after Calvin, Bengel, and others. Estius from Augustine explains it, "I spare you further details of the inconveniences of matrimony, lest even the incontinent may at the peril of lust be deterred from matrimony: thus I have regard for your infirmity." The antithesis in the Greek of "I … you" and "such" favors the former.

I would not have you mistake me, as if I judged marriage sinful for persons in any state or condition, or of any sex; but those that are married in any time, will find troubles about the things of this life, and those that marry in such times as these are, and you are like further to see, will meet with more than ordinary troubles of this nature: I only would spare you, and have you keep yourselves as free as you can: or:

I spare you any further discourse of that nature, not willing to torment you before the time cometh. But and if thou marry, thou sinnest not,.... If a man that has never been married, or one that has, if legally loosed from his wife, thinks fit to marry, he commits no sin, he breaks no law of God, far from it; marriage is honourable in all. The apostle would be understood, that in the advice he before gives, he is not dissuading from marriage, as a thing sinful and criminal; only that it was more advisable to such as could to abstain from it, under the present circumstances of things; and what he says of a man holds equally true of a virgin:

and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned; the one may as lawfully marry as another; there is no law forbidding virgins to marry, any more than young men; and if they think fit to enter into such a state, they break no law of God, and consequently sin not:

nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh; that is, such young men and virgins, who choose to marry, and who generally promise themselves a great deal of pleasure, shall meet with a great deal of trouble; and that even where they expected the most satisfaction and delight, "in the flesh"; the body, the outward man, and external circumstances of life. This "trouble" is the same with the present necessity before mentioned, the persecutions and tribulations the saints should suffer in the flesh, for the sake of Christ and his Gospel; not that married persons should be the only ones that should have trouble in this way, but that such persons would be less able to bear it, or to escape from it. Moreover, this may be extended to all the sorrows, troubles, and distresses which attend a married state:

but I spare you; the sense of which is, either that the apostle, out of his great tenderness to such who were inclined to marry, and could not contain, just gave this hint, that such should have trouble in the flesh; but did not dwell upon it or enter into particulars, lest they should be discouraged from it, and fall into temptation, sin, and a snare; or because of the great respect he had to the Corinthians, he gave the above advice to keep themselves single, that they might the better bear afflictions and persecutions, for the sake of their profession, and escape many troubles which others endure.

But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the {y} flesh: but I {z} spare you.

(y) By the flesh he understands whatever things belong to this present life, for marriage brings with it many problems. So that he leans more to a single life, not because it is a service more agreeable to God than marriage is, but for those problems which (if it were possible) he would wish all men to be avoid, so that they might give themselves to God alone.

(z) I would your weakness were provided for.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 7:28. Οὐχ ἥμαρτες] But should it be the case that thou shalt have married, thou hast not sinned therein. Comp Matthiae, p. 1203; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 172 [E. T. 199]. Hofmann is wrong here also (comp on 1 Corinthians 7:11) in holding that ἐὰν δὲ καί means: but if already actually, etc.

γήμῃ ἡ παρθ.] Here as in 1 Timothy 5:11 the term γαμεῖν is applied, indeed, to the woman (see on 1 Corinthians 7:39), but without violation of rule, since it is not joined with an accusative. Comp Fritzsche, a[1206] Marc. p. 424.

τῇ σαρκί] not in the ethical sense, but (comp Galatians 4:13) for the material, animal part of man’s nature. In troublous times the married man is exposed to special anguish from sufferings of this kind (hunger, nakedness, sickness, misusage, banishment, etc.). Whether we have here a dative of appropriation (trouble for the flesh; see on 1 Corinthians 12:7; Bernhardy, p. 88), or whether it belongs to the verb, cannot well be determined.

ἐγὼ δὲ ὑμ. φείδομαι] but I, for my part, deal tenderly towards you, in advising you rather to remain unwedded; for by this advice, if you will follow it, I spare you from such θλῖψις.

[1206] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.28. trouble in the flesh] Tribulation, either as Monica, when she saw her son Augustine falling into sin and infidelity, or as many other Christian parents whose souls the ‘sword’ of the executioner was destined to ‘pierce through,’ as they beheld the martyrdom of their children.

but I spare you] Either (1) the Apostle from his tenderness towards them spares them the recital of the many sorrows that will befall them, or (2) he is anxious to spare them the sorrows themselves.1 Corinthians 7:28. Τῇ σαρκὶ, in the flesh) Not in the spirit, to which the trouble is sin—but in this present case here there is no sin.—ἐγὼ δὲ, but I) He writes to them with the affection of a father, 1 Corinthians 7:32.—φείδοααι, I spare) It is more difficult and requires greater firmness to regulate well the state of marriage, than of celibacy.Verse 28. - But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned. This advice merely touches on the question of expediency, not on questions of absolute right and wrong. Such. Those who marry. Trouble in the flesh. Their marriage will in these days necessarily involve much trouble and discomfort. Common experience shows that in days of "trouble and rebuke and blasphemy" the cares and anxieties of those who have to bear the burden of many besides themselves, and those dearer to them than their own selves, are far the most trying. Perhaps St. Paul was thinking of the "Woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days," of our Lord (Luke 21:23). But I spare you. I desire to spare you from adding to the inevitable distress which will fall upon you in "the great tribulation" - "the travail throes of the Messiah," which we all expect. I spare you (ὑμῶν φείδομαι)

Rev., "I would spare," is not warranted grammatically, but perhaps avoids the ambiguity of I spare, which might be understood: I spare you further mention of these things. The meaning is: I give you these injunctions in order to spare you the tribulation of the flesh.

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