1 Corinthians 7:29
But this I say, brothers, the time is short: it remains, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;
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(29) But this I say, brethren.—This does not introduce a reiteration of what he has said already, but commences a solemn and affectionate warning, urging on them earnestly that, whether they applied or did not apply the principle to marriage, still that it is true, and of vast importance in regulating all life,—that men should live as ever expecting the return of the Lord. Let us not for one moment think that this principle was evolved by St. Paul from a mistaken belief that the Second Advent was close at hand. This principle of life was taught by Christ Himself. He warned men against living carelessly because they thought “the Lord delayeth His coming.” They were to be ever on the watch, as servants for the unexpected return of their master—as guests for the coming of the bridegroom. It was not the opinion that Christ would soon come which led St. Paul to hold and teach this principle of Christian life. Perhaps it was his intense realisation of this eternal truth which the Lord had taught, his assimilation of it as part of his very being, from which the conviction arose that the Advent was not only in theory always, but, as a matter of fact, then near at hand. Hope and belief mysteriously mingled together in one longing unity of feeling.

It may be asked, if the Apostles were mistaken on this point, may they not have been mistaken about other things also? The best answer to such a question, perhaps, is that this was just the one point on which our Lord had said they should not be informed, and it is the one point on which they were not informed. “Times and seasons” were to be excluded from their knowledge (Acts 1:6).

The time is short: it remaineth . . .—Better, The time that remains is shortened, so that both they that have wives, &c. (the Greek word for “remain” (to loipon) is used frequently by St. Paul in a sort of adverbial way, 2Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 6:10; Philippians 4:8). The words “so that” do not introduce a series of apostolic exhortations based upon and growing out of the previous statement regarding the brevity of the remaining time, but they express what was God’s intention in thus making the time short. St. Paul regards everything as having its place and purpose in the divine economy. If the time were long (and the teaching applies equally—for the principle is the same—to the brevity of life), then, indeed, men might live as having “much goods laid up for many years” (Luke 12:19); but the time of life is short, that each may keep himself from being the slave of the external conditions and relationships of life. Such is the force of the series of striking contrasts with which the Apostle now illustrates the habit of life which God intended to follow from the shortening of the time.

1 Corinthians 7:29-31. But this I say, &c. — But though I leave every one to his own liberty in the case now mentioned, yet here is what is necessary for all to observe. The time — Of our abode here, and of these worldly enjoyments; is short: it remaineth — It plainly follows; that those who have wives be as though they had none — Namely, as serious, zealous, and active, dead to the world, as devoted to God, as holy in all manner of conversation, preserving themselves from all inordinate affection toward them, and to be prepared to leave them, or to part with them, whenever a wise, unerring, and gracious Providence shall call them so to do. By so easy a transition does the apostle slide from every thing else to the one thing needful, and, forgetting whatever is temporal, is swallowed up in eternity. And they that weep — That sorrow on account of any trouble; as though they wept not — Knowing that the end of temporal troubles, as of temporal joys, is fast approaching, and therefore not being too much concerned, cast down, and distressed on account of them. And they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not — Knowing the transitory nature of all earthly joys, and therefore tempering their joy with godly fear. And they that buy, as though they possessed not — Considering that they hold nothing here by a certain tenure, but must shortly resign all, and therefore not placing much dependance on any thing secular for happiness; and knowing themselves to be only stewards, and not proprietors of what they possess, and that they must shortly be called to give an account of the use they have made of it. And they that use this world — That is, the comforts and accommodations thereof; as not abusing it — By employing them to other ends than those to which they were intended; or in another manner than that prescribed by the great Proprietor of all, and not seeking happiness therein, but in God: using every thing only in such a manner and degree as most tends to the knowledge and love of him. For the fashion of this world — The whole scheme of it, and the manner and way of living or conversing here, with the several conditions, relations, and connections of life; this marrying, weeping, rejoicing, and all the rest, not only will pass, but now passeth away, is this moment flying off like a shadow.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.But this I say - Whether you are married or not, or in whatever condition of life you may be, I would remind you that life hastens to a close, and that its grand business is to be prepared to die. It matters little in what condition or rank of life we are, if we are ready to depart to another and a better world.

The time is short - The time is "contracted," "drawn into a narrow space" (συνεσταλμένος sunestalmenos). The word which is used here is commonly applied to the act of "furling" a sail, that is, reducing it into a narrow compass; and is then applied to anything that is reduced within narrow limits. Perhaps there was a reference here to the fact that the time was "contracted," or made short, by their impending persecutions and trials. But it is always equally true that time is short. It will soon glide away, and come to a close. The idea of the apostle here is, that the plans of life should all be formed in view of this truth, that time is short. No plan should be adopted which does not contemplate this; no engagement of life made when it will not be appropriate to think of it; no connection entered into when the thought "time is short," would be an unwelcome intruder; see 1 Peter 4:7; 2 Peter 3:8-9.

It remaineth - (τὸ λοιπόν to loipon). The remainder is; or this is a consequence from this consideration of the shortness of time.

Both they that have wives ... - This does not mean that they are to treat them with unkindness or neglect, or fail in the duties of love and fidelity. It is to be taken in a general sense, that they were to live above the world; that they were not to be unduly attached to them that they were to be ready to part with them; and that they should not suffer attachment to them to interfere with any duty which they owed to God. They were in a world of trial; and they were exposed to persecution; and as Christians they were bound to live entirely to God, and they ought not, therefore, to allow attachment to earthly friends to alienate their affections from God, or to interfere with their Christian duty. In one word, they ought to be "just as faithful to God," and "just as pious," in every respect, as if they had no wife and no earthly friend. Such a consecration to God is difficult, but not impossible. Our earthly attachments and cares draw away our affections from God, but they need not do it. Instead of being the occasion of alienating our affections from God, they should be, and they might be, the means of binding us more firmly and entirely to him and to his cause. But alas, how many professing Christians live for their wives and children only, and not for God in these relations! how many suffer these earthly objects of attachment to alienate their minds from the ways and commandments of God, rather than make them the occasion of uniting them more tenderly to him and his cause!

29. this I say—A summing up of the whole, wherein he draws the practical inference from what precedes (1Co 15:50).

the time—the season (so the Greek) of this present dispensation up to the coming of the Lord (Ro 13:11). He uses the Greek expression which the Lord used in Lu 21:8; Mr 13:33.

short—literally, "contracted."

it remaineth—The oldest manuscripts read, "The time (season) is shortened as to what remains, in order that both they," &c.; that is, the effect which the shortening of the time ought to have is, "that for the remaining time (henceforth), both they," &c. The clause, "as to what remains," though in construction belonging to the previous clause, in sense belongs to the following. However, Cyprian and Vulgate support English Version.

as though they had none—We ought to consider nothing as our own in real or permanent possession.

He had before spoken to what concerned some, now he comes to what concerneth all.

The time (saith he) is short; furled up, like sails when the mariner comes near his port. He either meaneth the time of this life, or the time of the world’s duration; we often find the apostles speaking of their times as the last times (and in these senses all are concerned): or the time of the church’s rest and tranquillity, which they had hitherto enjoyed in a far more perfect degree than they enjoyed them soon after this, when ten persecutions followed immediately one upon the neck of another.

It remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; therefore (saith the apostle) it is the concernment of all Christians, not to indulge themselves too much in the pleasures and contentments of this life; but if ye be married, or shall marry, you will be concerned to keep your hearts as loose from the contentment and satisfaction men use to take in their wives, as if you had no wives at all. But this I say, brethren, the time is short,.... This is another reason, with which the apostle supports his advice to virgins, and unmarried persons, to remain so; since the time of life is so very short, and it is even but a little while to the end of the world, and second coming of Christ; and therefore seeing the marriage state is so full of care and trouble, and it affords still less time for the service of Christ and religion, he thought it most advisable for them to, continue in a single life, that they might be more at leisure to make use of that little time they had for their spiritual good and welfare, the edification of others, and the glory of Christ: unless it should be rather thought that the apostle is still enlarging upon the former argument, taken from the present time, being a time of distress and persecution; and so the phrase, "the time is short", or "contracted", and full of anguish and affliction, is the same with the present necessity, and trouble in the flesh; and since this was the case, he suggests again, that an unmarried state was most preferable:

it remaineth that both they that have wives, be as though they had none: and as for the rest, they that were married, his advice to them was, that they should so behave as if they were not married; not that he would have them put away their wives, or fancy with themselves that they had none, or make no use of the marriage bed; but suggests a moderate use of it; he would not have them give up themselves to lasciviousness and carnal lusts and pleasures, even with their own wives, and spend their time altogether in their company and embraces: but since the time of life was short, and that full of troubles, they should spend it in the service and worship of God, private and public, as much as possible; and not in the indulging and satisfying of the flesh.

But this I say, brethren, the time is {a} short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

(a) For we are now in the latter end of the world.

1 Corinthians 7:29-31. This, however, I say, i.e. of what follows I assure you. Comp 1 Corinthians 15:50. Δέ leads over to something wherewith Paul (“as it were prophesying,” Ewald) designs to secure the more acceptance for the counsel, which he has given with the view of sparing his readers. Pott, Flatt, and others take τοῦτο δέ φημι κ.τ.λ[1209] as a more precise explanation of ΘΛῖΨΙΝΤΟΙΟῦΤΟΙ, and then 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 as a more precise explanation of ἘΓῺ ΔῈ ὙΜ. ΦΕΊΔ. Two things militate against this—first, the more emphatic import of ΦΗΜΊ (comp also 1 Corinthians 10:15; 1 Corinthians 10:19; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 906), which is stronger than λέγω; and secondly, the correct view of ΣΥΝΕΣΤΑΛΜ. (see below). Rückert takes it: “Happen, however, what may, marry ye or not, this remark I cannot suppress.” But were that the meaning, τοῦτο δέ φ. would require to follow at once after ΟὐΧ ἭΜΑΡΤΕ.

] the space of time,—subsisting up to the Parousia,—not our earthly lifetime in general (Calvin, Vorstius, Estius, al[1211]); neither is it merely the time yet to elapse ere that ἀνάγκη arrives (Reiche), which would be more distinctly indicated than by the simple ὁ καιρός; besides, the ἈΝΆΓΚΗ has already begun to make itself felt, ἘΝΕΣΤῶΣΑ, 1 Corinthians 7:26.

ΣΥΝΕΣΤΑΛΜΈΝΟς] is taken by most recent expositors (Schulz, Rosenmüller, Stolz, Pott, Heydenreich, Flatt, Rückert, Olshausen, Neander; Billroth is undecided) as meaning calamitosum. But without warrant of usage; for in passages such as 1Ma 3:6 (comp Polyb. v. 15. 8, xxiv. 5. 13; Plato, Lys. p. 210 E; Isocrates, p. 176 A; Philo, Quod omn. prob. liber, p. 609), 1 Corinthians 5:3, 2Ma 6:12, 3Ma 5:33, συστέλλω means to humble, to overthrow, which does not suit with καιρός. The correct translation is that of the old interpreters (so also de Wette, Osiander, Ewald, Maier, Hofmann, Weiss): compressed, i.e. brought within narrow limits (Plato, Legg. iii. p. 691 E; Demosth. 309. 2; Lucian, Icar. 12; comp ΣΥΣΤΟΛΉ, abbreviation). The space of time remaining is only of brief duration. In connection with this, τὸ λοιπόν is generally made to refer to what precedes (Peschito, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Beza, Grotius, al[1214], including Billroth, Olshausen, de Wette, Osiander, Reiche, Ewald, Maier, Neander): the time is henceforth (in posterum, see Fritzsche, a[1215] Matth. p. 777; Kühner, a[1216] Xen. Anab. ii. 2. 5) cut short,—a mode of connecting the words, however, which makes τὸ λοιπόν convey a superfluous idea. Others hold that it refers to what follows (Tertullian, Cyprian, Jerome, Vulgate, Erasmus, Calvin, al[1217], including Heydenreich and Rückert), and that in the sense of “ergo agendum, quod sequitur,” Estius; comp Luther: “weiter ist das die Meinung.” But how obscure the expression would thus be! The telic sense of ἵνα, too, would be deprived of its logical reference to what precedes. Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Hofmann, adopting the reading which puts ἘΣΤΊ before τὸ λοιπόν (see the critical remarks), place a comma after the verb: ΣΥΝΕΣΤΑΛΜ. ἘΣΤΊΝ, ΤῸ ΛΟΙΠῸΝ ἽΝΑ Κ.Τ.Λ[1219], i.e. the time is shortened, in order that in future, etc. Comp as regards this position for ἵνα, on Ephesians 3:18; Galatians 2:10; Romans 11:31. This is preferable, because τὸ λοιπόν is thus put emphatically forward in its essential and important meaning: in order that henceforward these relationships may be dealt with in a wholly different way than hitherto. Comp upon the subject-matter, Matthew 24:42 ff.

ἵνα introduces the design of συνεσταλμ. ἐστι in the arrangements of God.[1222] Beza, Billroth, Schrader, Hofmann make it refer to τοῦτο δέ φημι. But we may see from παράγει γὰρ κ.τ.λ[1223] in 1 Corinthians 7:31 that Paul was thinking of so great results as the aim, not of his assertion, but of the thing asserted,—a view which agrees thoroughly with his religious contemplation of the world, Romans 5:20; Romans 7:13; Romans 8:17; Romans 11:31; 2 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 7:9, al[1224] He looks upon everything as fitted into the plan of moral redemption under the government of God.

ἽΝΑ ΚΑῚ ΟἹ ἜΧ. ΓΥΝ. Κ.Τ.Λ[1225]] The meaning is: In order that each may keep himself inwardly independent of the relations of his earthly life,—that the husband should not by his married state lose the moral freedom of his position of a Christian in heart and life; that the sorrowful should not do so through his tribulation, nor the joyful through his good fortune, nor the merchantman through his gain, nor he who uses the world through his use of it. We see the reverse of this independent attitude in Luke 14:18-20. There the heart cleaves to temporal things as its treasure, Matthew 6:21. By giving ἵνα its proper reference, it is made clear that Paul neither designs to lay down rules here (“that the married ought to be as though unmarried,” etc., Rückert, with many others), nor to depict the uncertainty of temporal possessions (Grotius and Pott); which latter meaning is what Reiche also brings out: “quandoquidem propediem mutata rerum terrestrium facie, laetitiae et tristitiae causis mox evanidis, tempus deficiet malis bonisve sensu percipiendis.”

καὶ οἱ ἔχοντες γυν.] Even the married. This καί singles out the first point for special emphasis, because it was the one on which the discussion chiefly turned; καί in the instances which follow is the simple and.

οἱ ἀγοράζ. ὡς μὴ κατέχ.] the buyers as not possessing (2 Corinthians 6:10), that, namely, which they buy.

ὡς μὴ καταχρ.] may mean, like the Latin abuti, so far as the word in itself is concerned, either: as not abusing it (Syriac, Tertullian, Theodoret, Theophylact, Oecumenius, Luther, Beza, Cornelius a Lapide, al[1226], including Olshausen and Billroth, the latter of whom considers that Paul gives us here the explanation of his foregoing paradox), or: as not using it (Vulgate, Calvin, Grotius, Estius, al[1227], including Pott, Rückert, de Wette, Osiander). Comp 1 Corinthians 9:18. So frequently in Greek writers; see Krebs, p. 291; Loesner, p. 280 f. The latter of the two meanings should have the preference here from the analogy of the preceding clauses. The compound verb—which ought not to have the sense of at one’s own pleasure (Hofmann) imported into it—serves merely to give greater emphasis to the idea; see Bremi, a[1229] Isocr. Panegyr. § ix. p. 21; Herodian. viii. 4. 22. Translate: Those who use this (pre-Messianic) world as not making use of it. There is no reason either for taking καταχρ. in the sense of using up (Reiche, Ewald), because this meaning, although in itself admissible on linguistic grounds (Diog. Laert. v. 69; Lys. p. 153. 46; Isocr. p. 55 D), only weakens the force of the antithesis in a way contrary to the relation subsisting between all the other antitheses.

χρῆσθαι in the sense of uti with an accusative (see the critical remarks) occurs here only in the N. T.;[1230] in classic Greek not at all (in Xen. Ages. xi. 11, the true reading is τῷ μεγαλόφρονι), and seldom in later Greek (Schaefer, a[1231] Gregor. Cor. p. 691). See also Bornemann, Acta apost. I. p. 222. Καταχρῆσθαι, however, often occurs in that sense with the accusative (Lucian, Prom. 4; Plut. Demetr. 23), and it may have been occasioned here by the writer’s thinking of the compound verb. Comp Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 157 f. [E. T. 181].

[1209] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1211] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1214] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1215] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1216] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1217] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1219] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1222] There is therefore no ground here for beginning a new sentence with τὸ λοιπον ἵνα, and taking ἵνα in the imperative sense (comp. on 1 Corinthians 5:2). So Laurent, neut. Stud. p. 130.

[1223] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1224] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1225] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1226] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1227] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1229] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1230] Hence Fritzsche (de conform. Lachm. p. 31) rejects it as an error of the copyists.

[1231] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.1 Corinthians 7:29-31. τοῦτο δέ φημι, ἀδελφοί, κ.τ.λ.: “This moreover I assert, brethren: The time is cut short”.—φημί, as distinguished from λέγω, “marks the gravity and importance of the statement” (El[1139]).—Συνστέλλω (to contract, shorten sail) acquired the meaning to depress, defeat (1Ma 3:6, 2Ma 6:12); hence some render συνεσταλμένος by “calamitous,” but without lexical warrant.—ὁ καιρός (see parls.) is “the season,” the epoch of suspense in which the Church was then placed, looking for Christ’s coming (1 Corinthians 1:7) and uncertain of its date. The prospect is “contracted”; short views must be taken of life.

[1139] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

The connexion of τὸ λοιπὸν and ἵναὦσιν with the foregoing affords a signal example of the grammatical looseness which mars Paul’s style. (a) As to τὸ λοιπόν: (1) Cm[1140], the Gr[1141] Ff[1142], Bz[1143], Al[1144], Ev[1145], Hn[1146], Gd[1147], Ed[1148], R.V. mg. attach it to συνεστ. ἐστίν, in a manner “contrary to its usual position in Paul’s epp. and diluting the force of the solemn ὁ καιρὸςἐστίν” (El[1149]). (2) The Vg[1150] and Lat. Ff[1151], Est., Cv[1152], A.V. read τὸ λοιπὸν as predicate to ἐστὶν understood, thus commencing a new sentence,—“reliquum est ut,” etc.; this is well enough in Latin, but scarcely tolerable Greek. (3) Mr[1153], Hf[1154], Bt[1155], El[1156], Lt[1157], W.H[1158], R.V. txt. subordinate τὸ λοιπόν, thrown forward with emphasis, to the ἵνα clause (cf. Galatians 2:10, Romans 11:31)—“so that henceforth indeed those that have wives may be as without them,” etc.; this gives compactness to the whole sentence, and proper relevance to the adv[1159] Those who realise the import of the pending crisis will from this time sit loose to mundane interests. (b) As to the connexion of ἵναὦσιν: this clause may define either the Apostle’s purpose, as attached to φημί (so Bz[1160], Hf[1161], Ed[1162]), or the Divine purpose implied in συνεστ. ἐστίν (so most interpreters). Both explanations give a fitting sense: the Ap. urges, or God has determined, the limitation of the temporal horizon, in order to call off Christians from secular absorption. In this solemn connexion the latter is, presumably, Paul’s uppermost thought.

[1140] John Chrysostom’s Homiliœ († 407).

[1141] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.


[1143] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1144] Alford’s Greek Testament.

[1145] T. S. Evans in Speaker’s Commentary.

[1146] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[1147] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[1148] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[1149] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[1150] Latin Vulgate Translation.

[1151] Fathers.

[1152] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.

[1153] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[1154] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht, ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[1155] J. A. Beet’s St. Paul’s Epp. to the Corinthians (1882).

[1156] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[1157] J. B. Lightfoot’s (posthumous) Notes on Epp. of St. Paul (1895).

[1158] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

[1159] adverb

[1160] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1161] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht, ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[1162] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

1 Corinthians 7:29 b, 1 Corinthians 7:30 are “the picture of spiritual detachment in the various situations in life” (Gd[1163]). Home with its joys and griefs, business, the use of the world, must be carried on as under notice to quit, by men prepared to cast loose from the shores of time (cf. Luke 12:29-36; by contrast, Luke 14:18 ff.). From wedlock the Ap. turns, as in 1 Corinthians 7:17-24, to other earthly conditions—there considered as stations not to be wilfully changed, here as engagements not to be allowed to cumber the soul. Ed[1164] observes that the Stoic condemned the interaction, here recognised, between “the soul’s emotions and external conditions; the latter he would have described as a thing indifferent, the former as a defect: πᾶν μὲν γὰρ πάθος ἁμαρτία” (Plut., Virt. Mor., 10). “Summa est, Christiani hominis animum rebus terrenis non debere occupari, nec in illis conquiescere: sic enim vivere nos oportet, quasi singulis momentis migrandum sit e vita” (Cv[1165]).—ὡς μὴ ἔχοντες κ.τ.λ., not like, in the manner of, but “with the feeling of those who have not,” etc., ὡς with ptp[1166] implying subjective attitude—a limitation “proceeding from the mind of the speaking or acting subject” (Bm[1167], p. 307); cf. 1 Corinthians 7:25 and note.—ἀγοράζοντες (marketing) gives place in the negative to κατέχοντες, possessing, holding fast (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:10).—Χράομαι governs acc[1168] occasionally in late Gr[1169]; the case of τὸν κόσμον may be influenced by καταχρώμενοι, with which cl[1170] authors admit the acc[1171] The second vb[1172] (with dat[1173] in 1 Corinthians 9:18) is the intensive of the first—to use to the full (use up); not to misuse—a meaning lexically valid, but inappropriate here. “Abuse” had both meanings in older Eng., like the Lat. abutor; it appears in Cranmer’s Bible with the former sense in Colossians 2:22.

[1163] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[1164] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[1165] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.

[1166] participle

[1167] A. Buttmann’s Grammar of the N.T. Greek (Eng. Trans., 1873).

[1168] accusative case.

[1169] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.


[1171] accusative case.

[1172] verb

[1173] dative case.

A reason for sparing use of the world lies in its transitory form, 1 Corinthians 7:31 b—a sentence kindred to the declaration of 1 Corinthians 7:29 a.—σχῆμα (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:6, and other parls.) denotes phenomenal guise—habitus, fashion—as distinguished from μορφή, proper and essential shape: see the two words in Php 2:6 ff., with the discussions of Lt[1174] and Gifford ad loc[1175] “The world” has a dress suited to its fleeting existence.—παράγει affirms “not so much the present actual fact, as the inevitable issue; the σχῆμα of the world has no enduring character” (El[1176]); “its fascination is that of the theatre” (Ed[1177]); cf. 1 John 2:17. The Ap. is thinking not of the fabric of nature, but of mundane human life—the world of marryings and marketings, of feasts and funerals.

[1174] J. B. Lightfoot’s (posthumous) Notes on Epp. of St. Paul (1895).

[1175] ad locum, on this passage.

[1176] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[1177] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

Then what this world to thee, my heart?

Its gifts nor feed thee nor can bless.

Thou hast no owner’s part in all its fleetingness.

—J. H. Newman.29. But this I say, brethren] The conclusion of the whole matter. The time is short, the world is passing away. In whatever condition a man is, let him live in a constant state of readiness to abandon it at the bidding of God. Let him keep his soul unfettered by the ties, the enjoyments, and above all, the cares of this life. There are several ways of rendering this passage, but they do not materially affect the meaning.

the time is short] Not time in the general sense. The word here signifies a definite space of time. Cf. the English version of 1 John 2:18, ‘the last time.’ The word translated short is rather shortened. “Compressed.” Robertson. “Living many years in one.” Stanley.1 Corinthians 7:29. Τοῦτο δέ φημι, but this I say) The same form of expression occurs 1 Corinthians 15:50, for the purpose of explanation, in summing up the whole.—ἀδελφοὶ, brethren) Paul is wont, especially when writing about external circumstances, to introduce the most noble digressions, as the Holy Spirit is always calling him to the things that are most excellent.—ὁ καιρὸς) the present time, either of the world 1 Corinthians 7:31, ch. 1 Corinthians 10:11, or of individuals, the time of weeping, rejoicing, etc.—συνεσταλμένος) narrow, short, the contrary of unencumbered liberty, 1 Corinthians 7:26.—τὸ λοιπὸν, [but] as to what remains) The particle here is very suitable. [He hints, that the consummation of the world is not far off.—V. g.]—ἵνα, that) Time in short, is of such a nature, that they ought, etc. [Some spend much of their time in seeking the superfluous conveniences of life, in wandering thoughts, in a too pertinacious pursuit of literature, in the length and frequency of their feasts and amusements: and it is a virtue in the opinion of worldly men, when any one knows how to spend with his boon companions in a manner not without its charm, half or even whole days and nights in empty conversation and pursuits. But if it should become necessary either to engage in prayer, or to watch over the education of his children, or to exemplify the duty of love to his neighbour, then truly the want of time is made an obstacle; nay, he has not even leisure to consider, how much guilt is contracted by such conduct.—V. g.]—γυναῖκας, wives) and so, children, friends, patrons. We ought to consider nothing our own.—μὴ, not) Thus Christian self-denial is appropriately expressed. They, who have [earthly goods], as persons who have and are likely long to have, are void of Christian self-denial.]—ὦσι, may be) This word is supplied also in the following verses.Verse 29. - But this I say. I will not dwell on those coming trials, but will only remind you that they are imminent, and that when they come all earthly distinctions will vanish into insignifiance. The time is short; literally, the season has been contracted; in other words, "The end of all things is at hand" (1 Peter 4:7). The word sunestalmenos cannot mean "disastrous." The verb is used for "folding up" in Acts 5:6; "Tempus in collecto est" (Tertullian). It remaineth, that. The reading and punctuation are here uncertain. The best reading seems to be "The time has been shortened henceforth, in order that," etc. The very object of the hastened end is that Christians should sit loose to earthly interests. As though they had none. They would thus be nearer to the condition of the "angels in heaven." Time (καιρὸς)

Not, the period of mortal life; but the time which must elapse before the Lord appears.

Short (συνεσταλμένος)

Rev., correctly, giving the force of the participle, shortened. Compare Mark 13:20, and see on hasting unto, 2 Peter 3:12. The word means to draw together or contract. Only here and Acts 5:6, where it is used of the winding up of Ananias' corpse. In classical Greek of furling sails, packing luggage, reducing expenses, etc. Applied to time, the word is very graphic.

It remaineth that (τὸ λοιπόν ἵνα)

The meaning is rather henceforth, or for the future. That (ἵνα) in any case is to be construed with the time is shortened. According to the punctuation by different editors, we may read either: the time is shortened that henceforth both those, etc.; or, the time is shortened henceforth, that both those, etc. The former is preferable. The time is shortened that henceforth Christians may hold earthly ties and possessions but loosely.

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