1 Corinthians 7:35
And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare on you, but for that which is comely, and that you may attend on the Lord without distraction.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(35) And this I speak for your own profit.—The reference is to the preceding passage, commencing with 1Corinthians 7:32; and the writer explains that these instructions are given, not to please himself, but for (emphatically) your own advantage; not to entangle you in a noose, and so take away your liberty, but with a view to comeliness (or, honesty, Romans 13:13), and to your waiting upon the Lord without being cumbered with earthly things (as, in Luke 10:40, Martha was “cumbered”).

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.For your own profit - That you may avail yourselves of all your advantages and privileges, and pursue such a course as shall tend most to advance your personal piety and salvation.

Not that I may cast a snare upon you - The word rendered "snare" (βρόχον brochon) means a cord, a rope, a bond; and the sense is, that Paul would not BinD them by any rule which God had not made; or that he would not restrain them from that which is lawful, and which the welfare of society usually requires. Paul means, that his object in his advice was their welfare; it was not by any means to bind, fetter, or restrain them from any course which would be for their real happiness, but to promote their real and permanent advantage. The idea which is here presented by the word "snare," is usually conveyed by the use of the word "yoke" Matthew 11:29; Acts 15:10; Galatians 5:1, and sometimes by the word "burden;" Matthew 23:4; Acts 15:28.

But for that which is comely - (εὔσχημον euschēmon). Decorous, fit, proper, noble. For that which is best Fitted to your present condition, and which, on the whole, will be best, and most for your own advantage. There would be a fitness and propriety in their pursuing the course which he recommended.

That ye may attend on the Lord - That you may engage in religious duties and serve God.

Without distraction - Without being drawn away ἀπερισπάστως aperispastōs; without care, interruption, and anxiety. That you may be free to engage with undivided interest in the service of the Lord.

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).

And this I speak for your own profit; for your advantage both as to your converse in the world, and also for your religious conversation, and the performance of those duties which you owe unto God; for those that are married must meet with more troubles and cares in this life, and cannot have so much time and leisure for religious duties, as others have that are not entangled in the domestic cares of a family.

Not that I may cast a snare upon you; yet I would not bring you under a snare, imposing what God hath not imposed, and obliging you where God hath not obliged you.

But for that which is comely; the word here is euschmon, it strictly signifies a thing of a good figure, and is translated in Scripture honourable, Mark 15:43 Acts 13:50 17:11; where it signifies what is of a fair and good repute in the eye of the world; which is also the sense of it, 1 Corinthians 12:24, where we read of the comely parts of man’s body; but in this place the word signifies most largely, the same with profitable and convenient. For marriage is a state which neither is in itself indecent, nor ever was so reputed in the world by any nation, and the Scripture tells us, that marriage is honourable amongst all, Hebrews 13:4. The word therefore here is of the same significancy with sumferon, which in the beginning of the verse is translated profit, and 1 Corinthians 6:12, is translated expedient. And that you may attend upon the Lord without distraction; the phrase in the Greek is very difficult to be translated properly into our English language, word for word it is, to sit well to the Lord without distraction; our translators render it, attend upon the Lord. We have something like it in our language, when we express our diligent attendance to a thing, under the notion of sitting close to a business; which is opposed to such an attendance to business as we give when we have many avocations and callings away, so as we cannot sit close to it. The apostle saith, that this was the end of his advising those who could contain not to marry under that state of things in the world referring to the church, that they might with more ease and conveniency attend to the great concerns of their souls, without those distracting and dividing thoughts which they must have who were entangled with domestic businesses and relations. 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.

And this I speak for your own {g} profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

(g) He means that he will force no man either to marry or not to marry, but to show them plainly what type of life is most advantageous.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 7:35. Τοῦτο] refers to the recommendation of single life contained in 1 Corinthians 7:26-34.

πρὸς τὸ ὑμ. αὐτῶν συμφ.] for your own advantage. The genitive with συμφέρον used as a substantive, as in 1 Corinthians 10:33; see Stallbaum, a[1248] Plat. Rep. p. 338 C.

οὐχ ἵνα κ.τ.λ[1249]] explaining more in detail, negatively and positively, the ΠΡῸςΣΥΜΦΈΡΟΝ. To cast a noose upon one is a figurative expression, originally borrowed from the chase (less probably, from warfare), for the idea of depriving of freedom (bringing under binding and limiting relations). Comp Proverbs 7:21, and see Wetstein and Loesner in loc[1251] The sense of “giving occasion to scruples” (Billroth, comp Bengel) does not correspond so well with the figure and the connection.

ἈΛΛᾺ ΠΡῸς ΤῸ ΕὔΣΧ. Κ.Τ.Λ[1253]] but to promote the habit of comeliness and undivided waiting upon the Lord (in faithfulness to Christ). For this habit prevailed chiefly, according to the apostle’s experience, on the side of the ἄγαμοι; see 1 Corinthians 7:32-34, where, too, he makes it clear beyond doubt what comeliness he means here—namely, such a manifestation of the inner life in all outward embodiment, as corresponds with consecration to the Lord. It is not merely chastity in the narrower sense that is intended, but all moral purity and consecration in so far as these manifest themselves in demeanour, in speech, gesture, bearing, etc., as the comely form of Christian life, as the ethical “decorum” of the Christian. Its sacred nature and the foul contrasts to it are set forth in Romans 13:13-14.

The dative of appropriation, τῷ Κυρίῳ and ἀπερισπ., are conjoined with the εὐπάρ., used as a substantive, to make up the unity of the idea.

εὐπάρεδρος does not occur elsewhere. Hesychius explains it by καλῶς παραμένου.

ἀπερισπ.] “absque distractione, i.e. ἄνευ τοῦ μεριμνᾶν τὰ τοῦ κόσμου,” Kypke, II. p. 207. Comp περισπᾶσθαι, Luke 10:40. Regarding the connection of the word with the later Greek, see Lobeck, a[1255] Phryn. p. 415. Xenophon, Ages. i. 4, has ἀδιασπάστως. The adverb attaches itself to εὐπάρ., defining its meaning precisely. see on 1 Corinthians 12:28.

[1248] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1249] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1251] n loc. refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1253] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1255] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.1 Corinthians 7:35. A third time P. declares that he is consulting for the welfare of his readers (cf. 28b, 32a), not insisting on his own preference nor laying down an absolute rule: “looking to (πρός) your advantage I say (it)”. τὸ σύμφορον is the abstract of συμφέρει (1 Corinthians 6:12, 1 Corinthians 10:23).—The βρόχος is the noose or lasso by which a wild creature is snared: P. does not wish by what he says to deprive the Cor[1200] of any liberty,—to capture his readers and shut them up to celibacy—“not that I may throw a snare over you”. He aims at what is socially εὔσχημον, “of honourable guise,” as belonging to the Christian decorum of life (see parls.); and at what is religiously εὐπάρεδρον τῷ Κυρίῳ, “promotive-of-fit-waiting on the Lord”.—ἀπερισπάστως recalls the περιεσπᾶτο used of Martha in Luke 10:38-42, and suggests that the Ap. had this story in his mind, esp. as μεριμνάω, his leading expression in this Section, is the word of reproof used by Jesus there. Epictetus’ dissuasive from marriage, in his Dissertt., III., xxii., 67 ff., curiously resembles Paul’s: τοιαύτης οὔσης καταστάσεως οἵα νῦν ἐστιν, ὡς ἐν παρατάξει, μή ποτʼ ἀπερίσπαστον εἶναι δεῖ τ. Κυνικὸν ὅλον πρὸς τῇ διακονίᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἐπιφοιτᾶν ἀνθρώποις δυνάμενον, οὐ προσδεδεμένον καθήκουσιν ἰδιωτικοῖς οὐδʼ ἐμπεπλεγμένον (cf. 2 Timothy 2:4) σχέσεσιν, ἃς παραβαίνων οὐκέτι σώσει τὸ τοῦ καλοῦ καὶ ἀγαθοῦ πρόσωπον, τηρῶν δʼ ἀπολεῖ τὸν ἄγγελον κ. κατάσκοπον κ. κήρυκα τῶν θεῶν; (69).

[1200] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.35. attend upon the Lord] Literally, sit conveniently before (or beside) Him. Dean Stanley refers to Martha and Mary in St Luke 10:39-41, as an exact illustration of this expression. Martha is ‘cumbered with much serving,’ Mary sits at Jesus’ feet.1 Corinthians 7:35. Αὐτῶν, your own.—βρόχον, a snare) A snare, the fear of committing sin, where there is no sin, or even forced service. Men are unwillingly drawn into a snare, Proverbs 7:21, LXX. That is readily considered as a snare, which is most conducive to profit [σύμφερον].—εὔσχημον) an antithesis to ἀσχημονεῖν, in the following verse.—εὐπάρεδρον) akin to this is the verb προσεδρεύειν, in 1 Corinthians 9:13. An example is found in Luke 10:39.—τῷ Κυρίῳ, to the Lord) εὐπάρεδρον, as well as παρεδρεύω, governs the dative.—ἀπερισπάστως) This explains the word εὐπάρεδρον, for assiduous attendance upon the Lord, and distraction, are the reverse of each other. Sitting [involved in the εὐπάρεδρον] assists the devout mind. Comp. Luke 10:39-40. Paul says something similar of the widow, 1 Timothy 5:5.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). Snare (βρόχον)

Lit., a noose or slip-knot for hanging or strangling. Thus Homer of Jocasta: "She went to Hades having suspended a noose on high from the lofty roof" ("Odyssey," 11, 278). Sophocles, of Antigone: "We descried her hanging by the neck, slung by a thread-wrought halter of fine linen" ("Antigone," 1222). Also a snare for birds; the meshes of a net.

That ye may attend (πρὸς - εὐπάρεδρον)

Only here in the New Testament. From εὐ well, πάρεδρος setting beside. That ye may attend is a kind of circumlocution. The Greek reads literally: for that which is seemly and for that which is assiduous. Assiduous conveys the sense of the word as nearly as possible, since etymologically it means sitting close at. One is reminded of Mary at Bethany sitting at Jesus' feet, Luke 10:39.

Without distraction (ἀπερισπάστως)

See on Luke 10:40. The same word compounded here with ἀ not, is used of Martha's being cumbered or distracted with much serving.

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