1 Corinthians 7:40
But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
7:36-40 The apostle is thought to give advice here about the disposal of children in marriage. In this view, the general meaning is plain. Children should seek and follow the directions of their parents as to marriage. And parents should consult their children's wishes; and not reckon they have power to do with them, and dictate just as they please, without reason. The whole is closed with advice to widows. Second marriages are not unlawful, so that it is kept in mind, to marry in the Lord. In our choice of relations, and change of conditions, we should always be guided by the fear of God, and the laws of God, and act in dependence on the providence of God. Change of condition ought only to be made after careful consideration, and on probable grounds, that it will be to advantage in our spiritual concerns.If she so abide - If she remain a widow even if she could be married to a Christian.

After my judgment - In my opinion; 1 Corinthians 7:25.

And I think also that I have the Spirit of God - Macknight and others suppose that this phrase implies entire certainty; and that Paul means to affirm that in this he was clear that he was under the influence of inspiration. He appeals for the use of the term (δωκῶ dōkō) to Mark 10:32; Luke 8:18; 1 Corinthians 4:9; 1 Corinthians 8:2; 1 Corinthians 11:16; Hebrews 4:1, etc. But the word does not usually express absolute certainty. It implies a doubt; though there may be a strong persuasion or conviction; or the best judgment which the mind can form in the case; see Matthew 6:7; Matthew 26:53; Mark 6:49; Luke 8:18; Luke 10:36; Luke 12:51; Luke 13:24; Luke 22:24; Acts 17:18; Acts 25:27; 1 Corinthians 16:12, 1 Corinthians 16:22, etc. It implies here a belief that Paul was under the influence of the infallible Spirit, and that his advice was such as accorded with the will of God. Perhaps he alludes to the fact that the teachers at Corinth deemed themselves to be under the influence of inspiration, and Paul said that he judged also of himself that he was divinely guided and directed in what he said - "Calvin." And as Paul in this could not be mistaken; as his impression that he was under the influence of that Spirit was, in fact, a claim to divine inspiration, so this advice should be regarded as of divine authority, and as binding on all. This interpretation is further demanded by the circumstances of the case. It was necessary that he should assert divine authority to counteract the teaching of the false instructors in Corinth; and that he should interpose that authority in prescribing rules for the government of the church there in view of the special temptations to which they were exposed.

Remarks On 1 Corinthians 7

We learn from this chapter:

1. The sacredness of the marriage union; and the nature of the feelings with which it should be entered; 1 Corinthians 7:1-13. On a most delicate subject Paul has shown a seriousness and delicacy of expression which can be found in no other writings, and which demonstrate how pure his own mind was, and how much it was filled with the fear of God. In all things his aim is to promote purity, and to keep from the Christian church the innumerable evils which everywhere abounded in the pagan world. The marriage connection should be formed in the fear of God. In all that union, the parties should seek the salvation of the soul; and so live as not to dishonor the religion which they profess.

2. The duty of laboring earnestly for the conversion of the party in the marriage connection that may be a stranger to piety; 1 Corinthians 7:16. This object should lie very near the heart; and it should be sought by all the means possible. By a pure and holy life; by exemplifying the nature of the gospel; by tenderness of conversation and of entreaty; and by fidelity in all the duties of life, we should seek the conversion and salvation of our partners in the marriage connection. Even if both are Christians, this great object should be one of constant solicitude - to advance the piety and promote the usefulness of the partner in life.

3. The duty of contentment in the sphere of life in which we are placed; 1 Corinthians 7:18 ff. It is no disgrace to be poor, for Jesus chose to be poor. It is no disgrace, though it is a calamity, to be a slave. It is no disgrace to be in an humble rank of life. It is disgraceful only to be a sinner, and to complain and repine at our allotment. God orders the circumstances of our life; and they are well ordered when under the direction of his hand. The great object should be to do right in the relation which we sustain in life. If poor, to be industrious, submissive, resigned, virtuous; if rich, to be grateful, benevolent, kind. If a slave or a servant, to be faithful, kind, and obedient; using liberty, if it can be lawfully obtained; resigned, and calm, and gentle, if by the providence of God such must continue to be the lot in life.

4. The duty of preserving the order and regularity of society; 1 Corinthians 7:20-23. The design of the gospel is not to produce insubordination or irregularity, it would not break up society; does not dissolve the bonds of social life; but it cements and sanctifies the ties which connect us with those around us. It is designed to promote human happiness; and that is promoted, not by resolving society into its original elements; not by severing the marriage tie, as atheists would do; not by teaching children to disregard and despise their parents, or the common courtesies of life, but by teaching them to maintain inviolate all these relations. Religion promotes the interests of society; it does not, like infidelity, dissolve them. It advances the cause of social virtue; it does not, like atheism, retard and annihilate it. Every Christian becomes a better parent, a more affectionate child, a kinder friend, a more tender husband or wife, a more kind neighbor, a better member of the community.

5. Change in a man's calling should not be made from a slight cause. A Christian should not make it unless his former calling were wrong, or unless he can by it extend his own usefulness. But when that can be done, he should do it, and do it without delay. If the course is wrong, it should be immediately abandoned. No consideration can make it right to continue it for a day or an hour, no matter what may be the sacrifice of property, it should be done. If a man is engaged in the slave-trade, or in smuggling goods, or in piracy, or highway robbery, or in the manufacture and sale of poison, it should be at once and forever abandoned. And in like manner, if a young man who is converted can increase his usefulness by changing his plan of life, it should be done as soon as practicable. If by becoming a minister of the gospel he can be a more useful man, every consideration demands that he should leave any other profession, however lucrative or pleasant, and submit to the self-denials, the cares, the trials, and the toils which attend a life devoted to Christ in the ministry in Christian or pagan lands. Though it should be attended with poverty, want, tears, toil, or shame, yet the single question is, "Can I be more useful to my Master there than in my present vocation?" If he can be, that is an indication of the will of God which he cannot disregard with impunity.

6. We should live above this world; 1 Corinthians 7:29-30. We should partake of all our pleasures, and endure all our sufferings, with the deep feeling that we have here no continuing city and no abiding place. Soon all our earthly pleasures will fade away; soon all our earthly sorrows will be ended. A conviction of the shortness of life will tend much to regulate our desires for earthly comforts, and will keep us from being improperly attached to them; and it will diminish our sorrows by the prospect that they will soon end.

7. We should not be immoderately affected with grief; 1 Corinthians 7:30. It will all soon end, in regard to Christians. Whether our tears arise from the consciousness of our sins or the sins of others; whether from persecution or contempt of the world; or whether from the loss of health, property, or friends, we should bear it all patiently, for it will soon end; a few days, and all will be over; and the last tear shall fall on our cheeks, and the last sigh be heaved from our bosom.

8. We should not be immoderate in our joy, 1 Corinthians 7:30. Our highest earthly joys will soon cease. Mirth, and the sound of the harp and the viol, the loud laugh and the song will soon close. What a change should this thought make in a world of gaiety, and mirth, and song! It should not make people gloomy and morose; but it should make them serious, calm, thoughtful. O, did all feel that death was near, that the solemn realities of eternity were approaching, what a change would it make in a frivilous and thoughtless world! How would it close the theater and the ball-room; how would it silence the jest, the jeer, and the loud laugh; and how would it diffuse seriousness and calmness over a now frivilous and thoughtless world! "Laughter is mad," says Solomon; and in a world of sin, and sorrow, and death, assuredly seriousness and calm contemplation are demanded by every consideration.

9. What an effect would the thought that "time is short," and that "the fashion of this world passeth away," have on the lovers of wealth! It would:

continued...

40. happier—(1Co 7:1, 28, 34, 35).

I think also—"I also think"; just as you Corinthians and your teachers think much of your opinions, so I also give my opinion by inspiration; so in 1Co 7:25, "my judgment" or opinion. Think does not imply doubt, but often a matter of well-grounded assurance (Joh 5:39).

But if other circumstances concur, that a widow can abide without marriage without waxing wanton, and running into temptation, and so as to manage her outward concerns without the help of a husband, my opinion is, that she is more happy if she keeps herself a widow, and doth not marry again; not more happy because more holy, or in a fairer road to the kingdom of heaven, but upon the two accounts before mentioned; more happy because free from troubles and distractions, and because she will be more free and at liberty to mind heavenly things.

And I think also that I have the Spirit of God; and, saith he, I think I know as much of the mind of the Holy Spirit of God, as either those who teach you otherwise, or who may have opinions contrary to mine in this case. But she is happier if she so abide,.... That is, a widow, in an unmarried state; which is to be understood not of the happiness of another world, but of this: the apostle's meaning is, that she would be more free from cares, and less liable to trouble, would live with more peace and quietness, and be more at leisure to serve the Lord, second marriages oftentimes proving more disagreeable than the first; but in this the apostle only gives his opinion, enjoins nothing by way of command, or in an authoritative manner: and therefore adds,

after my judgment: according to his sense of things, and agreeably to the advice he had before given to unmarried persons, whether virgins or widows, such a person was likely to have most peace, and least trouble, remaining a widow, than if married, and so consequently more happy: and in order to engage such to regard his counsel, he further says,

and I think also that I have the Spirit of God; that though he had no express command, nor did he pretend to any, nor did he lay any injunction on any, but left them to their liberty; yet he could not but think, nay, he was assured, though he thus modestly expresses himself, that he was directed to give this advice by the Spirit of God.

But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
40. and I think also that I have the Spirit of God] Not that there was any doubt in the Apostle’s mind on this point. The word used implies full persuasion that in the advice he had given he was speaking under the direction of the Holy Spirit.1 Corinthians 7:40. Μακαριωτέρα, happier) 1 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Corinthians 7:28; 1 Corinthians 7:34-35; Luke 23:29.—δοκῶ, I think) The Corinthians thought more of themselves than was right, and less of Paul. Paul with delicate pleasantry, ἀστέιως, gives them back their own expression.—κᾀγὼ) I also, no less certainly, than any of you [who may think he has the Spirit].—Πνεῦμα Θεοῦ, the Spirit of GOD) whose counsels are spiritual, divine.Verse 40. - Happier. Freer from cares, distractions, and entanglements. If she so abide. If she remain a widow. I think also that I have the Spirit of God; rather, I think that I also, as well as the other teachers who have claimed spiritual authority for the rules they have given you about these subjects. The claim to authoritative decision is obviously less emphatic than it is in 1 Corinthians 14:37; still, it is an expression of personal conviction that he has the Spirit, not an implied doubt of the fact.



Happier (μακαριωτέρα)

More blessed is preferable. The word has a higher meaning than happy. See on Matthew 5:3.

"Such, if on high their thoughts are set,

Nor in the stream the source forget,

If prompt to quit the bliss they know,

Following the Lamb where'er He go,

By purest pleasure unbeguiled

To idolize or wife or child:

Such wedded souls our God shall own

For faultless virgins round His throne."

Keble, "Christian Year," Wednesday before Easter.

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