New International Version
So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does better.
King James Bible
So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.
Darby Bible Translation
So that he that marries himself does well; and he that does not marry does better.
World English Bible
So then both he who gives his own virgin in marriage does well, and he who doesn't give her in marriage does better.
Young's Literal Translation
so that both he who is giving in marriage doth well, and he who is not giving in marriage doth better.
1 Corinthians 7:38 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
Uncomely towards his virgin - Different meanings have been assigned to this verse; I shall mention three of the principal.
1. "In those early times, both among the Hebrews and Christians, the daughters were wholly in the power of the father, so that he might give or not give them in marriage as he chose; and might bind them to perpetual celibacy if he thought proper; and to this case the apostle alludes. If the father had devoted his daughter to perpetual virginity, and he afterwards found that she had fixed her affections upon a person whom she was strongly inclined to marry, and was now getting past the prime of life; he, seeing from his daughter's circumstances that it would be wrong to force her to continue in her state of celibacy; though he had determined before to keep her single, yet he might in this case alter his purpose without sin, and let her and her suitor marry."
2. "The whole verse and its context speaks of young women dedicated to the service of God, who were called παρθενοι, virgins, in the primitive Church. And a case is put here, 'that circumstances might occur to render the breach of even a vow of this kind necessary, and so no sin be committed.'"
3. "The apostle by παρθενος, does not mean a virgin, but the state of virginity or celibacy, whether in man or woman." Both Mr. Locke and Dr. Whitby are of this opinion, and the latter reasons on it thus: -
It is generally supposed that these three verses relate to virgins under the power of parents and guardians and the usual inference is, that children are to be disposed of in marriage by the parents, guardians, etc. Now this may be true, but it has no foundation in the text, for τηρειν την ἑαυτου παρθενον is not to keep his daughter's, but his own virginity, or rather his purpose of virginity; for, as Phavorinus says, He is called a virgin who freely gives himself up to the Lord, renouncing matrimony, and preferring a life spent in continency. And that this must be the true import of these words appears from this consideration, that this depends upon the purpose of his own heart, and the power he has over his own will, and the no necessity arising from himself to change this purpose. Whereas the keeping a daughter unmarried depends not on these conditions on her father's part but on her own; for, let her have a necessity, and surely the apostle would not advise the father to keep her a virgin, because he had determined so to do; nor could there be any doubt whether the father had power over his own will or not, when no necessity lay upon him to betroth his virgin. The Greek runs to this sense: if he had stood already firm in his heart, finding no necessity, viz. to change his purpose; and hath power over his own will, not to marry; finding himself able to persist in the resolution he had made to keep his virginity, he does well to continue a virgin: and then the phrase, if any man think he behaves himself unseemly towards his virgin, if it be over-aged, and thinks he ought rather to join in marriage, refers to the opinions both of Jews and Gentiles that all ought to marry. The Jews say that the time of marriage is from 16 or 17 to 20; while some of the Gentiles specify from 30 to 35. If any think thus, says the apostle, let them do what they will, they sin not: let them marry. And then he concludes with those words applied to both cases: so then, both he that marries doeth well, and he that marries not, doeth better.
This last opinion seems to be the true sense of the apostle.
It may be necessary to make a few general observations on these verses, summing up what has been said.
1. Παρθενος here should be considered as implying not a virgin, but the state of virginity or celibacy.
2. Ὑπερακμος, over-aged, must refer to the passing of that time in which both the laws and customs of Jews and Gentiles required men to marry. See above, and see the note on 1 Corinthians 7:6.
3. Και οὑτως οφειλει γινεσθαι, And need so require; or, if there appear to be a necessity; is to be understood of any particular change in his circumstances or in his feelings; or, that he finds, from the law and custom in the case, that it is a scandal for him not to marry; then let him do what he wills or purposes.
4. Instead of γαμειτωσαν, let Them marry, I think γαμειτω, let Him marry, is the true reading, and agrees best with the context. This reading is supported by D*EFG, Syriac, in the Arabic, Slavonic, one of the Itala, and St. Augustine. Si nubat, if he marry, is the reading of the Vulgate, several copies of the Itala, Ambrose, Jerome, Ambrosiaster, Sedulius, and Bede. This reading is nearly of the same import with the other: Let him do what he willeth, he sinneth not, let him marry; or, he sinneth not if he marry.
5. The whole of the 37th verse relates to the purpose that the man has formed; and the strength that he has to keep his purpose of perpetual celibacy, being under no necessity to change that purpose.
6. Instead of ὁ εκγαμιζων, he who giveth her in marriage, I purpose to read ὁ γαμιζων, he who marrieth, which is the reading of the Codex Alexandrinus, the Codex Vaticanus, No. 1209, and of some others: with Clement, Methodius, and Basil. Την ἑαυτου παρθενον, his own virgin, is added after the above, by several very ancient and reputable MSS, as also by the Syriac, Armenian, Vulgate, Ethiopic, Clement, Basil, Optatus, and others; but it seems so much like a gloss, that Griesbach has not made it even a candidate for a place in the text. He then who marrieth, though previously intending perpetual virginity, doeth well; as this is agreeable to laws both Divine and human: and he who marrieth not, doeth better, because of the present distress. See 1 Corinthians 7:26.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
LibraryForms Versus Character
'Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.'--1 COR. vii. 19. 'For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love.'--GAL. v. 6. 'For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.'--GAL. vi. 16 (R.V.). The great controversy which embittered so much of Paul's life, and marred so much of his activity, turned upon the question whether a heathen man could come …
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)
Marriage and Celibacy.
Yet He Added, "But Such Shall have Tribulation of the Flesh...
Far be It, Therefore, that the Apostle So Said...
But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
1 Corinthians 7:37
But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin--this man also does the right thing.
1 Corinthians 7:39
A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
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