Degrees of Apostolical Authority
1 Corinthians 7:39-40
The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will…

The apostle on this point does not arrogate more to himself than a view, an advice, the value of which every one can appraise at pleasure. It is evident how far he was removed from that exaltation which makes fanatics take all their ideas for revelations. Nevertheless, he certainly claims an inspiration, and traces it to the Divine Spirit. But we must beware of concluding that he did not claim, besides this, revelations of a wholly special kind. In other cases he is careful to affirm that his directions proceed "from the Lord" (1 Corinthians 14:37; 1 Corinthians 7:17). And if he thus expresses himself in connection with simple directions about public worship or Christian practice, how much more conscious was he of being the organ of a Divine revelation of a wholly personal kind when the matter in question was the very essence of "his gospel"! We are led, therefore, to distinguish three degrees of authority.

I. THE DIRECT COMMANDS OF THE LORD, which He gave during His sojourn on earth, and which Paul merely quotes without discussing their grounds (ver. 10).

II. THE APOSTOLIC COMMANDS OF THE APOSTLE, which are imposed on Churches subject to his jurisdiction, and which he gives them as the organ of a higher illumination attached to his special mission. As to these he is careful to expound their reasons, being unwilling to ask his brethren to give a blind obedience (vers. 12-17, cf 10:15).

III. THE DIRECTIONS WHICH HE GIVES AS A SIMPLE CHRISTIAN, which he himself declares to be optional, and which he leaves to the judgment of every believer (ver. 25). In the text there is a vein of irony. "Now, I hope, however, even if my apostolic authority is disputed among you, that you will not deny to me the possession of the Divine Spirit, such as you recognise in all Christians, and specially in the numerous spiritual guides to whom you give your confidence."

(Prof. Godet.).

Parallel Verses
KJV: The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

WEB: A wife is bound by law for as long as her husband lives; but if the husband is dead, she is free to be married to whoever she desires, only in the Lord.

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