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Wayne Stewart's avatar
February 15, 2015

First Corinthians – Part 18


Last lesson we looked at verses 7:17-20. The major point brought out was that upon salvation Jews were to remain Jews and Gentiles were to remain Gentiles. The last verse in the sequence says

20  (AV) Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.
20  (TR) εκαστος εν τη κλησει η εκληθη εν ταυτη μενετω

Literally “Each in the calling in which he was called in this let him remain” — this is very different to the message of PAul the prisoner to those who respond to the gospel of the unsearchable riches who live in the current age. To those of us who have responded to this message we have equality in a more pervasive sense since national distinctions have been laid aside and a new man created. With the new man has come a new and different unity that we need to keep (see Eph 4:1-5).

Chapter 7:21-28

Paul uses and extends the same idea of remaining in the status of life when you are called by the Lord. 

21  (AV) Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.
21  (TR) δουλος εκληθης μη σοι μελετω αλλ ει και δυνασαι ελευθερος γενεσθαι μαλλον χρησαι

If you are a slave when called do not be anxious about it, let it not be a care to you BUT if you are also able (και δυνασαι) to be made free then use it (the freedom) instrumentally and exceedingly. The scripture here is not encouraging a slave to remain a slave if he/she can find some way of being free but rather if there is a way to be free then take it and use it to serve Christ even more.

22  (AV) For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.
22  (TR) ο γαρ εν κυριω κληθεις δουλος απελευθερος κυριου εστιν ομοιως και ο ελευθερος κληθεις δουλος εστιν χριστου

The first clause is easy to understand — he that is called of the Lord while a slave becomes freed (in a spiritual sense) that is you no longer need to function as a slave to a man. You have been bought with a price. Your real master is Christ and the work you do as a slave to some man is now reinterpreted. ὁμοίως καὶ, likewise also the one who is free and called by the Lord is Christ’s slave. How does this work? The first clause emphasizes freedom from man the second clause servitude to God — both teach the same thing with different emphases. This is brought out by Paul in the book of Romans — which see:

Ro 6:6  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
Ro 6:18  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
Ro 6:22  But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

23  (AV) Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
23  (TR) τιμης ηγορασθητε μη γινεσθε δουλοι ανθρωπων

24  (AV) Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.
24  (TR) εκαστος εν ω εκληθη αδελφοι εν τουτω μενετω παρα τω θεω

The above verses giving the interpretation of what it means “to remain”. In verse 24 Paul puts it together in such a way that both sides of the issue are combined — ” let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.” How can you be free when you work for a man? The answer is that you conduct your life before God and remain with Him. This will mean at times that there will be controversy and disagreement — since man will invariably ask obedience to that which God has said No! To God you must remain.

25 ¶  (AV) Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
25  (TR) περι δε των παρθενων επιταγην κυριου ουκ εχω γνωμην δε διδωμι ως ηλεημενος υπο κυριου πιστος ειναι

Paul now addresses another issue raised by the Corinthians, this one related to virgins — περι δε των παρθενων. Paul has no direct command from the Lord and therefore gives his inspired opinion.

[GING] parqe,noj 
parqe,noj, ou, h`—1. virgin Mt 1:23; 25:1, 7, 11; Lk 1:27; Ac 21:9; 1 Cor 7:25, 28, 34, 36–38; 2 Cor 11:2.—2. chaste man Rv 14:4.* [parthenogenesis, parqe,noj   ge,nesij; Parthenon, temple of Athena Parthenos at Athens] [pg 151] 

As the analysis above shows — the word for a virgin can also be used of a male Rev. 14:4. Mostly, however to chaste women. In the case before us the word applies to women who are chaste as the context shows vs 28.

26  (AV) I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.
26  (TR) νομιζω ουν τουτο καλον υπαρχειν δια την ενεστωσαν αναγκην οτι καλον ανθρωπω το ουτως ειναι

This is a great clue and confirmation to the time “then present” it was stressful the time of the coming tribulation was at hand as was the Lord. This prefaces Paul’s opinion above.

27  (AV) Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.
27  (TR) δεδεσαι γυναικι μη ζητει λυσιν λελυσαι απο γυναικος μη ζητει γυναικα

KJV  1 Corinthians 7:28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.
TBT  1 Corinthians 7:28 ἐὰν δὲ καὶ γήμῃς, οὐχ ἥμαρτες· καὶ ἐὰν γήμῃ ἡ παρθένος, οὐχ ἥμαρτε. θλίψιν δὲ τῇ σαρκὶ ἕξουσιν οἱ τοιοῦτοι· ἐγὼ δὲ ὑμῶν φείδομαι.

Who is the “thou”? It must be the male brothers and the virgins would be the believing or “sisters” in the lord. Marrying is not the best choice in the Acts because of the present distress but it is preferable to burning and cannot be a “sin”. Those who do marry will have trouble in the “flesh” — Paul then adds ἐγὼ δὲ ὑμῶν φείδομαι.”But I spare you”. 

The trouble in the flesh is in one sense unexpected — was not the marriage at least in part to stop “trouble in the flesh” (1Cor.7:2)? This is one type of trouble but there is another trouble of the flesh which will come in the tribulation that will be compounded over what might otherwise be a “matter of this life”:

KJV  Mark 13:17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
TBT  Mark 13:17 οὐαὶ δὲ ταῖς ἐν γαστρὶ ἐχούσαις καὶ ταῖς θηλαζούσαις ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις.

The problem is that the time was short and great stress was coming on the believers of the Acts period. Paul therefore was attempting to prevent this by the expression of his inspired opinion and gave a way “to spare” them.