Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


1 Corinthians 7:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The things whereof ye wrote unto me - It is sufficiently evident that the principal part of this epistle was written in answer to some questions which had been sent to the apostle in a letter from the Corinthian Church; and the first question seems to be this: "Is it proper for a man to marry in the present circumstances of the Church?" The question concerning the expediency or inexpediency of marriage was often agitated among the ancient philosophers; and many, though inclined to decide against it, because of the troubles and cares connected with it, tolerated it in their opinions; because, though an evil, it was judged to be a necessary evil. The words of Menander are full to this effect: Γαμειν, εαν τις την αληθειαν σκοπῃ, κακον μεν εστιν, αλλ 'αναγκαιον κακον· "If a man consider marriage in a proper point of view, it is an evil; but then it is a necessary evil." Metellus Numidicus spoke of it nearly in the same way. Si sine uxore possemus, Quirites, esse, omnes ea molestia careremus; sed quoniam ita natura tradidit, ut nec Cum Illis salis commode, nec Sine Illis ullo modo vivi possit, saluti perpetus potius quam brevi voluptati consulendum. "If, O ye Romans, we could live unmarried, we should be saved from a great deal of trouble; but, seeing that nature has so ordered it that we cannot live very comfortably with wives, and without them cannot live at all, marriage should be adopted, not for the sake of the short-lived pleasure, but rather for perpetual safety." But this was not the common opinion; the Jews absolutely required that every man should marry, and reputed those as murderers who did not. - See on 1 Corinthians 7:6; (note). By the laws of Lycurgus unmarried persons were prohibited from seeing the public games. By the laws of the Spartans bachelors were punished. And Plato declares all such unworthy of any honor. And to this the commentator says, Amen.

Not to touch a woman - Γυναικος μη ἁπτεσθαι· The learned reader need not be informed in what sense ἁπτομαι is used among the Greeks, and langere among the Latins. For examples Wetstein may be consulted.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Now, concerning … - In reply to your inquiries. The first, it seems, was in regard to the propriety of marriage; that is, whether it was lawful and expedient.

It is good - It is well. It is fit, convenient, or, it is suited to the present circumstances, or, the thing itself is well and expedient in certain circumstances. The apostle did not mean that marriage was unlawful, for he says Hebrews 13:4 that “marriage is honorable in all.” But he here admits, with one of the parties in Corinth, that it was well, and proper in some circumstances, not to enter into the marriage relation; see 1 Corinthians 7:7-8, 1 Corinthians 7:26, 1 Corinthians 7:28, 1 Corinthians 7:31-32.

Not to touch a woman - Not to be connected with her by marriage. Xenophon (Cyro. b. 1) uses the same word ( ἅπτω haptō“to touch”) to denote marriage; compare Genesis 20:4, Genesis 20:6; Genesis 26:11; Proverbs 6:29.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The apostle tells the Corinthians that it was good, in that juncture of time, for Christians to keep themselves single. Yet he says that marriage, and the comforts of that state, are settled by Divine wisdom. Though none may break the law of God, yet that perfect rule leaves men at liberty to serve him in the way most suited to their powers and circumstances, of which others often are very unfit judges. All must determine for themselves, seeking counsel from God how they ought to act.