Now concerning virgins - This was another subject on which the Church at Corinth had asked the advice of the apostle. The word παρθενος, virgin, we take to signify a pure, unmarried young woman; but it is evident that the word in this place means young unmarried persons of either sex, as appears from 1 Corinthians 7:26, 1 Corinthians 7:27, 1 Corinthians 7:32-34, and from Revelation 14:4. The word παρθενος, virgin, is frequently applied to men as well as to women. See Suidas, under the word Αβελ· οὑτος παρθενος και δι καιος ὑπηρχε, He (Abel) was a virgin, and a righteous man. In 1 Corinthians 7:36; the word is supposed to mean the state of virginity or celibacy, and very probable reasons are assigned for it; and it is evident that persons of either sex in a state of celibacy are the persons intended.
I have no commandment of the Lord - There is nothing in the sacred writings that directly touches this point.
Yet I give my judgment - As every way equal to such commandments had there been any, seeing I have received the teaching of his own Spirit, and have obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful to this heavenly gift, so that it abides with me to lead me into all truth. In this way I think the apostle's words may be safely understood.
Not concerning virgins - This commences the “third” subject on which the opinion of Paul seems to have been asked by the church at Corinth - whether it was proper that those who had unmarried daughters, or wards, should give them in marriage. The reason why this question was proposed may have been, that many in the church at Corinth were the advocates of celibacy, and this, perhaps, on two grounds:
(1) Some may have supposed that in the existing state of things - the persecutions and trials to which Christians were exposed - it would be advisable that a man who had unmarried daughters, or wards, should keep them from the additional cares and trials to which they would be exposed with a family; and,
(2) Some may have already been the advocates for celibacy, and have maintained that that state was more favorable to piety, and was altogether to be preferred. It is known that that opinion had an early prevalence, and gave rise to the establishment of “nunneries” in the papal church; an opinion that has everywhere been attended with licentiousness and corruption. It is not improbable that there may have been advocates for this opinion even in the church of Corinth; and it was well, therefore, that the authority of an apostle should be employed to sanction and to honor the marriage union.
Yet I give my judgment - I give my opinion, or advice; see the note at 1 Corinthians 7:6.
As one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord - As a Christian; one who has been pardoned, whose mind has been enlightened, and who has been endued with the grace of God.
To be faithful - Faithful to my God. As one who would not give advice for any selfish, or mercenary, or worldly consideration; as one known to act from a desire to honor God, and to seek the best interests of the church, even though there is no explicit command. The advice of “such” a man - a devoted, faithful, self-denying, experienced Christian - is entitled to respectful deference, even where there is no claim to inspiration. Religion qualifies to give advice; and the advice of a man who has no selfish ends to gratify, and who is known to seek supremely the glory of God, should not be disregarded or slighted. Paul had a special claim to give this advice, because he was the founder of the congregation at Corinth.