Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


1 Corinthians 7:26

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

This is good for the present distress - There was no period in the heathen times when the Church was not under persecutions and afflictions; on some occasions these were more oppressive than at others.

The word αναγκη signifies, necessity, distress, tribulation, and calamity; as it does in Luke 21:23; 2 Corinthians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 12:10. In such times, when the people of God had no certain dwelling-place, when they were lying at the mercy of their enemies without any protection from the state - the state itself often among the persecutors - he who had a family to care for, would find himself in very embarrassed circumstances, as it would be much more easy to provide for his personal safety than to have the care of a wife and children. On this account it was much better for unmarried persons to continue for the present in their celibacy.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

I suppose - I think; I give the following advice.

For the present distress - In the present state of trial. The word “distress” ( ἀνάγκην anagkēnnecessity) denotes calamity, persecution, trial, etc.; see Luke 21:23. The word rendered “present” ( ἐνεστῶσαν enestōsan) denotes that which “urges on,” or that which at that time presses on, or afflicts. Here it is implied:

(1)That at that time they were subject to trials so severe as to render the advice which he was about to give proper; and,

(2)That he by no means meant that this should be a “permanent arrangement” in the church, and of course it cannot be urged as an argument for the monastic system.

What the “urgent distress” of this time was, is not certainly known. If the Epistle was written about 59 a.d. (see the introduction), it was in the time of Nero; and probably he had already begun to oppress and persecute Christians. At all events, it is evident that the Christians at Corinth were subject to some trials which rendered the cares of the marriage life undesirable.

It is good for a man so to be - The emphasis here is on the word “so” οὕτως houtōsthat is, it is best for a man to conduct “in the following manner;” the word so referring to the advice which follows. “I advise that he conduct in the following manner, to wit.” Most commentators suppose that it means “as he is:” that is, unmarried; but the interpretation proposed above best suits the connection. The advice given is in the following verses.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Considering the distress of those times, the unmarried state was best. Notwithstanding, the apostle does not condemn marriage. How opposite are those to the apostle Paul who forbid many to marry, and entangle them with vows to remain single, whether they ought to do so or not! He exhorts all Christians to holy indifference toward the world. As to relations; they must not set their hearts on the comforts of the state. As to afflictions; they must not indulge the sorrow of the world: even in sorrow the heart may be joyful. As to worldly enjoyments; here is not their rest. As to worldly employment; those that prosper in trade, and increase in wealth, should hold their possessions as though they held them not. As to all worldly concerns; they must keep the world out of their hearts, that they may not abuse it when they have it in their hands. All worldly things are show; nothing solid. All will be quickly gone. Wise concern about worldly interests is a duty; but to be full of care, to have anxious and perplexing care, is a sin. By this maxim the apostle solves the case whether it were advisable to marry. That condition of life is best for every man, which is best for his soul, and keeps him most clear of the cares and snares of the world. Let us reflect on the advantages and snares of our own condition in life; that we may improve the one, and escape as far as possible all injury from the other. And whatever cares press upon the mind, let time still be kept for the things of the Lord.