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1 Corinthians 7:1-2

Celibacy and Marriage

7:1 Now with regard to the issues you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 1  7:2 But because of immoralities, each man should have relations with 2  his own wife and each woman with 3  her own husband.

1 Corinthians 7:8


7:8 To the unmarried and widows I say that it is best for them to remain as I am.

1 Corinthians 7:26-28

7:26 Because of the impending crisis I think it best for you to remain as you are. 7:27 The one bound to a wife should not seek divorce. The one released from a wife should not seek marriage. 4  7:28 But if you marry, you have not sinned. And if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face difficult circumstances, 5  and I am trying to spare you such problems. 6 

1 tn Grk “It is good for a man not to touch a woman,” a euphemism for sexual relations. This idiom occurs ten times in Greek literature, and all of the references except one appear to refer to sexual relations (cf., e.g., Josephus, Ant. 1.8.1 [1.163]; Gen 20:6 [LXX]; Prov 6:29 [LXX]). For discussion see G. D. Fee, First Corinthians (NICNT), 275. Many recent interpreters believe that here again (as in 6:12-13) Paul cites a slogan the Corinthians apparently used to justify their actions. If this is so, Paul agrees with the slogan in part, but corrects it in the following verses to show how the Corinthians misused the idea to justify abstinence within marriage (cf. 8:1, 4; 10:23). See also G. D. Fee, “1 Corinthians 7:1 in the NIV,” JETS 23 (1980): 307-14.

2 tn Grk “each man should have his own wife.” “Have” in this context means “have marital relations with” (see the following verse). The verb ἐχέτω (ecetw, “have”) occurs twice in the Greek text, but has not been repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons. This verb occurs 8 times in the LXX (Exod 2:1; Deut 28:30; 2 Chr 11:21; 1 Esd 9:12, 18; Tob 3:8; Isa 13:16; 54:1) with the meaning “have sexual relations with,” and 9 times elsewhere in the NT with the same meaning (Matt 20:23; 22:28; Mark 6:18; 12:33; Luke 20:28; John 4:18 [twice]; 1 Cor 5:1; 7:29).

3 tn Grk “should have.” For explanation of the translation, see the note on “have relations with” earlier in this verse.

4 tn Grk “should not seek a wife.”

5 tn Grk “these will have tribulation in the flesh.”

6 tn Grk “I am trying to spare you.” Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context. “Such problems” has been supplied here to make the sense of the statement clear.

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