1 Corinthians 7:21

21 Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so.

Read 1 Corinthians 7:21 Using Other Translations

Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.
Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.)
Are you a slave? Don’t let that worry you—but if you get a chance to be free, take it.

What does 1 Corinthians 7:21 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
1 Corinthians 7:21

Art thou called being a servant?
&c.] That is, called by grace whilst in the condition of a servant,

care not for it;
do not be troubled at it, and uneasy with it; be not anxiously solicitous to be otherwise; bear the yoke patiently, go through thy servitude cheerfully, and serve thy master faithfully; do not look upon it as any objection to thy calling, any contradiction to thy Christian liberty, or as unworthy of, and a reproach upon thy profession of Christ:

but if thou mayest be made free,
use it rather. The Syriac renders the last clause, (xwlptd Kl ybg) , "choose for thyself to serve"; perfectly agreeable to the sense given of the words, by several great critics and excellent interpreters, who take the apostle's meaning to be, that should a Christian servant have an opportunity of making his escape from his master, or could he by any art, trick, and fraudulent method, obtain his liberty, it would be much more advisable to continue a servant, than to become free by any such means: yea, some seem to carry the sense so far, that even if servants could be made free in a lawful way, yet servitude was most eligible, both for their own and their master's good: for their own to keep them humble and exercise their patience; for their master's not only temporal, but spiritual good; since by their good behaviour they might be a means of recommending the Gospel to them, and of gaining them to Christ; but one should rather think the more obvious sense is, that when a Christian servant has his freedom offered him by his master, or he can come at it in a lawful and honourable way, this being preferable to servitude, he ought rather to make use of it; since he would be in a better situation, and more at leisure to serve Christ, and the interest of religion: however, certain it is, that the apostle's design is, to make men easy in every station of life, and to teach them how to behave therein; he would not have the freeman abuse his liberty, or be elated with it, nor the servant be uneasy under his servitude, nor be depressed by it, for the reasons following.

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