1 Corinthians 7:36

36 If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong[a] and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married.

1 Corinthians 7:36 in Other Translations

36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.
36 If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry--it is no sin.
36 But if a man thinks that he’s treating his fiancée improperly and will inevitably give in to his passion, let him marry her as he wishes. It is not a sin.
36 If a man has a woman friend to whom he is loyal but never intended to marry, having decided to serve God as a "single," and then changes his mind, deciding he should marry her, he should go ahead and marry. It's no sin; it's not even a "step down" from celibacy, as some say.
36 But if any man thinks he is acting improperly toward his virgin, if she is past marriageable age, and so it must be, he can do what he wants. He is not sinning; they can get married.

1 Corinthians 7:36 Meaning and Commentary

1 Corinthians 7:36

But if any man think
This some understand of a man that is engaged, or betrothed to a virgin, and protracts marriage, who may use his prudence in consummating it, if he pleases, for any thing the apostle has said to the contrary: but it is better to understand it of a parent, or one that has the care and guardianship of virgins; if such an one is of opinion,

that he behaveth himself uncomely towards his virgin:
by exposing her to contempt and reproach, in retaining her at home, and not giving her in marriage when at proper age for such a state; it being reckoned reproachful to be at, or past the age of marriage, or to be in years, and not married; or by so doing lay her under temptation to do that which is uncomely, to commit fornication, which would be uncomely, both to him, and to her; and such a tendency has living in a single state, contrary to inclination. The apostle may have respect to a Jewish tradition founded upon the supposed sense of ( Leviticus 19:29 ) "do not prostitute thy daughter to cause her to be a whore" F19.

``Says R. Eliezer, this is he who marries his daughter to an old man. Says R. Akiba, (who was contemporary with the apostle,) this is he who detains his daughter at home when she is marriageable.''

If she pass the flower of her age;
that is, one that is arrived to years of maturity, is ripe for marriage, and is what the Jewish doctors call (trgb) ; who, according to them, was one of twelve years and a half old F20, at which age virgins were judged fit to marry: hence that saying of theirs F21

``if thy daughter, (hrgb) , "is ripe", or come to the flower of her age, make thy servant free and give her to him.''

Moreover, according to their canons, such an one was no longer under her father's power; for so runs the canon F23,

``(hrgbv Nwyk) "when she is at the flower of her age", she is no more under her father's power:''

her father cannot make void her vows, though a husband can F24:

and need so require:
that she be given in marriage to a man; if she has not the gift of continence; if she is in danger of falling into the sin of fornication, and the father or guardian are sensible of this:

let him do what he will, he sinneth not;
he is under no obligation by what the apostle had said to detain her in a single life; he may give her in marriage if he pleases: he may

do what she will,
as it may be rendered; comply with her inclination and desire in marrying her to some person; in doing which, neither he nor she will break any law of God, and so not sin therein:

let them marry;
let parents marry their children when this is the case; let the young men and young women marry who are so disposed; there is no reason why they should not; there is nothing contrary to it in the word of God, nor in the advice of the apostle; nay, according to him, it was much better to marry than to burn, or to be exposed to any snare and temptation.


F19 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 76. 1.
F20 Maimon. Hilchot Ishot, c. 2. sect. 2.
F21 T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 113. 1.
F23 Misn. Nidda, c. 5. sect. 7.
F24 Misn. Nedarim, c. 10. sect. 2. T. Bab. Nedarim, fol. 70. 2. Maimon. Hilch. Nedarim, c. 11, sect. 7.

1 Corinthians 7:36 In-Context

34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.
35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
36 If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married.
37 But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing.
38 So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does better.

Cross References 1

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or "if she is getting beyond the usual age for marriage"
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