1 Corinthians 7:17

Live as You Are Called

17 Only let each person lead the life 1that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. 2This is my rule in 3all the churches.

1 Corinthians 7:17 Meaning and Commentary

1 Corinthians 7:17

But as God hath distributed to every man
This text is so placed, and the words of it so expressed, as that it may have regard both to what goes before, and follows after; it may have respect to every man's proper gift, whether of continence, or of disposition to marriage, which every man has of God, ( 1 Corinthians 7:7 ) , and accordingly ought to live in a single, or in a married state; or it may refer to the last verse,

what knowest thou
and (ei mh) , which we render "but", be translated either "unless"; and then the sense is, thou knowest not, O man or woman, whether thou shalt save thy wife or husband, nor any other, unless God, who distributes his, grace to everyone as he pleases; or else it may be rendered if "not", and the sense be, if thou shouldst not save thy husband, or thou, man, shouldst not save thy wife; yet "as God hath distributed to every man" his own proper gift, both as to nature and grace; his proper sphere of usefulness, and the station in which he would have him be, and the place he would have him fill up, and the business he must do in life; so let him act, and

as the Lord hath called everyone;
which is to be understood of that particular station of life, and those circumstances of it, in which men are providentially placed by God, or are found in when he calls them by his grace; as whether married or unmarried; whether joined to a believer or an unbeliever; whether circumcised or uncircumcised; whether bond or free; a servant or a master; and so may refer to what follows, as well as to what goes before:

so let him walk;
contented with his station and kind of life, agreeably to the profession he makes of the Gospel, doing all the good he can to those he is concerned with:

and so ordain I in all churches;
the decisions and determinations he had made, in the cases proposed to him about marriage, the rules and orders he had prescribed, what he had given out by way of precept or permission, by command or counsel, or what he was about to deliver, were no other than what he in common enjoined other churches; and therefore they ought not to think that they were used with more strictness and severity than others; and might be induced hereby to attend to what was advised or enjoined, since it was what was common to all the churches.

1 Corinthians 7:17 In-Context

15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called youto peace.
16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
17 Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.
18 Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision.
19 For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God.

Cross References 3

  • 1. See Romans 12:3
  • 2. 1 Corinthians 4:17
  • 3. 2 Corinthians 8:18; 2 Corinthians 11:28
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.