1 Corinthians 7:23

23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

1 Corinthians 7:23 Meaning and Commentary

1 Corinthians 7:23

Ye are bought with a price
Some read these words interrogatively, as ( 1 Corinthians 7:18 1 Corinthians 7:21 ) , "are ye bought with a price?" and suppose them directed to such who had bought out their time of servitude with a sum of money, and ought not to return to their former condition; but they are rather to be read affirmatively, and to be understood of all, whether freemen or servants, that are bought with the inestimable price of Christ's blood, as in ( 1 Corinthians 6:20 ) and contain in them a reason why such as are called by the grace of God, whilst in a state of civil servitude, are Christ's freemen, because they are redeemed by him from sin, Satan, the law, and from among men; and also why such as are called by the grace of God, being in a state of civil liberty, are Christ's servants, because he has purchased them with his blood, and therefore has a right unto them, both to their persons and service:

be not ye the servants of men:
not that the apostle dissuades such as are redeemed by Christ, and are believers in him, from being the servants of men in a civil sense; for this would be to contradict himself, who here and elsewhere exhorts servants to continue in the service of their masters, and to perform it heartily and cheerfully, and with great sincerity and integrity; but his meaning is, that since they were redeemed from a vain conversation by the blood of Christ, they should not be servants to the lusts of men, nor obey them in things sinful and wicked, which were contrary to law and Gospel, and which were made unlawful by the word of God, and were a breach of the command of their Lord and master Christ; nor should they in matters of religion and the worship of God submit to the authority of any set of men whatever, or be subject to the doctrines and commandments of men; whether these relate to Jewish ceremonies, or Gentile superstitions, or be a mixture of both: they were to call no man master upon earth; nor suffer any to lord it over them, as the false teachers very much did in this church; but to acknowledge Christ, who had bought them to be their only Lord and master. The allusion seems to he to a tradition of the Jews, that the Israelites being redeemed out of Egypt were the servants of God, and not of men {p};

``R. Jochanan ben Zaccai was explaining this Scripture, ( Exodus 21:6 ) how different the ear is from all the members of the body; says the holy blessed God, the ear that heard my voice on Mount Sinai, at the time I said, the children of Israel are my servants, (Mydbel Mydbe alw) , and "not servants to servants"; and this goes and gets itself a master, let it be bored: R. Simeon ben Ribbi was explaining the same Scripture, how different the door and the door post were from all the parts of the house; says the holy blessed God, the door and the door post, which were witnesses in Egypt, at the time that I passed by the threshold, and by the two door posts, and I said, the children of Israel are my servants, and not servants to servants, and I brought them out of bondage to liberty; and this goes and gets itself a master, let it be bored before them.''


F16 T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 22. 2.

1 Corinthians 7:23 In-Context

21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.
22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant.
23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.
25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
The King James Version is in the public domain.