1 Corinthians 7:33
But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.
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7:25-35 Considering the distress of those times, the unmarried state was best. Notwithstanding, the apostle does not condemn marriage. How opposite are those to the apostle Paul who forbid many to marry, and entangle them with vows to remain single, whether they ought to do so or not! He exhorts all Christians to holy indifference toward the world. As to relations; they must not set their hearts on the comforts of the state. As to afflictions; they must not indulge the sorrow of the world: even in sorrow the heart may be joyful. As to worldly enjoyments; here is not their rest. As to worldly employment; those that prosper in trade, and increase in wealth, should hold their possessions as though they held them not. As to all worldly concerns; they must keep the world out of their hearts, that they may not abuse it when they have it in their hands. All worldly things are show; nothing solid. All will be quickly gone. Wise concern about worldly interests is a duty; but to be full of care, to have anxious and perplexing care, is a sin. By this maxim the apostle solves the case whether it were advisable to marry. That condition of life is best for every man, which is best for his soul, and keeps him most clear of the cares and snares of the world. Let us reflect on the advantages and snares of our own condition in life; that we may improve the one, and escape as far as possible all injury from the other. And whatever cares press upon the mind, let time still be kept for the things of the Lord.careth for the things of the world - Is under a necessity of giving attention to the things of the world; or cannot give his undivided attention and interest to the things of religion. This would be especially true in times of persecution.

How he may please his wife - How he may gratify her; how he may accommodate himself to her temper and wishes, to make her happy. The apostle here plainly intimates that there would be danger that the man would be so anxious to gratify his wife, as to interfere with his direct religious duties. This may be done in many ways:

(1) The affections may be taken off from the Lord, and bestowed upon the wife. she may become the object of even improper attachment, and may take the place of God in the affections.

(2) the time may be taken up in devotion to her, which should be given to secret prayer, and to the duties of religion.

(3) she may demand his "society and attention" when he ought to be engaged in doing good to others, and endeavoring to advance the kingdom of Christ.

(4) she may be frivilous and fashionable, and may lead him into improper expenses, into a style of living that may be unsuitable for a Christian, and into society where his piety will be injured, and his devotion to God lessened; or,

(5) She may have erroneous opinions on the doctrines and duties of religion; and a desire to please her may lead him insensibly to modify his views, and to adopt more lax opinions, and to pursue a more lax course of life in his religious duties.

Many a husband has thus been injured by a frivilous, thoughtless, and imprudent wife; and though that wife may be a Christian, yet her course may be such as shall greatly retard his growth in grace, and mar the beauty of his piety.

32. without carefulness—I would have you to be not merely "without trouble," but "without distracting cares" (so the Greek).

careth—if he uses aright the advantages of his condition.

But he that is married hath other things which he must take care about; for besides that he is obliged to provide for his family, husbands and wives are under some obligations to please each other by divertisements, which, though not in themselves sinful, yet take up time, which those free from such relations may spend more religiously.

But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world,.... Attending diligently to the business and calling of life, he is engaged in, that he may provide food and clothing, and other necessaries for the support and sustenance of his family:

how he may please his wife: and make her and his children easy and comfortable. This also is not to be understood of every individual person in a married state as matter of fact; for, on the one hand, there are some who take no care to please their wives and provide for their families, and are worse than infidels; and, on the other hand, there are others who take a proper care to make a suitable provision for their wives and children, to the satisfaction of both; and yet this is not their only care, they also care for the things of the Lord, and concern themselves much for his honour and glory: but the sense is, that, generally speaking, persons in such a state are greatly involved in worldly cares, and have not that leisure, and those opportunities, that single persons have to attend religious exercises; wherefore the single state, on this account, is, in the apostle's opinion, the more preferable.

But he that is married {e} careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

(e) Those that are married have their minds drawn here and there, and therefore if any man has the gift of continency, it is more advantageous for him to live alone. But those who are married may care for the things of the Lord also. Clement, Strom. 3.

1 Corinthians 7:33. Πῶς ἀρέσει) how he may please. The word please is repeated from the preceding verse, and comprehends here all the duties of a husband, which the wife may demand in everthing relating to the married state.

Verse 33. - Careth for the things that are of the world. St. Paul's language must not be extravagantly pressed. It only applies absolutely to times in which the conditions are the same as they then were. The "anxious cares" which marriage involves may be more innocent and less distracting than those which attack the celibate condition; and when that is the case, marriage, on St. Paul's own principle, becomes a duty. Thus some of the best and greatest of our missionaries have found their usefulness as God's messengers vastly increased by marriage, in spite of the awful trials which marriage often involves. The apostles and brethren of the Lord felt the same. St. Paul's opinions here are, as he tells us, opinions only, and admit of many modifications. Advice given to men and women when Christians believed that the Lord was coming, perhaps in that very age, to judge the world, is not universally applicable to all ages. In St. Paul's later Epistles he does not revert to this advice, but assumes that marriage is the normal condition. 1 Corinthians 7:33
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