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1 Corinthians 7:17

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

But as God hath distributed to every man, etc. - Let every man fulfill the duties of the state to which God in the course of his providence has called him.

So ordain I in all Churches - I do not lay on you a burden which others are not called to bear: this is the general rule which, by the authority of God, I impose on every Christian society.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

But as God hath distributed … - As God hath divided ( ἐμέρισεν emerisen); that is, given, imparted to anyone. As God has given grace to everyone. The words εἰ μὴ ei mēdenote simply but in the beginning of this verse. The apostle here introduces a new subject; or an inquiry varying somewhat from that preceding, though of the same general nature. He had discussed the question whether a husband and wife ought to be separated on account of a difference in religion. He now says that the general principle there stated ought to rule everywhere; that people who become Christians ought not to seek to change their condition or calling in life, but to remain in that situation in which they were when they became Christians, and show the excellence of their religion in that particular calling. The object of Paul, therefore, is to preserve order, industry, faithfulness in the relations of life, and to show that Christianity does not design to break up the relations of social and domestic contact. This discussion continues to 1 Corinthians 7:24. The phrase “as God hath distributed” refers to the condition in which people are placed in life, whether as rich or poor, in a state of freedom or servitude, of learning or ignorance, etc. And it implies that God appoints the lot of people, and orders the circumstances of their condition; that religion is not designed to interfere directly with this; and that people should seek to show the real excellence of religion in the particular sphere in which they may have been placed by divine providence before they became converted.

As the Lord hath called everyone - That is, in the condition or circumstances in which anyone is when he is called by the Lord to be a Christian.

So let him walk - In that sphere of life; in that calling 1 Corinthians 7:20; in that particular relation in which he was, let him remain, unless he can consistently change it for the better, and there let him illustrate the true beauty and excellence of religion. This was designed to counteract the notion that the fact of embracing a new religion dissolved the relations of life which existed before. This idea probably prevailed extensively among the Jews. Paul‘s object is to show that the gospel, instead of dissolving those relations, only strengthened them, and enabled those who were converted the better to discharge the duties which grow out of them.

And so ordain I … - This is no unique rule for you Corinthians. It is the universal rule which I everywhere inculcated. It is not improbable that there was occasion to insist everywhere on this rule, and to repress disorders which might have been attempted by some who might suppose that Christianity dissolved the former obligations of life.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The rules of Christianity reach every condition; and in every state a man may live so as to be a credit to it. It is the duty of every Christian to be content with his lot, and to conduct himself in his rank and place as becomes a Christian. Our comfort and happiness depend on what we are to Christ, not what we are in the world. No man should think to make his faith or religion, an argument to break through any natural or civil obligations. He should quietly and contentedly abide in the condition in which he is placed by Divine Providence.
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