GENEVA BIBLE 1599
The Bible of the Pilgrims who founded America and also the Bible of the Reformation.
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1 Now (1) concerning the things (a) whereof ye wrote unto me, It were (b) (*) good for a man not to touch a woman.
(1) He teacheth concerning marriage, that although a single
life hath his commodities, which he will declare afterwards,
yet that marriage is necessary for the avoiding of
fornication, but so that neither one man may have many
wives, or any wife many husbands.
(a) Touching those matters whereof you wrote unto me.
(b) Commodious, and (as we say) expedient. For marriage bringeth many griefs with it, and that by reason of the corruption of our first estate.
(*) Or, expedient because marriage, through manís corruption, and not by Godís institution bringeth cares and troubles.
2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let (*) every man have his wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
(*) Speaking to all men in general.
3 (*) (2) Let the husband give unto the wife (c) (♣) due benevolence, and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
(*) 1 Peter 3:7 .
(2) Secondly, he sheweth that the parties married, must with
singular affection entirely love one another.
(c) The word (due) containeth all kind of benevolence, though he speak more of one sort than of the other, in that which followeth.
(♣) Which containeth all duties pertaining to marriage.
4 (3) The wife hath not the power of her own body, but the husband; and likewise also the husband hath not the power of his own body, but the wife.
(3) Thirdly, he warneth them that they are each in other's power, as touching the body, so that they may not defraud one another.
5 Defraud not one another, (4) except it be with consent for a time, that ye may (d) give yourselves to fasting and prayer, and again come together, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
(4) He addeth an exception: unless the one abstain from the
other by mutual consent, that they may the better give
themselves to prayer, wherein notwithstanding, he warneth
them to consider what is expedient, lest by this long
breaking off as it were from marriage, they be stirred up to
(d) Do nothing else.
6 (5) But I speak this by permission, (*) not by commandment.
(5) Fifthly he teacheth that marriage is not simply necessary for all men, but for them which have not the gift of continency, and this gift is by a peculiar grace of God.
(*) He sheweth that he commandeth not precisely all men to marry, but that God hath granted this remedy unto them which cannot live chaste.
7 For I (e) would that all men were even as I myself am. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.
(e) I wish.
8 (6) Therefore I say unto the (f) unmarried, and unto the widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I do.
(6) Sixthly, he giveth the selfsame admonition touching the
second marriage, to wit, that a single life is to be
allowed, but for such as have the gift of continency,
otherwise they ought to marry again, that their conscience
may be at peace.
(f) This whole place is flat against them which condemn second marriages.
9 But if they cannot abstain, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to (g) (*) burn.
(g) So to burn with lust, that either the will yieldeth to the temptation, or else we cannot call upon God with a quiet conscience.
(*) With the fire of concupiscence, that is when manís will so giveth place to the lust that tempteth, that he cannot call upon God with a quiet conscience.
10 (*) (7) And unto the married I command, not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband.
(*) Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18 .
(7) Seventhly, he forbiddeth contentions and publishing of divorces (for he speaketh not here of the fault of whoredom, which was then death even by the law of the Romans also) whereby he affirmeth that the hand of marriage is not dissolved, and that from Christ his mouth.
11 But and if she (*) depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled unto her husband, and let not the husband put (♣) away his wife.
(*) For hatred, dissention, anger, ect.
(♣) Save for whoredome, as Matthew 5:32 .
12 (8) But to the remnant I speak, and not (*) the Lord, If any brother have a wife that believeth not, if she be content to dwell with him, let him not forsake her.
(8) Eighthly, he affirmeth that those marriages which are already contracted between a faithful and an unfaithful or infidel, are firm, so that the faithful may not forsake the unfaithful.
(*) In as much as there was nothing expressly spoken hereof in the Law, or Prophets; or else he spake this moved by the Spirit of God as he testifieth in 1 Corinthians 7:25 ..
13 And the woman which hath a husband that believeth not, if he be content to dwell with her, let her not forsake him.
14 (9) For the unbelieving husband is (h) (*) sanctified by the (i) wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the (k) husband, else were your children unclean; but now are they (l) (♣) holy.
(9) He answereth an objection: But the faithful is defiled
by the society of the unfaithful. The Apostle denieth that,
and proveth that the faithful man with good conscience may
use the vessel of his unfaithful wife, by this that their
children which are born of them, are accounted holy (that
is, contained within the promise) for it is said to all the
faithful, I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed.
(h) The godliness of the wife is of more force, to cause their coupling together to be accounted holy, than the infidelity of the husband is, to profane the marriage.
(*) Meaning, that the faith of the believer hath more power
to sanctify marriage than the wickedness of the other to
(i) The infidel is not sanctified or made holy in his own person, but in respect of his wife, he is sanctified to her.
(k) To the faithful husband.
(l) This place destroyeth the opinion of them that would not have children to be baptized, and their opinion also, that make baptism the very cause of salvation. For the children of the faithful are holy, by virtue of the covenant, even before Baptism, and baptism is added as the seal of that holiness.
(♣) They that are born of either of the parents faithful are also counted members of Christís Church, because of the promise, Acts 2:39 .
15 (10) But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not in subjection in (m) (*) such things, (11) but God hath called us in peace.
(10) He answereth to a question: what if the unfaithful
forsake the faithful? Then is the faithful free, saith he,
because he is forsaken of the unfaithful.
(m) When any such thing falleth out.
(*) When such things come to pass, that the faithful and
unfaithful be married together, and the one forsake the
other without cause.
(11) Lest any man upon pretence of this liberty should give occasion to the unfaithful to depart, he giveth to understand, that marriage contracted with an infidel, ought peaceably to be kept, that if it be possible the infidel may be won to the faith.
16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thine husband? Or what knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
17 (12) But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord (n) hath (*) called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all Churches.
(12) Taking occasion by that which he said of the bondage
and liberty of matrimony, he digresseth to a general
doctrine concerning the outward state and condition of man's
life, as Circumcision and uncircumcision, servitude and
liberty, warning every man generally to live with a
contented mind in the Lord, what state or condition soever
he be in, because that those outward things, as to be
circumcised or uncircumcised, to be bond or free, are not of
the substance (as they term it) of the kingdom of heaven.
(n) Hath bound him to a certain kind of life.
(*) The lawful vocation in outward things must not lightly be neglected.
18 (13) Is any man called being circumcised? Let him not (o) (*) gather his uncircumcision. Is any called uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised.
(13) Notwithstanding he giveth us to understand, that in
these examples all are not of like sort, because that
circumcision is not simply of itself to be desired, but such
as are bound may desire to be free. Therefore herein only
they are equal, that the kingdom of God consisteth not in
them, and therefore these are no hindrance to obey God.
(o) He is said to gather his uncircumcised, who by the help of a Surgeon recovereth an upper skin, which is done by the drawing the skin with an instrument, to make it to cover the nut. Celsus in his book 7, chapter 25 .
(*) Which is when the surgeon by art draweth out the skin to cover the part, Celsus library 7 ca 25 Epiphany lib de ponderib and measure.
19 (*) Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.
(*) It is all one whither thou be Jew or Gentile.
20 (*) Let every man abide in the same vocation wherein he was called.
(*) 1 Timothy 6:1 .
21 Art thou called being a servant? (p) (*) Care not for it; but if yet thou mayest be free, use it rather.
(p) As though this calling were too unworthy a calling for Christ.
(*) Although God hath called thee to serve in this life, yet think not thy condition unworthy for a Christian; but rejoice, that thou art delivered by Christ from the miserable slavery of sin and death.
22 For he that is called in the (q) (*) Lord, being a servant, is the Lordís freeman; likewise also he that is called being free, is Christís servant.
(q) He that is in the state of a servant, and is called to be a Christian.
(*) Being servant by condition is made partaker of Christ.
23 (*) (14) Ye are bought (♣) with a price; be not the servants of men.
(*) 1 Corinthians 6:20; 2 Peter 1:18 .
(14) He sheweth the reason of the unlikeness, because that he that desireth to be circumcised, maketh himself subject to man's tradition, and not to God. And this may be much more understood of superstitions, which some do foolishly account for things indifferent.
(♣) Or, dearly.
24 (15) Brethren, let every man, wherein he was called, therein abide (*) with (r) God.
(15) A repetition of the general doctrine.
(*) Sincerely; as in the presence of God.
(r) So purely and from the heart, that your doings may be approved before God.
25 (16) Now concerning (*) virgins, I have no (♣) commandment of the Lord, but I give mine (s) advise, as (t) one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be (♠) faithful.
(16) He enjoineth virginity to no man, yet he persuadeth and praiseth it for another respect, to wit, both for the necessity of the present time, because the faithful could scarce abide in any place, and use the commodities of this present life, and therefore such as were not troubled with families, might be the readier; and also for the cares of this life, which marriage draweth with it of necessity, so that they cannot but have their minds distracteth, and this hath place in women especially.
(*) Or, the state of virginity.
bindeth no man to that which God hath left free, but sheweth
what is most agreeable to Godís will, according to the
circumstance of the time, place and persons.
(s) The circumstances considered, this I counsel you.
(t) It is I that speak this which I am minded to speak; and the truth is, I am a man, but yet worthy credit, for I have obtained of the Lord to be such a one.
(♠) Or, believed.
26 I suppose then (u) (*) this to be good for the (x) present (♣) necessity, I mean that it is good for a man so to be.
(u) To remain a virgin.
(*) To be single.
(x) For the necessity which the Saints are daily subject unto, who are continually tossed up and down, so that their estate may seem most unfit for marriage, were it not that the weakness of the flesh enforced them to it.
(♣) In these afflictions and persecutions.
27 Art thou bound unto a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife.
28 But if thou takest a wife, thou sinnest not; and if a virgin marry, she sinneth not. Nevertheless, such shall have (*) (♣) trouble in the (y) flesh, but I (z) (♠) spare you.
(*) As worldly cares of their children and family.
(♣) He doeth not prefer singleness as a thing more holy than marriage, but by reason of incommodities, which the one hath more than the other.
(y) By the (Flesh) he understandeth what things soever
belong to this present life, for marriage bringeth with it
many discommodities; so that he bendeth more to a sole life,
not because it is a service more agreeable to God than
marriage is, but for those discommodities, which (if it were
possible) he would wish all men to be void of, that they
might give themselves to God only.
(z) I would your weakness were provided for.
(♠) In wishing that you could live without wives.
29 And this I say, brethren, because the time is (a) short, (*) hereafter that both they which have wives, be as though they had none;
(a) For we are now in the latter end of the world.
(*) Or, it remaineth that.
30 And they that (b) (*) weep, as though they wept not; and they that (♣) rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;
(b) By weeping, the Hebrews understand all adversity, and by joy, all prosperity.
(*) Which be in adversity.
(♣) Which be in prosperity.
31 And they that use this (c) world, as though they used it not; for the (d) (*) fashion of this world goeth away.
(c) Those things which God giveth us here.
(d) The guise, the shape, and fashion; whereby he sheweth us, that there is nothing in this world that continueth.
(*) In this world there is nothing but mere vanity.
32 And I would have you without care. The unmarried careth for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord.
33 But he that is married, (e) careth for the things of the (*) world, how he may please his wife (♣) .
(e) They that are married, have their wits drawn hither and thither, and therefore if any man have the gift of continency, it is more commodious for him to live alone; but they that are married may care for the things of the Lord also. Clement, Strom. 3 .
(*) Which only appertain to this present life.
(♣) And he is divided, meaning into divers cares.
34 There is difference also between a virgin and a wife. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be (*) holy, both in body and in (f) spirit; but she that is married, careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
(*) She may attain unto it sooner than the other, because she is without cares.
35 And this I speak for your own (g) commodity, not to (*) tangle you in a snare, but that ye follow that which is honest, and that ye may cleave fast unto the Lord without separation.
(g) He meaneth that he will enforce no man either to marry or not to marry, but to shew them barely what kind of life is most commodious.
(*) Seeing Paul could bind no manís conscience to single life, what presumption is it that any other should do it.
36 (17) But if any man think that it is uncomely for his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and (*) need so require, let him do what he will, he (h) sinneth not; let them be married.
(17) Now he turneth himself to the Parents, in whose power and authority their children are, warning them that according to the former doctrine they consider what is meet and convenient for their children, that they neither deprive them of the necessary remedy against incontinency, nor constrain them to marriage, whereas neither their will doth lead them, nor any necessity urgeth them. And again he praiseth virginity, but of itself, and not in all.
(*) That is, that she should marry to avoid fornication.
(h) He doeth well; for so he expoundeth it in 1 Corinthians 7:38 .
37 Nevertheless, he (*) that standeth firm in his (i) heart, that he hath no (k) need, but hath (♣) power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart, that he will keep his virgin, he doeth well.
(*) Meaning, he that is fully persuaded that he hath no need.
(i) Resolved with himself.
(k) That the weakness of his daughter enforceth him not, or any other matter, but that he may safely keep her a virgin still.
(♣) For the fatherís will dependeth on his childrenís in this point; in so much as he is bound to have respect to their infirmity, neither can he justly require of them singleness, if they have not that gift of God so to live.
38 So then he that giveth her to marriage, doeth well, but he that giveth her not to marriage, doeth (l) (*) better.
(l) Provideth more commodiously for his children, and that not simply, but by reason of such conditions as are before mentioned.
(*) And more commodious for his children in preserving them from cares.
39 (18) The wife is bound by the (m) (♣) law, as long as her husband (*) liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to marry with whom she will, only in the (n) Lord.
(18) That which he spake of a widower, he speaketh now of a
widow, to wit, that she may marry again, so that she do it
in the fear of God; and yet he dissembleth not, but saith,
that if she remain still remains a widow, she shall be void
of many cares.
(m) By the law of marriage.
(♣) Of matrimony.
(*) Romans 7:1 .
(n) Religiously, and in the fear of God.
40 But she is more blessed, if she so abide in my judgment; (*) and I think that I have also the Spirit of God.
(*) 1 Thessalonians 4:8 .
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