1 Corinthians 7:23 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 7:23, NIV: You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings.

1 Corinthians 7:23, ESV: You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men.

1 Corinthians 7:23, KJV: Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

1 Corinthians 7:23, NASB: You were bought for a price; do not become slaves of people.

1 Corinthians 7:23, NLT: God paid a high price for you, so don't be enslaved by the world.

1 Corinthians 7:23, CSB: You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of people.

What does 1 Corinthians 7:23 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In words surprising to a non-spiritual mindset, Paul has written that even slaves who come to faith in Christ should not make the point of their lives to become freedmen. He has added, however, that if they get the opportunity to become free, they should take it (1 Corinthians 7:20–22).

Paul wants all Christians, slave and free, to place greater value on their position in God's eyes than in the eyes of the world. In God's eyes, all believing slaves are freedmen. All Christians are bondservants of Christ. God's perspective matters far more than our status during the short time we will live on this earth before eternity.

Now Paul follows his comment that Christians, though free in this life, are "slaves" to Christ because God purchased us, body and spirit, with the blood of Christ through His death for our sin on the cross. We were redeemed by God (Ephesians 1:7; Galatians 3:13), meaning that He took possession of us from our former master of sin and death.

Because God owns those who are in Christ, Paul now adds that we must not become slaves to men. It's possible to interpret this as a command to believers not to sell themselves into slavery for the purpose of paying off debt or making a living. Some take this as a condemnation of going into debt, even in a modern sense of loans or a mortgage (Romans 13:8). In context, though, it's far more likely Paul is repeating the idea that God is a believer's true and eternal master, not the human being who "owns" them for now in this short life.