1 Cor. 7:21 KJV (With Strong’s)

Art thou called
kaleo (Greek #2564)
to "call" (properly, aloud, but used in a variety of applications, directly or otherwise)
KJV usage: bid, call (forth), (whose, whose sur-)name (was (called)).
Pronounce: kal-eh'-o
Origin: akin to the base of 2753
being a servant
doulos (Greek #1401)
a slave (literal or figurative, involuntary or voluntary; frequently, therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subserviency)
KJV usage: bond(-man), servant.
Pronounce: doo'-los
Origin: from 1210
? care
melo (Greek #3199)
to be of interest to, i.e. to concern (only third person singular present indicative used impersonally, it matters)
KJV usage: (take) care.
Pronounce: mel'-o
Origin: a primary verb
x not
me (Greek #3361)
(adverb) not, (conjunction) lest; also (as an interrogative implying a negative answer (whereas 3756 expects an affirmative one)) whether
KJV usage: any but (that), X forbear, + God forbid, + lack, lest, neither, never, no (X wise in), none, nor, (can-)not, nothing, that not, un(-taken), without. Often used in compounds in substantially the same relations. See also 3362, 3363, 3364, 3372, 3373, 3375, 3378.
Pronounce: may
Origin: a primary particle of qualified negation (whereas 3756 expresses an absolute denial)
for it
soi (Greek #4671)
to thee
KJV usage: thee, thine own, thou, thy.
Pronounce: soy
Origin: dative case of 4771
: but
alla (Greek #235)
properly, other things, i.e. (adverbially) contrariwise (in many relations)
KJV usage: and, but (even), howbeit, indeed, nay, nevertheless, no, notwithstanding, save, therefore, yea, yet.
Pronounce: al-lah'
Origin: neuter plural of 243
ei (Greek #1487)
if, whether, that, etc.
KJV usage: forasmuch as, if, that, (al-)though, whether. Often used in connection or composition with other particles, especially as in 1489, 1490, 1499, 1508, 1509, 1512, 1513, 1536, 1537. See also 1437.
Pronounce: i
Origin: a primary particle of conditionality
kai (Greek #2532)
and, also, even, so then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words
KJV usage: and, also, both, but, even, for, if, or, so, that, then, therefore, when, yet.
Pronounce: kahee
Origin: apparently, a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force
thou mayest
dunamai (Greek #1410)
to be able or possible
KJV usage: be able, can (do, + -not), could, may, might, be possible, be of power.
Pronounce: doo'-nam-ahee
Origin: of uncertain affinity
be made
ginomai (Greek #1096)
to cause to be ("gen"-erate), i.e. (reflexively) to become (come into being), used with great latitude (literal, figurative, intensive, etc.)
KJV usage: arise, be assembled, be(-come, -fall, -have self), be brought (to pass), (be) come (to pass), continue, be divided, draw, be ended, fall, be finished, follow, be found, be fulfilled, + God forbid, grow, happen, have, be kept, be made, be married, be ordained to be, partake, pass, be performed, be published, require, seem, be showed, X soon as it was, sound, be taken, be turned, use, wax, will, would, be wrought.
Pronounce: ghin'-om-ahee
Origin: a prolongation and middle voice form of a primary verb
eleutheros (Greek #1658)
unrestrained (to go at pleasure), i.e. (as a citizen) not a slave (whether freeborn or manumitted), or (genitive case) exempt (from obligation or liability)
KJV usage: free (man, woman), at liberty.
Pronounce: el-yoo'-ther-os
Origin: probably from the alternate of 2064
, use
chraomai (Greek #5530)
to furnish what is needed; (give an oracle, "graze" (touch slightly), light upon, etc.), i.e. (by implication) to employ or (by extension) to act towards one in a given manner
KJV usage: entreat, use. Compare 5531; 5534.
Pronounce: khrah'-om-ahee
Origin: middle voice of a primary verb (perhaps rather from 5495, to handle)
it rather
mallon (Greek #3123)
(adverbially) more (in a greater degree)) or rather
KJV usage: + better, X far, (the) more (and more), (so) much (the more), rather.
Pronounce: mal'-lon
Origin: neuter of the comparative of the same as 3122

Cross References

1 Cor. 12:13• 13For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:13)
Gal. 3:28• 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:28)
Col. 3:11• 11Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. (Col. 3:11)
1 Tim. 6:1‑3• 1Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
2And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.
3If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
(1 Tim. 6:1‑3)
1 Peter 2:18‑24• 18Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
19For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
(1 Peter 2:18‑24)
a servant.Rather, a slave, [doulos ,] the property of another, and bought with his money.
In these verses the apostle shows that Christianity makes no change in our civil connections.care.

J. N. Darby Translation

Hast thou been called being a bondman, let it not concern thee; but and if thou canst become free, use it rather.

W. Kelly Translation

aWast thou called a bondman? Let it not be a care to thee; but if also thou canst be free, use [it] rather.

WK Translation Notes

but if: I think the Americans [correctors of the RV, "nay even if",] beyond just doubt wrong in their preference of the margin to the text of both Authorized and Revised Versions. (Bible Treasury 14:368)
[it]: I am aware that many in ancient (Chrysotom, Theodoret, Oecum., Phot., etc.) and in modern times (Bengel, DeWette, Estius, Meyer, etc.) take this last verse (21) quite differently, supposing it to mean, Even if thou canst be free, use it rather (that is, the bondage). Prefer to be a slave rather than a freeman. This however appears not only to be extravagant, but to make the human circumstances of too much weight, as if slavery were more favorable for christian walk than freedom. Yet even the Syriac so construed the words; and such is the view taken in one of the most recent of English versions. The true sense is given in the authorized Bible; and such was the conviction of the Reformers and of most since the Reformation.
It may be well to notice here the grounds of the question. The Dean of Canterbury thus argues for the sense of remaining rather in slavery: "This rendering....is required by the usage of the particles, εἰ καί by which, see Hartung, Partikel-lehre, i. 139, the καί, `also' or `even,' does not belong to the εί, as in καὶ εἰ, but is spread over the whole contents of the concessive clause....It is also required by the context: for the burden of the whole passage is, `Let each man remain in the state in which he was called.'" It is remarkable that the same commentator, in his note on Mark 14:29, seems to reverse this statement, and says that the καί before εἰ intensifies only that word which it introduces in the hypothesis, citing Klotz on Devar. p. 519f. (I cite from the fifth edition of both vols.) Allowing however that the latter is incorrect, I maintain that the principle is quite consistent with the ordinary version and view. For the effect of καί following εἰ is in some cases simply to emphasize the verb that follows; whereas καῖ εἰ, were this the reading, would really be more in favor of the sense desired. For we should then translate it, Wert thou called, a slave? Let it not trouble thee; but even if thou canst become free, use it [that is, slavery] rather. But these very epistles to the Corinthians furnish plain instances, which prove what is just affirmed. Thus, 1 Corinthians 4:7, the Dean gives (New Testament newly compared, 1870) "if thou didst receive." As Madvig observes, the καί is often best rendered by the emphatic present or past (do, did) or emphatic auxiliary. So 2 Corinthians 4:3, 16; 5:16; 7:8 (three times), 12; 11:6,15; 12:11. In every case the right rendering is "if also" where an additional fact is intended; "if even" or "though" where it is not.
In the text under discussion then the apostle meets the question as to one called while a slave by the answer, Let it [that is, δουλεία, understood from the preceding δοῦλος) not be a care to thee; as he meets the added supposition, but if also thou canst be free, which of course might occasionally be, rather use it (that is, ἐλευθερία, understood from the preceding ἐλεύθερος). The context is in no way decisive against this; for as abiding in the marriage state has the exceptional provision for separation enforced by the unbeliever, so for the slave there is the analogous provision for the use and even preference of freedom. Manifestly too if the unmarried have an advantage in being less divided in caring for the things of the Lord, a similar remark tells perhaps as much in favor of the freeman compared with the slave. (See vers. 32-35) The objections urged are null. Thus καί is in its right position here, not after δύνασαι. Again, ἀλλ’εἰ is required rather than ει δε, as one may see by comparing 2 Corinthians 4:16, and Philippians 2:17. Nor is a demonstrative needed after χρῆσαι more than before μελέτω. The imputation of inconsistency with the general context and with verse 22 in particular has been already disposed of; the depreciation of the prevalent view of the apostolic precept as "worldly wisdom" is as unjust, as it seems important to rescue his teaching from the total absence of sobriety implied in the preference of slavery to freedom. Galatians 3:28, and 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, are quite consistent, and with one equally as the other. Nor is there any weight in the argument as to χπάομαι, the import of which suits the use of freedom as a new thing no less than slavery as an old. Besides, it was meant to express not the act of entrance on freedom, implied in ἐλεύθερος, but of using it when given.
Indeed it is evident that, as the other view of slavery, μ. χρῆσαι is a hard or vague phrase, and thus differently understood by Bengel, etc., of late, as compared with Chrysostom of old. (Notes on 1 Cor, p.123-126)