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If I were to be able to do something (say I'm a slave and am able to become free). What would it mean to "avail myself of the opportunity"?

What would this mean? Would this mean to take advantage of the opportunity, or to not? The word "of" is throwing me off, could someone explain the meaning here?

The question is derived from this verse in the bible:

Were you a slave when you were called? Do not let that trouble you. But if you are able to gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.
1 Corinthians 7:21

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2 Answers 2

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"Avail oneself of X" is a fixed English idiom that means approximately the same thing as "take advantage of X". The word avail is hardly ever used anymore in English outside this idiom; NIV translates that same passage as

Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so.

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Okay, Thank you :) –  Shredder Dec 20 '11 at 19:11
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Avail [oneself] of is a common and idiomatic usage of avail:

6. avail oneself of, to use to one's advantage: They availed themselves of the opportunity to hear a free concert.

So avail yourself of the opportunity means the same thing as take [advantage of] the opportunity:

But if you are able to gain your freedom, take advantage of the opportunity.

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Ah, if I would've just scrolled down to the 6th definition, I would've seen it lol. –  Shredder Dec 20 '11 at 19:11
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