1 Corinthians 7 | GWC Bible | YouVersion
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1 Corinthians 7

7
Marriage and its ideal
1Yes, my brethren, it is a good thing for both man and woman to be above all sexual intercourse. You wrote and asked me if that were good, and I answer yes. 2-3But marriage exists to prevent fornication. It is a step towards chastity. The ideal is to rise above all physical union of the sexes. Perfect chastity is a higher condition than the married state, and the intercourse of married persons, of husband and wife, is condoned and allowed, not commanded. I would that all men had reached the condition with regard to these questions that the spirit has conferred as a gift on me; but, as it is, we must have marriage, and those that are married must follow its rules. 4Husbands and wives, you are not masters of your own bodies. Each must do as the other has a right to demand in this important matter, 5-7and if by mutual consent you abstain from it altogether for a time, giving yourselves more thoroughly to prayer, and guarding against the entry of the spirit of evil through the avenue of indulgence, that is the best rule to observe.
Constancy in the truth
8-9Now whether married or unmarried, my advice is — remain as you were when God first called you into the truth. 10-13If married, do not seek separation. Husband and wife may not both be in the faith, nevertheless if the one to whom the truth has not yet come is agreeable to remain with the other, there should be no thought of separation. 14Both will be sanctified by the presence of the truth in the household, and likewise the children also, and who knows? probably the one that has faith will save the other. 15-16But if you were unmarried or widowed when the truth first came to you, then my advice is — do not change your state. Be as I am — and live a life of total abstinence from the claims of the body in this direction. But if this is beyond you, then marry; marriage is far better than unsuccessful efforts at this form of self-mastery. Now all this is only an expression of my own opinion, but the following is a commandment to all married persons. Let neither husband nor wife seek separation; or if they must be separated, let neither marry again whilst the other lives, but let them rather, if possible, be once more reconciled. That is the Lord's expressed command and no matter of opinion.
In other matters also
17Further, in other matters besides marriage, I enjoin the same rule as that which I have just explained. 18After the truth has come to you, make no outward change in your manner of life, that is to say, in such matters as the circumcision or uncircumcision. 19-20Let it not make the slightest difference what you were before you received the truth, for in the truth these differences are seen to be nothing, so remain as you always were in this matter. For the keeping of God's commandments is all that matters. 21Similarly, if you were a slave when called, do not seek to obtain manumission, but even prefer to continue in the old calling. 22-23You know now that you are Christ's freedman and bought out of slavery at a heavy price. That freedom is everything, for those that were of free birth when called are now the slaves of Christ. Let then neither bond nor free be in spirit the slaves of men; that is all the faith demands; 24in outward respects remain as you were.
Chastity a noble thing
25Some are married when called into the faith; some have had wives, but have put them away; some are unmarried, and have never been married and have on no occasion indulged the sexual impulse, but are virgins. 26To all these I repeat the same advice. Stay as you are, as you were before God called you; 27-28and this even applies to the last class, those who have never known sexual intercourse. To these I would give no definite command, and yet even here, I will give my opinion, and I will give it with the consciousness that in this matter I have been faithful myself, or rather that God in His infinite mercy has taken pity on the weakness of my flesh, and made me by His own power firm and trustworthy in the matter. Well, my opinion is that perfect chastity, abstention from marriage and all sexual intercourse is a noble thing in a man, 29-31and the reason of that is that the world is changing, the end of the old order is near, and the doom of the physical approaches. We are called to attend to something higher than marriage and its cares. The whole outward form and manner of the universe is changing and passing away. Marriages, feastings, funerals, business and worldly matters may continue, but the time is short. Rise above them, and be as if they were not, even though you take part in them. 32I would have you without such cares; 33and you know that a married man thinks of his wife 34and cares about his business and the world for her sake, whilst the unmarried man or woman who lives a virgin life is free to dedicate that life to the Lord. 35But of course, if such an one, who has never touched a woman, elect to marry, he does so with good conscience, sinning not; only such persons, whether male or female, will find that their physical appetite puts obstacles and trials in their way, the details of which I spare you. 36Of course, if a man is not certain in his own mind, if he has lingering regrets that he has never used this important function of mortal man, let him marry by all means, he does no wrong thereby. 37But if he is certain, if he has clearly determined that to live and die a virgin is for him the best course of all, then let him keep his resolution, and he will do well by it. 38It will be the best and greatest course of all, though he who marries may rightly be congratulated on so doing. 39Lastly, a wife of course is bound to her husband for his life-time only — if he dies, she is free to marry again, but let her second choice not be one of the heathen, but one who belongs to the faith. 40But, as I said before, I believe it to be better that she marry not again, but remain a widow, and in so saying I believe that my sense in this matter is governed by the Spirit of God.

1 Corinthians 7

7
Principles of Marriage
1Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good to abstain from sexual relations.#7:1 Literally It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.
3The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife.
5Do not deprive each other, except by mutual consent and for a time, so you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again, so that Satan will not tempt you through your lack of self-control. 6I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.
8Now to the unmarried and widows I say this: It is good for them to remain unmarried, as I am. 9But if they cannot control themselves, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
10To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
12To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If a brother has an unbelieving wife and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13And if a woman has an unbelieving husband and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his believing wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.
15But if the unbeliever leaves, let him go. The believing brother or sister is not bound in such cases. God has called you #7:15 SBL, BYZ, and TR us to live in peace. 16How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
Live Your Calling
17Regardless, each one should lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is what I prescribe in all the churches. 18Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man still uncircumcised when called? He should not be circumcised. 19Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commandments is what counts.
20Each one should remain in the situation he was in when he was called. 21Were you a slave when you were called? Do not let it concern you—but if you can gain your freedom, take the opportunity. 22For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman. Conversely, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave.
23You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. 24Brothers, each one should remain in the situation he was in when God called him.
The Unmarried and Widowed
25Now about virgins, I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26Because of the present #7:26 Or impending crisis, I think it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27Are you committed to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you free of commitment? Do not look for a wife. 28But if you do marry, you have not sinned. And if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
29What I am saying, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; 30those who weep, as if they did not; those who are joyful, as if they were not; those who make a purchase, as if they had nothing; 31and those who use the things of this world, as if not dependent on them. For this world in its present form is passing away.
32I want you to be free from concern. The unmarried man is concerned about the work of the Lord, how he can please the Lord. 33But the married man is concerned about the affairs of this world, how he can please his wife, 34and his interests are divided. The unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the work of the Lord, how she can be holy in both body and spirit. But the married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world, how she can please her husband.
35I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but in order to promote proper decorum and undivided devotion to the Lord.
36However, if someone thinks he is acting inappropriately toward his betrothed, and if she is beyond her youth and they ought to marry,#7:36 Literally and it ought to be so let him do as he wishes; he is not sinning; they should get married. 37But the man who is firmly established in his heart and under no constraint, with control over his will and resolve in his heart not to marry the virgin,#7:37 Literally in his heart to keep the virgin or in his heart to keep the betrothed he will do well.
38So then, he who marries the virgin does well, but he who does not marry her does even better.
39A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, as long as he belongs to the Lord.#7:39 Literally she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord 40In my judgment, however, she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.