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.