Principles of Marriage
1Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me:
#1 Cor. 7:8, 26It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3#Ex. 21:10Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5#Joel 2:16Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that #1 Thess. 3:5Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6But I say this as a concession, #2 Cor. 8:8not as a commandment. 7For #Acts 26:29I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.
8But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: #1 Cor. 7:1, 26It is good for them if they remain even as I am; 9but #1 Tim. 5:14if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
Keep Your Marriage Vows
10Now to the married I command, yet not I but the #Mark 10:6–10Lord: #Mal. 2:14; (Matt. 5:32)A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.
12But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise #Ezra 9:2; Mal. 2:15your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us #Rom. 12:18to peace. 16For how do you know, O wife, whether you will #Rom. 11:14; 1 Pet. 3:1save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?
Live as You Are Called
17But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And #1 Cor. 4:17so I ordain in all the churches. 18Was anyone called while circumcised? #Acts 15:1Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. 19#(Rom. 2:27, 29; Gal. 3:28; 5:6; 6:15; Col. 3:11)Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but #(John 15:14)keeping the commandments of God is what matters. 20Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. 21Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. 22For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is #(John 8:36); Rom. 6:18; Philem. 16the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is #(1 Cor. 9:21; Gal. 5:13); Eph. 6:6; Col. 3:24; 1 Pet. 2:16Christ’s slave. 23#Lev. 25:42; 1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19; Rev. 5:9You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. 24Brethren, let each one remain with #(Eph. 6:5–8; Col. 3:22–24)God in that state in which he was called.
To the Unmarried and Widows
25Now concerning virgins: #2 Cor. 8:8I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give judgment as one #2 Cor. 4:1; 1 Tim. 1:13, 16whom the Lord in His mercy has made #1 Tim. 1:12trustworthy. 26I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress—#1 Cor. 7:1, 8that it is good for a man to remain as he is: 27Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you.
29But #(Rom. 13:11); 1 Cor. 7:31; 1 Pet. 4:7; (2 Pet. 3:8, 9)this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, 30those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, 31and those who use this world as not #1 Cor. 9:18misusing it. For #Ps. 39:6; 1 Cor. 7:29; James 1:10; 4:14; 1 Pet. 1:24; 4:7; (1 John 2:17)the form of this world is passing away.
32But I want you to be without care. #1 Tim. 5:5He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. 33But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife. 34There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman #Luke 10:40cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. 35And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.
36But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry. 37Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well. 38#Heb. 13:4So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better.
39#Rom. 7:2A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, #2 Cor. 6:14only in the Lord. 40But she is happier if she remains as she is, #1 Cor. 7:6, 25according to my judgment—and #1 Thess. 4:8I think I also have the Spirit of God.