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7
Teaching on Marriage
1 Now as to the matters of which you wrote: It is good (beneficial, advantageous) for a man not to touch a woman [outside marriage].2 But because of [the temptation to participate in] sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.3 The husband must fulfill his [marital] duty to his wife [with good will and kindness], and likewise the wife to her husband.4 The wife does not have [exclusive] authority over her own body, but the husband shares with her; and likewise the husband does not have [exclusive] authority over his body, but the wife shares with him.5 Do not deprive each other [of marital rights], except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves [unhindered] to prayer, but come together again so that Satan will not tempt you [to sin] because of your lack of self-control.6 But I am saying this as a concession, not as a command.7 I wish that all the people were as I am; but each person has his own gift from God, one of this kind and one of that.
8 But I say to the unmarried and to the widows, [that as a practical matter] it is good if they remain [single and entirely devoted to the Lord] #Some scholars believe Paul may have been a widower.as I am.9 But if they do not have [sufficient] self-control, they should marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
10 But to the #Couples who are both believers.married [believers] I give instructions--not I, but the Lord--that the wife is not to separate from her husband,11 (but even if she does leave him, let her remain single or else be #In reference to married Christians, Paul teaches that reconciliation is always preferable to separation or divorce and should be actively sought.reconciled to her husband) and that the husband should not leave his wife.
12 To the #Christians married to non-believers. It is evident that some of the married couples in Corinth had wed before either of them had become Christians, and subsequently the believing spouses probably wondered whether their marriage was legitimate in the eyes of God.rest I declare--I, not the Lord [since Jesus did not discuss this]--that if any [believing] brother has a wife who does not believe [in Christ], and she consents to live with him, he must not leave her.13 And if any [believing] woman has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not leave him.14 For the unbelieving husband is #The unbeliever is not saved by marriage to a Christian. Each person, whether spouse or child, must make a personal decision to accept and follow Christ to receive salvation and God’s promises.sanctified [that is, he receives the blessings granted] through his [Christian] wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be [ceremonially] #The unbeliever is not saved by marriage to a Christian. Each person, whether spouse or child, must make a personal decision to accept and follow Christ to receive salvation and God’s promises.unclean, but as it is they are holy.15 But if the unbelieving partner leaves, let him leave. In such cases the [remaining] brother or sister is not [spiritually or morally] bound. But God has called us to #Probably peace between the spouses, hopefully leading to restoration and salvation (v 16).peace.16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband [by leading him to Christ]? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife [by leading her to Christ]?
17 Only, let each one live the life which the Lord has assigned him, and to which God has called him [for each person is unique and is accountable for his choices and conduct, let him walk in this way]. This is the rule I make in all the churches.18 Was anyone at the time of his calling [from God already] circumcised? He is not to #Paul may be speaking figuratively of abandoning all of one’s Jewish heritage and culture; however, there was a procedure in ancient medicine for reversing circumcision.become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called while uncircumcised? #Paul may be speaking figuratively of abandoning all of one’s Jewish heritage and culture; however, there was a procedure in ancient medicine for reversing circumcision.He is not to be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is keeping the commandments of God.20 Each one should remain in the condition in which he was [when he was] called.
21 Were you a slave when you were called? Do not worry about that [since your status as a believer is #In practice, even if both a slave and his master became Christians, the slave would remain so unless he were freed (cf Onesimus and Philemon); he could not claim that his freedom in Christ applied to his civil status as a slave. But it would have been wrong for others to treat a slave differently from anyone else in church services.equal to that of a freeborn believer]; but if you are able to gain your freedom, #In practice, even if both a slave and his master became Christians, the slave would remain so unless he were freed (cf Onesimus and Philemon); he could not claim that his freedom in Christ applied to his civil status as a slave. But it would have been wrong for others to treat a slave differently from anyone else in church services.do that.22 For he who was a slave when he was called in the Lord is a freedman of the Lord, likewise he who was free when he was called is a slave of Christ.23 You were bought with a price [a precious price paid by Christ]; do not become slaves to men [but to Christ].24 Brothers, let each one remain with God in that condition in which he was [when he was] called.
25 Now concerning the virgins [of marriageable age] I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.26 I think then that because of the impending distress [that is, the pressure of the current trouble], it is good for a man to remain as he is.27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you #Lit released from a wife.unmarried? Do not seek a wife.28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned [in doing so]; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned [in doing so]. Yet those [who marry] will have troubles (special challenges) in this life, and I am trying to spare you that.29 But I say this, believers: the #Paul may be referring to the appointed time of the return of Christ, or he may have been focusing on the briefness of human life, or both of these.time has been shortened, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they did not;30 and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess [anything];31 and those who use the world [taking advantage of its opportunities], as though they did not make full use of it. For the outward form of this world [its present social and material nature] is passing away.
32 But I want you to be free from concern. The unmarried man is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;33 but the married man is concerned about worldly things, how he may please his wife,34 and his interests are divided. The unmarried woman or the virgin is concerned about the matters of the Lord, how to be holy and set apart both in body and in spirit; but a married woman is concerned about worldly things, how she may please her husband.35 Now I say this for your own benefit; not to restrict you, but to promote what is appropriate and secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.
36 But if any man thinks that he is not acting properly and honorably toward his virgin daughter, [#In ancient times marriages were usually arranged by a girl’s father or the head of the family.by not permitting her to marry], if she is #In ancient times marriages were usually arranged by a girl’s father or the head of the family.past her youth, and it must be so, let him do as he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry.37 But the man who stands firmly committed in his heart, having no compulsion [to yield to his daughter’s request], and has authority over his own will, and has decided in his own heart to keep his own virgin [daughter from being married], he will do well.38 So then both the father who gives his virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better.
39 A wife is bound [to her husband by law] as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry whomever she wishes, only [provided that he too is] in the Lord.40 But in my opinion a widow is happier if she stays as she is. And I think that I also have the Spirit of God [in this matter].
7
Concerning married life
1Now for the matters you wrote about: ‘It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.’ 2But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3The husband should fulfil his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.
8Now to the unmarried#7:8 Or widowers and the widows I say: it is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9But if they cannot control themselves, they should 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 any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
15But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called 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?
Concerning change of status
17Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. 18Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. 19Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts. 20Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.
21Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you – although if you can gain your freedom, do so. 22For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 23You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. 24Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.
Concerning the unmarried
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 crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a 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 many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
29What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; 30those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.
32I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs – how he can please the Lord. 33But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world – how he can please his wife – 34and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a 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 that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
36If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honourably towards the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong#7:36 Or if she is getting beyond the usual age for marriage and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. 37But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin – this man also does the right thing. 38So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does better.#7:36-38 Or 36 If anyone thinks he is not treating his daughter properly, and if she is getting along in years (or if her passions are too strong), and he feels she ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. He should let her get married. 37 But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind to keep the virgin unmarried – this man also does the right thing. 38 So then, he who gives his virgin in marriage does right, but he who does not give her in marriage does better.
39A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. 40In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is – and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.