Principles of Marriage
1Now in response to the matters you wrote#7:1 Other mss add to me about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”#7:1 Or “It is good for a man not to use a woman for sex”; lit “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” 2But because sexual immorality is so common,#7:2 Lit because of immoralities#1Th 4:3 each man should have sexual relations with his own wife,#Mt 1:6; 1Pt 3:1 and each woman should have sexual relations with her own husband. 3A husband should fulfill his marital duty#Rm 13:7 to his wife, and likewise a wife to her husband. 4A wife does not have the right over her own body, but her husband does. In the same way, a husband does not have the right over his own body, but his wife does. 5Do not deprive#Mk 10:19 one another — except when you agree for a time, to devote yourselves to#7:5 Other mss add fasting and to prayer. Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7I wish that all people were as I am. But each has his own gift#2Co 1:11 from God, one person has this gift, another has that.
A Word to the Unmarried
8I say to the unmarried#7:8 Or widowers and to widows:#Jms 1:27 It is good for them if they remain as I am. 9But if they do not have self-control,#1Co 9:25 they should marry, since it is better to marry#1Tm 5:14 than to burn with desire.
About Married People
10To the married I give this command#1Tm 5:14 — not I, but the Lord — a wife is not to leave#7:10 Or separate from, or divorce her husband. 11But if she does leave, she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband — and a husband is not to divorce his wife.#Dt 22:19 12But I (not the Lord) say to the rest: If any brother#Ac 9:30 has an unbelieving wife and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13Also, if any woman has an unbelieving husband and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce her husband. 14For the unbelieving husband is made holy#Lk 11:2 by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy by the husband.#7:14 Lit the brother Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is they are holy. 15But if the unbeliever leaves, let him leave. A brother or a sister is not bound in such cases. God has called you#7:15 Other mss read us to live in peace. 16Wife, for all you know, you might save your husband. Husband, for all you know, you might save your wife.#7:16 Or Wife, how do you know that you will save your husband? Husband, how do you know that you will save your wife?
Various Situations of Life
17Let each one live his life in the situation the Lord assigned when God called#Col 3:15 him.#7:17 Lit called each This is what I command in all the churches. 18Was anyone already circumcised when he was called? He should not undo his circumcision. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? He should not get circumcised. 19Circumcision does not matter and uncircumcision does not matter. Keeping God’s commands is what matters. 20Let each of you remain in the situation#7:20 Lit in the calling in which he was called. 21Were you called while a slave? Don’t let it concern you. But if you can become free, by all means take the opportunity.#7:21 Or But even though you can become free, make the most of your position as a slave 22For he who is called by the Lord as a slave#Rm 1:1; 2Tm 2:24 is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called as a free man is Christ’s slave. 23You were bought#2Pt 2:1 at a price; do not become slaves of people. 24Brothers and sisters, each person is to remain with God in the situation in which he was called.
About the Unmarried and Widows
25Now about virgins:#7:25 Or betrothed, or those not yet married I have no command from the Lord, but I do give an opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy#Mt 5:7; Mk 5:19; Lk 1:50 is faithful.#Nm 12:7 26Because of the present distress, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28However, if you do get married,#1Tm 5:14 you have not sinned, and if a virgin#7:28 Or betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. But such people will have trouble in this life,#7:28 Lit in the flesh and I am trying to spare you.
29This is what I mean, brothers and sisters: The time is limited,#Rm 13:11 so from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none, 30those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice#Php 1:18 as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they didn’t own anything, 31and those who use the world as though they did not make full use of it. For this world in its current form is passing away.#Mk 13:7; 1Jn 2:8
32I want you to be without concerns. The unmarried man is concerned about the things of the Lord — how he may please#1Th 4:1 the Lord. 33But the married man is concerned about the things of the world — how he may please his wife — 34and his interests are divided. The unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the things of the Lord,#1Tm 5:5 so that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But the married woman is concerned about the things of the world — how she may please her husband. 35I am saying this for your own benefit, not to put a restraint on you, but to promote what is proper and so that you may be devoted to the Lord without distraction.
36If any man thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, if she is getting beyond the usual age for marriage, and he feels he should marry — he can do what he wants. He is not sinning; they can get married. 37But he who stands firm in his heart (who is under no compulsion, but has control over his own will#Jn 1:13) and has decided in his heart to keep her as his fiancée, will do well. 38So, then, he who marries his fiancée does well, but he who does not marry will do better.#7:36–38Or 36 If any man thinks he is acting improperly toward his virgin daughter, if she is getting beyond the usual age for marriage, and he feels she should marry — he can do what he wants. He is not sinning; she can get married. 37 But he who stands firm in his heart (who is under no compulsion, but has control over his own will) and has decided in his heart to keep his own virgin daughter will do well. 38 So then he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, but he who does not give his own virgin daughter in marriage will do better.
39A wife is bound#7:39 Other mss add by law as long as her husband is living. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to anyone she wants — only in the Lord. 40But she is happier if she remains as she is, in my opinion. And I think that I also have the Spirit of God.