Principles for Marriage
1Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: #ver. 8, 26“It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3#Ex. 21:10The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5#[Ex. 19:15; 1 Sam. 21:4; Eccles. 3:5; Zech. 12:12-14] Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, #1 Thess. 3:5so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
6Now as a concession, #ver. 12, 25; 2 Cor. 8:8; [ver. 10, 40]not a command, I say this.#7:6 Or I say this: 7#[Acts 26:29] I wish that all were #ver. 8; [ch. 9:5] as I myself am. But #ch. 12:4, 11; 1 Pet. 4:10; [Rom. 12:6] each has his own gift from God, #Matt. 19:11, 12one of one kind and one of another.
8To the unmarried and the widows I say that #ver. 1, 26 it is good for them to remain single, #ver. 7as I am. 9But if they cannot exercise self-control, #[1 Tim. 5:14]they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
10To the married #See ver. 6 I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): #Mal. 2:16; See Matt. 5:32the wife should not separate from her husband 11(but if she does, #Mark 10:12 she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and #[See ver. 10 above]the husband should not divorce his wife.
12To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. #Ezra 9:2; Mal. 2:15Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you#7:15 Some manuscripts us #Col. 3:15; See Rom. 14:19to peace. 16For how do you know, wife, #1 Pet. 3:1; See Rom. 11:14whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
Live as You Are Called
17Only let each person lead the life#7:17 Or each person walk in the way #See Rom. 12:3 that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. #ch. 4:17 This is my rule in #2 Cor. 8:18; 11:28all the churches. 18Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? #Acts 15:1, 5, 19, 24, 28; Gal. 5:2Let him not seek circumcision. 19#Gal. 3:28; 5:6; 6:15; Col. 3:11 For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but #See 1 John 2:3keeping the commandments of God. 20#ver. 24Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21Were you a bondservant#7:21 For the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface; also verses 22 (twice), 23 when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is #[Col. 3:24; Philem. 16]; See John 8:36 a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is #[ch. 9:21; 1 Pet. 2:16]a bondservant of Christ. 23#See ch. 6:20 You were bought with a price; #Lev. 25:42, 55do not become bondservants of men. 24So, brothers,#7:24 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 29 #ver. 20in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.
The Unmarried and the Widowed
25Now concerning#7:25 The expression Now concerning introduces a reply to a question in the Corinthians’ letter; see 7:1 the betrothed,#7:25 Greek virgins #See ver. 6 I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as #2 Cor. 4:1; 1 Tim. 1:13, 16 one who by the Lord’s mercy is #ch. 4:2trustworthy. 26I think that in view of the present#7:26 Or impending distress #ver. 1, 8it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman#7:28 Greek virgin; also verse 34 marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29This is what I mean, brothers: #See Rom. 13:11the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy #2 Cor. 6:10as though they had no goods, 31and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For #Ps. 39:6; James 1:10; 1 Pet. 1:24; 4:7; 1 John 2:17the present form of this world is passing away.
32I want you to be #See Matt. 6:25; Luke 10:41 free from anxieties. #[1 Tim. 5:5]The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35I say this for your own benefit, #[Prov. 22:25]not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
36If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed,#7:36 Greek virgin; also verses 37, 38 if his#7:36 Or her passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. 37But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. 38So then he who marries his betrothed #Heb. 13:4does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.
Rom. 7:2 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only #[2 Cor. 6:14]in the Lord. 40Yet #See ver. 6 in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think #[Acts 15:28]that I too have the Spirit of God.