Principles of Marriage
1Now in response to the matters you wrotea about: “It is good for a man not to have relations withb a woman.”c
2But because sexual immorality is so common,d, e each man should have his own wife,f and each woman should have her own husband.
3A husband should fulfill his marital responsibilityg 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 depriveh one another sexually — except when you agree for a time, to devote yourselves toi prayer. Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
6I say the followingj as a concession, not as a command.
7I wish that all people were just like me. But each has his own giftk from God, one person in this way and another in that way.
A Word to the Unmarried
8I say to the unmarried and to widows:l It is good for them if they remain as I am.
9But if they do not have self-control,m they should marry, for it is better to marryn than to burn with desire.
About Married People
10I command the marriedo — not I, but the Lord — a wife is not to leavep her husband.
11But if she does leave, she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband — and a husband is not to leave his wife.q
12But I (not the Lord)r say to the rest: If any brothers has an unbelieving wife and she is willing to live with him, he must not leave her.
13Also, if any woman has an unbelieving husband and he is willing to live with her, she must not leave her husband.
14For the unbelieving husband is set apart for Godt by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is set apart for God by the husband.u Otherwise your children would be corrupt, but now they are set apart for God.
15But if the unbeliever leaves, let him leave. A brother or a sister is not bound in such cases. God has called youv to live in peace.
16For you, wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Or you, husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?
Various Situations of Life
17However, each one must live his life in the situation the Lord assigned when God calledw him.x 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, but keeping God’s commands does.
20Each person should remain in the life situationy in which he was called.
21Were you called while a •slave? It should not be a concern to you. But if you can become free, by all means take the opportunity.z
22For he who is called by the Lord as a slaveaa is the Lord’s freedman.ab Likewise he who is called as a free manac is Christ’s slave.
23You were boughtad at a price; do not become slaves of men.
24•Brothers, each person should remain with God in whatever situation he was called.
About the Unmarried and Widows
25About virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I do give an opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercyae is trustworthy.af
26Therefore I consider this to be good because of the present distress: It is fine 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.
28However, if you do get married,ag you have not sinned, and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But such people will have trouble in this life,ah and I am trying to spare you.
29And I say this, brothers: The time is limited,ai 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 rejoiceaj as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess,
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.ak
32I want you to be without concerns. An unmarried man is concerned about the things of the Lord — how he may pleaseal the Lord.
33But a married man is concerned about the things of the world — how he may please his wife —
34and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or a virgin is concerned about the things of the Lord,am so that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the things of the world — how she may please her husband.
35Now I am saying this for your own benefit, not to put a restraint on you, but because of what is proper and so that you may be devoted to the Lord without distraction.
36But if any man thinks he is acting improperly toward his virgin,an if she is past marriageable age,ao and so it must be, 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 willap) and has decided in his heart to keep his own virgin, will do well.
38So then he who marriesaq his virgin does well, but he who does not marryar will do better.
39A wife is boundas 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.at
40But she is happier if she remains as she is, in my opinion. And I think that I also have the Spirit of God.
a. 7:1 Other mss add to me
b. 7:1 Lit not to touch
c. 7:1 The words in quotation marks are a principle that the Corinthians wrote to Paul about to ask for his view.
d. 7:2 Lit because of immoralities
e. 7:2 1Th 4:3
f. 7:2 Mt 1:6; 1Pt 3:1
g. 7:3 Rm 13:7
h. 7:5 Mk 10:19
i. 7:5 Other mss add fasting and to
j. 7:6 Lit say this ; some interpret the word as referring to v. 2, vv. 2-5, v. 5 (wholly or in part), or v. 6
k. 7:7 2Co 1:11
l. 7:8 Jms 1:27
m. 7:9 1Co 9:25
n. 7:9 1Tm 5:14
o. 7:10 1Tm 5:14
p. 7:10 Or separate from, or divorce
q. 7:11 Dt 22:19
r. 7:12 Jesus did not address the situation of a marriage in the Gentile world where only one person is a believer.
s. 7:12 Ac 9:30
t. 7:14 Lk 11:2
u. 7:14 Lit the brother
v. 7:15 Other mss read us
w. 7:17 Col 3:15
x. 7:17 Lit called each
y. 7:20 Lit in the calling
z. 7:21 Or But even though you can become free, make the most of your position as a slave.
aa. 7:22 Rm 1:1; 2Tm 2:24
ab. 7:22 A former slave
ac. 7:22 A man who was never a slave
ad. 7:23 2Pt 2:1
ae. 7:25 Mt 5:7; Mk 5:19; Lk 1:50
af. 7:25 Nm 12:7
ag. 7:28 1Tm 5:14
ah. 7:28 Lit in the flesh
ai. 7:29 Rm 13:11
aj. 7:30 Php 1:18
ak. 7:31 Mk 13:7; 1Jn 2:8
al. 7:32 1Th 4:1
am. 7:34 1Tm 5:5
an. 7:36 = a man’s fiancée, or his daughter, or his Levirate wife, or a celibate companion
ao. 7:36 Or virgin, if his passions are strong,
ap. 7:37 Jn 1:13
aq. 7:38 Or marries off
ar. 7:38 Or marry her off
as. 7:39 Other mss add by law
at. 7:39 Only a believer