International Standard Version
1Now about what you asked: "Is it advisable for a man not to marry?" 2Because sexual immorality is so rampant, every man should have his own wife, and every woman should have her own husband. 3A husband should fulfill his obligation to his wife, and a wife should do the same for her husband. 4A wife does not have authority over her own body, but her husband does. In the same way, a husband doesn't have authority over his own body, but his wife does. 5Do not withhold yourselves from each other unless you agree to do so just for a set time, in order to devote yourselves to prayer. Then you should come together again so that Satan does not tempt you through your lack of self-control. 6But I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7I would like everyone to be unmarried, like I am. However, each person has a special gift from God, one this and another that.
8I say to those who are unmarried, especially to widows: It is good for them to remain like me. 9However, if they cannot control themselves, they should get married, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
10To married people I give this command (not really I, but the Lord): A wife must not leave her husband. 11But if she does leave him, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. Likewise, a husband must not abandon his wife.
12I (not the Lord) say to the rest of you: If a brother has a wife who is an unbeliever and she is willing to live with him, he must not abandon her. 13And if a woman has a husband who is an unbeliever and he is willing to live with her, she must not abandon him. 14For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified because of her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15But if the unbelieving partner leaves, let him go. In such cases the brother or sister is not under obligation. God has called you to live in peace. 16Wife, you might be able to save your husband. Husband, you might be able to save your wife.
17Nevertheless, everyone should live the life that the Lord gave him and to which God called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 18Was anyone circumcised when he was called? He should not try to change that. Was anyone uncircumcised when he was called? He should not get circumcised. 19Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but obeying God's commandments is everything. 20Everyone should stay in the same condition in which he was called.
21Were you a slave when you were called? Do not let that bother you. Of course, if you have a chance to become free, take advantage of the opportunity. 22For the slave who has been called to belong to the Lord is the Lord's free person. In the same way, the free person who has been called is the Messiah's slave. 23You were bought for a price. Stop becoming slaves of people. 24Brothers, everyone should stay in the same condition in which he was called by God.
25Now concerning virgins, although I do not have any command from the Lord, I will give you my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. 26In view of the present crisis, I think it is prudent for a man to stay as he is. 27Have you become committed to a wife? Stop trying to get released from your commitment. Have you been freed from your commitment to a wife? Stop looking for one. 28But if you do get married, you have not sinned. And if a virgin gets married, she has not sinned. However, these people will experience trouble in this life, and I want to spare you from that. 29This is what I mean, brothers: The time is short. From now on, those who have wives should live as though they had none, 30and those who mourn as though they did not mourn, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they did not own a thing, 31and those who use the things in the world as though they were not dependent on them. For the world in its present form is passing away.
32I want you to be free from concerns. An unmarried man is concerned about the things of the Lord, that is, about how he can please the Lord. 33But a married man is concerned about things of this world, that is, about how he can please his wife, 34and so his attention is divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the affairs of the Lord, so that she may be holy in body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world, that is, about how she can please her husband. 35I'm saying this for your benefit, not to put a noose around your necks, but to promote good order and unhindered devotion to the Lord.
36If a man thinks he is not behaving properly toward his virgin, and if his passion is so strong that he feels he ought to marry her, let him do what he wants; he isn't sinning. Let them get married. 37However, if a man stands firm in his resolve, feels no necessity, and has made up his mind to keep her a virgin, he will be acting appropriately. 38So then the man who marries the virgin acts appropriately, but the man who refrains from marriage does even better.
39A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, only in the Lord. 40However, in my opinion she will be happier if she stays as she is. And in saying this, I think that I, too, have God's Spirit.