Directions concerning Marriage
1Now concerning the matters about which you wrote. It is well for a man not to touch a woman. 2But because of the temptation to immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4For the wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does. 5Do not refuse one another except perhaps by agreement for a season, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, lest Satan tempt you through lack of self-control. 6I say this by way of concession, not of command. 7I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.
8To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. 9But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.
10To the married I give charge, not I but the Lord, that the wife should not separate from her husband 11(but if she does, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband)-and that the husband should not divorce his wife.
12To the rest I say, 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 consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is they are holy. 15But if the unbelieving partner desires to separate, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. For God has called usa to peace. 16Wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?
The Life That the Lord Has Assigned
17Only, let every one lead the life which the Lord has assigned to him, and in which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 18Was any one at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was any one at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 19For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 20Every one should remain in the state in which he was called. 21Were you a slave when called? Never mind. But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.b 22For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. 23You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. 24So, brethren, in whatever state each was called, there let him remain with God.
The Unmarried and the Widows
25Now concerning the unmarried,c I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. 26I think that in view of the impendingd distress it is well 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 marriage. 28But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a girle marries she does not sin. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29I mean, brethren, the 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 as though they had no goods, 31and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the form of this world is passing away.
32I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; 33but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, 34and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girlf is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband. 35I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
36If any one thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed,g if his 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,h he will do well. 38So that he who marries his betrothedi does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better.
39A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If the husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40But in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I have the Spirit of God.