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Directions concerning Marriage

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” But because of cases of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife what is due her and likewise the wife to her husband.(A) For 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. Do not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a set time, to devote yourselves to prayer,[a] and then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.(B) This I say by way of concession, not of command.(C) I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has a particular gift from God, one having one kind and another a different kind.(D)

To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain unmarried as I am.(E) But if they are not practicing self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.(F)

10 To the married I give this command—not I but the Lord—that the wife should not separate from her husband(G) 11 (but if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband) and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

12 To the rest I say—I and 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.(H) 13 And if any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce the husband. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through the brother.[b] Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.(I) 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. It is to peace that God has called us.[c](J) 16 Wife, for all you know, you might save your husband. Husband, for all you know, you might save your wife.(K)

The Life that the Lord Has Assigned

17 However that may be, let each of you lead the life that the Lord has assigned, to which God called you. This is my rule in all the churches.(L) 18 Was 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? Let him not seek circumcision.(M) 19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but obeying the commandments of God is everything.(N) 20 Let each of you remain in the condition in which you were called.(O)

21 Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. Even if you can gain your freedom, make the most of it.[d] 22 For whoever was called in the Lord as a slave is a freed person belonging to the Lord, just as whoever was free when called is a slave belonging to Christ.(P) 23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of humans.(Q) 24 In whatever condition you were called, brothers and sisters, there remain with God.

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  1. 7.5 Other ancient authorities read fasting and prayer
  2. 7.14 Other ancient authorities read husband
  3. 7.15 Other ancient authorities read you
  4. 7.21 Meaning of Gk uncertain