Concerning Christian Marriage

Now concerning the things about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to touch[a] a woman.” But because of sexual immorality, let each man have[b] his own wife and let each woman have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his obligation to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but her husband does. And likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but his wife does. Do not defraud one another, except perhaps by agreement, for a time, in order that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and then you should be together[c] again, lest Satan tempt you because of your lack of self control. But I say this as a concession, not as a command. I wish all people could be like myself, but each one has his own gift from God, one in this way and another in that way.

Now I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with sexual desire.

10 To the married I command—not I, but the Lord—a wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if indeed she does separate, she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

12 Now to the rest I say—not the Lord—if any brother has an unbelieving wife and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if any wife has an unbelieving husband and he consents to live with her, she must not divorce her husband. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the brother, since otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let him leave. The brother or the sister is not bound in such cases. But God has called us[d] in peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

17 But to each one as the Lord has apportioned. As God has called each one, thus let him live—and thus I order in all the churches. 18 Was anyone called after[e] being circumcised? He must not undo his circumcision. Was anyone called in uncircumcision? He must not become circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. 20 Each one in the calling in which he was called—in this he should remain. 21 Were you called while a slave? Do not let it be a concern to you. But if indeed you are able to become free, rather make use of it. 22 For the one who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedperson. Likewise the one who is called while free is a slave of Christ. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Each one in the situation in which he was called, brothers—in this he should remain with God.

Concerning the Unmarried

25 Now concerning virgins I do not have a command from the Lord, but I am giving an opinion as one shown mercy by the Lord to be trustworthy. 26 Therefore, I consider this to be good because of the impending distress, that it is good for a man to be thus. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek release. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you marry, you have not sinned, and if the virgin marries, she has not sinned. But such people will have affliction in the flesh, and I would spare you. 29 But I say this, brothers: the time is shortened, that from now on even those who have wives should be as if they do not have wives, 30 and those who weep as if they do not weep, and those who rejoice as if they do not rejoice, and those who buy as if they do not possess, 31 and those who make use of the world as if they do not make full use of it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

32 But I want you to be free from care. The unmarried person cares for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. 33 But the one who is married cares for the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34 and he is divided. And the unmarried woman or the virgin cares for the things of the Lord, in order that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But the married woman cares for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 Now I am saying this for your own benefit, not that I may put a restriction on you, but to promote appropriate and devoted service to the Lord without distraction.

36 But if anyone thinks he is behaving dishonorably concerning his virgin, if she is past her prime[f] and it ought to be thus, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin. Let them marry. 37 But he who stands firm in his heart, not having necessity, but has authority concerning his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgin, he will do well. 38 So then, the one who marries[g] his own virgin does well, and the one who does not marry her will do better.

39 A wife is bound for as long a time as her husband lives. But if her husband dies[h], she is free to marry whomever she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But she is happier if she remains thus, according to my opinion—and I think I have the Spirit of God.


  1. 1 Corinthians 7:1 I.e., in a sexual sense
  2. 1 Corinthians 7:2 I.e., in the sense of “have sexual relations with”
  3. 1 Corinthians 7:5 Literally “at the same”
  4. 1 Corinthians 7:15 Some manuscripts have “you” (plural)
  5. 1 Corinthians 7:18 Here “after” is supplied as a component of the participle (“being circumcised”) which is understood as temporal
  6. 1 Corinthians 7:36 Or “if his passions are strong” (it is not clear in context whether this term refers to the man or to the woman)
  7. 1 Corinthians 7:38 Or perhaps “the one who gives in marriage”
  8. 1 Corinthians 7:39 Literally “falls asleep”