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Questions About Marriage

Now concerning the things about which you wrote to me: “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to the wife due affection, and likewise the wife to the husband. 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 with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer. Then come together again, so that Satan does not tempt you for lack of self-control. I speak this as a concession and not as a command. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man has his proper gift from God, one after this manner and another after that.

I say to the unmarried and widows that it is good for them if they live even as I am. But if they cannot restrain themselves, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

10 Now to the married I command, not I, but the Lord, do not let the wife depart from her husband. 11 But if she departs, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And do not let the husband divorce his wife.

12 To the rest I speak, not the Lord: If any brother has an unbelieving wife who consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 And if the woman has an unbelieving husband who consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean. But now they are holy.

15 But if the unbeliever departs, let that one depart. A brother or a sister is not bound in such cases. God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

Living as God Called You

17 But as God has given to every man and as the Lord has called every man, so let him walk. This I command in all churches. 18 Is any man called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Is any man called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God is everything. 20 Let each man remain in the same condition in which he was called.

21 Were you called while a servant? Do not worry about it. But if you may become free, do so. 22 For he who is called in the Lord while a servant is the Lord’s freeman. Likewise, he who is called while free is Christ’s servant. 23 You were bought at a price. Do not be the servants of men. 24 Brothers, let every man, in whatever condition he is called, remain there with God.

The Unmarried and Widows

25 Now concerning virgins, I have no command from the Lord. Yet I will give my judgment as one who has obtained mercy from the Lord to be faithful. 26 I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you committed to a wife? Do not seek to be uncommitted. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you marry, you have not sinned. And if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless they will have trouble in this life, but I would spare you that.

29 But this I say, brothers, the time is short. It remains that those who have wives should be as though they had none; 30 those who weep, as though they did not weep; those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; those who buy, as though they possessed nothing; 31 and those who use this world, as though they did not make full use of it. For the form of this world is passing away.

32 But I prefer that you have no concern. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. 33 But he who is married cares for the things of the world, how he may please his wife. 34 There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to put any restraint upon you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.

36 If any man thinks that he is behaving improperly toward his virgin,[a] and if she is past the flower of her youth, and passions so require, let him do what he will. He does not sin. Let them marry. 37 Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart without necessity, and has power over his own will, and has so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well. 38 So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who gives her not in marriage does better.

39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives. But if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will, but only in the Lord. 40 But in my judgment she is happier if she so remains as she is. And I think that I have the Spirit of God.


  1. 1 Corinthians 7:36 Some versions translate this word as “virgin daughters,” others translate it as “fiancée.” Since the Greek text itself remains unclear, the editors have chosen to keep the literal translation.