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Counsel About Marriage

Now concerning the things about which you wrote to me, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of much immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband fulfill his obligation to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have the rights to her own body, but the husband. Likewise also the husband does not have the rights to his own body, but the wife. Do not deprive one another—except by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer.[a] Then come together again, so that satan doesn’t tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But this I say as a concession, not as a command. Yet I wish that all men were like me. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this way and another that.

But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them to remain as I am. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with desire.

10 But to the married I command—not I, but the Lord[b]—a wife is not to be separated from her husband 11 (but if she gets separated, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband is not to divorce his wife.

12 But to the rest I say—I, not the Lord—if any brother has a wife who is not a believer, and she agrees to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if any woman has a husband who is not a believer, and he agrees to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy through the wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband.[c] Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever separates, let him be separated. The brother or the sister is not bound in such cases, but God has called you to shalom. 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?

Remain As You Were Called

17 Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, let him walk in this way. I give this rule in all of Messiah’s communities. 18 Was anyone called when he already had been circumcised? Let him not make himself uncircumcised. Has anyone been called while uncircumcised? Let him not allow himself to be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing[d]—but keeping God’s commandments matters. 20 Let each one remain in the calling in which he was called. 21 Were you called as a slave? Don’t let that bother you—but if indeed you can become free, make the most of the opportunity. 22 For the one who was called in the Lord as a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise the one who was called while free is Messiah’s slave. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brothers and sisters, let each one—in whatever way he was called—remain that way with God.

25 Now concerning virgins I have no command from the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think then, because of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Don’t seek a divorce. Are you free from a wife? Don’t seek a wife. 28 But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such people will have trouble in this fleshly life, and I am trying to spare you. 29 But this I say, brothers and sisters—the time is short. From now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; 30 and those who weep, as though not weeping; and those who rejoice, as though not rejoicing; and those who buy, as though not possessing; 31 and those who use the world, as though not using it to the fullest. For the present form of this world is passing away.

32 But I want you to be free from cares. An unmarried man cares about the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord; 33 but the married man cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife— 34 and he is divided. The unmarried woman, as well as the virgin, cares about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But the married woman cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. 35 Now I say this for your own benefit—not to put a restraint on you, but to promote proper and constant service to the Lord without distraction.

36 But if any man thinks that he is behaving inappropriately toward his virgin, if the time is ripe and it is meant to be, let him do what he decides. He does not sin. Let them marry. 37 But he who stands firm in his heart—who has no pressure, but has power over his own will and has so determined in his own heart to keep her a virgin—he will do well. 38 So then both he who marries the virgin does well, and he who doesn’t marry her does better.

39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies, she is free to be married to anyone she wishes—only in the Lord. [e] 40 But in my judgment she is happier if she stays as she is—and I also think that I have the Ruach Elohim.


  1. 1 Corinthians 7:5 cf. Exod. 19:15; some mss. say fasting and prayer.
  2. 1 Corinthians 7:10 cf. Matt. 5:32; 19:9.
  3. 1 Corinthians 7:14 Lit. the brother.
  4. 1 Corinthians 7:19 cf. Gal. 5:6; 6:15.
  5. 1 Corinthians 7:40 cf. 2 Cor. 6:14.