1 Corinthians 7:1-24Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Questions about Marriage
7 Now I will answer the questions that you asked in your letter. You asked, “Is it best for people not to marry?”[a]2 Well, having your own husband or wife should keep you from doing something immoral. 3 Husbands and wives should be fair with each other about having sex. 4 A wife belongs to her husband instead of to herself, and a husband belongs to his wife instead of to himself. 5 So don’t refuse sex to each other, unless you agree not to have sex for a little while, in order to spend time in prayer. Then Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 In my opinion that is what should be done, though I don’t know of anything the Lord said about this matter. 7 I wish that all of you were like me, but God has given different gifts to each of us.
8 Here is my advice for people who have never been married and for widows. You should stay single, just as I am. 9 But if you don’t have enough self-control, then go ahead and get married. After all, it is better to marry than to burn with desire.[b]
10 I instruct married couples to stay together, and this is exactly what the Lord himself taught. A wife who leaves her husband 11 should either stay single or go back to her husband. And a husband should not leave his wife.
12 I don’t know of anything else the Lord said about marriage. All I can do is to give you my own advice. If your wife isn’t a follower of the Lord, but is willing to stay with you, don’t divorce her. 13 If your husband isn’t a follower, but is willing to stay with you, don’t divorce him. 14 Your husband or wife who isn’t a follower is made holy by having you as a mate. This also makes your children holy and keeps them from being unclean in God’s sight.
15 If your husband or wife isn’t a follower of the Lord and decides to divorce you, then you should agree to it. You are no longer bound to that person. After all, God chose you and wants you to live at peace. 16 And besides, how do you know if you will be able to save your husband or wife who isn’t a follower?
Obeying the Lord at All Times
17 In every church I tell the people to stay as they were when the Lord Jesus chose them and God called them to be his own. Now I say the same thing to you. 18 If you are already circumcised, don’t try to change it. If you are not circumcised, don’t get circumcised. 19 Being circumcised or uncircumcised isn’t really what matters. The important thing is to obey God’s commands. 20 So don’t try to change what you were when God chose you. 21 Are you a slave? Don’t let that bother you. But if you can win your freedom, you should. 22 When the Lord chooses slaves, they become his free people. And when he chooses free people, they become slaves of Christ. 23 God paid a great price for you. So don’t become slaves of anyone else. 24 Stay what you were when God chose you.
7.1people not to marry: Or “married couples not to have sex.”
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