1 Corinthians 4-7 Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV)
4 This is the way a person should think of us: as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries. 2 In this connection, moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 3 But it is a trivial matter to me if I am evaluated by you or by a day in a human court. Why, I do not even evaluate myself. 4 I do not in fact know of anything against myself, but I am not justified by this; rather, the one who evaluates me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing ahead of time, until the Lord comes. He will bring to light whatever is hidden in darkness and also reveal the intentions of hearts. Then there will be praise for each person from God.
Lessons From Apostolic Life and Teaching
6 Brothers, I turned these things into a lesson using myself and Apollos as examples. I did this for your benefit, so that you may learn from us not to go beyond what is written. Then you will not be arrogant, favoring one person over the other. 7 For who makes you so special? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? 8 Oh, you are already filled! You have already become rich! You have begun to reign without us! If only that were really true, so that we could reign with you!
9 For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, in the lowliest position, like men sentenced to death, because we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to people. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak—but you are so strong! You are honored! But we are despised. 11 At the present we still hunger and thirst and lack proper clothing. We are treated roughly, and we have no settled place to live in. 12 We toil, working with our own hands. When we are verbally abused, we bless. When persecuted, we endure. 13 When slandered, we speak kind words. We have been treated like the world’s garbage, like everyone’s trash, right up to the present time.
14 I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my dear children. 15 Indeed, even if you would have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you would not have many fathers. I say this, because in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 I urge you, therefore, be imitators of me. 17 That is why I have sent Timothy to you. He is my dearly loved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways in Christ,[a] just as I teach everywhere in every church.
18 Some have become arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord is willing, and I will find out about the power, not the talk, of those who are arrogant. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk, but in power. 21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?
The Need for Church Discipline and Personal Sanctification
5 It is actually[b] reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and it is a kind of sexual immorality that not even the Gentiles practice: A man has his father’s wife! 2 Yet you are proud! Shouldn’t you have been filled with sorrow so that the man who did this deed would be removed from among you? 3 Even though I am absent in body, I am present in spirit, and as one who is present, I have already decided about the man who has done such a thing. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, and my spirit is there, along with the power of our Lord Jesus,[c] 5 hand such a man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that the spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord Jesus.[d]
6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Purge out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, just as you are unleavened. For our Passover lamb has been sacrificed, namely, Christ! 8 So let us keep celebrating the festival, not with old yeast, not with the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9 When I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with the sexually immoral, 10 I did not at all mean the sexually immoral people of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, for then you would have to leave the world. 11 But in this situation, I wrote to you not to associate with anyone who is called a brother if he is sexually immoral, or greedy, or an idolater, or verbally abusive, or a drunkard, or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. 12 For what business is it of mine to judge people outside the church? Do you not judge those inside? 13 God will judge the people outside the church. “Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.”[e]
Lawsuits and Unrighteous Behavior
6 If any one of you has a case against another, does he dare to seek judgment before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you not competent to deal with insignificant lawsuits? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the matters of this life! 4 So if you have lawsuits involving matters of this life, do you appoint those people as your judges whom the church considers of no account? 5 I say this to make you feel ashamed. Is it really the case that there is not one wise man among you who would be able to decide a dispute between his brothers? 6 Instead, brother sues brother, and that in front of unbelievers! 7 The fact that you have lawsuits with one another is already a complete failure on your part. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 Instead, you yourselves do the wronging and defrauding, and you do it to your brothers!
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor males who have sex with males,[f] 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor the verbally abusive, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And some of you were those types of people. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ[g] and by the Spirit of our God.
Flee From Sexual Immorality!
12 “All things are permitted for me”—but not all things are beneficial. “All things are permitted for me”—but I will not allow anything to control me. 13 “Foods are for the belly, and the belly is for foods, but God will do away with both of them.” However, the body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. 14 God raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then remove the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Certainly not! 16 Or[h] do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute is one body with her? For it says, “The two will become one flesh.”[i] 17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.
18 Flee from sexual immorality! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.
Celibacy, Self-Control, and Marriage
7 Now concerning the things you wrote: It is good for a man not to touch[j] a woman. 2 But because of sexual sins, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. 3 The husband is to fulfill his obligation to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body—her husband does. Likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body—his wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another, unless you both agree to do so for a time, in order to devote yourselves to[k] prayer and then come together again, so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 However, I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 For[l] I wish all people were like me, but each person has his own gift from God. One person is blessed in this way, another in a different way.
8 I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain as I am. 9 But if they do not have self-control, they should marry, because it is better to marry than to burn with desire.
10 Next I command the married (it is the Lord’s command not mine): A wife is not to leave her husband 11 (but if she does leave, she is to remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband), and a husband is not to divorce[m] his wife.
12 But I, not the Lord, say to the rest: If any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she is willing to go on living with him, he is not to divorce her. 13 If any woman has an unbelieving husband, and he is willing to go on living with her, she is not to divorce her husband. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified in connection with his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified in connection with her husband.[n] Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let him leave. The brother or the sister is not bound in such cases, and God has called us[o] to live 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 However, each person is to live in the situation the Lord assigned to him—the situation he was in when God called him to faith. I give this same command in all the churches. 18 If a man was circumcised when he was called, he should not become uncircumcised. If a man was uncircumcised when he was called, he should not get circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping God’s commands is important. 20 Let each person stay in that calling in which he was called. 21 Were you a slave when you were called? Do not let it bother you. But if you are able to become free, take advantage of it. 22 For the slave who was called to be in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person. Likewise, the free person who was called is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price. Do not become slaves of men. 24 Brothers,[p] let each person remain before God in the situation he was in when he was called.
25 Now concerning virgins, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one whom the Lord in his mercy made worthy of trust. 26 Accordingly, I think this is good because of the difficult situation we face,[q] namely, that it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be freed. Are you unattached? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do get married, you have not sinned, and if a virgin gets married, she has not sinned. Yet such people will be under pressure in their earthly lives, and I am trying to spare you.
29 I also say this, brothers: The time is short. From now on, let those who have wives live as if they have none; 30 those who weep, as if not weeping; those who rejoice, as if not rejoicing; those who buy, as if not possessing; 31 and those who use the world, as if not getting any use out of it. For the way of life that belongs to this world is passing away.
32 I would like you to be free from concern. The unmarried man is concerned about the things of the Lord and thinks about how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is concerned about the things of the world and thinks about how to please his wife, 34 and so he is divided. The unmarried woman and the virgin are concerned about the things of the Lord, so as to be holy both in body and in spirit. But the married woman is concerned about the things of the world and thinks about how to please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own benefit, not to impose a restriction, but to encourage honorable, undistracted devotion to the Lord.
36 But if someone thinks he is behaving inappropriately toward his virgin,[r] if his feelings are strong[s] and it seems necessary, he should do what he desires. It is not a sin. They should marry. 37 But if someone stands firm in his heart and is not driven by need, but has control over his own desire[t] and has decided in his own heart to keep his virgin as she is, he does well. 38 So then, he who marries his virgin[u] does well, and he who does not marry her[v] does better.
39 A wife[w] is bound to her husband for as long as he lives, but if the husband has died, she is free to be married to any man she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But she is more blessed if she stays as she is, in my judgment, and I think that I too have God’s Spirit.