1Now ˻I will discuss˼ the things you wrote to me about. It is good for a man not to marry. 2But sexual sin is a danger. So each man should have his own wife. And each woman should have her own husband. 3The husband should give his wife all that she should have as his wife. And the wife should give her husband all that he should have as her husband. 4The wife does not have power over her own body. Her husband has the power over her body. And the husband does not have power over his own body. His wife has the power over his body. 5Don’t refuse to give your bodies to each other. But you might both agree to stay away ˻from sex˼ for a time. You might do this so that you can give your time to prayer. Then come together again. This is so that Satan ˻(the Devil)˼ cannot tempt you in your weakness. 6I say this to give you permission ˻to be separated for a time˼. It is not a command. 7I wish all people were like me. But each person has his own gift from God. One person has one gift, another person has another gift. 8Now for the people who are not married and for the widows I say this: It is good for them to stay single like me. 9But if they cannot control their bodies, then they should marry. It is better to marry than to burn ˻with sexual desire˼. 10Now I give this command for the married people. (The command is not from me; it is from the Lord.) A wife must not leave her husband. 11But if a wife leaves her husband she must not marry again. Or she should go back together with her husband. Also the husband must not divorce his wife. 12For all the other people I say this (I am saying these things, not the Lord): A brother ˻in Christ˼ might have a wife who is not a believer. If she will live with him, then he must not divorce her. 13And a woman might have a husband who is not a believer. If he will live with her, then she must not divorce him. 14The husband who is not a believer is made holy through his ˻believing˼ wife. And the wife who is not a believer is made holy through her ˻believing˼ husband. If this were not true, then your children would not be clean. But now your children are holy. 15But if the person who is not a believer decides to leave, let that person leave. When this happens, the brother or sister ˻in Christ˼ is free. God called you to a life of peace. 16Wives, maybe you will save your husband; and husbands, maybe you will save your wife. You don’t know now what will happen later. 17But each person should continue to live the way the Lord God has given you to live—the way you were when God called you. This is a rule I make in all the churches. 18If a man was already circumcised when he was called, then he should not change his circumcision. If a man was without circumcision when he was called, then he should not be circumcised. 19It is not important if a person is circumcised or not circumcised. The important thing is obeying God’s commands. 20Each person should stay the way he was when God called him. 21If you were a slave when God called you, don’t let that bother you. But if you can be free, then become free. 22The person who was a slave when the Lord called him is free in the Lord. That person belongs to the Lord. In the same way, the person who was free when he was called is now Christ’s slave. 23You people were bought at a price. So don’t become slaves of men. 24Brothers and sisters, in your new life with God each one of you should continue the way you were when you were called. 25Now I write about people who are not married. I have no command from the Lord about this. But I give my opinion. And I can be trusted, because the Lord has given me mercy. 26This is a time of trouble. So I think that it is good for you to stay the way you are ˻(not married)˼. 27If you have a wife, then don’t try to become free from her. If you are not married, then don’t try to find a wife. 28But if you decide to marry, that is not a sin. And it is not a sin for a girl that has never married to get married. But those people who marry will have trouble in this life. I want you to be free from this trouble. 29Brothers and sisters, this is what I mean: We don’t have much time left. So starting now, people who have wives should use their time ˻to serve the Lord˼ like they don’t have wives. 30People who are sad should live like they are not sad. People who are happy should live like they are not happy. People who buy things should live like they own nothing. 31People who use the things of the world should live like those things are not important to them. You should live like this, because this world, the way it is now, will soon be gone. 32I want you to be free from worry. A man who is not married is busy with the Lord’s work. He is trying to please the Lord. 33But a man who is married is busy with things of the world. He is trying to please his wife. 34He must think about two things—˻pleasing his wife and pleasing the Lord˼. A woman who is not married or a girl who has never married is busy with the Lord’s work. She wants to give herself fully—body and soul—to the Lord. But a married woman is busy with things of the world. She is trying to please her husband. 35I am saying these things to help you. I am not trying to limit you. But I want you to live in the right way. And I want you to give yourselves fully to the Lord without giving your time to other things. 36A man might think that he is not doing the right thing with his virgin ˻daughter˼ if she is almost past the best age to marry. So he might think that marriage is necessary. He should do what he wants. He should let them marry. It is no sin. 37But another man might be more sure in his mind. There may be no need for marriage, so that he is free to do what he wants. If this man has decided in his own heart to keep his virgin ˻unmarried˼, then he is doing the right thing. 38So the man who gives his virgin ˻daughter˼ in marriage does right. And the man who does not give his virgin ˻daughter˼ in marriage does better. 39A woman must stay with her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, the woman is free to marry any man she wants. But she must marry in the Lord. 40The woman is happier if she does not marry again. This is my opinion, and I believe that I have God’s Spirit.
1 Corinthians 7