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Principles for Marriage

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: t“It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. uThe husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For 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. vDo not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, wso that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Now as a concession, xnot a command, I say this.1 yI wish that all were zas I myself am. But aeach has his own gift from God, bone of one kind and one of another.

To the unmarried and the widows I say that cit is good for them to remain single das I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, ethey should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

10 To the married fI give this charge (not I, but the Lord): gthe wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, hshe should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and gthe husband should not divorce his wife.

12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. iOtherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you2 jto peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, kwhether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Live as You Are Called

17 Only let each person lead the life3 lthat the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. mThis is my rule in nall the churches. 18 Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? oLet him not seek circumcision. 19 pFor neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but qkeeping the commandments of God. 20 rEach one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21 Were you a bondservant4 when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is sa freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is ta bondservant of Christ. 23 uYou were bought with a price; vdo not become bondservants5 of men. 24 So, brothers,6 win whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.

The Unmarried and the Widowed

25 Now concerning7 the betrothed,8 xI have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as yone who by the Lord’s mercy is ztrustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present9 distress ait is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman10 marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: bthe appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy cas though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For dthe present form of this world is passing away.

32 I want you to be efree from anxieties. fThe unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, gnot to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

36 If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed,11 if his12 passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. 37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. 38 So then he who marries his betrothed hdoes well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.

39 iA wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only jin the Lord. 40 Yet kin my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think lthat I too have the Spirit of God.

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