Advice for Those Who Are Married
1Now I want to deal with the things you wrote me about. Some of you say, “It is good for a man not to sleep with a woman.” 2 But since sexual sin is happening, each man should sleep with his own wife. And each woman should sleep with her own husband. 3 A husband should satisfy his wife’s needs. And a wife should satisfy her husband’s needs. 4 The wife’s body does not belong only to her. It also belongs to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong only to him. It also belongs to his wife. 5 You shouldn’t stop giving yourselves to each other. You might possibly do this when you both agree to it. And you should only agree to it to give yourselves time to pray. Then you should come together again. In that way, Satan will not tempt you when you can’t control yourselves. 6 I say those things to you as my advice, not as a command. 7 I wish all of you were single like me. But you each have your own gift from God. One has this gift, and another has that one.
8 I speak now to those who are not married. I also speak to widows. It is good for you to stay single like me. 9 But if you can’t control yourselves, you should get married. It is better to get married than to burn with desire.
10 I give a command to those who are married. It is a direct command from the Lord, not from me. A wife must not leave her husband. 11 But if she does, she must not get married again. Or she can go back to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
12 I also have something to say to everyone else. It is from me, not a direct command from the Lord. Suppose a brother has a wife who is not a believer. If she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And suppose a woman has a husband who is not a believer. If he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 The unbelieving husband has been made holy through his wife. The unbelieving wife has been made holy through her believing husband. If that were not the case, your children would not be pure and “clean.” But as it is, they are holy.
15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let that person go. In that case, the believer does not have to stay married to the unbeliever. God wants us to live in peace. 16 Wife, how do you know if you will save your husband? Husband, how do you know if you will save your wife?
Stay as You Were When God Chose You
17 But each believer should live in whatever situation the Lord has given them. Stay as you were when God chose you. That’s the rule all the churches must follow. 18 Was a man already circumcised when God chose him? Then he should not become uncircumcised. Was he uncircumcised when God chose him? Then he should not be circumcised. 19 Being circumcised means nothing. Being uncircumcised means nothing. Doing what God commands is what counts. 20 Each of you should stay as you were when God chose you.
21 Were you a slave when God chose you? Don’t let it trouble you. But if you can get your master to set you free, do it. 22 The person who was a slave when the Lord chose them is now the Lord’s free person. The one who was free when God chose them is now a slave of Christ. 23 Christ has paid the price for you. Don’t become slaves of human beings. 24 Brothers and sisters, each person is accountable to God. So each person should stay as they were when God chose them.
Advice for Those Who Are Not Married
25 Now I want to say something about virgins. I have no direct command from the Lord. But I give my opinion. Because of the Lord’s mercy, I give it as one who can be trusted. 26 Times are hard for you right now. So I think it’s good for a man to stay as he is. 27 Are you engaged to a woman? Then don’t try to get out of it. Are you free from such a promise? Then don’t look for a wife. 28 But if you do marry someone, you have not sinned. And if a virgin marries someone, she has not sinned. But those who marry someone will have many troubles in this life. I want to save you from this.
29 Brothers and sisters, what I mean is that the time is short. From now on, those who have a husband or wife should live as if they did not. 30 Those who mourn should live as if they did not. Those who are happy should live as if they were not. Those who buy something should live as if it were not theirs to keep. 31 Those who use the things of the world should not become all wrapped up in them. The world as it now exists is passing away.
32 I don’t want you to have anything to worry about. A single man is concerned about the Lord’s matters. He wants to know how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the matters of this world. He wants to know how he can please his wife. 34 His concerns pull him in two directions. A single woman or a virgin is concerned about the Lord’s matters. She wants to serve the Lord with both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the matters of this world. She wants to know how she can please her husband. 35 I’m saying those things for your own good. I’m not trying to hold you back. I want you to be free to live in a way that is right. I want you to give yourselves completely to the Lord.
36 Suppose someone is worried that he is not acting with honor toward the virgin he has promised to marry. Suppose his desires are too strong, and he feels that he should marry her. He should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. 37 But suppose the man has decided not to marry the virgin. And suppose he has no compelling need to get married and can control himself. If he has made up his mind not to get married, he also does the right thing. 38 So then, the man who marries the virgin does the right thing. But the man who doesn’t marry her does a better thing.
39 A woman has to stay married to her husband as long as he lives. If he dies, she is free to marry anyone she wants to. But the one she marries must belong to the Lord. 40 In my opinion, she is happier if she stays single. And I also think that I am led by the Spirit of God in saying this.