1 As to the matters of which you wrote me, it is an excellent thing for a man to remain unmarried. 2 But there is so much immorality that every man had better have a wife of his own, and every woman a husband of her own. 3 The husband must give his wife what is due her, and the wife must do the same by her husband. 4 A wife cannot do as she likes with her own person; it is her husband's; and in the same way a husband cannot do as he likes with his own person; it is his wife's. 5 You must not refuse each other what is due, unless you agree to do so for a while, to devote yourselves to prayer, and then to come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you through your lack of self-control. 6 But I mean this as a concession, not a command. 7 I should like to have everyone be just as I am myself; but each one has his own special gift from God, one of one kind, and one of another.
8 To all who are unmarried and to widows, I would say this: It is an excellent thing if they can remain single as I am. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to be on fire with passion.
10 To those already married my instructions are??nd they are not mine, but the Lord's??hat a wife is not to separate from her husband. 11 If she does separate, she must remain single or else become reconciled to him. And a husband must not divorce his wife. 12 To other people I would say, though not as Christ's command, if a Christian has a wife who is not a believer, and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her, 13 and a woman who has a husband who is not a believer, but is willing to live with her, must not divorce her husband. 14 For the husband who is not a believer is consecrated through union with his wife, and the woman who is not a believer is consecrated through union with her Christian husband, for otherwise your children would be unblessed, but, as it is, they are consecrated. 15 But if the one who is not a believer wishes to separate, let the separation take place. In such cases the brother or sister is not a slave; God has called you to live in peace. 16 For how do you wives know whether you will save your husbands? Or how do you husbands know whether you will save your wives?
17 Only, everyone must continue in the station which the Lord has appointed for him, and in which he was when God's call came to him. This is the rule I make in all the churches. 18 If a man was circumcised when he was called, he must not try to alter it. If a man was uncircumcised when he was called, he must not have himself circumcised. 19 Being circumcised or being uncircumcised does not make any difference; all that matters is keeping God's commands. 20 Everyone ought to remain in the station in which he was called. 21 If you were a slave when you were called, never mind. Even if you can gain your freedom, make the most of your present condition instead. 22 For a slave who has been called to union with the Lord is a freedman of the Lord, just as a free man who has been called is a slave of Christ. 23 You have been bought and paid for; you must not let yourselves become slaves to men. 24 Brothers, everyone must remain in fellowship with God in the station in which he was called.
25 About unmarried women I have no command of the Lord to give you, but I will give you my opinion as that of one on whom through the Lord's mercy you can depend. 26 This, then, is my opinion in view of the present distress??hat it is a good thing for a man to remain just as he is. 27 If you are united to a wife, do not seek to be released. If you are not, do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, there is no sin in that. And if a girl marries, it is no sin. But those who marry will have worldly trouble, which I would like to spare you. 29 But this I do say, brothers. The appointed time has grown very short. From this time on those who have wives should live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they did not mourn, and those who are glad as though they were not glad, and those who buy anything as though they did not own it, 31 and those who mix in the world, as though they were not absorbed in it. For the present shape of the world is passing away.
32 I want you to be free from all anxiety. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's work, and how he can please the Lord. 33 A married man is concerned about worldly affairs, and how he can please his wife, and so his interests are divided. 34 An unmarried woman or a girl is concerned about the Lord's work, so as to be consecrated in body and spirit, but the woman who marries is concerned with worldly affairs, and how she can please her husband. 35 It is for your benefit that I say this, not to put a halter on you, but to promote good order, and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
36 But if a man thinks he is not acting properly toward the girl to whom he is engaged, if his passions are too strong, and that is what ought to be done, let him do as he pleases; it is no sin; let them be married. 37 But a man who has definitely made up his mind, under no constraint of passion but with full self-control, and who has decided in his own mind to keep her as she is, will be doing what is right. 38 So the man who marries her does what is right, and the man who refrains from doing so does even better.
39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she pleases so long as he is a Christian. 40 But she will be happier, in my judgment, if she remains as she is, and I think I have God's spirit as well as other people.