Instruction on Marriage
Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me:
It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except by mutual agreement, and that for a season, so that you may devote yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, lest Satan tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. For I wish that all men would be as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this way and another in that.
But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they should remain as I also remain; but if they are not exercising self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
Keep Your Marriage Vows
10 Now to those who have married I command, yet not I, but the Lord: A wife is not to be separated from her husband— 11 and even if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband—and a husband is not to divorce his wife.
12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she consents to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a wife who has an unbelieving husband, if he consents to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving spouse separates, let him or her separate; the brother or the sister has not been bound in such cases; but God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?
Live as You Are Called
17 Otherwise as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I command in all the churches. 18 Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God. 20 Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. 21 Were you called as a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather make use of it. 22 For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord's free man. Likewise he who is called as a free man is Christ's slave. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brothers, let each one remain with God in the state in which he was called.
The Unmarried and the Widowed
25 Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord; but I give an opinion, as having received mercy by the Lord to be faithful. 26 Therefore I consider this to be good because of the present distress, that it is good for a man to be as he is: 27 Have you been bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Have you been released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But even if you should marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin should marry, she has not sinned. But such will have trouble in the flesh, and I would spare you.
29 But this I say, brothers, the time has been shortened; so that from now on even those having wives should be as though they had none, 30 and those weeping as though not weeping, and those rejoicing as though not rejoicing, and those buying as though not possessing, 31 and those using this world as not using it up. For the form of this world is passing away.
32 But I want you to be without anxiety. The unmarried man cares about the things of the Lord—about how he may please the Lord. 33 But the man having married cares about the things of the world—about how he may please his wife. 34 And the wife and the virgin are different. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But the woman having married cares about the things of the world—about how she may please her husband. 35 And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a snare upon you, but for that which is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.
36 But if any man thinks he is behaving dishonorably toward his virgin, if she is past her youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he desires. He does not sin; let them marry. 37 But he who stands in his heart, not having necessity, but has power over his own desire, and has decided this in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well. 38 So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better.
39 A wife has been bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband also dies, she is free to be married to whom she desires, only in the Lord. 40 But she is happier if she remains as she is, in my opinion—and I think I also have the Spirit of God.