7:1Now concerning what you wrote: “It is good for a man not to be intimate with a woman.”7:2On the contrary: because there is so much promiscuity, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.7:3The husband is obligated to give his wife what is rightfully hers, and likewise the wife to her husband.7:4For the wife is not the only one with authority over her body; her husband has it too. Likewise, the husband does not have exclusive authority to his body, but shares it with his wife.
7:5Do not deprive each other unless you both agree to it so you can devote yourselves to prayer, and only for a limited time, so that the Adversary cannot tempt you because of your lack of self-control.7:6Now I’m only saying this as a concession, not a command.7:7I would prefer everyone to be as I am, but each has their own gift from God; one has this while another has that.
7:8Now let me say this to the unmarried and the widows: Ideally, they should remain as I am.7:9But if they cannot control themselves, let them marry, because it’s better to marry than to be consumed with desire.
7:10Now to the married1 (and this is not from me but from the Master): that woman must not separate from her husband.7:11Yet if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And the husband is not to leave his wife.
7:12Now to the rest of you (and this is from me, not the Master): If any brother has an unbelieving wife and she agrees to stay with him, he must not leave her.7:13Likewise, if any sister has an unbelieving husband who wishes to stay with her, she must not leave him.7:14For the unbelieving husband has been made holy by the sister, and the unbelieving wife has been made holy by the brother. Otherwise, your children would be impure, whereas now they are holy.
7:15Yet if the unbeliever wants to leave, let them leave. A brother or sister is not to be enslaved in such cases; instead, God has called you to live in peace.7:16After all, sister, you do not know that you will save your husband; brother, you do not know that you will save your wife.
7:17Let each one keep going according to what the Master apportioned and God has called them; this is my prescription for all the Congregations.7:18Was anyone circumcised? You can’t take it back. Were you uncircumcised? Don’t be circumcised.7:19Whether you’re circumcised or not is irrelevant; all that matters is keeping God’s commands.7:20So let each one remain in the place to which they were called.
7:21If you were called while a slave, don’t let it concern you— but if you get a chance to be freed, take it!7:22For a slave of the Master is freed by the Master; a free person united with the Anointed is the Anointed’s slave.7:23You were bought at a steep price, so do not become slaves of people.7:24Again, let each one remain as they were when God called them.
7:25Now concerning women of marriageable age: I have no decree from the Master so I will give you my opinion as one who has been shown by the Master’s mercy to be faithful.7:26I think it’s best for people to stay as they are at present.7:27But if you are pledged to marry, don’t call it off. If you are not pledged to marry, don’t look for a mate.7:28Yet if you do get married you have not failed. I just want to spare you an added burden in this life.
7:29What I’m trying to tell you is that the time is short. It’s as if the married are single,7:30the bereaved don’t cry, the happy don’t celebrate, the shoppers don’t buy,7:31and those who enjoy the world are left wanting, for the fabric of the world is changing.
7:32Yet I don’t want you to be overly concerned about this. The unmarried one can concentrate on how to please the Master,7:33but the married one has to also be concerned about worldly things because they must please their mate,7:34so they are divided between the two. The single woman and the woman of marriageable age can concentrate on the things of the Master, that she may be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman has to attend to worldly things, to pleasing her husband.7:35Now I’m not saying this to restrict you, but for your own good, so you will focus on being respectable and attentive to the Master.
7:36If the man is behaving indecently toward his fiancée and has gone too far, then let it happen; it is not wrong to marry.7:37But if he has made up his mind and does not feel compelled to marry but can control himself, he does well.7:38Of course, if he marries he also does well, but if he doesn’t, he does even better.7:39The woman is bound as long as her husband lives, but if he dies, she is free to marry whoever she wants— but he must be a believer.7:40Yet in my opinion I think she will be happier if she stays single— and I’m pretty sure I have the Spirit of God.2
- 1When Paul says “Now to the married,” he appears to be discussing a particular married couple, since he has already addressed the single and will next address “the rest.”
- 2Again, Paul appears to be discussing a particular engaged couple, and then a woman whose husband is apparently near death; if she was Jewish then she’d be concerned about whether to obey the Law that commanded her to marry one of her husband’s brothers.