1 Corinthians 7

Questions about marriage

1 You wrote to ask me about certain things. And now I will answer your questions. Yes, it is a good thing when a man does not marry. 2 Many people have sex with other people who are not their own wife or husband. But you must be careful never to do that. So, every man should have his own wife and every woman should have her own husband.

3 The husband should have sex with his wife to make her happy. He should do that because it is his duty. And the wife should do the same thing for her husband. 4 The wife does not rule over her own body, but her husband rules over it. In the same way, the husband does not rule over his own body, but his wife rules over it. 5 Do not refuse to have sex with each other, unless both of you agree to stop for a short time. So then you can use your time to pray. But you should come together again soon. You need each other so that Satan cannot cause you to have sex with other people. 6 I am not saying that you must do this. No, but I am saying that you can do it. You can stop like this for a short time if you want. 7 It would be good if all of you could be like me. But each person has his own gift from God. One person has a gift to do a certain thing. And another person has a different gift.

8 Now I want to say something to those of you who have not married yet. Also, I am speaking to those of you whose husbands or wives have died. It is better for all of you to continue alone. That is what I do myself. 9 But if you cannot rule yourselves well, then you should marry. It is better for you to marry. That is better than to always want sex very much.

10 I speak now to people who have married. I tell you a rule that comes from the Lord himself, not from me. A wife must not leave her husband. 11 But if she does leave, she must continue to be alone. Or she must go back to stay with her husband. And a husband must not send his wife away.

12 To you other people, I myself say this. The Lord has not spoken about it. If a Christian man's wife does not believe Christ, that man must not send his wife away. She may agree to continue living with him. Then he must not send her away. 13 If a Christian woman's husband does not believe Christ, she must not send him away. He may agree to continue living with her. Then she must not send him away. 14 God accepts a husband who does not believe Christ. God accepts him because of his Christian wife. Also, God accepts a wife who does not believe Christ. God accepts her because of her Christian husband. If this was not true, God would not accept your children. But God does accept them, because to him they are clean.

15 But the husband or wife who does not believe Christ may want to leave. If they want to do that, let them leave. Then the Christian man or woman does not have a duty to make them stay. God does not want us to fight with each other. 16 Perhaps, Christian wife, you will save your husband. Or perhaps, Christian husband, you will save your wife.

17 Each one of you has what the Lord has given to you. So, each of you should continue to live as God has chosen for you to live. I teach this rule to the churches in every place. 18 Some of you are Jews, so people circumcised you. That happened before you came to Christ. So, do not try to change it. Some of you are not Jews and nobody has ever circumcised you. So, continue like that and do not ask anyone to circumcise you. 19 It is not important whether someone has circumcised you or not. The important thing is this: Obey what God says.

20 At a certain time, God chose to speak to you so that you came to Christ. So, each of you should continue as you were then. 21 You may have been a slave when God spoke to you. That does not matter. But you may have the chance to become a free person. If you do, then use it. 22 Sometimes the Lord chooses a slave to belong to him. Then, that slave becomes the Lord's free person. In the same way, when a free person comes to Christ, he becomes Christ's slave. 23 God has bought you and he has paid the price for you. So, do not let anyone else make you their slave. 24 My friends, who are like brothers to me, each one of you should live for God. He put you where you were. Then he spoke to you. So, each of you should continue as you were then.

25 Now I want to answer your question about people who have not married. The Lord has not given any special rule about this. But I will tell you what I myself think about it. You can believe me. I speak as someone to whom the Lord has been very kind. He has made me able to be honest and true. 26 It is very difficult to live in the world today. So, it is better that each man continues as he is. That is what I think. 27 If you have a wife, you should continue like that. If you do not have a wife, do not look for one. 28 But if you do marry, that is not wrong. And if a young woman marries, that is not wrong. But those people who marry will have many troubles during their life together in this world. And I want to save you from that kind of trouble.

29 My friends, what I mean is this: The end of time will come soon. So, those men with wives should live as if they had none. 30 Some of you weep. But you should live as if you were not sad. Some of you laugh because you are happy. But you should live as if you were not happy. Some of you buy things. But you should live as if you did not have those things. 31 Some of you are busy with things in this world. But you should live as if these things were not important. This world, as it is now, will finish.

32 I want all of you to be free so that you are not thinking about problems and troubles. A Christian man who has not married thinks a lot about the Lord and his work. He wants to do what makes the Lord happy. 33 But a Christian man who has married is different. He thinks also about the things that belong to this world. He thinks like that because he wants to make his wife happy too. 34 So, these things make him think in two opposite ways. Also, a Christian woman or young girl who has not married thinks a lot about the Lord and his work. She wants to belong to the Lord completely, both in her body and in her spirit. But a Christian woman who has married is different. She thinks also about the things that belong to this world. She thinks like that because she wants to make her husband happy too.

35 I am saying this because I want to help you. I am not trying to make rules that you have to obey. Instead, I want you to live in a right and proper way. I want you to be the Lord's servants, who listen to him. I do not want anything else to stop you thinking about the Lord.

36 Perhaps a man and a woman among you love each other but they have decided not to marry. They have agreed to wait. But, as they grow older, the man may begin to think differently. He may think that he cannot wait any longer. He may think that he needs to marry her. Then, if they want to marry, it is not wrong. 37 But another man among you may decide that he will never marry his young woman. He may be sure that he does not need to marry. He may be able to rule himself strongly, with authority. So, he need not marry her. He is doing the right thing also. 38 So, the man who marries does a good thing. But the man who does not marry does a better thing.

39 If a woman has married a man, he is her husband. She is not free to marry anyone else all the time that her husband is alive. But if he dies, then she is free. Then she can marry again. But she must marry someone who is the Lord's. 40 Even so, she would be happier if she continued without a husband. That is what I myself think. And I think that God's Spirit is my guide in all this.