Questions about marriage
1 You wrote to ask me about certain things. You say, ‘It is a good thing when a man does not marry.’ 2 That may be true, but then people may have sex in wrong ways. So every man should have his own wife and every woman should have her own husband. 3 Then they may have sex with each other in the right way. A husband should agree to have sex with his wife. And the wife should do the same thing for her husband. 4 The wife does not rule over her own body to decide when to have sex. She belongs to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not rule over his own body. He belongs to his wife.
5 Do not refuse to have sex with each other, unless both of you agree to stop for a short time. Then you can use more time to pray. But you should come together again soon, as husband and wife. If not, Satan may try to make you do something wrong. You may want too strongly to have sex with someone else. 6 I am saying these things to help you. I am not telling you what you must do. 7 It would be good if all of you could live in the way that I do. But each person has his own gift from God. God helps one person to live in a certain way. God helps another person with a different gift.
8 I will say this to those of you who have not married yet, and to those who are widows. It is better for you to remain alone. That is how I myself live. 9 But if you want to have sex too strongly, then you should marry. It is better to do that than to want to have sex all the time.
10 I will say this to people who have married. (This is not my rule. It is a rule that comes from the Lord himself.) A wife must not leave her husband. 11 But if she does leave him, she must not marry another man. Or she should go back to live with her husband. In the same way, a husband must not send his wife away.
12 To all you other people, I say this. (This is what I think. The Lord has not spoken about it.) A Christian man may have a wife who does not believe in Christ. If she agrees to continue living with him, then he should not send her away. 13 Also, a Christian woman may have a husband who does not believe in Christ. If he agrees to continue living with her, then she should not leave him. 14 God accepts a husband who does not believe in Christ because of his Christian wife. And God accepts a wife who does not believe in Christ because of her Christian husband. If that was not true, the children would not belong to God. But God does accept them, because to him they are now clean.
15 But the husband or wife who does not believe in Christ may want to leave. If they want to become separate, let them do that. If that happens, the Christian man or woman is now free. God wants you to live in peace. 16 If you are a Christian wife, you might save your husband. If you are a Christian husband, you might save your wife. But you can not be sure of what will happen.
17 But each of you should continue to live in the way that God has chosen for you. Remain as you were at the time when God called you to come to him. I teach that rule to people in all the churches. 18 Some of you are Jews, so people circumcised you. That happened before you believed in Christ. So do not try to change it. Some of you are not Jews. Nobody circumcised you. So continue like that. 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 Each of you should continue as you were when God called you to come to him. 21 You may have been a slave when God called you. That does not matter. But if you have the chance to become a free person, accept it. 22 The Lord may call a slave to come to him. Then, that slave has become free, because he belongs to the Lord. In the same way, when God calls a free person to belong to Christ, he becomes Christ's slave. 23 God bought you for himself. He paid the price for you. So do not let anyone else make you their slave. 24 My Christian friends, each of you should continue as you were when God first called you to come to him. Remember that you serve God.
7:24Here, Paul tells Christians to continue as they were before they believed in Christ. He does not mean that they should continue to do bad things. He is talking about the place that they have in life: slaves or free people, Jews or Gentiles, married people or not. They should not try to change that.
25 You asked me a question about people who have not yet married. The Lord has not told me any special rule about this. But I will tell you what I myself think about it. The Lord has been very kind to me. You know that you can believe what I say. 26 This is what I think: There are many troubles in the world today. So it is better for everybody to continue as they are. 27 If you have a wife, do not try to send her away. If you do not have a wife, do not try to marry. 28 But if you do marry, that is not wrong. And if a young woman marries, that is not wrong. But people who marry will have many troubles during their life together. I want to save you from problems like that.
29 My Christian friends, this is what I mean: The time that remains is very short. So men who have wives should live as if they had no wife. 30 People who are sad should live as if they were not sad. People who are happy should live as if they had nothing to laugh about. People who buy things should live as if those things do not belong to them. 31 If you enjoy the things of this world, do not live as if those things are important. This world, as it is now, will soon finish.
32 I do not want you to worry about troubles. A man who has not married wants to serve the Lord. He wants to live in a way that makes the Lord happy. 33 But a man who has married thinks a lot about this world's things. He wants to live in a way that makes his wife happy. 34 As a result, he thinks in two opposite ways.
It is the same for a woman who has no husband, or a young girl who has not married. She wants to serve the Lord very well. She wants to be completely pure, both in her body and in her spirit. But a woman who has a husband has to think about this world's things. She wants to live in a way that makes her husband happy.
35 I am saying this because I want to help you. I am not making rules that you have to obey. Instead, I want you to live in a right way. I do not want you to worry about troubles. Then you will be able to serve the Lord very well.
36 Perhaps a man has agreed to marry a young woman. They may have decided to wait before they marry. But, as they grow older, the man may think differently. He may think that he needs to marry her. Then, he should do what he wants to do. It is good for them to marry. It is not wrong. 37 But another man may not change his thoughts. He may be sure that he does not need to marry his young woman. If he decides not to marry her, he is doing the right thing. 38 So the man who marries his young woman is doing a good thing. But the man who does not marry is doing a better thing.
39 If a woman has married, she may not leave her husband while he still lives. But if he dies, then she is free to marry again. She may marry any man that she wants to. But he must be someone who belongs to the Lord. 40 I do think that she would be happier if she remains without a husband. That is what I think, and God's Spirit also helps me with this.