1 Letter to the Corinthians
Marriage and abstinence
1 Now I will answer the ques tions in your letter. It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Yet to avoid immorality, every man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 Let the husband fulfill his duty of hus band and likewise the wife. 4 The wife is not the owner of her own body: the husband is. Similarly, the husband is not the owner of his own body: the wife is.
5 Do not refuse each other, except by mutual consent and only for a time in order to dedicate yourselves to prayer, and then come together again, lest you fall into Satan’s trap by lack of self-control. 6 I approve of this abstention, but I do not order it. 7 I would like everyone to be like me, but each has from God a particular gift, some in one way, others differently.
8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it would be good for them to remain as I am, 9 but if they cannot con trol themselves, let them marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
Marriage and divorce
10 I command married couples – not I but the Lord – that the wife should not separate from her husband. 11 If she separates from him, let her not marry again, or let her make peace with her husband. Similarly the husband should not divorce his wife.
12 To the others I say – from me and not from the Lord – if a brother has a wife who is not a believer but she agrees to live with him, let him not separate from her. 13 In the same manner, if a woman has a husband who is not a believer but he agrees to live with her, let her not separate from her husband. 14 Because the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband who believes. Otherwise, your children also would be apart from God; but as it is, they are con sec rated to God.
15 Now, if the unbelieving husband or wife wants to separate, let them do so. In this case, the 16 Besides, are you sure, wife, that you could save your husband, and you, husband, that you could save your wife?
17 Except for this, let each one continue living as he was when God called him, as was his lot set by the Lord. This is what I order in all churches. 18 Let the cir cumcised Jew not remove the marks of the circumcision when he is called by God, and let the non-Jew not be circumcised when he is called. 19 For the important thing is not to be circumcised or not, but to keep the commandments of God.
20 Let each of you, therefore, remain in the state in which you were called by God. 21 If you were a slave when called, do not worry, yet if you can gain your freedom, take the opportunity.
22 The slave called to believe in the Lord is a freed person belonging to the Lord just as whoever has been called while free, becomes a slave of Christ. 23 You have been bought at a very great price; do not become slaves of a human being.
24 So then, brothers and sisters, continue living in the state you were before God at the time of his call.
Marriage and virginity
25 With regard to those who remain virgins, I have no special commandment from the Lord, but I give some advice, hoping that I am worthy of trust by the mercy of the Lord.
26 I think this is good in these hard times in which we live. It is good for someone to remain as he is. 27 If you are married, do not try to divorce your wife; if you are not married, do not marry. 28 He who marries does not sin, nor does the young girl sin who marries. Yet they will face disturbing experiences, and I would like to spare you.
29 I say this, brothers and sisters: time is running out, and those who are married must live as if not mar ried; 30 those who weep as if not weeping; those who are happy as if they were not happy; those buying something as if they had not bought it, and those enjoying the present life as if they were not enjoying it. 31 For the order of this world is vanishing.
32 I would like you to be free from anxieties. He who is not married is concerned about the things of the Lord and how to please the Lord. 33 While he who is married is taken up with the things of the world and how to please his wife, and he is divided in his interests.
34 Likewise, the unmarried woman and the virgin are concerned with the service of the Lord, to be holy in body and spirit. The mar ried woman, instead, worries about the things of the world and how to please her husband.
35 I say this for your own good. I do not wish to lay traps for you but to lead you to a beautiful life, entirely united with the Lord.
36 If anyone realizes he will not be behaving correctly with his fiancee because of the ardor of his passion, and that things should take their due course, let him marry; he commits no sin. 37 But if another, of firmer heart, thinks that he can control his passion and decides not to marry so that his fiancee may remain a virgin, he does better. 38 So then, he who marries does well, and he who does not marry does better.
39 The wife is bound as long as her hus band lives. If he dies, she is free to be ma r ried to whom soever she wishes, provided that she does so in the Christian way. 40 However, she will be happier if, following my advice, she remains as she is, and I believe that I also have the Spirit of God.