Sex in Marriage
1 Corinthians 7:1-7
(1) Now let me address the topics (matters) that you wrote about in the letter you sent me (a letter sent to Paul in Ephesus in response to his first letter, mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5:9).
There are some in Corinth saying, “It is good for a husband (man) not to have sex with his wife (a woman).” (2) But because sexual perversion is everywhere in your society, each husband should have sex with his wife, and each wife should have sex with her husband. (3) The husband should fulfill his marriage commitment, and so should a wife. (4) For a wife does not have sole authority over her body, but freely yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have sole authority over his body, but freely yields it to his wife. (5) So don’t deny sex to your spouse, except when a husband and wife agree to devote themselves to prayer for a short time. But after a short time, they should come back together so Satan will not tempt them because of their lack of self-control.
(6) Now I tell you this as personal advice, but it is not a command from God. (7) I wish that all of you were as I am (single), but I know each of you has your own gift from God; one person has one kind of gift and another person has a different gift.
Male Widowers and Female Widows
1 Corinthians 7:8-9
(8) Now concerning those who are no longer married (widows and widowers): It is good for them to remain single, as I am. (9) But if they can’t control their sexual passions they should marry, because it is better to marry than to burn with sexual passion.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11
(10) To those who are married, I give you this command from the Lord. A wife should not separate from her husband. (11) But if she does, she should remain single or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband should not divorce his wife.
Mixed Marriages of Believers and Unbelievers
1 Corinthians 7:12-16
(12) To the rest, I give this personal advice (not from the Lord) to believers who are married to unbelievers: If a believing husband is married to an unbelieving wife who is willing to live with him, he should not divorce her. (13) And if a believing wife is married to an unbelieving husband who is willing to live with her, she should not divorce him. (14) For an unbelieving husband is made holy through his believing wife, and an unbelieving wife is made holy through her believing husband. Otherwise, if this was not true, your children would be unclean, but instead they are made holy.
(15) But if an unbelieving spouse chooses to leave, then let them go. In these situations a believing spouse is no longer bound in marriage. God has called us to live in peace. (16) How does a believing wife know whether or not she might save her unbelieving husband, or how does a believing husband know whether or not he might save his unbelieving wife?
Be Content in Your Situation of Life
1 Corinthians 7:17-24
(17) This is the teaching I give in all the churches: Each person should live as a believer in whatever situation of life that the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.
(18) If a man was circumcised when he was called by God, he should not become uncircumcised. If a man was uncircumcised when he was called by God, he should not be circumcised. (19) For circumcision or uncircumcision mean nothing; obeying God’s teaching is what is most important. (20) Each believer should remain content in the situation of life they were in when God called them. (21) If you were a slave when God called you, do not be troubled, but gain your freedom if you can. (22) For the person who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is now free in the Lord, and the one who was free when called by God is now Christ’s slave. (23) Since you were bought with a price (redeemed), don’t become slaves of other humans.
(24) My brothers and sisters, every believer, as responsible to God, should remain content in the situation of life they were in when God called them.
Young People of Marrying Age
1 Corinthians 7:25-40
(25) Now let me address the topic concerning young people (males and females) of marrying age (virgins). I do not have a direct teaching from the Lord Jesus, but I give you this counsel as one who by the Lord’s mercy can be trusted. (26) Because of the present crisis, I think it is good for a man to remain single. (27) If you are a man that is engaged to a woman, then do not seek to call off your engagement. If you are not engaged to a woman, then do not seek to be married. (28) But if a young man marries, he has not sinned. And if a young woman marries, she has not sinned. However, those who marry will experience many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you all the difficulties.
(29) My brothers and sisters, what I mean is that the time is short. So from now on: Those who have wives should live as if they do not; (30) those who grieve, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy things, as if they did not own these things; (31) and those who do business in this world, as if they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.
(32) It is my desire that you stay free from the worries of this world. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. (33) But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—(34) and so his interests are divided. An unmarried woman is concerned about the Lord’s affairs, because her goal is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. (35) I say this for your own good. I am not trying to put any burdensome restrictions on you, but so that you will live righteously in undivided devotion to the Lord. (36) If a man is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward a woman he is engaged to, and if his sexual passions are too strong and he feels he should marry, he should marry her. He is not sinning. They should get married. (37) But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up in his mind not to marry—then he has made the right decision. (38) So then, the man who marries a woman does right, but he who does not marry does even better.
(39) A woman is bound to her husband in marriage as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she desires, but he must be another believer in the Lord Jesus. (40) But it is my opinion she will be happier if she remains single—and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.