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1 Corinthians 7 Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV)

Celibacy, Self-Control, and Marriage

Now concerning the things you wrote: It is good for a man not to touch[a] a woman. But because of sexual sins, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband is to fulfill his obligation to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body—her husband does. Likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body—his wife does. Do not deprive one another, unless you both agree to do so for a time, in order to devote yourselves to[b] prayer and then come together again, so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. However, I say this as a concession, not as a command. For[c] I wish all people were like me, but each person has his own gift from God. One person is blessed in this way, another in a different way.

I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain as I am. But if they do not have self-control, they should marry, because it is better to marry than to burn with desire.

10 Next I command the married (it is the Lord’s command not mine): A wife is not to leave her husband 11 (but if she does leave, she is to remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband), and a husband is not to divorce[d] his wife.

12 But I, not the Lord, say to the rest: If any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she is willing to go on living with him, he is not to divorce her. 13 If any woman has an unbelieving husband, and he is willing to go on living with her, she is not to divorce her husband. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified in connection with his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified in connection with her husband.[e] Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let him leave. The brother or the sister is not bound in such cases, and God has called us[f] to live in peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

17 However, each person is to live in the situation the Lord assigned to him—the situation he was in when God called him to faith. I give this same command in all the churches. 18 If a man was circumcised when he was called, he should not become uncircumcised. If a man was uncircumcised when he was called, he should not get circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping God’s commands is important. 20 Let each person stay in that calling in which he was called. 21 Were you a slave when you were called? Do not let it bother you. But if you are able to become free, take advantage of it. 22 For the slave who was called to be in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person. Likewise, the free person who was called is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price. Do not become slaves of men. 24 Brothers,[g] let each person remain before God in the situation he was in when he was called.

25 Now concerning virgins, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one whom the Lord in his mercy made worthy of trust. 26 Accordingly, I think this is good because of the difficult situation we face,[h] namely, that it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be freed. Are you unattached? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do get married, you have not sinned, and if a virgin gets married, she has not sinned. Yet such people will be under pressure in their earthly lives, and I am trying to spare you.

29 I also say this, brothers: The time is short. From now on, let those who have wives live as if they have none; 30 those who weep, as if not weeping; those who rejoice, as if not rejoicing; those who buy, as if not possessing; 31 and those who use the world, as if not getting any use out of it. For the way of life that belongs to this world is passing away.

32 I would like you to be free from concern. The unmarried man is concerned about the things of the Lord and thinks about how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is concerned about the things of the world and thinks about how to please his wife, 34 and so he is divided. The unmarried woman and the virgin are concerned about the things of the Lord, so as to be holy both in body and in spirit. But the married woman is concerned about the things of the world and thinks about how to please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own benefit, not to impose a restriction, but to encourage honorable, undistracted devotion to the Lord.

36 But if someone thinks he is behaving inappropriately toward his virgin,[i] if his feelings are strong[j] and it seems necessary, he should do what he desires. It is not a sin. They should marry. 37 But if someone stands firm in his heart and is not driven by need, but has control over his own desire[k] and has decided in his own heart to keep his virgin as she is, he does well. 38 So then, he who marries his virgin[l] does well, and he who does not marry her[m] does better.

39 A wife[n] is bound to her husband for as long as he lives, but if the husband has died, she is free to be married to any man she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But she is more blessed if she stays as she is, in my judgment, and I think that I too have God’s Spirit.


  1. 1 Corinthians 7:1 The Greek word translated touch was a euphemism for sexual relations.
  2. 1 Corinthians 7:5 A few witnesses to the text add fasting and.
  3. 1 Corinthians 7:7 Some witnesses to the text read Yet.
  4. 1 Corinthians 7:11 The Greek word translated divorce here and in verses 12 and 13 can also mean send away or leave.
  5. 1 Corinthians 7:14 Some witnesses to the text read brother.
  6. 1 Corinthians 7:15 A few witnesses to the text read you.
  7. 1 Corinthians 7:24 When context indicates it, the Greek word for brothers may refer to all fellow believers, male and female.
  8. 1 Corinthians 7:26 Paul was writing about distress or trouble that was either present or imminent at that time.
  9. 1 Corinthians 7:36 Or virgin daughter
  10. 1 Corinthians 7:36 Or if she is past marriageable age
  11. 1 Corinthians 7:37 Or and is not being pressured, but has freedom to make up his own mind
  12. 1 Corinthians 7:38 Or gives his virgin daughter in marriage
  13. 1 Corinthians 7:38 Or give her in marriage
  14. 1 Corinthians 7:39 Some witnesses to the text add by law.
Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV)

The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version®, EHV®, © 2019 Wartburg Project, Inc. All rights reserved.


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