1 Corinthians 7 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
7 Now I will discuss the things you wrote me about. You asked if it is better for a man not to have any sexual relations at all. 2 But sexual sin is a danger, so each man should enjoy his own wife, and each woman should enjoy her own husband. 3 The husband should give his wife what she deserves as his wife. And the wife should give her husband what he deserves as her husband. 4 The wife does not have power over her own body. Her husband has the power over her body. And the husband does not have power over his own body. His wife has the power over his body. 5 Don’t refuse to give your bodies to each other. But you might both agree to stay away from sex for a while so that you can give your time to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not be able to tempt you in your weakness. 6 I say this only to give you permission to be separated for a time. It is not a rule. 7 I wish everyone could be like me. But God has given each person a different ability. He makes some able to live one way, others to live a different way.
8 Now for those who are not married and for the widows I say this: It is good for you to stay single like me. 9 But if you cannot control your body, then you should marry. It is better to marry than to burn with sexual desire.
10 Now, I have a command for those who are married. Actually, it is not from me; it is what the Lord commanded. A wife should not leave her husband. 11 But if a wife does leave, she should remain single or get back together with her husband. And a husband should not divorce his wife.
12 The advice I have for the others is from me. The Lord did not give us any teaching about this. If you have a wife who is not a believer, you should not divorce her if she will continue to live with you. 13 And if you have a husband who is not a believer, you should not divorce him if he will continue to live with you. 14 The husband who is not a believer is set apart for God through his believing wife. And the wife who is not a believer is set apart for God through her believing husband. If this were not true, your children would be unfit for God’s use. But now they are set apart for him.
15 But if the husband or wife who is not a believer decides to leave, let them leave. When this happens, the brother or sister in Christ is free. God chose you to have a life of peace. 16 Wives, maybe you will save your husband; and husbands, maybe you will save your wife. You don’t know now what will happen later.
Live as God Called You
17 But each one of you should continue to live the way the Lord God has given you to live—the way you were when God chose you. I tell people in all the churches to follow this rule. 18 If a man was already circumcised when he was chosen, he should not change his circumcision. If a man was without circumcision when he was chosen, he should not be circumcised. 19 It is not important if anyone is circumcised or not. What is important is obeying God’s commands. 20 Each one of you should stay the way you were when God chose you. 21 If you were a slave when God chose you, don’t let that bother you. But if you can be free, then do it. 22 If you were a slave when the Lord chose you, you are now free in the Lord. You belong to the Lord. In the same way, if you were free when you were chosen, you are now Christ’s slave. 23 God paid a high price for you, so don’t be slaves to anyone else. 24 Brothers and sisters, in your new life with God, each one of you should continue the way you were when God chose you.
Questions About Getting Married
25 Now I write about people who are not married.[a] I have no command from the Lord about this, but I give my opinion. And I can be trusted, because the Lord has given me mercy. 26 This is a time of trouble. So I think it is good for you to stay the way you are. 27 If you have a wife, don’t try to get free from her. If you are not married, don’t try to find a wife. 28 But if you decide to marry, that is not a sin. And it is not a sin for a girl who has never married to get married. But those who marry will have trouble in this life, and I want you to be free from this trouble.
29 Brothers and sisters, this is what I mean: We don’t have much time left. So starting now, those who have wives should be the same as those who don’t. 30 It should not be important whether you are sad or whether you are happy. If you buy something, it should not matter to you that you own it. 31 You should use the things of the world without letting them become important to you. This is how you should live, because this world, the way it is now, will soon be gone.
32 I want you to be free from worry. A man who is not married is busy with the Lord’s work. He is trying to please the Lord. 33 But a man who is married is busy with things of the world. He is trying to please his wife. 34 He must think about two things—pleasing his wife and pleasing the Lord. A woman who is not married or a girl who has never married is busy with the Lord’s work. She wants to give herself fully—body and spirit—to the Lord. But a married woman is busy with things of the world. She is trying to please her husband. 35 I am saying this to help you. I am not trying to limit you, but I want you to live in the right way. And I want you to give yourselves fully to the Lord without giving your time to other things.
36 A man might think that he is not doing the right thing with his fiancée. She might be almost past the best age to marry.[b] So he might feel that he should marry her. He should do what he wants. It is no sin for them to get married. 37 But another man might be more sure in his mind. There may be no need for marriage, so he is free to do what he wants. If he has decided in his own heart not to marry his fiancée, he is doing the right thing. 38 So the man who marries his fiancée does right, and the man who does not marry does better.
39 A woman should stay with her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, the woman is free to marry any man she wants, but he should belong to the Lord. 40 The woman is happier if she does not marry again. This is my opinion, and I believe that I have God’s Spirit.
1 Corinthians 7 New International Version (NIV)
Concerning Married Life
7 Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.
8 Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
Concerning Change of Status
17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. 18 Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts. 20 Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.
21 Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. 22 For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. 24 Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.
Concerning the Unmarried
25 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
29 What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.
32 I would like you to be free from concern. 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 his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim 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 am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
36 If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong[b] and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. 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 his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing. 38 So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does better.[c]
39 A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. 40 In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is—and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.