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The Ruins of Corinth in Greece

Paul's First Letter to the Church in Corinth

Chapter 7

Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: it is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a time that you may give yourselves to fasting and to prayer; and then come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But this I say as a concession, not as a commandment. For I wish that all men were even as I myself am. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.

But to the unmarried and to the widows I say that it is good for them to remain even as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

To the married I give this command- yet not I but the Lord- that the wife is not to depart from her husband (but even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband is not to divorce his wife.

To the rest I- not the Lord- say that if any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to dwell with him, let him not divorce her. And if any woman has a husband who does not believe, and he is willing to dwell with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. But if the unbeliever departs, let them depart; a brother or a sister is not bound in such cases. But God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O man, whether you will save your wife?

But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches. Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters. Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can gain your freedom, rather use it. For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord's freedman. Likewise also he who is called while free is Christ's slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. Brethren, let each one remain with God in that calling in which he was called.

Now concerning virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give judgment as one who has obtained mercy of the Lord to be trustworthy. I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress- that it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless, such will have trouble in the flesh, and I would spare you that. But this I say, brethren, the time is short; so that from now on, let those who have wives be as though they had none, those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the form of this world is passing away.

But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things that belong to the Lord- how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world- how he may please his wife. There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world- how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a snare on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.

But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of her youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes; he does not sin; let them marry. Nevertheless, he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well. So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better.

A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. But she is happier if she remains as she is, according to my judgment; and I think that I have the Spirit of God.


Something To Consider

Paul concludes this section of his letter by saying that he considers himself to have the Spirit of God. Do those who profess to be Christians today have the same spirit?

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