The Ministry of Apostles
4 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and nstewards of the mysteries of God.
2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 oFor I am not aware of anything against myself, pbut I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore qdo not pronounce judgment before the time, rbefore the Lord comes, swho will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. tThen each one will receive his commendation from God.
6 I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers,1 that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may ube puffed up in favor of one against another. 7 For who sees anything different in you? vWhat do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! 9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, wlike men sentenced to death, because we xhave become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10 yWe are fools for Christ’s sake, but zyou are wise in Christ. aWe are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour bwe hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and cbuffeted and dhomeless, 12 and we elabor, working with our own hands. fWhen reviled, we bless; gwhen persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. hWe have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, ithe refuse of all things.
14 I do not write these things jto make you ashamed, but to admonish you kas my beloved children. 15 For lthough you have countless2 guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For mI became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then, nbe imitators of me. 17 That is why oI sent3 you Timothy, pmy beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ,4 qas I teach them everywhere in every church. 18 Some are rarrogant, sas though I were not coming to you. 19 But tI will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20 For uthe kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 21 What do you wish? vShall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?
Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church
5 It is actually reported that there is wsexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, xfor a man has his father’s wife. 2 And yyou are arrogant! Ought you znot rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
3 For though aabsent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled bin the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are cto deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so dthat his spirit may be saved ein the day of the Lord.5
6 fYour boasting is not good. Do you not know that ga little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, hnot with the old leaven, ithe leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I wrote to you in my letter jnot to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 knot at all meaning lthe sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, msince then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone nwho bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging ooutsiders? pIs it not those inside the church6 whom you are to judge? 13 God judges7 those outside. q“Purge the evil person from among you.”
Lawsuits Against Believers
6 When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous rinstead of the saints? 2 Or do you not know that sthe saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! 4 So if you have such cases, twhy do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 uI say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? 7 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. vWhy not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even wyour own brothers!8
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous9 will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: xneither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,10 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And ysuch were some of you. But zyou were washed, ayou were sanctified, byou were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Flee Sexual Immorality
12 c“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 d“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one eand the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but ffor the Lord, and gthe Lord for the body. 14 And hGod raised the Lord and iwill also raise us up jby his power. 15 Do you not know that kyour bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined11 to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, l“The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord mbecomes one spirit with him. 18 nFlee from sexual immorality. Every other sin12 a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person osins against his own body. 19 Or pdo you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? qYou are not your own, 20 rfor you were bought with a price. sSo glorify God in your body.
Principles for Marriage
7 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: t“It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 uThe husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 vDo not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, wso that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that cit is good for them to remain single, das I am. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, ethey should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
10 To the married fI give this charge (not I, but the Lord): gthe wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, hshe should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and gthe husband should not divorce his wife.
12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. iOtherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you14 jto peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, kwhether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
Live as You Are Called
17 Only let each person lead the life15 lthat the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. mThis is my rule in nall the churches. 18 Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? oLet him not seek circumcision. 19 pFor neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but qkeeping the commandments of God. 20 rEach one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21 Were you a bondservant16 when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is sa freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is ta bondservant of Christ. 23 uYou were bought with a price; vdo not become bondservants of men. 24 So, brothers,17 win whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.
The Unmarried and the Widowed
25 Now concerning18 the betrothed,19 xI have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as yone who by the Lord’s mercy is ztrustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present20 distress ait is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman21 marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: bthe appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy cas though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For dthe present form of this world is passing away.
32 I want you to be efree from anxieties. fThe unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, gnot to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
36 If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed,22 if his23 passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. 37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. 38 So then he who marries his betrothed hdoes well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.
39 iA wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only jin the Lord. 40 Yet kin my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think lthat I too have the Spirit of God.