1 Corinthians 7–8; 1 Corinthians 9

Principles for Marriage

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: tIt is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman. But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. uThe husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 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. 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.

Now as a concession, xnot a command, I say this.1 yI wish that all were zas I myself am. But aeach has his own gift from God, bone of one kind and one of another.

To the unmarried and the widows I say that cit is good for them to remain single, das I am. 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 you2 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 life3 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 bondservant4 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,5 win whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.

The Unmarried and the Widowed

25 Now concerning6 the betrothed,7 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 present8 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 woman9 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,10 if his11 passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marryit 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.

Food Offered to Idols

Now concerning12 mfood offered to idols: we know that nall of us possess knowledge. This knowledge opuffs up, pbut love builds up. qIf anyone imagines that he knows something, rhe does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, she is known by God.13

Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that tan idol has no real existence, and that uthere is no God but one. For although there may be vso-called gods in heaven or on earthas indeed there are many gods and many lords yet wfor us there is one God, the Father, xfrom whom are all things and for whom we exist, and yone Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and zthrough whom we exist.

However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, athrough former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and btheir conscience, being weak, is defiled. cFood will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care dthat this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block eto the weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating14 in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged,15 if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is fdestroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers16 and gwounding their conscience when it is weak, hyou sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, iif food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.


Paul Surrenders His Rights

jAm I not free? kAm I not an apostle? lHave I not seen Jesus our Lord? mAre not you my workmanship in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are nthe seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

This is my defense to those who would examine me. oDo we not have the right to eat and drink? pDo we not have the right to take along a believing wife,1 as do the other apostles and qthe brothers of the Lord and rCephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? sWho serves as a soldier at his own expense? tWho plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?

Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? For it is written in the Law of Moses, uYou shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain. Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10 Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written vfor our sake, because wthe plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. 11 xIf we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?

Nevertheless, ywe have not made use of this right, but we endure anything zrather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that athose who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that bthose who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.

15 But cI have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone ddeprive me of my ground for boasting. 16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For enecessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with fa stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? That in my preaching gI may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

19 For hthough I am free from all, iI have made myself a servant to all, that I might jwin more of them. 20 kTo the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To lthose outside the law I became mas one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but nunder the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 oTo the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. pI have become all things to all people, that qby all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, rthat I may share with them in its blessings.

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives sthe prize? So trun that you may obtain it. 25 Every uathlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we van imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I wdo not box as one xbeating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and ykeep it under control,2 lest after preaching to others zI myself should be adisqualified.