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1 Corinthians 7:25-40 (The Message)

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25 The Master did not give explicit direction regarding virgins, but as one much experienced in the mercy of the Master and loyal to him all the way, you can trust my counsel. 26 Because of the current pressures on us from all sides, I think it would probably be best to stay just as you are. 27 Are you married? Stay married. Are you unmarried? Don't get married. 28 But there's certainly no sin in getting married, whether you're a virgin or not. All I am saying is that when you marry, you take on additional stress in an already stressful time, and I want to spare you if possible. 29 I do want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence. There is no time to waste, so don't complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple - in marriage, 30 grief, joy, whatever. Even in ordinary things - your daily routines of shopping, and so on. 31 Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out. 32 I want you to live as free of complications as possible. When you're unmarried, you're free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master. 33 Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, 34 leading to so many more demands on your attention. The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God. 35 I'm trying to be helpful and make it as easy as possible for you, not make things harder. All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions. 36 If a man has a woman friend to whom he is loyal but never intended to marry, having decided to serve God as a "single," and then changes his mind, deciding he should marry her, he should go ahead and marry. It's no sin; it's not even a "step down" from celibacy, as some say. 37 On the other hand, if a man is comfortable in his decision for a single life in service to God and it's entirely his own conviction and not imposed on him by others, he ought to stick with it. 38 Marriage is spiritually and morally right and not inferior to singleness in any way, although as I indicated earlier, because of the times we live in, I do have pastoral reasons for encouraging singleness. 39 A wife must stay with her husband as long as he lives. If he dies, she is free to marry anyone she chooses. She will, of course, want to marry a believer and have the blessing of the Master. 40 By now you know that I think she'll be better off staying single. The Master, in my opinion, thinks so, too.
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