Now I say to those who aren't married and to widows -- it's better to stay unmarried, just as I am.
But if they can't control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It's better to marry than to burn with lust.
Now, for those who are married I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord. a A wife must not leave her husband.
But if she does leave him, let her remain single or else go back to him. And the husband must not leave his wife.
Now, I will speak to the rest of you, though I do not have a direct command from the Lord. If a Christian man b has a wife who is an unbeliever and she is willing to continue living with him, he must not leave her.
And if a Christian woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he is willing to continue living with her, she must not leave him.
For the Christian wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the Christian husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not have a godly influence, but now they are set apart for him.
(But if the husband or wife who isn't a Christian insists on leaving, let them go. In such cases the Christian husband or wife is not required to stay with them, for God wants his children to live in peace.)
You wives must remember that your husbands might be converted because of you. And you husbands must remember that your wives might be converted because of you.
You must accept whatever situation the Lord has put you in, and continue on as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches.
For instance, a man who was circumcised before he became a believer should not try to reverse it. And the man who was uncircumcised when he became a believer should not be circumcised now.
For it makes no difference whether or not a man has been circumcised. The important thing is to keep God's commandments.
You should continue on as you were when God called you.
Are you a slave? Don't let that worry you -- but if you get a chance to be free, take it.
And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, the Lord has now set you free from the awful power of sin. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ.
God purchased you at a high price. Don't be enslaved by the world. c24
So, dear brothers and sisters, d whatever situation you were in when you became a believer, stay there in your new relationship with God.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)