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1 Corinthians 7:1-7 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 Now, getting down to the questions you asked in your letter to me. First, Is it a good thing to have sexual relations? 1 Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.
2 Certainly - but only within a certain context. It's good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. 2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.
3 The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality - the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.
4 Marriage is not a place to "stand up for your rights." Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. 4 The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.
5 Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it's for the purposes of prayer and fasting - but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. 5 Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
6 I'm not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence - only providing my best counsel if you should choose them. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command.
7 Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me - a simpler life in many ways! But celibacy is not for everyone any more than marriage is. God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others. 7 I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.