So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God.
Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.
My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.
Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another.
For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings--and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you!
For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men.
We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored!
To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.
We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;
when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.
I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children.
Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you.
But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife.
And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?
Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present.
When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present,
hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.
Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?
Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast--as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.
I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people--
not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.
But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?
God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."
If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints?
Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?
Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!
Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church!
I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?
But instead, one brother goes to law against another--and this in front of unbelievers!
The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?
Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
"Everything is permissible for me"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"--but I will not be mastered by anything.
"Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"--but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!
Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh."
But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.
But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.
The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.
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.
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.
I say this as a concession, not as a command.
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.
Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.
But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.
But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.
And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.
For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.
How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.
Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised.
Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God's commands is what counts.
Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.
Were you a slave when you were called? Don't let it trouble you--although if you can gain your freedom, do so.
For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord's freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ's slave.
You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.
Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to.
Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy.
Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for you to remain as you are.
Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife.
But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none;
those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep;
those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.
I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs--how he can please the Lord.
But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world--how he can please his wife--
and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world--how she can please her husband.
I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married.
But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin--this man also does the right thing.
So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does even better.
A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.
In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is--and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.