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.
Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.
But the man who loves God is known by God.
So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one.
For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"),
yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled.
But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.
Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.
For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols?
So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.
When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.
Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.
Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord?
Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me.
Don't we have the right to food and drink?
Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas ?
Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living?
Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk?
Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn't the Law say the same thing?