1 Corinthians 7

Listen to 1 Corinthians 7

Principles for Marriage

1 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: 1"It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman."
2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.
3 2The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.
4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
5 3Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, 4so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
6 Now as a concession, 5not a command, I say this.[a]
7 6I wish that all were 7as I myself am. But 8each has his own gift from God, 9one of one kind and one of another.
8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that 10it is good for them to remain single 11as I am.
9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, 12they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
10 To the married 13I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): 14the wife should not separate from her husband
11 (but if she does, 15she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and 16the husband should not divorce his wife.
12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her.
13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.
14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. 17Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you[b]18to peace.
16 For how do you know, wife, 19whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Live as You Are Called

17 Only let each person lead the life 20that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. 21This is my rule in 22all the churches.
18 Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? 23Let him not seek circumcision.
19 24For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but 25keeping the commandments of God.
20 26Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called.
21 Were you a slave[c] when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.)
22 For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is 27a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is 28a slave of Christ.
23 29You were bought with a price; 30do not become slaves of men.
24 So, brothers,[d]31in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.

The Unmarried and the Widowed

25 Now concerning[e] the betrothed,[f]32I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as 33one who by the Lord's mercy is 34trustworthy.
26 I think that in view of the present[g] distress 35it is good for a person to remain as he is.
27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife.
28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman[h] marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that.
29 This is what I mean, brothers: 36the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none,
30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy 37as though they had no goods,
31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For 38the present form of this world is passing away.
32 I want you to be 39free from anxieties. 40The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord.
33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife,
34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.
35 I say this for your own benefit, 41not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
36 If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed,[i] if his[j] passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry--it is no sin.
37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well.
38 So then he who marries his betrothed 42does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.
39 43A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only 44in the Lord.
40 Yet 45in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think 46that I too have the Spirit of God.

Cross References 46

  • 1. ver. 8, 26
  • 2. Exodus 21:10
  • 3. [Exodus 19:15; 1 Samuel 21:4; Ecclesiastes 3:5; Zechariah 12:12-14]
  • 4. 1 Thessalonians 3:5
  • 5. ver. 12, 25; 2 Corinthians 8:8; [ver. 10, 40]
  • 6. [Acts 26:29]
  • 7. ver. 8; [1 Corinthians 9:5]
  • 8. 1 Corinthians 12:4, 11; 1 Peter 4:10; [Romans 12:6]
  • 9. Matthew 19:11, 12
  • 10. ver. 1, 26
  • 11. ver. 7
  • 12. [1 Timothy 5:14]
  • 13. See ver. 6
  • 14. Malachi 2:16; See Matthew 5:32
  • 15. Mark 10:12
  • 16. [See ver. 10 above]
  • 17. Ezra 9:2; Malachi 2:15
  • 18. Colossians 3:15; See Romans 14:19
  • 19. 1 Peter 3:1; See Romans 11:14
  • 20. See Romans 12:3
  • 21. 1 Corinthians 4:17
  • 22. 2 Corinthians 8:18; 2 Corinthians 11:28
  • 23. Acts 15:1, 5, 19, 24, 28; Galatians 5:2
  • 24. Galatians 3:28; Galatians 5:6; Galatians 6:15; Colossians 3:11
  • 25. See 1 John 2:3
  • 26. ver. 24
  • 27. [Colossians 3:24; Philemon 16]; See John 8:36
  • 28. [1 Corinthians 9:21; 1 Peter 2:16]
  • 29. See 1 Corinthians 6:20
  • 30. Leviticus 25:42, 55
  • 31. ver. 20
  • 32. See ver. 6
  • 33. 2 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Timothy 1:13, 16
  • 34. 1 Corinthians 4:2
  • 35. ver. 1, 8
  • 36. See Romans 13:11
  • 37. 2 Corinthians 6:10
  • 38. Psalms 39:6; James 1:10; 1 Peter 1:24; 1 Peter 4:7; 1 John 2:17
  • 39. See Matthew 6:25; Luke 10:41
  • 40. [1 Timothy 5:5]
  • 41. [Proverbs 22:25]
  • 42. Hebrews 13:4
  • 43. Romans 7:2
  • 44. [2 Corinthians 6:14]
  • 45. See ver. 6
  • 46. [Acts 15:28]

Footnotes 10

  • [a]. Or I say this:
  • [b]. Some manuscripts us
  • [c]. Greek bondservant; also twice in verse 22 and once in verse 23 (plural)
  • [d]. Or brothers and sisters; also verse 29
  • [e]. The expression Now concerning introduces a reply to a question in the Corinthians' letter; see 7:1
  • [f]. Greek virgins
  • [g]. Or impending
  • [h]. Greek virgin; also verse 34
  • [i]. Greek virgin; also verses 37, 38
  • [j]. Or her

1 Corinthians 7 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.