Lessons relating to marriage and celibacy. Virginity is preferable
to a married state.
1 Now concerning the thing whereof you wrote to me: It is good for a man
not to touch a woman:
2 But because of fornication let every man have his own wife, and let every
woman have her own husband.
3 *Let the husband render the debt to his wife: and the wife also in like
manner to the husband.
4 The wife hath not power of her own body; but the husband. And in like
manner the husband also hath not power of his own body; but the wife.
5 Defraud not one another, unless, perhaps, by consent, for a time, that
you may give yourselves to prayer: and return together again, lest Satan tempt you for your incontinency.
6 But I speak this by indulgence, not by commandment.
7 For I would that all men were even as myself: but every one hath his
proper gift from God; one after this manner, and another after that.
8 But I say to the unmarried, and to the widows: it is good for them if
they so continue, even as I.
9 But if they do not contain themselves, let them marry: for it is better
to marry than to burn.
10 But to them that are married, not I but the Lord commandeth, *that the
wife depart not from her husband:
11 And if she depart, that she remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her
husband. And let not the husband put away his wife.
12 For to the rest I speak, not the Lord. If any brother have a wife that
believeth not, and she consent to dwell with him; let him not put her away.
13 And if any woman have a husband that believeth not; and he consent to
dwell with her; let her not put away her husband.
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife; and
the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the believing husband: otherwise your children should be unclean; but now they are holy.
15 But if the unbeliever depart, let him depart. For a brother or sister
is not under servitude in such cases: but God hath called us in peace.
16 For how knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? Or
how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
17 But as the Lord hath distributed to every one, as God hath called every
one, so let him walk: and so I teach in all churches.
18 Is any man called, being circumcised? let him not procure uncircumcision.
Is any man called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.
19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing: but the observance
of the commandments of God.
20 *Let every man abide in the same calling in which he was called.
21 Art thou called, being a bond-man? care not for it: but if thou mayest
be made free, use it rather.
22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a bond-man, is the freeman
of the Lord. Likewise he that is called, being free, is the bond-man of Christ.
23 *You are bought with a price, be not made the bond-slaves of men.
24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he was called, therein abide with God.
25 Now concerning virgins, I have no commandment of the Lord: but I give
counsel, as having obtained mercy of the Lord, to be faithful.
26 I think, therefore, that this is good for the present necessity, that
it is good for a man so to be.
27 Art thou bound to a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from
a wife? seek not a wife.
28 But if thou take a wife, thou hast not sinned. And if a virgin marry,
she hath not sinned: nevertheless, such shall have tribulation of the flesh. But I spare you.
29 This, therefore, I say, brethren: the time is short: it remaineth, that
they also who have wives, be as if they had none:
30 And they who weep, as though they wept not: and they who rejoice, as
if they rejoiced not: and they who buy, as if they possessed not:
31 And they who use this world, as if they used it not: for the figure
of this world passeth away.
32 But I would have you to be without solicitude. He that is without a
wife, is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God.
33 But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world,
how he may please his wife: and he is divided.
34 And the unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the
Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of the world, how she
may please her husband.
35 And this I speak for your profit: not to cast a snare upon you, but
for that which is decent, and which may give you power to attend upon the Lord, without impediment.
36 But if any man think that he seemeth dishonoured with regard to his
virgin, for that she is above the age, and it must be so: let him do what he will: he sinneth not, if she marry.
37 For he that hath determined being steadfast in his heart, having no
necessity, but having power of his own will; and hath judged this in his heart, to keep his virgin, doth well.
38 Therefore, both he that giveth his virgin in marriage, doth well: and
he that giveth her not, doth better.
39 *A woman is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth: but if her
husband die, she is at liberty: let her marry whom she will: only in the Lord:
40 But more blessed shall she be, if she so remain, according to my counsel:
and I think that I also have the spirit of God.
3: 1 Peter iii. 7.
10: Matthew v. 32. and xix. 9.; Mark x. 9.; Luke xvi. 18.
20: Ephesians iv. 1.
23: 1 Corinthians vi. 20.; 1 Peter i. 18.
39: Romans vii. 2.