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7. Sexual Immorality and Marriage

1Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2But, because of fornications, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3Let the husband render unto the wife her due: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4The wife hath not power over her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power over his own body, but the wife. 5Defraud ye not one the other, except it be by consent for a season, that ye may give yourselves unto prayer, and may be together again, that Satan tempt you not because of your incontinency. 6But this I say by way of concession, not of commandment. 7Yet I would that all men were even as I myself. Howbeit each man hath his own gift from God, one after this manner, and another after that. 8But I say to the unmarried and to widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. 9But if they have not continency, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. 10But unto the married I give charge, yea not I, but the Lord, That the wife depart not from her husband 11(but should she depart, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband); and that the husband leave not his wife. 12But to the rest say I, not the Lord: If any brother hath an unbelieving wife, and she is content to dwell with him, let him not leave her. 13And the woman that hath an unbelieving husband, and he is content to dwell with her, let her not leave her husband. 14For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the brother: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15Yet if the unbelieving departeth, let him depart: the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us in peace. 16For how knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? Or how knowest thou, O husband, whether thou shalt save thy wife? 17Only, as the Lord hath distributed to each man, as God hath called each, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all the churches. 18Was any man called being circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Hath any been called in uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised. 19Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing; but the keeping of the commandments of God. 20Let each man abide in that calling wherein he was called. 21Wast thou called being a bondservant? Care not for it: nay, even if thou canst become free, use it rather. 22For he that was called in the Lord being a bondservant, is the Lord's freedman: likewise he that was called being free, is Christ's bondservant. 23Ye were bought with a price; become not bondservants of men. 24Brethren, let each man, wherein he was called, therein abide with God. 25Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: but I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be trustworthy. 26I think therefore that this is good by reason of the distress that is upon us, namely, that it is good for a man to be as he is. 27Art thou bound unto a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife. 28But shouldest thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Yet such shall have tribulation in the flesh: and I would spare you. 29But this I say, brethren, the time is shortened, that henceforth both those that have wives may be as though they had none; 30and those that weep, as though they wept not; and those that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and those that buy, as though they possessed not; 31and those that use the world, as not using it to the full: for the fashion of this world passeth away. 32But I would have you to be free from cares. He that is unmarried is careful for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord: 33but he that is married is careful for the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34and is divided. So also the woman that is unmarried and the virgin is careful for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married is careful for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35And this I say for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is seemly, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. 36But if any man thinketh that he behaveth himself unseemly toward his virgin daughter, if she be past the flower of her age, and if need so requireth, let him do what he will; he sinneth not; let them marry. 37But he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power as touching in his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, shall do well. 38So then both he that giveth his own virgin daughter in marriage doeth well; and he that giveth her not in marriage shall do better. 39A wife is bound for so long time as her husband liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is free to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. 40But she is happier if she abide as she is, after my judgment: and I think that I also have the Spirit of God.

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Verses 10–16

Man and wife must not separate for any other cause than what Christ allows. Divorce, at that time, was very common among both Jews and Gentiles, on very slight pretexts. Marriage is a Divine institution; and is an engagement for life, by God's appointment. We are bound, as much as in us lies, to live peaceably with all men, Ro 12:18, therefore to promote the peace and comfort of our nearest relatives, though unbelievers. It should be the labour and study of those who are married, to make each other as easy and happy as possible. Should a Christian desert a husband or wife, when there is opportunity to give the greatest proof of love? Stay, and labour heartily for the conversion of thy relative. In every state and relation the Lord has called us to peace; and every thing should be done to promote harmony, as far as truth and holiness will permit.




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