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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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The Bible in Living English

1 Corinthians 7:1-40

7  But as to what you wrote about: It is a good thing for a man not to touch a woman. 2  But for fear of unchastities let each have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3  Let the husband pay to the wife what he owes her, and likewise the wife too to the husband. 4  The wife is not entitled to control her own body, but the husband; and likewise the husband too is not entitled to control his own body, but the wife. 5  Do not hold back each other’s rightful dues, unless it may be temporarily by agreement in order that you may have a while for prayer and again be together, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your incontinence. 6  But this I say in the way of tolerance, not as an order; 7  but I wish all men to be the same as I myself am—but each has a gift of his own from God, one in this way and one in that. 8*  But I say to the unmarried and the widows, it is a good thing for them if they remain the same as I am; 9  but if they are not masters of themselves let them marry, for it is better to marry than to be burned. 10  But married couples I enjoin, not I but the Lord, that wife must not separate from husband— 11  or if she does, let her remain unmarried or make up with her husband—and that husband must not divorce wife. 12  But to the rest I, not the Lord, say, if any brother has an unbelieving wife and she is satisfied to live with him, let him not divorce her, 13  and whatever woman has an unbelieving husband and he is satisfied to live with her, let her not divorce her husband. 14  For the unbelieving husband is consecrated in the wife and the unbelieving wife is consecrated in the husband; else your children would be unclean; but in fact they are holy. 15*  But if the unbeliever separates, let him; the brother or sister is not fettered in such cases. But it is in peace that God has called us. 16  For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? 17  Only, as the Lord has allotted each his share, as God has called each one, so let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches. 18  One was called in circumcised condition—let him not obliterate the mark; one was called in uncircumcised condition—let him not get himself circumcised. 19  Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing; but the keeping of God’s commandments. 20  In the call that came to each, in that let him remain. 21*  You were called as a slave—do not be concerned about it, but if you do have the chance to become free, prefer to carry on. 22  For the slave who has been called in the Lord is the Lord’s freedman; likewise the freeman when he is called is Christ’s slave; 23  you were bought and paid for—do not become slaves of men. 24  Let each one, brothers, as a member of God’s household remain in what he was called in. 25  But as to maidens I do not have any order given by the Lord, but give my judgment as one to whom the Lord has granted the mercy of being trusted. 26  I think this is best, then, in view of the straits we are in: it is best for a man to be so. 27  You are bound to a wife—do not try for release; you are free from a wife—do not try for a wife. 28  But if you do marry you have not sinned, and if the maiden marries she has not sinned; but such will have distress for the flesh, and I am having consideration for you. 29  But this I do say, brothers, the times are under pressure, so that hereafter those who have wives should be as if they did not have them, 30  and those who weep as if they were not weeping, and those who rejoice as if they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as not having obtained title, 31  and those who deal with the world as not having the use of it; for this world’s shows are transient. 32  But I want you free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious over what belongs to the Lord, how to please the Lord; 33  but the man who has married is anxious over what belongs to the world, how to please his wife, 34  and is divided. And the unmarried woman and the maiden is anxious over what belongs to the Lord in order that she may be holy both in body and in spirit; but the woman who has married is anxious over what belongs to the world, how to please her husband. 35  But I am saying this in your own interest, not in order to put a halter on you but with a view to what will be respectable and favorable to undistracted listening to the Lord. 36  But if anybody feels that he will be acting discreditably toward his maiden if she is overage, and that is the way it has to be, let him do what he will, he is not sinning; let them marry. 37  But he who stands fast in his heart, not being under a compulsion but having freedom to go by his own will, and has come to this decision in his own heart, to keep his maiden, will be doing well. 38*  So that equally he who marries his maiden is doing well, and he who does not will be doing better. 39  A wife is bound for such time as her husband is alive; but if her husband goes to his rest she is free to marry whom she will, only in the Lord; 40  but she is happier if she remains so, in my opinion. And I think I too have God’s spirit.

Footnotes

7:8 Conj. and the widowed
7:15 Lit. not enslaved
7:21 Or prefer to take advantage of it Lit. if you can (with stress on the word can) become free, prefer to use. For the slave who
7:38 Or marries off his