Directions concerning Marriage
1Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is well for a man not to touch a woman.”2But because of cases of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.3The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.4For 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.5Do not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a set time, to devote yourselves to prayer, and then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.6This I say by way of concession, not of command.7I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has a particular gift from God, one having one kind and another a different kind.8To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am.9But if they are not practicing self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.10To the married I give this command—not I but the Lord—that the wife should not separate from her husband11(but if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.12To the rest I say—I and not the Lord—that if any believer has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her.13And if any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.14For the unbelieving husband is made holy through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.15But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. It is to peace that God has called you.16Wife, for all you know, you might save your husband. Husband, for all you know, you might save your wife.The Life That the Lord Has Assigned
17However that may be, let each of you lead the life that the Lord has assigned, to which God called you. This is my rule in all the churches.18Was 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? Let him not seek circumcision.19Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing; but obeying the commandments of God is everything.20Let each of you remain in the condition in which you were called.21Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. Even if you can gain your freedom, make use of your present condition now more than ever.22For whoever was called in the Lord as a slave is a freed person belonging to the Lord, just as whoever was free when called is a slave of Christ.23You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of human masters.24In whatever condition you were called, brothers and sisters, there remain with God.The Unmarried and the Widows
25Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy.26I think that, in view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are.27Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife.28But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a virgin marries, she does not sin. Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that.29I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none,30and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions,31and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.32I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord;33but the married man is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please his wife,34and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin are anxious about the affairs of the Lord, so that they may be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please her husband.35I say this for your own benefit, not to put any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and unhindered devotion to the Lord.36If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his fiancée, if his passions are strong, and so it has to be, let him marry as he wishes; it is no sin. Let them marry.37But if someone stands firm in his resolve, being under no necessity but having his own desire under control, and has determined in his own mind to keep her as his fiancée, he will do well.38So then, he who marries his fiancée does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better.39A wife is bound as long as her husband lives. But if the husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, only in the Lord.40But in my judgment she is more blessed if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.
Chapter 8Food Offered to Idols
1Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.2Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge;3but anyone who loves God is known by him.4Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.”5Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords—6yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.7It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.8“Food will not bring us close to God.” We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.9But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.10For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols?11So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed.12But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.13Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.
Chapter 9The Rights of an Apostle
1Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?2If I am not an apostle to others, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.3This is my defense to those who would examine me.4Do we not have the right to our food and drink?5Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?6Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living?7Who at any time pays the expenses for doing military service? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not get any of its milk?8Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law also say the same?9For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned?10Or does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was indeed written for our sake, for whoever plows should plow in hope and whoever threshes should thresh in hope of a share in the crop.11If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits?12If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we still more?
Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.13Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is sacrificed on the altar?14In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.15But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing this so that they may be applied in my case. Indeed, I would rather die than that—no one will deprive me of my ground for boasting!16If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel!17For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission.18What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel.19For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them.20To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law.21To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law) so that I might win those outside the law.22To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some.23I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.24Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it.25Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one.26So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air;27but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.
Chapter 10Warnings from Israel's History
1I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,2and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,3and all ate the same spiritual food,4and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.5Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness.6Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did.7Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play.”8We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.9We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents.10And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.11These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.12So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall.13No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.14Therefore, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols.15I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.16The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?17Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.18Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar?19What do I imply then? That food sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?20No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons.21You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.22Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?Do All to the Glory of God
23“All things are lawful,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.24Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other.25Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience,26for “the earth and its fullness are the Lord's.”27If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience.28But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, out of consideration for the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience—29I mean the other's conscience, not your own. For why should my liberty be subject to the judgment of someone else's conscience?30If I partake with thankfulness, why should I be denounced because of that for which I give thanks?31So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.