1Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”
2But because of the temptation to 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 limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
25Now concerning7 the betrothed,8 I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.
26I think that in view of the present9 distress it is good for a person to remain as he is.
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 do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman10 marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that.
29This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live 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 goods,
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 things of the Lord, how to please the Lord.
33But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife,
34and 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.
35I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
36If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed,11 if his12 passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin.
37But 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.
38So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.
39A 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 in the Lord.
40Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.
1 Or I say this:
2 Some manuscripts us
3 Or each person walk in the way
4 Or slave; also twice in verse 22 (for the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface)
5 Or slaves (for the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface)
6 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 29
7 The expression Now concerning introduces a reply to a question in the Corinthians’ letter; see 7:1