1. Now for the questions about which you wrote. Yes, it is a good thing for a man not to touch a woman;
2. yet to avoid immorality every man should have his own wife and every woman her own husband.
3. The husband must give to his wife what she has a right to expect, and so too the wife to her husband.
4. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and in the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
5. You must not deprive each other, except by mutual consent for a limited time, to leave yourselves free for prayer, and to come together again afterwards; otherwise Satan may take advantage of any lack of self-control to put you to the test.
6. I am telling you this as a concession, not an order.
7. I should still like everyone to be as I am myself; but everyone has his own gift from God, one this kind and the next something different.
8. To the unmarried and to widows I say: it is good for them to stay as they are, like me.
9. But if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry, since it is better to be married than to be burnt up.
10. To the married I give this ruling, and this is not mine but the Lord's: a wife must not be separated from her husband-
11. or if she has already left him, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband -- and a husband must not divorce his wife.
12. For other cases these instructions are my own, not the Lord's. If one of the brothers has a wife who is not a believer, and she is willing to stay with him, he should not divorce her;
13. and if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to stay with her, she should not divorce her husband.
14. You see, the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through the brother. If this were not so, your children would be unclean, whereas in fact they are holy.
15. But if the unbeliever chooses to leave, then let the separation take place: in these circumstances, the brother or sister is no longer tied. But God has called you to live in peace:
16. as a wife, how can you tell whether you are to be the salvation of your husband; as a husband, how can you tell whether you are to be the salvation of your wife?
17. Anyway let everyone continue in the part which the Lord has allotted to him, as he was when God called him. This is the rule that I give to all the churches.
18. If a man who is called has already been circumcised, then he must stay circumcised; when an uncircumcised man is called, he may not be circumcised.
19. To be circumcised is of no importance, and to be uncircumcised is of no importance; what is important is the keeping of God's commandments.
20. Everyone should stay in whatever state he was in when he was called.
21. So, if when you were called, you were a slave, do not think it matters -- even if you have a chance of freedom, you should prefer to make full use of your condition as a slave.
22. You see, anyone who was called in the Lord while a slave, is a freeman of the Lord; and in the same way, anyone who was free when called, is a slave of Christ.
23. You have been bought at a price; do not be slaves now to any human being.
24. Each one of you, brothers, is to stay before God in the state in which you were called.
25. About people remaining virgin, I have no directions from the Lord, but I give my own opinion as a person who has been granted the Lord's mercy to be faithful.
26. Well then, because of the stress which is weighing upon us, the right thing seems to be this: it is good for people to stay as they are.
27. If you are joined to a wife, do not seek to be released; if you are freed of a wife, do not look for a wife.
28. However, if you do get married, that is not a sin, and it is not sinful for a virgin to enter upon marriage. But such people will have the hardships consequent on human nature, and I would like you to be without that.
29. What I mean, brothers, is that the time has become limited, and from now on, those who have spouses should live as though they had none;
30. and those who mourn as though they were not mourning; those who enjoy life as though they did not enjoy it; those who have been buying property as though they had no possessions;
31. and those who are involved with the world as though they were people not engrossed in it. Because this world as we know it is passing away.
32. I should like you to have your minds free from all worry. The unmarried man gives his mind to the Lord's affairs and to how he can please the Lord;
33. but the man who is married gives his mind to the affairs of this world and to how he can please his wife, and he is divided in mind.
34. So, too, the unmarried woman, and the virgin, gives her mind to the Lord's affairs and to being holy in body and spirit; but the married woman gives her mind to the affairs of this world and to how she can please her husband.
35. I am saying this only to help you, not to put a bridle on you, but so that everything is as it should be, and you are able to give your undivided attention to the Lord.
36. If someone with strong passions thinks that he is behaving badly towards his fiance'e and that things should take their due course, he should follow his desires. There is no sin in it; they should marry.
37. But if he stands firm in his resolution, without any compulsion but with full control of his own will, and decides to let her remain as his fiance'e, then he is acting well.
38. In other words, he who marries his fiance'e is doing well, and he who does not, better still.
39. A wife is tied as long as her husband is alive. But if the husband dies, she is free to marry anybody she likes, only it must be in the Lord.
40. She would be happier if she stayed as she is, to my way of thinking -- and I believe that I too have the Spirit of God.