The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The First Epistle of the Blessed Apostle Paul to the Corinthians
As for the questions raised in your letter; a man does well to abstain from all commerce with women.
But, to avoid the danger of fornication, let every man keep his own wife, and every woman her own husband.
Let every man give his wife what is her due, and every woman do the same by her husband;
he, not she, claims the right over her body, as she, not he, claims the right over his.
Do not starve one another, unless perhaps you do so for a time, by mutual consent, to have more freedom for prayer; come together again, or Satan will tempt you, weak as you are.
I say this by way of concession; I am not imposing a rule on you.
I wish you were all in the same state as myself; but each of us has his own endowment from God, one to live in this way, another in that.
To the unmarried, and to the widows, I would say that they will do well to remain in the same state as myself,
but if they have not the gift of continence, let them marry; better to marry than to feel the heat of passion.
For those who have married already, the precept holds which is the Lord’s precept, not mine; the wife is not to leave her husband,✻
(if she has left him, she must either remain unmarried, or go back to her own husband again), and the husband is not to put away his wife.
To those others, I give my own instructions, not the Lord’s. If any of the brethren has a wife, not a believer, who is well content to live with him, there is no reason why he should put her away,
nor is there any reason for a woman to part with her husband, not a believer, if he is content to live with her.
The unbelieving husband has shared in his wife’s consecration, and the unbelieving wife has shared in the consecration of one who is a brother. Were it otherwise, their offspring would be born under a stain, whereas in fact it is holy.✻
On the other hand, if the unbelieving partner is for separating, let them separate; in such a case, the brother or the sister is under no compulsion. It is in a spirit of peace that God’s call has come to us.✻
There is no knowing whether thou, the wife, wilt save thy husband, whether thou, the husband, wilt save thy wife.✻
No, the part which God has assigned, the vocation which God has bestowed, is to be the rule in each case. That is the direction which I am giving all through the churches.
If a man is already circumcised when he is called, he is not to disguise it; if he is uncircumcised, he is not to undergo circumcision.
There is no virtue either in circumcision or in the want of it; it is keeping the commandments of God that signifies.
Everyone has his own vocation, in which he has been called; let him keep to it.
Hast thou been called as a slave? Do not let it trouble thee; and if thou hast the means to become free, make all the more use of thy opportunity.✻
If a slave is called to enter Christ’s service, he is Christ’s freedman; just as the free man, when he is called, becomes the slave of Christ.✻
A price was paid to redeem you; do not enslave yourselves to human masters.
Each of you is to remain, brethren, in the condition in which he was called.
About virgins, I have no command from the Lord; but I give you my opinion, as one who is, under the Lord’s mercy, a true counsellor.
This, then, I hold to be the best counsel in such times of stress, that this is the best condition for man to be in.✻
Art thou yoked to a wife? Then, do not go about to free thyself. Art thou free of wedlock? Then do not go about to find a wife.
Not that thou dost commit sin if thou marriest; nor, if she marries, has the virgin committed sin. It is only that those who do so will meet with outward distress. But I leave you your freedom.✻
Only, brethren, I would say this; the time is drawing to an end; nothing remains, but for those who have wives to behave as though they had none;
those who weep must forget their tears, and those who rejoice their rejoicing, and those who buy must renounce possession;
and those who take advantage of what the world offers must not take full advantage of it; the fashion of this world is soon to pass away.
And I would have you free from concern. He who is unmarried is concerned with God’s claim, asking how he is to please God;
whereas the married man is concerned with the world’s claim, asking how he is to please his wife; and thus he is at issue with himself.
So a woman who is free of wedlock, or a virgin, is concerned with the Lord’s claim, intent on holiness, bodily and spiritual; whereas the married woman is concerned with the world’s claim, asking how she is to please her husband.
I am thinking of your own interest when I say this. It is not that I would hold you in a leash; I am thinking of what is suitable for you, and how you may best attend on the Lord without distraction.
And if anyone considers that he is behaving unsuitably towards the girl who is in his charge, on the ground that she is now past her prime, and there is no way of avoiding it, why, let him please himself; there is nothing sinful in it; let her marry.✻
Whereas, if a man remains fixed in his resolution, and makes up his mind to keep the girl who is in his charge unwed, although there is no necessity for it, and he is free to choose for himself, such a man is well advised.
Thus, a man is well advised to give his ward in marriage, and still better advised not to give her in marriage.
As for a wife, she is yoked to her husband as long as he lives; if her husband is dead, she is free to marry anyone she will, so long as she marries in the Lord.
But more blessed is she, if she remains as she is, in my judgement; and I, too, claim to have the Spirit of God.
The Holy Bible