Now Paul starts to address some of the things the Corinthians wrote to him about. Apparently, they had a lot of questions about sex.
Paul tells them that if people can't stop themselves from getting it on with each other, then they might as well get married. Well, okay then.
Once you're married, men and women shouldn't withhold sex from each other. That can lead to temptation… and that's no good.
Of course, Paul isn't thrilled to have to give this advice. He's a bachelor and thinks everyone should be shrugging off sex like him. But he realizes that not everyone is going be able to live up to his level of awesomeness.
If you're single or you're a widow, Paul's advice is to stay that way.
But if you can't keep it in your pants then, by all means, put a ring on it.
Rules for Marriage
So, since the unmarried Paul has clearly established himself as an expert on marriage, he continues…
Christians who are married to unbelievers shouldn't divorce their spouses. As long as the non-believer of the pair is fine living with a Christian, they should be cool with it.
Yes, in the last chapter, having sex with a prostitute made you a prostitute, but, don't worry: a Christian spouse actually makes their non-believing spouse holy. Don't ask Paul to explain how.
And if you're lucky, you might actually be able to convert your non-believing spouse to Christianity. Try something like, "When are you gonna take out the trash… and accept Jesus as Lord?"
Keep Slaving Away
Really, what all this comes down to is what Christians do about their current situations. What if you're married or a virgin or a slave even? So what's the deal with that?
Paul thinks that Christians should just let it be. If you're circumcised, then don't try to change it. Same thing if you weren't circumcised.
Don't go cutting off perfectly good foreskin just for the sake of Jesus.
That stuff doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is living for God.
So if you're a slave who converted to Christianity, then stay a slave. Say what?
Uh-huh. Good news is, even though you're a slave, you are a free person in God's eyes. Yeah, that'll make lifelong imprisonment much easier to take.
More Marriage, More Problems
More advice… this time for virgins!
Thinking about getting married? Think again.
Married people have all kinds of problems. They have to worry about each other all the time. Paying the bills, cleaning the house, getting the kids enrolled in the most prestigious chariot racing program.
But unmarried people can just keep their eyes on the prize—life with God. That is, when they're not thinking about sex.
The end of the world is coming soon, Paul explains. So soon, none of this stuff is going to matter. God is going to swoop in and wipe it all away, and give faithful Christians their reward.
That's why it's better to keep your focus on the Big Guy instead of trying to snag Mr. Right.
Again, Paul's not saying marriage is actually sinful or bad, just that you should avoid it if you can. Remember, if you're just some sex fiend who can't control himself, go ahead and get married. But if you're able to keep the sexy times under control, then that's way better.
You're more blessed when you stay single, Paul says. (Typical man. Won't commit.)