As we continue to look at Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church, we’re about to enter the most controversial section of the entire letter. Chapter 7 deals with romantic relationships. I will deal with this section very cautiously!
I have to warn you; Scripture is Scripture. I can’t change it to agree with social norms. I can only tell you what the Holy Spirit spoke through the Apostle Paul. With that in mind, try to proceed with an open heart.
Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.
1 Corinthians 7:1-2
The people of Corinth had an interesting question that was sent to Paul. Is it best not to have a romantic relationship? First Corinthians, chapter 7, is Paul’s response to that inquiry.
The first thing Paul does is to lay down the foundation for everything he’s about to say. The key phrase is because there is so much immorality…
Everything that follows in this chapter hinges upon that issue. Their society was very immoral. That means that this chapter is very applicable to us. I don’t know if you noticed, but our generation is extremely immoral.
As a matter of fact, that’s what makes this section of Scripture so controversial. The teaching of the Bible is in total opposition to what the world views as acceptable. Because of this, our human nature would try to justify living like the society around us.
So, I’ve decided to simply tell you what Paul teaches in a very simple, uncomplicated way. I’m not going to put my spin on it. If you disagree with the teaching, then don’t get mad at me; I’m only passing on what was written.
Paul starts with his opening statement. It’s the foundation for the marriage relationship. His definition of marriage is – one man and one woman for life. As a Pharisee, he understood that it was this way from the beginning of creation.
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Our society may disagree with this line of thinking, but it’s a consistent theme throughout Scripture. This foundation is what Paul was building on.
The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I say this as a concession, not as a command.
1 Corinthians 7:3-6
Paul is simply saying that if you’re going to marry, then you must maintain a sexual relationship as a married couple. Any temporary pausing of this must be mutually agreed upon.
Sex is neither a weapon nor is it a way to motivate someone. It’s a gift to be shared by a married couple. The word, concession, literally means general knowledge. In other words, Paul says that this is not a command, it’s just common sense.
We should make every effort to conform all of our relationships, especially our marriage, to what God has planned for us.
Question: Why would God’s advice on relationships be the best for us?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi