Day 63…1 Corinthians 7:1-7

August 3, 2011 at 10:51 AM Leave a comment

1 Corinthians 7:1-7: To Marry or not to marry?

Up to this point Paul has been dealing with the sins reported to be present in the Corinthian church, but now he takes some time to answer many of the questions that were written to him. Starting with celibacy.

v.1-2, Paul starts this chapter by answering one of the Corinthian’s questions regarding living a celibate life. The question posed is celibacy more spiritual than marriage? Paul says “it is good to abstain from sexual relations” or it is good for a man or woman to have the gift of celibacy, but it is not better than marriage. And not everyone has the gift of celibacy. But he told the believers to not enforce celibacy on themselves or each other and deprive themselves of marriage. That would set them up for failure because there is “so much sexual immorality” all around them. As we know from my earlier posts the city of Corinth was full of sexual immorality even their worship of gods and goddesses was full of it. Paul advices if anyone does not have the gift of celibacy“each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.” Paul says if you don’t have the gift of celibacy, then marry and you can fulfill your sexual desires in a God-honouring marriage. Weirsbe put it this way “one of the purposes of marriage is to avoid fornication.”

v.3-4, Paul says “husbands should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs.” The reason he says this is because the Corinthian believers, who were surrounded by sexual temptation, had gone to the extreme in abstaining from sex altogether–even in their marriages! They saw the sexual immorality around them and decided that ALL sex was immoral and evil. Even though celibacy should be the rule for those who have chosen to be single for the rest of their life, it should not have any place in a marriage relationship. “The wife [should] give authority over her body to her husband, and the husband [should] give authority over his body to his wife.” Notice how it doesn’t just say, only the wife should do this, it says both and it also doesn’t say to anyone you feel like it, no it’s says only your wife or husband. This is totally opposite of what they world tells us. The key to this verse is that Paul is saying the unity given to a married couple through their sexual relationship makes them no longer independent beings, they have become “one flesh” (Gen 2:24).

v.5, Married couples have the responsibility to care for each other and they should not “deprive each other of sexual relations” but should fulfill each other’s needs and desires. There is an exception as to when spouses can deprive one another of sexual intimacy…that is if they “both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so [they] can give yourselves more completely to prayer.” But Paul warns that this should not be a habit, only for a limited time. Some people abstain from other things as well, like watching TV, using Facebook or even eating to devote themselves completely to prayer. But again, you must “come back together again.” Otherwise, they would leave themselves open for Satan’s temptations with sexual immorality because of “lack of self-control.”

v.6-7, “I say this as a concession, not as a command.” Paul is referring to the fact that marriage is desirable, according to God’s plan, and natural for most people, however it is NOT MANDATORY. God has given no command that reads “thou shalt marry.” So whether you marry or not does not make you obedient or disobedient, either marital status are permissible. However Paul finishes this section with he preference “I wish everyone were single [celibate], just as I am.” However he recognizes that not everyone has the gift of celibacy…”each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another.”

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? There is a lot packed into these short seven verses, but the thing that strikes me the most is that when I married my wife we become one flesh. I knew this, but I didn’t really get the idea that my body is now her’s as well and her’s mine. That means that I need to honour God by honouring my wife–both sexually and spiritually. We are no longer independent of each other, we are one.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?  From this day forward I am going to honour De-Ann in every way. I need to respect her choices and her decisions and do everything I can to support her in her life. I want to be a God-honouring husband.

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Entry filed under: Journey Thru the Bible.

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