1 Corinthians 7:1-4
1Co 7:1 Now, regarding those issues you wrote me about: Yes, “it would be good for a man not to touch a woman.”
1Co 7:2 But, because sexual sin is a reality, I say each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.
1Co 7:3 The husband should give his wife what he owes her sexually, and the wife has the same obligation to her husband.
1Co 7:4 Because the wife does not have the rights to her own body, but her husband does, likewise, the husband does not have the rights to his own body, but his wife does.
It appears that someone in the Corinthian congregations has begun to foster the view that married Christian couples need to stop having sexual relations with each other – perhaps to be more holy, or to gain spiritual power. Perhaps Paul had uttered the words “it would be good for a man not to touch a woman” while preaching in Corinth before he left. Maybe it had been specifically taught by one of the new elders. At any rate, it had become a matter of controversy.
Paul set the matter straight, by arguing that Christian couples should definitely not deprive themselves in this manner.
- He points out that each partner in the marital union is still subject to physical desires, so each is still liable to succumb to sexual sin if they are abstaining.
- He speaks of sexual union as a mutual obligation. It is not something that one partner can just decide about, no matter what the reason.
- In fact, he insists that each partner owns the rights to the others’ body in a sexual sense. He is not saying that there is a hierarchy. The rights are owned by the other partner.
Paul is teaching that those who are married cannot act independently of each other, but have a reciprocal relationship. One partner’s individual rights – even religious rights, has to take second place to the obligation to the other partner, which was part of the vow.
LORD, forgive us our selfishness, and lack of responsibility toward each other. Show us how to demonstrate mutual love.