1 Corinthians 7: Concerning The Things
“Now concerning the things about which you wrote,
it is good for a man not to touch a woman.”
Really Paul? In on sentence Paul takes care of overpopulation and sexual immorality. This verse presents the perfect scenario for not taking a verse out of context. So, let’s put it where it belongs.
The Corinthian Christians lived in a society with a history of immorality and idolatry. They heard the gospel from Paul and now had questions about how to live out the new life God called them to. In this chapter Paul addresses several concerns-Marriage, widows and remarriage, divorce, the unmarried, and even slavery which was a part of their society. We can learn much from Paul’s response, as directed by the Holy Spirit, to their concerns.
“It’s good for a man not to touch a woman.” Paul continues,
“But because of immoralities,
let each man have his own wife,
and let each woman have her own husband.”(2)
Following is my modern understanding concerning the single man or woman; “Don’t light a fire you cannot morally, put out.” Or, “Don’t touch the merchandise before purchasing it.” Doing so is considered an immoral act.
God gave us marriage when He first created a man and a woman. There was no partner suitable for Adam until God formed Eve from Adam’s rib. She was not a mirror image of Adam-another man. She was woman-Adam’s complement. God designed the sexual union of a husband and wife for bringing the man and woman together as one physically-a pattern of unity to be found in knowing one another intimately, and of course, to produce children. To abuse that pattern is to abuse God’s gift to us.
Paul states in this chapter there should be no separation between the believing wife and husband. They are now one. Something dies when divorce among believers happens. Paul does allow it if an unbelieving husband or wife decides to leave the believer. There are other scriptures concerning divorce but time and space don’t allow for me to go into that here. Paul’s final principle on the matter-
“Only as the Lord has assigned to each one,
as God has called each,
in this manner let him walk.
And thus I direct in all the churches.”(17)
If God called you into his family while married remain married. According as is allowed, don’t forbid the single to marry. But be content in your singleness until one suitable is found for you. This, Paul, also, applied to the circumcised and uncircumcised, and the freed man and slave. Around these instructions he gives us another life principle.
“You were bought with a price;
do not become slaves of men.” (23)
My paraphrase: Don’t be a people pleaser but a God pleaser.
Paul’s final principle returns to the idea of marriage and singleness. Many singles seek to be married. While way too many married seek to be single. Paul encourages singleness if it is where God has you at this time. He reminds us that being married carries its own type of distraction from the Lord. The married have chosen to be concerned for one another ; to share our lives with that one. In a Christian marriage we also ideally chose to be as one in our concern for spiritual matters. Yet, remembering there are two people seeking to live in union with one another. Our time and thoughts are somewhat divided. Paul puts it this way-
“but the one who is married is concerned about the things of the world,
how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided.
And the woman… who is married is concerned about the things of the world,
how she may please her husband.” (33,34)
He concludes with-
“And this I say for your own benefit;
not to put a restraint upon you,
but to promote what is seemly,
and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.” (35)
I believe the Lord brought my husband and me together. He has kept us together through all the different trials, growing up, pain, and the immense joys we have shared. Our union began as a cord of three, with God at the head and my husband and me at each other’s side—only to be broken by death. Through it all, there have been many distractions to our devotion to the Lord, but He is faithful, and we have learned the meaning love and devotion—and are still learning.
For Thought: Are you married? Single? Are you content with where the Lord has you right now? How may this chapter in 2 Corinthians encourage you?
Today’s Reading: Romans 12:1-2. Whether single or married, Jewish or Gentile, who have you given your body to? Who have you devoted your life to?
Our Prayer: Father, may we learn to be content in whatever state we find ourselves as we follow you. May we first present ourselves to you in the holiness of Jesus Christ. Teach us not to adopt the ways of the world but to be transformed into the image of your dear Son. That we may know what is good and acceptable in your sight.