Principles for Marriage – Part 1

1Corinthians 7:1-6 Now concerning the things whereof you wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife has not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud you not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

‘You wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.’ The Corinthians had written a letter asking questions about certain doctrines, sending it by the people mentioned in 1Corinthians 16:17. They had not asked about the divisions, the fornication, or other wrong conditions in the congregation. These things were reported to Paul by the men (1:11-12; 16:17).

Twelve things the letter asked about: The unmarried (7:1-9); the married and unmarried (7:10-17); circumcision – servitude (7:18-24); virgins (7:25-40); things offered to idols (8:1-13); Paul’s apostleship (9:1-27); the Mosaic and Christian dispensations (10:1-11:1); customs for women (11:2-16); the Lord’s Supper (11:17-34); the spiritual gifts (12:1-14:40); the resurrections (15:1-58); collections for the poor and his coming visit (16:1-9).

‘Every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.’ Not that every man or woman is required to be married, but those who choose to be are permitted by Christianity to get married. The gospel does not interpose any hindrance to marriage and normal creative relationship.

‘Due benevolence’ [Greek: opheile] means that the wife and husband must respect each other regarding lawful sexual needs, mutually satisfying each other.

‘The wife has not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband has not power of his own body, but the wife.’ The husband and wife belong to each other. Neither of them has any authority to refuse what the other needs or demands in a normal temperate, relationship. All acts of perversion or unnatural affection must absolutely be rejected.

‘Defraud you not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that satan tempt you not for your incontinency.’ What you thus owe to each other, do not refuse to pay, unless by mutual consent for a time agreed upon for fasting and prayer. Then, regardless of the spiritual blessing either one has received, come together again to defeat satan.

To be continued…

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