“Now concerning the things whereof ye 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.” (1 Corinthians 7:1–3, AV)
Kids have plenty of questions as they grow up. One of those has to do with birth. When the first child gets the news that mom is going to bring a brother of sister into the world, the big question is, “Mommy, where will you get my new brother or sister?” The answer is quite simple. “The stork will bring you a new brother or sister.” I remember seeing cartoons that portrayed such an event where the stork carried a pouch in which there was a baby.
Why did mom give the child such a childish answer? It is because we have a difficult issue of speaking to young people about such a tender issue. Later in the pregnancy, the child will see the mother getting larger and understands that the baby is inside the mother. This leads to another tough question.
However, when we get older and marry, the difficult questions regarding sexuality do not cease. Apparently, some in the church at Corinth had such questions regarding sexuality and marriage between a man and woman. Thus, they had written to Paul on this subject.
The type of questions they had in this are deduced by Paul’s return correspondence. Paul begins by saying that it was “good for a man not to touch a woman.” Here this word, “touch,” we understand in context refers to a sexual relationship. Paul is saying that is a good thing if a man can abstain from sexual relations with a woman. One question they may have had was, “Should a Christian man marry?” Another question perhaps was, “What is the framework for sexual relations in a marriage? Should it just be for procreation and otherwise abstinence?” There may have been others, but these two seem to be the key ones Paul addresses.
First, Paul indicated that there may be some who could have the gift of celibacy. There are some people who will not marry. Moreover, the church should not look upon these people with distain or pressure them to marry. This is something that does happen in Christian circles today.
Secondly, Paul indicates that if a person has sexual passions, he or she, rather than being tempted to have sexual relations outside of the purity of marriage, should marry. In doing so, they will be able to fulfill their human sexual drive in the manner ordained by God.
In marriage, sexual relations do have a purpose of procreation. Adam and Eve were commanded to be fruitful and multiply and thus fil the earth. Yet, while some think that sexual relations stop there, they are quite wrong in this. Paul made it clear in this letter that sexual relations were to be enjoyed by the man and the woman. In fact, his wording is even stronger. The words “have” in verse 2 and “render” in verse three are imperatives in the Greek text, commands. The husband and wife are commanded to give one another conjugal rights.
Paul’s rationale for this position was clear. It was to avoid the evil one’s temptation in the area of sexuality. Today we live in a sex crazed culture. God has designed the perfect and pure platform for sexuality. That is between a man and a woman who are married to one another. It is beautiful in this arrangement and the Bible has no difficulty in speaking to us on this subject.