Read Introduction to 1 Corinthians
1 “Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.”
Chapter 7 begins a new major division in 1st Corinthians. Paul now answers questions from the Corinthians in chapters seven through eleven that they asked in a letter. He answered questions they did not ask in chapters 1-6 because of the internal embarrassing nature of those issues.
Chapters 1-6= Church Disorders
Chapters 7-16= The Corinthian Church’s Six Questions
Questions about singleness, marriage and divorce, 7
Questions about liberty, 8-10
Questions about order in the church, 11
Questions about gifts in the church, 12-14
Questions about the resurrection, 15
Questions about giving, 16
Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me:
The first question from the Corinthians concerned marriage and singleness (vv. 1-9). Corinthian culture had a pagan view of marriage that sanctioned immorality and perverse sex such as adultery, polygamy, living with concubines, and homosexuality. Some viewed singleness as greater value than marriage. Many in the Corinthian church lived together under various forms of marriage in that day. Some slaves were appointed to their mates by their masters. Others lived in common law. Still some fathers sold their daughters to future husbands. Finally, some married with formal ceremony. Both families participated in this ceremony. Divorce was widespread in that day.
It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
The word “touch” is a term for sexual intercourse. Paul encourages the Corinthians to celibate singleness is a “good” state. God did say that marriage is “good”—“it is not good for the man to be alone” (Ge 2:18) so Paul does not imply that marriage is not “good.” Permanent sexual companionship is a good from God’s viewpoint (Ge 1:28; 2:18).
Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality,
Paul warns the Corinthian believers of the danger of immorality among single people in the church. The sex drive is very strong and can go awry if not fulfilled especially in the immoral culture of Corinth. However, this is not to say that marriage is simply a flight from immoral sexual pleasures. The point is the reality of sexual temptation for singles.
let each man have his own wife,
There are many reasons for marriage such as procreation and companionship but one of them is sexual pleasure. Under the conditions in verses one and two, God commands people to marry for sex.
Pr 5:18, Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice with the wife of your youth (sexually).
19 As a loving deer and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
And always be enraptured with her love.
and let each woman have her own husband.
Although singleness is inherently good, it is not higher in value to marriage.
God’s design for sex is more than procreation but for the pure mutual pleasure of the sex act.
Sex is not the only reason to marry but it is an important reason to marry. We, like the Corinthian believers, live in a sex-oriented culture. Temptation abounds with highly accessible sexual material with the internet and other sources in our society so we should put a high priority on sexual pleasure within marriage. Sex for sex sake is biblical. This is not to say that sex without love is valid.
He 13:4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.