A large part of 1st Corinthians includes the Apostle Paul’s responses to questions–or disagreements–they had about certain topics including spiritual gifts and offerings to idols. They were trying to sort out what it looked like to live the Christian life in Corinth in the first century and surrounded by Corinthian culture! If we had access to Paul today, what we would ask for clarity about? As we start chapter seven, we see Paul begin to respond to some hot issues that were on the minds of the Corinthian church.
There are some hot button issues related to sexuality and marriage that the Church and our current culture really differ on. And guess what: issues of sexuality were “hot button items” for the Corinthians too! Opening this chapter, Paul begins chipping away at the questions they had written to him about, and it appears that discussions of marriage and divorce and sex and remarriage were important topics for the christians living in Corinth.
These first nine verses address issues of singleness, marriage and sexuality. If the body is for the Lord (as we learned at the end of chapter 6), and the culture in Corinth (like in America) is so sexually oriented, then maybe being single and celibate is the way to go! But what if we are already married? Should we divorce so we can focus more on Jesus? Or maybe we should have a “sexless marriage” so we can avoid distraction?
As we address these topics via Paul’s answers to the Corinthian church, this will be the first in a brief mini-series on the subject of marriage — I hope to untie some “knotted up” understanding of what is involved when we tie the knot! If your spouse doesn’t usually come to church with you, beg him or her to come. Tell them the pastor is talking about sex! At least that will get their attention!
As a postscript, if you are feeling funny about discussing sex in church, then by all means don’t watch any movies or turn on the TV, because writers and producers and actors are talking to us all the time about extramarital, homosexual, and premarital sex. In fact it is glorified and romanticized! So as we study these passages, we are giving God a chance to speak into the twisted and confused culture about this activity He created for pleasure, unity, and procreation. We ought not be so quiet about it when Satan is so outspoken.