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The theology of 1 Cor 7

How does God fit into our sex lives?
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sd595
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Re: The theology of 1 Cor 7

Post by sd595 »

To add, I'm not saying that we shouldn't prioritize one scripture over another, but I do think we need to be careful with the concept.  Taking a generic verse and using it to dismiss or change the meaning of a more specific verse makes no sense.  Trying to even equate them makes no sense.  Can a generic verse fit softly inside a more specific verse?  I could see that if it applies, is consistent, and doesn't change the meaning of the more specific verse.
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Re: The theology of 1 Cor 7

Post by Deleted User 499 »

Why is it there? First in context it is for the Corinthians. What are the conditions? Corinth was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire. A hub of immortality, Paul addresses sexual sin in the church in chapters 5 and again in the latter part of chapter 6. In chapter 7, Paul follows these points to address issues that they had written him for clarification (see verse 1). Paul points to marital relations as an alternative to avoid temptation to sexual immorality. Verse 2-5 display an equality between the sexes in the most intimate area of the marriage relationship that was most likely unheard of at the time. To end verse 5, we see that the reason Satan is able to tempt anyone in this area is because of a lack of self control. This again enforced the immaturity of the faith of the Corinthians. I think it parallels many of us in our culture, and I have seen this immaturity in myself as well. That is why it is important to be dependent on God and walk in the spirit, and pray that we might display the fruit of the spirit. When we do so, we won’t be so focused on self to even notice that our spouse isn’t keeping up with our demands. This is a much more important spiritual problem that we face than a spouse who we determine isn’t obeying this text. But if we match the immaturity of the Corinthians and we just can’t help ourselves, take it as literal as you’d like in applying it.

What does it mean to me? We are sinners, we are prone to wander, we are easily led astray. I also read it for myself. It is a command for me. I can’t read it for my wife. For the record I did try that once and never again! I’ll let God speak to her through His word without my interference.

How has it shaped my marriage? When I feel deprived but I know that all DW needs is a good back rub, I can give and do not grudgingly but in obedience to Christ. I can get lost in the joy of meeting my wife’s needs. When I have the right mindset, I can forget about myself at times. It’s not always easy or natural but I do believe it has a direct correlation to how well I depend on Jesus at any given time. John 15 makes it clear that apart from Him we can do nothing. So when we live our lives in bitterness and nothing is happening as far as spiritual fruit we display, we know why. If all the law can be fulfilled with the commandment to love one another, that would include this text. I know that my wife loves me. She gives of herself the best way that she can. Does it match the frequency that I desire? No it doesn’t. How does love deal with it? I try to meet her needs including the tasks that may stand in the way, take time for her when it’s not about sex, listen to her, care about her feelings, complement her and cherish her, do things she enjoys, and realize that this is a real woman, not a porn star or a fantasy. Many of us come out of equally immoral backgrounds as the Corinthians, and that I think is why this verse is so alluring for us. It justifies our lack of self control. We use it to put the emphasis on what our spouse isn’t doing instead of seeing the equality in the passage and recognize our need to show spiritual fruit.
sd595
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Re: The theology of 1 Cor 7

Post by sd595 »

Thanks for the detailed post Hungry.

She gives of herself the best way that she can

I think this is very important.

Perhaps there is miscommunication about my statement of the HD spouse setting the frequency.  If you are mutually agreeing not to do more because you know it is for the best, then this is good.

sd595
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Re: The theology of 1 Cor 7

Post by sd595 »

My answers:

Why is it there?

I take it at face value that it is there for exactly the reason it says it is - to reduce sexual immorality and the temptation of the evil one to snare Christians into it.  I also believe it is there to protect and build strong Christians and strong Christian marriages and families.

What does it mean to you?

Again, face value, it means exactly what it says.  It means that God expects a spouse to meet the sexual needs of their husband or wife, which is also the loving thing to do.  It also teaches the importance of sex in the marriage relationship, which connects a husband and wife together much more than I think we realize.

How has it shaped your marriage?

Profoundly.  The worlds ideas were hardship and are designed to discourage sex in marriage, but God's ideas unsurprisingly encourage sex in marriage.  I feel way more connected to my wife, and I know she feels that same towards me.

The one thing I love about 1 Cor 7 most is that it is all geared towards the idea of a couple becoming one (having sex).  It does not define selfishness as someone desiring sex, it defines selfishness as someone not wanting to give it.

Peter
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Re: The theology of 1 Cor 7

Post by Peter »

I take this from a book I am hoping to publish some day.

Word study from 1 Corinthians 7:1-7

 The word “duty” in the original Greek language means “that which is owed.” We are obligated by this command to provide the best sex life possible to our marriage partner. It is owed to them.

The Greek word for “authority” means, well, to exercise authority over. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does” (1 Cor. 7:4 NASB). There are some Bible versions, which record this verse as, “The wife/husband “yields” or “gives” authority of his/her body to the spouse. Words like, “yields” and “gives,” are not found in the original Greek manuscripts. The original Greek implies that God grants that authority at the time of marriage. Each spouse is responsible to God for giving that which is owed to their mate. Unfortunately, these verses are sometimes used as a club instead of the love they were written to represent. Paul categorically puts human sexuality into the area of mutual submission. Don’t take that which is owed you, rather give that which is owed to your spouse. The husband has God’s authority over his wife’s body not to take, but to give to her what is owed her. The wife has God’s authority over her husband’s body, not to take, but to give him that which is owed him.

God created us not as owners of our own or our spouse’s body. God is the final authority over you and your spouse’s body because he is its creator and the body is meant for the Lord, and the Lord for the body (Col. 1:16, 1 Cor.6:13). As with everything else the Lord gives us, we are stewards of our spouse’s bodies. God gives the authority for a wife to be steward, not the master, over her husband’s body and he gives the husband authority to be a steward, not the master over his wife's body. Merriam-Webster’s, second definition of stewardship is, “the conducting, supervising, or managing of something especiallythe careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care.” Stewardship is not about taking anything, it is about giving. We are given authority for and entrusted by God to meet the sexual needs of our spouse’s body. We have God’s authority to give to our spouse that which is owed him/her. That is the duty he is talking about.

If either spouse feels sinned against by frequent sexual refusal, remind yourself of Philippians 2:3-5, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” It is not the responsibility of either spouse to demand. Christ stands at the door and knocks. Out of love he invites, he does not force anyone into his kingdom; “have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” So, invite your spouse to love you in every sense of the word. Ask God if sin in your life may be interfering with your sex life. If that isn’t enough, seek counseling, and help from leaders in your church.

Sam
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Re: The theology of 1 Cor 7

Post by Sam »

Now notice something else in 1 Corinthians 7:3–5. This is very important. In verse 4 Paul says that the man and the woman have rights over each other’s body. When the two become one flesh, their bodies are at each other’s disposal. Each has the right to lay claim to the other’s body for sexual gratification. But what we really need to see is what Paul commands in verses 3 and 5 in view of these mutual rights. He does not say, “Therefore stake your claim! Take your rights!” He says, “Husband, give her her rights! Wife, give him his rights!” (v. 3). And in verse 4, “Do not refuse one another.” In other words, he does not encourage the husband or wife who wants sexual gratification to seize it without concern for the other’s needs. Instead he urges both husband and wife to always be ready to give their body when the other wants it. I infer from this and from Jesus’s teaching in general that happy and fulfilling sexual relations in marriage depend on each partner aiming to give satisfaction to the other. If it is the joy of each to make the other happy, a hundred problems will be solved. Husbands, if it is your joy to bring her satisfaction, you will be sensitive to what she needs and wants. You will learn that the preparation for satisfactory sexual intercourse at 10 p.m. begins with tender words at 7 a.m. and continues through the day as kindness and respect. And when the time comes, you will not come on like a Sherman tank, but will know her pace and bring her skillfully along. Unless she gives you the signal, you will say, “Her climax, not mine, is the goal.” And you will find in the long run that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Wives, it is not always the case, but often, that your husband wants sexual relations more often than you do. Martin Luther said he found twice a week to be ample protection from the tempter. I don’t know if Katie was up for it every time or not. But if you’re not, give it anyway. I do not say to you husbands, “Take it anyway.” In fact, for her sake you may go without. The goal is to outdo one another in giving what the other wants. Both of you, make it your aim to satisfy each other as fully as possible.

 

Culled from - Preparing for Marriage Resources from John Piper
sd595
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Re: The theology of 1 Cor 7

Post by sd595 »

I agree with a lot of this, but falls apart in areas.

I think we need to be careful about redefining or even looking at 1 Cor 7 from a different direction than what it states.  It does not at all teach the idea that one should only be concerned about their spouse's climax, and the hidden assertion behind that is that one shouldn't care about their own, to suggest that it is being selfish if they are.  See how quickly things get off of what it says?  What it says is that a husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife.  If she has a need, he should meet it, period.  It goes on to be even stronger than that by saying that each has authority over the other's body in this area.  She doesn't have to have his pleasure in mind to make this okay for her to want sex, she is not wrong to expect her husband to satisfy her in this area.  There is nothing wrong with a woman having a need and being focused on her need/pleasure and enjoying her husband's body for it, and vice versa.

Also, the twice a week as ample protection from the tempter may be fine for some, but not others.  Again, it is adding to what the Word says as if to say, you don't have to provide more than twice a week if you don't want to.  A complete 180 degree turn from what 1 Cor 7 teaches.

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Re: The theology of 1 Cor 7

Post by Duchess »

I seldom, if ever, look at The Message translation, however since you so helpfully provided the link I glanced at several different ones. The Message says this: "Certainly—but only within a certain context. It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it’s for the purposes of prayer and fasting—but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. I’m not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence—only providing my best counsel if you should choose them." (Emphasis mine.)

My DH and I have always taken an extremely simplistic view of 1 Cor 7:  we see it as saying not to use (the withholding of) sex as a weapon against each other. Refusing to have sex because your spouse did something to make you angry or because you want to get back at them for hurting your feelings is using sex as a weapon. Throwing Bible verses at them to show them how wrong they are for not doing something you want, (or any other reason), is using sex as a weapon. Refusing to explore ways to increase a low drive and then falling back on, "I just have a low drive," is using sex as a weapon, (and it is lazy). Genuinely having a low drive and needing time when you are (purposefully, openly, actively) treasured, valued, appreciated, nurtured, and loved for other reasons and through other means than sexual ones is NOT using sex as a weapon.

A husband whose wife is using sex as a weapon is justified in exerting his God-given authority to lead his wife through gentle correction back into full obedience to Christ. A husband who tries to exert authority and control over a wife's sexual response when she is not using it as a weapon is more interested in having power over his wife (and getting what he wants) than in caring for her, and is quite simply a bully.

One final observation:  ever see two kids fighting over a toy and they are both pulling really hard? The harder the one who wants to take it pulls, the harder the one who wants to keep it pulls. Maybe a husband who is willing to back off and woo instead of demanding will find a wife who is more interested in offering than in protecting.
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Re: The theology of 1 Cor 7

Post by ALL_IN »

Duchess...I like how you put that and it made me think how this passage is so easily used as a weapon itself. A husband can just throw this verse in his wife's face instead of WORKING for his spouses excitement towards him.

I guarantee you if I walked up to my wife and said "1 Cor 7 says you have to give me sex, or you're disobeying God"...she will no doubt she will fire back with, "Ephesians 5:25 says Love your wife as Christ loved the Church".

Maybe instead of using verses to justify getting what we want (sex in this case), we just serve each other, and love each other. I think the sex will come naturally after that.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
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