Summary: Through giving specific advice to people in all different types of relationships, Paul instructs the Corinthians to serve God right where they are and not seek some sort of life or relationship change in order to serve him effectively.
An elementary school teacher gave each child in her class the first half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. Their insights may surprise you!
Better to be safe than... punch a 5th grader.
The original proverb: Better to be safe than sorry!
A rolling stone... plays the guitar.
The original proverb: A rolling stone gathers no moss.
A bird in the hand is... a real mess.
The original proverb: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
The squeaking wheel gets... annoying.
The original proverb: The squeaking wheel gets the grease.
I think, therefore I... get a headache.
The original proverb: I think, therefore I am.
There is nothing new under the... bed.
The original proverb: There is nothing new under the sun.
A penny saved is... not much.
The original proverb: A penny saved is a penny earned.
Two’s company, three’s... the Musketeers.
The original proverb: Two’s company, three’s a crowd.
Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and... you have to blow your nose.
Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and... someone yells, "Shut up!"
The original proverb: Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.
The grass is always greener... when you leave the sprinkler on.
The grass is always greener... when you put manure on it.
The original proverb: The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
This is true in many areas of life, but especially, it seems, in the area of marriage. So many people who are single are sure they would be happier if they were married. Many married people feel convinced they would be happier if they were get divorced. Many divorced people feel they would be happier if they had never been married at all.
But which type of lifestyle is best for being a follower of Jesus Christ? Is it better to be married or to be single? Is it better to stay married to an unbeliever or divorce them?
These are the types of questions Paul addresses in the 7th chapter of 1 Corinthians. Up to this point he has been dealing with issues he had heard about from others, but now he begins answering some specific questions they sent him in the form of a letter he received while in Ephesus.
Before we get into this chapter and the advice it gives to people in different marital situations, let’s remember who the Corinthian church consists of. These are people who lived their entire life outside of anything remotely like “Christianity”. When many of them got married, the gospel message had not yet come to Corinth. Sexual immorality was rampant, and a major part of idol worship in Corinth. And so, those who converted to Christianity had questions about the role that sexuality and marriage had in their development as Christian disciples. Let’s listen is as Paul advises them – and see what we can apply to our own lives.
1 Corinthians 7:1-6 (NLT)
1Now about the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to live a celibate life. 2But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.
3The husband should not deprive his wife of sexual intimacy, which is her right as a married woman, nor should the wife deprive her husband. 4The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband also gives authority over his body to his wife. 5So do not deprive each other of sexual relations. The only exception to this rule would be the agreement of both husband and wife to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time, so they can give themselves more completely to prayer. Afterward they should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt them because of their lack of self-control. 6This is only my suggestion. It’s not meant to be an absolute rule.
Advice to married people regarding sex: do not deprive each other. (v. 1-6)
Evidently there were some in Corinth who, because of the rampant sexual immorality of the day, equated sexual behavior with sin. And so they asked Paul if being a Christian meant they needed to live a celibate lifestyle, even if they were married.
Paul gives them a clear answer. It is not “more spiritual” to live as married people but abstain from sexual relations. In fact it will most likely lead to sinful behavior.
Rather than agreeing that they should keep themselves pure from sexual relations, Paul actually exhorts husbands and wives to willingly give themselves to their spouse. Just like we talked about last week – God designed sex and he meant for married people to enjoy it as a tool for increased intimacy between them. His advice to married people was this:Enjoy the sexual benefits of marriage, and serve God where you are!