Summary: 1) Observation of Oneness(1 Corinthians 7:1), 2) Qualification of Oneness (1 Corinthians 7:2), 3) Obligation of Oneness (1 Corinthians 7:3-5), 4) Expectation of Oneness (1 Corinthians 7:6-9)
This weekend we celebrate Victoria Day. The concept of Victorian morality, a distillation of the moral views of people living at the time of Queen Victoria's reign (1837–1901) and of the moral climate of the United Kingdom throughout the 19th century in general, contrasted greatly with the morality of the previous Georgian period. A hallmark of Victorian morality was one that espoused sexual restraint. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_morality)
The Events that Paul faced in Corinth were also one a strange sexual restraint. Written from Ephesus during the Apostle Paul’s third missionary journey from 53-57 AD, 1 Corinthians 7 commences the second part or division of this Epistle, or, “the discussion of those points which had been submitted to the apostle in a letter from the church at Corinth, for his instruction and advice. A strategic commercial center, Corinth was one of the largest cities in the Roman world and one of the most corrupt (Acts 18:1). Full of false teachers, immature believers and people of all kind of ideas, the Christians in Corinth got into a lot of difficult situations considering Marriage.
The question is, since so many ideas exist on marriage, is oneness possible in Marriage. Is independent singleness the answer or do we abandon the concept of oneness in favour of as open relations as we possibly can? Can you even know how to build spiritual intimacy in your marriage?
In 1 Corinthians 7, oneness is centered around and understanding of an isolation issue of celibacy In the first seven verses of chapter 7 Paul starts with the question of singleness. He shows the 1) Observation of Oneness (1 Corinthians 7:1), 2) Qualification of Oneness (1 Corinthians 7:2), 3) Obligation of Oneness (1 Corinthians 7:3-5), 4) Expectation of Oneness (1 Corinthians 7:6-9)
1) Observation of Oneness (1 Corinthians 7:1)
1 Corinthians 7:1 [7:1]Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: "It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman." (ESV)
In 1 Corinthians 5:9, Paul referenced an earlier letter than he sent the Corinthians which has been lost. He said that the Corinthians we not to associate with sexually immoral people. Here in 1 Corinthians 7, we see his response to their questions with the statement that he is now going to address “matters about which they wrote”.
The matters to which Paul refers are translated different ways. The NIV over translates it, saying that “it is good for a man not to marry”. Literally, the idiom refers to one to “touch a woman”. It occurs nine times in Greek antiquity, ranging across six centuries and a variety of writers, and in every instance, without ambiguity it refers to having sexual intercourse.
It is possible that we should take the words It is good … as a quotation from what the Corinthians had written. Good does not here mean ‘necessary’ or ‘morally better’ (cf. vv. 8, 26; Gen. 2:18; Jonah 4:3, 8). It is simply something to be commended, rather than blame (Morris, L. (1985). Vol. 7: 1 Corinthians: An introduction and commentary. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (105). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.)
The activity refers to the activity generally to a anthrōpos (man) instead of the specific expression anēr (husband). Moreover, the Greek has the indefinite noun gynē (woman), which does not mean “wife.” The Corinthian slogan, therefore, applied to any man and any woman (Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953-2001). Vol. 18: Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. New Testament Commentary (210). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.)
• Lest we think this directive only refers to husband and wife, these are instructions to everyone.
As mentioned, the activity “to have sexual relations with a woman/To touch a woman” in other translations was a common Jewish euphemism for sexual intercourse. The phrase is used in that sense in passages such as Gen. 20:6; Ruth 2:9; and Prov. 6:29. Paul uses it to state that it is a good thing for Christians not to have sexual intercourse, that is, to be single, unmarried. He does not say, however, that singleness is the only good condition or that marriage is in any way wrong or inferior to singleness. The writer to the Hebrews said in Hebrews 13:4: Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. (ESV)
Please turn to Genesis 2 (p.2)
God institutes marriage and declares oneness. It was the false teachers, reported in 1 Tim. 4:3 that were forbidding marriage. God allowed for singleness and did not require marriage for everyone under the Old Covenant, but Jewish tradition not only looked on marriage as the ideal state but looked on singleness as disobedience of God’s command to marry.
All people need companionship and God ordained marriage to be, among other things, the most fulfilling and common means of companionship: