by Rev Joel Yong
1 Corinthians 7:2-6
But in order to avoid sexual sins, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.
Husbands and wives should satisfy each other’s sexual needs.
A wife doesn’t have authority over her own body, but her husband does. In the same way, a husband doesn’t have authority over his own body, but his wife does.
Don’t withhold yourselves from each other unless you agree to do so for a set time to devote yourselves to prayer. Then you should get back together so that Satan doesn’t use your lack of self-control to tempt you.
What I have just said is not meant as a command but as a suggestion.
Paul writes on a seldom preached upon topic – sex between husband and wife.
I know, in our modern world, people might say – sex in a marital relationship is no one’s business except the couple themselves.
But it’s apparently an important enough issue, for Paul to write about it!
Why? Let us examine his words and discover the essence of his teaching.
Here is what he says:
1. Sexual immorality can be avoided if each has a member of the opposite gender to be their husband or wife. 1 man 1 woman, married and joined in sexual union. (verse 2)
2. In this marriage, they satisfy one another’s sexual needs. Note that it does not say satisfy themselves alone, but each other. That is what sex in marriage in a Godly perspective is meant to be like. The man seeks to satisfy the woman and not just himself and vice versa. It requires consideration and effort. (verse 3)
3. Paul goes on to say that the wife submits her body to her husband when doing so, seeking to meet his needs. He also says the husband submits his body to his wife, respecting her with how he uses it and meets her needs. This says a lot about why infidelity defies God’s intention for such a union. It takes authority away from the one to whom it rightfully belongs and drops it in the lap of the adulterous lover in the extra marital affair. (verse 4)
4. Paul goes on to encourage spouses not to deny sex from one another unless by mutual agreement for the sake of a higher purpose, such as a time of prayer, to focus on the Lord. But this is not meant to be forever or for too long a period, because thereafter they are encouraged to renew their physical relationship so that Satan does not tempt either spouse either with another man or woman or even in the form of sinning in the form of viewing porn etc. (verse 5)
5. Having said all these, he concludes that these are his recommendations, suggestions as it were – but were not commandments. He knew he couldn’t force such things nor mandate it, but stated that he wrote these recommendations as a prevention against being tempted sexually.
It is important to remember that he writes later –
1 Corinthians 7:9
However, if you cannot control your desires, you should get married. It is better for you to marry than to burn with sexual desire.
Burning with sexual desire can lead a person easily into sin. And that is why he writes these recommendations on a private and sensitive topic, out of his love for his congregation.