1 Corinthians 7:1 Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.
8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
This is from the commentary.
The wife does not have authority over her own body: In fact, these obligations are so concrete, it could be said that the wife’s body does not even belong to herself, but to her husband. The same principle is true of the husband’s body in regard to his wife.
I say this as a concession: God will permit (reluctantly, as a concession) a married couple to abstain from sexual relations for a short time, for the sake of fasting and prayer. But if this concession is used, it is only to be for a time, and then husband and wife must come together again in a sexual sense.
Not as a commandment: God does not command or even recommend abstaining from sex within marriage, but it can be done for a brief time for a specific spiritual reason.
For I wish that all men were even as I myself: Paul, at the time of this writing, was unmarried (putting himself among the unmarried and the widows). Here he recognizes the benefit of being single, which he will speak more of later in the letter.
Though Paul was unmarried when he wrote this letter, he probably had been married at one time. We can say this because we know Paul was an extremely observant Jew and an example among his people (Philippians 3:4-6). In Paul’s day, Jews considered marriage a duty, to the extent that a man reaching 20 years of age without marrying was considered to be in sin. Unmarried men were often considered excluded from heaven and not real men at all.
Also, by Paul’s own words, it is likely that Paul was a member of the Sanhedrin. In Acts 26:10, Paul says I cast my vote against them, speaking of the early Christians, and the logical place he would cast a vote is as a member of that great congress of the Jewish people. An unmarried man could not be a member of the Sanhedrin, so Paul was probably married at one time.
Today we are to learn about how Christianity affected marriage. I wonder, if Paul was married, how long did his wife stay with him after he voted to have Jesus sent to the Cross? Is it possible that Paul's wife had passed away? Maybe it was better, to Paul at least, that the marriage vows were taken, but the wife was deceased. Paul's responsibility to marry would be fulfilled, and yet he wasn't burdened with having to stop and lay down. I don't see Paul as the kind of guy who enjoyed laying down with a woman. I don't see him spending his time that way.
Christianity was brand new. Christians were hunted down and beat to death. They had to meet in private homes, they couldn't meet in the temple. The idea that they did not have to follow the Jewish rituals and traditions because they were now Christians, put them at odds with everyone around them.
I find it interesting that Pagans got married too. Their gods didn't require marriage, but they were married.
Check this out.
1 Kings 11:2 They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love.
So, men and women could be married. Pagans, Jews, and Christians could marry. It was the thing to do.
Solomon had 700 wives, 300 mistresses and zero divorces.
Paul said, if you're married.... stay married.
Paul said, if you're single... stay single as long as you can control yourself.
Paul said, if you are married to a Pagan... or a Jew... your faith might rub off on them.
Paul keeps adding restrictions.
Jesus said "Love God and Love others as you would have them love you."
It's about marriage.