Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #220 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 1 Corinthians 7 today and our focus is on Is It Better To Be Single, and Should Christian Husbands and Wives Ever Stop Having Sex? Warning: Rated P.G. 13! We are going to talk about sex today, and I thought about using a euphemism for sex like intimacy or something, but I’m just going to say the word straight up. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Okay, phrasing. I know, that title is a little, uhm, tantalizing. My bad – I realize there is a slight double entendre there, but the fact is that the Bible talks quite openly about sex, and even more, encourages and commands Christian married people to have sex with each other, so I don’t think I need to edit the title to today’s podcast…because married sex is good and wholesome and Godly and commanded and right. Three cheers for … ok, maybe I should stop right there. I know some of you might be eager to talk about sex, but let’s talk about singleness first.
In a church I pastored years ago, we had a guest speaker one time, who was a single guy. The church was loaded with young families and millions of kids, but not many single people. Though it wasn’t the focus of his message, the single guy, in reading from 1 Corinthians 7, did point out that the apostle Paul said that it was better for people to be single, rather than married. That, to put it mildly, was a controversial sermon, and I got a call the next day from a concerned dad who told me that he was uncomfortable with what was said about it being better for a Christian to be single rather than married. I listened understandingly, being a married man myself, and read the caller one of the verses in question:
38 So, then, he who marries his fiancée does well, but he who does not marry will do better.
In context, and in that one verse, it is quite clear that Paul is saying that it is better to be single, than be married. Is Paul’s statement somewhat time limited or geographically limited to what kind of situation that the Corinthians were going through? This is possible, but the context of what Paul said is that a single man or woman has undivided interests and is able to serve God more wholeheartedly, which seems to be a timeless reality. So, is it better to be single – yes, says the Word of God, but do pay attention to the other half of that verse, and the other part of the chapter: IT IS WELL to be get married and be married. It is a good thing. It is not good for man to be alone, says the Word of God. Marriage is good. Singleness can be better, but – says Paul, if you are burning with desire, get married – it is NOT sin – it is a GOOD thing. It’s just that a single person can serve God better. And, if you are married, and that challenges you a bit, do send your complaints to Paul@Heaven.com, remembering that I didn’t write the Bible. 😉
Second topic: The sex one. I joked at the beginning of 1st Corinthians that many husband’s favorite verse was in this chapter, 1 Corinthians 7:3-5:
3 A husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise a wife to her husband. 4 A wife does not have the right over her own body, but her husband does. In the same way, a husband does not have the right over his own body, but his wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another—except when you agree for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:3-5
So, this one is pretty simple: Husbands and wives are to have sex with each other – they are forbidden to deprive each other, with ONE exception: when they BOTH AGREE to take some time off to be devoted to prayer. I note again that there must be agreement.
Allow me to point out that this passage does NOT specify how often Christian married people should have sex, so we need to be careful about legalism either way. A spouse that uses this command to demand sex every day is overdoing it. That said, let’s briefly break down this passage:
- Both husbands and wives have sexual duties to each other. I tend to think this means that a husband should not seek to fulfill his own pleasure, but should look to fulfill the pleasure of his wife, serving her needs and desires and vice versa.
- A wife does NOT have the right to her own body, but her husband does. SEXIST ALERT – Paul you, pig…oh wait, let’s keep reading – A HUSBAND does NOT have the right to His own body, the WIFE does. Wow. How about that!?
- Not engaging in sexual intimacy deprives your spouse.
- Not engaging in sexual intimacy opens up your marriage to the temptation of Satan.
So, my friends – this means that there should never be a sexless Christian marriage. Sex is a gift – a good thing, and husbands and wives must strive to serve each other in this way, seeking the good of their spouse, not their own good. One other thing on sex – the first mention of sex in the Bible is in Genesis 4:1
And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, Genesis 4:1
And yes, I know that the word sex isn’t used here, but that is clearly what is meant. The word that the Bible uses to describe sex here, and in many other places is the Hebrew word יָדַע yâdaʻ and it means, “to know.” This tells us something incredibly important about sex: it tells us that sex is a way that we KNOW each other better – which is why the CSB uses the word “intimate” to translate yada in Genesis 4:1. Sex is designed, at least in part, for relationship between husband and wife – for knowing each other in the deepest way possible. This is one of the reasons, I believe, why sex is restricted to ONLY happening between a husband and wife. Sex is the deepest form of knowing somebody that exists – the most intimate connection possible. In sex, the two literally (physically and spiritually) become one. Sex is a gift that increases oneness – unity – intimate knowledge in marriage, and Christians must not deprive each other of this. It’s not just about a physical release, or physical pleasure, though in marriage neither of those things are wrong – they are right…but sex isn’t just about fulfilling your sex drive. It is about intimate knowledge and oneness with your spouse. Sex is God’s gift to us to help us know our spouse in a deeper way and a better way. Let’s read our passage.
Bible Memory verses for the month of August: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
The Bible 2021 Podcast Is a ministry of Valley Baptist Church A church in Salinas, California.
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