1st Corinthians 7

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1st Corinthians 7

Post by Paul1807 on Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:45 pm

Before looking at the passage it is perhaps best to contextualise it. 1st Corinthians was written by the Apostle Paul around 55 A.D. to address several problem that had arisen in the Church in Corinth. Ancient Corinth was a very prosperous cosmopolitan City that was also very corrupt. There was a great deal of sexual immorality and the Christians there were a product of that evironment and had problems with immorality in their congregation. In the 7th chapter of the Paul discusses marriage and whether some people can or should abstain from it. The first place is te opening of the chapter:

1 Cor. 7:1-9 (ESV)
Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: "It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman." [2] But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. [3] The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. [4] For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. [5] Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
[6] Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. [7] I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.
[8] To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. [9] But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.


There is a lot that can be be taken from this but certainly abstaining from sex is acceptable. There also is the mention of the gift which can be taken as being asexual to some degree. It may be best now to discuss the passage from a simple reading before seeing what scholarship has said about it.

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Re: 1st Corinthians 7

Post by CamisaNegra on Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:01 am

Just out of curiosity, I looked up this passage in my own bible. I usually work from Eugene Peterson's translation, The Message. He phrases that seventh verse that talks about Peter's gift from god as "Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me—a simpler life in many ways! But celibacy is not for everyone any more than marriage is. God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others. " This translation would indicate that what Peter is talking about is celibacy or abstinence, not really asexuality.
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Re: 1st Corinthians 7

Post by epochryphal on Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:01 pm

Mmm. @CamisaNegra, I like that translation. And there is certainly this idea that asexuality makes celibacy easier, whether or not that's true. But yes, I don't believe there was a conceptualization of asexuality back then, much like there wasn't a gay identity or any identity based around sexual attraction, more around behavior.

I do wonder if "unmarried" is meant to include women, for I get the impression that historically women had to marry in order to be provided for in that region/time period. I also find it interesting that it says widows but not widowers...but then, this is basing analysis on a particular translation.

(As an aside: I'm very uneasy about verses 4-5, and this idea that one's body is not one's own, and you shouldn't "deprive" each other. It reminds me of married people suing one another for not having sex, which is supposedly some sort of "right." Yuck.
And then, I also believe "sexual immorality" should only consist of things which are non-consensual and hurt other people, like cheating but *not* like consensual polyamory.)
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