1Co 7:1-2 “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.”
It appears that Paul is moving on from the divisive situations that were called to his attention by those of Chloe’s house (1Co 1:11). Based on those recognized in his greeting at the beginning of this letter, Paul had received questions from the church at Corinth. While many of these questions might originally seem strange to us, we should note that according to history Corinth was a pagan region. The worship of false gods such as Aphrodite, Isis, Mithras and others was the norm.
It was at Corinth that Paul met Aquila and Priscilla, who had fled there to escape persecution from Claudius, who was then emperor in Rome (Act 18:1-4). It is evident that these were not the only Jews in Corinth since there was a synagogue there. This synagogue was apparently frequented by both Jews and Greeks. When the majority of the Jews in Corinth rejected Paul’s teaching that Jesus was Christ, the scripture says they “opposed themselves, and blasphemed (Act 18:6). At that point, Paul took his message to the larger portion of the Greek population there.
When we begin to read some of the things Paul addressed in this letter, our first reaction might be “What is wrong with these people?” Remember that the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision when he first came to Corinth and told him that He had “much people in this city (Act 18:10).” Even though the majority of the Jews there rejected the teaching that Jesus was Christ and the Gentiles were wrapped up in all manner of pagan beliefs and practices, God still had much people there.
The vision of the Lord unto Paul did not indicate that he would have a lot of people in Corinth after Paul’s visit. God had a lot of people in Corinth before Paul ever went there. God had a lot of people in Corinth who were raised in a society where being divided over one philosophy or another was normal. God had a lot of people in a society where fornication was revered as a way to serve their idol gods. Even after a year and a half of having Paul and others there teaching the truth of Jesus Christ, their old customs still continued to crop up.
Apparently, one of the questions that had come up as a result of their pagan practices was whether or not it was permissible to enter into intimate relations with a woman who was not your wife or a man who was not your husband. One philosophy of that day was that sin was committed in the body and therefore only affected the body. They could commit as much sin as they wanted and it would not affect their spiritual well-being. We see that same attitude alive and well today.
Paul pointed out quite simply that this is a flawed notion. He told them plainly to touch (in an intimate relationship) a woman who is not your wife is not good (there is no value in it). The proper way to avoid fornication is for every man to have his own wife and for every woman to have her own husband. In other words, the way to avoid fornication is to be faithful to your vows.
As we consider this, let us also consider the spiritual side of the situation. Have we made a vow to follow the Lord? Then it becomes us to fulfill that vow. If we are not actively pursuing the fulfillment of that vow, temptations are going to creep in that will lead us into fornication against our Lord and Savior. On His part, He is always faithful to us in all things (2Sa 23:5).
May we always resist the permissiveness of our society and seek the Lord’s face in all things!