Home‎ > ‎Opening the Bible‎ > ‎

More on marriage

In a previous post, I suggested that if we better understood the roots of marriage in the creation of man as male and female, we’d have little difficulty understanding why polygamy, adultery, homosexuality, and divorce are in opposition to it.  In this piece, I’d like to take this one step further by looking at a passage in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.

The passage is in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20.  The text says, Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

The Christians at Corinth had their share of struggles, and many of them involved their sexuality.  If you read anything on first century Corinth, you’ll understand why this wasn’t surprising.  Corinth was located on a narrow neck of land that connected Greece with Achaia.  This location was commercially strategic as both overland and sea trade passed through it (the city had seaports on both sides).  With the cosmopolitan traffic came an accompanying morality and Corinth was littered with taverns, temples, shrines, and prostitutes.  If Athens was the seat of wisdom, Corinth was the center of wickedness and vice.

After Paul’s command to “flee immorality,” he explains that “all other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body,” (v. 18).  It seems to me that Paul is shaking hands with what Jesus said in Matthew 19:3ff.  His point is that a man’s body was made to be joined to that of his wife’s.  Sexual union with anyone else is a sin against God’s design for the human body! 

But he doesn’t stop there.  He states that all other sins are “outside his body.”  We might have thought that Paul would argue against drunkenness or gluttony on similar grounds, but he didn’t.  Why not?  Aren’t these sins harmful to the body (i.e., counter to the way it was designed by God)?  They are, but that’s to miss some of Paul’s point.  His point is not just about design, but about relational design.  Man’s body was not created to be an independent unit, but to be joined to his wife’s body in marriage.  When a man comes to his wife, he is coming to himself!  Sexual sins violate this relational design in a way that other sins cannot and are “outside” this realm.    

All of this should get us make us think about how basic the marriage relationship is to mankind and how destructive it is when we embrace anything counter to it.
Back to Home