Quarter’s Theme: ORDERLINESS IN THE CHURCH
Unit 2 – Purity In Christian Marriage (Lessons 5-6)
LESSON 6 12/4/2015
PRINCIPLES OF CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 244, 276
Devotional Reading: GEN. 2:15-25
Topic For Adults
REMEMBER YOUR FIRST LOVE
Topic For Youths
LET GOD CHOSE FOR YOU
Topic For Intermediates
MARRIAGE IS ORIGINATED BY GOD
1 COR. 7:1-16
Memory Verse: …it is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband (1 Cor. 7:1,2) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Do Not Deny Each Other
1 Cor. 7:1-9
Couple should know that the moment they have been legally joined together, the body of the husband belongs to the wife and vice-versa. No one should lay claim to his or her body by denying the partner the pleasure he or she should enjoy. Couple, especially wife, should not use her body as a source of punishment to the husband or as an instrument to extort money from her husband before he can have access to her. Doing this is a form of prostitution in a legal marriage, and this is very wrong. Never deny your partner the sexual pleasure he or she deserves. If there must be denial, it must be with mutual agreement and it must be for a short period and not for any other reason than for spiritual activities like prayer, fasting and possibly for health reason. Anything outside these reasons is not acceptable.
Point of Emphasis: Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time.
Prayer Point: Help me, God to honor my wife or husband with my body always.
Marriage is God’s ordained institution. However, for God’s children to be able to
succeed in their marriage and enjoy it instead of enduring it, they must follow God’s principles as regards marriage. Those principles are many, but this week’s lesson will focus on those mentioned in 1 Cor. 7
NOTES ON THE LESSON
(1) MARRIAGE IS BY CHOICE (1 COR. 7:1-2)
The opening of 1 Cor. 7 indicates that Paul was responding to series of questions written to him by the Corinthian church. Though the letter containing the Corinthian questions had been lost, yet one can determine what the questions were from Paul’s reply. The first question probably had to do with whether it is lawful at all to marry or not. To this question, Paul answered that, considering the prevailing circumstances of persecution and trial being faced by the church at that time, it is fit, it is convenient, and it is good for a man not to marry a wife. This is Paul’s advice and not God’s command. In another vein, if anyone discovers that he or she has the grace not to marry, he or she is not under any obligation to marry.
However, because Paul knew that marriage is God-ordained, he quickly added that “to avoid fornication” let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband (v. 2). The word fornication or sexual immorality is used in this passage in the large sense of licentiousness in general. For the sake of the purity of society, and to avoid the evils of sensual indulgence, and the corruptions and crimes which attend an illicit intercourse, it is proper that those who do not have the gift of continency should marry. Furthermore, Paul advocates one man, one wife and one woman, one husband (v. 2), to whom he or she shall be faithful. By this, polygamy (marrying more than one wife) and polyandry (the custom of having more than one husbands at a time) are unlawful under the gospel.
(2) COUPLE’S RESPONSIBILITIES TO EACH OTHER (1 COR. 7:3-9)
There are many responsibilities that couples need to perform for each other in order to have a peaceful and loving Christian home. Some of these responsibilities include the provision of basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. But in this passage, Paul is hammering on two main responsibilities. The first is affection or love toward each other. It is important to note that the advice to love is given to the man first because naturally, it is easy for woman to love, but pretty difficult for man. It takes sometime for man’s love to start growing. For a family to enjoy stability, the man must render due affection or love to his wife. He must make conscious effort to grow his love for her and for her alone. When a wife discovers that she is loved by her husband, she will go to any length to satisfy her husband and make her home a haven of joy and peace.
Secondly, Paul advised that couple should not separate from each other. Around the time he was writing to the Corinthians, the idea that marriage was a less holy state than celibacy naturally led to the conclusion that married people ought to separate, and such separation soon came to be regarded as evidence of spirituality. However, Paul taught that neither party has the right to separate from the other, which no separation is to be allowed without the mutual consent of the couple. If it must happen for the purpose of fasting and prayer, it must be for a short time. They must not deny each other in terms of sexual relation. We must not deceive ourselves, any family where there is no understanding between the couple on this issue, cannot enjoy the peace and joy of God. Some have gone out of God’s purpose for their lives and family as a result of this issue. Couple must know that one of the reasons they got married is because they don’t have the gift of continency and so they must not deny each other sexual pleasure so as not to push either of the couple into sin of sexual immorality.
In verses 6 and 7, Paul indicated that marriage is permitted and not commanded (v. 6). It is by choice. You need to decide whether you want to go into it with the whole responsibilities involved or not. He even said that he wished that all men could be as Himself i.e. be without marrying. Paul knew that his life style as an itinerant evangelist was not one that he could easily adhere to with a wife and children and therefore remained unmarried, for he had the gift of continency.
(3) NO DIVORCE, NO RE-MARRIAGE (1 COR. 7:10-16)
Another question sent to Paul by the Corinthians was whether a convert to Christianity who had already married an unbeliever could divorce the spouse and probably re-marry a believer since the unbelieving spouse do not believe in the religion of the partner. Paul responded that God’s command on the issue is that a wife is not to depart from her husband. Likewise, the man is not allowed to divorce his wife. In essence, there must be no divorce between couple. God hates divorce. The ideal of Christian marriage is the permanence of the union, till death do them part.
Under no condition must divorce be permitted. However, a permission is given. If the unbelieving wife could not cope with the new ways of life of her husband, she may decide to leave the husband, or if the believing wife is a Christian and the husband is not, she may decide to depart from her husband, but with the condition that she is going to remain unmarried. If she eventually discovers that she cannot continue to hold herself again, the only alternative for her is to reconcile with her husband. The same for the husband. Anything short of this is against God’s command. Paul made it clear, that what he is saying in this passage is not an advice but a command from the Lord. Know that the marriage tie is so sacred that it could not be dissolved by the will of either party.
For those who have unbelieving spouse, Paul’s advice is that they must not divorce them if they are willing to stay in the union. If not, they should be allowed to go, but the believing spouse must remain unmarry or be reconciled with the wife. Paul believed that it is possible, if they stay together, for the believing wife or husband to positively influence the unbelieving partner to Christianity by his godly conducts.
Marriage is God-ordained, but those who will enter into it must count the cost whether they will be able to fulfil their responsibilities and the godly principles attached to it. This is why marriage is not for immatured but for the matured. For those that are married, do all things to make your marriage work and stand. Never allow divorce, stay pure, holy, and faithful with your spouse.
(1) Is it compulsory for all people to marry? Give reasons for your answer.
(2) What does the word “fornications” in verse 2 mean?
(3) Mention the duties of the couple to each other as contained in the lesson
(4) Why is divorce and re-marriage not permitted in Christian marriage?
(5) How can the unbelieving spouse be sanctified by the believing partner?
NE VOUS PRIVEZ POINT L’UN DE L’AUTRE
1 CO. 7 :1-9
Le couple doit se rendre compte qu’à partir du moment où ils sont légalement liés ensemble, le corps du mari appartient à la femme et celle de la femme à son mari. Personne ne doit prétendre à son corps en privant son conjoint/sa conjointe du plaisir dont il/elle doit jouir. Le couple, surtout la femme, ne doit pas se servir de son corps comme un moyen de châtiment contre son mari ou un instrument comme pour extorquer de lui de l’argent avant qu’il n’y ait accès à elle. Faire ceci est une forme de prostitution dans un mariage légal, ce qui est tout à fait injuste. Ne prive jamais ton conjoint/ta conjointe du plaisir sexuel qu’il ou elle mérite. S’il doit avoir privation, celle-ci doit être d’un commun accord et d’une courte période et non pour autre raison que pour des activités religieuses comme la prière, le jeûne et si possible pour raison de santé. Tout autre raison en dehors des raisons précitées est inacceptable.
Point essentiel : Ne vous privez point l’un de l’autre si ce n’est d’un commun accord.
Axe de prière : Aide-moi, O Dieu, à toujours honorer ma femme ou mon mari de mon corps.