Jump Start # 2292
1 Corinthians 7:1 “Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.”
A study of Corinthians shows two major structures to the book. The first section are the words and admonition from Paul to a divided church. He addresses the problems immediately. The second structure is made up of Paul answering questions that the Corinthians submitted to him. The questions are easy to find because they begin with the expression, “Now concerning.” They ask about the contribution. They ask about spiritual gifts. They ask about eating meat that has been sacrificed to an idol. And, starting the list of questions, our verse today, they ask about sexual relationships. I believe implied is the thought, now that we are Christians and now that we are to be holy and pure, does this mean sexual intimacy in marriage is out.
We don’t know if Paul is answering their questions in order, or if he answers them by importance. I do find it interesting that this was asked. I expect before this question went to paper and then was sent to Paul, that they had discussed this among themselves. And, because this was sent to Paul, they wanted an apostolic answer. Either they couldn’t come to an agreement, or they wanted to make sure that their conclusions were right. Now, we probably would be a bit delicate to discuss this openly, there are some great lessons to be learned here.
First, the Corinthians understood that the application of God’s word is taken home. Spirituality doesn’t end with the setting sun on Sunday. What we do outside of worship, and even at home, involves our faith and our commitment to the Lord.
Second, even the most private of matters, one which we do not share with others, is something that must honor God and be right with Him. How easy it is to say, “It’s nobodies business,” but it is, especially God’s. The problem in the fifth chapter of someone being immoral with his father’s wife, was the concern of God and righteous brethren. We don’t and we can’t put up barriers around us that says, Keep Out. How we conduct our business, what we post on social media, how we behave at ballgames, on vacation, in our backyards, is always God’s business. There is no part of your life that is off limits to God. What you think, what you say, what you do, your motives, your attitude—they are all choices that either reflect faith and honor God or they do not.
Paul was leading the Corinthians, in chapter five, to remove themselves from the immoral man. Keeping this a secret wasn’t going to change the man’s dishonoring God in his behavior. He was out of fellowship with God and the brethren needed to follow. This was the business of the church. Our conduct is the same. “What I have to do to get ahead in business is no one’s business,” simply isn’t true.
Third, questions need to be answered, and they need to be answered Biblically. Just assuming, guessing or letting things alone as they are, can be the wrong choices. They didn’t know, so they asked. Today, we still have questions, both individually and as a church. Leaders need to find the answers through a study of God’s word.
I’ve often wondered, if a congregation today were able to send a letter to an apostle, what questions would we ask? Would our questions reflect faith and a concern for all, or, would they be superficial questions about which songs to sing in worship? Somehow, the questions about sexual relations came to the forefront and was included in a letter from the church to Paul. This was on their minds and they wanted to know.
Today, I could just hear some saying, “Don’t ask THAT question.” Some might even reason, “How would Paul know, he’s single.” Or, “He doesn’t care about those kind of things, he’s only interested in faith based issues.” However, the Corinthians asked. They would never know the Biblical answer had they not asked.
Do we know what questions folks struggle with today? What about cremation? What about bankruptcy? What about working on Sunday? What about a church going in debt? How about a church having one service on Sunday? How does a church part ways with a preacher? Now, most of us have a pretty good opinion on all of those. I expect many of the Corinthians may have had a pretty good idea on their questions. Yet, they still asked. What we must do is not rest upon our opinions, but to be sure what the Scriptures teach. We might think that it would be easier just to fax some questions and then get the answers faxed back. But the task before us is to be transparent with one another, and to open our Bibles and using the principles that we have learned, find answers that fit with the rest of the Scriptures.
Our walk must be Biblically based. We walk by faith, not opinions, nor by sight. The Corinthian questions mattered. God included them in His inspired word. He wanted us to know about these questions. It’s not wrong to have questions. Where do you find your answers and what do you do once you find the Biblical answer?
We still have much to learn … and that learning must come from God’s word.