But, What About The Word “But”?
If the sexual immorality being discussed has nothing to do with having sexual relations with a women 7:1 has literally no place in this chapter. Moreover if sexual immorality has nothing to do with having sex with a woman not you wife 7:2 would not start with a “but” if sex with women outside of marriage is not immoral then that first line has literally nothing to do with the rest of the chapter. But perhaps God just likes pointless statements.
First, we must differentiate between forbidden sexual activity and permitted sexual activity.
Forbidden sexual activity includes adultery, incest, forbidden relationships, male homosexuality, bestiality and even within marriage it includes sex during the proscribed period following childbirth and sex when the woman is menstruating. These are all forbidden to everyone as sexual immorality. In addition, for Christians, sex with prostitutes is forbidden in the New Testament as sexual immorality.
When the term “sexual immorality” is used in the New Testament (porneia), those things are what the word means. Unless some sexual act or relationship is forbidden, it is not sexual immorality.
Permitted sexual relations are those relations that were not forbidden. Because marriage begins with the act of sexual intercourse between a man and woman who are eligible to marry, there is no prohibition on such activity anywhere in Scripture. Sex begins marriage with the act of penetration and obviously such sex is marital sex if the woman is a virgin. If the woman is eligible to marry by not a virgin, she must consent to marry before the sex makes her married.
As to the objection about the word δὲ (de) that AmicusC sees translated as “but” in 1st Corinthians 7:2, there is a problem. The claim is that the use of the word “but” connects the “sex outside marriage” with “sexual immorality” as if “sex outside marriage” is a subset of “sexual immorality” but that’s the opposite of what the word means. It’s usage is that of an adversative particle. From the Wenstrom Bible Ministries word study on de:
It is one of the most commonly used Greek particles, used to connect one clause with another when it is felt that there is some contrast between them, though the contrast is often scarcely discernible.
Most common translations of “de”:
- “But” when a contrast is clearly implied.
- “And” when a simple connective is desired, without contrast;
- Frequently, it cannot be translated at all.
The New Thayers Greek-English Lexicon lists the following (pages 125-126):
1. Universally by way of opposition and distinction; it is added to statements opposed to a preceding statement; it opposes persons to persons or things previously mentioned or thought of, -either with strong emphasis; and often;-with a slight discrimination
In this case, the word “de” that is translated as the word “but” is used to expose a contrast; an opposition between two statements that is distinct. Sex with an (eligible) woman who is not your wife is permitted, but it is good not to do that. Opposed to that which is permitted is sexual immorality. How does sexual immorality get handled?
“Because of [the temptations of] sexual immorality, let each wife have her own husband [having another man is sexual immorality] and let each husband have his own wife [having someone else’s wife or a man is sexual immorality].”
See the contrast? Yes, it’s permitted to bang the merry widow down the street, but it’s good not to do that. Sexual immorality is forbidden, it is sin, it is defined in the Law and includes the New Testament prohibition against sex with prostitutes. Paul speaks to the married and explains that they are to get their sexual needs met within their marriage in order that they not be tempted to commit sexual immorality.
That was the general rule to the married: Get your sexual needs met at home with your spouse. What followed in verses 3-7 is instruction on how to go about “having” their own spouse.
And, despite what I just wrote and what I know that means to most Christians, in my opinion if a man is going to have sex with a woman it needs to be within the bond of marriage, but according to God it does not have to be within marriage. For the sake of conscience I believe the question is one of motivation. Is the sex moving them toward marriage or is it merely for pleasure? I realize that everyone wants there to be a rule that says “no sex outside of marriage” but God chose not to do that. And lacking a prohibition it becomes a matter of conscience, an area in which we are commanded not to judge.
Do you trust God to be God, or will you try to correct God and attempt to find a prohibition that God chose not to make?
Then we come to verses 8-9, which is instruction to the widows. Paul says that it’s good if the widows don’t get married and place themselves under the authority of another husband, because if they get married they will be serving their new husband rather than the Lord, but it’s better to marry than to burn. Given what was said in verse 1 along with the totality of what the Bible does and does not say, it is reasonable to read this as saying
“Widows, it’s better if you don’t get remarried, but if you can’t be chaste… instead of finding a FWB relationship to take care of your sexual needs whenever you get horny, find a man and marry him.”
Given how women observably are (hypergamy + solopsism), that’s excellent instruction.
The Biblical Paradigm
Marriage begins with sex because that is the instruction of Genesis 2:24, which is the authority for marriage (the Law of Marriage) that Jesus quoted in Matthew 19. The wedding ceremony described in Genesis 2:24 is sexual intercourse, a simple ceremony that creates a marriage in God’s eyes for all times, for all places and for all people. Perfectly logical, considering that is what God said and because God designed women with a tamper-proof seal on their vagina that is designed to rupture and bleed in the first instance of intercourse. The hymen.
The standard of commitment in marriage is a dual-standard, one for men and another for women. Because men and women are not equal. Men commit to marriage, women are bound in marriage.
- The man’s commitment is permanent (no divorce) but non-exclusive (polygyny allowed) to his wife.
- The woman is bound both permanently and exclusively to her husband.
Adultery is the crime/sin of a married woman having sex with a man who is not her husband. Therefore adultery requires a married woman. Because a man is authorized to have more than one wife, the only way a husband can commit adultery is to have sex with another man’s wife.
All women are virgins when they marry and the exceptions prove the rule. Prior to marriage they are under their father’s authority. When they marry, the authority over them passes to the husband. See Numbers 30 for an explanation of that authority. Why is it this way? Because God said in Genesis 3:16 “he shall rule over you.”
This was repeated in the New Testament with the instruction that wives are to submit to their husbands as unto the Lord, in everything, even if their husband is disobedient to the Word. They are to respect him. And in keeping with the command of Numbers 30 that fathers and husbands are to hold their daughters and wives accountable, we have the command in the New Testament that Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves His church. Which takes us to Revelation 3;19: “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline, be zealous therefore and repent!” The context of these New Testament commands is Genesis 3:16, “he shall rule over you.”
God does not change.
The Modern Paradigm
Some perverts in the early church decided sex was evil wickedness and everyone should be chaste. They decided to throw out the Biblical dual-standard of sexual morality and marriage and replace them with a new (single) standard of morality that applied to both men and women alike. Over the course of hundreds of years these teachings were solidified into doctrine. Keep in mind that none of this is Biblical:
- Virginity is the highest calling a woman can have.
- Sexual desire and sexual pleasure are evil, sinful and wicked.
- Marriage begins with consent by both parties, not sex.
- Marriage must have the blessing of the church, in a public ceremony before witnesses.
- Sex, even within marriage, is at best a necessary evil.
- Sex outside marriage is the sin of fornication.
- Sex before marriage is the sin of “pre-marital sex” or fornication.
- The church has the authority to regulate the marital bed to prevent sexual sin.
- Men and women are equal in all but authority within marriage.
- Polygyny is sinful and forbidden.
- Divorce was forbidden but the church could annul a marriage
This should all sound very familiar because the doctrine has remained remarkably unchanged for the past 1000 years (except for sex being evil and divorce). In adopting this doctrine, the church threw out the Bible’s instruction and replaced it with a combination of Pagan ethics, Stoic philosophy and Roman law. However, they felt it necessary to find a Biblical justification for their new beliefs, which often required significant feats of imaginative interpretation.
What modern Christians are almost completely unaware of is where their doctrines concerning sexual morality came from and the beliefs of the people that put them in place. It’s easy for me to respond to every objection you guys have, from Scripture, because I’m telling the truth about what the Bible actually teaches. You guys are trying to defend doctrines that are based on Pagan ethics, Stoic philosophy and Roman law, from the Bible. Which is why you’re finding zero support when it comes to refuting me.
Other objections and questions will be answered in the next post.