Hi friends! Welcome back to our journey and study of 1 Corinthians. In our questions to consider section I often ask you "what does this reveal was happening at the time or what the people were struggling with." This in this situation, it should be pretty clear what the people were struggling with. Sex and all things sex. Sex in the temple, sex between prostitutes and believers, sex between partners, acceptable and unacceptable sex. My gosh Paul we get your point. Sex has often been a very taboo topic in the church - we don't know how to talk about it or even if its our place to talk on. But healthy sexual relationships are not only given, but encouraged by God in Genesis. This reading is somewhat dense and convuluted to read but I encourage you try to answer the question "what is a healthy sexual relationship according to Paul" and then decide whether or not you feel comfortable with that. I'll share some more in the questions section.
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What is a healthy sexual relationship according to Paul? What is not? What are my reactions to that?
Jesus often ate with sinners and encouraged them to repent and follow him. Paul writes that people should avoid sinners like the plague lest they themselves give into sin. Do you think Paul is being un-Christlike or are there times when boundaries are for the best?
- Commentary -
Paul has preached the gospel in Corinth. And Corinth was well known as a sexually immoral city. With ports to the west and east, seafarers and sailors entered the city on shore leave. Like many port cities, Corinth was linked with sexual immorality that was infamous even in the Graeco-Roman world. A secular historian reported that the temple of Aphrodite had 1000 prostitutes. In fact, the word to ‘Corinthianize’, meant to be ‘sexually immoral’ or ‘to fornicate’.
And real Corinthians became Christians. 1 Corinthians chapter 6 verses 9 to 11:
Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (NIV)
The Corinthians, despite their past, are now holy. They have trusted in Christ, as their righteousness, holiness and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30). And they have been sanctified in Christ, the holy one (1 Corinthians 1:2).
However, they need to be what they are. They need to live out what Christ has made them. And the old way of life, the lifestyles that surround them at Corinth, is still making them stumble as a church.
Lastly, on the topic of homosexuality and its mention here. The translation for homosexuality is not accurate and it wasn't first mentioned until 1946 in the Revised Standard Edition. The translation in English is homosexuality while the translation in German (which is more accurate to the source material) says "young boys." Man shall not lie with "young boys" as he does with women. So, what Paul is talking about here is NOT consensual relationships between adults who are in love but older men preying on younger men (which was super common in the roman world.) I think we can all agree on that! I know many of you are really hardcore "the Bible says" believers and I respect your diligence to its word, but we also owe it to ourselves to be fair to what the original Bible says too, not just the English translation. (For more info please read this full interview: https://um-insight.net/perspectives/has-“homosexual”-always-been-in-the-bible/)
Praying the Hymns
Our prayer for today is inspired by hymn 303 in our hymnal - The Day of Resurrection. I invite you to join me in prayer! :)
1. The day of resurrection! Earth, tell it out abroad; the passover of gladness, the passover of God. From death to life eternal, from earth unto the sky, our Christ hath brought us over, with hymns of victory.
2. Our hearts be pure from evil, that we may see aright the Lord in rays eternal of resurrection light; and listening to his accents, may hear, so calm and plain, his own "All hail!" and, hearing, may raise the victor strain.
3. Now let the heavens be joyful! Let earth the song begin! Let the round world keep triumph, and all that is therein! Let all things seen and unseen their notes in gladness blend, for Christ the Lord hath risen, our joy that hath no end.