In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul addresses several issues concerning sex and marriage. This a particularly important passage when it comes to divorce and remarriage — but that’s not today’s subject. I covered the divorce questions in But If You Do Marry …
Paul begins by addressing whether Christian husbands and wives would serve God by refusing sexual relations with each other. That’s a truly astonishing question to modern ears, but certain of the Greeks were influenced by Platonic thought, and as a result, they associated the physical — including human bodies – with sin — and hence sex seemed sinful to some. Continue reading
And this brings us to Paul, because Paul had to deal with churches made up of converts from paganism, forcing him to deal with issues that would have been unthinkable among the Jews that Jesus dealt with.
(1Co 6:15-16 ESV) 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”
Just as Jesus did in Matthew 19, Paul immediately goes to Genesis 2 to find his sexual ethics. Why is it wrong to have sex with prostitute? Because it degrades her? Because you might catch a venereal disease? Because its a criminal act (it wasn’t)? Because it’s a form of adultery (what if the Christian is single?)? Continue reading
(Mat 5:27-30 ESV) 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”
This passage is found early in Jesus’ Sermon the Mount. And it’s most famous for arguments about what it doesn’t mean. And I agree. Jesus was being a bit hyperbolic: he did not intend that teenage boys blind themselves and cut their hands off as they struggle with lust. Just as was true in Matthew 19, and true to the rabbinic tradition, Jesus exaggerates for effect — but not much. Continue reading
(Mat 19:7-9 ESV) 7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
This is passage famously presents a host of interpretive problems, especially verse 9. I deal with those questions in the ebook “But If You Do Marry … .” We’ll not discuss most of those in this series on hermeneutics. Continue reading
One of the most difficult area of hermeneutics deals with human sexuality. After all, if only love matters, why would premarital sex or homosexual sex be sinful? And yet the scriptures clearly frown on sex outside of marriage.
Well, the solution is not to buy a book on hermeneutics. After all, most of us already own several copies of the best one: the Bible. To sort out the hermeneutics of sexuality, let’s look at the words of Jesus and Paul to see how they interpret and apply the scriptures. What principles underlie their teaching? What are their hermeneutics? Continue reading
Let’s talk a little about hermeneutics. “Hermeneutics” is the process of interpreting a text, especially the Bible.
You know, I really wish I could find a better word than “hermeneutics.” I mean, it just sounds so technical and foreign.
But the reality is that we all have a hermeneutic because we all interpret the Bible by some means or other. Most of us are unconscious of the process. We just read it, say something like, “Means what it says; says what it means,” figuring that the meaning is obvious — but rarely is it truly that simple. Continue reading
So here’s the plan. We’ve had an excellent discussion in the last series regarding whether homosexual activity is always sinful for a Christian.
The previous series was largely about attitudes toward the gay community, rather than an exegesis of the relevant texts that condemn homosexual activity. Several readers have asked my views on some of these texts, and it’s obvious that we need to take a look at them. Continue reading