Hi everyone, I had a question about this one Bible verse. I was just wondering what St. Paul meant when he said “But because of “immoralities,” each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.” Thanks in advance.
D-R Bible, Haydock Commentary:
Ver. 2. &c. But because of fornication, let every man have, and live with his own wife, and not leave her, nor dismiss her. Take notice, that St. Paul speaks these words to those that are already married, and speaks not of the unmarried till the 8th verse. He does not then here exhort every one to marry, but admonishes married persons to live together, and not to refuse the marriage duty, which neither the husband nor the wife can do without mutual consent, because of the marriage engagement. Yet he advises them to abstain sometimes from what they may lawfully do, that they may give themselves to prayer, and as it is added in the common Greek copies, to fasting. St. Chrysostom observes, that the words of St. Paul, are not only, that they may pray, (which no day must be omitted) but that they may give themselves to prayer, that is, may be better disposed and prepared for prayer, contemplation, and for receiving the holy Sacrament, as we find the priests even of the ancient law, were to abstain from their wives, when they were employed in the functions of their ministry. But such kind of advice is not relished by all that pretend to be reformers. And return together again…yet I speak this by way of indulgence, of what is allowed to married persons, and not commanded them, unless when one of the married couple is not willing to abstain. (Witham)
I think Paul is simply saying, that while he attaches a higher level of dignity to abstinence in a devotion to Christ and a religious life, he understands that sexual desire exists and that the only proper sex is within marriage.
Paul is addressing specific concerns that the Church in Corinth has put to him, but, of course, we don’t have those questions, just his answers to them.