What does is mean that it is good for a man not to touch a woman?

"Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman."

1 Corinthians 7:1

ESV - 1 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: "It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.

Clarify Share Report Asked June 08 2014 Mini Anonymous

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Mini Jose de Carvalho Seminary Theology Graduate
Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: "It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman." (1Co 7:1).

There is some controversy concerning the meaning of this phrase as the NIV idiomatic translation expresses the phrase as “is it good for a man not to marry”. I am of the opinion that this translation cannot be taken literally as Paul spoke strongly in favour of the married state elsewhere in scripture confirming (Gen. 2:18), going as far as stating that forbidding marriage would be a sign of the end time apostasy (1 Ti. 4:1-3), therefore I doubt that this is what he meant. Further it must be noted that Paul’s views the unmarried state as freer to serve God, like he is, provided one has the gift of celibacy (vv.6-7). 

Paul was most probably referring to “to touch a woman” the NKJ and NASB literal translation as a euphemism for sexual intercourse (Gen. 20:6; Pro. 6:29). This phrase appears in eight existing non-Christian manuscripts from antiquity 2nd-4th century as sexual intercourse. It appears then that the Corinthians were asking (7:1) “is it good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman” (ESV) a Corinthian slogan that Paul rebuttals in the following verses: firstly by affirming monogamy (v.2) then by confirming that he saw sexual relations as a necessary part of marriage (vs.3-5) and for the ever present danger of ‘porneia’ (sexual immorality).

Therefore Paul is not discussing whether Christians should get married or not, but responding to whether Christians married couples should attempt to obtain from sexual intercourse, in the context of marriage, in their enthusiasm for higher spiritual experiences; as if sexual asceticism is a virtue ‘morally good, pleasing to God, contributing to salvation’.


June 10 2014 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
The Greek has, “It is good for a man not to touch a woman,” a euphemism for sexual relations. This idiom occurs ten times in Greek literature, and all of the references except one appear to refer to sexual relations (cf., e.g., Josephus, Ant. 1.8.1 [1.163]; Gen 20:6 [LXX]; Prov 6:29 [LXX]). bible.org

June 02 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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