In this verse, Paul addresses the topic of sexual intimacy within the context of marriage. He emphasizes the importance of mutual consent and the potential risks of depriving one another of physical intimacy.
Paul begins by instructing married couples not to deprive one another. This refers to the withholding of sexual intimacy within the marriage relationship. He recognizes the significance of sexual intimacy as a natural and vital part of a healthy marriage.
However, Paul qualifies this instruction by noting that there may be exceptions. He allows for temporary periods of abstinence "by consent for a season." This suggests that both partners in the marriage should mutually agree to a period of abstinence for specific reasons.
One of the reasons Paul mentions is the devotion to fasting and prayer. There may be times when a couple decides to set aside physical intimacy temporarily in order to focus on spiritual matters, seeking God's guidance, or engaging in prayer and fasting. This temporary period of abstinence is intended to be a mutual decision made in the context of seeking God's will.
Paul provides a cautionary reason for not depriving one another of physical intimacy without mutual consent. He states that Satan may use the lack of self-control as an opportunity to tempt the spouses. By highlighting the potential vulnerability that may arise from prolonged abstinence, Paul encourages couples to consider the implications of their decisions on their own self-control and the potential impact it may have on their marriage.
The overall message of this verse is to emphasize the significance of sexual intimacy within a Christian marriage and the importance of mutual consent and communication. It acknowledges that physical intimacy is an essential part of a healthy marital relationship, promoting closeness, unity, and the fulfillment of natural desires.
At the same time, the verse recognizes that there may be circumstances where temporary periods of abstinence are appropriate and agreed upon by both spouses. This may be for the purpose of pursuing spiritual disciplines such as fasting and prayer. However, it is important to approach such decisions with mutual consent, open communication, and a clear understanding of the potential challenges and temptations that may arise during periods of abstinence.
In summary, 1 Corinthians 7:5 provides guidance on the topic of marital intimacy within a Christian marriage. It emphasizes the importance of not depriving one another of physical intimacy and highlights the significance of mutual consent. The verse allows for temporary periods of abstinence by consent for specific purposes such as fasting and prayer. Paul cautions against prolonged abstinence without mutual agreement, recognizing the potential vulnerability it may create. The overall message is to approach the topic of marital intimacy with open communication, mutual consent, and a consideration of both physical and spiritual needs within the context of a committed marital relationship.
See also: vs 1-3
1 Corinthians 7:5. Don’t deprive one another, unless it is by consent for a season, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer, and may be together again, that Satan doesn’t tempt you because of your lack of self-control.