This is a third article on women in Corinthians; the second is here.
I want to revert back to a chapter that I did not address; I think this is a good place to do so. The questions the Corinthians asked Paul in chapter 7 needs some attention in my estimation (that is, in this context of “Women in….” series).
It is in this chapter that Paul addresses intimacy, marriage, and a particular circumstance, about which we know nothing. Each one deals with the roles of the male and female, but since I am addressing the female, I want to give some attention to the points.
With regard to intimacy, the Holy Spirit instructs (through Paul) the obligations the male has toward the female, and the other way around. Marriage is a relationship of people, their personalities, hopes, insecurities, and anything else that might be involved. Marriage is also an intimate setting for the husband and wife. There is no with-holding of conjugal obligations of one from the other.
There is also a marriage perplexity Paul dealt with that troubled some. What if a spouse who is not Christian no longer wants to be married; what should the Christian spouse do? The answer is to “hold on to the Lord.” Don’t hold on to the marriage, and give up the Lord. A disastrous decision to be sure!
Later in the chapter Paul addressed a problem concerning some circumstance that might cause a problem in the desires of a male and female to be married (7:25-40). While the male takes the lead in the decision making, it is reasonable that the female has a role in this also. Ultimately, however, due to the assigned roles by the Holy Spirit, the female is to submit to his leadership in this case.