1 Cor. 7: 1-4
- Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.[a] 2But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. 3The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. NIV
1 Now for the matters you wrote about: "It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman." 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. TNIV
Now concerning the matters about which you wrote:(A) "It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman." 2But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3(B) The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. ESV
Second, verse 4 is not literal in the NIV because it says "authority" and this is indeed the only time in the scriptures where "authority" is mentioned in connection to marriage. It is clearly a matter of mutual consent between spouses.
However, the NIV does get verse 2 correct. Sexual immorality, actually, the word used is that for visiting prostitutes, is in the plural here. It means, not the potential for immorality, but actual instances of immorality.
The TNIV recognizes this and has corrected verse 1 and verse 4 and maintains a correct translation for verse 2 when it says "sexual immorality is occurring", meaning there is more than one instance of sexual immorality occurring.
The ESV ignores the fact that "immorality" is in the plural in Greek, that is "immoralities". In fact, the ESV has inserted a very odd addition to the Greek text when it says "temptation to sexual immorality". That is clearly not what the Greek says. The ESV and the NIV are therefore both adding some peculiar things to this passage.
However, when it says "each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband," Gordon Fee insists that this means that the husband is to "have" his wife, the wife is to "have" her husband - anyway, I'm sure you get his drift. It doesn't say that each man should marry a wife, but that they were to "have" the wife they did have - and vice versa.
Dr. Fee said that he speaks at a lot of weddings and he thinks of lots of things that he would like to say in the homily that he doesn't feel is appropriate to say, but it all goes along this line.
He held out his arms in class and said "These days there is all too much abuse in marriage, emotional abuse and physical abuse." He felt that this passage was written in a context where women, possibly recently converted women, were abstaining from sexual relations in their marriages, and, on the other hand, there was also a trend towards asceticism among some of the men. So both prostitution and a reactionary trend.
Anyway, I hope this explains why the TNIV says "each man should have sexual relations with his own wife," - and vice versa. Although this makes the TNIV appear to be less literal, I would hasten to point out that all other translations have their verses where they are not literal either, words added here and dropped there. Do people feel that the translation of verse 4 in the TNIV makes it less literal? Which of these translations - each with its peculiarities - seems to be the closest to Paul's intent?
Come to think of it, it all sounds so much better in the KJV. All this "duty" and "rights" business sounds very tiresome.
- Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
(I am still organizing my notes from my meeting with Bruce Waltke.)