Original Research - Special Collection: Africa Platform for NT Scholars

Formulating a biblical teaching on sex for Nigerian Christian couples: A study of 1 Corinthians 7:1–5

Olubiyi A. Adewale, Funke E. Oyekan
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 78, No 3 | a7079 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i3.7079 | © 2022 Olubiyi A. Adewale, Funke E. Oyekan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 August 2021 | Published: 19 January 2022

About the author(s)

Olubiyi A. Adewale, Department of Religious Studies, Faculty of Arts, National Open University of Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria; Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Funke E. Oyekan, Religious Studies Programme, College of Liberal Studies, Bowen University, Iwo, Nigeria; Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


The issue of sexual relations between spouses is a major cause of broken homes in Nigeria and Christian couples are not an exception. People believe that a large percentage of broken homes have the root of their problem traced to sex. The preponderance of broken homes (and homes under tension of crises) notwithstanding, most studies in this area have been from the socio-scientific and medical cum psychological point of view and many more have focused on teenagers and young people to the exclusion of married couples that need healing in this regard. This article is aimed at bringing out biblical instruction concerning the issue of sex that could help to restore peace to many homes at the verge of breaking down. The focal passage is 1 Corinthians 7:1–5, which was Paul’s instructions to the Corinthian church when they faced a similar problem. This article is an exegetical analysis of the passage and is read rhetorically (rhetorical analysis examines how a text persuades readers of its point of view) with the Nigerian situation in mind. It concludes that sex must be enjoyed within the ambits of marriage and within this ambit, the only reason for abstinence is mutual agreement for the purpose of prayer.

Contribution: The article upholds gender equality in initiating and enjoying sex and rejects looking down on women who request sex. It also calls for the eradication of female genital mutilation, a tradition based on making women not enjoy sex.


Nigeria; Christian couples; 1 Corinthians 7:1–5; sexual relations


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Crossref Citations

1. African biblical studies and the question of methodology: A focus on New Testament scholarship in Nigeria
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