Christianity

Theology of the Body: Moderation

During one class, I led a group that had to create a Theology of the Body.  It turned into one of my favorite projects, resulted in two new friends, and helped me conceptualize and defend something I already believed with my heart.  This post isn’t a paper so much as a bunch of verses from the Bible sorted into categories which, if you’re a theology nerd, is VERY interesting.  Trust me.


 

Application: The body is good, but it can be misused, either by excess or deprivation.

 


Celibacy vs. Hypersexuality  

Verses in favor of sexuality:

  • Genesis 1:28 “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”
  • Genesis 2:24 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united
    to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”
  • Proverbs 5:15-19 “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
  • Song of Songs in total
  • 1 Corinthians 7:4-6 “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. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I say this as a concession, not as a command.”

Verses limiting sexuality:  

  • Leviticus 18—list of sexual regulations
  • Matthew 5:28 “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
  • Romans 1:24 “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.”
  • 1 Corinthians 5:11 “But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.”
  • 1 Corinthians 6:13 “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”
  • 1 Corinthians 10:8 “We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did— and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.”
  • Ephesians 5:3 “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”
  • Colossians 3:5 “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”
  • Hebrews 13:4 “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

Teetotaler vs. Alcoholic

Verses in favor of alcohol:

  • Psalm 104:14-15 “You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.”
  • Proverbs 31:6 “Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress;”
  • Ecclesiastes 9:7 “Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.”
  • Matthew 11:18-19 “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.’”
  • 1 Timothy 5:23 “(No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)”

 

Verses limiting alcohol:

  • Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”
  • Isaiah 5:22 “Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink,”
  • Ephesians 5:18 “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,”
  • 1 Corinthians 5:11 “But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.”

Anorexia vs. Gluttony

Verses in favor of food:

  • Genesis 9:3 “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.”
  • Psalm 104:14-15 “You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.”
  • Ecclesiastes 9:7 “Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.”
  • Matthew 7:18-20 “’Are you so dull?’ he asked. ‘Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into the stomach, and then out of the body.’ (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)
  • Matthew 11:18-19 “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.””
  • Ephesians 5:29 “After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church.”
  • 1 Timothy 4:3 “(deceiving spirits) forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”

Verses limiting food:

  • Proverbs 23:20 “Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat,” Proverbs 25:16 “If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it.”
  • Acts 15:20 “Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.”
  • Philippians 3:18-19 “For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”

How do we find moderation?

-usually avoid extremes

  • Colossians 2:20-23 “Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”

-balance personal freedom with concern for others

  • Romans 14:1-3 “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.”
  • Romans 14:6 “He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.”
  • Romans 14:13 “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.”
  • Galatians 5:13 “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

trust in God’s wisdom

  • 1 Corinthians 6:12 “’All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be enslaved by anything.”
  • Ephesians 5:15-17 “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
  • James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
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