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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 6

The Expositor's Greek TestamentExpositor's Greek Testament

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Verse 1

1 Corinthians 6:1 . Τολμᾷ τις ὑμῶν κ . τ . λ .; “Does any one of you dare?”etc. “notatur læsa majestas Christianorum” (Bg [889] ): τολμᾶν , sustinere, non erubescere . This also was matter of common knowledge, like the crime of 1 Corinthians 5:1 . The abrupt interrog. marks the outburst of indignant feeling. You treat the Church, the seat of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16 f.), as though it were without authority or wisdom; you take your case from the highest court to the lowest! So the appellant is first censured; in 1 Corinthians 6:4 the whole Church comes in for blame. Πρᾶγμα ( res, negotium ), κρίνεσθαι (mid [890] ; see parls.), ἐπὶ with gen [891] , ἐν (1 Corinthians 6:2 ), κριτήριον (1 Corinthians 6:2 ), καθίζω (1 Corinthians 6:4 ), and perhaps ἥττημα (1 Corinthians 6:7 ), are all in this passage technical legal expressions. Οἱ ἄδικοι the term applied by the Jews ( cf. Galatians 2:15 ), and then by Christians, to the heathen marks the action censured as self-stultifying to seek for right from “the unrighteous”! P. himself appealed to Roman justice, but never in matters “between brother and brother,” nor in the way of accusing his injurers (Acts 28:19 ); only in defence of his work. Οἱ ἅγιοι indicates by contrast the moral dignity of Christians (see 1 Corinthians 1:2 , and note), a judicial attribute; cf. sanctitas fori (Quintilian, xi., 3. 58). There exists a similar Rabbinical inhibition: “It is forbidden to bring a matter of right before idolatrous judges.… Whosoever goeth before them with a law-suit is impious, and does the same as though he blasphemed and cursed; and hath lifted his hand against the law of Moses our Teacher, blessed be he!” ( Shulchan aruch, Choshen hammishpat , 29). The Roman Government allowed the Jews liberty of internal jurisdiction; the Bethdin ( house of judgment ) was as regular a part of the Israelite economy as the Beth-keneseth ( synagogue ). In Romans 13:1 ff. P. regards the power of the State from a diff [892] point of view.

[889] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

[890] middle voice.

[891] genitive case.

[892] difference, different, differently.

Verses 1-6

1 Corinthians 6:1-6 . § 17. LAW-SUITS IN HEATHEN COURTS. Beside the πόρνος , amongst those to be excommunicated at Cor [887] , stood the πλεονέκτης (1 Corinthians 5:11 ); fraud and robbery were only less rife than licentiousness; and this element of corruption, along with the other, had reappeared within the Church (1 Corinthians 6:8 ). Instead of being repressed by timely correction, the evil had grown rank; in several instances aggrieved Christian parties had carried their complaints before the civil Courts, to the scandal of the Church and to Paul’s high indignation. Two links of thought connect chh. 5. and 6.: (1) the kindred nature of sins of impurity and of covetousness , both prevalent at Cor [888] , both destructive of society; (2) the lamentable lack of Church discipline (1 Corinthians 5:12 ), which enabled these mischiefs to gather head.

[887] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[888] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

Verse 2

1 Corinthians 6:2 . ἢ οὐκ οἴδατε κ . τ . λ .; “Or (is it that) you do not know?” etc. If the appeal to non-Christian tribunals is not made in insolence ( τολμᾷ ) towards the Church, it must be made in ignorance of its matchless prerogative. That “the saints will judge the world” is involved in the conception of the Messianic kingdom (Daniel 7:22 ; cf. Matthew 20:21 ); Israel, with its Christ, is to rule, and therefore judge, the nations (Acts 1:6 , etc.: cf. Galatians 6:16 ). See Wis 3:7 f., where participation in this Messianic power is asserted for “the souls of the righteous” in their future state. After the manner of Jesus, the Ap. carried over to the new Israel of God the promises of dominion claimed under the Old Covenant, transforming in transferring them (2 Timothy 2:12 ; Revelation 20:4 ; Revelation 22:5 , etc.). Paul reminds his readers of a truth they should have known, since it belongs to the nature of “the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9 ) and to the glory they look for at “the unveiling of Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:7 ff.; cf. 1 Corinthians 4:8 , Romans 8:17 , etc.). Cm [893] and others see here a virtual judgment of the world, lying in the faith of the saints as contrasted with its unbelief ( cf. Luke 11:31 , John 3:18 ff., Romans 8:3 ), a thought irrelevant here. 1 Corinthians 6:3 , moreover, carries the judgment in question into a region far beyond that of Christian magistrates , whose appointment some prosaic interpreters see here predicted. The Ap. argues à majori ad minus , from the grand and celestial to earthly commonplace. The early Church ascribed this dignity esp. to the martyrs: τοῦ Χριστοῦ πάρεδροι … καὶ μέτοχοι τῆς κρίσεως αὐτοῦ καὶ συνδικάζοντες (Euseb., H.E. , vi., 42; see Ed [894] ). ἐν ὑμῖν , in consessu vestro picturing Christ and His saints in session, with “the world” brought in for trial before them. “It is absurd in itself, and quite inconsistent with the Divine idea and counsel, that any of you should now appear at their bar, who shall some day appear at yours ” (Ev [895] ). κρίνεται , pr [896] tense, of faith’s certainty ( cf. 1 Corinthians 5:13 ). κριτήριον (see 1 Corinthians 6:4 ) signifies place rather than matter of judgment (see parls.); for the latter sense lexical warrant is wanting. The question is: “Are you unworthy of (sitting on) the smallest tribunals?” of forming courts to deal with trifling affairs of secular property? cf. our “petty sessions”. Cm [897] reads the sentence as affirmative, ἀνάξιοι as nimis digni , and τ . κριτηρ . ἐλαχ . as the heathen tribunals: “It is beneath your dignity to appear before these contemptible courts!” But this does not square with 1 Corinthians 6:4 .

[893] John Chrysostom’s Homiliœ († 407).

[894] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians .

[895] T. S. Evans in Speaker’s Commentary .

[896] present tense.

[897] John Chrysostom’s Homiliœ († 407).

Verse 3

1 Corinthians 6:3 . The question of 1 Corinthians 6:2 urged to its climax: “Know you not that we shall judge angels? ” Paul already does this, hypothetically, in Galatians 1:8 . Instructed through the Church (Ephesians 3:10 ), the heavenly powers will be subject to final correction from the same quarter. The angels were identified, in later Jewish thought, with the forces of nature and the destiny of nations (Psalms 104:4 ; Daniel 10:13 ; Daniel 12:1 ); they must be affected by any judgment embracing the κόσμος . “There is, it seems, a solidarity between the Princes of the nations ( cf. Paul’s ἀρχαὶ κ . ἐξουσίαι , 1 Corinthians 15:24 , etc.) and the nations directed by them; according to Shir rabba , 27 b , God does not punish a people until He has first humbled its Angel-prince in the higher world, and according to Tanchuma, Beshallach , 13, He will hereafter judge the nations only when He has first judged their Angel-princes” (Weber, Altsynag. paläst. Théologie , p. 165); Satan is κατʼ ἐξοχὴν “the god of this world”(2 Corinthians 4:4 ; cf. John 14:30 , Luke 4:6 ), and has his “angels” whom P. styles “world-rulers” (Ephesians 6:12 , Matthew 25:41 ). On the throne of world-judgment Christ will sit (Acts 17:31 , Matthew 25:31 f.), and “the saints” sc. after their own acquittal as His assessors. κρινοῦσιν in this context qualifies its objects as culpable; cf. ἵνα καταργήσῃ in 1 Corinthians 15:24 ; also 1 Corinthians 5:12 above, and other parls. The anarthrous ἀγγέλους signifies beings of this order, in contrast with men ( cf. 1 Corinthians 4:9 ; also Jude 1:6 ); “P. does not wish to mark out this or that class of angels, but to awaken in the Church the sense of its competence and dignity by reminding it that beings of this lofty nature will one day be subject to its jurisdiction” (Gd [898] ; also El [899] ). μήτιγε βιωτικά ( nedum quidem: not surely a continued interrog., as W.H [900] punctuate) in sharp contrast to “angels” “(to say) nothing verily of secular matters!”. μήτιγε ( sc. λέγωμεν ) is a N.T. h.l [901] , a sound cl [902] idiom (see Lidd [903] on μήτις , also El [904] ad. loc. ), negative syn [905] for πόσῳ μᾶλλον (Romans 11:12 ; Romans 11:24 ); for the γε , cf. 1 Corinthians 4:8 . βιωτικός , of later Gr [906] (after Aristotle), denotes matters relating to βίος (one’s “living”), which differs from ζωὴ as vita quam from vita qua vivimus “quae ad hujus vitæ usum pertinent” (Bz [907] ), or “ad victum pertinentia” (Cv [908] ); see Lt [909] ad loc [910] , and Trench, Syn [911] , § 27.

[898] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[899] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians .

[900] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

[901] .l. hapax legomenon , a solitary expression.

[902] classical.

[903]idd. Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon.

[904] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians .

[905] synonym, synonymous.

[906] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[907] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[908] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii .

[909] J. B. Lightfoot’s (posthumous) Notes on Epp. of St. Paul (1895).

[910] ad locum , on this passage.

[911] synonym, synonymous.

Verses 4-5

1 Corinthians 6:4-5 a . 1 Corinthians 6:4 is rendered in three diff [912] ways, as ( a ) τ . ἐξουθενημένους ἐν τ . ἐκκλησίᾳ is taken to mean the heathen iudges , the ἄδικοι of 1 Corinthians 6:1 whom the Church could not respect ( ἐν , in the eyes of; cf. 1 Corinthians 14:11 ); then τούτους καθίζετε becomes an indignant question “Do you set up these (as your judges)?” so Mr [913] , Hn [914] , Tisch., W.H [915] , R.V. text . The position of καθίζετε and the strain put upon its meaning speak against this view the Cor [916] Christians did not appoint the city magistrates; also the unlikelihood of Paul’s using language calculated to excite contempt toward heathen rulers. ( b ) The prevalent construction (Vg [917] , Syr., Bz [918] , Cv [919] , Bg [920] , Ed [921] , El [922] , Lt [923] , A.V., R.V. marg .) understands τ . ἐξουθ . ἐν τ . ἐκκλ . as the despised of the Church itself ( καυχᾶσθαι ἐν ἀνθρ ., 1 Corinthians 3:21 , 1 Corinthians 4:6 ff. implies such a counterpart); then καθίζετε ’ is read as impv [924] , and P. says in sarcasm, “If you have lawsuits in secular affairs, set up the lowest amongst you (for judges of these low matters)!” κριτήρια however (see note on 2, and R.V. marg .) signifies not trials , nor matters of trial , but tribunals , and is therefore an unsuitable obj [925] to ἐὰν ἔχητε : βιωτικὰ κριτήρια are the things wanting to the Church, which P. is advising them to set on foot. Moreover, Paul would hardly speak of Christians as “despised” among their fellows, without some touch of blame for their despisers. ( c ) For these reasons, it is better, as Hf [926] suggests, to put the comma before , instead of after, ἐὰν ἔχητε , attaching τοὺς ἐξουθ . to this vb [927] and reading βιωτ . κριτ . as a nom [928] (or acc [929] ) pendens to the sentence ( cf. Romans 8:3 , Hebrews 8:1 ; and Bm [930] , pp. 379 ff.): we thus translate, “Well then, for secular tribunals if you have men that are made of no account in the Church, set these on the bench!” That this prideful Church has such persons is undoubted; P. puts the fact hypothetically, as a thing one does not like to assume. μὲν οὖν throws into relief, by way of emphatic resumption, the βιωτικά … κριτήρια . πρὸς ἐντροπὴν ὑμῖν λέγω , “Unto your shame ( lit [931] for a shame to you) I say (it)”: this relates to the foregoing sentence ( cf. 1 Corinthians 15:34 ); it is a shame the Cor [932] Church should have members looked on with utter contempt ( cf. 1 Corinthians 12:21-25 ); but since it has, it is fitting that they should be its judges in things contemptible! P. writes with anger, whereas he did not, though he might seem to do, in 1 Corinthians 4:14 .

[912] difference, different, differently.

[913] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[914] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[915] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

[916] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[917] Latin Vulgate Translation.

[918] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[919] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii .

[920] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

[921] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians . 2

[922] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians .

[923] J. B. Lightfoot’s (posthumous) Notes on Epp. of St. Paul (1895).

[924] imperative mood.

[925] grammatical object.

[926] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht , ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[927] verb

[928] nominative case.

[929] accusative case.

[930] A. Buttmann’s Grammar of the N.T. Greek (Eng. Trans., 1873).

[931] literal, literally.

[932] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 6:5 b . Laying aside sarcasm, the Ap. asks most gravely: “(Is it) so (that) there is no wise man found amongst you, who will be able to decide between his brothers?” οὕτως intensifies the question ( cf. Galatians 3:3 ) τοσαύτη σπάνις (Cm [933] ) “so utter a lack of men of sense amongst you Cor [934] , with all your talent and pretensions?” (1 Corinthians 1:5 , 1 Corinthians 3:18 , 1 Corinthians 4:10 ). ἐνί , prp [935] with ellipsis of ἐστίν (Wr [936] , p. 96) there exists, is found (see parls.). ἀνὰ μέσον (Hebraistic prpl [937] phrase) τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ lit [938] “between his brother” a defective expression, as though due to confusion of τῶν ἀδελφῶν with the more Hebraistic ἀδελφοῦ καὶ ἀδελφοῦ : an example of the laxity of Paul’s conversational Gr [939] ; unless, as Sm [940] conjectures, there is a “primitive error,” and τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ should be corrected to τῶν ἀδελφῶν .

[933] John Chrysostom’s Homiliœ († 407).

[934] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[935] preposition.

[936] Winer-Moulton’s Grammar of N.T. Greek (8th ed., 1877).

[937]rpl. prepositional.

[938] literal, literally.

[939] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[940] P. Schmiedel, in Handcommentar zum N.T. (1893).

Verse 6

1 Corinthians 6:6 . “Nay, but brother goes to law with brother this too before unbelievers!” This is an answer to the question of 1 Corinthians 6:5 , not a continuation of it. The litigation shows that there is no man in the Church wise enough to settle such matters privately; or he would surely have been called in. The ἄδικοι of 1 Corinthians 6:1 here figure as ἄπιστοι ; see parls; contrast with οἱ πιστεύοντες (1 Corinthians 1:21 ).

Verse 7

1 Corinthians 6:7 . Ἤδη μὲν οὖν , “Indeed then, to begin with”: on ἤδη ( already, i.e. before litigation ), see note to 1 Corinthians 4:8 . μὲν here, otherwise than in 1 Corinthians 6:4 . suggests a suppressed δέ : “but ye aggravate matters by going before the heathen” (Lt [941] ). ὅλως (see 1 Corinthians 5:1 ) ἥττημα (cl [942] ἥττα ): “it is absolutely a failure on your part” not a mere defect , nor a loss ( sc. of the Messianic glory: so Mr [943] , in view of 9), but a moral defeat (see parls.). Ἡττάομαι (see Lidd [944] , s. v. , I. 3) signifies to be worsted, beaten in a suit (Lat. causa cadere ); this sense excellently suits the context and Paul’s epigrammatic style: “Indeed then it is already an unmistakable defeat for you that you have law-suits” you are beaten before you enter court , by the mere fact that such quarrels arise and reach this pitch. κρίμα is the πρᾶγμα (1 Corinthians 6:1 ) ripened into an actual case at law. μεθʼ ἑαυτῶν , for μετʼ ἀλλήλων , implies intestine strife; the 3rd pl [945] reflexive pron [946] frequently serves all three persons (Jelf’s Gr [947] Gram. , § 654, 2 b ). ἀδικεῖσθε , ἀποστερεῖσθε , mid [948] voice: “injuriam accipitis, fraudem patimini” (Vg [949] ) “Why do you not rather submit to wrong, to robbery?” (see Wr [950] , p. 218). Paul reproduces the teaching of Jesus in Luke 6:27 ff., etc., which applies more strictly as the relationships of life are closer; cf. His own example (1 Peter 2:23 ), and that of the Ap. (1 Corinthians 4:12 f., 1 Corinthians 4:16 ). οὐχὶ μᾶλλον , as in 1 Corinthians 5:2 .

[941] J. B. Lightfoot’s (posthumous) Notes on Epp. of St. Paul (1895).

[942] classical.

[943] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[944]idd. Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon.

[945] plural.

[946]ron. pronoun.

[947] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[948] middle voice.

[949] Latin Vulgate Translation.

[950] Winer-Moulton’s Grammar of N.T. Greek (8th ed., 1877).

Verses 7-11

1 Corinthians 6:7-11 . § 18. WARNING TO IMMORAL CHRISTIANS. Behind the scandal of the law-suits there lay a deeper mischief in their cause . They were immediately due to unchristian resentment on the part of the aggrieved; but the chief guilt lay with the aggressors. The defrauders of their brethren, and all doers of wrong, are warned that they forfeit their place in God’s kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9 f.), and reminded that the sins they thus commit belong to their unregenerate state (1 Corinthians 6:11 ).

Verse 8

1 Corinthians 6:8 . ἀλλὰ ὑμεῖς κ . τ . λ .: “Nay, but you commit wrong and robbery this too ( cf. 6) upon your brothers!” Mr [951] reads this, like the parl [952] ἀλλὰ clause of 1 Corinthians 6:6 , as a further question; it is the answer to the question of 1 Corinthians 6:7 the sad fact contrasted with the duty of the Christian. The spiritual kinship which heightens the duty of submission to wrong, aggravates its commission.

[951] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[952] parallel.

Verses 9-10

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 . On ἤ οὐκ οἴδατε ; see note to 1 Corinthians 6:2 . The wrongers of their brethren are surely unaware of the fact that “wrong-doers ( ἄδικοι ) will not inherit God’s kingdom” (which nevertheless they profess to seek, 1 Corinthians 1:7 ff.) an axiom of revelation, indeed of conscience, but the over-clever sometimes forget elementary moral principles; hence the μὴ πλανᾶσθε . Their conduct puts them on a level with the heathen ( οἱ ἄδικοι , 1). Θεοῦ βασιλείαν (doubly anarthrous; see note on 1 Corinthians 2:5 ), “ God’s kingdom” the expression indicating the region and nature of the realm from which unrighteousness excludes; “the kingdom of God is righteousness” (Romans 14:17 ; cf. Matthew 5:10 ; Matthew 13:43 , Luke 14:14 , Revelation 1:18 ; Revelation 2:8 f., etc.). The deception taking place on this fundamental point springs from the frivolity of the Hellenic nature; it had a specific cause in the libertinism deduced from the gospel of Free Grace and the abrogation of the Mosaic Law (1 Corinthians 6:12 f., see notes; cf. Romans 6:1 ; Romans 6:15 , Galatians 5:13 ). In 1 Corinthians 6:9 b , 1 Corinthians 6:10 the general warning is carried into detail. Ten classes of sinners are distinguished, uncleanness and greed furnishing the prevailing categories ( cf. 1 Corinthians 5:9-11 ): “neither fornicators (the conspicuous sin of Cor.: 1 Corinthians 5:1 , etc.; 1 Corinthians 7:2 ) … neither covetous men no drunkards, no railers, no plunderers (see txtl. note) will inherit,” etc. Idolaters are ranged between fornicators and adulterers an association belonging to the cultus of Aphrodité Pandemos at Cor [953] μαλακοί , soft, voluptuous , appears in this connexion to signify general addiction to sins of the flesh; lexical ground is wanting for the sense of pathici , suggested to some interpreters by the following word and by the use of molles in Latin. For ἀρσενοκοῖται (cl [954] παιδερασταί ), whose sin of Sodom was widely and shamelessly practised by the Greeks; cf. Romans 1:24 ff., written from Cor [955] The three detached classes appended by οὐ to the οὔτε list were specified in 1 Corinthians 5:11 ; see notes.

[953] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[954] classical.

[955] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

Verse 11

1 Corinthians 6:11 . καὶ ταῦτά τινες ἦτε : “And these things you were, some (of you)”. The neuter ταῦτα is contemptuous “such abominations!” τινὲς softens the aspersion; the majority of Cor [956] Christians had not been guilty of extreme vice. The stress lies on the tense of ἦτε ; “you were ” a thing of the past, cf. Romans 6:19 , Ephesians 2:11 f. “But you washed yourselves! but you were sanctified; but you were justified!” ἀλλὰ thrice repeated, with joyful emphasis, as in 2Co 2:17 ; 2 Corinthians 7:11 . The first of the three vbs. is mid [957] , the other two pass [958] in voice. ἀπελούσασθε refers to baptism ( cf. Acts 22:16 , Colossians 2:11 f., Ephesians 5:26 f., 1 Peter 3:21 ; see 1 Corinthians 1:13 for its signal importance), in its spiritual meaning; the form of the vb [959] calls attention to the initiative of the Cor [960] in getting rid, at the call of God, of the filth of their old life; in baptism their penitent faith took deliberate and formal expression, with this effect. But behind their action in submitting to baptism, there was the action of God , operating to the effect described by the terms ἡγιάσθητε , ἐδικαίωθητε . These twin conceptions of the Christian state in its beginning appear commonly in the reverse order (see 1 Corinthians 1:30 , Romans 6:19 , etc.): in Romans 5:6 . they are seen to be related as the resurrection and death of Christ, and in Romans 6:0 . to be figured respectively in the ἀνάδυσις and κατάδυσις which formed the two movements of baptism; see notes ad locc. , also Titus 3:5 ff. The order of the words does not justify Calovius, Lipsius, and Mr [961] , with Romanist interpreters, in finding here “the ethical continuatio justificationis ,” an explanation contrary to the uniform Pauline signification of δικαιόω ; the Ap. is thinking (in contrast with 1 Corinthians 6:9 f.) of the status attained by his readers as ἅγιοι (1 Corinthians 1:2 , 1 Corinthians 3:17 , 1 Corinthians 6:1 ), behind which lay the fundamental fact of their δικαίωσις . The qualifying prpl [962] phrases both belong to the three closely linked vbs. Baptism is received “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (quoted with formal solemnity: cf. note on 1 Corinthians 1:2 ): “in the Spirit of our God” it is validated and brings its appropriate blessings ( cf. John 3:5-8 : water is the formal, the Sp. the essential source of the new birth).

[956] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[957] middle voice.

[958] passive voice.

[959] verb

[960] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[961] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[962]rpl. prepositional.

Βαπτίζειν ἐν Πν . ἁγίῳ was the distinctive work of Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:11 , etc.); to be ἐν Πνεύματι ( Θεοῦ , Χριστοῦ ) is the distinctive state of a Christian, including every element of the new life (1 Corinthians 6:19 , 1Co 2:12 , 1 Corinthians 3:16 , 2 Corinthians 1:21 f., Romans 5:5 ; Romans 8:2 ; Romans 8:9 , etc.). Sanctification esp. is grounded in the Holy Spirit; but He is an agent in justification too, for His witness to sonship implies the assurance of forgiveness (Romans 8:15 ff.). The name of our Lord Jesus Christ sums up the baptismal confession ( cf. Romans 10:8 ff.); the Spirit of our God constitutes the power by which that confession is inspired, and the regeneration effectuated which makes it good: the two factors are identified in 1 Corinthians 12:3 (see note). “Our God,” in emphatic distinction from the gods in whose service the Cor [963] had been defiled (see 1Co 8:4 ff., 2 Corinthians 4:4 , Ephesians 2:2 ; cf. Psalms 99:9 ).

[963] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

Verse 12

1 Corinthians 6:12 . Πάντα μοι ἔξεστιν stands twice here, and twice in 1 Corinthians 10:23 ; P. harps on the saying in a way to indicate that it was a watchword with some Cor [965] party perhaps amongst both Paulinists and Apollonians; his μοι endorses the declaration ( cf. 1 Corinthians 8:8 f., 1 Corinthians 10:23 ff., Romans 14:14 ; Romans 14:20 ). Very likely it had been quoted in the Church Letter. This sentence, like those of 1Co 2:14 , 1 Corinthians 3:21 , 1 Corinthians 4:1 (see notes), recalls the attributes of the Stoic ideal σοφός , to whom it belongs ἐξεῖναι ὡς βουλόμεθα διεξάγειν (Arr.-Epict., II., i., 21 28; see Hn [966] ad loc [967] ). ἀλλʼ οὐ πάντα συμφέρει : “Yes, but not all things are advantageous”. Συμφέρει ( conducunt ) signifies contributing to some one’s benefit here one’s own , in 1 Corinthians 10:24 one’s neighbour’s . Parl. to the former ἀλλʼ οὐ , is ἀλλʼ οὐκ ἐγὼ ἐξουσιασθήσομαι κ . τ . λ .: “All things are in my domain; yes, but I will not be dominated by anything”. That is “unprofitable” to a man which “gets the mastery” over him. “Such and such a thing is in my power; I will take care that it does not get me into its power. I will never by abuse of my liberty forfeit that liberty in its noblest part.” This gives the self-regarding , as 1 Corinthians 10:23 f. the other-regarding rule of Christian temperance in the use of things lawful. Cf. the instructive chapter Περὶ ἐλευθερίας in Arr.-Epict., IV., i., For the play on ἔξεστιν , cf. 1 Corinthians 2:15 . The emphatic οὐκ ἐγὼ is the jealous self-assertion of the spiritual freeman, fearful of falling again under the dominion of the flesh: cf. 1 Corinthians 9:26 f., Galatians 5:13 ; Galatians 5:16 .

[965] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[966] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[967] ad locum , on this passage.

Verses 12-20

1 Corinthians 6:12-20 . § 19. THE SANCTITY OF THE BODY, The laxity of morals distinguishing the Cor [964] Church was in some instances defended, or half-excused, by appealing to the principle of Christian liberty , which P. had himself enunciated in asserting the freedom of Gentile Christians from the Mosaic ceremonial restrictions. From his lips the libertarians took their motto, Πάντα μοι ἔξεστιν . The Ap. does not retract this sentence, but he guards it from abuse: (1) by setting over against it the balancing principle of expediency , οὐ πάντα συμφέρει ; (2) by defining, in the twofold example of 1 Corinthians 6:13 , the sphere within which it applies, distinguishing liberty from licence . This leads up to a reiterated prohibition of fornication, grounded on its nature as a sin against the body itself, and an act which flagrantly contradicts the sanctity of its limbs, as they belong to Christ, being purchased by Him for the service of God (1 Corinthians 6:15-20 ).

[964] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

Verse 13

1 Corinthians 6:13 . The maxim “All things are lawful to me” has been guarded within its province; now it must be limited to its province : “Foods (are) for the belly, and the belly for its foods”. τὰ βρώματα , the different kinds of food about which Jewish law, ascetic practice (Romans 14:1 ff.), and the supposed defilement of the idolothyta (8., 1 Corinthians 10:25 ff.) caused many embarrassments. The Ap., adopting the profound principle of Jesus (Mark 7:15-23 ), cuts through these knotty questions at a stroke: the βρώματα axe morally indifferent; for they belong to the κοιλία , not the καρδία ( cf. Romans 14:17 ). Food and the stomach are appropriated to each other; the main question about the former is whether or no it suits the latter. A second reason for the moral indifference of matters of the table lies in their perishing nature ; κοιλία and βρώματα play a large and troublesome part in the existing order, “but God will abolish both this and these”. For the somewhat rare antithetic repetition of οὗτος , cf. 1 Corinthians 7:7 , also Joshua 8:22 (LXX). The nutritive system forms no part of the permanent self; it belongs to the passing σχῆμα τ . κόσμου τούτου (1 Corinthians 7:31 ), to the constitution of “flesh and blood” (1 Corinthians 15:50 ) and the σῶμα ψυχικόν ; hence the indifference of foods (1 Corinthians 8:8 ): “quæ destruentur, per se liberum habent usum” (Bg [968] ; cf. Colossians 2:20 f.). “But the body” has relations more vital and influential than those concerned with its perishing sustenance it “is not for fornication, out for the Lord and the Lord for the body”: the same double dat [969] clause of mutual appropriation links τὸ σῶμα with ὁ Κύριος as τὰ βρώματα ; with ἡ κοιλία each is made for the other and requires the other. “The body” regarded as a whole, in contrast with its temporary apparatus is fashioned for the Lord’s use; to yield it to heretry is to traverse Christ’s rights in it anu disqualify oneself for a part in His resurrection (1 Corinthians 6:14 ). The Lord Jesus and πορνεία contested for the bodies of Christian men; loyal to Him they must renounce that , yielding to that they renounce Him. In Gr [970] philosophical ethics the distinction drawn in this ver. had no place; the two appetites concerned were treated on the same footing, as matters of physical function, the higher ethical considerations attaching to sexual passion being ignored. Hence the degradation of woman and the decay of family life, which brought Greek civilisation to a shameful end.

[968] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

[969] dative case.

[970] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

Verse 14

1 Corinthians 6:14 is parl [971] to 1 Corinthians 6:13 b (“God” the agent in both), as 1 Corinthians 6:13 c to 1 Corinthians 6:13 a : the previous δὲ contrasted the several natures of βρώματα and σῶμα ; this the opp [972] issues , καταργήσει and ἐξεγερεῖ . ὁ Κύριος is the determining factor of both contrasts. “God will abolish both the belly and its foods … but God both raised up the Lord, and will raise up us also through His power.” P. substitutes “us,” in the antithesis, for “our bodies,” since the man , including his body (see 1 Corinthians 15:35 ; 1 Corinthians 15:49 ) is the subject of resurrection. The saying ἀπαρχὴ Χριστός , of 1 Corinthians 15:23 , supplies the nexus between τ . Κύριον ἤγειρεν and ἡμ . ἐξεγερεῖ ; cf. also 2 Corinthians 4:14 , Romans 8:11 ; Romans 14:9 , Colossians 3:1 , Philippians 3:21 ; John 5:20-30 ; John 14:2 ff., etc. The prefix in ἐξ - εγερεῖ is local out of ( sc. the grave; cf. ἐξ - ανάστασις , Philippians 3:11 ); not de massa dormientium (Bg [973] ). The raising of Christ ( cf. Ephesians 1:19 ff.), then of Christians, from the dead is the supreme exhibition of God’s supernatural “power” (see Romans 4:17-24 , Matthew 22:29 , Acts 26:8 , etc.). Christ is raised as “Lord,” and will rule our life yon side of death more completely than on this (Acts 2:36 , Colossians 1:18 , Philippians 3:20 f.).

[971] parallel.

[972] opposite, opposition.

[973] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

Verses 15-17

1 Corinthians 6:15-17 unfold in its repulsiveness, by vivid concrete presentment, the opposition between the two claimants for bodily service already contrasted: the rival of Christ is ἡ πόρνη ! “Or (if what I have said is not sufficient) do you not know that your bodies are Christ’s limbs? Should I then take away the limbs of Christ and make them a harlot’s limbs? Far be it!” Αἴρω is to remove, carry off , as in 1 Corinthians 5:2 (see parls.), Vg [974] tollens , implying “a voluntary and determined act” (Ed [975] ); for the introductory aor [976] ptp [977] , see Bn [978] , §§ 132, 138. ποιήσω , either (deliberative) aor [979] sbj [980] or fut [981] ind [982] “Am I to make, etc.?” or, “Am I going to make?” The former idiom suits an act of choice ; this question the tempted Cor [983] Christian must put to himself: cf. the interrog. form of Romans 6:1 ; Romans 6:15 (- ωμεν ).

[974] Latin Vulgate Translation.

[975] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians . 2

[976] aorist tense.

[977] participle

[978] E. Burton’s Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in the N.T. (1894).

[979] aorist tense.

[980] subjunctive mood.

[981] future tense.

[982] indicative mood.

[983] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

What is true of Christian men individually, that they are μέλη Χριστοῦ and parts of the σῶμα Χριστοῦ , is true specifically of the physical frame of each; similarly in 1 Corinthians 6:19 f. Paul applies to the Christian man’s body the glorious truth stated respecting the Christian society in 1 Corinthians 3:16 f. In the Hellenic view, the body was the perishing envelope of the man; in the Scriptural view, it is the abiding vehicle of his spirit. To devote the body to a harlot, one must first withdraw it from Christ’s possession: to do that , and for such a purpose the bare statement shows the infamy of the proposal. The Biblical formula of deprecation, μὴ γένοιτο , is frequent also in Epictetus; cf. Odyssey , vii., 316, μὴ τοῦτο φίλον Διῒ πατρὶ γένοιτο .

Verse 16

1 Corinthians 6:16 justifies the strong expression πόρνης μέλη (1 Corinthians 6:15 ), implying that the alliance is a kind of incorporation: “Or (if you object to my putting it in this way), do you not know that he who cleaves to the harlot is one body (with her)?” ὁ κολλώμενος (see parls.), qui agglutinatur scorto (Bz [984] ), indicates that sexual union constitutes a permanent bond between the parties. What has been done lives, morally, in both; neither is henceforth free of the other. The Divine sentence (uttered prophetically by Adam) which the Ap. quotes to this effect was pronounced upon the first wedded pair, and holds of every such union, whether lawful or unlawful honourably true (1 Corinthians 7:4 , Hebrews 13:4 ), or shamefully. In Ephesians 5:31 the same Scripture is cited at length, where the Ap. is making out the correspondence between wedlock and Christ’s union with the Church: in that place the spiritual union is treated as parl [985] to the natural union, where this follows the Divine order; here it stands out as prohibitory to a natural union which violates that order. Here only Paul uses the parenthetical φησίν (“says He,” sc. God ) in citing Scripture; it is common in Philo, and in the Ep. of Barnabas. ἔσονται … εἰς (Hebraism) = γενήσονται .

[984] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[985] parallel.

Verse 17

1 Corinthians 6:17 . ὁ δὲ κολλώμενος τῳ Κυρίῳ κ . τ . λ .: “But he who cleaves to the Lord is one spirit (with Him)”. Adhesion by the act of faith (1 Corinthians 1:21 , etc.) to Christ (as Lord, cf. 1 Corinthians 12:3 , etc.) establishes a spiritual communion of the man with Him as real and close as the other, bodily communion (“tam arcte quam conjuges sunt unum corpus,” Bg [986] ), and as much more influential and enduring as the spirit is above the flesh. “ The Spirit” is the uniting bond (1 Corinthians 3:16 , Romans 8:8 f., etc.), but the Ap. is thinking of the nature and sphere of this union; hence the anarthrous, generic πνεῦμα , contrasted with σάρξ (1 Corinthians 6:16 ). In 2 Corinthians 3:17 “the Lord” is identified with “the Spirit.” and believers are repeatedly said to be ἐν Πνεύματι ; so that between them and Christ there exists a κοινωνία Πνεύματος (1 Corinthians 1:9 , 2 Corinthians 13:13 ; John 16:14 , etc.). For the intimacy of this association of members with the Head, see Galatians 2:20 , Eph 2:5 f., 1 Corinthians 3:16 f., Colossians 2:10 ; Colossians 3:1 ff., John 15:1 ff; John 17:23 ff., etc.

[986] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

Verse 18

1 Corinthians 6:18 . With vehement abruptness P. turns from exposition to exhortation. “ Flee fornication” other sins may be combated; this must be fled , as by Joseph in Potiphar’s house. φεύγετε the opposite of κολλᾶσθαι (1 Corinthians 6:16 ). The parl [987] φεύγετε ἀπὸ τ . εἰδωλολατρείας of 1 Corinthians 10:14 shows “the connexion in Cor [988] between impurity and idolatry” (Ed [989] : cf. the lists of sins in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Corinthians 5:11 .) Ἡ πορνεία contradicts Christ’s rights in the body (1 Corinthians 6:13-17 ) and severs the committer from Him; P. has now to say that this is a sin against the nature of the human body: “Every act of sin ( ἁμάρτημα ) which a man may possibly do, is outside of the body; but the fornicator ( ὁ πορνεύων ) sins against his own body”. The point of this saying lies in the contrasted prepositions ἐκτὸς and εἰς : all bodily sins “defile the flesh” (2 Corinthians 7:1 ), but other vices those of the κοιλία , e.g. look outside the body; this in its whole essence lies within our physical nature, so that, while it appropriates the person of another (1 Corinthians 6:16 ), it is a self-violation . Hence transgressions of the Seventh Commandment are “sins of the flesh” and “of the passions” par éminence . They engage and debauch the whole person; they “enter into the heart,” for “they proceed out of the heart” and touch the springs of being; in the highest degree they “defile the man” (Mark 7:20 ff.). That inchastity is extreme dishonour is realised in the one sex; Christianity makes it equally so in the other.

[987] parallel.

[988] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[989] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians . 2

Verses 19-20

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 . What a deadly sin, an act of high treason, this is for the Christian, Paul’s final appeal shows: “Or (if you do not yet realise the heinousness of fornication), do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have ( οὗ ἔχετε , gen [990] by attraction to Πνεύματος ) from God?” The Holy Spirit dwells in the readers: how but in their body , since they are in the body? (1 Corinthians 3:16 , cf. Romans 8:11 ; also John 2:21 ): there is the same tacit inference from whole to part as in 1 Corinthians 6:15 ; the same assumption that the body is essential to the man, which underlies the doctrine of the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 6:15 ). The Christian estimate of πορνεία is thus categorically opposed to the heathen estimate. In the temple of Aphrodité prostitutes were priestesses, and commerce with them was counted a consecration ; it is an absolute desecration of God’s true temple in the man himself. “And (that) you are not your own?” This too P. asks his readers if they “do not know?” The possessor is God , who has occupied them by His Spirit, having first purchased them with His Son’s blood: cf. 1 Corinthians 1:30 , 1 Corinthians 3:23 ; Romans 8:32 , 2 Corinthians 5:18 ff., Acts 20:28 . “For you were bought at a price!” the τιμὴ P. does not need to state; it was τίμιον αἷμα (1 Peter 1:18 f.; Ephesians 1:7 , Matthew 20:28 , Revelation 5:9 ). Ἀγοράζω , to purchase , syn [991] with ( ἀπο ) λυτρόομαι , to ransom (1 Corinthians 1:30 , Titus 2:14 ): the latter points to the means of redemption, the former to the proprietorship which it creates ( cf. περιεποιήσατο , Acts 20:28 ); both ideas meet in Ephesians 1:14 . The gen [992] of price, τιμῆς , indicates the value at which God rates His purchase. δοξάσατε δὴ κ . τ . λ .: “Now glorify God in your body sc . by a chaste life (contrast Romans 2:23 ). δή (rare in N.T.; h. l . in P.), kindred to the temporal ἤδη , makes the command peremptory, breaking off discussion ( cf. Acts 13:2 ). ἐν , in , not with , your body the temple wherein each man serves as priest; here the ναός , in Romans 12:2 the θυσία . καὶ ἐν τ . πνεύματι κ . τ . λ ., of the T.R., is a Syrian gloss, added as if to complete the sense; cf. 1 Corinthians 7:34 .

[990] genitive case.

[991] synonym, synonymous.

[992] genitive case.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 6". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/egt/1-corinthians-6.html. 1897-1910.
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