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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 6

Godbey's Commentary on the New TestamentGodbey's NT Commentary

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Verse 1


1. Which one of you, having a matter against another, dares to go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?” During his three years Asiatic peregrinations, many things transpired in the great infantile church in Corinth; e. g., many new preachers had come and gone, Apollos, Peter and others all right, and of course many who were at least doubtful; not only heresies, but serious apostasies, were making inroads on them. Among other troubles, some of them were involved in law-suits among themselves, which the apostle utterly condemns, castigates severely and anathematizes witheringly, shaming them by his bold irony and ridicule.

Verse 2

2. Do you not know that the saints shall rule the world? And if the world is ruled among you, are you unworthy of the least judgments?” It is clearly revealed in many Scriptures that the saints will rule the world during the Millennial theocracy, subordinate to the King of kings.

“And I beheld thrones and those who sat on them and the government was given unto them” (Revelation 24).

In these Scriptures “judgment” occurs in the E.V., which is not a bad translation; but as the meaning of the word is government and rulership, we prefer to use it, e. g., Israel was ruled by judges, i. e., presiding officers, temporary autocrats, four hundred and fifty years (see book of Judges).

Verse 3

3. Know ye not that we shall rule angels? And not simply things of this life?” In this verse the apostolic eye of Paul sweeps away down the coming ages, overlooking the Millennium, in which the saints will rule the world, peering beyond the general resurrection and final judgment (Revelation 20:11-15), and the simultaneous cremation of the earth (2 Peter 3:10), and its fiery expurgation from all the pollutions of Satan’s reign, the glorious Creative intervention renewing and transforming it into a bright and beautiful, pure and holy celestial sphere (Revelation 21:1) to be reinhabited by the glorified saints (Matthew 5:4), who will receive it as an everlasting inheritance to enjoy with other celestial worlds through the flight of eternal ages, the glorified earth ever recognized as our peculiar inheritance, having been created for humanity in the beginning, and also conferred on us as a soldier’s bounty, eternally commemorative of our heroic fidelity during the Lord’s war against sin and Satan. Of course, when this world shall have been sanctified by the purgatorial fires, recreated, beautified, glorified and added back to Heaven, where it belonged before the devil broke it loose in view of adding it to Hell, it will become an angelic resort of universal notoriety, to which multiplied millions of unfallen angels will come that they may visit and enjoy the society of restored and glorified humanity, and especially that they may see the old battle-field of God’s Empire, where His expatriated Son met the hosts of Hell on bloody Calvary, heroically bleeding and dying, but sealing His conquest of this world with His blood. While we will all be delighted with the angelic millions, who will compliment us by their visits and sojourn among us, of course the government of this world will be the peculiar prerogative of humanity, the angels, like the European nobility now visiting the United States, appreciated and honored by all the people, but having no disposition to take part in the government.

Verse 4

4. Therefore if you indeed have judgments appertaining to this life, set those down as judges who are of no estimation in the church.” This is simply scathing irony; as much as to say the most consummate gump among you is competent to decide your little, insignificant controversies over paltry pelf, if you will only look at the utter worthlessness of all your temporal interests, when contrasted with the infinitesimal glory of the eternal.

Verse 5

5. I speak to your shame. Is there not some wise man among you who shall be able to judge between brother and his brother?” The answer is in the affirmative. The Lord will raise up some Moses among you if you will give Him a chance, who will be fully competent to adjudicate and finally settle all your little controversies involving temporal interests.

Verse 6

6. He again withers them with sarcasm.

Verse 7

7. Indeed it is truly a detriment to you that you have lawsuits among yourselves. Wherefore do you not rather suffer wrong? Wherefore are you not rather defrauded?

Verse 8

8. But you do wrong and defraud, and that your brethren.” Primary truth lies at the bottom of this castigatory decision of Paul, i. e., that lawsuits are not even a financial success. They are like Aesop’s fable of the two cats finding a cheese, jumping into a fight and making the fur fly terrifically, till the monkey comes in, and pleading with them to desist from their mutual cruelty, proposes to make an equitable division of the cheese equally between them. To this they give their mutual consent. Sitting down and watching the proposed settlement of all difficulties by their neighbor monkey, who, taking a knife and cutting the cheese in two in the middle, putting one-half in either end of the scale, and observing that one piece is too heavy, pulling up the other, goes to it, eating off the excess till it tilts up. Then he goes to the other end, and with his sharp teeth gratifies his appreciative appetite till that piece flies up and the other comes down. So he proceeds with his contract to effect an equal division, constantly eating the heavier piece, till the cats see he is going to eat it all, and interpose, begging him to desist, and proposing to settle the matter themselves. The monkey now gravely observes, “But the balance is due me for my service.”

Verse 9


9. Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminates ” ( i. e., masculine harlots), “nor Sodomites” ( i. e., the paramours of the preceding). In this verse we have four nouns, significant of different phases of that awful prevailing vice, adultery. What a wonderful emphasis laid on that peculiar scene evidently because it was so prevalent and destructive at Corinth, the “Paris” of the ancient world, where, instead of receiving the antagonism of the popular religion, it was especially encouraged; e. g., a thousand priestesses of Venus serving in her temples and wielding so potent an influence to corrupt society.

Verse 10

10. Neither shall thieves, nor covetous people, nor drunkards, nor scolds, nor extortioners inherit the kingdom of God.” Oh, how would these Scriptures depopulate the registers of modern churches! Doubtful whether a tithe would be left. Sad to say that scolding women, lecherous men and extortioners in business transactions, and covetous people generally, scarcely receive a rebuke from the modern pulpit. Yet the Word of God is true, and not one of these shall ever inherit the kingdom.

Verse 11

11. And such were some of you.” We see that the grace of God, under Paul’s ministry at that time, those memorable eighteen months, had reached down to the bottom of slumdom and saved all sorts of the most terrible criminals, debauches, libertines and thieves. Neither was it any bogus salvation. While some of them had never reached rock-bottom, and others had fallen, yet the church abounded in noble examples beautifully illustrative of the sovereign mercy and transcendent grace of God. How exceedingly consolatory these Scriptures! Thrillingly inspiring to all soul- savers, and Heaven bells of mercy ringing in the ears of the vilest of the vile . “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.” Some have been perplexed over this arrangement, as we see sanctification preceding justification. Such perplexity disappears upon a literal exegesis of the sentence. Here we have three statements:

(a) Ye are washed,” i. e., regenerated, which includes justification as a necessary and invariable antecedent.

(b) Ye are sanctified,” here standing as a second work of grace, which is in harmony with the uniform teaching of God’s Word.

(c) Ye are justified.” This is not primary justification, which is involved in regeneration as a logical antecedent, but it is justification in that ultimate sense in which we all receive it after we have been sanctified not the reversal of the condemnatory sentence which took place when you fell beneath the cross and cried for mercy, recognizing your meekness only for damnation and casting your soul on the commiseration of God in Christ; but there is a broad and final sense in which you are justified from all iniquity, intrinsical and extrinsical, which prepares you to stand before the great white throne. It is in this ultimate and legal sense that all saved people are justified after they get sanctified; primary justification having an expiatory attitude, and, with the sanctification which follows, extirpating inbred sin and thus preparing the way for that legal justification which we ultimately have in Christ, qualifying us to meet the open books of final judgment.

Verse 12

12. All things are lawful, but all things are not profitable; all things are lawful to me, but I will not be brought under the power of any one.” Here he makes an allusion to his privileges as an apostle, to exercise authority on lines purely optionary and where it is his privilege to decline; e. g., temporal support was his right and privilege, yet he did not claim it lest the enemies of the cause should make capital of it. And in availing himself of that, as well as other privileges, he might embargo his glorious and perfect spiritual liberty. If the preachers were as independent as Paul, they would soon bring in the Millennium. How few can say, “I will not be brought under the power of any person or thing. I am God’s redeemed child, free as Gabriel!” God help the preachers! They are afraid of one another, afraid of their members, afraid of the members of other churches, afraid of the world, afraid of their reputation, afraid of the Holiness people, afraid of the evangelists, afraid of poverty, et cetera.

Verse 13


13. Meats for the stomach, and the stomach for the meats: but God will destroy both this and them.” All the quibbles and controversies over meats and drinks, except from a merely hygienical standpoint, are utterly nugatory. We must abstain from tobacco, opium and intoxicating drinks, from the simple fact that they are narcotic poisons. We are to avoid gluttony, swine, and use the intelligence God has given us, living hygienically for the sake of health, mentality and spirituality. If I did not observe the laws of hygiene, I would be incompetent to perform the mental and spiritual work God has given me. I know not the taste of coffee, never use tea, from the simple fact that they, when participated in, in due time subjugate their patron and get him in such a fix that he can’t do without them. Like Paul, I will not be brought under the power of anything nor any person. I have no master but God. I do so much enjoy this wonderful freedom, in which I am dependent on nothing but God, and consequently always happy. “God will destroy both this,” i. e., the stomach, “and them,” i. e., the mortal food. We are hastening into a state of glory and immortality. There are two methods by which God glorifies the human body:

(a) Translation, which is really the primary, peculiar to the Edenic state, and will doubtless much prevail in the coming Millennium.

(b) The resurrection is the other method by which the body is glorified. I am on the daily outlook for my Lord to come and translate the living members of His Bridehood. Here we learn explicitly that the glorified body will have no digestive organs, neither will it partake of material nutriment, but subsist on celestial ambrosia and drink the sweet nectar among the angels, as finite beings will never cease to partake of nutriment in some way or other.

Verses 14-17

14-17. Here the apostle runs on with his illustrative argument, showing the inconsistency of fornication, as the soul is wedded to Christ, her Divine Spouse, eternally absorbed from all other lovers.

Verse 18

18. Every sin which a man may do is without the body: and he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” Here the apostle forever sweeps away that Gnostic heresy, recognizing sin resident in the body after the soul is made pure; involving that awful and fatal heresy that your body must commit sin so long as it lives. Of course it is the very doctrine of the bottomless pit, concocted by Satan for the damnation of souls, because every one acquiescent in this transparent sophistry is actually committing sin and hastening to his own damnation, vainly gulled by the silly delusion that he will leave his sins in his body when he dies. Here we have the case settled forever that the sin is not in the body, except in the sense that the soul lives in the body, but all sin is really spiritual and immaterial, the work of the devil, who has no body, and homogenous with his nature. Consequently it is utterly impossible for sin to be materialistic, however it may involve material entities. While the body is as incapable of committing sin as the tree by the roadside, it is frequently instrumental in the commission of sin; and, as a rule, instead of committing the sin, it only suffers thereby, as Paul here specifies, “He that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body.” So here you see even in case of fornication the body does not commit the sin, but on the contrary is sinned against.

Verse 19

19. Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” How grand and glorious the conception, how inspiring the thought, that not only our spirits, but our bodies in which our spirits dwell, are the temples of the Holy Ghost!

Verse 20

20. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body;” E.V. adds, “and in your spirit which is the Lord’s,” this clause not appearing in the original; doubtless some transcriber interpolated it, thinking to augment the beauty of the text. Paul is not speaking of the human spirit, but simply of the body.

Bibliographical Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 6". "Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ges/1-corinthians-6.html.
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