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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 6

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-11

The Church’s Basis For Judging Its Members - In the previous passage Paul passed judgment in the church of Corinth over an issue of a member being involved in fornication (1 Corinthians 5:1-13). In the following passages of this section Paul gives them their basis for judging among themselves (1 Corinthians 6:1-11), and then explains why fornication must be judged (1 Corinthians 6:12-20). In 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 he gives them their basis for judging themselves, which is the fact that they shall one day judge the world and angels. Another way to say this is that Paul delegates to them the authority to judge among themselves. Thus, they are qualified to be judges among themselves. He even provides them a list of the more common vices that should be judged in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

1 Corinthians 6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?

1 Corinthians 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

1 Corinthians 6:2 “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world” Comments - There will come a day when we will testify against those of the world who have persecuted and wronged us. We will sit with Christ Jesus on that great Judgment Day and take part in judging the sins of the world. We see this illustrated by Jesus in Luke 11:29-32:

Luke 11:29-32, “And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.”

Note these words from Frances J. Roberts:

“Ye need not fear the coming judgment, for if thy sins have been confessed and forgiven and cleansed by the blood of Jesus, ye shall not come into condemnation, but ye are already passed from death into life. Ye need not fear the day of judgment. It is sent to try the world, and ye are not of the world, My little children. Indeed, it is you who shall help Me in judging the world. Who know better than My children the crimes of the world? Have not many of them been perpetrated against you yourselves, even whilst ye sought to serve and worship Me? For mankind resisteth My hand upon them. But how can they punish Me? They can most naturally express their hostility toward the Almighty and show their resentment against My laws by ill-treating My children. Shall ye not be called to witness against them?” [118]

[118] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 51.

1 Corinthians 6:4 “set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church” - Comments - God must have a special place in His heart for the rejected and the lowly.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Comments - In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Paul provides them a list of the more common vices that should be judged within the church.

1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

Verses 1-20

Fornication: Sanctification of the Body to Become a Holy Vessel (1 Corinthians 5:1 to 1 Corinthians 7:40 ) - In 1 Corinthians 5:1 to 1 Corinthians 7:40 Paul deals with the topic of fornication in the church at Corinth, which emphasizes the sanctification of the flesh. The key word in this passage of Scripture is “fornication,” which family of words is used twelve times in this passage of Scripture: πορνεία 5 times ( 1Co 5:1 ; 1 Corinthians 6:13; 1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Corinthians 7:2), πορνεύω 1 time (1 Corinthians 6:18), πόρνη 2 times (1 Corinthians 6:15-16) πόρνος 4 times (1 Corinthians 5:9-11; 1 Corinthians 6:9). Paul has heard about these problems within this church from reliable sources. Paul relied upon reliable sources in order to deal with these issues (1 Corinthians 1:11; 1 Corinthians 5:1).

1 Corinthians 1:11, “For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.”

1 Corinthians 5:1, “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.”

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Paul Passes Judgment in the Church 1 Corinthians 5:1-13

2. Paul Gives the Corinthians their Basis for Judging Among Themselves 1 Corinthians 6:1-11

3. Why Fornication Must be Judged 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

4. Marriage in the Church 1 Corinthians 7:1-40

Comments on Section Breaks - In 1 Corinthians 7:1 to 1 Corinthians 14:40 Paul answers a number of questions that were probably handed to him by the visiting delegate from the church at Corinth. He begins his discussion on each of these topics with the same phrase, “Now concerning...” (1 Corinthians 7:1, 1 Corinthians 8:1, 1 Corinthians 12:1) Therefore, many scholars divide 1 Corinthians 7:1 to 1 Corinthians 14:40 into a new section because of their common introductions. However, creating such a major division at 1 Corinthians 7:1 breaks the flow of Paul’s lengthy discussion on fornication, as well as the structural presentation on the sanctification of the three-fold man; spirit, soul and body.

Verses 12-20

The Sin of Fornication In 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 elaborates on the sin of fornication and how it is different from other sins. We can imagine such a problem in the city of Corinth with its temple prostitutes and debauchery. In the previous passage Paul passed judgment in the church of Corinth over an issue of a member being involved in fornication (1 Corinthians 5:1-13). He then gave them their basis for judging among themselves (1 Corinthians 6:1-11). Now he explains why fornication must be judged (1 Corinthians 6:12-20).

The Contrast of Being Joined to the Body of Christ and of Being Joined to a Harlot - In 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 Paul makes a contrast being joined with the body of Christ to that of a harlot. Just as a man who joins himself to a harlot is joined spiritually, emotionally and physically to become “one body”, so do we join ourselves to the body of Christ in all three dimensions of our make-up.

1 Corinthians 6:12 Comments - Paul will make a similar statement again in 1 Corinthians 10:23.

1 Corinthians 10:23, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.”

1 Corinthians 6:16 Comments - Sex is the primary method that God created in order to join a man and a woman in intimacy throughout the years of marriage. It is this degree of intimacy that unities a couple in every aspect, spiritually, mentally and physically. In Uganda the marriage laws allow a spouse to leave his or her mate if there has been no sexual intercourse during the first three months of marriage. If either one has refused to consummate this marriage in the bed, then the marriage can be declared null and void. This is because a marriage in not complete until the man and woman come together. This is why 1 Corinthians 6:16 says that “he which is joined to an harlot is one body.” There is the bonding of two people spiritually, emotionally and physically, thus the term “one body” and “one flesh,” which refers to one living unity.

1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

1 Corinthians 6:18 “Flee fornication” Comments - Note that Paul is not telling them to flee from Satan, but rather to flee from the situations that tempt us towards unclean sins. Christians are not always as strong spiritually as they want themselves to believe. Therefore, we need to avoid certain situation that may tempt us.

1 Corinthians 6:18 “Every sin that a man doeth is without the body” Comments - In other words, the sins of jealousy and hatred do not involve the physical body to operate; for they originate in the heart and mind. However, the sin of fornication is a sin that involves the physical body.

1 Corinthians 6:18 “but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body” - Comments - Note in 1 Corinthians 6:18 how the Scriptures make a clear distinction between the sin of fornication and all other sins. This sin causes more harm than any other sin a person commits. It causes physical, mental, spiritual, social, and economic harm to an individual and those around him.

Physical Harm - This sin is capable of bringing more harm to the man's physical body that all other sins in the form of sexually transmitted diseases. However, physical harm is not the only consequence of sexual sins. There are other consequences to this sin. Mental Harm - No other sin causes more psychological damage in the areas of guilt and shame, remorse, low self-esteem, and even the inability to respond later to a spouse in the forms of being frigid and impotent. This is because once the mind is corrupted, the soul is in pain. Spiritual Harm - No other sin in the body of Christ brings such reproach and disgust upon a man and upon the body of Christ as the sin of fornication. In this sin, a man becomes one with a harlot, and cuts himself off from fellowship with Christ. Social Harm - No other sin does quicker harm to a marriage (Proverbs 6:32-33). No other sin does quicker harm to a pastor's reputation, for it creates an image in the minds of his flock that will never go away. It can seriously harm and destroy a local congregation of believers. We see how this sin brought strife between Sarah and Hagar and their sons. We see how this sin led to strife, rape and murder among King David’s sons. Economic Harm Aids became such a problem in many countries of Africa that it has put economic stress upon these nations.

Proverbs 6:32-33, “But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.”

1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

1 Corinthians 6:19 Scripture References - Note similar verses:

1 Corinthians 3:16-17, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

2 Corinthians 6:16, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

Ephesians 2:20-22, “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 6". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/1-corinthians-6.html. 2013.
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