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1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
Ver. 1. Go to law before the unjust ] All unbelievers are, 1. Void of Christ’s righteousness imputed; 2. Of true civil righteousness, as being self-seekers in all. 3. They oppress the saints, and draw them before the judgment seats,James 2:6; James 2:6 , where they are so ill dealt with oftentimes, that they come to be of Themistocles’ mind, who professed, that if two ways were showed him, one to hell, and the other to the bar, he would choose that which went to hell, and forsake the other.
And not before the saints ] Christians first brought their causes before the bishops to be judged. And hence grew their power (as Paraeus noteth), which the Christian emperors first would not, and afterwards could not, take away from them. This raised papacy and prelacy to such a height, they would be princes as well as bishops.
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?
Ver. 2. Shall judge the world ] That is, the wicked, called the inhabitants of the earth, and of the sea, Revelation 12:12 , in opposition to the burgesses of the New Jerusalem,Philippians 3:20; Philippians 3:20 . And let this comfort us under the perverse censures of worldly men, mad and beside themselves in point of salvation. The Lord seeth that their day is coming, Psalms 37:13 .
3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
Ver. 3. Things that pertain to this, &c. ] That serve to and satisfy the body only, being nec vera, nec vestra,Luke 16:11-12; Luke 16:11-12 .
4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
Ver. 4. If then ye have judgments ] As the Corinthians, being many of them merchants, had many lawsuits. But if men’s hearts were not bigger than their suits, there would not be half so many.
Who are least esteemed ] Rather than go to law before heathen judges. The lowest, if of any judgment, are high enough for such a purpose. Why should those sordida poscinummia, qui latrocinia intra moenia exercent, as Columella hath it, those Crumenimulgae, the unconscionable lawyers, make a spoil of us; and then when they die, build hospitals for fools, as one of them did, saying, Of fools I got my estate, and to fools I will leave it. Of those that go to law, we may well say, as Charondas once did of those that go to sea, Se non mirari qui semel mare ingressus sit, sed qui iterum, that he marvelled not at those that went once, but at those that would go again.
5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
Ver. 5. No, not one that shall be able ] Our late judge Dier, if there came any controversies of poor men to be tried before him, would usually say, that either the parties are wilful, or their neighbours uncharitable, because their suits were not quietly ended at home. (The Practice of Quietness.)
6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.
Ver. 6. But brother goeth to law ] Once it was counted ominous to commence actions, and follow suits. Of common barreters, we may say as the historian doth of mathematicians, Genus hominum quod in nostra repub. et vetabitur semper, et retinebitur. (Tacit.)
But brother ] Still Satan is thus busy, and Christians are thus malicious; that, as if they wanted enemies, they fly in one another’s faces, as did Epiphanius and Chrysostom, Luther and Zuinglius, Hooper and Ridley, Taylor and Lambert, those English exiles at Frankfort in Queen Mary’s days, and Knox, &c.
7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
Ver. 7. There is utterly a fault ] Gr. ηττημα , a disgrace, a loss of victory: q.d. By your litigious lawing one another, you betray a great deal of weakness and impotency of affection. These be ignoble quarrels, Ubi et vincere inglorium est, et atteri sordidum. See Trapp on " Rom 12:21 "
Because ye go to law ] Lightly for every small offence (which if Mahometans do, they are publicly punished), and with spiteful vindictive spirits; whereas in going to law, men should not be transported with hate or heat, but as tilters break their spears on each other’s breasts, yet without wrath or intention of hurt, so, &c. The French are said to be very litigious, and full of lawsuits.
8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.
Ver. 8. Nay, you do wrong ] In person and name.
And defraud ] Of goods and estate.
And that your brethren ] Which very name should charm and allay all discords, as between Abraham and Lot, Genesis 13:8 . Aristotle could say, It is better to suffer wrong than to do it. And, I know how to bear injuries, Εγω μεν επισταμαι αδικεισθαι , said Chilo to his brother, who took it ill that he was not chosen to be one of the judges.
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,
Ver. 9. Shall not inherit ] It is an undefiled inheritance, 1 Peter 1:4 ; no dirty dog ever trampled on that golden pavement, Revelation 22:15 . Heaven spewed out the angels; shall it lick up the unrighteous? The serpent could screw himself into Paradise, but no wicked could ever get into heaven. There is no happiness to be had without holiness. Let none think to break God’s chain, as Balaam, Numbers 23:10 .
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Ver. 10. Nor thieves, nor covetous ] These two be fitly set together, as near akin; so are drunkards and railers.
Nor extortioners ] Whose sin is properly immoderate getting, as that of the covetous consists in pinching and saving. So 1 Timothy 3:3 .
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Ver. 11. Such were some of you ] Oh, the infinite goodness of God, that would once look upon such walking dunghills, such monstrous miscreants!
But ye are washed ] In general; as in particular, 1. Ye are sanctified And that by the Spirit of our God. 2. Ye are justified And that in the name, or by the righteousness, of our Lord Jesus Christ. His blood cleanseth us from sins, both guiltiness and filthiness. It is like to those sovereign mundifying waters, which so wash off the corruption of the ulcer, that they cool the heat and stay the spread of the infection, and by degrees heal the same. See Trapp on " Rom 11:26 " See Trapp on " Rev 19:8 " God never pays our debts, but he gives us a stock of grace.
12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
Ver. 12. All things are lawful ] viz. All indifferent things, among which the Corinthians reckoned not only meats and drinks, but also fornication (their national sin). The devil perhaps had persuaded them, as he hath done the Turks to this day, that God did not give men such appetites to have them frustrate, but enjoyed, as made for the gust (appetite) of man, not for his torment, wherein his Creator delights not. Now the apostle grants, that for meats all things are lawful (yet in case of offence or intemperance, they may become inexpedient, and so unlawful). But for fornication, it was utterly unlawful, as he proves by many powerful arguments.
But I would not be brought ] As those swinish surfeiters, that wearing their brains in their bellies (with the ass fish), their guts in their heads, do dig their graves with their own teeth; being like the mule, which cannot travel, they say, without a bottle of hay hanging at his nose.
13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
Ver. 13. God shall destroy ] The belly shall be destroyed in the other world, not for the substance of it, but for the use of it. And the same may be said for the difference of sexes; the parts shall remain, the use cease. Cato said well, that he was an ill commonwealth’s man, qui inter guttur et inguen, cuncta sub ventris ditione posuisset, who between his neck and is privates he would be able to be under spread of his belly, that was a slave to his sensual appetite.
14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.
Ver. 14. And will also raise us up ] He will make our vile bodies to be like unto his glorious body, the standard. Shall we then defile them with the kitchen stuff of uncleanness?
15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
Ver. 15. Shall I then take ] Scipio, when a harlot was offered him, said, Vellem, si non essem imperator, I would, if I were not a general. Say thou, if I were not a Christian.
And make them the members of a harlot ] A saint cannot indeed be made the member of a harlot (saith a reverend man), because not κολλωμενος , glued or knit to any sin. Though a member of Christ and sin may fall one upon another, and touch each other; yet they are of a mouldering nature, and will not cleave together. Water and oil violently shaken together may seem to mingle, but will not continue so long; there is no coalition, because they are of diverse natures; the one remaineth water still, and the other oil.
16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
Ver. 16. Is one body ] By a most strict but vicious and infamous bond (saith an interpreter), which is sufficient to untie or break any other bond, though lawful and holy, either corporal or spiritual.
17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
Ver. 17. Is one spirit ] That is, one spiritual body: while Christ lays hold on us by his Spirit, we lay hold on him by faith. Hence the Church is called Christ, 1 Corinthians 12:12 , and the fulness of Christ,Ephesians 1:23; Ephesians 1:23 . We have the honour of making Christ perfect, as the members do the body.
18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
Ver. 18. Flee fornication ] φευγετε . With post haste flee it.
" Laeta venire Venus, tristis abire solet. "
Be not of those men that are called Borboritae of their miry filthiness, whom Epiphanius and Oecumenius speak of.
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?
Ver. 19. That your body is the temple ] Shall we make the temple of God the stews of Satan See 1 Corinthians 3:16 . Antiochus and Pompey never prospered after that they defiled the temple.
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Ver. 20. Ye are bought ] Shall I drink the blood of these men? saith David. So, shall I abuse my body, the price of Christ’s blood, abandon it to venery? &c.
Glorify God in your body ] The very Manichees that denied God to be the author of the body, fasted on sabbath days, and in fasting exercised a humiliation of the body. Pone in pectore dextram. (Pers.) Let God have heart and hand, mind and mouth, faith and feet, spirit, soul, and body, 1 Thessalonians 5:23 , all which are his by a manifold right.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 6". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany