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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 6

McGarvey's Commentaries on Selected BooksMcGarvey'S Commentaries

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Verse 1

Dare any of you, having a matter against his neighbor, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? [1. Division, 2. Incest, 3. Litigation: such is the order of Paul’s rebukes. With reckless audacity the Corinthians, by indulging in litigation and submitting their causes to pagan tribunals, were not only disobeying the Lord’s command (Matthew 18:15-17), but were also committing treason against their present brotherhood and their future status as judges. It appears that even the Jews refused to sue each other before pagan tribunals--Josephus Ant. 14:10-17.]

Verse 2

Or know ye not that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world is judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

Verse 3

Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more, things that pertain to this life? [They were permitting themselves to be judged by those whom they were appointed to judge. To prove that the saints will participate with Christ in the final judgment, the following passages are often cited (Psalms 49:14; Daniel 7:22-27; Matthew 19:28; Matthew 20:23; Judges 1:6; Revelation 2:26; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 20:4). It is doubtful if any of these are applicable; the manner of our participation is nowhere explained. Barrow suggested that in the order of the judgments the saints would be justified first (Matthew 25:41), after which they would sit with Christ as assessors, or associate judges, in the condemnation of the wicked and the evil angels, and his view is pretty generally received. But it is more probable that the saints will only participate as mystically united with Christ the judge, just as, by mystical union, they are kings and priests, though in no sense exercising these offices literally. The church shall judge the world in Christ her head. But the point made by Paul is that those whom God honors by association in so important a judicature may well be entrusted to judge trivial matters; for the weightiest matter of earth is light compared with the questions of eternal destiny decided on that day.]

Verse 4

If then ye have to judge things pertaining to this life, do ye set them to judge who are of no account in the church?

Verse 5

I say this to move you to shame. [If called on as a church to judge any matter, would you choose its simpletons and numbskulls as judges? I ask this to make you ashamed, for ye do even more foolishly when you submit your cases to worldlings, who are even less competent judges.] What, cannot there be found among you one wise man who shall be able to decide between his brethren,

Verse 6

but brother goeth to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? [This question is a crushing rebuke to their vaunted pride as learned sages. The rebuke is intensified by the phrase "know ye not," which is used six times in this chapter, four times in the rest of his writing to the Corinthians, and only twice by him elsewhere-- Romans 6:16; Romans 11:2; comp. Matthew 12:3]

Verse 7

Nay, already [before ye even begin civil action] it is altogether a defect in you, that ye have lawsuits [more correctly, matter worthy of litigation] one with another. [Here Paul emphasizes the ripened state of their criminality by condemning even its germinal stage as a defect.] Why not rather take wrong? why not rather be defrauded?

Verse 8

Nay, but ye yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. [Far from enduring wrong and obeying Christ (Matthew 5:40; 1 Peter 2:22; comp. Proverbs 20:22), they were actually perpetrating wrong upon their brethren. In view of this flagrant wickedness Paul proceeds to warn them of the results of wickedness, and of their professed repentance as to it.]

Verse 9

Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? [That glorious celestial kingdom of which the church is the earthly type.] Be not deceived [so as to think sin will not result in punishment-- Gal 6:7]: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [catamites], nor abusers of themselves with men [Romans 1:26-27],

Verse 10

nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. [Paul here accords with James that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). Our highest privileges may be abrogated by sin.]

Verse 11

And such were some of you [they had been true Corinthians]: but ye were washed [Acts 22:16; Ephesians 5:26; Titus 3:5 Hebrews 10:22], but ye were sanctified [set apart to God’s uses], but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ [counted righteous after the remission of your sins], and in the Spirit of our God. [The work being consummated by the Holy Spirit-- Acts 2:38]

Verse 12

All things are lawful for me; but not all things are expedient. [The abruptness here suggests that, in palliation of their undue laxity and toleration, they had in their letter (1 Corinthians 7:1) urged this rule; which they had doubtless learned from Paul (1 Corinthians 10:23; Galatians 5:23). Hence Paul takes up the rule to show that it does not avoid the disinheriting of which he has just spoken.] All things are lawful [literally, within my power] for me; but I will not be brought under the power of any. [They had erred in taking the rule as to things indifferent, such as natural appetites, and so applying it as to make it cover not only sinful things, but even those grossly so, such as sensuous lusts (comp. 1 Peter 2:16). The rule is properly applied by the apostle at 1 Corinthians 8:8-10 . He here refutes their ideas as to the rule by showing that their application of it would gender bondage, as excess of freedom invariably does.]

Verse 13

Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall bring to nought both it and them. But the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body:

Verse 14

and God both raised the Lord, and will raise up us through his power.

Verse 15

Know ye not that your bodies are members of Christ? [parts of his body (1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 5:30); branches of the Vine-- John 15:5] shall I then take away the members of Christ, and make them members of a harlot? God forbid. [Literally, let it never be; a phrase often used by Paul when indignantly rejecting a false conclusion.]

Verse 16

Or know ye not that he that is joined to a harlot is one body? [as if in Satanic marriage] for, The twain, saith he [Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Ephesians 5:31], shall become one flesh.

Verse 17

But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. [Having closest spiritual union with Christ-- Galatians 2:20; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 3:17]

Verse 18

Flee fornication. [As Joseph did-- Genesis 39:12] Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. [Paul notes the mutual adaptation or correlation between the belly and food, but asserts that this correlation is transient, and will be demolished by death. A subservient correlation also exists between husband and wife, for they twain become one flesh, and the innocency of their union does not interfere with the relation of either to God, which is the body’s supreme correlation. But there is no lawful correlation between the body of the Christian and that of the harlot, and such a correlation can not be subservient to the body’s supreme correlation, but is repugnant to it. The correlation between the stomach and food is transient, ending at death; but that between the body and the Lord is made eternal by the resurrection. Now, other sins, even drunkenness and gluttony, are sins without the body; i. e., sins against those parts of the body that shall not inhere to it in the future state (Revelation 7:16), and hence do not strike directly at that future state; but fornication joins the whole body in sinful union to a body of death, so that it becomes one flesh with the condemned harlot, thereby wholly severing itself from the mystical body of life in Christ, and thus it does strike directly at the body’s future state.]

Verse 19

Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? [as the whole church is a temple (1 Corinthians 3:16; Romans 14:8), so also the body of each individual Christian is likewise a temple] and ye are not your own;

Verse 20

for ye were bought with a price [sold to sin (1 Kings 21:20; Romans 7:14), we have been redeemed by the blood of Christ-- Acts 20:28; Romans 6:16-22; Hebrews 9:12; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Revelation 5:9]: glorify God therefore in your body. [Since our bodies belong to God, they should be used to glorify him. The whole passage confutes the slander of those materialists who contend that Christianity depreciates the body.]

Bibliographical Information
McGarvey, J. W. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 6". "J. W. McGarvey's Original Commentary on Acts". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/oca/1-corinthians-6.html. Transylvania Printing and Publishing Co. Lexington, KY. 1872.
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