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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

1 Corinthians 6

Verse 1


“The insulted majesty of Christians is denoted by a grand word” (Bengel).

Verse 2

Matters ( κριτηρίων )

The word means, 1, The instrument or rule of judging; 2, the tribunal of a judge. It occurs only here, 1 Corinthians 6:4, and James 2:6, where it means judgment-seats. This latter gives a good sense here without having recourse to the meaning suit or case, which lacks warrant. So Rev., in margin, “are ye unworthy of the smallest tribunals? ” That is, are ye unworthy of holding or passing judgment in such inferior courts?

Verse 3

How much more ( μήτιγε )

It is hard to render the word accurately. How much more follows the Vulgate quanto magis. It is rather, not to speak of; or to say nothing at all of.

Things that pertain to this life ( βιωτικά )

See on Luke 21:34.

Verse 4

Judgments ( κριτήρια )

Better, tribunals or courts, as 1 Corinthians 6:2. If you have to hold courts for the settlement of private matters.

Set ( καθίζετε )

Seat them as judges on the tribunal. It is disputed whether καθίζετε is to be taken as imperative, set (A.V.), or as interrogative, do ye set (Rev.). The A.V. seems, on the whole, preferable. The passage is well paraphrased by Farrar. “Dare they, the destined judges of the world and of angels, go to law about mere earthly trifles, and that before the heathen? Why did they not rather set up the very humblest members of the Church to act as judges in such matters?”

Verse 5

To your shame ( πρὸς ἐντροπὴν ὑμῖν )

Lit., I speak to you with a view to shame; i.e., to move you to shame, as Rev. See on 1 Corinthians 4:14.

To judge ( διακρῖναι )

Rev., better, decide; by arbitration.

Verse 6

Goeth to law ( κρίνεται )

As in 1 Corinthians 6:1, and Matthew 5:40. Instead of accepting arbitration.

Verse 7

Now therefore ( ἤδη μὲν οὖν )

Μὲν οὖν nayas in  1 Corinthians 6:4, at once looks back to the preceding thought, and continues it, bringing under special consideration the fact that brother goes to law with brother. Ἤδη alreadyor at once is a temporal adverb, but with a logical force and enhancing the nay. The connection of thought is: Is there not one wise man among you who is competent to act as an arbitrator between brethren, so that christian brethren must needs take their differences into the civil courts and before heathen judges? Nay; such a proceeding at once implies the existence of a litigious spirit generally, which is unchristian, and detrimental to you.

Fault among you ( ἥττημα ἐν ὑμῖν )

Only here and  Romans 11:12. See note. Ἥττημα faultis from ἥττων lessLit., diminution, decrease. Hence used in the sense of defeat,  Isaiah 31:8: “Young men shall be discomfited lit., shall be for diminution.” Similarly the kindred verb ἡττάομαι , in  2 Corinthians 12:13, made inferior; and in  2 Peter 2:19,  2 Peter 2:20, overcome. See note there. Compare  1Corinthians 6:8) is a source of damage, resulting in forfeiture of the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9), and in loss of spiritual power.

Ye go to law ( κρίματα ἔχετε )

Rev., more correctly, ye have lawsuits. Not the same phrase as in  1 Corinthians 6:6. Κρίμα in the New Testament almost universally means judgment or decree, as  Romans 5:16. See on  2 Peter 2:3. In classical Greek it has also the meaning of the matter of judgment, the question in litigation. So Aeschylus: “The matter ( κρίμα ) is not easy to judge. Choose me not as judge” (“Suppliants,” 391). Here the meaning is legal proceedings, lawsuits. So in Septuagint,  Job 31:13;  Exodus 23:6.

Suffer yourselves to be defrauded ( ἀποστερεῖσθε )

Rev., more literally, “why not rather be defrauded? ” In classical Greek the word means, 1. to rob or despoil. 2. to detach or withdraw one's self from a person or thing. Ἁποστερεῖν ἑαυτόν was a regular phrase for separation from civic life. So Oedipus says: “I, noblest of the sons of Thebes, have cut myself off ( ἀπεστέρης ἐμαυτόν . Sophocles, “Oedipus Tyrannus,” 1381). 3. To withhold or avert. So Io to Prometheus: “Do not, after proffering me a benefit, withhold it” (“Prometheus,” 796). The maidens say: “May King Zeus avert the hateful marriage” (Aeschylus, “Suppliants,” 1063). In the New Testament the word occurs five times. In  Mark 10:19, defraud not is apparently Mark's rendering of the tenth commandment. According to the inner meaning of the commandment as conceived by Jesus, the coveting of another's goods is, in heart, a depriving him of them. In  1 Corinthians 7:5it is used of connubial relations. In  1 Timothy 6:5, of those who are deprived or destitute of the truth. Dr. Morison, on  Mark 10:19, justly observes that defraud is too narrow a rendering. The word means rather “to deprive of what is one's due, whether by 'hook,' 'crook,' or force, or in any other way.”

Verse 9

Kingdom of God

See on Luke 6:20.


The besetting sin of Corinth. Hence the numerous solemn and emphatic allusions to it in this epistle. See 1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 6:15-18; 1 Corinthians 10:8.

Effeminate ( μαλακοὶ )

Luxurious and dainty. The word was used in a darker and more horrible sense, to which there may be an allusion here.

Abusers, etc.

See on Romans 1:7.

Verse 11

Washed - sanctified - justified

According to fact the order would be justified, washed (baptism), sanctified; but as Ellicott justly remarks, “in this epistle this order is not set forth with any studied precision, since its main purpose is corrective.”

Ye were justified ( ἐδικαιώθητε )

Emphasizing the actual moral renewal, which is the true idea of justification. This is shown by the words “by the Spirit,” etc., for the Spirit is not concerned in mere forensic justification.

Verse 12

Are lawful ( ἕξεστιν )

There is a play between this word and ἐξουσιασθήσομαι bebrought under the power, which can hardly be accurately conveyed to the English reader. The nearest approach to it is: “all things are in my power, but I shall not be brought under the power of any.”

Will - be brought under the power ( ἐξουσιασθήσομαι )

From ἐξουσία powerof choice, permissive authority. See on Mark 2:10. This in turn is derived from ἔξεστι itis permitted. See above on are lawful. This kinship of the two words explains the play upon them.

Verse 13

Meats for the belly, etc.

Paul is arguing against fornication. His argument is that there is a law of adaptation running through nature, illustrated by the mutual adaptation of food and the digestive organs; but this law is violated by the prostitution of the body to fornication, for which, in God's order, it was not adapted.

Shall destroy ( καταργήσει )

Rev., better, shall bring to nought. See on Romans 3:3. The mutual physical adaptation is only temporary, as the body and its nourishment are alike perishable.

Verse 14

Will raise up us

The body being destined to share with the body of Christ in resurrection, and to be raised up incorruptible, is the subject of a higher adaptation, with which fornication is incompatible.

Verse 15

Members of Christ

The body is not only for the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:13), adapted for Him: it is also united with Him. See Ephesians 4:16.

Members of a harlot

The union of man and woman, whether lawful or unlawful, confers a double personality. Fornication effects this result in an immoral way.

Verse 16

He that is joined ( ὁ κολλώμενος )

See on Luke 15:15. Compare Aeschylus: “The family has been glued ( κεκόλληται ) to misfortune” (“Agamemnon,” 1543). The verb is used Genesis 2:24, Sept., of the relation of husband and wife: shall cleave. In Deuteronomy 10:20; Deuteronomy 11:22; Jeremiah 13:11, of man's cleaving to God.

To a harlot ( τῇ πόρνῃ )

Lit., the harlot. The article is significant: his harlot, or that one with whom he is sinning at the time.

Shall be one flesh ( ἔσονται εἰς σάρκα μίαν )

Lit., shall be unto one flesh: i.e., from being two, shall pass into one. Hence Rev., rightly, shall become. Compare Ephesians 2:15.

Verse 18


See Genesis 39:12. Socrates, in Plato's “Republic,” relates how the poet Sophocles, in answer to the question “How does love suit with age?” replied: “Most gladly have I escaped that, and I feel as if I had escaped from a mad and furious master” (329).

Sin ( ἁμάρτημα )

See on Romans 3:25.

Without the body ( ἐκτὸς τοῦ σώματος )

Lit., outside. The body is not the instrument, but the subject. But in fornication the body is the instrument of the sin, and “inwardly as well as outwardly is made over to another.”

Verse 19

Temple ( ναὸς )

Better, as Rev., in margin, sanctuary. It is not only a temple, but the very shrine. See on 1 Corinthians 3:16.


See on John 7:39. Omit and in your spirit, which are God's.

Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 6". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.