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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
1 Corinthians 6

 

 

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Verse 1

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

Dare - implying treason against Christian brotherhood.

Before the unjust. Gentile judges are so termed by an epithet appropriate to the subject, which concerns justice. Though all Gentiles are not toward men unjust, yet in the highest view of justice which has regard to God, the Supreme Judge, they are so: Christians, regarding God as the only Fountain of justice, should not expect justice from them.

Before the saints. The Jews abroad were permitted to refer disputes to Jewish arbitrators. So the Christians were allowed to have Christian arbitrators. The bishops had jurisdiction in civil cases: criminal cases went to ordinary tribunals (Eusebius, 'Vit. Constant.' 4: 27; 'Rescript of Arcadius and Honorius, Cod. Justin.,' I. 4, 7).


Verse 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?

Do ye not know - a truth universally recognized by Christians Notwithstanding all your glorying in your Do ye not know - a truth universally recognized by Christians. Notwithstanding all your glorying in your "knowledge," ye are acting contrary to it (1 Corinthians 1:5; 1 Corinthians 8:1). 'Aleph (') A B C Delta G, Vulgate, f g, have 'Or' before 'know ye not' - i:e., 'What! (expressing surprise) know ye not,' etc.

Saints shall judge - i:e., rule, including judgment: as assessors of Christ (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:29-30; Isaiah 11:4 : cf. Psalms 49:14; Daniel 7:22; Daniel 7:27; Revelation 2:26; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 20:4). The distinction between the saints who rule and the world which is ruled is the same as between the elected (Matthew 20:23) twelve apostles, who sit on thrones judging, and Israel's twelve tribes, judged by them. To reign, and to be saved, are not necessarily synonymous. As Yahweh employed angels to ordain the law when on Sinai He established His throne in Israel, so at His coming the saints with transfigured bodies shall administer the kingdom for and under Him. The nations of the earth and Israel, the foremost in the flesh, shall be the subjects of the Lord and His saints. The mistake of the Chiliasts was, they restricted the kingdom to the terrestrial part. Besides this earthly glory, there shall be the heavenly glory of the saints reigning above, and holding such contact with mortals as Christ, Moses and Elias, in glory, had with Peter, James, and John, in the flesh, at the transfiguration (2 Timothy 2:12; 2 Peter 1:16; 2 Peter 1:18). Here the "world" includes both those to be condemned with the bad angels (1 Corinthians 11:32), and those to be brought into obedience to Christ ruling with His saints. Compare Matthew 25:32; Matthew 25:40, "all nations," "these my brethren," on the thrones with Him.

Judged by [ en (Greek #1722)] you - literally, 'IN' your persons as the judges. So the Greek 'in' means by means of, in the person of (English version, "by"; Acts 17:31, "He will judge the world BY that man whom He hath ordained."

Smallest matters - the weightiest earthly question is infinitely small compared with those to be decided on the judgment day.


Verse 3

Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

Judge angels. We who are now "a spectacle to angels" shall then, by Christ in us, "judge (bad) angels." What Christ is and does, the Church is and does (2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 4:17, end). The saints shall join in pronouncing the sentence of the Judge (Jude 1:6; Revelation 20:4). Believers shall, as administrators of the kingdom under Jesus, put down all rule hostile to God.


Verse 4

If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

Judgments - i:e., cases for judgment. Least esteemed - literally, those of no esteem. Any, however low in the church, rather than the pagan. Earthly questions, being secondary in the eyes of Christians, are delegated to those in a secondary position.


Verse 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?

Your shame. He checks their puffed-up spirit (1 Corinthians 5:2). To shame you out of your present unworthy course, I have said (1 Corinthians 6:4), 'Set the least esteemed to judge.'

Is it so? - Are you so helpless that, etc.?

Not a wise man - though ye admire "wisdom" so much (1 Corinthians 1:22). The title 'Cacham,' or wise man, was applied to each Rabbi in Jewish councils.

No, not one - not even one, amidst so many reputed for wisdom (1 Corinthians 3:18).

Shall be able - when applied to.

Brethren - literally, brother; i:e., judge between brother and brother. Such a wise person as had the gift of church government.


Verse 6

But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.

But - emphatically answering 1 Corinthians 6:5. Translate, 'Nay,' etc.


Verse 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? Utterly a fault , [ heetteema (Greek #2275)] - literally, a shortcoming (not so strong as sin). Your going to law at all is a falling short of your high privileges: your doing so before unbelievers aggravates it.

Rather take wrong (Proverbs 20:22; Matthew 5:39-40).


Verse 8

Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

Ye - emphatic. Ye, whom your Lord commanded to return good for evil, on the contrary, "do wrong (by taking) and defraud" (by retaining what is intrusted to you). Contrast the Church's first love (Acts 4:32).


Verse 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,

Unrighteous. Translate, 'doers of wrong:' referring to 1 Corinthians 6:8 (Galatians 5:21).

Kingdom of God - which is a kingdom of righteousness (Romans 14:17).

Fornicators - alluding to 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; also below, 1 Corinthians 6:13-18,

Effeminate - self-polluters, of unnatural lusts.


Verse 10

Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 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.

Ye are washed - the Greek middle voice, 'ye have had yourselves washed.' This implies admission to the benefits of salvation generally; of which the parts are

(1) Sanctification, the setting apart from the world, and numbering among the "saints" (Romans 1:7 : so 1 Corinthians 7:14; John 17:19). In 1 Peter 1:2 it means the setting apart of one as consecrated by the Spirit in the eternal purpose of God.

(2) Justification from condemnation, through the righteousness of God in Christ by faith (Romans 1:17).

The order, sanctification before justification, shows that consecration is here meant, not progressive sanctification. "Washed" precedes both, and refers to the putting away of sins in repentance, of which water baptism is the sacramental seal (Acts 22:16). The Spirit, as the seed of new life, is the agent of the being "sanctified," or consecrated to God (John 3:5; Ephesians 5:26; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 10:22). Paul, in charity and faith in God's promises, presumes that baptism realizes its design, and that those outwardly baptized inwardly enter into communion with Christ (Galatians 3:27). He presents the grand ideal which those alone realize in whom the inward and the outward baptism coalesce. At the same time, he recognized that this, in many cases, does not hold good (1 Corinthians 6:8-10), leaving it to God to decide who are really "washed." He warns all that, being "washed," they return not to their filth; that being "sanctified," they profane not themselves again; that being "justified," they incur no fresh guilt.

In the name of ... Jesus, and by the Spirit - Greek, 'IN the Spirit'; i:e., by His in-dwelling. Both clauses belong to the three - "washed, sanctified, justified."

Our God - "our" reminds them that amidst all his reproofs God is still the common God of himself and them.


Verse 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.

All things are lawful unto me. Paul's own words on some former occasion (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:23) were made a pretext for excusing the eating of meats offered to idols, and so of what was generally connected with it (Acts 15:29), "fornication" (perhaps in the letter of the Corinthians to Paul, 1 Corinthians 7:1). Paul had referred only to things indifferent, and things within the sphere of Christian liberty (John 8:34-36). They wished to treat fornication as such, as though the existence of bodily appetites proved the lawfulness of their gratification. Me. Paul makes himself a sample of Christians in general.

But I - whatever others do.

Lawful ... brought under the power. There is a play on similar sounds - [ exestin (Greek #1832) ... exousiastheesomai (Greek #1850)]. All things are in my power, but I will not be brought under the power of any (of the "all things"). He who commits "fornication" forfeits his legitimate power, and is "brought under the power" of an harlot) (1 Corinthians 6:15 : cf. 1 Corinthians 7:4). The "power" ought to be in the hands of the believer, not in the things which he uses, else his liberty is forfeited-he ceases to be his own master (John 8:34-36; Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 2:16; 2 Peter 2:19). Unlawful things ruin thousands; "lawful" things (unlawfully used), ten thousands.


Verse 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.

The argument from the indifference of meats (1 Corinthians 8:8; Romans 14:14; Romans 14:17 : cf. Mark 7:18; Colossians 2:20-22) to that of fornication does not hold good. Meats doubtless are indifferent (with, however, the qualification discussed, 1 Corinthians 10:23, etc.), since both they and the "belly," for which they are created, are to be "destroyed" at Christ's coming to change believers' natural bodies into spiritual bodies (1 Corinthians 15:44; 1 Corinthians 15:52). But 'the body is not (created) for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body' (as its Redeemer, who hath Himself assumed and united Himself to the body): "And God hath raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us" (i:e., our bodies) to eternal existence; therefore the "body" is not, like the "belly," after having served a temporary use, to be destroyed. Now "he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body" (1 Corinthians 6:18). Therefore fornication is not indifferent. Here is the germ of the three subjects handled in subsequent sections:

(1) The relation between the sexes.

(2) The question of meats offered to idols.

(3) The resurrection of the body.

A real essence underlies the superficial phenomena of the present organization of the body: this germ, when all the particles are scattered, involves the resurrection of the body incorruptible.


Verse 14

And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. (Romans 8:11).

Raised up - rather, "raised" (a simple verb), to distinguish it from "will also raise up us" [ exegerei (Greek #1825), 'Aleph (') C, Vulgate. But A f, exegeirei, raiseth up], a compound. Believers shall be raised up out of the rest of the dead (note, Philippians 3:11); the first resurrection (Revelation 20:5).

Us. Here he speaks of his being possibly in the grave when Christ comes; elsewhere, of his being possibly alive (1 Thessalonians 4:17). In either event, the Lord's coming, rather than death, is the Christian's expectation (Romans 8:19).


Verse 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.

Resuming 1 Corinthians 6:13, "the body is ... for the Lord" (1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 4:12; Ephesians 4:15-16; Ephesians 5:30-31).

Shall I then take? (Hebrew, laaqach (Hebrew #3947)) - deliberately alienating them from Christ. For they cannot be at once "the members of an harlot" and "of Christ." Moral and spiritual ruin is caused by such sins, which human wisdom held to be actions as blameless as eating.


Verse 16

What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

Fornicators are "members of an harlot" (1 Corinthians 6:15).

Joined - by carnal, sexual intercourse; literally, cemented to [ kolloomenos (Greek #2853)] (Numbers 25:3).

One body - with her.

Saith he - GOD speaking by Adam (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5).

Two ... shall be one flesh. Eve was taken out of Adam, "flesh of his flesh," to be rejoined to him as "one flesh."


Verse 17

But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

One spirit - with Him. In union with a harlot, the fornicator becomes one "body" with her, not one "spirit;" for the spirit-the normal organ of the Holy Spirit in man-is in the carnal so overlaid with what is sensual that it is in abeyance. The believer not only has his body sanctified by union with Christ's body, but also becomes "one spirit" with Him (John 15:1-7; John 17:21; 2 Peter 1:4 : cf. John 3:6).


Verse 18

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

Flee. Our safety in such temptations is flight (Genesis 39:12; Job 31:1).

Every sin that - Greek, 'Whatsoever a man doeth.' Every other sin-even gluttony, drunkenness, and self-murder-are comparatively external to the body (Mark 7:18; Proverbs 6:30-32). This sinner injures, but does not alienate the body: he rather sins against the body's temporary organization, and against the soul, than against the body's permanent essence, designed "for the Lord." "But" the fornicator alienates that body which is the Lord's, and makes it one with a harlot's body, and so "sinneth (commits sacrilege, 1 Corinthians 6:19) against his own body."


Verse 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?

Your body - not 'bodies.' Proof of 1 Corinthians 6:18. As in 1 Corinthians 3:17 he represented the whole company of believers, the Church, as "the temple of God" the Spirit; so here, the body of each individual is viewed as the "temple of the Holy Spirit." So John 14:23. Still, though many, the several members form one temple, the whole collectively being that which each is in miniature individually. As the Jews had one temple only, so in the full sense all Christian churches and individual believers form one temple only. "YOUR (plural) body" is distinguished here from "HIS OWN (particular, individual) [ idion (Greek #2398)] body" (1 Corinthians 6:18). In sinning against "his own body," the fornicator sins against "your body," that of "Christ," whose 'members your bodies' are (1 Corinthians 6:15). Fornication is a sacrilegious desecration of God's temple to profane uses. The unseen, but more efficient, Spirit of God in the spiritual temple now takes the place of the visible Shekinah in the material temple. The whole man is the temple, the soul the inmost shrine, the understanding and heart the holy place, the body the porch and exterior. Chastity is the guardian of the temple, to prevent anything unclean entering which might provoke the indwelling God to abandon it as defiled (Tertullian, 'De Cultu Foeminarum'). None but God can claim a temple: here the Holy Spirit is assigned one; therefore the Holy Spirit is God.

Not your own (1 Corinthians 6:18 : cf. 1 Corinthians 6:20). We have no right to alienate our body, which is the Lord's. In ancient servitude the slave's person was wholly his master's property, not his own. Purchase was one way of acquiring a slave. Man has sold himself to sin (1 Kings 21:20; Romans 7:14). Christ buys him to Himself, to serve Him (Romans 6:16-22).


Verse 20

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

Bought with a [great] price - therefore Christ's blood is strictly a ransom paid to God's justice, by the love of God in Christ, for our redemption (Matthew 20:28; Acts 20:28; Galatians 3:13; Hebrews 9:12; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 2 Peter 2:1; Revelation 5:9). While He thus took off our obligation to punishment, He laid upon us an obligation to obedience (1 Corinthians 7:22-23; Romans 14:9). If we accept Him as our Prophet to reveal God to us, and our Priest to atone for us, we must also accept Him as our King to rule over us as wholly His (Isaiah 26:13).

In your body - as "in" a temple (cf. John 13:32; Romans 12:1; Philippians 1:20).

And in your spirit [so 'Aleph (')], which are God's - not in A B C Delta G f g, Vulgate. Not needed, as the context refers mainly to the "body" (1 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Corinthians 6:18-19). The "spirit" is incidentally mentioned, 1 Corinthians 6:17, which gave rise to the interpolation.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 6:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-corinthians-6.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, July 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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