The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 Corinthians

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

1 Corinthians 6

1Co 6:1

We should not "judge" those outside (1Co 5:12), and they should not "judge" us!

1Co 6:3

ANGELS: May ref to mortals: Mat 11:10; Jam 2:25.

1Co 6:4

Alternatives: "If then you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who are least esteemed BY the church?" (RSV). In other words, NOT the ones IN the church who are least esteemed, BUT RATHER ones (outside the church) who are least esteemed BY the church. "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?" (ASV). (Not a way to refer to any brothers, it would seem, but rather a way of referring to "outsiders".) "Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you appoint as judges men of little account in the church?" (NIV mg).

Put as a question, then, v 4 become parallel to v 1: "Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?" Taken this way, v 4 is another rebuke, and not a commandment, and leads quite reasonably to v 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?"

In other words, it would be far better to go to the ecclesial elders for help in settling a dispute -- than it would be to go to Gentile judges and magistrates. It would of course be better, for that matter, to go even to the very least qualified among all the brothers to settle one's disputes, than to appeal to non-believing judges. But the other translations suggest a more reasonable alternative than that.

1Co 6:11

Cp consecration of Levites (Num 8).

1Co 6:12

"EVERYTHING IS PERMISSIBLE FOR ME": Obviously not a Biblical principle -- but rather Paul is quoting the words of certain philosophers or critics, words used wrongly as a cloak for various vices and sins.

1Co 6:13

"FOOD FOR... STOMACH AND... STOMACH FOR FOOD": The unspoken saying of some: "Sex is meant for the body, and the body for sex." Paul is caustically quoting a saying of the "Libertines", ie 'God has made the body with certain functions. How can it be wrong to use the body in these ways?' " (WRev 22).

1Co 6:17

IS ONE... IN SPIRIT: That is, he shares the same disposition.

1Co 6:18

Seven reasons why believers should shun, or flee from, immorality:

FLEE FROM SEXUAL IMMORALITY: Sexually transmitted disease has become an epidemic in America. One in four Americans between the ages of 15 and 55 will contract an STD at some point in life. The problem now accounts for more than $2 billion annually in health-care costs. The new STDs produce chronic pain, sterility, abnormal pregnancies, brain-damaged children, cancer, and with AIDS, almost certain death. Newsweek observed, "With effective vaccines a long way off, the best protection against STD, it seems, just might be a return to that old-fashioned safeguard: monogamy."

1Co 6:19

YOUR BODY IS A TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: Temple worship in Israel was an awesome prospect, especially when the glory of God's presence filled the most holy place! Imagine your fear, your sense of frailty, your concern for personal purity, if you were called to serve inside the Temple of God. As the law prescribed, the priest who entered the holy place was to make offering for his own sins before standing before God to offer sacrifice for the people's sins. And sins committed outside the Temple would have to be covered before worship could take place. Imagine then the calamity that would occur if a worshiper actually committed sin inside the Temple. It would be an atrocity of the worst kind. To commit sin in the Temple would be unthinkable -- and possibly fatal! With this picture in mind, Paul addressed believers who were immersed in the immoral and sexually-oriented culture of Corinth. To them the picture of committing immorality inside a place of worship would hit home, since temple prostitution was common in Corinth's pagan religions.

What must have had the greatest impact on Paul's readers, though, was not simply the distasteful idea of a person sinning inside a place of worship. It was the fact that their very bodies were now the temple of the Holy Spirit! This meant that, for a believer, to commit any kind of immorality would be the same as a worshiper committing sin in the most solemn place of worship. The rationale is clear: if our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, then we must not profane that temple with any sort of sexual immorality. The alternative is to "honor God with your body," in the same way that a place of worship would be put to its proper use.

"Not only are we to flee temptation and sin in our flesh, but we are to take care of ourselves also. For some the battle of fleshly desires is a constant front. For others, it is not so much against some fleshly desire, but rather of giving too much of themselves. Those who fight against desires will find the work of the Lord and attention to others rather than self can help. For those who give too much, some will wear their physical selves out, and in taking care of other they neglect themselves. Christ gives an example to us: to give of our gifts freely, but to take care to eat and sleep and nourish our spiritual selves in prayer and the word. We do not glorify God if we bury our gifts in fleshly lusts nor in exhausting ourselves so that we have no more gifts to share. Let us examine our health, physically and spiritually, and move to wellness in whatever means are right for us, so we can strengthen the body of Christ and thereby glorify our Father" (CPv).

1Co 6:20

YOU WERE BOUGHT AT A PRICE. THEREFORE HONOR GOD WITH YOUR BODY: "Do not waste a minute of God's time, not one cent of His money. You are totally 'bought with a price', to be His faithful laborers. You were not selected from the perishing millions to indulge yourself in unfaithful stewardship, or to lounge lazily in the sun. Total devotion to the work of God is the only way to eternal joy. Indolent, self-pleasing, and embezzling servants will be cast with shame into outer darkness. Have wisdom in this brief day of such glorious opportunity. The reward for faithful devotion in His service is beyond our highest conception: the punishment for slothfulness is dreadful to contemplate. Truly, no one can earn the reward: it is a free gift -- but on conditions. Only by total love, manifested in total devotion and service, can we obtain God's mercy and acceptance. Anything less is a mockery of His infinite goodness toward us. Why would any servant be so stupid as to expect a reward, and not rather severe punishment, for laziness and unfaithful self-indulgence and self-use of his lord's entrusted goods" (GVG).

BOUGHT: Gr "agorazo": to be in the "agora", the marketplace or forum; hence, to buy or sell there. See Lesson, Redemption.

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