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  • ROBERTSON'S NT WORD STUDIES
    & BIBLE COMMENTARY - 1 CORINTHIANS 6

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    6:1 {Dare any of you?} (tolmai tis humwn;). Does any one of you dare? Rhetorical question with present indicative of tolmaw, old verb from tolma, daring. Bengel: _grandi verbo notatur laesa majestas Christianorum_. "The word is an argument in itself" (Robertson and Plummer). Apparently Paul has an actual case in mind as in chapter #1Co 5 though no name is called. {Having a matter against his neighbor} (pragma ecwn pros ton heteron). Forensic sense of pragma (from prassw, to do, to exact, to extort as in #Lu 3:13), a case, a suit (Demosthenes 1020, 26), with the other or the neighbor as in #10:24; 14:17; Ga 6:4; Ro 2:1. {Go to law} (krinesqai). Present middle or passive (ch. #Ro 3:4) in the same forensic sense as kriqenai in #Mt 5:40. krites, judge, is from this verb. {Before the unrighteous} (epi twn adikwn). this use of epi with the genitive for "in the presence of" is idiomatic as in #2Co 7:14, epi titou, in the case of Titus. The Jews held that to bring a lawsuit before a court of idolaters was blasphemy against the law. But the Greeks were fond of disputatious lawsuits with each other. Probably the Greek Christians brought cases before pagan judges.

    6:2 {Shall judge the world} (ton kosmon krinousin). Future active indicative. At the last day with the Lord Jesus (#Mt 19:28; Lu 22:30). {Are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?} (anaxioi este kriteriwn elacistwn;). anaxios is an old word (an and axios), though only here in the N.T. There is dispute as to the meaning of kriteria here and in verse #4, old word, but nowhere else in N.T. save in #Jas 2:6. Naturally, like other words in -terion (akroaterion, auditorium, #Ac 25:23), this word means the place where judgment is rendered, or court. It is common in the papyri in the sense of tribunal. In the _Apost. Const_. ii. 45 we have me ercesqw epi kriterion eqnikon (Let him not come before a heathen tribunal). Hence here it would mean, "Are ye unworthy of the smallest tribunals?" That is, of sitting on the smallest tribunals, of forming courts yourselves to settle such things?

    6:3 {How much more, things that pertain to this life?} (meti ge biwtika;). The question expects the answer no and ge adds sharp point to Paul's surprised tone, "Need I so much as say?" It can be understood also as ellipsis, "let me not say" (metige legw), not to say. biwtika occurs first in Aristotle, but is common afterwards. In the papyri it is used of business matters. It is from bios (manner of life in contrast to zwe, life principle).

    6:4 {If qen ye have to judge things pertaining to this life} (biwtika men oun kriteria ean ecete). Note emphatic position (proleptic) of biwtika kriteria (tribunals pertaining to this life, as above). "If ye have tribunals pertaining to this life" (condition of third class, ean ecete). If kaqizete (do ye set) is indicative and interrogative, qen by "who are of no account in the church" (tous exouqenemenous en tei ekklesiai) Paul means the heathen as in verse #1. If kaqizete be imperative, qen Paul means the least esteemed members of the church for such unwished for work. It is a harsh term for the heathen, but one of indignation toward Christians.

    6:5 {I say this to move you to shame} (pros entropen humin legw). Old word entrope from entrepw, to turn in (#1Co 4:14 which see). In N.T. only here and #15:34. {One wise man} (sofos). From sarcasm to pathos Paul turns. {Does there not exist} (eni, short form for enesti)? With double negative ouk--oudeis, expecting the answer yes. Surely {one} such man exists in the church. {Who} (hos). Almost consecutive in idea, of such wisdom that he will be able. {To decide between his brethren} (diakrinai ana meson tou adelfou autou). krinai is to judge or decide (first aorist active infinitive of krinw and dia (two) carries on the idea of between. qen ana meson makes it still plainer, in the midst as {arbitrator} between brother and brother like ana meson emou kai sou (#Ge 23:15). It is even so a condensed expression with part of it unexpressed (ana meson kai tou adelfou autou) between brother and his brother. The use of adelfos has a sharp reflection on them for their going to heathen judges to settle disputes between brothers in Christ.

    6:6 {And that before unbelievers} (kai touto epi apistwn). Climactic force of kai. The accusative of general reference with touto. "That there should be disputes about biwtika is bad; that Christian should go to law with Christian is worse; that Christians should do this before unbelievers is worst of all" (Robertson and Plummer).

    6:7 {Nay, already it is altogether a defect among you} (ede men oun holws hettema humin estin). "Indeed therefore there is to you already (to begin with, ede, before any question of courts) wholly defeat." hettema (from hettaomai) is only here, #Ro 11:12; Isa 31:8 and ecclesiastical writers. See hettaomai (from hettwn, less) in #2Co 12:13; 2Pe 2:19f. nike was victory and hetta defeat with the Greeks. It is defeat for Christians to have lawsuits (krimata, usually decrees or judgments) with one another. this was proof of the failure of love and forgiveness (#Col 3:13). {Take wrong} (adikeisqe). Present middle indicative, of old verb adikew (from adikos, not right). Better undergo wrong yourself than suffer {defeat} in the matter of love and forgiveness of a brother. {Be defrauded} (apostereisqe). Permissive middle again like adikeisqe. Allow yourselves to be robbed (old verb to deprive, to rob) rather than have a lawsuit.

    6:8 {Nay, but ye yourselves do wrong and defraud} (alla humeis adikeite kai apostereite). "But (adversative alla, on the contrary) you (emphatic) do the wronging and the robbing" (active voices) "and that your brethren" (kai touto adelfous). Same idiom as at close of verse #6. The very climax of wrong-doings, to stoop to do this with one's brethren in Christ.

    6:9 {The unrighteous} (adikoi). To remind them of the verb adikew just used. {The Kingdom of God} (qeou basileian). Precisely, God's kingdom. {Be not deceived} (me planasqe). Present passive imperative with negative me. Do not be led astray by plausible talk to cover up sin as mere animal behaviorism. Paul has two lists in verses #9,10, one with repetition of oute, neither (fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, or malakoi, abusers of themselves with men or arsenokoitai or sodomites as in #1Ti 1:10 a late word for this horrid vice, thieves, covetous), the other with ou not (drunkards, revilers, extortioners). All these will fall short of the kingdom of God. this was plain talk to a city like Corinth. It is needed today. It is a solemn roll call of the damned even if some of their names are on the church roll in Corinth whether officers or ordinary members.

    6:11 {And such were some of you} (kai tauta tines ete). A sharp homethrust. Literally, "And these things (tauta, neuter plural) were ye (some of you)." The horror is shown by tauta, but by tines Paul narrows the picture to some, not all. But that was in the past (ete, imperfect indicative) like #Ro 6:17. Thank God the blood of Jesus does cleanse from such sins as these. But do not go back to them. {But ye were washed} (apelousasqe). First aorist middle indicative, not passive, of apolouw. Either direct middle, ye washed yourselves, or indirect middle, as in #Ac 22:16, ye washed your sins away (force of apo). this was their own voluntary act in baptism which was the outward expression of the previous act of God in cleansing (hegiasqete, ye were sanctified or cleansed before the baptism) and justified (edikaiwqete, ye were put right with God before the act of baptism). "These twin conceptions of the Christian state in its beginning appear commonly in the reverse order" (Findlay). The outward expression is usually mentioned before the inward change which precedes it. In this passage the Trinity appear as in the baptismal command in #Mt 28:19.

    6:12 {Lawful} (exestin). Apparently this proverb may have been used by Paul in Corinth (repeated in #10:23), but not in the sense now used by Paul's opponents. The "all things" do not include such matters as those condemned in chapter #1Co 5; 6:1-11. Paul limits the proverb to things not immoral, things not wrong _per se_. But even here liberty is not license. {But not all things are expedient} (all' ou panta sumferei). Old word sumferei, bears together for good and so worthwhile. Many things, harmless in themselves in the abstract, do harm to others in the concrete. We live in a world of social relations that circumscribe personal rights and liberties. {But I will not be brought under the power of any} (all ouk egw exousiasqesomai hupo tinos). Perhaps a conscious play on the verb exestin for exousiazw is from exousia and that from exestin. Verb from Aristotle on, though not common (Dion. of Hal., LXX and inscriptions). In N.T. only here, #7:4; Lu 22:25. Paul is determined not to be a slave to anything harmless in itself. He will maintain his self-control. He gives a wholesome hint to those who talk so much about personal liberty.

    6:13 {But God shall bring to nought both it and them} (ho de qeos kai tauten kai tauta katargesei). Another proverb about the adaptation of the belly (koilia) and food (brwmata, not just flesh), which had apparently been used by some in Corinth to justify sexual license (fornication and adultery). These Gentiles mixed up matters not alike at all (questions of food and sensuality). " We have traces of this gross moral confusion in the circumstances which dictated the Apostolic Letter (#Ac 15:23-29), where things wholly diverse are combined, as directions about meats to be avoided and a prohibition of fornication" (Lightfoot). Both the belly (tauten) and the foods (tauta) God will bring to an end by death and change. {But the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body} (to de swma ou tei porneiai alla twi kuriwi, kai ho kurios twi swmati). Paul here boldly shows the fallacy in the parallel about appetite of the belly for food. The human body has a higher mission than the mere gratification of sensual appetite. Sex is of God for the propagation of the race, not for prostitution. Paul had already stated that God dwells in us as the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit (#3:16f.). this higher function of the body he here puts forward against the debased Greek philosophy of the time which ignored completely Paul's idea, "the body for the Lord and the Lord for the body" (dative of personal interest in both cases). "The Lord Jesus and porneia contested for the bodies of Christian men; loyal to him they must renounce _that_, yielding to _that_ they renounce him" (Findlay).

    6:14 {Will raise up us} (hemas exegerei). Future active indicative of exegeirw though the MSS. vary greatly, some having the present and some even the aorist. But the resurrection of the body gives added weight to Paul's argument about the dignity and destiny of the body (_quanta dignitas_, Bengel) which should not be prostituted to sensuality.

    6:15 {Members of Christ} (mele cristou). Old word for limbs, members. Even the Stoics held the body to be common with the animals (Epictetus, _Diss_. l. iii. 1) and only the reason like the gods. Without doubt some forms of modern evolution have contributed to the lascivious views of animalistic sex indulgence, though the best teachers of biology show that in the higher animals monogamy is the rule. The body is not only adapted for Christ (verse #13), but it is a part of Christ, in vital union with him. Paul will make much use of this figure further on (#12:12-31; Eph 4:11-16; 5:30). {Shall I qen take away?} (aras oun;). First aorist active participle of air", old verb to snatch, carry off like Latin _rapio_ (our rape). {Make} (poiesw). Can be either future active indicative or first aorist active subjunctive (deliberative). Either makes good sense. The horror of deliberately taking "members of Christ" and making them "members of a harlot" in an actual union staggers Paul and should stagger us. {God forbid} (me genoito). Optative second aorist in a negative wish for the future. {May it not happen!} The word "God" is not here. The idiom is common in Epictetus though rare in the LXX. Paul has it thirteen times and Luke once (#Lu 20:16).

    6:16 {One body} (hen swma). With the harlot. That union is for the harlot the same as with the wife. The words quoted from #Ge 2:24 describing the sexual union of husband and wife, are also quoted and explained by Jesus in #Mt 19:5f. which see for discussion of the translation Hebraism with use of eis. {Saith he} (fesin). Supply either ho qeos (God) or he grafe (the Scripture).

    6:17 {One spirit} (hen pneuma). With the Lord, the inner vital spiritual union with the Lord Jesus (#Eph 4:4; 5:30).

    6:18 {Flee} (feugete). Present imperative. Have the habit of fleeing without delay or parley. Note abruptness of the asyndeton with no connectives. Fornication violates Christ's rights in our bodies (verses #13-17) and also ruins the body itself. {Without the body} (ektos tou swmatos). Even gluttony and drunkenness and the use of dope are sins wrought on the body, not "within the body" (entos tou swmatos) in the same sense as fornication. Perhaps the dominant idea of Paul is that fornication, as already shown, breaks the mystic bond between the body and Christ and hence the fornicator (ho porneuwn) {sins against his own body} (eis to idion swma hamartanei) in a sense not true of other dreadful sins. The fornicator takes his body which belongs to Christ and unites it with a harlot. In fornication the body is the instrument of sin and becomes the subject of the damage wrought. In another sense fornication brings on one's own body the two most terrible bodily diseases that are still incurable (gonorrhea and syphilis) that curse one's own body and transmit the curse to the third and fourth generation. Apart from the high view given here by Paul of the relation of the body to the Lord no possible father or mother has the right to lay the hand of such terrible diseases and disaster on their children and children's children. The moral and physical rottenness wrought by immorality defy one's imagination.

    6:19 {Your body is a temple} (to swma humwn naos estin). A sanctuary as in #3:16 which see. Our spirits dwell in our bodies and the Holy Spirit dwells in our spirits. Some of the Gnostics split hairs between the sins of the body and fellowship with God in the spirit. Paul will have none of this subterfuge. One's body is the very shrine for the Holy Spirit. In Corinth was the temple to Aphrodite in which fornication was regarded as consecration instead of desecration. Prostitutes were there as priestesses of Aphrodite, to help men worship the goddess by fornication. {Ye are not your own} (ouk este heautwn). Predicate genitive. Ye do not belong to yourselves, even if you could commit fornication without personal contamination or self-violation. Christianity makes unchastity dishonor in both sexes. There is no double standard of morality. Paul's plea here is primarily to men to be clean as members of Christ's body.

    6:20 {For ye were bought with a price} (egorasqete gar times). First aorist passive indicative of agorazw, old verb to buy in the marketplace (agora). With genitive of price. Paul does not here state the price as Peter does in #1Pe 1:19 (the blood of Christ) and as Jesus does in #Mt 20:28 (his life a ransom). The Corinthians understood his meaning. {Glorify God therefore in your body} (doxasate de ton qeon en twi swmati humwn). Passionate conclusion to his powerful argument against sexual uncleanness. de is a shortened form of ede and is an urgent inferential particle. See on ŻLu 2:15. Paul holds to his high ideal of the destiny of the body and urges glorifying God in it. Some of the later Christians felt that Paul's words could be lightened a bit by adding "and in your spirits which are his," but these words are found only in late MSS. and are clearly not genuine. Paul's argument stands four-square for the dignity of the body as the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit united to the Lord Jesus.

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