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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 Corinthians: Chapter 6)

6:1 {Dare any of you?} (\tolmāi tis humōn;\). Does any one of you
dare? Rhetorical question with present indicative of \tolmaō\,
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 neighbour} (\pragma echōn pros ton
. Forensic sense of \pragma\ (from \prassō\, to do, to
exact, to extort as in Lu 3:13)
, a case, a suit (Demosthenes
1020, 26)
, with the other or the neighbour as in 10:24; 14:17;
Ga 6:4; Ro 2:1. {Go to law} (\krinesthai\). Present middle or
passive (ch. Ro 3:4) in the same forensic sense as \krithēnai\
in Mt 5:40. \Kritēs\, judge, is from this verb. {Before the
(\epi tōn adikōn\). 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

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
(\anaxioi este kritēriōn elachistōn;\). \Anaxios\ is an
old word (\an\ and \axios\), though only here in the N.T. There
is dispute as to the meaning of \kritēria\ here and in verse 4,
old word, but nowhere else in N.T. save in Jas 2:6. Naturally,
like other words in \-tērion\ (\akroatērion\, auditorium, Ac
, 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 \mē erchesthō epi kritērion
ethnikon\ (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?} (\Mēti ge
. 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" (\mētige
, not to say. \Biōtika\ 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 \zōē\, life

6:4 {If then ye have to judge things pertaining to this life}
(\biōtika men oun kritēria ean echēte\). Note emphatic position
(proleptic) of \biōtika kritēria\ (tribunals pertaining to this
life, as above)
. "If ye have tribunals pertaining to this life"
(condition of third class, \ean echēte\). If \kathizete\ (do ye
is indicative and interrogative, then by "who are of no
account in the church" (\tous exouthenēmenous en tēi ekklēsiāi\)
Paul means the heathen as in verse 1. If \kathizete\ be
imperative, then 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 entropēn humin
. Old word \entropē\ from \entrepō\, to turn in (1Co 4:14
which see)
. In N.T. only here and 15:34. {One wise man}
(\sophos\). From sarcasm to pathos Paul turns. {Does there not
(\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
(\diakrinai ana meson tou adelphou autou\). \Krinai\ is
to judge or decide (first aorist active infinitive of \krinō\ and
\dia\ (two) carries on the idea of between. Then \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 adelphou autou\) between brother and his
brother. The use of \adelphos\ 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 apistōn\).
Climactic force of \kai\. The accusative of general reference
with \touto\. "That there should be disputes about \biōtika\ 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} (\ēdē men
oun holōs hēttēma humin estin\)
. "Indeed therefore there is to
you already (to begin with, \ēdē\, before any question of courts)
wholly defeat." \Hēttēma\ (from \hēttaomai\) is only here, Ro
11:12; Isa 31:8 and ecclesiastical writers. See \hēttaomai\
(from \hēttōn\, less) in 2Co 12:13; 2Pe 2:19f. \Nikē\ was
victory and \hētta\ defeat with the Greeks. It is defeat for
Christians to have lawsuits (\krimata\, usually decrees or
with one another. This was proof of the failure of
love and forgiveness (Col 3:13). {Take wrong} (\adikeisthe\).
Present middle indicative, of old verb \adikeō\ (from \adikos\,
not right)
. Better undergo wrong yourself than suffer {defeat} in
the matter of love and forgiveness of a brother. {Be defrauded}
(\apostereisthe\). Permissive middle again like \adikeisthe\.
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
you (emphatic) do the wronging and the robbing" (active
"and that your brethren" (\kai touto adelphous\). 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
\adikeō\ just used. {The Kingdom of God} (\theou basileian\).
Precisely, God's kingdom. {Be not deceived} (\mē planāsthe\).
Present passive imperative with negative \mē\. Do not be led
astray by plausible talk to cover up sin as mere animal
behaviourism. 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 ēte\). 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 (\ēte\, 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} (\apelousasthe\).
First aorist middle indicative, not passive, of \apolouō\. 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
(\hēgiasthēte\, ye were sanctified or cleansed before the
and justified (\edikaiōthēte\, 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 sumpherei\). Old
word \sumpherei\, 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 egō exousiasthēsomai
hupo tinos\)
. Perhaps a conscious play on the verb \exestin\ for
\exousiazō\ is from \exousia\ and that from \exestin\. Verb from
Aristotle on, though not common (Dion. of Hal., LXX and
. 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
theos kai tautēn kai tauta katargēsei\)
. Another proverb about
the adaptation of the belly (\koilia\) and food (\brōmata\, 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
. " We have traces of this gross moral confusion in
the circumstances which dictated the Apostolic Letter (Ac
, where things wholly diverse are combined, as
directions about meats to be avoided and a prohibition of
fornication" (Lightfoot). Both the belly (\tautēn\) 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 sōma ou tēi porneiāi alla tōi kuriōi, kai ho
kurios tōi sōmati\)
. 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} (\hēmas exegerei\). Future active
indicative of \exegeirō\ 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} (\melē Christou\). 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 licentious 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 then take away?} (\aras
. First aorist active participle of \airō\, old verb to
snatch, carry off like Latin _rapio_ (our rape). {Make}
(\poiēsō\). 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} (\mē genoito\). Optative
second aorist in a negative wish for the future. {May it not
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 sōma\). 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
(\phēsin\). Supply either \ho theos\ (God) or \hē graphē\
(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} (\pheugete\). 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 sōmatos\). Even gluttony and drunkenness
and the use of dope are sins wrought on the body, not "within the
body" (\entos tou sōmatos\) 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 porneuōn\) {sins against his own body}
(\eis to idion sōma 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 sōma humōn 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 heautōn\). Predicate genitive. Ye do
not belong to yourselves, even if you could commit fornication
without personal contamination or self-violation. Christianity
makes unchastity dishonour 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} (\ēgorasthēte gar timēs\).
First aorist passive indicative of \agorazō\, 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
and as Jesus does in Mt 20:28 (his life a ransom). The
Corinthians understood his meaning. {Glorify God therefore in
your body}
(\doxasate dē ton theon en tōi sōmati humōn\).
Passionate conclusion to his powerful argument against sexual
uncleanness. \Dē\ is a shortened form of \ēdē\ and is an urgent
inferential particle. See on ¯Lu 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

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 Corinthians: Chapter 6)