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1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Context
Flee Sexual Immorality

6:12 “All things are lawful for me” 1  – but not everything is beneficial. “All things are lawful for me” – but I will not be controlled by anything. 6:13 “Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both.” 2  The body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 6:14 Now God indeed raised the Lord and he will raise us by his power. 6:15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 6:16 Or do you not know that anyone who is united with 3  a prostitute is one body with her? 4  For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” 5  6:17 But the one united with 6  the Lord is one spirit with him. 7  6:18 Flee sexual immorality! “Every sin a person commits is outside of the body” 8  – but the immoral person sins against his own body. 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, 9  whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 6:20 For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.

1 sn All things are lawful for me. In the expressions in vv. 12-13 within quotation marks, Paul cites certain slogans the Corinthians apparently used to justify their behavior. Paul agrees with the slogans in part, but corrects them to show how the Corinthians have misused these ideas.

2 tn Grk “both this [stomach] and these [foods].”

sn There is debate as to the extent of the Corinthian slogan which Paul quotes here. Some argue that the slogan is only the first sentence – “Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food” – with the second statement forming Paul’s rejoinder, while others argue that the slogan contains both sentences (as in the translation above). The argument which favors the latter is the tight conceptual and grammatical parallelism which occurs if Paul’s response begins with “The body is not for sexual immorality” and then continues through the end of v. 14. For discussion and diagrams of this structure, see G. D. Fee, First Corinthians (NICNT), 253-57.

3 tn Or “is in relationship with.”

4 tn Grk “is one body,” implying the association “with her.”

5 sn A quotation from Gen 2:24.

6 tn Grk “in relationship with.”

7 tn Grk “is one spirit,” implying the association “with him.”

8 sn It is debated whether this is a Corinthian slogan. If it is not, then Paul is essentially arguing that there are two types of sin, nonsexual sins which take place outside the body and sexual sins which are against a person’s very own body. If it is a Corinthian slogan, then it is a slogan used by the Corinthians to justify their immoral behavior. With it they are claiming that anything done in the body or through the body had no moral relevance. A decision here is very difficult, but the latter is to be preferred for two main reasons. (1) This is the most natural understanding of the statement as it is written. To construe it as a statement by Paul requires a substantial clarification in the sense (e.g., “All other sins…” [NIV]). (2) Theologically the former is more difficult: Why would Paul single out sexual sins as more intrinsically related to the body than other sins, such as gluttony or drunkenness? For these reasons, it is more likely that the phrase in quotation marks is indeed a Corinthian slogan which Paul turns against them in the course of his argument, although the decision must be regarded as tentative.

9 tn Grk “the ‘in you’ Holy Spirit.” The position of the prepositional phrase ἐν ὑμῖν (en Jumin, “in you”) between the article and the adjective effectively places the prepositional phrase in first attributive position. Such constructions are generally translated into English as relative clauses.



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