1 Corinthians, CHAPTER 6 | USCCB (2024)


Lawsuits before Unbelievers.*1How can any one of you with a case against another dare to bring it to the unjust for judgment instead of to the holy ones?2Do you not know that the holy ones will judge the world? If the world is to be judged by you, are you unqualified for the lowest law courts?a3Do you not know that we will judge angels? Then why not everyday matters?4If, therefore, you have courts for everyday matters, do you seat as judges people of no standing in the church?5I say this to shame you. Can it be that there is not one among you wise enough to be able to settle a case between brothers?6But rather brother goes to court against brother, and that before unbelievers?

7Now indeed [then] it is, in any case, a failure on your part that you have lawsuits against one another. Why not rather put up with injustice? Why not rather let yourselves be cheated?b8Instead, you inflict injustice and cheat, and this to brothers.9* Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes* nor sodomitesc10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.11That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.d

Sexual Immorality.*12“Everything is lawful for me,”* but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is lawful for me,” but I will not let myself be dominated by anything.e13“Food for the stomach and the stomach for food,” but God will do away with both the one and the other. The body, however, is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body;14God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.f

15Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take Christ’s members and make them the members of a prostitute?* Of course not!g16[Or] do you not know that anyone who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For “the two,” it says, “will become one flesh.”h17But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.i18Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body.*19Do you not know that your body is a temple* of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?j20For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.k

* [6:111] Christians at Corinth are suing one another before pagan judges in Roman courts. A barrage of rhetorical questions (1Cor 6:19) betrays Paul’s indignation over this practice, which he sees as an infringement upon the holiness of the Christian community. 6:23: The principle to which Paul appeals is an eschatological prerogative promised to Christians: they are to share with Christ the judgment of the world (cf. Dn 7:22, 27). Hence they ought to be able to settle minor disputes within the community.

* [6:910] A catalogue of typical vices that exclude from the kingdom of God and that should be excluded from God’s church. Such lists (cf. 1Cor 5:10) reflect the common moral sensibility of the New Testament period.

* [6:9] The Greek word translated as boy prostitutes may refer to catamites, i.e., boys or young men who were kept for purposes of prostitution, a practice not uncommon in the Greco-Roman world. In Greek mythology this was the function of Ganymede, the “cupbearer of the gods,” whose Latin name was Catamitus. The term translated sodomites refers to adult males who indulged in hom*osexual practices with such boys. See similar condemnations of such practices in Rom 1:2627; 1Tm 1:10.

* [6:1220] Paul now turns to the opinion of some Corinthians that sexuality is a morally indifferent area (1Cor 6:1213). This leads him to explain the mutual relation between the Lord Jesus and our bodies (1Cor 6:13b) in a densely packed paragraph that contains elements of a profound theology of sexuality (1Cor 6:1520).

* [6:1213] Everything is lawful for me: the Corinthians may have derived this slogan from Paul’s preaching about Christian freedom, but they mean something different by it: they consider sexual satisfaction a matter as indifferent as food, and they attribute no lasting significance to bodily functions (1Cor 6:13a). Paul begins to deal with the slogan by two qualifications, which suggest principles for judging sexual activity. Not everything is beneficial: cf. 1Cor 10:23, and the whole argument of 1Cor 810 on the finality of freedom and moral activity. Not let myself be dominated: certain apparently free actions may involve in fact a secret servitude in conflict with the lordship of Jesus.

* [6:15b16] A prostitute: the reference may be specifically to religious prostitution, an accepted part of pagan culture at Corinth and elsewhere; but the prostitute also serves as a symbol for any sexual relationship that conflicts with Christ’s claim over us individually. The two…will become one flesh: the text of Gn 2:24 is applied positively to human marriage in Matthew and Mark, and in Eph 5:2932: love of husband and wife reflect the love of Christ for his church. The application of the text to union with a prostitute is jarring, for such a union is a parody, an antitype of marriage, which does conflict with Christ’s claim over us. This explains the horror expressed in 15b.

* [6:18] Against his own body: expresses the intimacy and depth of sexual disorder, which violates the very orientation of our bodies.

* [6:1920] Paul’s vision becomes trinitarian. A temple: sacred by reason of God’s gift, his indwelling Spirit. Not your own: but “for the Lord,” who acquires ownership by the act of redemption. Glorify God in your body: the argument concludes with a positive imperative to supplement the negative “avoid immorality” of 1Cor 6:18. Far from being a terrain that is morally indifferent, the area of sexuality is one in which our relationship with God (and his Christ and his Spirit) is very intimately expressed: he is either highly glorified or deeply offended.

a. [6:2] Wis 3:8; Mt 19:28; Rev 20:4.

b. [6:7] Mt 5:3842; Rom 12:1721; 1Thes 5:15.

c. [6:9] 15:50; Gal 5:1921; Eph 5:5.

d. [6:11] Ti 3:37.

e. [6:12] 10:23.

f. [6:14] Rom 8:11; 2Cor 4:14.

g. [6:15] 12:27; Rom 6:1213; 12:5; Eph 5:30.

h. [6:16] Gn 2:24; Mt 19:5; Mk 10:8; Eph 5:31.

i. [6:17] Rom 8:910; 2Cor 3:17.

j. [6:19] 3:1617; Rom 5:5.

k. [6:20] 3:23; 7:23; Acts 20:28 / Rom 12:1; Phil 1:20.

III. Answers to the Corinthians’ Questions

A. Marriage and Virginity*

1 Corinthians, CHAPTER 6 | USCCB (2024)


What is the main point of 1 Corinthians 6? ›

Paul urges the believers to “not be deceived.” Don't get suckered in to believing a lie. Don't think there is no heaven, no hell, and no judgement day. Paul is not talking about people who have ever committed one of these sins, but those are practicing these things. It is their habitual lifestyle.

What is the meaning of 1st Corinthians chapter 6 verse 12? ›

The message of this passage is clear: “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12b). The lifestyles of Jesus' disciples are to be lived within the context of the Holy Spirit; and therefore, sex has to be done within the boundaries of the Spirit.

What is the commentary of Corinthians 1:6? ›

In other words, Paul sees clear, doubtless evidence that they genuinely believed his teaching. He is assured they have trusted in Christ for their salvation. Their speech and knowledge, among other gifts, showed that they had received God's grace through faith in Christ, just as Paul presented that testimony to them.

What does 1st Corinthians 6 1 through 8 mean? ›

The principal view of this chapter is to dissuade Christians from going to law with one another before Heathens, and also from fornication: the apostle begins with the first of these, and argues against it, from its being a daring, dangerous, and scandalous practice; and from the different characters of the persons, ...

What is Paul's primary concern in 1 Corinthians Chapter 6? ›

Paul is not only concerned that the believers in Corinth are taking one another to court, but that they are doing so before unbelieving judges outside the church. He addresses it in 1 Cor. 6:1 by asking if any of them could dare to bring themselves to go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints.

What does 1 Corinthians 6 19 teach us? ›

In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul applies this to our physical bodies. Because we were bought with a price, we should now dedicate our body to glorify and serve God. Notice his emphasis on our “body.” Technically, this means Jesus Christ is now our owner, master or Lord.

What does 1 Corinthians 6:12 teach us about freedom? ›

"All things are lawful for me," but I will not be dominated by anything. NIV "I have the right to do anything," you say—but not everything is beneficial. "I have the right to do anything"—but I will not be mastered by anything. NASB All things are permitted for me, but not all things are of benefit.

What is the prayer for 1 Corinthians 6? ›

God, please, please open all of our eyes to see every way in which we are prone to sin in these ways, and to turn from it by the power of the spirit that you have put inside of us, what 1 Corinthians 6 later says, our bodies, temples of your Holy Spirit, by the power of Jesus and what he did on the cross, even what we ...

What does 1 Corinthians 6 20 mean? ›

In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul says we are not our own. We were bought at a price. Having received our bodies as a gift from God, we are to use them to honor God. Problems arise when we see our decisions as separate from our bodies or too small to impact our life.

Do you not know your bodies are 1 Corinthians 6? ›

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

What is the message of 1 Corinthians 6:7? ›

Believers will one day judge the world and angels. They should be able to judge small disputes amongst themselves. It would be better for a believer to be defrauded than to ask unbelievers to settle an argument between brothers in Christ.

What does 1 Corinthians 6-5 mean? ›

Paul is outraged that the church in Corinth has allowed minor disputes between members to be taken before a secular, un-spiritual Roman court (1 Corinthians 2:14–15). He is very clear: the Corinthians should be ashamed about this.

What can we learn from 1 Corinthians 6? ›

Instead of going to court before unbelievers, it would be less of a defeat to just live with being wronged or defrauded. It is shameful to see brothers or sisters in Christ cheating one another (1 Corinthians 6:3–8). Paul reminds the Corinthians they are not like those outside of the church.

What is the problem of the Corinthians church? ›

Among the myriad problems in the Corinthian church were: claims of spiritual superiority over one another, suing one another in public courts, abusing the communal meal, and sexual misbehavior. Paul wrote to demand higher ethical and moral standards.

How to settle a dispute according to the Bible? ›

Resolving Conflict God's Way
  1. Step 1: Go in private. Jesus clearly explained that the first step to resolving conflict is to go privately to the one with whom you have an offense and seek to restore the relationship. ...
  2. Step 2: Take one or two with you. ...
  3. Step 3: Tell it to the church. ...
  4. Step 4: Cut off the unrepentant.
Mar 21, 2019

What does it mean to visit orphans and widows in their affliction? ›

Visiting orphans and widows is so much more than just taking a trip to another country to hand out some food to people you will never see again; visiting orphans and widows means to look after, to take care of, to provide for, with the implication of continuous responsibility.

What is the message that Paul wants the church in Corinth to understand? ›

In this letter to the church at Corinth, Paul covered a number of different issues related to both life and doctrine: divisions and quarrels, sexual immorality, lawsuits among believers, marriage and singleness, freedom in Christ, order in worship, the significance of the Lord's Supper, and the right use of spiritual ...

What does it mean to have your feet fitted with the Gospel of Peace? ›

Having our feet fitted with the shoes of the gospel of peace allows us to be ready to share God with others at all times. As Christians, we should always be prepared, as we never know when an opportunity may arise to share the good news of the gospel with someone else.

What does it mean that each believer's body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? ›

1 Corinthians 6:19 is a powerful reminder of the sacredness of our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. It calls us to honor and respect our bodies, taking care of our physical, mental, and emotional health, and living in accordance with God's standards and values.

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