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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
IntraText - Text
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1 How can any one of you with a case against
another dare to bring it to the unjust for judgment instead of to the holy
Do 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?
Do you not know that we will judge angels? Then
why not everyday matters?
If, therefore, you have courts for everyday
matters, do you seat as judges people of no standing in the church?
I 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?
But rather brother goes to court against
brother, and that before unbelievers?
Now 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?
Instead, you inflict injustice and cheat, and
this to brothers.
2 3 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 practicing
nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor
slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.
That 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.
4 "Everything is lawful for me," 5
but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is lawful for me," but
I will not let myself be dominated by anything.
"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;
God raised the Lord and will also raise us by
Do 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? 6 Of course not!
(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."
But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one
spirit with him.
Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person
commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body. 7
Do you not know that your body is a temple 8
of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not
For you have been purchased at a price.
Therefore, glorify God in your body.
1 [1-11] Christians at Corinth are
suing one another before pagan judges in Roman courts. A barrage of rhetorical
questions (⇒ 1 Cor 6:1-9) betrays Paul's indignation
over this practice, which he sees as an infringement upon the holiness of the
Christian community. 6, 2-3: 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 ⇒ Daniel 7:22,
⇒ 27). Hence they ought to be able to settle minor
disputes within the community.
2 [9-10] A catalogue of typical vices
that exclude from the kingdom of God and that should be excluded from God's
church. Such lists (cf ⇒ 1 Cor 5:10) reflect the
common moral sensibility of the New Testament period.
3  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 homosexual practices with such boys. See similar
condemnations of such practices in ⇒ Romans 1:26-27;
⇒ 1 Tim 1:10.
4 [12-20] Paul now turns to the
opinion of some Corinthians that sexuality is a morally indifferent area
(⇒ 1 Cor 6:12-13). This leads him to explain the
mutual relation between the Lord Jesus and our bodies (⇒ 1
Cor 6:13b) in a densely packed paragraph that contains elements of a
profound theology of sexuality (⇒ 1 Cor 6:15-20).
5 [12-13] 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 (⇒ 1 Cor
6:13a). Paul begins to deal with the slogan by two qualifications,
which suggest principles for judging sexual activity. Not everything is
beneficial: cf ⇒ 1 Cor 10:23, and the whole
argument of 1 Cor 8-10 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 [15b-16] 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
⇒ Genesis 2:24 is applied positively to human
marriage in Matthew and Mark, and in ⇒ Eph 5:29-32:
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.
7  Against his own body:
expresses the intimacy and depth of sexual disorder, which violates the very
orientation of our bodies.
8 [19-20] 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
⇒ 1 Cor 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.
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