1 Corinthians

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16

1 Corinthians 6 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on 1 Corinthians 6 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?

(6:1-7) "Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?"
A believer should not sue another believer in court.
(6:1-7) Jehovah's Witnesses believe that they should not take another member of their church to court. Consequently, JWs who report incidents of sex abuse are often disfellowshipped.
(6:2-3) "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?"
To judge or not to judge
The apostle Paul doesn't say the Corinthians should not go to court, but that they should not appear before the unjust, the heathen in this case. What if the judges are Christian? Would they not be allowed to appear before them? Then the argument wouldn't hold as a Christian judge by definition isn't a heathen.
The case of the Jehovah's Witnesses clearly shows that the intend of the apostle Paul cannot be that we cannot go to court or appeal to the court. And clearly issues like sexual abuse and murder must be taken to court as it is only governments that are granted the right to use the sword of justice, Rom. 13:4. The church has no right to use the sword. The church does not even have jurisdiction in civil cases.
But the court issues that are spoken of here are issues of money and possessions. And although I would hesitate to say believers should never go to court with each other over these matters, it is always better to suffer, verse 7.

2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?

6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.

7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

(6:9-10) Paul lists ten groups of people who will never enter heaven. These include thieves, along with the "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind."
Can thieves go to heaven?
The answer is no: thieves, when they are still thieves at the moment they die, cannot go to heaven. But the apostle Paul is saying something quite different here than the author of the SAB reads. The author of the SAB reads: once a thief, always a thief. But the apostle Paul actually says: “even if you have been thieves, you can be washed from your sins.” We have to take the next verse (verse 11) into account: “And such were some of you.” Thieves once, but no more.
That is what the gospel is about: it is for sinners. Not that they should continue in their sin, but that they should receive justification and sanctification in Christ, and serve God from henceforth, and no longer serve sin.
See also the excellent reply by Waterrock.

11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

"All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any."
Everything is lawful to Paul, and he submits himself to no law.
The phrase “All things are lawful” means all things that are indifferent are lawful. The apostle repeats the phrase “All things are lawful” in the second sentence for the words that follow. To paraphrase: “All things that are indifferent are lawful, and if I am at liberty to use things indifferent, I should not bring myself into bondage to those very things that I can make the free use of.”
We can see in the next verse (verse 13) to what particulars the apostle hints. For example eating of meats, be it of clean or unclean beasts, is a matter of indifference. It is lawful to eat all kinds. But being addicted to food or eating them while it offended a brother is wrong.

13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.

(6:15-16) "Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot?"
Paul asks if he should "take the members of Christ, and make them members of an harlot?" He further asks, "Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body?"
Paul gives here another reason why fornication is wrong. In those times people thought little of that, and we live in such times again. Casual sexual relations, serial monogamy, it's all thought of as nothing.

16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.