1 Corinthians 6
New English Translation
6 When any of you has a legal dispute with another, does he dare go to court before the unrighteous rather than before the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you not competent to settle trivial suits? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? Why not ordinary matters! 4 So if you have ordinary lawsuits, do you appoint as judges those who have no standing in the church?[a] 5 I say this to your shame! Is there no one among you wise enough to settle disputes between fellow Christians?[b] 6 Instead, does a Christian sue a Christian,[c] and do this before unbelievers? 7 The fact that you have lawsuits among yourselves demonstrates that you have already been defeated. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 But you yourselves wrong and cheat, and you do this to your brothers and sisters![d]
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners,[e] practicing homosexuals,[f] 10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive,[g] and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Some of you once lived this way.[h] But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ[i] and by the Spirit of our God.
Flee Sexual Immorality
12 “All things are lawful for me”[j]—but not everything is beneficial. “All things are lawful for me”—but I will not be controlled by anything. 13 “Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both.”[k] The body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 Now God indeed raised the Lord and he will raise us by his power. 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! 16 Or do you not know that anyone who is united with[l] a prostitute is one body with her?[m] For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”[n] 17 But the one united with[o] the Lord is one spirit with him.[p] 18 Flee sexual immorality! “Every sin a person commits is outside of the body”[q]—but the immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you,[r] whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.
- 1 Corinthians 6:4 tn Or “if you have ordinary lawsuits, appoint as judges those who have no standing in the church!” This alternative reading (cf. KJV, NIV) takes the Greek verb καθίζετε (kathizete) as an ironic imperative instead of a question. This verb comes, however, at the end of the sentence. It is not impossible that Paul meant for it to be understood this way, but its placement in the sentence does not make this probable.
- 1 Corinthians 6:5 tn Grk “to decide between his brother (and his opponent),” but see the note on the word “Christian” in 5:11.
- 1 Corinthians 6:6 tn Grk “does a brother sue a brother,” but see the note on the word “Christian” in 5:11.
- 1 Corinthians 6:8 tn Grk “brothers.” The Greek term “brother” literally refers to family relationships, but here it is used in a broader sense to connote familial relationships within the family of God (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 2.a). See also the note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:10.
- 1 Corinthians 6:9 tn This term is sometimes rendered “effeminate,” although in contemporary English usage such a translation could be taken to refer to demeanor rather than behavior. BDAG 613 s.v. μαλακός 2 has “pert. to being passive in a same-sex relationship, effeminate esp. of catamites, of men and boys who are sodomized by other males in such a relationship.” L&N 88.281 states, “the passive male partner in homosexual intercourse—‘homosexual.’…As in Greek, a number of other languages also have entirely distinct terms for the active and passive roles in homosexual intercourse.” See also the discussion in G. D. Fee, First Corinthians (NICNT), 243-44. A number of modern translations have adopted the phrase “male prostitutes” for μαλακοί in 1 Cor 6:9 (NIV, NRSV, NLT) but this could be misunderstood by the modern reader to mean “males who sell their services to women,” while the term in question appears, at least in context, to relate to homosexual activity between males. Furthermore, it is far from certain that prostitution as commonly understood (the selling of sexual favors) is specified here, as opposed to a consensual relationship. Thus the translation “passive homosexual partners” has been used here.
- 1 Corinthians 6:9 tn On this term BDAG 135 s.v. ἀρσενοκοίτης states, “a male who engages in sexual activity w. a pers. of his own sex, pederast 1 Cor 6:9…of one who assumes the dominant role in same-sex activity, opp. μαλακός…1 Ti 1:10; Pol 5:3. Cp. Ro 1:27.” L&N 88.280 states, “a male partner in homosexual intercourse—‘homosexual.’…It is possible that ἀρσενοκοίτης in certain contexts refers to the active male partner in homosexual intercourse in contrast with μαλακός, the passive male partner.” Since there is a distinction in contemporary usage between sexual orientation and actual behavior, the qualification “practicing” was supplied in the translation, following the emphasis in BDAG.
- 1 Corinthians 6:10 tn Or “revilers”; BDAG 602 s.v. λοίδορος defines the term as “reviler, abusive person.” Because the term “abusive” without further qualification has become associated in contemporary English with both physical and sexual abuse, the qualifier “verbally” has been supplied in the translation.
- 1 Corinthians 6:11 tn Grk “and some [of you] were these.”
- 1 Corinthians 6:11 tc The external evidence in support of the reading ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ (Iēsou Christou, “Jesus Christ”) is quite impressive: P11vid,46 א B Cvid D* P 33 81 104 365 629 630 1739 1881 2464 al lat bo as well as several fathers, while the reading with merely ᾿Ιησοῦ has significantly poorer support (A D2 Ψ M sa). Although the wording of the original could certainly have been expanded, it is also possible that Χριστοῦ as a nomen sacrum could have accidentally dropped out. Although the latter is not as likely under normal circumstances, in light of the early and widespread witnesses for the fuller expression, the wording of the Ausgangstext seems to have been ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ.
- 1 Corinthians 6:12 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.
- 1 Corinthians 6:13 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.
- 1 Corinthians 6:16 tn Or “is in relationship with.”
- 1 Corinthians 6:16 tn Grk “is one body,” implying the association “with her.”
- 1 Corinthians 6:16 sn A quotation from Gen 2:24.
- 1 Corinthians 6:17 tn Grk “in relationship with.”
- 1 Corinthians 6:17 tn Grk “is one spirit,” implying the association “with him.”
- 1 Corinthians 6:18 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.
- 1 Corinthians 6:19 tn Grk “the ‘in you’ Holy Spirit.” The position of the prepositional phrase ἐν ὑμῖν (en humin, “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.