1 Corinthians 6:1-11

Lawsuits Against Believers

1 When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous 1instead of the saints?
2 Or do you not know that 2the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?
3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!
4 So if you have such cases, 3why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church?
5 4I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers,
6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?
7 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. 5Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?
8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud--even 6your own brothers![a]
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous[b] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: 7neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,[c]
10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And 8such were some of you. But 9you were washed, 10you were sanctified, 11you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:1-11 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO 1 CORINTHIANS 6

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, before whom controversies about civil things among Christians should and should not be brought; the one being saints, and so conscientious persons, and would do the right thing; the other unjust, and so justice could not be expected to be done by them, 1Co 6:1, and that the former, and not the latter, should be appointed judges in such cases, is argued from the greater to the lesser; that seeing these will judge the world, much more then should they be employed in matters of less consequence, 1Co 6:2 and by the same sort of argument it is further urged, that even angels themselves shall be judged by the saints; then much more might affairs appertaining to this life, be brought before them, and be decided by them, 1Co 6:3 yea, even the things that were litigated by them, and which they had power of judging in, were such as might be determined by the men of the least capacity among them, and therefore had no need to bring them before Heathen magistrates, 1Co 6:4 besides, it could not be spoken of, but to their shame, that after all their boast of their gifts, learning, and eloquence, there was not one man of wisdom and ability among them, to judge in matters of civil property, 1Co 6:5 and this evil of commencing law suits in Heathen courts of judicature, is aggravated by its being done, not between Christians and heathens, but between one Christian brother and another, and that before men that were infidels, 1Co 6:6 and which to do, showed a great deficiency of love, wisdom, and care; and much better it was to take and suffer wrong, than to be guilty of such criminal conduct, 1Co 6:7 yea, those, that drew their brethren before such judgment seats, did them wrong, both by bringing them thither, and by getting their cause in an unjust manner, 1Co 6:8 wherefore, to deter from such unrighteous procedures, the apostles declares, that all injurious persons, and wicked men in any way, and of any sort, should not inherit the kingdom of God, 1Co 6:9,10 and whereas some of those the apostle writes to had been such, but now through the grace of God were otherwise, this should be considered as an argument, why they should not contend with one another before persons destitute of the grace they were partakers of, 1Co 6:11 and now the apostle having mentioned fornication as a sin which excluded from the kingdom of God, and this being reckoned by the Gentiles an indifferent thing; he first observes of indifferent things in general, that are really so, that though they are lawful to be used, it is not expedient to use them at all times, and under all circumstances; and especially care should be taken, that by the use of them, we do not become slaves unto them, 1Co 6:12 and then particularly instances in meats, which without distinction might be lawfully eaten, they being made for the belly, and the belly for them; which was answering the original design of them, though hereafter both will be destroyed; yet fornication must not be put upon a level with them, and reckoned indifferent as they are; since the body was not made to be abused and defiled, or for fornication: but to be redeemed and sanctified by the Lord, and to serve him, and who was appointed for the redemption and sanctification of that, 1Co 6:13 moreover, the sin of fornication is dissuaded from, by the consideration of the resurrection of the body as a glorious one, by the power of God, of which Christ's resurrection is a pledge; and therefore should not be defiled with this sin, 1Co 6:14 as also from the bodies of the saints being the members of Christ; and therefore should not be made the members of an harlot by fornication, these things being utterly absurd and inconsistent, 1Co 6:15. Which is illustrated by observing, that he that is joined in unlawful copulation with an harlot, becomes one flesh with her, 1Co 6:16 which is confirmed by a passage cited out of Ge 2:24 which regards carnal copulation in general; but one that is in union with Christ, and is become a member of him, is one spirit with him; and therefore since there is such a spiritual union between them, fornication, which joins, unites, and makes a man one with an harlot, should be carefully avoided, 1Co 6:17 and in order the more to deter from this sin, the apostle observes, that it is not like some other sins, which are without the body, but this is by it, and with it, and against it; it is dishonourable, and may be hurtful to it, 1Co 6:18 to which he adds, that the bodies of the saints are the temples of the Holy Ghost, where he dwells, and therefore should not be polluted with fornication, 1Co 6:19 and closes all with an argument, taken from their bodies not being their own property, to use and abuse at pleasure, but the purchase of Christ's blood; and therefore it was incumbent upon them to glorify him with them, as well as with their spirits, and not defile them with fornication.

1 Corinthians 6:1-11 In-Context

1 When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of 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 incompetent to try trivial cases?
3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!
4 So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church?
5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers,
6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?
7 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?
8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud--even your own brothers!
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,
10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
12 "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be enslaved by anything.
13 "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food"--and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.
15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!

Cross References 11

  • 1. [Matthew 18:17]
  • 2. Daniel 7:22; [Matthew 19:28; Revelation 20:4]
  • 3. [1 Corinthians 5:12]
  • 4. 1 Corinthians 15:34; [1 Corinthians 4:14]
  • 5. [Matthew 5:39, 40]
  • 6. 1 Thessalonians 4:6
  • 7. 1 Corinthians 15:50; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:9; Hebrews 12:14; Hebrews 13:4; Revelation 21:8; Revelation 22:15
  • 8. 1 Corinthians 12:2; Ephesians 2:2, 3; Ephesians 4:22; Ephesians 5:8; Colossians 3:7; Titus 3:3
  • 9. Acts 22:16; Hebrews 10:22; [Titus 3:5]
  • 10. See 1 Corinthians 1:2
  • 11. Romans 8:30

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Or brothers and sisters
  • [b]. Or wrongdoers
  • [c]. The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts