Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. Dare--This word implies treason against Christian brotherhood
before the unjust--The Gentile judges are here so termed by an epithet
appropriate to the subject in question, namely, one concerning justice.
Though all Gentiles were not altogether unjust, yet in the highest
view of justice which has regard to God as the Supreme Judge, they are
so: Christians, on the other hand, as regarding God as the only Fountain
of justice, should not expect justice from them.
before . . . saints--The Jews abroad were permitted to refer their
disputes to Jewish arbitrators [JOSEPHUS,
So the Christians were allowed to have Christian arbitrators.
2. Do ye not know--as a truth universally recognized by Christians.
Notwithstanding all your glorying in your "knowledge," ye are acting
contrary to it
(1Co 1:4, 5; 8:1).
The oldest manuscripts have "Or" before "know ye not"; that is, "What!
(expressing surprise) know ye not," &c.
saints . . . judge--that is, "rule," including judgment: as
assessors of Christ.
"judging," that is, "ruling over." (Compare
Da 7:22, 27;
Re 2:26; 3:21; 20:4).
There is a distinction drawn by able expositors between the saints who
judge or rule, and the world which is ruled by them: as
there is between the elected
twelve apostles who sit on thrones judging, and the twelve tribes of
Israel that are judged by them. To reign, and to be
saved, are not necessarily synonymous. As Jehovah employed
angels to carry the law into effect when He descended on Sinai to
establish His throne in Israel, so at His coming the saints shall
administer the kingdom for, and under, Him. The nations of the earth,
and Israel the foremost, in the flesh, shall, in this view, be the
subjects of the rule of the Lord and His saints in glorified
bodies. The mistake of the Chiliasts was that they took the merely
carnal view, restricting the kingdom to the terrestrial part. This part
shall have place with the accession of spiritual and temporal blessings
such as Christ's presence must produce. Besides this earthly glory,
there shall be the heavenly glory of the saints reigning in
transfigured bodies, and holding such blessed intercourse with mortal
men, as angels had with men of old, and as Christ, Moses, and Elias, in
glory had with Peter, James, and John, in the flesh at the
But here the "world" seems to be the unbelieving world that is to be
rather than the whole world, including the subject nations which are to
be brought under Christ's sway; however, it may include both
those to be condemned, with the bad angels, and those about to be
brought into obedience to the sway of Christ with His saints. Compare
Mt 25:32, 40,
"all nations," "these my brethren" on the thrones with Him. The event
will decide the truth of this view.
judged by you--or, before you (compare
smallest matters--The weightiest of earthly questions at issue are
infinitely small compared with those to be decided on the judgment-day.
3. judge angels--namely, bad angels. We who are now "a spectacle
to angels" shall then "judge angels." The saints shall join in approving
the final sentence of the Judge on them
Believers shall, as administrators of the kingdom under Jesus, put down
all rule that is hostile to God. Perhaps, too, good angels shall
then receive from the Judge, with the approval of the saints, higher
4. judgments--that is, cases for judgment.
least esteemed--literally, "those of no esteem." Any, however low in
the Church, rather than the heathen
Questions of earthly property are of secondary consequence in the eyes
of true Christians, and are therefore delegated to those in a secondary
position in the Church.
5. your shame--Thus he checks their puffed-up spirit
To shame you out of your present unworthy course of litigation before
the heathen, I have said
"Set the least esteemed in the Church to judge." Better even this, than
your present course.
Is it so?--Are you in such a helpless state that, &c.?
not a wise man--though ye admire "wisdom" so much on other occasions
(1Co 1:5, 22).
Paul alludes probably to the title, "cachain," or wise man,
applied to each Rabbi in Jewish councils.
no, not one--not even one, amidst so many reputed among you for
(1Co 3:18; 4:6).
shall be able--when applied to.
brethren--literally, "brother"; that is, judge between brother and
brother. As each case should arise, the arbitrator was to be chosen from
the body of the church, such a wise person as had the charism, or gift,
of church government.
6. But--emphatically answering the question in the end of
in the negative. Translate, "Nay," &c.
7. utterly a fault--literally, "a shortcoming" (not so strong as
sin). Your going to law at all is a falling short of your high
privileges, not to say your doing so before unbelievers, which
rather take wrong--
Mt 5:39, 40);
that is, "suffer yourselves to be wronged."
8. ye--emphatic. Ye, whom your Lord commanded to return
good for evil, on the contrary, "do wrong (by taking away) and
defraud" (by retaining what is entrusted to you; or "defraud" marks the
effect of the "wrong" done, namely, the loss inflicted). Not
only do ye not bear, but ye inflict wrongs.
9. unrighteous--Translate, "Doers of wrong": referring to
kingdom of God--which is a kingdom of righteousness
effeminate--self-polluters, who submit to unnatural lusts.
11. ye are washed--The Greek middle voice expresses, "Ye have
had yourselves washed." This washing implies the admission to the
benefits of Christ's salvation generally; of which the parts are;
(1) Sanctification, or the setting apart from the world, and
adoption into the Church: so "sanctified" is used
where it rather seems to mean the setting apart of one as
consecrated by the Spirit in the eternal purpose God. (2)
Justification from condemnation through the righteousness of God
in Christ by faith
So PARÆUS. The order of
sanctification before justification shows that it must be
so taken, and not in the sense of progressive sanctification.
"Washed" precedes both, and so must refer to the Christian's outward
new birth of water, the sign of the inward setting apart to the Lord by
the inspiration of the Spirit as the seed of new life
Paul (compare the Church of England Baptismal Service), in charity, and
faith in the ideal of the Church, presumes that baptism realizes its
original design, and that those outwardly baptized inwardly enter into
vital communion with Christ
He presents the grand ideal which those alone realized in whom the
inward and the outward baptism coalesced. At the same time he
recognizes the fact that this in many cases does not hold good
leaving it to God to decide who are the really "washed," while he only
decides on broad general principles.
in the name of . . . Jesus, and by the Spirit--rather, "in the Spirit,"
that is, by His in-dwelling. Both clauses belong to the
three--"washed, sanctified, justified."
our God--The "our" reminds the that amidst all his reproofs God is
still the common God of himself and them.
REFUTATION OF THE
FORNICATION AS IF
12. All things are lawful unto me--These, which were Paul's own words
on a former occasion (to the Corinthians, compare
and Ga 5:23),
were made a pretext for excusing the eating of meats offered to idols,
and so of what was generally connected with idolatry
"fornication" (perhaps in the letter of the Corinthians to Paul,
Paul's remark had referred only to things indifferent: but they
wished to treat fornication as such, on the ground that the existence
of bodily appetites proved the lawfulness of their
me--Paul giving himself as a sample of Christians in general.
but I--whatever others do, I will not, &c.
lawful . . . brought under the power--The Greek
words are from the same root, whence there is a play on the words: All
things are in my power, but I will not be brought
under the power of any of them (the "all things"). He who commits
"fornication," steps aside from his own legitimate power or liberty,
and is "brought under the power" of an harlot
The "power" ought to be in the hands of the believer, not in the
things which he uses [BENGEL]; else his
liberty is forfeited; he ceases to be his own master
Unlawful things ruin thousands; "lawful" things (unlawfully used), ten
13. The argument drawn from the indifference of meats
Ro 14:14, 17;
to that of fornication does not hold good. Meats doubtless are
indifferent, since both they and the "belly" for which they are created
are to be "destroyed" in the future state. But "the body is not
(created) for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body"
(as its Redeemer, who hath Himself assumed the body): "And God hath
raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us" (that is our bodies):
therefore the "body" is not, like the "belly," after having served a
temporary use, to be destroyed: Now "he that committeth fornication,
sinneth against his own body"
Therefore fornication is not indifferent, since it is a sin against
one's own body, which, like the Lord for whom it is created, is not to
be destroyed, but to be raised to eternal existence. Thus Paul gives
here the germ of the three subjects handled in subsequent sections: (1)
The relation between the sexes. (2) The question of meats offered to
idols. (3) The resurrection of the body.
shall destroy--at the Lord's coming to change the natural bodies of
believers into spiritual bodies
(1Co 15:44, 52).
There is a real essence underlying the superficial phenomena of the
present temporary organization of the body, and this essential germ,
when all the particles are scattered, involves the future resurrection
of the body incorruptible.
raised up--rather, "raised," to distinguish it from "will raise
up us"; the Greek of the latter being a compound, the
former a simple verb. Believers shall be raised up out of the
rest of the dead (see on
the first resurrection
us--Here he speaks of the possibility of his being found in the grave
when Christ comes; elsewhere, of his being possibly found alive
In either event, the Lord's coming rather than death is the great
object of the Christian's expectation
15. Resuming the thought in
"the body is for the Lord"
Eph 4:12, 15, 16; 5:30).
shall I then--such being the case.
take--spontaneously alienating them from Christ. For they cannot be
at the same time "the members of an harlot," and "of Christ"
It is a fact no less certain than mysterious, that moral and spiritual
ruin is caused by such sins; which human wisdom (when untaught by
revelation) held to be actions as blameless as eating and drinking
16. Justification of his having called fornicators "members of an
joined--by carnal intercourse; literally, "cemented to": cleaving to.
one body--with her.
saith he--God speaking by Adam
"He which made them at the beginning said," &c.
17. one spirit--with Him. In the case of union with a harlot, the
fornicator becomes one "body" with her (not one "spirit," for the spirit
which is normally the organ of the Holy Spirit in man, is in the carnal
so overlaid with what is sensual that it is ignored altogether). But the
believer not only has his body sanctified by union with Christ's body,
but also becomes "one spirit" with Him
(Joh 15:1-7; 17:21;
18. Flee--The only safety in such temptations is flight
Every sin--The Greek is forcible. "Every sin
whatsoever that a man doeth." Every other sin; even
gluttony, drunkenness, and self-murder are "without," that is,
comparatively external to the body
He certainly injures, but he does not alienate the body itself; the
sin is not terminated in the body; he rather sins against the perishing
accidents of the body (as the "belly," and the body's present temporary
organization), and against the soul than against the body in its
permanent essence, designed "for the Lord." "But" the fornicator
alienates that body which is the Lord's, and makes it one with a
harlot's body, and so "sinneth against his own body," that is, against
the verity and nature of his body; not a mere
effect on the body from without, but a contradiction of
the truth of the body, wrought within itself [ALFORD].
19. What? know ye not? &c.--Proof that "he that fornicates sinneth
against his own body"
your body--not "bodies." As in
he represented the whole company of believers (souls and bodies), that
is, the Church, as "the temple of God," the Spirit; so here, the
body of each individual of the Church is viewed as the ideal
"temple of the Holy Ghost." So
which proves that not only the Church, but also each member of it, is
"the temple of the Holy Ghost." Still though many the several members
form one temple, the whole collectively being that which each is in
miniature individually. Just as the Jews had one temple only, so in the
fullest sense all Christian churches and individual believers form one
temple only. Thus "YOUR [plural] body" is
distinguished here from "HIS OWN
[particular or individual] body"
In sinning against the latter, the fornicator sins against "your
(ideal) body," that of "Christ," whose "members your bodies" are
In this consists the sin of fornication, that it is a sacrilegious
desecration of God's temple to profane uses. The unseen, but much more
efficient, Spirit of God in the spiritual temple now takes the place of
the visible Shekinah in the old material temple. The whole man is the
temple; the soul is the inmost shrine; the understanding and heart, the
holy place; and the body, the porch and exterior of the edifice.
Chastity is the guardian of the temple to prevent anything unclean
entering which might provoke the indwelling God to abandon it as
defiled [TERTULLIAN, On the Apparel of
Women]. None but God can claim a temple; here the Holy Ghost is
assigned one; therefore the Holy Ghost is God.
not your own--The fornicator treats his body as if it were "his own,"
to give to a harlot if he pleases
But we have no right to alienate our body which is the Lord's. In
ancient servitude the person of the servant was wholly the property of
the master, not his own. Purchase was one of the ways of
acquiring a slave. Man has sold himself to sin
Christ buys him to Himself, to serve Him
20. bought with a price--Therefore Christ's blood is strictly a ransom
paid to God's justice by the love of God in Christ for our redemption
1Pe 1:18, 19;
While He thus took off our obligation to punishment, He laid upon us a
new obligation to obedience
(1Co 7:22, 23).
If we accept Him as our Prophet to reveal God to us, and our Priest to
atone for us, we must also accept Him as our King to rule over us as
wholly His, presenting every token of our fealty
in your body--as "in" a temple (compare
and in your spirit, which are God's--not in the oldest manuscripts and
versions, and not needed for the sense, as the context refers mainly to
(1Co 6:16, 18, 19).
The "spirit" is incidentally mentioned in
which perhaps gave rise to the interpolation, at first written in the
Margin, afterwards inserted in the text.