John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
Verse 1. The unjust - The heathens. A Christian could expect no justice from these. The saints - Who might easily decide these smaller differences in a private and friendly manner.
Verse 2. Know ye not - This expression occurs six times in this single chapter, and that with a peculiar force; for the Corinthians knew and gloried in it, but they did not practise. That the saints - After having been judged themselves. Shall judge the world - Shall be assessors with Christ in the judgment wherein he shall condemn all the wicked, as well angels as men, Matthew 19:28; Revelation 20:4.
Verse 4. Them who are of no esteem in the church - That is, heathens, who, as such, could be in no esteem with the Christians.
Verse 5. Is there not one among you, who are such admirers of wisdom, that is wise enough to decide such causes?
Verse 7. Indeed there is a fault, that ye quarrel with each other at all, whether ye go to law or no. Why do ye not rather suffer wrong - All men cannot or will not receive this saying. Many aim only at this, "I will neither do wrong, nor suffer it." These are honest heathens, but no Christians.
Verse 8. Nay, ye do wrong - Openly. And defraud - Privately. O how powerfully did the mystery of iniquity already work!
Verse 9. Idolatry is here placed between fornication and adultery, because they generally accompanied it. Nor the effeminate - Who live in an easy, indolent way; taking up no cross, enduring no hardship. But how is this? These good-natured, harmless people are ranked with idolaters and sodomites! We may learn hence, that we are never secure from the greatest sins, till we guard against those which are thought the least; nor, indeed, till we think no sin is little, since every one is a step toward hell.
Verse 11. And such were some of you: but ye are washed - From those gross abominations; nay, and ye are inwardly sanctified; not before, but in consequence of, your being justified in the name - That is, by the merits, of the Lord Jesus, through which your sins are forgiven. And by the Spirit of our God - By whom ye are thus washed and sanctified.
Verse 12. All things - Which are lawful for you. Are lawful for me, but all things are not always expedient - Particularly when anything would offend my weak brother; or when it would enslave my own soul. For though all things are lawful for me, yet I will not be brought under the power of any - So as to be uneasy when I abstain from it; for, if so, then I am under the power of it.
Verse 13. As if he had said, I speak this chiefly with regard to meats; (and would to God all Christians would consider it!) particularly with regard to those offered to idols, and those forbidden in the Mosaic law. These, I grant, are all indifferent, and have their use, though it is only for a time: then meats, and the organs which receive them, will together moulder into dust. But the case is quite otherwise with fornication. This is not indifferent, but at all times evil. For the body is for the Lord - Designed only for his service. And the Lord, in an important sense, for the body - Being the Saviour of this, as well as of the soul; in proof of which God hath already raised him from the dead.
Verse 16. Genesis 2:24.
Verse 17. But he that is joined to the Lord - By faith. Is one spirit with him - And shall he make himself one flesh with an harlot?
Verse 18. Flee fornication - All unlawful commerce with women, with speed, with abhorrence, with all your might. Every sin that a man commits against his neighbour terminates upon an object out of himself, and does not so immediately pollute his body, though it does his soul. But he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body - Pollutes, dishonours, and degrades it to a level with brute beasts.
Verse 19. And even your body is not, strictly speaking, your own even this is the temple of the Holy Ghost - Dedicated to him, and inhabited by him. What the apostle calls elsewhere "the temple of God," 1 Corinthians 3:16,17, and "the temple of the living God," 2 Corinthians 6:16, he here styles the temple of the Holy Ghost; plainly showing that the Holy Ghost is the living God.
Verse 20. Glorify God with your body, and your spirit - Yield your bodies and all their members, as well as your souls and all their faculties, as instruments of righteousness to God. Devote and employ all ye have, and all ye are, entirely, unreservedly, and for ever, to his glory.
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