6:1 Dare 1 a any of you, having a matter against another, go to law b before the unjust, 2 and not before the saints?
(1) The third question is of civil judgments.
Whether it is lawful for one of the faithful to draw another of the faithful
before the judgment seat of an infidel? He answers that is not lawful because
it is an offence for the faithful to do this, for it is not evil in itself
that a matter be brought before the judgment seat, even of an infidel.
(a) As if he said, "Have you become so
impudent, that you are not ashamed to make the Gospel a laughing stock to
(b) Before the unjust. (2)
He adds that he does not forbid that one neighbour may go to law with another,
if need so require, but yet under holy judges.
6:2 3 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) He gathers by a comparison that the faithful
cannot seek to be judged by infidels, without great injury done to the saints,
seeing that God himself will make the saints judges of the world, and of the
devils, with his Son Christ. Much more ought they to judge these light and
final causes which may be by equity, and good conscience determined.
If then ye have c judgments of things
pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are d
least esteemed in the church.
(4) The conclusion, in which he prescribes a
remedy for this wrong: that is, if they end their private affairs between
themselves by chosen arbiters out of the Church: for which matter and purpose,
the least of you, he says, is sufficient. Therefore he does not condemn
judgment seats, but shows what is expedient for the circumstance of the time,
and that without any diminishing of the right of the magistrate. For he does
not speak of judgments, which are practised between the faithful and the
infidels, neither of public judgments, but of controversies which may be ended
by private arbiters.
(c) Courts and places of judgments.
(d) Even the most abject among you.
6:5 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?
(5) He applies the general proposition to a
particular, always calling them back to this, to take away from them the false
opinion of their own excellency from where all these evils sprang.
Now therefore there is utterly a e fault
among you, because ye go to law one with another. 7
Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather [suffer yourselves to] be
(6) Now he goes further also, and even though by
granting them private arbiters out of the congregation of the faithful, he
does not simply condemn, but rather establishes private judgments, so that
they are exercise without offence. Yet he shows that if they were such as they
ought to be, and as it were to be wished, they should not need to use that
(e) A weakness of mind which is said to be in
those that allow themselves to be overcome by their lusts, and it is a fault
that differs greatly from temperance and moderation: so that he nips those who
could not endure an injury done to them. (7) This
pertains chiefly to the other part of the reprehension, that is, that they
went to law even under infidels, whereas they should rather have suffered any
loss, than to have given that offence. But yet this is generally true, that we
ought rather to depart from our right, than try the uttermost of the law
hastily, and upon an affection to revenge an injury. But the Corinthians cared
for neither, and therefore he says that they must repent, unless they will be
shut out of the inheritance of God.
6:9 Know ye not that
the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? 8
Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor
effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
(8) Now he prepares himself to pass over to the
fourth treatise of this epistle, which concerns other matters, concerning this
matter first, how men may well use a woman or not. And this question has three
parts: fornication, matrimony, and a single life. As for fornication, he
utterly condemns it. And marriage he commands to some, as a good and necessary
remedy for them: to others he leaves is free. And others he dissuades from it,
not as unlawful, but as inconvenient, and that not without exception. As for
singleness of life (under which also I comprehend virginity) he enjoins it to
no man: yet he persuades men to it, but not for itself, but for another
respect, neither to all men, nor without exception. And being about to speak
against fornication, he begins with a general reprehension of those vices,
with which that rich and riotous city most abounded: warning and teaching them
earnestly, that repentance is inseparable joined with forgiveness of sins, and
sanctification with justification.
6:11 And such were
some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in
the f name of the Lord Jesus, and by the
Spirit of our God.
(f) In Jesus.
6:12 9 g
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 h
power of any.
(9) Secondly, he shows that the Corinthians
offend in small matters. First, because they abused them. Next, because they
used indifferent things, without any discretion, seeing the use of them ought
to be brought to the rule of charity. And that he does not use them correctly,
who immoderately abuses them, and so becomes a slave to them.
(g) Whatever: but this general word must be
restrained to things that are indifferent.
(h) He is in subjection to things that are
indifferent, whoever he is that thinks he may not be without them. And this is
a flattering type of slavery under a pretence of liberty, which seizes upon
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
(10) Secondly, because they counted many things
as indifferent which were of themselves unlawful, as fornication, which they
numbered among mere natural and lawful desires, as well as food and drink.
Therefore the apostle shows that they are utterly unlike: for foods, he says,
were made for the necessary use of man's life which is not perpetual: for
both foods, and all this manner of nourishing, are quickly abolished. But we
must not so think of the uncleanness of fornication, for which the body is not
made, but on the other hand is ordained to purity, as appears by this, that is
consecrated to Christ, even as Christ also is given us by his Father to
enliven our bodies with that power with which he also rose again.
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.
(11) A declaration of the former argument by
opposites, and the application of it.
What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for i
two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
(12) A proof of the same argument: a harlot and
Christ are completely contrary, so are the flesh and the Spirit. Therefore he
that is one with a harlot (which is done by sexual intercourse with their
bodies) cannot be one with Christ, which unity is pure and spiritual.
(i) Moses does not speak these words about
fornication, but about marriage: but seeing that fornication is the corruption
of marriage, and both of them are a carnal and fleshly copulation, we cannot
say that the apostle abuses his testimony. Again, Moses does not have this
word "two", but it is very well expressed both here and in (Matthew
19:5), because he speaks only of man and wife: whereupon the opinion of
those that vouch it to be lawful to have many wives is overthrown: for he that
companies with many, is broken as it were into many parts.
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that
committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
(13) Another argument why fornication is to be
avoided, because it defiles the body with a peculiar type of filthiness.
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in
you, which ye have of God, and 15 ye are
not your own?
(14) The third argument: because a fornicator is
sacrilegious, because our bodies are consecrated to God.
(15) The fourth argument: because we are not our
own men, to give ourselves to any other, much less to Satan and the flesh,
seeing that God himself has bought us, and that with a great price, to the end
that both in body and soul, we should serve to his glory.