Southern Christian University

A Study of I Corinthians #2

James A. Turner


Please read all of the references. They will help you to gain a better understanding.

We concluded our first lesson in I Corinthians with chapter three. So Please turn to Chapter four, through chapter 7:19.

Chapter Four

Chapter four shows that there were among the Corinthians those who were puffed up and trying to reign without the apostle Paul and like men, and Paul rebukes them for their puffed up spirit.  "Let a man so account of us, as ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God."  A steward is one who is in charge of that which belongs to another, and all of us need to be reminded that we do not actually own anything. Everything belongs to God (Psalm 24:1). He is only letting us use his possessions for a little while!  The apostles were stewards of the mysteries of God, those things that God had spoken of in the Old Testament scriptures that remained a mystery until revealed to apostles.  God had made them the stewards; they were entrusted with those revelations by Christ.  "Here moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.  But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment."  So some in the church at Corinth were trying to judge Paul, evidently having to do with judging his motives, or at least in areas where they had no proper ability whatever to judge.  And thus he says, "But with me it is a very small thing that I have been judged of you”, or of man's judgment.  (public opinion)  Yea, I judge not mine own self."  There were those in the Corinthian church at this time, not a majority, but somewhat a rebellious minority, and they were trying to judge the motives of the apostle Paul. 


Verse four, "For I know nothing against myself; yet am I not hereby justified:  But he that judgeth me is the Lord.  Wherefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the hearts:  And then shall each man have his praise from God."  Now, a person can take a verse like this out of proper context and come with the conclusion that under no circumstances are we to pronounce judgment on anyone.  But notice the context, they were evidently trying to judge the apostle Paul, one who had been entrusted as a steward of the mysteries of God.  They were in no situation whatever where they could properly judge him.  And it is that kind of judging that he is saying, do not do.  This is the kind of judging that Jesus talked about in the Sermon on the Mount.  Matthew seven beginning with verse one.  "Judge not, that ye be not judged.  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged:  And what measure ye meat, it shall be measured unto you, and why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”  So Jesus in this passage is talking about that fault‑finding judgment, of trying to judge the motives of another, which no person can properly do.  But in the same chapter, immediately after that, that he told them to do some judging, "Cast not your pearls before swine, lest they turn again rend you.  Give that not which is holy to the dogs.”  And again, “Be aware of the false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.  By their fruits ye shall know them." 


So we are to be fruit inspectors to say the least of it.  And Paul himself in the very next chapter tells them that he has already judged concerning the fornicator, and tells them very plainly that when they come together as a church that they are to withdraw from that fornicator.  And so, it's very easy just to take a passage of scripture and remove it from the rest of the Bible and give it an interpretation that's absolutely wrong.  And that's the thing that many people are ready to do.  Maybe it's because they haven't studied enough to know something about the rules of proper interpretation of the scriptures.  But anytime we come with an interpretation that puts one passage at odds with another passage, we should know that we have come up with a wrong conclusion.  There is harmony in the word of God.  God is not the author of confusion, as Paul states very plainly in chapter fourteen of this very book. 


Verse six, "These things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that in us you might learn not to go beyond the things which were written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against the other."  You see the spirit they had, puffed up with an arrogant know all spirit.  "For who maketh thee to differ."  Sometimes you see a person with a very high IQ, who has had a lot of good opportunities to receive a good education, and some of those get very puffed up and look down on others.  But notice this passage, "For who maketh thee to differ?  And what hast thou that didst not receive?  But if thou did receive it, why dost glory as if thou hadst not received it?" That man is under greater responsibility because he has five talents.  The Lord expects more of him, and he doesn't have anything to boast about.  He does not have anything that he did not receive.  "But if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?  Already ye are filled., already ye are become rich, ye have come to reign without us; yea I would  that you did reign that we could reign with you.”  Of course, that statement is a little sarcasm, and meaning they were nowhere about in the condition that they thought that they were in.  They were like the church at Laodicea.  They thought they were rich and increased with goods and had need of nothing, but the Lord's inventory of that church was very different (Revelation 3:14-22). 


Verse nine, "For I think that God has set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death:  For we are made a spectacle unto the world, both to angels and to men."   That statement indicates along with other passages that angels are interested in the welfare of Christians, and they were looking on and beholding the faithfulness of the apostles and how they were treated (Hebrews 1:13-14, 12: 1; Psalms 34:7; I Peter 1:12).  Verse ten, "We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong."  Do you see that puffed up arrogant spirit that they had?  "Ye are strong, ye have glory, but we have dishonor." 


Sometimes a faithful preacher can establish a church, and at a later date when they have a large attendance and a very fine building, they would be ashamed for that preacher that established the church to preach for them.  Such is surely a wrong spirit!  "Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; and we toil, working with our own hands; being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure:  Being defamed, we entreat:  We are made as the filth of the world, the off scouring of all things even until now."  I guess that off scouring comes from the way they scoured the filth off of ships.  “I write not these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have ten thousand tutors in Christ, ye have not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I begat you through the gospel. I beseech you therefore, be ye imitators of me” (4:14-16). Remember we studied in II Thessalonians 2:14 that God calls men through the gospel.  And so Paul was their spiritual father in the sense that he was the one  who did that first preaching and established the church at Corinth.  And there is power in the gospel, Romans 1:16, "I begat you through the gospel."  Meaning that he had preached the gospel to them and that had brought about the new birth that Jesus taught Nicodemus about in the third chapter of the gospel of John.  Before there can be a spiritual new birth, just like a physical birth, there must first be the begetting. And it's the preaching of the gospel that does that, that causes a person to believe and repent and obey the gospel.  James 1:18 reads, "Of his own will begat he us through the word of truth that we might become the first fruits of his creatures."  "I beseech you therefore, be ye imitators of me” Paul was not a preacher who said, “Do as I say and not as I do.”  But he said, “You do as I do.  Be ye imitators of me and you will be imitators of Christ.” 


Verse seventeen, "For this cause I have sent unto you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, who shall bring you remembrance of my ways which are in Christ, even as I teach everywhere in every church."  When we get over to chapter eleven of this book, some have tried to make his teaching be very different at Corinth than to other churches.  But Paul affirms more than once in this book that I teach the same thing everywhere.  "Even as I teach everywhere in every church."  He preached the same gospel wherever he went.  "Now some are puffed up as though I were not coming to you, but I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and I will know, not the word of them that are puffed up, but the power.  For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.  What will ye?  Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and a spirit of gentleness".   Of course, Paul did not want to come to them with a rod.  He did not want to have to discipline them in a very strict manner, but if they did not repent, if those of that puffed up element in the church did not repent, then that's what he would have to do when he did come.  He wanted them to repent so that he could come in that spirit of love, and in the spirit of gentleness and enjoy the fellowship of each other while he was there. 


Here let me make a few comments on “ if the Lord will.”  You remember that James said in the fourth chapter of James, "For what is your life.  It is a vapor that appears for a little while then vanishes away.  For that you ought to say if the Lord will, we shall live and do this or that."  Those brethren that James wrote to were making their plans for the future as though everything turned on themselves.  And he lays down the rule that they were to keep God in their plans, and say “if the Lord will” we shall live and do this and that.  I have heard preachers and read from those that have written commentaries as though we ought not to use such an expression today.  They talk like it is out of order to say, “if the Lord will.”  Well, Paul used it several times, and he told them to imitate him. Does this not mean that we are to imitate Paul today?  When he first went to Ephesus on the return part of the second journey, he went into the synagogue at Ephesus.  They wanted him to stay longer, but it was not his desire to do so, and he said, “if the Lord will, I will return.”  And he did.  It was the Lord's will, and he returned.  And so there is surely nothing wrong to say it in a sincere manner.  It might make some of us think a little more if we use some expression to let it be made known that everything does not turn on us.


Chapter Five

Okay.  Again, they had not told him about the notorious case of fornication that they had in the church and how that the church was approving of it.  A son had his father's wife.  “It is actually reported that there is fornication among you and such fornication is not even among the Gentiles.”  Now, when you think how immoral the Gentile people were as a people in regard to sex, and then say that you have in the church a case  worse than that, my, that was a bad case, was not it?  A man had his father's wife.  Paul said that's not even acceptable among the Gentiles.  Probably an aged man had married a young woman, and then his son had taken her from him, and notice that they were puffed up about the matter.  "And ye were puffed up, and did not rather mourn, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.  For I verily being absent in body, but present in spirit, have already judged, as though I were present, judged him that hath so wrought this thing."  That man knew it was wrong, even Gentile society knew that that was wrong.  And Paul says, I have already judged him,  “and in the name of our Lord Jesus (by His authority.) ye being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus (power of his authority)  to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh." 


Now, notice one of the newer versions, the Contemporary English Version, reads, as though he is speaking of the physical body that it is going to be destroyed. It reads, “His body will be destroyed, but his spirit will be saved when the Lord Jesus comes.” This is not a correct reading. How could he be saved when Christ comes unless he repents? There are two primary reasons for the withdrawal of fellowship; one is to bring a man to his senses so that he will repent, and secondly, if allowed in the church “a little leaven, leaveneth the whole lump”  as stated here in verse six.  And surely that would have to be the meaning of verse five that the spirit maybe saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.  If it means that you are going to be destroyed physically, how is his spirit going to be saved?  But if he turns from going the way of the flesh, and surely he was going the way of the flesh as long as he had his father's wife, but if he repented then he could be saved.   Chapter two of II Corinthians surely shows that he did repent, and then they were not ready to take him back into their fellowship after he repented! "That the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."  In other words the man turned from that wrong way and turned back to the way of right, therefore he will be saved when Christ comes. 


Verse six, "Your glorying is not good.  Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?"  The New Testament teaches that there is a leavening influence of righteousness, and there is the leavening influence of unrighteousness.  Remember the parable given in Matthew thirteen, "The kingdom of heaven is like unto like leaven, which a woman took, and put in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."  So that is the leavening influence of righteousness.  And here he is talking about the leavening influence of unrighteousness.  A little leaven leaveneth a whole lot.  "Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump."  The leaven is the yeast or whatever is put in the dough to make it rise.  "Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, even as ye are unleavened.  For our Passover also has been sacrificed even Christ."  Notice that Christ is spoken of as our Passover, referring back to Exodus chapter twelve when God instituted the Passover Supper for the children of Israel.  They were to kill the lamb, and that lamb was a type of the Christ to come.  And they were to apply its blood to the lintels and to the doorposts of their houses (Exodus 12:7).  And God said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Exodus 12:13).


There are many sources of evidences for divine inspiration of the Bible, such as secular history, discoveries, archeology, etc, but none of the external evidences are as strong as those evidences from the Bible. Have you considered how that the New Testament verifies nearly every great event or miracle of the Old Testament? The types and shadows, or the types of the Old Testament and the fulfillment of those types in the New Testament is one of the primary proofs of the inspiration of the Bible, and many brethren are not giving proper attention to these evidences!  Of these types, none are stronger than the Passover lamb (Exodus 12) being a type of the Christ to come. Will you please participate in a faith building process by reading: Isaiah 53:4-7, 53: 10-11; Exodus 12:1-51; I Corinthians 5:7; I Peter 1: 18-20; John 1:29, 1:35-36; Matthew 26:1-5, 26:17, 26:26-29; Luke 22:14-20; John 12:1-10, 12:27-33, 18:1-10, 18:28; Mark 15:16-25; Matthew, 22:45-56; Hebrews 6:18-20, 9:6-9; Revelation 1:5-8,6:9-17, 7:9-15, 8:1, 13:8, 14: 13, 15: 3-4, 17:13-14, 19: 5-7; Romans 7: 4; Ephesians 5:23-28; Revelation 19: 9-21, 21: 1-4, 21:9, 21:22-25, 22: 1-5, 22:14-17.


"Wherefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness: " Get rid of the wrong kind of leaven, that leavening influence of unrighteousness!  "But with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."  Now verse nine following shows that Paul had written an epistle that we do not have, which he had written prior to this one and the Corinthians misunderstood some of the instruction of that epistle. "I wrote unto you in an epistle to have no company with fornicators not at all meaning with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortionists, or idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world."  Why, you couldn't go down to a big grocery store without being in company with those kind of people. A person could not go out to eat publicly ,because just about every way you turn there are fornicators and men who are covetous.  And so they had misunderstood his instructions.  "But as it is I wrote unto you not to keep company, if any man that is named a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortionists; with such a one no not to eat."  They were not to have fellowship if any man that is called a brother is guilty of these things.  "For what have I to do with judging them that are without? " In other words they are not a part of the church, and they are not subject to our judging.  "Do not ye judgeth them that are with in, (members of the church), but them that are without God judgeth, put away the wicked man from yourselves."  


Chapter Six

They had not told him in that letter about how that they were going to law before the civil courts, rather than settling things by a wise person or persons in the church.  "Dare any of you, having a matter against his neighbor, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?"  By the unrighteous he means civil courts, and in the civil courts of our day unrighteous judges are in most of those courts.  And he is saying that the church ought to be able to judge such problems in the church.  "Or know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?  And if the world is judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  Know ye not that ye shall judge angels?  How much more things that pertain to this life? " And notice the questions, don't you know that the saints are going to judge the world?   If the world is going to be judged by you, why are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  Meaning the smallest matters that come up in the church.  Another question, know ye not that you will judge angels, and how much more things that pertain to this life?


The question is raised, how are the saints of God going to judge the world?  Jesus has told us as recorded in Matthew 12:41-42, Jesus said,  “The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the day of judgment and shall condemn this generation:  For they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold, a greater than Jonah is here."  And again, "The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and condemn this generation:  For she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here."  Hebrews 11:7 reads,  "By faith, Noah, being warned of God concerning things not seen as yet, moved with Godly fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by which he judged the world, and became the heir of righteousness."  These references show how the saints are going to judge the world and angels. Angels are also free moral agents, and anytime the saints of God use their free moral agency in the right way to live according to God's instruction, they are pronouncing judgment on those who go contrary.  And that's one of the reasons why the people of God are sometimes hated because they are pronouncing judgment and some worldly people are ready to call them bigots.  If you listen to the news, you frequently hear of Christian people being referred to as bigots in various ways by those who are going contrary to the way of the Lord.  But the saints are going to judge the world, but again, how will they judge the world? Just like Noah, by his faith  he pronounced judgment on that world, on that great company of people that the flood destroyed.


Verse four; "If then ye have to judge things pertaining to this life, do you set them to judge who are of no account in the church."  Why that question?   When they went before the civil courts, and men who were not Christians and men who would judge according to worldly things, and sometimes the one who is in the wrong would be judged, and judgment would go in his favor.  And so when you have things pertaining to this life, do you set them to judge who are not qualified? "I say this to move you to shame.  What, cannot there be found among you one wise man who shall be able to decide between his brethren?  But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before unbelievers."  And again nearly all of the judges of our civil courts are unbelievers.  "Nay, already it is a defect in you, that you have lawsuits one with another."  In other words you are doing wrong.,  it is a real defect in you that you have lawsuits one with another!  "Why not rather take wrong?  Why not rather be defrauded?" Rather than go before the courts of the world for judgment, he means.  "Nay, but ye yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren”(6:8). 


One of the primary ways that the instruction of these eight verses is violated today has to with divorces in the church. Many marriages could be saved if they would call upon the elders and other wise and faithful brethren to help them with their marital problems. If both are determined that they cannot be reconciled it would be better for them not to go to a civil court for a division of their properties. It would be much wiser for them to learn what the state laws are in respect to marital properties and then for them to mutually divide their properties according to the laws of the state. Should they both hire attorneys, and their properties are divided by a court, by the time they pay their attorneys they probably will not have very much left for the judge to divide!


Now notice how he joins this to the following language to further emphasize their wrong doing, “ know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 

Be not deceived:  Neither fornicators, nor effeminate, or abusers of themselves with men, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionist, shall inherit the kingdom of God."  We still have many people today reading from the King James Version and from the American Standard Version, which are very good versions, but some may not get the full meaning of the words that he uses here, even maybe with fornicators.  Fornicators is a broad term, but with the word effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men these words from the King James and American Standard Versions will not give many a clear meaning.  Now, the King James version was a very good version when it came out back there in 1611.  Language is very fluid; it changes rapidly.  Let me give you an example.  II Corinthians 8:1 reads, "Moreover, brethren we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia" What young person would understand the meaning of that?  The American Standard says, "Brethren we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia."  Well, “we do you to wit” carried the right meaning back yonder, but you know that word “wit” has gone by the wayside.  Okay.  Reading from the New American Standard beginning with verse eight, "On the contrary, you, yourselves, wrong and defraud, and that your brethren, and do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals."  It also has a footnote “effeminate by perversion.” 


Verses nine and ten in the New Revised Standard Version read, “Do you not know that wrong doers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes (instead of effeminate) sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers – none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Verses nine and ten in The New International Version read, “Don’t you know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral (instead of fornication) nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes (instead of effeminate) nor homosexual offenders nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” Verse nine in the Contemporary English Version reads,

“Don’t you know that evil people won’t have a share in the blessings of God’s kingdom. Don’t fool yourselves! No one who is immoral or worships idols or is unfaithful in marriage or is a pervert or behaves like a homosexual will share in God’s kingdom.”


There are many people in our society today who do not know how bad the way of the gay community is.  Leviticus 18:22 reads, “Thou shalt not lie with man kind, as with woman kind: it is an abomination.” Leviticus 20:13 reads, "If a man lies with a man as with a woman, they both have committed an abomination.  They shall surely be put to death.  Their blood is upon them."  Now, the Old Testament law required the death penalty for adultery, but it is not spoken of as an abomination, and homosexuality is spoken of as an abomination unto the Lord in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.  Do you remember that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, because of sexual sins, Genesis nineteen. Jude verse seven makes it plain that that was the primary reason why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.  Not even ten righteous people could be found in that city!  And in Judges chapters 19‑21, we read about how that the other tribes almost destroyed the tribe of Benjamin because there were homosexuals in Gibeah of Benjamin, and they would not deliver them up to be put to death.  And the other tribes made war against them and destroyed all but six hundred men of the tribe and that by God's approval, and so homosexuality is a terrible sin before God.  Now, adultery is bad, and a person who goes that way and does not repent, is not going to make it to the place he wants to go, but to that opposite place.  But homosexuality is a further step in sin. It's unnatural, and contrary to nature (Romans 1:24-27). 


Verse eleven, "And such were some of you."  Do you not imagine that in the church at Corinth, there were some that fitted into all of those categories?  But they were supposed to be changed people.  "And such were some of you:  But ye were washed."  And what is meant by that word washed?  They had accepted Christ and it refers particularly to baptism, baptism is a washing.  Titus 3:5 says, "Not by works of righteous, which we ourselves have done, but according to his mercies has he saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit."  And that's the same kind of washing that Jesus talked to Nicodemus about as recorded in John 3:1-8, and Ananias said to Saul of Tarsus, Acts 22:16, "Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."  So New Testament baptism is a washing.  It is not the water that purifies, but that is the point where one applies the blood of Christ. 


Okay.  From verse twelve, it looks like some of them were reasoning that God has given us these natural drives, the drive of hunger and sexual desires, and it is all right to fulfill those desires.  And, I guess, you have probably heard people today talk that way.  “Why, if it was not all right, God would not have given us these basic drives”.  Well, Paul says, “All things are lawful, but not all things are expedient”.  Meaning that God has given a proper way to satisfy all of the basic drives of the body.  Hunger is one of the strongest drives of the body, and evidently they were reasoning like I have stated they were saying “meats for the belly and the belly for meats.”  And then they applied the same logic in regard to the sex drives, evidently.  But Paul says, we are to be the master of those drives.  We are to control those basic drives of the body.  "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are expedient:  All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.  Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats."  In other words there is that strong drive of the body to eat, and God has made the stomach for it to receive food.  “But God is going to bring to naught both it and them.”  


I Corinthians 6:14. "But the body."  Now, he comes to the point that he needed to emphasize.  "But the body is not for fornication.”  It is not for immoral sexual relations.  "But the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body, and God that both raised the Lord and will raise up us through his power.”  


And you remember when we were studying I Thessalonians 4:13-18 how some concluded that Paul and the other apostles expected the coming of Christ to be imminent, but II Thessalonians chapter two showed plainly to the contrary.  But they base their reasoning on the passage that says, “ we that are alive shall be called up together to meet the Lord in the air.”  So he put himself there with the living, and here he puts himself with the dead, and it is still very common for speakers to put themselves with that editorial "we" or "us" as stated here “and will raise up us through his power.”  Know ye not that your bodies are members of Christ?  Shall I then take away the members of Christ, and make them the members of a harlot”? When a man goes the way of going after a prostitute, that's what he is doing. "Know ye not that he that is joined to a harlot is one body?  For the twain, sayeth he, shall be one flesh."  And there he is quoting a part of Genesis 2:24, after God had presented the woman to the man, “and the man said, “ this is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman.”  And then God joined them together in marriage and said, “for this cause shall a man  leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they two shall be one flesh.”  Twain is used in the King James Version, Genesis 2:24.  He is quoting the latter part of Genesis 2:24.  This is what the Lord said that when a man is joined to a woman in sexual relationship they become one.  “Sayeth he shall become one flesh.  But he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.  Flee fornication."  There are two things that Paul tells the Corinthians to flee, and here is one of them. 


In the tenth chapter of this book he says flee idolatry.  And there are things that many new converts need to flee today.  If a person has been a drug addict, he better be careful about going back and trying to associate with and trying to convert those that he took drugs with.  And if he does, he is likely to get back on drugs again.  And these Corinthian brethren, in that Gentile society of that day, had gone the way of fornication and other sexual immoralities in such a way that the only safe course for them was just to remove themselves as far as they could from it.  Remember I Thessalonians chapter five, he told them to “shun even the appearance of evil”, instead of trying to see how close we can get to evil without doing evil, this passage teaches that  there are some things that we need to flee.  Now, God has promised to give us a way of escape ( I Corinthians 10:13), but sometimes that way is to flee like Joseph did, he left his coat in her hands and fled out of the house (Geneses 39:6-12).  "Flee fornication.  Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body."  And if he goes that way very long, he is very liable to end up with a venereal disease or diseases that would take a toll on his physical body.  And think of what the homosexual community is receiving now because they have gone contrary to the law of God.  They are sinning against their own bodies and sinning against God (Romans 1:22-31). 


Verse nineteen, "Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit."  Again, as an individual, the body of the Christian is a temple for God's Holy Spirit to dwell in.  "Which is in you which ye have from God, and ye are not your own.  For ye are bought with a price:  Glorify God therefore in your body."  And when he says you are bought with a price, it means you are bought with the blood of Christ.  And so God has paid a great price that we may have salvation and thus we have been bought, and we are to recognize that we are bond servants, or slaves of Christ, for we have been bought with his own blood.  "For ye were bought with a price:  Glorify God therefore in your body."  Now, as long as a man controls himself sexually and lives with one wife properly, then he is  glorifying God by that kind of living.  Remember in Hebrews 13:4, and Paul is very probably the writer of that book, and he says, "Let marriage be had in honour among all and let the bed be it undefiled for fornicators and adulterers God will judge."  This reference is emphasizing that the marriage relationship is a holy relationship, and the marriage bed is to be kept undefiled.  A man is not to have sex with any woman except his wife, and the wife is not to have sex with anyone except her husband.  "For ye were bought with a price:  Glorify God therefore in your body."  Here, we finish with the first division of the problems that Paul deals with, weaknesses of the church, that they had not told him about in the letter that they had written to him. 


Chapter Seven


Chapter seven begins the second broad division of him answering the questions that they had asked him in a letter.  And from chapter seven, we can see that they had asked him a number of questions about marriage.  And the first one is evidently, “Since the teachings of Christ are so strict about sexual immorality, should a Christian marry?”  And he gives answer.  "Now concerning the things where of ye wrote:  It is good for a man not to touch a woman” (7:1).  Meaning that it is good for man not to have a wife and he would be freer to serve the Lord as we read later from his reasoning.  Now notice his answer in verse two, “But because of fornications, let each man have his own wife and let each woman have her own husband.”  In that day of such looseness and so many going the way of sexual immoralities, he is saying the only safe course is, “let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband,” and then as husband and wife not to defraud each other in regard to sex.  "Let the husband render unto the wife her due  (her sexual needs) And likewise also the wife unto the husband.  The wife has not power over her own body."  Why, because in marriage they become one.  The twain shall be one flesh.”  And so her body in part belongs to her husband. “Likewise, also the husband hath not power over his own body, but the wife.  And defraud ye not one the other  (do not refuse sex to one another) Except it be by consent for a season, that ye may give yourselves unto prayer and you may be together again, that Satan tempt you not of your incontinency." 


The word incontinency is a word that is pretty well by the wayside, meaning because of your lack of self-control.  Maybe we ought to read this passage from some other translations.  The New International Version reads, “Now for the matter you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong unto him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self control” (7:1-5).  The New Revised Standard reads, “Now concerning the matter about which you wrote:  It is well for a man not to touch a woman. But because of cases of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a set time, to devote yourselves to prayer, and then come together again so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self control.”


In the days of two weeks for gospel meetings, some preachers may have violated the instruction given here. Some would go to meeting after meeting without carrying their wives with them, and the wife was left behind to burn in regard to sexual desires.  And some became unfaithful as a result of the conduct, in part, of their husbands.  Their husbands had no right to do such a thing without their full consent. "This I say by way of concession, not of command."  Meaning that if they do deprive one another, it should be for a short season of giving themselves to prayer, but that was not a command.  He was not giving that as a command that they should do such a thing even for a time of prayer.


 Verse eight, "But I say to the unmarried."  So they had asked a question about the unmarried.  "But I say to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I."  But he qualifies it in verse nine.  "But if they have not self control, let them marry:  For it is better to marry than to burn."  Meaning it is better to marry than burn in sexual desires.  And the average man and the average woman have strong sexual desires.  And so the best way for the average man and the average woman is to be in a proper marriage relationship.  "But unto the married I give charge, yet not I, but the Lord, that the wife depart not from her husband:  But should she depart, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband:  And let the husband leave not his wife."  Now, Christ had given that instruction during his personal ministry, but he had not given any instruction about being married to an unbeliever.  So Paul, as a steward of God's revelation, gives instruction about that.  Verse twelve, "But to the rest I say, not the Lord."  And some have been ready to say that Paul is just giving his advice based on his own thinking, but that is not the case.  In I Corinthians 14:37, he emphasizes that he has the spirit of Christ, that he is giving the commands of Christ. I Corinthians 14:37 reads, "But if any man thinketh himself to be a prophet or spiritual let him take knowledge of the things which I write unto you that they are the commandment of the Lord."  So he is not just speaking on the basis of his own thinking, but he is a steward of God of the New Testament covenant.  "But to the rest I say, not the Lord."  The Lord had not given any instruction during his personal ministry about a matter like this, but remember that what the apostles say is as authoritative as Christ’s words during his earthly ministry.  That passage from John sixteen, "He shall take of mine and shall declare it unto you." 


Verse twelve, "If any brother hath an unbelieving wife, and she is content to dwell with him, let him not leave her."  Now, I can surely understand, I think, why they asked such a question as this.  In the days of Ezra and in the days of Nehemiah , they had public meetings for them to put away foreign wives and their children (Ezra 9:1-5, 10: 1-5, 10:14, 10: 17, 10:44; Nehemiah 9:11-2).  Under the Old Testament law, such marriages were counted unclean, and they had public meetings to decide those who needed to put away their foreign wives, and it was very natural for the Corinthians, if they knew about such Old Testament instruction, for them to raise the question, should we not leave our unbelieving spouses? The problem is that they were already married when they received the gospel, and they started, reasoning, since we are married to unbelievers, we probably ought to separate from those unbelieving spouses.  But Paul says no.  "But to the rest I say, not the Lord:  If any brother hath an unbelieving wife, and she is content to dwell with him, let him not leave her.  And the woman that hath an unbelieving husband, and he is content to dwell with her, let her not leave her husband.  For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the wife."  It is a different situation under the New Testament from that of the Old Testament.  "And the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the brother, else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 


Verse fifteen, “Yet if the unbelieving depart, let him depart.  A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases:  But God hath called us in peace."  Does this not amount to about the same thing as the teaching given in Matthew 19:1‑12.  If an unbeliever left, in that society of sexual immorality, he would not want to be bound to that Christian woman who wanted to be so strict or the woman would not want to be bound to that brother in Christ that was so strict in regard to sex, and so they leave.  Would not their leaving mean that they would go and marry an unbeliever or at least sleep with another woman or the woman with another man? “But God hath called us in peace.”  They were to treat those unbelieving spouses  correctly, but if the unbelieving spouse just goes and leaves anyway, is he not saying that the brother or sister would not be under bondage to them, and would under such circumstances have the right to marry again. 


Verse sixteen, "For how knowest thou, O wife."  And here he reasons that you may be able to gain your unbelieving companion in marriage. “or how knowest thou, O husband, whether thou shalt save thy wife.”  And remember in I Peter chapter three what Peter says in regard to wives being in subjection to their husbands in such a way that by their good behavior, they win over that husband that was an unbeliever.  "For how knowest, thou O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband?  Or how knowest, O husband, whether, shalt save thy wife?  Only as the Lord has distributed to each man as God hath called each, so let him walk” (I Corinthians 7:16).  In other words there were some, when they heard the gospel were already married, and their spouse didn't believe, and so they were called in that situation, and it was lawful for them to remain in that situation.  “As God has called each, so let him walk.”  “And so ordain I in all the churches."  And that is like Timothy reminding them of Paul's way, how that he taught the same thing everywhere, and so he ordains the same thing in all the churches.  "So ordain I."  And that means by the authority that Christ had given him as an apostle.


END OF #2 7:19