What does 1 Corinthians 6:16 mean?
ESV: Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”
NIV: Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, 'The two will become one flesh.'
NASB: Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, 'THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.'
CSB: Don't you know that anyone joined to a prostitute is one body with her? For Scripture says, The two will become one flesh.
NLT: And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, 'The two are united into one.'
KJV: What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
NKJV: Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.”
Verse Commentary:
Paul is confronting the Christians in Corinth about the issue of sexual immorality. Some, apparently, had the idea that since sex is just a normal human appetite, like hunger for food, one ought to satisfy it as they see fit. Also, they argued, the body will eventually die and decay, so it doesn't really matter what we do with it. In this way, they reflect the pagan culture around them, which embraced such attitudes (1 Corinthians 6:12–13) and was drenched in both sexuality and idolatry.

Paul has rejected both ideas by elevating the purpose and power of both our bodies and of sex. A Christian's body will be resurrected, as Christ's was, and so it will not end at death. More than that, though, our bodies right now are, mysteriously, members of Christ. They are part of Him and part of His purpose for us.

Paul has also rejected the false idea that "sex is just sex," like any other appetite. In fact, he now declares that even sex with a prostitute, a momentary transaction, causes a person to become "one body" with her. He quotes from Genesis 2:24, which reveals God's design for both sex and marriage, a man and woman becoming united, physically and spiritually, as "one flesh" or one body.

Putting this and the previous verse together, Paul's point is that a Christian's body, as a member of—or "joined to"—Christ, should never at the same time become a member, one body, with a prostitute. This would apply to all forms of sexual immorality.
Verse Context:
First Corinthians 6:12–20 describes Paul's objections to those in the Corinthian church who had a casual attitude about sexual immorality. Beyond formal, literal laws, Paul insists the standard for Christian behavior must be whether a practice is helpful or enslaving. Sex is more than a mere bodily function; God designed it to unite two people into one body in marriage. That union with another person drags Christ, to whom we are also united, into the union with us. Our bodies will be resurrected and are meant even now to bring glory to God.
Chapter Summary:
First Corinthians 6 continues Paul's confrontations of the Corinthian Christians over issues in the church. Earlier passages discussed problems of division into factions, and tolerance of heinous sexual sin. Paul is also outraged that they would take one another to court in a lawsuit over minor issues. Instead of suing each other before unbelievers, they should settle trivial issues in the church. Second, Paul urges them to live up to their new identities in Christ instead of living down to the sexually immoral standards of the culture. This sets up discussions of marriage in chapter 7.
Chapter Context:
Paul confronts two major issues happening in the church at Corinth. First, he is outraged that one of them has brought a lawsuit against a brother in Christ over a minor dispute. It is absurd to think that Christians—those who will judge the world and angels—cannot even judge a small matter between themselves. Second, Paul warns his readers to run from sexual immorality. Sex creates a powerful bond intended only for marriage. Since our bodies belong to and are part of Christ, we have no right to bring Him into a one-body union with someone to whom we're not married.
Book Summary:
First Corinthians is one of the more practical books of the New Testament. Paul writes to a church immersed in a city associated with trade, but also with corruption and immorality. These believers are struggling to properly apply spiritual gifts and to resist the ungodly practices of the surrounding culture. Paul's letter gives instructions for real-life concerns such as marriage and spirituality. He also deals with the importance of unity and gives one of the Bible's more well-known descriptions of love in chapter 13.
Accessed 5/26/2024 6:06:51 PM
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