What does 1 Corinthians 6:17 mean?
ESV: But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
NIV: But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
NASB: But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
CSB: But anyone joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.
NLT: But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.
KJV: But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
Verse Commentary:
Paul is building the case for why it is so important for Christians to "flee from sexual immorality," as he will say in the following verse (1 Corinthians 6:18). He has shown that our bodies are more than just animal carcasses that will die and decay. Our bodies will be resurrected, as Jesus' body was. More, our bodies right now are members of Christ. They are set apart for Him and for His purposes.

This passage has also shown that sex is more than just another mundane human appetite to be satisfied. Sex joins two people together as one, physically and spiritually, which is exactly what God intended for marriage. To have sex with a prostitute, then, Paul has written, is to join Christ with a prostitute, in a sense.

Now Paul adds that Christians, those joined to the Lord, are spiritually united to Him. More specifically, we are one spirit with Him. Paul's point is that what happens to Christ's spirit affects our own. Perhaps surprisingly, what happens in our spirit affects His. That idea suddenly makes the stakes much higher for what we do with our bodies and spirits, including 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.
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