1 Corinthians 6:18
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
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(18) Flee fornication.—These last three verses of the chapter contain a solemn exhortation to purity, arising out of the previous argument.

Without the body.—The word “body” is still to be understood as used of the whole “human nature,” which is spoken of in 1Corinthians 6:19 as the temple of the Holy Ghost. Other sins may profane only outer courts of the temple; this sin penetrates with its deadly foulness into the very holy of holies—

“It hardens a’ within, and petrifies the feelings.”

There is a deep significance and profound truth in the solemn words of the Litany, “From fornication, and all other deadly sin, good Lord, deliver us.”

6:12-20 Some among the Corinthians seem to have been ready to say, All things are lawful for me. This dangerous conceit St. Paul opposes. There is a liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, in which we must stand fast. But surely a Christian would never put himself into the power of any bodily appetite. The body is for the Lord; is to be an instrument of righteousness to holiness, therefore is never to be made an instrument of sin. It is an honour to the body, that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead; and it will be an honour to our bodies, that they will be raised. The hope of a resurrection to glory, should keep Christians from dishonouring their bodies by fleshly lusts. And if the soul be united to Christ by faith, the whole man is become a member of his spiritual body. Other vices may be conquered in fight; that here cautioned against, only by flight. And vast multitudes are cut off by this vice in its various forms and consequences. Its effects fall not only directly upon the body, but often upon the mind. Our bodies have been redeemed from deserved condemnation and hopeless slavery by the atoning sacrifice of Christ. We are to be clean, as vessels fitted for our Master's use. Being united to Christ as one spirit, and bought with a price of unspeakable value, the believer should consider himself as wholly the Lord's, by the strongest ties. May we make it our business, to the latest day and hour of our lives, to glorify God with our bodies, and with our spirits which are his.Flee fornication - A solemn command of God - as explicit as any that thundered from Mount Sinai. None can disregard it with impunity - none can violate it without being exposed to the awful vengeance of the Almighty. There is force and emphasis in the word "flee" φεύγατε pheugate. Man should escape from it; he should not stay to reason about it; to debate the matter; or even to contend with his propensities, and to try the strength of his virtue. There are some sins which a man can resist; some about which he can reason without danger of pollution. But this is a sin where a man is safe only when he flies; free from pollution only when he refuses to entertain a thought of it; secure when he seeks a victory by flight, and a conquest by retreat. Let a man turn away from it without reflection on it and he is safe. Let him think, and reason, and he may be ruined. "The very passage of an impure thought through the mind leaves pollution behind it." An argument on the subject often leaves pollution; a description ruins; and even the presentation of motives against it may often fix the mind with dangerous inclination on the crime. There is no way of avoiding the pollution but in the manner prescribed by Paul; there is no man safe who will not follow his direction. How many a young man would be saved from poverty, want, disease, curses, tears, and hell, could these two words be made to blaze before him like the writing before the astonished eyes of Belshazzar Daniel 5, and could they terrify him from even the momentary contemplation of the crime.

Every sin ... - This is to be taken comparatively. Sins in general; the common sins which people commit do not immediately and directly affect the body, or waste its energies, and destroy life. Such is the case with falsehood, theft, malice, dishonesty, pride, ambition, etc. They do not immediately and directly impair the constitution amid waste its energies.

Is without the body - Does not immediately and directly affect the body. The more immediate effect is on the mind; but the sin under consideration produces an immediate and direct effect on the body itself.

Sinneth against his own body - This is the FourTH argument against indulgence in this vice; and it is more striking and forcible. The sense is, "It wastes the bodily energies; produces feebleness, weakness, and disease; it impairs the strength, enervates the man, and shortens life." Were it proper, this might be proveD to the satisfaction of every man by an examination of the effects of licentious indulgence. Those who wish to see the effects stated may find them in Dr. Rush on the Diseases of the Mind. Perhaps no single sin has done so much to produce the most painful and dreadful diseases, to weaken the constitution, and to shorten life as this. Other vices, as gluttony and drunkenness, do this also, and all sin has some effect in destroying the body, but it is true of this sin in an eminent degree.

18. Flee—The only safety in such temptations is flight (Ge 39:12; Job 31:1).

Every sin—The Greek is forcible. "Every sin whatsoever that a man doeth." Every other sin; even gluttony, drunkenness, and self-murder are "without," that is, comparatively external to the body (Mr 7:18; compare Pr 6:30-32). He certainly injures, but he does not alienate the body itself; the sin is not terminated in the body; he rather sins against the perishing accidents of the body (as the "belly," and the body's present temporary organization), and against the soul than against the body in its permanent essence, designed "for the Lord." "But" the fornicator alienates that body which is the Lord's, and makes it one with a harlot's body, and so "sinneth against his own body," that is, against the verity and nature of his body; not a mere effect on the body from without, but a contradiction of the truth of the body, wrought within itself [Alford].

The apostle cometh to a new argument, by which he presseth them to flee the sin of uncleanness. It is observed by some, that this sin is peculiarly to be resisted, not so much by resisting it, and pondering arguments against it, as by flying from it, avoiding all occasions of it, and not suffering our thoughts to feed upon it; but the apostle’s argument is, because other sins are

without the body, that is, the body hath not such a blemish and note or mark of infamy laid upon it by any other sin as by this: in drunkenness the liquor, in gluttony the meat, in other sins something without a man’s self is that which is abused, but the body itself is the thing which is abused in this filthy sin. So he that is guilty of it,

sinneth not only against his wife, with whom he is one flesh, but against his body, which he abuseth in this vile and sinful act, and upon which he imprints a mark of infamy and disgrace, a blot not to be washed out but with the blood of Christ. So as though by other sins men may sin against their own bodies, yet by no sin so eminently as by this sin. Other sins have their seat in the mind and soul; the body, and commonly some particular member of the body, is but the servant of the soul in the execution and committing of them; but lust, though indeed it ariseth from the heart, yet it is committed more in the body than any other sin is.

Flee fornication,.... As that which is hurtful, scandalous, and unbecoming Christians; avoid it, and all the occasions of it, that may lead unto it, and be incentives of it:

every sin that a man doth is without the body not but that other sins are committed by the body, and by the members of it as instruments; they are generally committed by the abuse of other things that are without, and do not belong to the body; and so do not bring that hurt unto and reproach upon the body, as fornication does:

but he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body; not meaning his wife, which is as his own body; but his proper natural body, which is not only the instrument by which this sin is committed, but the object against which it is committed; and which is defiled and dishonoured by it; and sometimes its strength and health are impaired, and it is filled with nauseous diseases hereby.

{13} 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.

1 Corinthians 6:18. Φεύγετε τὴν πορν.] Inferred from the foregoing verses (13–17), but expressed in all the more lively way from not being linked to them by any connective particle. “Severitas cum fastidio,” Bengel.

πᾶν ἁμάρτημα κ.τ.λ[997]] asyndetic corroboration of the preceding prohibition. Paul does not say anything here incapable of being maintained in its full stringency of meaning (Rückert, de Wette), nor is there any reason for taking πᾶν, with Michaelis, Flatt, Pott, and others, in a popular sense, as equivalent to almost all (comp Theodore of Mopsuestia and Melanchthon: “cum quodam candore accipiatur de iis, quae saepius accidunt”); but the truth of his words is based on the fact that every other sinful act (ἁμάρτημα), if it has to do at all with the body, works upon it from without, and consequently holds a position in reference to the body external to the same. The sinner makes that which is not of the body, but outside of it, as e.g. food and drink, to be the instrument of his immoral act, whereby the ἁμάρτημα, viewed in its relation to the body, comes to stand ἘΚΤῸς ΤΟῦ ΣΏΜΑΤΟς, and has there the sphere of its occurrence and consummation. This holds true even in the case of the suicide, whose act is in fact a sinful use of external things, the instance of a man’s voluntarily starving himself not excepted (against Hofmann’s objection), for this is accomplished by the abuse of abstinence from food (which is equally an external relationship), and therefore ἘΚΤῸς ΤΟῦ ΣΏΜΑΤΟς. How entirely different from the case of all such other sinful acts stands the state of things with unchasteness, where there is sin, not ἘΚΤῸς Τ. ΣΏΜΑΤΟς, but ΕἸς ΤῸ ἼΔΙΟΝ ΣῶΜΑ! See below. In connection with this passage, expositors indulge in many arbitrary and sometimes very odd interpretations[999] and saving clauses. Among these must be reckoned the exposition of Calvin and others, by way of comparison: “secundum plus et minus.” Neander, too, imports a meaning which is not in the words, that fornication desecrates the body in its very highest and most enduring significance (namely, as the sum of the personality). According to Chr. F. Fritzsche (Nova Opusc. p. 249 f.), what is meant is that all other sins do not separate the body of the Christian from the body of Christ, this taking place only through fornication (1 Corinthians 6:15). But the general and local expression ἐκτὸς τ. σώματός ἐστιν does not correspond with this special and ethical reference, nor are we warranted in attributing to one of such ethical strictness as the apostle the conception that no other sin separates from the body of Christ, 1 Corinthians 6:9 f.; Romans 8:9, al[1000]

Ὃ ἘᾺΝ Κ.Τ.Λ[1001]] which in any case whatever (Hermann, a[1002] Viger. p. 819) a man shall have committed. Respecting ἐάν, instead of ἄν, after relatives, see Winer, p. 291 [E. T. 390].

ἐκτὸς τ. σώμ. ἐστιν] inasmuch as the sinful deed done has been one brought about outside of the body.

εἰς τὸ ἴδιον σῶμα] For his own bodily frame is the immediate object which he affects in a sinful way, whose moral purity and honour he hurts and wounds by his action. Comp on εἰς, Luke 15:18. He dishonours his own body, which is the organ and object of his sin. Comp Beza. The apostle says nothing at all here of the weakening effect upon the body itself (Athanasius in Oecumenius, and others).

[997] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[999] Chrysostom, Theophylact, Erasmus, al., single out as the characteristic point—contrary to the literal tenor of the passage—the defilement of the whole body by fornication, on which ground a bath is taken subsequently. This latter point Theodoret also lays stress upon, explaining, however, the expression by the fact that the man who commits other sins οὐ τοσαύτην αἴσθησιν λαμβάνει τῆς ἁμαρτίας, while the profligate, on the other hand, εὐθὺς μετὰ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν αἰσθάνεται τοῦ κακοῦ καὶ αὐτὸ τὸ σῶμα βδελύττεται. Chrysostom’s interpretation of the whole body has been taken up again by Baur (in the theol. Jahrb. 1852, p. 540 f.). The body in its totality, he holds, is meant, inasmuch as it is one body with the harlot, and in virtue of this unity the fornicator has the object of his sin not without himself, but in himself, and sins against the body identified with his own self. But all this is not in the text, and no reader could read it into the text. Hofmann, too, imports what is neither expressed in the words themselves nor suggested by the antithesis,—the obscure notion, namely, that, as in the case of the glutton, after completing the deed “the thing of his sin does not remain with him” (?)

[1000] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1001] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1002] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20. Direct prohibition of fornication, strengthened by description of it as a sin against one’s own body, which is in fact the temple of the Holy Spirit, etc.

1 Corinthians 6:18. With vehement abruptness P. turns from exposition to exhortation. “Flee fornication”—other sins may be combated; this must be fled, as by Joseph in Potiphar’s house. φεύγετε the opposite of κολλᾶσθαι (1 Corinthians 6:16). The parl[987] φεύγετε ἀπὸ τ. εἰδωλολατρείας of 1 Corinthians 10:14 shows “the connexion in Cor[988] between impurity and idolatry” (Ed[989]: cf. the lists of sins in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Corinthians 5:11.)—Ἡ πορνεία contradicts Christ’s rights in the body (1 Corinthians 6:13-17) and severs the committer from Him; P. has now to say that this is a sin against the nature of the human body: “Every act of sin (ἁμάρτημα) which a man may possibly do, is outside of the body; but the fornicator (ὁ πορνεύων) sins against his own body”. The point of this saying lies in the contrasted prepositions ἐκτὸς and εἰς: all bodily sins “defile the flesh” (2 Corinthians 7:1), but other vices—those of the κοιλία, e.g.—look outside the body; this in its whole essence lies within our physical nature, so that, while it appropriates the person of another (1 Corinthians 6:16), it is a self-violation. Hence transgressions of the Seventh Commandment are “sins of the flesh” and “of the passions” par éminence. They engage and debauch the whole person; they “enter into the heart,” for “they proceed out of the heart” and touch the springs of being; in the highest degree they “defile the man” (Mark 7:20 ff.). That inchastity is extreme dishonour is realised in the one sex; Christianity makes it equally so in the other.

[987] parallel.

[988] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[989] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

18. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body] That is, every other sinful act which affects the body approaches it from without and affects particular members. But this sin takes the body itself as a whole and makes it an instrument of sin. For it is a violation of the fundamental law impressed upon man from the beginning, whereby it is decreed that a man shall cleave to his wife, and to her alone, and they twain shall be, or rather, become one flesh, Genesis 2:24. This view is confirmed by the fact that the word here translated sinneth, means “to go astray,” “to miss the mark;” so that the words ‘sinneth against his own body’ imply the running counter to the objects for which the body is created. If this be the correct interpretation of the passage, the practice of polygamy is here condemned.

sinneth against his own body] Cf. Romans 1:24.

1 Corinthians 6:18. Φεύγετε τὴν πορνείαν, flee fornication) Severity with disgust; flee, for danger is near.—πᾶν ἁμάρτημα, every sin) even gluttony and drunkenness; comp. 1 Corinthians 5:13; even self-murder [even idolatry, however much more grievous the sin may otherwise be.—V. g.] It is a more serious matter to abuse the members of Christ, than food or wine, and the belly: and the body of a fornicator is more debased by the agency of a flagitious deed, than the carcase even of the man who has perished by his own hand. The comparison at Proverbs 6:30, etc., is not unlike this.—ἐκτὸς, without) a man indeed sins with the body and by the body, but not εἰς against the body; the sin is not terminated in his body; and he certainly injures, but does not alienate the body, he rather sins against the κοιλίαν, belly, than against the body, as the apostle makes the distinction. Such moral sentiments are not to be harshly pushed to extremes, nor in their utmost ἀκρίβειᾳ, strictness. The viscera, which stand in a peculiar relation to the animal economy, seem likely to be destroyed permanently, and not to be restored at the resurrection. The Scripture refers much to the bones, as to the solid parts, in respect of good and evil, of punishment and reward; whence it is no vain conjecture, that the most intense pain, and so also the most intense degree of joy and pleasure, will be in the bones.

Verse 18. - Flee fornication. In the battle against sensual sins, there is no victory except in absolute flight, for the reason which immediately follows, namely, that these sins have their dwelling in that body which is part of our being, and which yet they tend to destroy. They make a man his own deadliest enemy. Every sin... is without the body. Some have supposed that this cannot apply to gluttony and drunkenness, which they therefore class with fornication; but even in those sins, as in suicide, the cause of and incentive to the sin is external, whereas the source of uncleanness is in the heart and in the thoughts, which come from within, and so defile the man. Other sins may be with and by means of the body, and may injure the body; but none are so directly against the sanctity of the whole bodily being as fornication. Sinneth against his own body. By alienating it from the service of him to whom it belongs; by incorporating it with the degradation of another; by staining the flesh and the body (Proverbs 5:8-11; Proverbs 6:24-32; Proverbs 7:24-27); by subtly poisoning the inmost sanctities of his own being. St. Paul is here thinking mainly, however, if not exclusively, of the moral injury and defilement. 1 Corinthians 6:18Flee

See Genesis 39:12. Socrates, in Plato's "Republic," relates how the poet Sophocles, in answer to the question "How does love suit with age?" replied: "Most gladly have I escaped that, and I feel as if I had escaped from a mad and furious master" (329).

Sin (ἁμάρτημα)

See on Romans 3:25.

Without the body (ἐκτὸς τοῦ σώματος)

Lit., outside. The body is not the instrument, but the subject. But in fornication the body is the instrument of the sin, and "inwardly as well as outwardly is made over to another."

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