1 Corinthians 6:16 MEANING

1 Corinthians 6:16
(16) What?--As if some one might question and resent the strength of the previous words, and wish them "watered down." "Do you not know that my strong assertion is true? It is not merely my statement; it is to be found in the Old Testament, 'Two shall be one flesh.'" This was originally (Genesis 2:24) applied to marriage, as showing the intimacy of that sacred union, but here St. Paul applies it to one aspect of a union which, in one respect, was identical with marriage. Of course the other parts of the Apostle's argument do not apply to marriage, the union being a sacred one; two becoming one flesh in marriage is no degradation of a member of Christ--nay, it is a sacred illustration of the complete unity of Christ and His body the Church. (Comp. 1 Corinthians 11:29, and Notes there.)

Verse 16. - What, know ye not, etc.? The clause is used to explain and justify the strong expression which he had used in the previous verse. It involves an argument against the sin which is the most original and impressive which could have been used. To this passage especially is due the tone taken by Christians as to these sins, which differed so totally from that taken by heathen. They two. The words do not occur in Genesis 2:24, but are always so quoted in the New Testament (Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:8; Ephesians 5:31). Saith he. This is a vague Jewish formula of quotation, adopted to avoid the needless introduction of the sacred Name. "He" is "God" in Scripture. Shall be one flesh; rather, shall become. This appeal to Genesis 2:24 (Matthew 19:5) is equivalent to the rule that no intercourse between the sexes is free from sin except under the sanction of marriage.

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.What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot,.... Not in marriage, but in carnal copulation, and unclean embraces, is one body with her

for two ("saith he", Adam, or Moses, or God, or the Scripture, or as R. Sol. Jarchi says, the Holy Spirit, Genesis 2:24)

shall be one flesh; what is originally said of copulation in lawful marriage, in which man and wife, legally coupled together, become one flesh, is applied to the unlawful copulation of a man with an harlot, by which act they also become one body, one flesh; and which is made use of by the apostle, to deter the members of Christ from the commission of this sin, which makes a member of Christ one body and flesh with an harlot, than which nothing is more monstrous and detestable. The apostle here directs to the true sense of the phrase in Genesis, "and they shall be one flesh"; that is, man and wife shall only have carnal knowledge of, and copulation with each other. Some Jewish (k) writers interpret this phrase, "on account of the foetus", which is formed by the means of them both, and which becomes "their one flesh": others (l), thus as if they were, or because they are, like as if they were one flesh; but others (m), in more agreement with the apostle, think that this has respect , "to that conjunction", by which the fixing of the species is completed; and others (n) expressly thus, "they two shall be one flesh", , "that is, in the place where both of them make one flesh": which is equally done by unlawful copulation with an harlot, as with a man's own wife.

(k) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 6. 3. Jarchi in Gen. ii. 24. (l) Aben Ezra in ib. (m) R. Levi ben Gersom in ib. (n) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 18. fol. 15. 3. T. Hieros. Kiddushin, fol. 58. 3.

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