Heaven's Point of View

1 Corinthians 6: 12-20, Part 1

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Senez Rodriguez (Host), Tom Shepherd


Series Code: HPOV

Program Code: HPOV000034A

00:16 Welcome to Heaven's Point of View.
00:19 My name is Dr. Senez Rodriguez and we are discussing
00:22 with Dr. Shepherd from the university seminary
00:28 as a professor of New Testament Interpretation,
00:32 on the topic of love, marriage, sex and divorce
00:35 according to the New Testament.
00:38 So that is our topic for today.
00:40 Now, Dr. Shepherd, last time you talked a great deal
00:44 about the problem of premarital sex
00:47 and pornography here in the United States.
00:51 How do you see 1 Corinthians 6 addressing these issues?
00:55 Okay, last time we noticed that there have been big shifts
01:01 in the United States over the last 50 years
01:04 with increasing levels of premarital sex of--
01:09 we have now unmarried people living together
01:13 quite openly actually and the increase in pornography
01:17 especially through the internet.
01:19 And these characteristics of shifting sexual mores
01:24 has a rather interesting parallel
01:28 to what was going on in ancient Corinth.
01:31 And we looked at the Corinthian church
01:33 and its establishment by Paul, it was set up by Paul.
01:37 And how the church had so many problems going on within it
01:43 including such thing as all kinds of disputes
01:48 or misunderstandings about doctrinal issues.
01:51 But then there were also issues of practice
01:55 where they had somebody living with his father's wife,
02:00 they had, so they had incest,
02:02 they had probably people going to prostitutes.
02:06 They had some people who were probably saying
02:08 that sex was something
02:10 that you shouldn't even do in marriage.
02:12 And just all kinds of disputes and problems,
02:16 people taking others to court and really, really sick church.
02:21 So Paul has in correspondence with this church.
02:24 And 1 Corinthians 6
02:26 is a very interesting transition point
02:28 in the Book of 1 Corinthians.
02:31 Commentators dispute exactly what's going on in this chapter
02:35 as we will see particularly at the end of the chapter.
02:39 But if we start at the beginning of the chapter,
02:41 the first eight verses
02:44 are about the subject of lawsuits between believers.
02:47 And Paul is just appalled by the idea
02:52 that they would take one another to court
02:55 and he says and that before the unbelievers.
02:57 So they're exposing the church to shame by,
03:03 you know, going to a law court
03:05 where one brother can't get along with another
03:08 and he describes the situation, the lawsuits that are going on
03:11 and he says, "Don't you have some people who can,
03:15 you know, take care of disputes within the church
03:17 without having to go to people outside the church.
03:21 Then he comes in verses 9 to 11,
03:24 he talks about
03:25 "the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God."
03:29 And he goes into a list, we call it a vice list
03:33 where he list off a groups of people
03:36 that will not be in God's kingdom,
03:38 he says, "the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers,
03:42 men who practice homosexuality, thieves, the greedy,
03:46 the drunkards, revilers, the swindlers."
03:49 He says, "They will not inherit the kingdom of God."
03:51 And he says, "Some of you were like that.
03:55 But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified
03:58 in the name of Lord Jesus Christ
03:59 and by the Spirit of our God."
04:01 That's the first section.
04:03 The first two sections, the lawsuit
04:05 and then this whole thing about the unrighteous and reminders
04:09 that you have to be faithful to God
04:12 in order to be in His kingdom.
04:14 Some people want to give the idea
04:16 that it doesn't matter what you do in your life,
04:18 God will save everybody, we call that universalism.
04:21 Well, it's certainly not a biblical idea.
04:24 It's certainly not here in Paul's writings.
04:27 In verses 12 to 20,
04:29 Paul comes to the question of sexual ethics.
04:32 Now the major issues about this passage
04:35 that we're going to spend several times,
04:37 several programs looking at of 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.
04:44 The major issues revolve around
04:45 whether Paul is attacking Corinthian slogans.
04:50 And, you know, describing those
04:52 or whether he is expressing his own statements
04:56 and just adding fine touches to his teaching
05:00 for the Corinthian believers.
05:02 So we're gonna look--
05:03 We're gonna be Bible detectives today.
05:05 Okay.
05:07 We're gonna look for clues to try to understand
05:10 just what he is saying.
05:13 But we can easily see that either way 1 Corinthians 6,
05:17 1 Corinthians 7 deal with sexual ethics
05:20 which is the topic we're now in our program discussing.
05:25 This passage, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
05:30 comes at a crucial point in the Book of Corinthians.
05:34 Paul is shifting his discussion from matters
05:38 that were brought to his attention
05:40 by oral reports
05:42 that came to him to discussing matters
05:46 that he got a letter from them about.
05:49 So he'd gotten oral reports about problems in the church
05:52 and he talks about some of those.
05:54 But in Chapter 7:1, he will say,
05:57 "Now concerning the matters about which you wrote."
06:01 So this Chapter 6:12-20
06:07 is at the transition point.
06:10 And has a, you know,
06:13 kind of this important transitional role
06:16 that it plays.
06:17 It actually is filled with theology,
06:22 this little section about sexual ethics.
06:25 You think that perhaps on sexual ethics,
06:27 Paul would just say, "Don't do that."
06:30 You know, "Don't do this immoral behavior."
06:33 Do this, don't do that.
06:35 But actually he fills the whole thing
06:37 with a lot of theological themes.
06:42 He-- In fact the theological themes
06:45 look back to earlier portions of the book
06:48 and they look forward to later parts of the book.
06:51 So it's very transitional,
06:53 it's very tight to other aspects of the book.
06:57 It recaps the ideas and it rings the bells
07:01 that he will sound later in the book.
07:04 For instance, the word, the concept of food
07:07 for some reason comes up in this passage
07:09 we'll look at that, but it reappears in Chapter 8.
07:14 Members of the body of Christ appears here.
07:18 He calls them you were members of Christ body
07:21 that will reappear in Chapter 12.
07:24 He talks about the Holy Spirit
07:25 that will reappear in Chapter 12 and 14.
07:28 He talks about the resurrection
07:30 that will reappear in Chapter 15.
07:32 He talks about eschatology that we'll talk,
07:36 it'll reappear in verses 13 to 15.
07:37 So he has some that goes back earlier in the book
07:41 and he looks also forward.
07:42 So we shouldn't be surprised actually
07:45 that 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
07:48 contains multiple strands of very profound theology
07:55 that's applied dynamically
07:57 to one of the most pressing problems of Paul's church.
08:01 The parallels of the Corinthian culture
08:03 and the situation to our day are actually very striking.
08:08 And so this passage so filled with power,
08:11 this is actually my favorite passage to talk about
08:13 when I teach the class on love, marriage,
08:16 sex, and divorce at the seminary.
08:18 And it is so filled with power, I'm just overwhelmed
08:23 with how much Paul has put in here
08:25 and the way that he's drawn together
08:27 the different lines of theology
08:30 to address a particular problem.
08:33 So we should read the passage, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.
08:38 Why don't you read that for us?
08:40 "All things are lawful onto me,
08:43 but all things are not expedient.
08:46 All things are lawful for me,
08:49 but I will not be brought under the power of any.
08:54 Midst for the belly and the belly for midst
08:58 but God shall destroy both it and then.
09:03 Now the body is not for fornication
09:07 but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
09:12 And God had both raised up the Lord
09:15 and will also raise up us by His own power.
09:21 Now ye know that your bodies are the members of Christ?
09:26 Shall I then take the members of Christ
09:28 and make them the members of an harlot?
09:32 God forbid. What?
09:35 Now ye know that he which is joined
09:39 to an harlot is one body.
09:43 For two, said he, 'shall be one flesh.'
09:47 But he that is joined on to the Lord is one spirit.
09:53 Flee fornication.
09:55 Every sin that a man does is without the body,
10:00 but he that committed fornication
10:03 sinned against his own body.
10:06 What?
10:08 Now ye know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost
10:13 which is in you, which ye have of God,
10:18 and ye are not your own.
10:20 For ye were bought with a price,
10:24 therefore glorify God in your body
10:27 and in your spirit, which are God's."
10:32 It's a beautiful little passage.
10:33 Beautiful, interesting
10:34 and sometimes problematic for some people.
10:36 It's true I think you were telling me
10:39 about on email that you've gotten on this topic.
10:41 Yes, they were someone
10:43 who wrote on electronic communication
10:46 discussing the issue of the law and addressing this passage
10:51 as suggesting that, you know, everything is lawful to me,
10:56 you know, there was no problem with,
10:58 there is no law in other words.
11:00 It is up to me to choose what is good
11:03 or what is not good.
11:05 Very interesting interpretation.
11:07 Sure.
11:08 And that's part of this passage
11:10 that confounds people as they look at this
11:13 and they try to scratch their heads.
11:14 Now for those of us who believe in God's law,
11:20 we might be a little worried about this passage in saying,
11:24 wait a minute what does Paul mean,
11:25 all things are lawful for me?
11:27 For those who think that the laws done away with,
11:31 they look at this passage say
11:32 exactly that's what Paul is trying to tell us
11:34 that the law has been done away with, okay.
11:36 So they look at that.
11:38 But when we take a look at the passage
11:41 a little more carefully kind of trying to understand
11:45 Paul's argument in his reasoning.
11:49 The passage we could divide
11:51 and we will in this series of discussions,
11:54 divide the passage in kind of two parts topically in a way.
12:00 The other session we'll spend a lot of time
12:03 looking at these phrases when Paul says,
12:05 three different times it says,
12:06 "Don't you know, do you not know."
12:09 That phrase in Paul's writings
12:12 typically refers to Christian teaching
12:16 that everybody should know
12:17 or just some truth that everybody should,
12:20 you know, just take for granted.
12:22 So he's gonna be referring to Christian teachings,
12:24 you know, but before we get that to that point,
12:27 we have to look at his,
12:28 particularly his argument of verses 12 to 14.
12:32 We'll also look down at verse 18
12:34 because there's an interesting thing there.
12:36 Now if we look at these passages,
12:40 if we say, he starts off, let's start with verse 12.
12:43 He says, "All things are lawful for me,
12:47 but not all things are helpful."
12:49 So what does that last part suggest,
12:52 the last part of that phrase,
12:54 but not all things are helpful to me.
12:57 Does that mean that
12:59 what he said at first is true
13:04 or is it is he modifying it or did you--
13:08 what do you think about that.
13:09 "All things are lawful for me."
13:12 As if everybody can do whatever they want,
13:14 but I don't think that he is.
13:16 In other words, you are responsible
13:18 for your own choices.
13:19 So if you decide to do what you know
13:23 or should know that it is not correct.
13:26 Well, you are responsible for that.
13:27 Okay, so you could do it, you could do it
13:30 but it might not help you.
13:32 Exactly. Yeah.
13:33 And then that the second part he says,
13:35 "All things are lawful for me,
13:36 but I will not be enslaved by anything."
13:39 So, you know, again--
13:41 It sounds like a contradiction.
13:43 It does sound a bit like a contradiction.
13:45 So if it's lawful,
13:47 if it's all things are lawful then you are free.
13:51 But then he turns around and says,
13:53 but I won't be enslaved by anything.
13:56 So are you free? Are you not free?
14:00 Is he talking about freedom?
14:03 That's not where the problems end
14:05 when you're trying to figure this thing out.
14:07 If you go to verse 13 he says, "Food is meant for the stomach
14:13 and the stomach for food."
14:16 All right, your says meat I think.
14:17 The word here as I recall is bro'-mah
14:20 in which is a general word for food in Greek, all right.
14:23 So what kind of an idea does that suggested,
14:26 "food for the stomach and the stomach for food."
14:29 Is as if you could eat whatever you want doesn't matter,
14:34 but it's like a proverb that they used to talk about.
14:38 Yeah, it sounds like some kind of a proverb
14:41 and if you said, "Food is meant for the stomach
14:45 and the stomach is meant for food,"
14:47 it's almost as though there is some kind of a design
14:53 that the two fit together, I mean it's like
14:55 people will say, why do you have hands?
14:57 Hands are for shaking. Right.
15:00 Why do you have ears? Ears are for hearing.
15:02 Why do you have a stomach?
15:03 Well, stomach is for food, all right?
15:05 So it's an argument from design, all right.
15:10 But then you say, okay,
15:12 there's an argument from design, that's interesting
15:14 and why he would bring food up here
15:17 that seems so little odd maybe.
15:19 But then he says, "And God will destroy
15:22 both one and the other."
15:26 Well, if its food is for the stomach,
15:29 and if it's gonna destroy it,
15:32 why does Paul mention being destroying it, see.
15:36 Now it even gets worse
15:39 as you go into the rest of verse 13,
15:41 he says, "The body is not meant for sexual immorality
15:45 but for the Lord and the Lord for the body."
15:47 He said, wait a minute.
15:49 I thought we were talking about food.
15:51 Now suddenly he is talking about sex.
15:54 Why does he, why did he do that.
15:56 And if you notice at beginning verse 13,
15:59 "the food for the stomach
16:01 or the stomach is designed for food."
16:03 But then he says,
16:05 "The body is not meant for sexual immorality."
16:07 But for the Lord just like
16:09 the body is designed for the Lord.
16:12 And so that seems to go against what he just said almost,
16:18 it's very strange.
16:19 And then verse 14 he says, "And God raised the Lord
16:23 and will also raise up us up by his power."
16:28 Resurrection.
16:29 Now Paul, why are you talking about the resurrection?
16:36 Why are you bringing that up?
16:38 It seems to have nothing to do with what he just talked about.
16:42 If you go down to verse 18, read verse 18 again.
16:46 Verse 18 says, "Flee fornication.
16:52 Every sin that a man does is without the body,
16:57 but he that committed fornication
17:00 sinned against his own body."
17:03 All right, so it starts off and it says,
17:05 "Every sin that a man commits is outside of his body."
17:12 Right.
17:13 Now my translation actually says,
17:15 "Every other sin a man commits or person commits
17:19 is outside the body."
17:21 But actually the word other is being supplied by translator
17:26 because in Greek there is no word other,
17:28 it's not there.
17:30 So your translation presents it correctly,
17:33 "Every sin that a man commits is outside the body."
17:36 But then he says,
17:38 "But the sexually immoral person
17:40 sins against his own body."
17:42 Now wait a minute, Paul? You can't have it both ways.
17:46 If the sin is outside the body,
17:49 how can sexual sin be against the body?
17:52 So that's why some people want to use the word other there
17:56 and then they'll say,
17:57 well, every other sin is against the body.
18:01 But the sin, sexual sin that's worse because it,
18:06 you know, the others are outside the body,
18:08 but sexual sin is against the body.
18:12 And this raises a question that people will raise
18:14 when they'll say the questions like well, wait a minute.
18:18 What about alcoholism? What about drug addiction?
18:20 Well, I mean, back in the ancient world
18:22 the alcohol and drinking of alcohol.
18:23 What about alcoholism?
18:25 Isn't that a sin against the body?
18:27 Is that really less of an addiction
18:29 than sexual addiction?
18:31 Is that worse for you? Is that less bad for you?
18:35 Then promiscuity has nothing to do with you,
18:38 it doesn't affect you.
18:40 So these kinds of questions,
18:42 you know, have really got people
18:44 scratching their heads about this passage.
18:47 And it has led, it has led a number of scholars
18:54 now actually the majority of scholars
18:56 to think that there's something else going on here.
18:58 Because this additives are confusing
19:01 to some people right people, like you know.
19:02 Yeah, they don't--
19:04 it doesn't seem to make sense of what's going on.
19:06 Now the interesting thing
19:09 as the people have suggested that the--
19:12 what Paul is doing as he's quoting slogans
19:15 of the Corinthians.
19:17 He's quoting slogans of the Corinthians
19:19 and then responding to them.
19:22 Quoting them and then responding to them.
19:24 Of course the problem is knowing where the quotes are.
19:31 How do you know, you know,
19:34 that Paul was actually quoting those slogans?
19:36 How do you explain them?
19:38 That's part of the problem because in the ancient text
19:41 there were no quotation marks,
19:44 in fact there were no chapter divisions, verse divisions,
19:47 there were even no divisions between words.
19:50 There were just a line of capital letters
19:53 that went through it.
19:54 So it really becomes an issue of interpretation to do this.
19:59 So somebody might say, oh, that sounds rather squishy,
20:03 that sounds like, you know,
20:05 make it say whatever you wanted to say.
20:07 No, it depends on the logic of Paul's presentation,
20:11 he was very logical in his presentation.
20:15 So that we noticed,
20:16 we were kind of following the pattern of saying.
20:19 Well, what about those who take the position
20:21 that this was about libertinism he is saying.
20:24 These are Paul's word all things are lawful
20:26 and food for the stomach, stomach for food
20:29 and every sin is outside the body.
20:31 When you take those to be Paul's words
20:34 the problem is that the, the text doesn't make sense.
20:39 There is no logic to it.
20:41 And you can't assume that Paul was illogical,
20:44 you have to start from the concept
20:45 that the writer knows what he's doing is logically.
20:49 When you take these as quotations
20:52 from the Corinthians,
20:54 suddenly everything falls into place,
20:58 it's incredible.
20:59 So that's how we should then interpret that passage.
21:02 Yes, let me explain how this works.
21:05 Now we have a little, we have a little table to show
21:10 that kind of illustrates this
21:11 and I put a number of words they kind of summarizes it
21:14 and you'll be able to see that on the screen.
21:16 But let me just walk through this talking
21:17 about these different verses, okay.
21:19 In verse 12 he says, "All things are lawful for me."
21:22 That's actually the Corinthian statement.
21:27 Then Paul responds "But not all things are helpful."
21:31 "All things are lawful for me," says the Corinthian.
21:34 "But I will not be enslaved by anything."
21:37 Now how does that work, okay?
21:39 Usually we think of Paul being little bit more forceful,
21:43 you know, he's not gonna say, yes,
21:45 but not everything is helpful.
21:47 You expect him to be more forceful
21:49 except that he had a problem with a Corinthian church,
21:53 they didn't get along too well.
21:55 So you can't just tell them, you have to persuade them.
21:59 So what better way to persuade them
22:01 than to start with their own argument.
22:03 You know, if your take their premise
22:05 and you show that it doesn't work,
22:06 then you've proved them wrong to their own satisfaction.
22:10 Right, so, "All things are lawful for me."
22:12 He says, okay, okay,
22:13 let's just go down that street for a while,
22:15 that libertine street that you have.
22:17 That but certainly not all things are helpful.
22:21 Okay, they might say, okay.
22:22 "All things are lawful for me" but he said,
22:24 "but I will not be enslaved by anything."
22:27 You see a libertine kind of a lifestyle
22:29 leads to the most abject slavery.
22:32 That's right.
22:33 A libertine lifestyle leads to the most abject slavery.
22:35 There's old saying in Chinese, a man takes a drink,
22:41 a drink takes a drink, a drink takes a man.
22:44 It comes to control him. All right, we got to press on.
22:48 "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food"
22:51 and the continuation of the quote,
22:52 "and God will destroy them both."
22:54 Okay, now if you look at the little chart you'll see,
22:57 "All things are lawful for me was a libertine perspective."
23:00 Paul says, "I'm not gonna be enslaved by that."
23:03 His theology is a theology of liberation
23:05 not of libertinism.
23:07 All right.
23:08 Then they say, "The stomach for food
23:09 and food for the stomach."
23:11 That's an argument from design.
23:13 They're arguing
23:15 that the stomach is designed for food
23:18 and actually this is euphemism.
23:19 They're saying, sexual organs are designed for sex.
23:23 You should use it for sex. Paul says, "Wait a minute.
23:25 Now the Lord, the body is made for the Lord,
23:28 the Lord is for the body and the body for the Lord."
23:31 So he counters each of their arguments
23:34 and that's how we recognized
23:35 that what's going on is that he's quoting them
23:38 and then he's responding to their arguments.
23:40 His teleology, his argument from design
23:42 is not hedonistically theirs,
23:45 they say it was designed for pleasure.
23:47 Paul says, "No, it was designed for the Lord."
23:50 It was designed for sanctification.
23:53 They say, this is still part of their quote probably,
23:56 "God will destroy both one and the other,
23:58 so they have an eschatology.
24:00 But it's an eschatology of destruction,
24:02 God's gonna destroy all these things."
24:04 Paul says, "Waite a minute.
24:06 God raised up the Lord, he raised up the Lord Jesus
24:09 and He will raise us up as well."
24:11 So that's an eschatology of resurrection.
24:14 This is why he talks about the resurrection,
24:17 he is countering their argument.
24:19 They say like, well, it's all gonna be destroyed anyway,
24:21 so it doesn't matter what you do with it.
24:23 And Paul says, "No, it does matter
24:25 what you do with it."
24:26 Because your body is going to be raised in the last day.
24:29 See he's a holistic view of anthropology
24:33 of the human being.
24:34 So he says, "It will be raised up,
24:36 so it does matter what you do."
24:38 I tell the students this in class
24:39 kind of blows them away.
24:41 That the resurrection is one of the great reasons
24:42 for not being involved in promiscuity.
24:45 Why?
24:46 Because the resurrection
24:48 is what's gonna happen to your body,
24:49 what you do with it now has an affect.
24:51 You see and you mustn't do with that now
24:52 because it will be raised up in the last day, okay.
24:55 Now the other thing is down in verse 18 where they say,
24:59 "every sin is the man commits is outside the body."
25:02 That's their slogan, okay.
25:05 So that's a harmatology and wonderful word
25:07 meaning a doctrine of sin, a harmatology of dualism.
25:12 Really doesn't matter what you do with the body
25:15 because God's gonna, you know, do away with that.
25:17 And so your actions don't really affect your soul.
25:24 You can go sleep around and that's okay
25:27 because it doesn't really affect your soul.
25:29 The body and the soul are separated
25:31 and the soul is eternal but the body will pass away.
25:35 Paul says, "Sexual sin is against the body."
25:39 So he links back into his anthropology of wholism
25:43 that you don't have a soul, you are a soul
25:46 which we talk about is the state of the,
25:48 state of the dead, right.
25:50 But it has characteristics that link into our life, okay.
25:54 So tit for tat you could say Paul response to their,
25:59 you know, their take on the meaning of life,
26:02 they have this little slogans that they use,
26:05 I can do whatever I want.
26:07 My body is designed for pleasure
26:09 I should use it for that
26:10 and it doesn't matter what I do with it
26:12 because the sin doesn't affect my soul.
26:14 So Paul was patiently educating the church between that
26:19 to see the difference between the life they had
26:22 and the life that they are expected to have
26:24 when they accept Jesus Christ.
26:26 Right, when you look it back at Chapter 6, the beginning,
26:28 from beginning from Chapter 6, you know,
26:30 he's made these kind of well, in 6 don't go in lawsuits
26:34 but then you know this whole vice list
26:36 where you cannot do this
26:37 because that's not gonna be in the Kingdom of God.
26:41 So he starts to bring together
26:43 a whole series of theological arguments
26:46 to counter these false teachings.
26:48 And what we've seen in this one is
26:51 he has a theology of liberation,
26:54 countered, you know,
26:56 countered to their theology of libertinism.
27:00 He has a teleology of sanctification
27:02 countered to their teleology of hedonism.
27:05 He has an eschatology of resurrection
27:08 countered to their eschatology of destruction.
27:10 He has a harmatology of wholism and anthropology of wholism
27:14 countered to their anthropology of dualism.
27:16 Dualism.
27:18 So back and forth he goes, helping these people to see
27:22 that what they were doing
27:24 was so destructive of Christian life,
27:26 so totally out of step.
27:28 And this helps to give an answer to the person
27:30 who wrote to you within--
27:32 with a conviction that it was okay to do,
27:36 you know, whatever they want.
27:37 No, that's not what Paul is teaching.
27:40 Yeah.
27:41 Well, my friends,
27:42 these has been a pleasure to have Dr. Shepherd with us.
27:46 Time is very rapidly running out,
27:50 but we thank you for paying attention to this series.
27:54 And we invite you to continue discussing
27:58 and looking at these interesting presentations
28:02 that are going to be so helpful to you and to all us.
28:07 Thank you.


Revised 2018-08-24