Study Sheet for I Corinthians 6:12-20 (click here for Study Notes)
"Everything is permissible for me"-but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"-but I will not be mastered by anything. "Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"-but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 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."
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (NIV)
" 'Everything is permissible for me'-but not everything is beneficial," Paul says. He repeats "everything is permissible" but goes on to say, "but I will not be mastered by anything."
1. In the context of the first 5 1/2 chapters of I Corinthians, why do you think Paul si saying that "everything is permissible," but not everything's beneficial? (see I Corinthians 10:23, Romans 6:20-22, Hosea 5:4)
2. Why do you think Paul begins this passage with "Everything is permissible," and why do you think this statement is in quotation marks?
3. What does Paul mean when he says, "I will not be mastered by anything"? (see Romans 6:11-14, II Peter 2:17-21)
Paul is addressing the problem of certain Corinthians extrapolating that eating has no bearing on spiritual life; therefore promiscuity doesn't have any bearing either.
1. By pointing out the "God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also," what fact about our bodies is Paul making? (Romans 6:5, I Thessalonians 4:16, Phil. 1:20, Eph. 5:20-30)
2. What contrast is Paul making when he points out that "God will destroyboth" food and the stomach, but the body "is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body"? (see I Corinthians 8:8, Colossians 2:22, Romans 12:1, Jude 4, 7)
Not just our spirits, but our "bodies are members of Christ himself," Paul stresses. Unlike the gnostics and the Greeks, Christians saw that our bodies are a significant part of our relationship with Jesus. His church is a physical phenomenon as well as spiritual, and we each make up a part of the body. (see Romans 12:5)
1. Why do you think Paul warned so strongly against sexual sin but dismissed the concern of eating improper foods, saying God will destroy both food and the stomach?
2. What does the phrase, "the two shall become one flesh," mean?
3. Why does Paul use the phrase characterizing the covenant of marriage in a context of uniting with a prostitute? (see Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, Ephesians 5:31)
4. If being united "with the Lord" means we are "one with him in spirit," why is it so destructive for our bodies to be sexually impure? (see John 17:21-23, Romans 8:9-11, Gal. 2:20)
Paul emphasizes again, "Flee from sexual immorality." The he adds, "All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body."
1. Why is sexual sin more of a sin against the body than are the sins of debaucher and drunkenness? (see I Cor. 5:, II Cor. 12:21, Gal. 5:19, Eph. 5:3, I Th. 4:3&4, Heb 13:4, Romans 6:12)
2. How is sexual sin different from other sins?
3. If we who are united with the Lord are "one with him in Spirit," why is a sin against the body so serious?
Our bodies are "temple[s] of the Holy Spirit, who is in [us], whom [we]have received from God." Paul wrote these words to a group of new believers in a city in which the prostitutes were part of the local religion. Prostitutes in Corinth were dedicated to the worship of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and sex, and they worked in the temples of that goddess.
1. How is sexual sin a desecration of God's temple?
2. Why is sexual sin in particular so destructive? (see John 2:21, Rev. 19:7, Matt. 22:2-14, Eph. 5:31-32, Isaiah 54:5-7, Hosea 2:19,20)
3. Why is marriage to be treated as a sacred covenant and sexual sin as anathema?
We have been "bought at a price," Paul reminds us; therefore we are to honor God with our bodies.
1. How do we honor God with our bodies? (see chapter 10:31, Romans 6:12-13, Col. 3:17, Phil. 1:20)
2. Is it possible for us to sin against the body or to commit sexual sin inside marriage? How? (see Ephesians 5:22-23)
3. Why are sex and marriage such significant subjects and metaphors in the Bible?
Anything that steals our emotions or attention away from unselfish love and commitment is sin.
1. What sins do you have in your life that compromise your sexual purity, either mentally or physically?
2. What deceptions or perversions did you learn to identify as love?
3. What sexual wounds or habits or anxieties do you need to bring before Jesus for healing?
4. Confess your sin to Jesus. Pray that God will heal the wounds on your
soul and make you whole. Ask him to send away the spirit of compulsion or
fear or promiscuity and ask the Holy Spirit to live in those hurt places
of your heart instead. Give Jesus your shame, and ask him to heal you from
the inside out. Thank him for his faithfulness and love.
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Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Revised April 23, 2000.