go to court before unrighteous men: Secular judges were not governed by God’s law, and their consciences were not trained through a study of God’s Word. Paul called them “unrighteous men,” perhaps because many judges at that time were corrupt. Christians who took a brother before such judges would, in effect, be saying that the elders in the congregation did not have the wisdom to judge “matters of this life.” (1Co 6:3-5) However, spirit-anointed Christians as heavenly associate rulers of the Lord Jesus Christ would be judging not only humans but also angels. (See study note on 1Co 6:3.) Paul states that it would be far better for individual Christians to let themselves “be wronged,” or to accept some personal loss, rather than to divide the congregation and bring disputes to public notice.—1Co 6:7, 8.
judge angels: Paul here shares inspired insight into a time far in the future from his own day, the time when Christ’s anointed followers will have been resurrected to be corulers with Christ. (1Co 4:8; Re 20:6) They will then assist Jesus in carrying out Jehovah’s righteous judgments against wicked humans. (1Co 6:2; Re 17:14) Such judgments may also include the punishment of the wicked angels, who rebelled against Jehovah.—Jude 6.
Those who are sexually immoral: See study note on 1Co 5:9.
adulterers: That is, those who commit adultery, or marital sexual unfaithfulness. In the Bible, adultery refers to voluntary acts of “sexual immorality” between a married person and someone who is not his or her mate.—See Glossary, “Adultery”; and study notes on Mt 5:27, 32; Mr 10:11.
men who submit to homosexual acts, men who practice homosexuality: The Greek text here uses two different words. The first word (Greek, ma·la·kosʹ) has the basic meaning of “soft” (compare Lu 7:25), but in this context, it apparently refers to males who assume the passive role in a homosexual relationship, the effeminate one. Thus, it has been rendered men who submit to homosexual acts. The second word (Greek, ar·se·no·koiʹtes), with the literal meaning “men who lie with men,” also occurs at 1Ti 1:10. It apparently refers to men who assume the active role in homosexual activity. Therefore, it has been translated men who practice homosexuality or, alternatively, “men who have sex with men.” By specifically mentioning the passive and active roles, Paul made it clear that God disapproves of all homosexual acts.
revilers: Or “the verbally abusive.”—See study note on 1Co 5:11.
extortioners: Or “swindlers; robbers.” Extortion is the act or practice of improperly taking or obtaining anything from a person by use of fear, whether by force, threats, or any other undue exercise of power. The basic sense of the Greek word for “extortioner” (harʹpax) is “snatcher.” (Kingdom Interlinear) At Mt 7:15, the same Greek word is rendered “ravenous.” Paul said that some of the Christians in Corinth had formerly done such things but were now washed clean.—1Co 6:11; compare study note on Lu 18:11.
you have been sanctified: Or “you have been made holy”; or “you have been set apart,” that is, for sacred service to God. “The blood of the Christ” sanctified the Corinthian Christians who exercised faith in him and who left the sinful acts mentioned in the preceding verses. (Heb 9:13, 14; 1Co 1:2; 6:9, 10) Thus, they could render sacred service to God with a clean conscience.
lawful: Or “permissible.” Paul obviously did not mean that it is lawful to do things that God condemns. (Ac 15:28, 29) Rather, he realized that since Christians are not required to follow the many decrees of the Mosaic Law, they would face numerous situations that are not regulated by the Scriptures. In such matters, they would need to consider not only their own conscience but also that of others. As an example, he cited the eating of food. (1Co 6:13) Some Christians whose conscience was sensitive objected to eating certain foods. (1Co 10:23, 25-33) Therefore, even though it was lawful or permissible for Christians to eat those foods, Paul himself would not insist on eating such foods if doing so would stumble others or disturb their conscience.—1Co 8:12, 13.
sexual immorality: The Greek word por·neiʹa is a general term for all sexual activity that is unlawful according to the Bible. In his first inspired letter to the Corinthians, Paul uses this term and related terms several times.—See study notes on 1Co 5:1, 9; 7:2.
prostitute: See Glossary.
says he: That is, God, in the creation account at Ge 2:24, from which Paul quotes. The Greek expression could also be rendered “says it,” referring to the scripture.
one flesh: See study note on Mt 19:5.
Flee from sexual immorality!: The Greek word pheuʹgo means “to flee; to run away from.” Paul uses this word figuratively when urging the Corinthian Christians to run away from sexual immorality. Some suggest that Paul was alluding to the account about Joseph, who literally and resolutely fled from Potiphar’s wife. In the Septuagint rendering of Ge 39:12-18, the Greek word used for “flee” is the same as the word used here. In the original Greek, the admonition at 1Co 6:18 is in the present tense, “be you fleeing from,” denoting a continuous and habitual fleeing.—Kingdom Interlinear.
Every other sin that a man may commit is outside his body: Paul has been emphasizing that Christians are to be united with their Lord and head, Christ Jesus. (1Co 6:13-15) The sexually immoral person wrongly and sinfully becomes “one flesh” with another. (1Co 6:16) In a sense, the Christian who commits immorality separates himself from union with Christ and makes his body “one” with another person. That is apparently why all other sins committed by a person are here viewed as “outside his body.” A Christian practicing sexual immorality sins against his own body, using his reproductive members for an immoral purpose.
your body is the temple: Spirit-anointed Christians as a group occupy a special place in Jehovah’s purpose. The Greek pronoun for “your” is in plural, so it is not the body of just one member of the congregation that constitutes the temple. (1Co 10:17) The Bible frequently makes figurative use of the word “temple,” sometimes applying it to people. Jesus used this expression about himself at Joh 2:19, and the Scriptures foretold that the Messiah would be “the chief cornerstone” of such a spiritual structure. (Ps 118:22; Isa 28:16, 17; Ac 4:10, 11) Paul and Peter used similar comparisons regarding Jesus and his followers at 1Co 3:16, 17; Eph 2:20-22; and 1Pe 2:6, 7.