The Meaning of 1 Corinthians 6:17 Explained

1 Corinthians 6:17

KJV: But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

YLT: And he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit;

Darby: But he that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit.

ASV: But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

What does 1 Corinthians 6:17 Mean?

Verse Meaning

Compared to the union that takes place when two people have sex, the person who trusts Christ unites with Him in an even stronger and more pervasive oneness. This is an even stronger spiritual union. Consequently it is a very serious thing to give to a prostitute what God has so strongly united to Christ.
Paul expressed his argument in a chiasm.
AYour bodies are members of Christ"s body.BSo they must not be members of a prostitute"s body.B"Joined to a prostitute your members become one body with her.A"Joined to Christ your members become one spirit with Him.

Context Summary

1 Corinthians 6:12-20 - Keeping The Body Holy
It is interesting to compare 1 Corinthians 6:12 with 1 Corinthians 10:23. There are four clauses in each verse, three of which are similar, but the last ones differ. The two laws that should govern our life in doubtful things, are first, the arresting of oneself in the doing of anything which threatens to become our master; and second, the abstaining from anything which threatens to be a stumbling-block in another's Christian life.
It is not enough to watch against temptation; we should be so filled with the Spirit of the risen Savior that the desires of the flesh shall have no fascination. The power that raised the body of Jesus from the grave is surely strong enough to raise our bodies from the bondage of corruption and to translate them to the resurrection plane. Let us keep joined to the Lord by one Spirit, that He may pour His own living energy into our nature. When He redeemed us, He undertook to save us wholly and entirely-spirit, soul, and body, 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Hand the keeping of your body over to Him. Consider that it is the forecourt of a temple, in the inner shrine of which the Holy Spirit lives; and as of old the glory of the Lord filled the whole structure, so trust the Spirit of Holiness to make and keep you whole. [source]

Chapter Summary: 1 Corinthians 6

1  The Corinthians must take their brothers to court;
6  especially under infidels
9  The wicked shall not inherit the kingdom of God
15  Our bodies are the members of Christ, and temples of the Holy Spirit:
19  they must not therefore be defiled

Greek Commentary for 1 Corinthians 6:17

One spirit [εν πνευμα]
With the Lord, the inner vital spiritual union with the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 4:4; Ephesians 5:30). [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for 1 Corinthians 6:17

Acts 5:13 Join himself [κολλᾶσθαι]
See on Luke 15:15; and Luke 10:11. In all but two instances (Romans 12:9; 1 Corinthians 6:17), the word implies a forced, unnatural, or unexpected union. Thus Philip would not, without a special command, have “joined himself” to the chariot of the Ethiopian prince (Acts 8:29). Saul's attempt to join himself to the apostles was regarded by them with suspicion (Acts 9:26); and the fact that certain persons “clave to” Paul in Athens is expressly contrasted with the attitude of the citizens at large. The sense of an unnatural union comes out clearly in 1 Corinthians 6:16. [source]
Romans 7:5 In the flesh [ἐν τῇ σαρκί]
Σάρξ fleshoccurs in the classics in the physical sense only. Homer commonly uses it in the plural as denoting all the flesh or muscles of the body. Later the singular occurs in the same sense. Paul's use of this and other psychological terms must be determined largely by the Old-Testament usage as it appears in the Septuagint. 1. In the physical sense. The literal flesh. In the Septuagint τὰ κρέα flesh(plural) is used where the reference is to the parts of animals slain, and αἱ σάρκες , flesh (plural) where the reference is to flesh as the covering of the living body. Hence Paul uses κρέα in Romans 14:21; 1 Corinthians 8:13, of the flesh of sacrificed animals. Compare also the adjective σάρκιμος fleshy 2 Corinthians 3:3; and Ezekiel 11:19; Ezekiel 36:26, Sept. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
2. Kindred. Denoting natural or physical relationship, Romans 1:3; Romans 9:3-8; Romans 11:14; Galatians 4:23, Galatians 4:29; 1 Corinthians 10:18; Philemon 1:16. This usage forms a transition to the following sense: the whole human body. Flesh is the medium in and through which the natural relationship of man manifests itself. Kindred is conceived as based on community of bodily substance. Therefore:-DIVIDER-
3. The body itself. The whole being designated by the part, as being its main substance and characteristic, 1 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Corinthians 7:28; 2 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 10:3; 2 Corinthians 12:7. Romans 2:28; Galatians 6:13, etc. Paul follows the Septuagint in sometimes using σῶμα bodyand sometimes σάρξ fleshin this sense, so that the terms occasionally seem to be practically synonymous. Thus 1 Corinthians 6:16, 1 Corinthians 6:17, where the phrase one body is illustrated and confirmed by one flesh. See Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:28, Ephesians 5:31, where the two are apparently interchanged. Compare 2 Corinthians 4:10, 2 Corinthians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 5:3, and Colossians 2:5. Σάρξ , however, differs from σῶμα in that it can only signify the organism of an earthly, living being consisting of flesh and bones, and cannot denote “either an earthly organism that is not living, or a living organism that is not earthly” (Wendt, in Dickson). Σῶμα not thus limited. Thus it may denote the organism of the plant (1 Corinthians 15:37, 1 Corinthians 15:38) or the celestial bodies (1 Corinthians 15:40). Hence the two conceptions are related as general and special: σῶμα bodybeing the material organism apart from any definite matter (not from any sort of matter), σάρξ , flesh, the definite, earthly, animal organism. The two are synonymons when σῶμα is used, from the context, of an earthly, animal body. Compare Philemon 1:22; 2 Corinthians 5:1-8. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Σῶμα bodyand not σάρξ fleshis used when the reference is to a metaphorical organism, as the church, Romans 12:4sqq.; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 12:12-27; Ephesians 1:23; Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:18, etc. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
The σάρξ is described as mortal (2 Corinthians 4:11); subject to infirmity (Galatians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 12:7); locally limited (Colossians 2:15); an object of fostering care (Ephesians 5:29). -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
4. Living beings generally, including their mental nature, and with a correlated notion of weakness and perishableness. Thus the phrase πᾶσα σάρξ allflesh (Genesis 6:12; Isaiah 49:26; Isaiah 49:23). This accessory notion of weakness stands in contrast with God. In Paul the phrase all flesh is cited from the Old Testament (Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16) and is used independently (1 Corinthians 1:29). In all these instances before God is added. So in Galatians 1:16, flesh and blood implies a contrast of human with divine wisdom. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:50; Ephesians 6:12. This leads up to-DIVIDER-
5. Man “either as a creature in his natural state apart from Christ, or the creaturely side or aspect of the man in Christ.” Hence it is correlated with ἄνθρωπος man 1 Corinthians 3:3; Romans 6:19; 2 Corinthians 5:17. Compare Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9; Galatians 5:24. Thus the flesh would seem to be interchangeable with the old man. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
It has affections and lusts (Galatians 5:24); willings (Ephesians 2:3; Romans 8:6, Romans 8:7); a mind (Colossians 2:18); a body (Colossians 2:11). -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
It is in sharp contrast with πνεῦμα spirit(Galatians 3:3, Galatians 3:19; Galatians 5:16, Galatians 5:17, Galatians 5:19-24; Galatians 6:8; Romans 8:4). The flesh and the spirit are thus antagonistic. Σάρξ fleshbefore or in contrast with his reception of the divine element whereby he becomes a new creature in Christ: the whole being of man as it exists and acts apart from the influence of the Spirit. It properly characterizes, therefore, not merely the lower forms of sensual gratification, but all - the highest developments of the life estranged from God, whether physical, intellectual, or aesthetic. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
It must be carefully noted:-DIVIDER-
1. That Paul does not identify flesh and sin. Compare, flesh of sin, Romans 8:3. See Romans 7:17, Romans 7:18; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Galatians 2:20. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
2. That Paul does not identify σάρξ withthe material body nor associate sin exclusively and predominantly with the body. The flesh is the flesh of the living man animated by the soul ( ψυχή ) as its principle of life, and is distinctly used as coordinate with ἄνθρωπος manAs in the Old Testament, “it embraces in an emphatic manner the nature of man, mental and corporeal, with its internal distinctions.” The spirit as well as the flesh is capable of defilement (2 Corinthians 7:1; compare 1 Corinthians 7:34). Christian life is to be transformed by the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2; compare Ephesians 4:23). -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
3. That Paul does not identify the material side of man with evil. The flesh is not the native seat and source of sin. It is only its organ, and the seat of sin's manifestation. Matter is not essentially evil. The logical consequence of this would be that no service of God is possible while the material organism remains. See Romans 12:1. The flesh is not necessarily sinful in itself; but as it has existed from the time of the introduction of sin through Adam, it is recognized by Paul as tainted with sin. Jesus appeared in the flesh, and yet was sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21).The motions of sins ( τὰ παθήματα τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν )Motions used in earlier English for emotions or impulses. Thus Bacon: “He that standeth at a stay where others rise, can hardly avoid motions of envy” (“Essay” xiv.). The word is nearly synonymous with πάθος passion(Romans 1:26, note). From πάθειν tosuffer; a feeling which the mind undergoes, a passion, desire. Rev., sinful passions: which led to sins.Did work ( ἐνηργεῖτο )Rev., wrought. See 2 Corinthians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 4:12; Ephesians 3:20; Galatians 5:6; Philemon 2:13; Colossians 1:29. Compare Mark 6:14, and see on power, John 1:12. [source]

Romans 12:9 Abhor [αποστυγουντες]
Old verb with intensive This same idiom appears with κολλωμενοι — kollōmenoi (cleaving) for which verb see 1 Corinthians 6:17, with προηγουμενοι — proēgoumenoi (preferring) in Romans 12:10 (old verb here only in N.T.), and with the participles in Romans 12:11-13 and again in Romans 12:16-18. One can supply εστε — este if he prefers. [source]

What do the individual words in 1 Corinthians 6:17 mean?

The [one] however being joined to the Lord one spirit is
δὲ κολλώμενος τῷ Κυρίῳ ἓν πνεῦμά ἐστιν

  The  [one] 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
δὲ  however 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
κολλώμενος  being  joined 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Middle or Passive, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: κολλάω  
Sense: to glue, to glue together, cement, fasten together.
τῷ  to  the 
Parse: Article, Dative Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Κυρίῳ  Lord 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Singular
Root: κύριος  
Sense: he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord.
ἓν  one 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: εἷς  
Sense: one.
πνεῦμά  spirit 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: πνεῦμα  
Sense: a movement of air (a gentle blast.