All things are lawful (1 Cor. 6:12)

“‘All things are lawful

For me.’

But not all things

Are helpful.

‘All things are lawful

For me.’

But I will not be enslaved

By anything.”

Πάντα μοι ἔξεστιν, ἀλλ’ οὐ πάντα συμφέρει. πάντα μοι ἔξεστιν, ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἐγὼ ἐξουσιασθήσομαι ὑπό τινος.

Paul said that all things are lawful for him (Πάντα μοι ἔξεστιν).  But not all things are helpful or profitable (ἀλλ’ οὐ πάντα συμφέρει).  All things are lawful for him (πάντα μοι ἔξεστιν).  But he will not be enslaved or dominated (ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἐγὼ ἐξουσιασθήσομαι) by anything (ὑπό τινος).  This saying “all things are lawful” was a Corinthian slogan that meant no matter what they did, nothing was wrong.  Thus, sexual activity was not a moral issue but amoral, that is it had no ethical standing since it was like eating or drinking.  They saw a split between the life of the spirit and physical activities.  Paul repeated this phrase twice.  He pointed out that not all lawful things help or bring about a profit.  You can lose things being lawful also.  He added that he personally would not be enslaved by anything.  Nothing would have control over him.  Paul was getting back to the problem of standards.  Can you do anything that you want to do?

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