1 Corinthians 6 – Lawsuits Among Brethren 7 Roman Archaeologists Find Oldest Images of Apostles in a Catacomb

Tomorrow we’ll look at…

1 Corinthians 6
Lawsuits Among Brethren

1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?

“A matter against another” – Paul seems to be talking about various kinds of property court cases here, not criminal cases that should be handled by the state.

“Before the saints” – the Corinthians should take their property cases before qualified Christians for settlement. 

In Paul’s day the Romans allowed the Jews to apply their own law in property mattes, and since the Romans did not yet consider Christians as a separate class from the Jews, Christians no doubt had the same rights.

2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

“Are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” – Paul views believers as fully competent to judge cases where Christians have claims against each other because they view matters from a godly vantage point.

In comparison with their future role in the judgment of the world and of angels, judgments concerning things of this life are insignificant.

3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?

4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? No, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?

The Catacomb of Saint Thecla is a Christian catacomb in the city of Rome, near the Via Ostiense and the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, in the southern quarter of the ancient city. The catacomb was constructed in the fourth century of the Common Era, linked with a basilica to the saint that is alluded to in literature. Because of the enigmatic endings of the legends of Saint Thecla of Iconium, it is still unknown whether the tomb belongs to the saint or if it belongs to a different noblewoman. Regardless, the tomb is an example of early Christian funerary practice and artwork. The most recent discovery in the catacomb was the depiction of several apostles, hypothesized to be their earliest portrayals. Of particular interest to many is the portrait of the Apostle Paul.
The Catacomb of Saint Thecla is a Christian catacomb in the city of Rome, near the Via Ostiense and the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, in the southern quarter of the ancient city.
The catacomb was constructed in the fourth century of the Common Era, linked with a basilica to the saint that is alluded to in literature. Because of the enigmatic endings of the legends of Saint Thecla of Iconium, it is still unknown whether the tomb belongs to the saint or if it belongs to a different noblewoman. Regardless, the tomb is an example of early Christian funerary practice and artwork.

The most recent discovery in the catacomb was the depiction of several apostles, hypothesized to be their earliest portrayals. Of particular interest to many is the portrait of the Apostle Paul.

6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.

7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

“Utterly a fault” – most likely by greed, retaliation and hatred, instead of practicing unselfishness, forgiveness and love – even willingness to suffer loss.

8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

“Fornicators” – Paul here identifies three kinds of sexually immoral persons: adulterers, male prostitutes and males who practice homosexuality.  In Rom 1:26 he adds the category of females who practice homosexuality.

People who engage in such practices, as well as the other offenders listed in vv. 9-10, are explicitly excluded from God’s kingdom (but see next note).

10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

“Such were some of you” – God, however, does save and sanctify people like those described in vv. 9-10 if they repent, i.e., ask for forgiveness and stop committing the sin.

12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

“Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats” – Paul quotes some Corinthians again who were claiming that as the physical acts of eating and digesting food have no bearing on one’s inner spiritual life, so the physical act of promiscuous sexual activity does not affect one’s spiritual life.

“The body is not for fornication, but for the Lord” – Paul here declares the dignity of the human body: It is intended for the Lord.  Although granting that food and the stomach are transitory, Paul denies that what one does with his body is unimportant. 

This is particularly true of the use of sex, which the Lord has ordained in wedlock for the good of mankind.

14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

“God…raised up the Lord…also raise up us” – as an illustration of God’s high regard for the body, Paul cites the resurrection of Christ’s body and eventually, the believer’s body.  A body destined for resurrection should not be used for immorality.

15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of a harlot? God forbid.

“Members of Christ” – It is not merely the spirit that is a member of Christ’s body; it is the whole person, consisting of spirit and body.  This fact gives dignity to the human  body.

16 What? Know ye not that he which is joined to a harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

“One body” – in sexual relationship the two bodies become one and a new human being may emerge from the sexual union.  Sexual relations outside the marriage bond are a gross perversion of the divinely established marriage union.

17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

President Barack Obama speaks at a fundraiser in New York City, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

“Every sin…without the body” – perhaps means that in a unique way, sexual immorality gratifies one’s physical body.  Paul may be quoting a Corinthian slogan which he refutes in the second half of the verse.

“But he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body” – the body is a temple of the Holy Ghost; thus to use it in prostitution disgraces God’s temple.  Furthermore, the prostitutes of Corinth were dedicated to the service of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and sex.

19 What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Roman Archaeologists Find
Oldest Images of Apostles in a Catacomb

ROME — The earliest known icons of the Apostles Peter and Paul have been discovered in a catacomb under an eight-story modern office building in a working-class neighborhood of Rome, Vatican officials said Tuesday.
The images, which date from the second half of the 4th century, were discovered on the ceiling of a tomb that also includes the earliest known images of the apostles John and Andrew.

They were uncovered using a new laser technique that allowed restorers to burn off centuries of thick white calcium carbonate deposits without damaging the dark colors of the original paintings underneath.

Archaeologists and art restorers using new laser technology have discovered what they believe are the oldest paintings of the faces of Jesus Christ’s Apostles. 

The images in a branch of the catacombs of St Tecla near St Paul’s Basilica, just outside the walls of ancient Rome, were painted at the end of the 4th century or the start of the 5th century.

Archaeologists believe these images may have been among those that most influenced later artists’ depictions of the faces of Christ’s most important early followers. 

“These are the first images that we know of the faces of these four Apostles,” said Professor Fabrizio Bisconti, the head of archaeology for Rome’s numerous catacombs, which are owned and maintained by the Vatican.

The full-face icons include visages of St Peter, St Andrew, and St John, who were among Jesus’ original 12 Apostles, and St. Paul, who became an Apostle after Christ’s death.

The paintings have the same characteristics as later images, such as St. Paul’s rugged, wrinkled and elongated forehead and balding head and pointy beard, indicating they may have been the ones which set the standard.

The four circles, about 50 cm in diameter, are on the ceiling of the underground burial place of a noblewoman who is believed to have converted to Christianity at the end of the same century when the emperor Constantine made it legal.

The tomb, in a web of catacombs under a modern building, is not yet open to the public because of continued work, difficult access and limited space. Bisconti said the new discoveries will be made available for viewing by specialists for the time being.

…marriage in Ancient Rome.