1 Corinthians 4:18-6:20

The structure of 1 Corinthians is challenging. Here is a suggestion for starters  trying to follow the train of thought through chapters 4-6. It seems to me that there is a lot of stepwise parallelism rather than chiasmus. SRP


A. 4:18 Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.

B.4:19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will,

C1. 4:19 and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but  the power.

C2. 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.

A’. 4:21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the  spirit of meekness?


2A. 5:1-2 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you,  and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles,  that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

2B. 5:3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as  though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,

2C. 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

2A’. 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Note: 2A/2B/2C/2A’ above appear to run in parallel as a set with A/B/C/A’ which focus on – the puffed up attitude of the Corinthians, the presence of Paul physically or in spirit, the power of the Lord, and the judgment that will be made.

3A.5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven
leaveneth the whole lump?

3B. 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven,

3C. 5:7 that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened.

3D 5:7 For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

3B’. 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness;

3C’. 5:8 but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

4A. 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

4B. 5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

4C. 5:11 if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

4B1′. 5:12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without?

4C’. 5:12 do not ye judge them that are within?

4B2’. 5:13 But them that are without  God judgeth.

4A’. 5:13 Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Note; in this section 4A,B, and C repeat the nature of the sin that had come into the ecclesia from the world.  4B’C’B’ and A’ emphasise  judgment and who would bring it about. 


5A.6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?

5B. 6:2-3
a. Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?

b. and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

a’. Know ye not that we shall judge angels?

b’. how much more things that pertain to this life?

5B’ 6: 4-5
a. If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life,

b. set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

c. I speak to your shame.

b’. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you?

a’. no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?

5A’. 6:6
a.  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.

b. Why do ye not rather take wrong?

c. why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

b’.(8)  Nay, ye do wrong,

c’. and defraud,

a ’. and that your brethren.

Note: this section shows that the saints will be responsible for the administration of  the Kingdom of God when Christ returns. If that is so they ought to be able to administer ecclesial affairs without recourse to Roman magistrates.


6A. 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous 

6B. shall not inherit the kingdom of God?

6C. 6:9 Be not deceived:

6A’. neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor

6B’.shall inherit the kingdom of God.

7A. 6:11 And such were some of you:

7B. i.  but ye are washed,
ii.but ye are sanctified,
iii.but ye are justified

7C. in the name of the Lord Jesus,
and by the Spirit of our God.

8A. 6:12 All things are lawful unto me,

8B. but all things are not expedient:

8A’.            all things are lawful for me,

8B’, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

9A 6:13. Meats

9B. for the belly,

9B’. and the belly

9A’. for meats:

10A 6:13 but God shall destroy both

a.  it

b.. and them.

11A. 6:13 a. Now the body is not for fornication,

b. but for the Lord;

b’ and the Lord

a’. for the body.

11B. 6:14 a. And God hath both raised up the Lord,
a’. and will also raise up us by his own power.

11B’. 6:15

a. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?

b. shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them
the members of an harlot?

c. (Never) God forbid.

b’. 6:16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an
harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

a’. 6:17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

11A’. 6:18 Flee fornication.

12A. 6:18

a. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body;

b. but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his
own body.

B. 6:19 What?

a. know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy
Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God,

a’. and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price:

A’. 6:20

a. therefore glorify God

b. in your body,

b’. and in your spirit,

a’. which are God’s.


One thought on “1 Corinthians 4:18-6:20”

  1. This was what I thought for 6v13:
    c: Meats for the belly,

    b: and the belly for meats:

    A: but God shall destroy both it and them.

    b: Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord;

    c: and the Lord for the body.

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