But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit
-- 1 Corinthians 6:17 (KJV)

In my translation it says "he who is joining", thus presenting quite a different perspective on the matter. I wonder what the Greek (or Aramaic?) texts have to provide there. Is there a category of tense in the verb "join" in the original? If yes, what tense is used, or more precisely, what idea is being conveyed?

Is it like:

  1. {he who HAS already JOINED the Lord} the act of joining unto the Lord has already taken place in the past and that is once and for all?


  1. {he who regularly JOINS the Lord} the act of joining is taking place repeatedly on the regular, say, daily basis (that is, whenever the person performs some necessary act for that, for example, a prayer)?


  1. {he who JOINS the Lord at this very crucial and unique moment of his life} still once-and-for-all act is meant, but it is talked about in the present-tense sense?

Also, is there a category of voice in the original? If yes, what idea is being conveyed?

Is it like:

  1. the act of joining is carried out by the person himself (active-voice sense)?


  1. the act of joining is carried out by someone else and, perhaps, even without any effort from the person himself (passive-voice sense)?
  • Is "Joining" metaphorical for something? Perhaps, "Marriage", "Sex", etc.? Sep 4, 2017 at 17:40
  • @Ruminator Bugging OP's to accept answers is generally considered bad etiquette on this site. Even when there is an accepted answer we encourage more answers if somebody things they can pull of a better one, and just because there isn't a check mark doesn't mean much. Questions & Answer sets are for more than just the original questioner.
    – Caleb
    Nov 1, 2017 at 9:10

3 Answers 3


The Context

1 Corithians 6:15-17

Know you not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. Or know you not, that he who is joined [κολλωμενος] to a harlot, is made one body? For they shall be, as he saith: the two shall be one flesh. But he who is joined [κολλωμενος] to the Lord, is one spirit.

The central argument is that in the conjugal act, the two become one flesh. Similarly, when we become members of Jesus Christ, our spirit and God's become "one spirit." That is, just as two fleshes united become one flesh. Therefore, he says, flee from fornication as joining the body of Christ, and God's Spirit, to a harlot. To commit fornication by joining yourself to a harlot, you have committed, as it were, adultery against Christ.

The Greek Word

κολλωμενος kollomenos

That is, the 'joined-one [to]' x. This is what the verb means in Greek and in context, in both places. In my understanding.

Specifically, the word is made up of a root verb κολλάω (kollao) (verb meaning to join or cleave) and an ending μενος (menos) which stands grammatically for '< one described accurately by this verb'. That is, "who is joined [to]" describes this hypothetical person; the man joined to a harlot in one flesh, and the man joined to God, as it were, in the one spirit. Without saying anything of the time period during which it took place, or its remaining true to the present. Only that it is true of said hypothetical person that at a time he was accurately described this way and/or still is.

For example, Sirach 18:17:

οὐκ ἰδοὺ λόγος ὑπὲρ δόμα ἀγαθόν καὶ ἀμφότερα παρὰ ἀνδρὶ κεχαριτωμένῳ

Behold, does not a word surpass a good gift? And both are with a man graced.

Now in this case the κε means 'has already been [graced] and still is.' But the ending is the same in meaning (even though it is in the dative form [μένῳ]). And that is: someone now defined by the fact that verb x is (or was) true of him. He has been graced. The Christian has joined himself to God.

Another way of translating 'μενος' verbs is, and to be archaic, 'a man' followed by the relevent rendering of the verb in English: "a man [having been] graced."

κολλωμενος simply means 'the one joined [to]'. And this is synonymous with 'he that joins or has joined himself' (active).

In my understanding, the context is how we determine whether it is passive or active. In the context of the passage in 1 Corinthians, it is hypothetical, and so is agnostic to the passiveness or activeness of the joining: it just means 'the one joined' or 'the one who joins himself.'

Parenthetically, the Latin Vulgate has:

Qui .. adhǽret Dómino

That is, the one adhering to the Lord. Again, quite neutral.

I am open to correction by those who understand Greek much better than I.

  • Thanks @Ruminator. However, I think your link it broken or invalid :/ I get "" not a webpage. Sep 4, 2017 at 18:26

I think that the source of the confusion is that in English the word "join" in the present tense has an "inceptive" sense to it and a "punctiliar" sense to it. That is, it relates to a "beginning" and is "once for all". You join a Church once and then the joining is over and done.

To eliminate the confusion with the least amount of syntactical gymnastics I recommend translating with a word like "clings" as in this example:

King James Bible Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave ["clinging"] to that which is good.

That is the same Greek word, also a present participle. The same word is used of dirt sticking to one's sandals:

ESV Luke 10:11‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’

It's "sticking".


The act of joining is the man joining the spirit in full submission to God. 'The spirit is willing but the flesh weak', means you must be focused to be successful. The act of the spirit joining is, was, and will be when it comes to God: pretend you know nothing, and then ask him in prayer. The following is the spirit of Christ with me, then be observant of what happens.

You cannot be passive! God's people, Israel, strive everyday according to his word, abiding by the covenant of love. You cannot be a passive member of God's community. It is equality itself, freedom itself, love itself, peace, i.e. the first-fruits of the Lord. If you produce these daily, your spirit by God's will shall open any lock.

God is the unseen master, and the answer to receiving his mercy is believing in him the Most High. He only promises hell because we fail to recognise his spirit is always with us. He is with all things, observant and caring. So, when you disrespect his creation, it is a mark against yourself.

Finally the man and the spirit can communicate with one voice, or one nation, or one heart, or one mind, meaning that unity is required -- man unified with God by spirit. Singing joyfully and positively is a way to wake up the spirit.

God made man from black clay, so Israel is black people. Now, really focus on the music and words. They speak of Israel being restored and destroyed around us. It's mercy for some, punishment for others. God is not absent. He has always been present tense. He's the very spirit you speak of.

Be always mindful of his work -- all his work. That means from Torah to Quran. He allowed it. Be observant my friends! It's all a test.

May the peace and mercy of our Lord be with you in abundance.

  • Did you confuse hermeneutics.stackexchange.com with christianity.stackexchange.com? I need an answer based on the text qouted
    – brilliant
    Aug 4, 2017 at 6:54

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