Does Paul really believe that “I have the right to do anything” ( 1 Cor 6:12)? Really? Anything?
Of course not. Paul does not have the right to sin. He doesn’t have the right to walk away from his ministry. So what is happening in v 12? And why does the NASB and KJV write, “All things are lawful for me” when we know they are not?
What do the other translations tell you? Many translations put the phrase in quotation marks. “’All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful” (ESV, also HCSB, NRSV, NET). What would be the point? If you have done your homework, you know what Paul is doing. He is quoting what his Corinthians opponents are saying. He doesn’t agree with them, but he is citing them. So how do you indicate that in English?