“All things are permissible for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are permissible for me,” but I will not be controlled by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12, PME)
A version like the 1995 NASU has, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” This is an unfortunate rendering on various accounts. “All things are lawful” is first an incorrect translation of the Greek Panta moi exestin, and secondly the significant majority of 1 Corinthians commentators are agreed that this clause is a slogan of a particular faction of the Corinthians that Paul is having to address or even refute (among others possibly appearing in 1 Corinthians).
A number of English versions offer a much better rendering of panta moi exestin: “Everything is permissible for me” (NIV); “Everything is permitted for me” (TLV). The term often mistranslated “lawful” is exesti, “it is allowed, it is in one’s power, is possible” (LS, 273).
There are significant English versions that place this clause in quotation marks “ “ in 1 Corinthians 6:12. The placement of “All things are permissible for me” in quotation marks “ ” in the PME reflects the widespread view that Paul is quoting from a Corinthian slogan, and then addressing or refuting it. This follows the pattern of the RSV/NRSV/ESV and 1984 NIV.