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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 6 - Verse 1

 

1st Corinthians CHAPTER 6

The main design of this chapter is to reprove the Corinthians for the practice of going to law before heathen courts or magistrates, instead of settling their differences among themselves. It seems that after their conversion they were still in the habit of carrying their causes before heathen tribunals, and this the apostle regarded as contrary to the genius and spirit of the Christian religion, and as tending to expose religion to contempt in the eyes of the men of the world. He, therefore, 1 Co 6:1-7, reproves this practice, and shows them that their differences should be settled among themselves. It seems also that the spirit of litigation and of covetousness had led them in some instances to practise fraud and oppression of each other; and he therefore takes occasion 1 Co 6:8-11 to show that this was wholly inconsistent with the hope of heaven and the nature of Christianity.

It would seem, also, that some at Corinth had not only indulged in these and kindred vices, but had actually defended them. This was done by plausible, but sophistical arguments, drawn from the strong passions of men; from the fact that the body was made for eating and drinking, etc. To these arguments the apostle replies in the close of the chapter, 1 Co 6:12-20, and especially considers the sin of fornication, to which they were particularly exposed in Corinth, and shows the heinousness of it, and its entire repugnance to the pure gospel of Christ.

Verse 1. Dare any of you. The reasons why the apostle introduced this subject here may have been,

(1.) that he had mentioned the subject of judging, 1 Co 5:13, and that naturally suggested the topic which is here introduced; and

(2.) this might have been a prevailing evil in the church of Corinth, and demanded correction. The word dare here implies that it was inconsistent with religion, and improper. "Can you do it; is it proper or right; or do you presume so far to violate all the principles of Christianity as to do it?"

Having a matter. A subject of litigation; or a suit. There may be differences between men in regard to property and right, in which there shall be no blame on either side. They may both be desirous of having it equitably and amicably adjusted. It is not a difference between men that is in itself wrong, but it is the spirit with which the difference is adhered to, and the unwillingness to have justice done, that is so often wrong.

Against another. Another member of the church. A Christian brother. The apostle here directs his reproof against the plaintiff, as having the choice of the tribunal before which he would bring the cause.

Before the unjust. The heathen tribunals; for the word unjust here evidently stands opposed to the saints. The apostle does not mean that they were always unjust in their decisions, or that equity could in no case be hoped from them, but that they were classed in that division of the world which was different from the saints, and is synonymous with unbelievers, as opposed to believers.

And not before the saints. Before Christians. Can you not settle your differences among yourselves as Christians, by leaving the cause to your brethren, as arbitrators, instead of going before heathen magistrates? The Jews would not allow any of their causes to be brought before the Gentile courts. Their rule was this: "He that tries a cause before the judges of the Gentiles, and before their tribunals, although their judgments are as the judgments of the Israelites, so this is an ungodly man," etc. Maimon. Hilch. Sanhedrim, chap. xxvi. § 7. They even looked no such an action as bad as profaning the name of God.

{*} "unjust" "unrighteous"

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