|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:1-8 Christians should not contend with one another, for they are brethren. This, if duly attended to, would prevent many law-suits, and end many quarrels and disputes. In matters of great damage to ourselves or families, we may use lawful means to right ourselves, but Christians should be of a forgiving temper. Refer the matters in dispute, rather than go to law about them. They are trifles, and may easily be settled, if you first conquer your own spirits. Bear and forbear, and the men of least skill among you may end your quarrels. It is a shame that little quarrels should grow to such a head among Christians, that they cannot be determined by the brethren. The peace of a man's own mind, and the calm of his neighbourhood, are worth more than victory. Lawsuits could not take place among brethren, unless there were faults among them.
Verse 5. - I speak to your shame. He adds this to account for the severe irony of the last remark. Not a wise man among you. Among you, who set yourselves up as so specially wise! To judge; rather, to decide.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I speak to your shame,.... Not that they did set such persons to judge, but that they did not; and instead of so doing went to law with their brethren before the unjust:
is it so that there is not a wise man among you? this also the apostle speaks to their shame, who had so much gloried in their wisdom, and boasted of their parts and abilities to the contempt of others, and even of the apostle himself; and yet acted as if there was not a wise man among them capable of judging and determining trivial matters, but they must carry them before unconverted persons:
no not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? for though the above mentioned benches consisted of three persons, yet the contending parties might choose one man to be an arbitrator and judge between them. The rule with the Jews was this (f);
"pecuniary judgments are by three, but if he is authorised or approved by the majority, , "he may judge alone". Says R. Nachman, as I judge pecuniary judgments alone; and so says R. Chaijah, as I judge pecuniary punishments alone.''
(f) T. Bab. Sanhed. fol. 5. 1. Maimon. Hilch. Sanhed. c. 5. sect. 8.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. your shame—Thus he checks their puffed-up spirit (1Co 5:2; compare 1Co 15:34). To shame you out of your present unworthy course of litigation before the heathen, I have said (1Co 6:4), "Set the least esteemed in the Church to judge." Better even this, than your present course.
Is it so?—Are you in such a helpless state that, &c.?
not a wise man—though ye admire "wisdom" so much on other occasions (1Co 1:5, 22). Paul alludes probably to the title, "cachain," or wise man, applied to each Rabbi in Jewish councils.
no, not one—not even one, amidst so many reputed among you for wisdom (1Co 3:18; 4:6).
shall be able—when applied to.
brethren—literally, "brother"; that is, judge between brother and brother. As each case should arise, the arbitrator was to be chosen from the body of the church, such a wise person as had the charism, or gift, of church government.
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