1 Corinthians 6:7
Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because you go to law one with another. Why do you not rather take wrong? why do you not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) A fault.—Better, a falling short of your privilege and dignity as Christians. It is the same word as is rendered “diminishing” in Romans 11:12. The Apostle in this verse goes one step farther, and condemns the Corinthians, not only on the ground of the tribunals to which they resorted being heathen, but further condemns the spirit of litigation itself. He reminds them of how such a temper of mind is the very opposite of that which the Lord Himself had commended to His followers (Matthew 5:40).

1 Corinthians 6:7-8. Now therefore — But, indeed, there is plainly a fault in you, whoever may have the right on his side; that ye go to law with one another — Or that ye quarrel with one another at all, whether ye go to law or not. Why do ye not rather take, or suffer, wrong — Endure it patiently, and sit down with the loss? Why do ye not suffer yourselves to be defrauded — Rather than seek a remedy in such a way as this? All men cannot, or will not, receive this saying. Many aim only at this, “I will neither do wrong nor suffer it.” These are honest heathen, but no Christians. Nay Αλλα, but, ye are so far from bearing injuries and frauds, that ye do wrong to, or injure openly, and defraud — Privately, and that even your Christian brethren.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.There is utterly a fault - There is ALtogether a fault; or you are entirely wrong in this thing.

That ye go to law ... - That is, in the sense under discussion, or before pagan magistrates. This was the point under discussion, and the interpretation should be limited to this. Whatever may be the propriety or impropriety of going to law before Christian magistrates, yet the point which the apostle refers to was that of going to law before pagans. The passage, therefore, should not be interpreted as referring to all litigation, but only of that which was the subject of discussion. The apostle says that that was wholly wrong; that they ought by no means to go with their causes against their fellow Christians before pagan magistrates; that whoever had the right side of the question, and whatever might be the decision, "the thing itself" was unChristian and wrong; and that rather than dishonor religion by a trial or suit of this kind they ought to be willing to take wrong, and to suffer any personal and private injustice. The argument is, that greater evil would be done to the cause of Christ by the fact of Christians appearing before a pagan tribunal with their disputes than could result to either party from the injury done by the other - And this is probably always the case; so that although the apostle refers here to pagan tribunals the same reasoning, on the principle, would apply to Christians carrying their causes into the courts at all.

Why do ye not rather take wrong? - Why do ye not suffer yourself to be injured rather than to dishonor the cause of religion by your litigations? They should do this:

(1) Because religion requires its friends to be willing to suffer wrong patiently; Proverbs 20:22; Matthew 5:39-40; Romans 12:17, Romans 12:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:15.

(2) because great injury results to the cause of religion from such trials. The private wrong which an individual would suffer, in perhaps all cases, would be a less evil on the whole than the public injury which is done to the cause of piety by the litigations and strifes of Christian brethren before a civil court.

(3) the differences among Christians could be adjusted among themselves, by a reference to their brethren. In 99 cases out of 100, the decision would be more likely to be just and satisfactory to all parties from an amicable reference, than from the decisions of a civil court. In "the very few" cases where it would be otherwise, it would be better for the individual to suffer, than for the cause of religion to suffer. Christians ought to love the cause of their Master more than their own individual interest. They ought to be more afraid that the cause of Jesus Christ would be injured than that they should be a few pounds poorer from the conduct of others, or than that they should individually suffer in their character from the injustice of others.

To be defrauded? - Receive injury; or suffer a loss of property. Grotius thinks that the word "take wrong" refers to personal insult; and the word "defrauded" refers to injury in property. Together, they are probably designed to refer to all kinds of injury and injustice. And the apostle means to say, that they had better submit to any kind of injustice than carry the cause against a Christian brother before a pagan tribunal. The doctrine here taught is that Christians ought by no means to go to law with each other before a pagan tribunal; that they ought to be willing to suffer any injury from a Christian brother rather than do it. And by implication the same thing is taught in regard to the duty of all Christians, "that they ought to suffer any injury to their persons and property rather than dishonor religion by litigations before civil magistrates." It may be asked then whether law suits are never proper; or whether courts of justice are never to be resorted to by Christians to secure their rights? To this question we may reply, that the discussion of Paul relates only to Christians, when both parties are Christians, and that it is designed to prohibit such an appeal to courts by them. If ever lawful for Christians to depart from this rule, or for Christians to appear before a civil tribunal, it is conceived that it can be only in circumstances like the following:

(1) Where two or more Christians may have a difference, and where they know not what is right, and what the law is in a case. In such instances there may be a reference to a civil court to determine it - to have what is called "an amicable suit," to ascertain from the proper authority what the law is, and what is justice in the case.

(2) when there are causes of difference between Christians and the people of the world. As the people of the world do not acknowledge the propriety of submitting the matter to the church, it may be proper for a Christian to carry the matter before a civil tribunal. Evidently, there is no other way, in such cases, of settling a cause; and this mode may be resorted to not with a spirit of revenge, but with a spirit of love and kindness. Courts are instituted for the settlement of the rights of citizens, and people by becoming Christians do not alienate their rights as citizens. Even these cases, however, might commonly be adjusted by a reference to impartial people. better than by the slow, and expensive, and tedious, and often irritating process of carrying a cause through the courts.

(3) Where a Christian is injured in his person, character, or property, he has a right to seek redress. Courts, are instituted for the protection and defense of the innocent and the peaceable against the fraudulent, the wicked, and the violent. And a Christian owes it to his country, to his family, and to himself, that the man who has injured him should receive the proper punishment. The peace and welfare of the community demand it. If a man murders my wife or child, I owe it to the laws and to my country, to justice and to God, to endeavor to have the law enforced. So if a man robs my property, or injures my character, I may owe it to others as well as to myself that the law in such a case should be executed, and the rights of others also be secured. But in all these cases, a Christian should engage in such prosecutions not with a desire of revenge, not with the love of litigation, but with the love of justice, and of God, and with a mild, tender, candid and forgiving temper, with a real desire that the opponent may be benefited, and that all his rights also should be secured; compare the notes on Romans 13.

7. utterly a fault—literally, "a shortcoming" (not so strong as sin). Your going to law at all is a falling short of your high privileges, not to say your doing so before unbelievers, which aggravates it.

rather take wrong—(Pr 20:22; Mt 5:39, 40); that is, "suffer yourselves to be wronged."

See Poole on "1 Corinthians 6:6" Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you,.... Or a "defect": a want of brotherly love, or there would be no occasion to go to law at all; a want of wisdom and conduct, or proper persons would be pitched upon, and chosen out from among themselves to be arbitrators and judge between them; and a want of care among their leaders, who else would have pointed out to them such a method of accommodation, and not have suffered them to go the lengths they did:

because ye go to law one with another; which would never be, was there not a declension among you, a decay of your first love, and of the power of religion and true godliness:

why do ye not rather take wrong why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? than to go to law, especially before unjust persons and unbelievers, taking the advice of Christ, Matthew 5:40 It is more advisable to a believer to suffer wrong than to go to law with any man, and especially with a brother. It is a petition in the Jewish liturgy (g),

"let it please thee, O Lord God, and the God of my fathers, to deliver me this day, and every day---from hard judgment, and a severe adversary, , "whether he be a Son of the covenant, or whether he be not a son of the covenant".''

(g) Seder Tephillot, fol. 3. 2. Ed. Basil. fol. 5. 2. Ed. Amst.

{6} Now therefore there is utterly a {e} fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. {7} Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

(6) Now he goes further also, and even though by granting them private arbiters out of the congregation of the faithful, he does not simply condemn, but rather establishes private judgments, so that they are exercise without offence. Yet he shows that if they were such as they ought to be, and as it were to be wished, they should not need to use that remedy either.

(e) A weakness of mind which is said to be in those that allow themselves to be overcome by their lusts, and it is a fault that differs greatly from temperance and moderation: so that he nips those who could not endure an injury done to them.

(7) This pertains chiefly to the other part of the reprehension, that is, that they went to law even under infidels, whereas they should rather have suffered any loss, than to have given that offence. But yet this is generally true, that we ought rather to depart from our right, than try the uttermost of the law hastily, and upon an affection to revenge an injury. But the Corinthians cared for neither, and therefore he says that they must repent, unless they will be shut out of the inheritance of God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 6:7. Μὲν οὖν] as in 1 Corinthians 6:4; it now brings under special consideration the foregoing ἀδελφ. μετὰ ἀδ. κρίνεται—namely, as to what the real character of such a proceeding may be in itself viewed generally (ὅλως being taken as in 1 Corinthians 5:1), apart from the special element unhappily added in Corinth, ἐπὶ ἀπίστων. The μέν corresponds as little (against Hofmann) to the ἀλλά which follows in 1 Corinthians 6:8, as the μέν in 1 Corinthians 6:4 to the ἀλλά in 1 Corinthians 6:6. The ἤδη is the logical already (“already then, viewed generally”), in reference to something special, by which the case is made yet worse. Comp Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 240 f.

ἥττημα] a defeat (see on Romans 11:12), i.e. damage, loss, and that, according to the context, not moral decay (so commonly), or hurt to the church (Hofmann), or imperfection (Billroth, Rückert), or weakness (Beza); but, it redounds to your coming short of the Messianic salvation (see 1 Corinthians 6:9).

ἑαυτῶν] like ἀλλήλων, but giving them to feel, more strongly than the latter would, the impropriety which had a place in their own circle (Kühner, a[928] Xen. Mem. ii. 6. 20).

κρίματα] as in Romans 5:16, Wis 12:12, legal judgments, which they had respectively obtained (ἔχετε).

ἀδικεῖσθεἀποστερ.] middles: to allow wrong and loss to be inflicted on themselves. Comp Vulgate. See Bernhardy, p. 346 f. As to the matter itself, see Matthew 5:39 ff.; example of Jesus, 1 Peter 2:23.

[928] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.1 Corinthians 6:7-11. § 18. WARNING TO IMMORAL CHRISTIANS. Behind the scandal of the law-suits there lay a deeper mischief in their cause. They were immediately due to unchristian resentment on the part of the aggrieved; but the chief guilt lay with the aggressors. The defrauders of their brethren, and all doers of wrong, are warned that they forfeit their place in God’s kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9 f.), and reminded that the sins they thus commit belong to their unregenerate state (1 Corinthians 6:11).7. Why do ye not rather take wrong?] Cf. St Matthew 5:38-42.1 Corinthians 6:7. Ὅλως) A particle implying a feeling; comp. ch. 1 Corinthians 5:1 [note]: it is opposed by implication to μηδόλως. You ought to have no cases ὄλως, at all, against one another, but you have ὅλως, after all, notwithstanding.—ἥττημα, [a fault] defect) even on the part of him, who has the juster cause, and thinks he has the superior cause [Matthew 5:39.] He does not say, sin, yet this readily is added in such cases, 1 Corinthians 5:8; defect [fault] and praise are in opposition; comp. 1 Corinthians 11:17, note. Praise is not indeed expressly found in this passage. Some such antithetic word, however, is intended, because he does not expressly use the term, sin, either. The thing which is praised, is something as it were more blooming and uncommon than the mere action agreeable to the law. So in its opposite.—ὑμῖν, to you) There is a similar dative in 1 Corinthians 15:32.[48]—μᾶλλον, rather) all men do not understand this word rather. Many desire neither to injure nor to be injured. They do not attempt to inflict an injury, which is a mere pretence to moderation in regard to justice.—ἀδικεῖσθε) suffer wrong, in the Middle voice; as ἀποστερεῖσθε.

[48] Κρίματα, trials) Although concerning a cause not unjust.—V. g.Verse 7. - Now therefore; rather, Nay more, already. Utterly; rather, generally, "altogether," "looking at the question as a whole." A fault. The word means "a defect," or possibly "a loss" (Romans 11:12, "the diminishing"). Your going to law is an inferiority or deficiency; you ought to know of "a more excellent way." Why do ye not rather take wrong? Strange as such advice would sound to heathens, who prided themselves on the passionate resentment of injuries as though it were a virtue, this had been the distinct teaching of our Lord; "Resist not evil" (Matthew 5:39). Now therefore (ἤδη μὲν οὖν)

Μὲν οὖν nay, as in 1 Corinthians 6:4, at once looks back to the preceding thought, and continues it, bringing under special consideration the fact that brother goes to law with brother. Ἤδη already or at once is a temporal adverb, but with a logical force and enhancing the nay. The connection of thought is: Is there not one wise man among you who is competent to act as an arbitrator between brethren, so that christian brethren must needs take their differences into the civil courts and before heathen judges? Nay; such a proceeding at once implies the existence of a litigious spirit generally, which is unchristian, and detrimental to you.

Fault among you (ἥττημα ἐν ὑμῖν)

Only here and Romans 11:12. See note. Ἥττημα fault, is from ἥττων less. Lit., diminution, decrease. Hence used in the sense of defeat, Isaiah 31:8 : "Young men shall be discomfited lit., shall be for diminution." Similarly the kindred verb ἡττάομαι, in 2 Corinthians 12:13, made inferior; and in 2 Peter 2:19, 2 Peter 2:20, overcome. See note there. Compare 2 Macc. 10:24. In classical Greek ἧττα means defeat, and is contrasted with νίκη victory by Plato and Thucydides. The meaning here is loss. Ἑν among is omitted by the best texts, so that we should read a loss to you, which Rev. gives in margin, reading in the text a defect in you. The spirit of litigation which runs into wrong and fraud (1 Corinthians 6:8) is a source of damage, resulting in forfeiture of the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9), and in loss of spiritual power.

Ye go to law (κρίματα ἔχετε)

Rev., more correctly, ye have lawsuits. Not the same phrase as in 1 Corinthians 6:6. Κρίμα in the New Testament almost universally means judgment or decree, as Romans 5:16. See on 2 Peter 2:3. In classical Greek it has also the meaning of the matter of judgment, the question in litigation. So Aeschylus: "The matter (κρίμα) is not easy to judge. Choose me not as judge" ("Suppliants," 391). Here the meaning is legal proceedings, lawsuits. So in Septuagint, Job 31:13; Exodus 23:6.

Suffer yourselves to be defrauded (ἀποστερεῖσθε)

Rev., more literally, "why not rather be defrauded?" In classical Greek the word means, 1. to rob or despoil. 2. to detach or withdraw one's self from a person or thing. Ἁποστερεῖν ἑαυτόν was a regular phrase for separation from civic life. So Oedipus says: "I, noblest of the sons of Thebes, have cut myself off (ἀπεστέρης ἐμαυτόν. Sophocles, "Oedipus Tyrannus," 1381). 3. To withhold or avert. So Io to Prometheus: "Do not, after proffering me a benefit, withhold it" ("Prometheus," 796). The maidens say: "May King Zeus avert the hateful marriage" (Aeschylus, "Suppliants," 1063). In the New Testament the word occurs five times. In Mark 10:19, defraud not is apparently Mark's rendering of the tenth commandment. According to the inner meaning of the commandment as conceived by Jesus, the coveting of another's goods is, in heart, a depriving him of them. In 1 Corinthians 7:5 it is used of connubial relations. In 1 Timothy 6:5, of those who are deprived or destitute of the truth. Dr. Morison, on Mark 10:19, justly observes that defraud is too narrow a rendering. The word means rather "to deprive of what is one's due, whether by 'hook,' 'crook,' or force, or in any other way."

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