1 Corinthians 6:1

Lawsuits Among Believers

1 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people?

Read 1 Corinthians 6:1 Using Other Translations

Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints?
When one of you has a dispute with another believer, how dare you file a lawsuit and ask a secular court to decide the matter instead of taking it to other believers !

What does 1 Corinthians 6:1 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
1 Corinthians 6:1

Dare any of you, having a matter against another
, Any thing in difference, an action, cause, or suit. The apostle having dispatched the affair of the incestuous person, and blamed this church for their conduct therein: and having given them instructions what they should do, proceeds to lay before them another evil among them he had to complain of; which was, when any difference arose among them about their worldly concerns, they would

go to law before the unjust,
and not before the saints; a method of proceeding condemned by the Jews, who would not suffer any causes of theirs to be tried before Gentiles, only before Israelites; their canon runs thus F21,

``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, lo, this is an ungodly man; and it is as if he blasphemed and reproached, and lift up his hand against the law of Moses our master, as it is said, ( Exodus 21:1 ) now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them, (Mywg ynpl alw) , "and not before the Gentiles"; (twjwydh ynpl alw) , "and not before idiots", private or illiterate men.''

They looked upon such an action as bad as profaning the name of God; hence they say F23,

``we must not try a cause in the courts of the Gentiles, for they come from the strength of judgment; this is Esau an hairy man, for they have no concord nor mercy--and he that comes before thee (y"vh llxm) , "profanes the name of God", who is gracious and merciful, and honours the name of an idol--wherefore he that brings a cause before the Gentiles, is the occasion of spreading the property of judgment in the world----therefore let a cause be tried before the Israelites, for they are the secret of mercy, and not before the Gentiles, nor before idiots:''

they affirm F24 it to be a greater sin than murder, and that not only profanations of the name of God, but rapine and violence are comprehended in it; and that to give evidence in an Heathen court against an Israelite, deserves excommunication; for so it is said, {y}

``he that bears witness against an Israelite (Mywg lv twakreb) , "in the courts of the Gentiles", and by his testimony gets money from him, which is not according to the judgment of the Israelites, they excommunicate him until he repays it.''

Again F26

``it is forbidden to order causes in the courts of (the rest of the nations) idolaters, for they have no part in the side of our faith.''

The apostle here dissuades from this practice, of going to law before Heathen magistrates, not only from its being an imprudent, but an impudent, "daring", rash and adventurous action; and seems surprised that any should attempt it, when it must unavoidably expose their weaknesses and faults to their enemies; nor could they expect justice to be done them by men of such a character, as "unjust", who neither feared God, nor regarded men; were not only destitute of righteousness, but filled with all unrighteousness, and had not so much as the principles of common justice and equity in them; when on the contrary, from the saints, men who have the principles of grace and holiness wrought in them, and live soberly, righteously, and godly, who have the fear of God before their eyes, and upon their hearts; they might reasonably conclude, were matters brought before them, they would be adjusted according to judgment and truth, without exposing the sin and weakness of any party to the world.


FOOTNOTES:

F21 Maimon. Hilch. Sanhedrin, c. 26. sect. 7. Vid. T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 38. 2.
F23 R. Abraham Seba in Tzeror Hammor, fol. 80. 4.
F24 R. Bechai in Kad Hakkemach, fol. 21. 4. apud Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. col. 1666.
F25 Maimon. Talmud Tora, c. 6. sect. 14.
F26 Zohar in Exod. fol. 103. 3.
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