1 Corinthians 6:5
I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
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(5) I speak to your shame.—Better, I say this to cause you to feel ashamed. From the latent irony of the previous words, the Apostle turns to ask solemnly whether it be a fact that in the whole Christian community at Corinth, which boasted of their superior wisdom, there is not to be found even one man sufficiently esteemed for his wisdom to be trusted by the brethren with the settlement of their disputes.

Shall be able to judge. . . .—Better, shall be able to arbitrate, in contrast to the “going to law” of the next verse, the words for these two expressions being different in the original.

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.I speak to your shame - I declare that which is a reproach to you, that your matters of dispute are carried before pagan tribunals.

Is it so ... - Can it be that in the Christian church - the church collected in refined and enlightened Corinth - there is not a single member so wise, intelligent and prudent that his brethren may have confidence in him, and refer their causes to him? Can this be the case in a church that boasts so much of its wisdom, and that prides itself so much in the number and qualifications of its intelligent members?

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.

Ver. 5,6. I do not speak this, as if I would have you make choice of the meanest persons among you to arbitrate and determine all matters that may be in difference between you; but it would be a shame to you if, amongst you all, there could not be found one man whom you can judge wise enough to determine differences between you about things of this life, without bringing one another into pagan courts, to the reproach and scandal of the religion which you profess: make use of any, yea, the meanest Christians, in such judgments, rather than infidels and unbelievers, who will make use of your differences to the reproaching of the holy name of God.

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.

{5} I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?

(5) He applies the general proposition to a particular, always calling them back to this, to take away from them the false opinion of their own excellency from where all these evils sprang.

1 Corinthians 6:5. Πρὸς ἐντρ. ὑμῖν λέγω] is to be referred, as is done by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Neander, and Hofmann, to 1 Corinthians 6:4, comp 1 Corinthians 15:34 (it is commonly referred to what comes after), so that the following question unfolds the humiliating consideration involved in 1 Corinthians 6:4. The address thus acquires more point and impressiveness.

οὕτως] belongs not to ΛΈΓΩ (Hofmann), but to ΟὐΚ ἜΝΙ Κ.Τ.Λ[917], and sums up the state of things: sic igitur, rebus ita comparatis, since you τοὺς ἐξουθενημένους καθίζετε. See Bornemann in Rosenmüller’s Repert. II. p. 245 ff.; Hermann, a[918] Viger. p. 933. C. Fr. Hermann, a[919] Lucian. de hist. conscr. p. 161. It is otherwise understood by Chrysostom, Theophylact, Luther, al[920], including Flatt, Billroth, Rückert, Olshausen, Ewald, who make it: so much, so completely is there lacking, etc. But it is only the definition of mode, not of degree, that will suit the absolute negation of this clause, intensified as it is by οὐδὲ εἷς.

Regarding ἔνι, see on Galatians 3:28. The σοφός carries point against the Corinthian self-conceit.

οὐδὲ εἷς] ne unus quidem. “Quod est vehementius,” as Erasmus well puts it, “cum sitis tum multi.” See on John 1:3, and Krüger, Anab. iii. 1. 3; Bornemann and Poppo, a[921] Cyrop. ii. 1. 21. Comp non ullus (Kühner, a[923] Cic. Tusc. i. 39. 94) nemo unus (Locella, a[924] Xen. Eph. p. 137). Frequent in Isocr., see Bremi, I. Exc. iii.

ὃς δυνήσεται] purely future in force: who (as cases shall occur) will be able.

διακρῖναι] to judge, as arbitrator.

ἀνὰ μέσον τ. ἀδ. αὐτοῦ] between (LXX. Genesis 16:5; Exodus 11:7; Ezekiel 22:26; Isaiah 57:11; Matthew 13:25; Theocr. xxii. 21; Strabo, xi. 5. 1, p. 503; Polyb. x. 48. 1, v. 55. 7) his (Christian) brother. The expression, τ. ἀδελφοῦ, is meant to put to shame. The singular is used for this reason, that τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ must mean the plaintiff who brings on the lawsuit (not the defendant, as Ewald would have it), between whom (and, as is obvious, the defendant) the arbitrator, called into requisition by the bringing of the suit, pronounces his decision. Were the plural employed, that would indicate the two litigants generally, but not the party bringing on the suit in particular. Hofmann, contrary to the plain meaning of the words, understands the phrase of the self-decision of the individual demanding or refusing, namely, as to the point where his right ceased and his wrong began. In that case, Paul, if he wished to be intelligible, would have required to say something like this: διακρῖναι ἐν ἑαυτῷ πρὸς τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ. Moreover, οὐδὲ εἷς (or οὐδείς, as Hofmann reads) would militate against this view, seeing that it contains what would be, according to 1 Corinthians 6:1, a disproportionate accusation, if the meaning is not, “not a single man fitted to be an arbitrator.”

The reading, τ. ἀδεκφοῦ κ. τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ (Syr[925] Arr.), is an interpretation, although recommended by Grotius and again by Laurent.

[917] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[918] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[919] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[920] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[921] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[923] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[924] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[925] yr. Peschito Syriac

5. I speak to your shame] ‘You are not to suppose me in earnest. I only say this to shame you for the undue value you set on the things of this life. Such matters might fitly be left to the decision of the most insignificant member of your community. But there is no necessity for that. Surely there are plenty of persons among you who are competent to settle such questions, and thus save you the scandal of carrying your disputes before the heathen, when you have pledged yourself to lead a life above such considerations.’

1 Corinthians 6:5. Πρὸς ἐντροπὴν, to your shame) The puffed up spirit [ch. 1 Corinthians 5:2] of the Corinthians is hereby checked: Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:34.—σοφὸς, a wise man) They admired wisdom on other occasions, and wisdom produces the ability for judging between brethren in deciding causes.—οὐδὲ εἷς, not even one) Even the least among believers is a wiser and more desirable judge than an ungodly man.—δυνἠσεται) the future; shall be able if he be applied to.—διακρῖναι) to determine between parties. It differs from κρῖναι, to judge.—ἀδελφοῦ, a brother) The singular for the plural, to denote how easy a matter it is; he wishes that the plaintiff and the defendant should settle the dispute between themselves, without any interference on the part of the judge.

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. 1 Corinthians 6:5To your shame (πρὸς ἐντροπὴν ὑμῖν)

Lit., I speak to you with a view to shame; i.e., to move you to shame, as Rev. See on 1 Corinthians 4:14.

To judge (διακρῖναι)

Rev., better, decide; by arbitration.

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