By Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke.
Corinth was a Greek city about 40 miles west of Athens. The Greek citizens had a deep and abiding love of the law and a desire to debate.
The Greek Christians brought this attitude with them when they became part of the Christian church.
Their love of law and litigation was probably based on the Athenian practice of legal application and trial by dispute.
Decisions were achieved by debating before an arbitrator who gave his opinion. This arbitrator was usually a man of experience who had at least reached his sixtieth year of life. If this was not accomplished, the next step was to have a “jury of 201” citizens, and the step beyond that was a “jury of 401” citizens, to hear the case and bring resolution.
The problem: (1Co 6:1) “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?” The Christians were taking one another to court to resolve their differences.
Paul found this shocking.
Jewish saints would never do this. They were taught to go before the elders for justice.
This situation in Corinth was unacceptable to Paul, that saints should go before “unbelievers” to settle problems between Christians. The people of God have enough grace, wisdom and understanding to render correct and proper resolutions to
disagreements. The response: Paul first points out that the church has people who are qualified to render justice and settle disputes. He says in verse 3, “Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” Why not allow the church leaders to answer the questions that arise? However, he then introduces a new concept that is not Jewish nor Greek, but rather Christian. (1Co 6:7) “Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?” The real Christian principle is to be willing to suffer wrong and not necessarily win the case, but to overcome differences with love.
Our lesson: One version of the Bible (ISV) says, “Why not just accept the wrong? Why not rather be cheated?”
Is this not what Christ did for us when He went to the cross? He suffered wrongly, the just for the unjust, the righteous for the unrighteous, the holy for the unholy. We don’t have to be right, and we don’t have to win every dispute, but we must keep the love of Christ in our hearts.