Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 6
1 Corinthians 6:1-4—take the wrong, don’t sue
Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
The unjust—Paul refers to all unbelievers as unjust, bad judges. Judge world—we will partake in Christ’s judgment, even of angels, because we are members of His Body. Least esteemed—world uses false indicators of wisdom—prestige, money, credentials—least in the Body of Christ is a better judge than the most credentialed worldly judge. Them—plural, speaking to wisdom of two or three gathered together with the Spirit?
1 Corinthians 6:5-10
I speak to your shame [to shame you]. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.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?8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.
If the least esteemed are better than the world, surely you can find someone in the church to sort out matters. Wrong—hurt, damage, or harm. Defrauded—rob, make destitute. Deprive, remove.
Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Bless—call down a prayer of blessing on. To seek for their best. Not just flippant words, but a desire for good. Just as curse is a desire to make worse.
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Provide—think before- hand to give as little offense as possible. Peacably—to the extent they will let you, do all to maintain peace. Avenge—vindicate, protect, defend your rights, retaliate, punish. Coals of fire—a true potentially corrective punishment, forgiveness can be the best “vengeance.” Overcome evil with good—if evil overcomes you, then you are conquered, if you overcome evil, good may conquer. Conquer with kindness.
I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:
11 Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:12 Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels:13 Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:14 But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.
Onesimus—no longer just a slave, but Paul’s son. “Onesimus” means “profitable.” He is giving Philemon the opportunity to willingly do a good thing. Not forcing him to do anything.
For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever;16 Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?17 If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.18 If he hath wronged[same as 1 Cor. 6:7] thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;19 I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.
Paul puts himself in the way as the guy who will take the wrong and make up the lost payment.
Onesimus was an unprofitable slave, did harm to his master and then ran away. Onesimus changed and probably wants to go back and make it up to his master.
Paul is not trying to overthrow an economic institution; he’s trying to get people to love each other. Institutions will take care of themselves if we learn to view each other rightly.