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1. Dare. "The insulted majesty of Christians is denoted by a grand word" (Bengel).
2. Matters (krithriwn). The word means, 1, The instrument or rule of judging; 2, the tribunal of a judge. It occurs only here, ver. 4, and James ii. 6, where it means judgment-seats. This latter gives a good sense here without having recourse to the meaning suit or case, which lacks warrant. So Rev., in margin, "are ye unworthy of the smallest tribunals?" That is, are ye unworthy of holding or passing judgment in such inferior courts?
3. How much more (mhtige). It is hard to render the word accurately. How much more follows the Vulgate quanto magis. It is rather, not to speak of; or to say nothing at all of.
4. Judgments (krithria). Better, tribunals or courts, as ver. 2. If you have to hold courts for the settlement of private matters.
Set (kaqizete). Seat them as judges on the tribunal. It is disputed whether kaqizete is to be taken as imperative, set (A.V.), or as interrogative, do ye set (Rev.). 89 The A.V. seems, on the whole, preferable. The passage is well paraphrased by Farrar. "Dare they, the destined judges of the world and of angels, go to law about mere earthly trifles, and that before the heathen? Why did they not rather set up the very humblest members of the Church to act as judges in such matters?" 90
5. To your shame (prov entrophn umin). Lit., I speak to you with a view to shame; i.e., to move you to shame, as Rev. See on ch. iv. 14. To judge (diakrinai). Rev., better, decide; by arbitration.
7. Now therefore (hdh men oun). Men oun nay, as in ver. 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. ÔHdh 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 (htthma en umin). Only here and Rom. xi. 12. See note. %Htthma fault, is from httwn less. Lit., diminution, decrease. Hence used in the sense of defeat, Isa. xxxi. 8: "Young men shall be discomfited lit., shall be for diminution." Similarly the kindred verb hJttaomai, in 2 Corinthians xii. 13, made inferior; and in 2 Pet. ii. 19, 20, overcome. See note there. Compare 2 Macc. x. 24. In classical Greek h=tta means defeat, and is contrasted with nikh victory by Plato and Thucydides. The meaning here is loss. En 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 (ver. 8) is a source of damage, resulting in forfeiture of the kingdom of God (ver. 9), and in loss of spiritual power.
Ye go to law (krimata ecete). Rev., more correctly, ye have lawsuits. Not the same phrase as in ver. 6. Krima in the New Testament almost universally means judgment or decree, as Rom. v. 16. See on 2 Pet. ii. 3. In classical Greek it has also the meaning of the matter of judgment, the question in litigation. So Aeschylus: "The matter (krima) is not easy to judge. Choose me not as judge" ("Suppliants," 391). Here the meaning is legal proceedings, lawsuits. So in Septuagint, Job xxxi. 13; Exod. xxiii. 6. Suffer yourselves to be defrauded (apostereisqe). 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.
Aposterein eJauton was a regular phrase for separation from civic life. So Oedipus says: "I, noblest of the sons of Thebes, have cut myself off (ajpesterhs ejmauton. 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 x. 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 Cor. vii. 5 it is used of connubial relations. In 1 Tim. vi. 5, of those who are deprived or destitute of the truth. 91 Dr. Morison, on Mark x. 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."
Fornicators. The besetting sin of Corinth. Hence the numerous solemn and emphatic allusions to it in this epistle. See ch. v. 11; vi. 15-18; x. 8. Effeminate (malakoi). Luxurious and dainty. The word was used in a darker and more horrible sense, to which there may be an allusion here. 92 Abusers, etc. See on Rom. i. 7.
11. Washed - sanctified - justified. According to fact the order would be justified, washed (baptism), sanctified; but as Ellicott justly remarks, "in this epistle this order is not set forth with any studied precision, since its main purpose is corrective."
Ye were justified (edikaiwqhte). Emphasizing the actual moral renewal, which is the true idea of justification. This is shown by the words "by the Spirit," etc., for the Spirit is not concerned in mere forensic justification.
12. Are lawful (exestin). There is a play between this word and ejxousiasqhsomai be brought under the power, which can hardly be accurately conveyed to the English reader. The nearest approach to it is:
Will - be brought under the power (exousiasqhsomai). From ejxousia power of choice, permissive authority. See on Mark ii. 10. This in turn is derived from exesti it is permitted. See above on are lawful. This kinship of the two words explains the play upon them.
13. Meats for the belly, etc. Paul is arguing against fornication. His argument is that there is a law of adaptation running through nature, illustrated by the mutual adaptation of food and the digestive organs; but this law is violated by the prostitution of the body to fornication, for which, in God's order, it was not adapted.
14. Will raise up us. The body being destined to share with the body of Christ in resurrection, and to be raised up incorruptible, is the subject of a higher adaptation, with which fornication is incompatible.
16. He that is joined (o kollwmenov). See on Luke xv. 15. Compare Aeschylus: "The family has been glued (kekollhtai) to misfortune" ("Agamemnon," 1543). The verb is used Gen. ii. 24, Sept., of the relation of husband and wife: shall cleave. In Deut. x. 20; xi. 22; Jer. xiii. 11, of man's cleaving to God.
To a harlot (th pornh). Lit., the harlot. The article is significant: his harlot, or that one with whom he is sinning at the time.
Shall be one flesh (esontai eiv sarka mian). Lit., shall be unto one flesh: i.e., from being two, shall pass into one. Hence Rev., rightly, shall become. Compare Eph. ii. 15.
18. Flee. See Gen. xxxix. 12. Socrates, in Plato's "Republic," relates how the poet Sophocles, in answer to the question "How does love suit with are?" replied: "Most gladly have I escaped that, and I feel as if I had escaped from a mad and furious master" (329).
Sin (amarthma). See on Rom. iii. 25.
Without the body (ektov tou swmatov). Lit., outside. The body is not the instrument, but the subject. But in fornication the body is the instrument of the sin, and "inwardly as well as outwardly is made over to another."
19. Temple (naov). Better, as Rev., in margin, sanctuary. It is not only a temple, but the very shrine. See on ch. iii. 16.