Search the Bible
* powered by Bible Study Tools

1 Corinthians 6:4

    1 Corinthians 6:4 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    If then you have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    If then ye have to judge things pertaining to this life, do ye set them to judge who are of no account in the church?

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    If then there are questions to be judged in connection with the things of this life, why do you put them in the hands of those who have no position in the church?

    Webster's Revision

    If then ye have to judge things pertaining to this life, do ye set them to judge who are of no account in the church?

    World English Bible

    If then, you have to judge things pertaining to this life, do you set them to judge who are of no account in the assembly?

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    If then ye have to judge things pertaining to this life, do ye set them to judge who are of no account in the church?

    Definitions for 1 Corinthians 6:4

    Church - Assembly of "called out" ones.

    Clarke's Commentary on 1 Corinthians 6:4

    Things pertaining to this life - They could examine all civil cases among themselves, which they were permitted to determine without any hinderance from the heathen governments under which they lived.

    Who are least esteemed in the Church - Τους εξουθενημενους, Those who were in the lowest order of judges; for the apostle may refer here to the order in the Jewish benches, as Dr. Lightfoot conjectures, of which there were five, viz.: -

    1. The great Sanhedrin, consisting of seventy-two elders, which presided in Jerusalem.

    2. The little Sanhedrin of twenty-five, in large cities, out of Jerusalem.

    3. The Bench of Three in every synagogue.

    4. The Authorized, or Authentic Bench.

    5. The Bench not authorized, εξουθενημενος. This latter bench was so called because it received not its authority immediately from the Sanhedrin, but was chosen by the parties between whom the controversy depended. The apostle certainly does not mean persons of no repute, but such as these arbitrators, who were chosen for the purpose of settling private differences, and preventing them from going before the regular magistrates. The following verse makes it pretty evident that the apostle refers to this lower kind of tribunal; and hence he says, -

    Barnes' Notes on 1 Corinthians 6:4

    Ye have judgments - Causes; controversies; suits.

    Things pertaining to this life - Property, etc.

    Set them to judge ... - The verb translated set καθίζετε kathizete may be either in the imperative mood, as in our translation, and then it will imply a command; or it may be regarded as in the indicative, and to be rendered interrogatively, "Do ye set or appoint them to judge who are of little repute for their wisdom and equity?" that is, pagan magistrates. The latter is probably the correct rendering, as according to the former no good reason can be given why Paul should command them to select as judges those who had little repute for wisdom in the church. Had he designed this as a command, he would doubtless have directed them to choose their most aged, wise and experienced men, instead of those "least esteemed." It is manifest, therefore, that this is to he read as a question: "Since you are abundantly qualified yourselves to settle your own differences, do you employ the pagan magistrates, in whom the church can have little confidence for their integrity and justice?" It is designed, therefore, as a severe reproof for what they had been accustomed to do; and an implied injunction that they should do it no more.

    Who are least esteemed - (ἐξουθενημένους exouthenēmenous). Who are "contemned," or regarded as of no value or worth; in whose judgment and integrity you can have little or no confidence. According to the interpretation given above of the previous part of the verse this refers to the pagan magistrates - to people in whose virtue, piety and qualifications for just judgment Christians could have little confidence; and whose judgment must be regarded as in fact of very little value, and as very little likely to be correct. That the pagan magistrates were in general very corrupt, there can be no doubt. Many of them were people of abandoned character, of dissipated lives, men who were easily bribed, and people, therefore, in whose judgment Christians could repose little confidence. Paul reproves the Corinthians for going before them with their disputes when they could better settle them themselves. Others, however, who regard this whole passage as an instruction to Christians to appoint those to determine their controversies who were least esteemed, suppose that this refers to the "lowest orders" of judges among the Hebrews; to those who were least esteemed, or who were almost despised; and that Paul directs them to select even them in preference to the pagan magistrates. See Lightfoot. But the objection to this is obvious and insuperable. Paul would not have recommended this class of people to decide their causes, but would have recommended the selection of the most wise and virtuous among them. This is proved by 1 Corinthians 6:5, where, in directing them to settle their matters among themselves, he asks whether there is not a "wise man" among them, clearly proving that he wished their difficulties adjusted, not by the most obscure and the least respected members of the church, but by the most wise and intelligent members.

    In the church - By the church. That is, the pagan magistrates evince such a character as not to be worthy of the confidence of the church in settling matters of controversy.

    Wesley's Notes on 1 Corinthians 6:4

    6:4 Them who are of no esteem in the church - That is, heathens, who, as such, could be in no esteem with the Christians.