“Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?”
Chapter six begins a new section in 1 Corinthians. The Holy Spirit first dealt with divisions among Christians (1-4) then immorality in the church (5). Paul now turns to litigation among believers (6:1-8). Paul launches nine questions about this issue in eight verses. Six times in this chapter, Paul asks, “Do you not know?”
Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous,
Paul asks the Corinthian church whether they would dare to sue one another. Apparently, they did dare to do so. They had a lot of nerve to sue one another. They were audacious with one another. This is outrageous and bold. The Greek culture was a litigious culture. The court was a chief amusement among them. Litigation was at the core of Greek life. The word “another” means another brother in Christ. Believers in the church took one another before non-Christian judges (“unrighteous”) to sue other believers.
and not before the saints?
The “saints” here are not saints in heaven but saints on earth. They were to take their legal issues before the church.
Litigation among Christians is a mistake.
It is unbiblical to haul another Christian into court because it is a poor testimony to the community. As with Greek culture, western culture is also a litigious culture. Litigation is a great American pastime. Christians should be wary of this and how it impacts non-Christians in their view of the Christian life. There are more issues to consider among Christians than straightforward legal matters. Hanging out dirty laundry for others to see in court shows that Christians are not capable of handling their internal problems.
This passage does not teach that Christians should never go to court since it is sometimes impossible to avoid. Paul himself appealed to a higher court when he laid his Roman citizenship on the line in a case of Christian against non-Christian. Should a Christian be dragged into court by another Christian, he has no option but to defend himself in court. Obviously, as well, if the court takes the initiative, then the believer has no biblical responsibility in that case.