1 Corinthians 6:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 6:8, NIV: Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters.

1 Corinthians 6:8, ESV: But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!

1 Corinthians 6:8, KJV: Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

1 Corinthians 6:8, NASB: On the contrary, you yourselves do wrong and defraud. And this to your brothers and sisters!

1 Corinthians 6:8, NLT: Instead, you yourselves are the ones who do wrong and cheat even your fellow believers.

1 Corinthians 6:8, CSB: Instead, you yourselves do wrong and cheat--and you do this to brothers and sisters!

What does 1 Corinthians 6:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has been painfully clear about the balance between "winning" and "doing the right thing." It is far better to lose—to suffer wrong, to be cheated by a brother in Christ—than to take that brother to a secular court over a minor dispute. To engage in such a lawsuit means abdicating judgment to those who don't understand spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:14–15). Christians involved in civil lawsuits against each other have already lost before the case is even heard. The fact that neither of them followed Jesus' example of humility and self-sacrifice and suffering for the sake of their brother or sister in Christ is the real defeat.

It's even worse than that, though. It's not just that one or the other was willing to suffer loss in this minor dispute for the greater good of Christ, the church, and the other person. The truth is that one of them was willing to do wrong to and cheat their brother in Christ in the first place.

It's important to remember Paul is describing a civil issue, not a criminal case. He referred to inappropriate disputes as "trivial cases" (1 Corinthians 6:2). This passage does not teach Christians to reject legitimate use of secular courts. Paul believed the opposite was true (Romans 13:1). Christians guilty of harming each other in violation of criminal law are accountable to secular judgment. So are those who commit serious violations or acts of malice. That was not the issue here, in the situations Paul describes.

In many ways, the Christians in Corinth were living like pagans and not as Christians. The standards of Greek and Roman culture in Corinth allowed for cheating others in business, if you could get away with it. It meant dragging them to civil court and employing personal attacks and unfair influence if you didn't get away with it. This was especially true if you were wealthy and powerful and your opponent was not.

Paul expresses his deep frustration that the Christians in Corinth were not living out the truth of the gospel of Jesus that they had sincerely believed.