The Meaning of 1 Corinthians 6:2 Explained

1 Corinthians 6:2

KJV: 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?

YLT: have ye not known that the saints shall judge the world? and if by you the world is judged, are ye unworthy of the smaller judgments?

Darby: Do ye not then know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world is judged by you, are ye unworthy of the smallest judgments?

ASV: Or know ye not that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world is judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

What does 1 Corinthians 6:2 Mean?

Study Notes

world
kosmos = mankind.
The Greek word kosmos means "order," "arrangement," and so, with the Greeks, "beauty"; for order and arrangement in the sense of system are at the bottom of the Greek conception of beauty.
When used in the N.T. of humanity, the "world" of men, it is organized humanity-- humanity in families, tribes, nations--which is meant. The word for chaotic, unorganized humanity--the mere mass of man is thalassa, the "sea" of men (e.g.) Revelation 13:1 (See Scofield " Revelation 13:8 ") . For "world" (kosmos) in the bad ethical sense, "world system" John 7:7 .

Verse Meaning

"Do you not know?" appears six times in this chapter ( 1 Corinthians 6:2-3; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 6:15-16; 1 Corinthians 6:19). In each case it introduces a subject that the Corinthian Christians should have known, probably because Paul or others had previously instructed them.
The earlier revelation that the saints will have a part in judging unbelievers in the future may be Daniel 7:18; Daniel 7:22; Daniel 7:27. This judgment will evidently take place just after the Lord returns to earth at His second coming to set up His millennial kingdom. We will be with Him then ( 1 Thessalonians 4:17).
Since the Lord will delegate the authority to judge unbelievers to Christians in the future, Paul concluded that we are competent to settle disputes among ourselves now. In the light of future eschatological judgment, any decisions that believers must make in church courts now are relatively trifling. The marginal reading in the NASB "try the trivial cases" probably gives the better sense than "constitute the smallest courts." [1] Obviously some cases involving Christians arguing with one another are more difficult to sort out than some of those involving unbelievers. Paul"s point was that Christians are generally competent to settle disputes between people. After all, we have the help and wisdom of the indwelling Holy Spirit available to us, as well as the Scriptures.
Earlier Paul wrote that the Corinthians were judging him (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:3-5; 1 Corinthians 4:7), which was inappropriate in view of God"s final judgment. Now they were judging in the courts, which was inappropriate since the saints will participate in eschatological judging.

Context Summary

1 Corinthians 6:1-11 - Settling Differences Between Brethren
The Apostle was clearly of the opinion that it was wiser for a Christian to bear injustice and wrong than to go to law before a heathen tribunal. It would have been a happy solution of myriads of disputes if his advice had been followed. Where a course of lawless crime has to be arrested in the interests of the weak and defenseless, it is necessary to call in the law and police to vindicate and protect; but when our private, personal and individual interests alone are concerned, we should be wise to submit our case to arbitration or suffer patiently.
Who are the heirs of the kingdom of heaven, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11? Do not inquire into their past history. There are pages in their lives that had better be obliterated and forgotten; or, if remembered, they should be the foil to set forth the matchless grace and love of God. Yes, that grace shall be our theme forever, when we recall the depths out of which it lifted us, and the heights to which it raised us. Let us note that the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit are named together. It is by the Holy Spirit that we become possessed of the nature of our Lord, which takes the place of our old evil nature and empowers us to repeat His life. [source]

Chapter Summary: 1 Corinthians 6

1  The Corinthians must take their brothers to court;
6  especially under infidels
9  The wicked shall not inherit the kingdom of God
15  Our bodies are the members of Christ, and temples of the Holy Spirit:
19  they must not therefore be defiled

Greek Commentary for 1 Corinthians 6:2

Shall judge the world [τον κοσμον κρινουσιν]
Future active indicative. At the last day with the Lord Jesus (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30). [source]
Are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? [αναχιοι εστε κριτηριων ελαχιστων]
Αναχιος — Anaxios is an old word Hence here it would mean, “Are ye unworthy of the smallest tribunals?” That is, of sitting on the smallest tribunals, of forming courts yourselves to settle such things? [source]
Matters [κριτηρίων]
The word means, 1, The instrument or rule of judging; 2, the tribunal of a judge. It occurs only here, 1 Corinthians 6:4, and James 2:6, 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? [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for 1 Corinthians 6:2

Acts 13:2 Separate []
The Greek adds δή , now, which is not rendered by A. V. or Rev. It gives precision and emphasis to the command, implying that it is for a special purpose, and to be obeyed at the time. Compare Luke 2:15; Acts 15:36; 1 Corinthians 6:20. [source]
Acts 13:2 And fasted [και νηστευοντων]
Genitive absolute also. Christian Jews were keeping up the Jewish fast (Luke 18:12). Note fasting also in the choice of elders for the Mission Churches (Acts 14:23). Fasting was not obligatory on the Christians, but they were facing a great emergency in giving the gospel to the Gentile world. Separate me (απορισατε δη μοι — aphorisate dē moi). First aorist active imperative of αποριζω — aphorizō old verb to mark off boundaries or horizon, used by Paul of his call (Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:15). The Greek has δη — dē a shortened form of ηδη — ēdē and like Latin jam and German doch, now therefore. It ought to be preserved in the translation. Cf. Luke 2:15; Acts 15:36; 1 Corinthians 6:20. Μοι — Moi is the ethical dative. As in Acts 13:1 Barnabas is named before Saul. Both had been called to ministry long ago, but now this call is to the special campaign among the Gentiles. Both had been active and useful in such work. Whereunto Here εις — eis has to be repeated from εις το εργον — eis to ergon just before, “for which” as Jesus sent the twelve and the seventy in pairs, so here. Paul nearly always had one or more companions. [source]
Acts 13:2 Separate me [απορισατε δη μοι]
First aorist active imperative of αποριζω — aphorizō old verb to mark off boundaries or horizon, used by Paul of his call (Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:15). The Greek has δη — dē a shortened form of ηδη — ēdē and like Latin jam and German doch, now therefore. It ought to be preserved in the translation. Cf. Luke 2:15; Acts 15:36; 1 Corinthians 6:20. Μοι — Moi is the ethical dative. As in Acts 13:1 Barnabas is named before Saul. Both had been called to ministry long ago, but now this call is to the special campaign among the Gentiles. Both had been active and useful in such work. [source]
Romans 12:1 Bodies []
Literally, but regarded as the outward organ of the will. So, expressly, Romans 6:13, Romans 6:19; 2 Corinthians 5:10. Compare Romans 7:5, Romans 7:23. Hence the exhortation to glorify God in the body (1 Corinthians 6:20; compare Philemon 1:20; 2 Corinthians 4:10). So the body is called the body of sin (Romans 6:6; compare Colossians 2:11). In later Greek usage slaves were called σώματα bodiesSee Revelation 18:13. [source]
Romans 11:2 Wot ye not [οὐκ οἴδατε]
Why should the Revisers have retained the obsolete wot here, when they have rendered elsewhere, know ye not? See Romans 6:16; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 5:6, 1 Corinthians 6:2, etc. The phrase indicates that this cannot be thought of as true. [source]
Romans 1:1 A servant [δοῦλος]
Lit., bond-servant or slave. Paul applies the term to himself, Galatians 1:10; Philemon 1:1; Titus 1:1; and frequently to express the relation of believers to Christ. The word involves the ideas of belonging to a master, and of service as a slave. The former is emphasized in Paul's use of the term, since Christian service, in his view, has no element of servility, but is the expression of love and of free choice. From this stand-point the idea of service coheres with those of freedom and of sonship. Compare 1 Corinthians 7:22; Galatians 4:7; Ephesians 6:6; Philemon 1:16. On the other hand, believers belong to Christ by purchase (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:18; Ephesians 1:7), and own Him as absolute Master. It is a question whether the word contains any reference to official position. In favor of this it may be said that when employed in connection with the names of individuals, it is always applied to those who have some special work as teachers or ministers, and that most of such instances occur in the opening salutations of the apostolic letters. The meaning, in any case, must not be limited to the official sense. [source]
1 Corinthians 6:4 Judgments [κριτήρια]
Better, tribunals or courts, as 1 Corinthians 6:2. If you have to hold courts for the settlement of private matters. [source]
1 Corinthians 7:23 Ye were bought with a price [τιμης ηγοραστητε]
See note on 1 Corinthians 6:20 for this very phrase, here repeated. Both classes (slaves and freemen) were purchased by the blood of Christ. [source]
Galatians 3:13 Redeemed us [ημας εχηγορασεν]
First aorist active of the compound verb εχαγοραζω — exagorazō (Polybius, Plutarch, Diodorus), to buy from, to buy back, to ransom. The simple verb αγοραζω — agorazō (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23) is used in an inscription for the purchase of slaves in a will (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 324). See also Galatians 4:5; Colossians 4:5; Ephesians 5:16. Christ purchased us from the curse of the law “Out from (εκ — ek repeated) under (υπο — hupo in Galatians 3:10) the curse of the law.” [source]
Colossians 2:23 In any honor [ἐν τιμῇ τινὶ]
Rev., better, of any value. The real value of these ascetic practices contrasted with their popular estimation. Price or value is the original meaning of τιμή , and its use in this sense is frequent in classical Greek. So in the New Testament, as Matthew 27:9, “the price of Him who was priced ( τετιμημένου ).” In Paul, 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23. The idea of value appears in 1 Peter 1:19. “Ye were redeemed - with the precious ( τιμίῳ ) blood of Christ;” something of real and adequate value. So 1 Peter 2:4, of Christ as the living stone, precious ( ἔντιμον ), of recognized value. [source]
1 Timothy 5:17 Double honor [διπλῆς τιμῆς]
This at least includes pecuniary remuneration for services, if it is not limited to that. The use of τιμή as pay or price appears Matthew 27:6, Matthew 27:9; Acts 4:34; Acts 7:16; 1 Corinthians 6:20. Double, not in a strictly literal sense, but as πλείονα τιμὴν morehonor, Hebrews 3:3. The comparison is with those Elders who do not exhibit equal capacity or efficiency in ruling. The passage lends no support to the Reformed theory of two classes of Elders - ruling and teaching. The special honor or emolument is assigned to those who combine qualifications for both. [source]
Titus 2:14 Might redeem [λυτρώσηται]
Only here, Luke 24:21; 1 Peter 1:18. See on 1 Timothy 2:6. Neither λύτρον ransom, λύτρωσις redemption, nor λυτρωτής redeemer occur in Paul. He has the figure of purchase ( ἀγοράζεσθαι, ἐξαγοράζεσθαι ), 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:5. Comp. Revelation 5:9; Revelation 14:3, Revelation 14:4; 2 Peter 2:1. [source]
James 2:6 Judgment-seats [κριτήρια]
Only here and 1 Corinthians 6:2, 1 Corinthians 6:4. [source]
James 2:6 Oppress you [καταδυναστευουσιν υμων]
Not very common compound Examples in papyri of harsh treatment by men in authority. Already poor Christians are feeling pressure from rich Jews as overlords.Drag you (ελκουσιν υμας — helkousin humas). Old and vigorous word for violent treatment, as of Paul in Acts 16:19; Acts 21:30. Cf. such violence in Luke 12:58; Acts 8:3.Before the judgment-seats “To courts of justice” as in 1 Corinthians 6:2, 1 Corinthians 6:4 (only other N.T. examples). Common in the papyri in this sense. From κρινω — krinō to judge, κριτης — kritēs (judge), place where judgment is given. [source]
James 2:6 Before the judgment-seats [εις κριτηρια]
“To courts of justice” as in 1 Corinthians 6:2, 1 Corinthians 6:4 (only other N.T. examples). Common in the papyri in this sense. From κρινω — krinō to judge, κριτης — kritēs (judge), place where judgment is given. [source]
Revelation 3:21 To sit [κατισαι]
First aorist active infinitive of κατιζω — kathizō This promise grows out of the prophecy that the saints will share in the Messiah‘s rule, made to the twelve (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:29.), repeated by Paul (1 Corinthians 6:2.), enlarged in Revelation 22:1-5 (to last forever, 2 Timothy 2:11.). James and John took this hope and promise literally (Mark 10:40) not metaphorically.As I also overcame (ως καγω ενικησα — hōs kagō enikēsa). First aorist active indicative of νικαω — nikaō looking back on the victory as over in the past. In John 16:33 before the Cross Jesus says Εγω νενικηκα τον κοσμον — Egō nenikēka ton kosmon (perfect active), emphasizing the abiding effect of the victory.Sat down “I took my seat” (Hebrews 1:3) where Christ is now (Revelation 22:3; Colossians 3:1). Cf. 1 John 5:4; Revelation 2:27. Each of these seven messages begins alike and ends alike. Each is the message of the Christ and of the Holy Spirit to the angel of the church. Each has a special message suited to the actual condition of each church. In each case the individual who overcomes has a promise of blessing. Christ the Shepherd knows his sheep and lays bare the particular peril in each case. [source]
Revelation 5:9 A new song [ωιδην καινην]
Cognate accusative for οιδε — oide Second aorist passive indicative of σπαζω — sphazō Αγοραζω — Agorazō used by Paul and Peter of our purchase from sin by Christ (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:5; 2 Peter 2:1; cf. 1 Peter 1:18.).Unto God Dative case of advantage as also in Revelation 5:10.With thy blood (εν τωι αιματι σου — en tōi haimati sou). Instrumental use of εν — en as in Revelation 1:5. The blood of Christ as the price of our redemption runs all through the Apocalypse. This is the reason why Christ is worthy to “take the book and open its seals.” That is, he is worthy to receive adoration and worship (Revelation 4:11) as the Father does.Men of every No αντρωπους — anthrōpous (men) or τινας — tinas (some) before εκ — ek in the Greek. See a like ellipsis in Revelation 11:9 with a like grouping of words for all mankind, representatives of all races and nations (Revelation 7:9; Revelation 13:7; Revelation 14:6). [source]
Revelation 5:9 For thou wast slain [οτι εσπαγης]
Second aorist passive indicative of σπαζω — sphazō Αγοραζω — Agorazō used by Paul and Peter of our purchase from sin by Christ (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:5; 2 Peter 2:1; cf. 1 Peter 1:18.). [source]

What do the individual words in 1 Corinthians 6:2 mean?

Or not know you that the saints the world will judge And if by you is to be judged the world unworthy are you of cases of the smallest
οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ ἅγιοι τὸν κόσμον κρινοῦσιν καὶ εἰ ἐν ὑμῖν κρίνεται κόσμος ἀνάξιοί ἐστε κριτηρίων ἐλαχίστων

οἴδατε  know  you 
Parse: Verb, Perfect Indicative Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: οἶδα  
Sense: to see.
ὅτι  that 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ὅτι  
Sense: that, because, since.
ἅγιοι  saints 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: ἅγιος  
Sense: most holy thing, a saint.
κόσμον  world 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: κόσμος  
Sense: an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government.
κρινοῦσιν  will  judge 
Parse: Verb, Future Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: κρίνω  
Sense: to separate, put asunder, to pick out, select, choose.
κρίνεται  is  to  be  judged 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Middle or Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: κρίνω  
Sense: to separate, put asunder, to pick out, select, choose.
κόσμος  world 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: κόσμος  
Sense: an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government.
ἀνάξιοί  unworthy 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: ἀνάξιος  
Sense: unworthy, unfit for a thing.
ἐστε  are  you 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.
κριτηρίων  of  cases 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Plural
Root: κριτήριον  
Sense: the instrument or means of trying or judging anything.
ἐλαχίστων  of  the  smallest 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Neuter Plural, Superlative
Root: ἐλάχιστος  
Sense: smallest least.