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This is the same document as the one titled GOI G TO HELL TO GET TO HEAVE , but I am adding it under this title because it is also a verse by verse commentary on this chapter of I Corinthians, and it will be of interest to those who want to study that chapter, and will search for it under that title. I decided to write a commentary on this passage because of the challenge of trying to understand what Paul is saying when he asks the Corinthians to hand one of their sinful members over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that he might in the day of the Lord be saved. The man has to be given to his greatest enemy who will do him great harm, but in the end this will be a means by which he will escape damnation and enjoy salvation. It sounded too crazy for me to pass it up. It is one of those difficult passages of Paul that Peter wrote about in 2Pe 3:16 “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; ( I WHICH ARE SOME THI GS HARD TO BE U DERSTOOD...)” There are many different interpretations of this passage, and all of them seem to have some validity, but all of them can be questioned. The one I am proposing is also in that category, but after reading many others, it seems to me to be closest to what Paul is saying. I quote many authors, and if any of them do not wish their views to be expressed in this context they can let me know and I will delete their quotes. My e-mail is email@example.com My title, of course, is to get attention, and to attract readers to this unusual passage of Scripture, but the fact is, all of the redeemed do get to heaven by means of the road to hell. Jesus took our sins upon himself, and he suffered the full wrath of God on them, and he went to hell on our behalf. He was forsaken by the Father, and that is equivalent to going to hell. The cross was literally a going to hell to get to heaven, but it was a price Jesus was willing to pay for us to have eternal life. Had Jesus not been willing to pay that price there would be no hope for us. So we can thank God for the hell that opened the way for sinners to make it into heaven. He was forsaken by the Father that we might never be forsaken. In this passage we will see that there is a route to heaven that takes a radical sinning believer through the pains of hell to get there. It is a going to hell and suffering judgment as a way to get to heaven, but
it is good news even though it is so terrible, for it demonstrates that God can and will use even the devil and judgment to make sure that even the worst of his children will make it into his eternal presence. This is a horror story with a happy ending because hell on earth can be an ultimate blessing by the grace of God.
Expel the Immoral Brother! 1It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife.
1. Here we have a young man who falls in lust with his father's new, and probably young wife. She is not his mother, but his step mother. They are both younger than dad, and they develop an attraction to each other that eventually leads to sex. It is a disgrace and a scandal, for this type of behavior is not even acceptable among the pagans who accept a great deal of immorality. They did not accept this kind of behavior, however, and so the church is looked down upon by them for allowing immorality that they would not dream of permitting. Paul is shocked at this scandalous situation, and cannot refrain from judgment. 1B. Dr. S. Lewis Johnson Jr. quotes the Old Testament that makes it clear that this was forbidden. “ ow, the Scriptures make it very plain that what takes place here is wrong. We don’t really have to read the Bible to figure this out. But I’m going to look at a passage or two in the Old Testament because it is important for us to realize that many of the things that we believe, we believe because ultimately we’re acquainted with what the Scripture has said with reference to them. Back in Leviticus chapter 18 in verse 8 we read, “The nakedness of your father's wife, you shall not uncover: it is your father's nakedness.” In Deuteronomy chapter 22 in verse 30 we read these words similar to the words we just read in verse 30, “A man shall not take his father's wife, nor uncover his father's bed.” And then in chapter 27 in verse 20, we have another statement with reference to it, “Cursed is the one who lies with his father's wife; because he has uncovered his father's bed.” 2. There is no way to determine the details of this scandal. Some think the son married this new wife after the father left her, and possibly because of her immoral behavior. Others think he was just having an affair while she was still married to his father. There is no way to know for sure, but what is known is that the pagan world would not tolerate this in their culture, and here was a Christian church where it was being tolerated. What we see is that it is possible for a Christian to be worse as a
sinner in any specific situation than a lost pagan. A believer can fall into depths of sin greater than that of the world. This is a warning that we need to heed, and do not walk in pride thinking believers can never be as terrible as the godless worldly person. Believers have the potential of being scandalous in their choices. We know this young man was a believer, for we see that in the end he was a saved man. 3. Gill wrote, “if this man was a Jew, it was an aggravation of his sin, that he should be guilty of a crime decried by the Gentiles, as well as it was a violation of a known law of God given to the Jews, Lev_18:7and, according to the Jewish writers (a), such a man was doubly guilty: their canon is, "ba tva le abh he that lies with his father's wife is guilty, on account of her being his father's wife, and on account of her being another man's wife, whether in his father's life time, or after his death, and whether espoused or married;'' and such an one was to be stoned. Of this kind was this man's crime; he had his father's wife, not his own mother, but his stepmother; for there is a distinction between a mother and a father's wife, as in the above canon. "These are to be stoned, he that lies with his mother, or with his father's wife.'' Whether this man had married his father's wife, or kept her as his concubine, continuing in an incestuous cohabitation with her, is not certain, and whether his father was dead or living; which latter seems to be the case from 2Co_7:12his iniquity was abominable and intolerable, and by no means to be winked at in church of Christ.” 4. Henry, “The heinous sins of professed Christians are quickly noted and noised abroad. We should walk circumspectly, for many eyes are upon us, and many mouths will be opened against us if we fall into any scandalous practice. This was not a common instance of fornication, but such as was not so much as named among the Gentiles, that a man should have his father's wife- either marry her while his father was alive, or keep her as his concubine, either when he was dead or while he was alive. In either of these cases, his criminal conversation with her might be called fornication;but had his father been dead, and he, after his decease, married to her, it had been incest still, but neither fornication nor adultery in the strictest sense. But to marry her, or keep her as a concubine, while his father was alive, though he had repudiated her, or she had deserted him, whether she were his own mother or not, was incestuous fornication: ot that there were no such instances of incestuous marriages among the heathens; but, whenever they happened, they gave a shock to every man of virtue and probity among them. They could not think of them without horror, nor mention them without dislike and detestation. Yet such a horrible wickedness was committed by one in the church of Corinth, and, as is probable, a leader of one of the factions among them, a principal man. ote, The best churches are, in this state of imperfection, liable to very great corruptions. Is it any wonder when so horrible a practice was tolerated in an apostolical church, a church planted by the great apostle of the Gentiles?”
5. Godet, “The marriage of a son with his step-mother was forbidden among the Jews under pain of death (Lev. 18:8). The Roman law equally forbade it. It is therefore probable that this union had not been legally sanctioned. Of the impression produced by such acts, even among the heathen, when they did exceptionally take place, we may judge from the words of Cicero in his defence of Cluentius: “O incredible crime for a woman, and such as has never been heard of in this world in any other than her solitary case!”—It appears from the whole chapter that the man only was a Christian; for if the woman had not been still a heathen, would not Paul have judged her as severely as the man?” 6. Barclay, “Paul is dealing with what, for him, was an ever recurring problem. In sexual matters the heathen did not know the meaning of chastity. They took their pleasure when and where they wanted it. It was so hard for the Christian Church to escape the infection. They were like a little island surrounded on every side by a sea of paganism; they had come so newly into Christianity; it was so difficult to unlearn the practices which generations of loose-living had made part of their lives; and yet if the Church was to be kept pure they must say a final good-bye to the old heathen ways. In the Church at Corinth a specially shocking case had arisen. A man had formed an illicit association with his own step-mother, a thing which would revolt even a heathen and which was explicitly forbidden by the Jewish law (Lev.18:8). The phrasing of the charge may suggest that this woman was already divorced from her husband. She herself must have been a heathen, for Paul does not seek to deal with her at all so that she must have been outside the jurisdiction of the Church.” 7. David Guzik gives us some good insight into the meaning of the word the Paul uses here for the sin involved. He wrote, “The term sexually immoral is the ancient Greek word porneia; it broadly refers to all types of sexual activity outside of marriage (including homosexuality). i. Originally, porneia just referred to going to prostitutes; but before ew Testament times, the Jewish community used the word to refer to any kind of extramarital sex, including homosexuality. This is its sense in the ew Testament. ii. Commentators on the word porneia: “the Scripture by this word comprehends all species of unlawful mixtures.” (Poole) “must be understood in its utmost latitude of meaning, as implying all kinds of impurity.” (Clarke) iii. Porneia so often appears first in ew Testament “sin lists” but not because the first Christians had a lot of “hang ups” about sex. Instead, it is because the area of sex was one of the most dramatic places where the ethics of Greek culture clashed with the ethics of Jesus. Sexual immorality was an accepted fact of life for the common person in Greek culture, but it was not to be so among the followers of Jesus.
8. One very honest pastor, who is well known, and a great preacher said as he prepared to preach on this text, “As I prepared for this message, I realized that the most deceitful people, the most brazen frauds, the most vicious liars, the most flagrant sexual sinners I have met in my life are church members. I have encountered some thoroughgoing liars and deceivers among Christians. That is why some people say they hate to do business with Christians; they justifiably expect better treatment from people who claim the name of Christ. It was not just the church in Corinth, it is the church in this country, in this city, in this day that is capable of these kinds of things.” I share his quote to make it clear that the issue in this chapter is still just as relevant today as it was in Paul's day. This sinful behavior in the body of Christ is not a one time thing, or a rare thing. It is all too common.
2And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?
1. Paul was shocked at the response of the church leaders. They did not respond as he did, and immediately call the young man to account for his actions. Instead, they let it slide. We can't know all the reasons why. He may have been a leader himself, and they hoped to keep in quiet rather than make it a public scandal. They did what most churches do, however, for when scandal is possible, they like to keep it hidden, and the best way to do that is to ignore it, and not bring it to the attention of anyone. We don't know how this scandal came to be so well known that it reached the Apostle Paul, but it clearly became public knowledge, and could no longer be denied. Paul cannot believe that at that point they did not take public action and put this man out of their fellowship. Believers and the world needed to see that the church would not tolerate such wickedness in their midst. Failure to make this clear led people to think the church was willing to tolerate it, and, thus, the scandal was all the more increased. 1B. Deffinbaugh hits the nail on the head in his comments. “In this therapeutic age when the church is often looked upon more as a “support group” than a “holy temple,” church members refuse to discipline members and continue to embrace sinning saints, even when it is clear they have no intention of repenting of their sins, and even when they publicly persist in their sinful ways. If this is the case in Corinth, they would love the expression of our day, “unconditional acceptance.” I have never seen this expression in the Bible, but I often hear it on the lips of Christians. It is a banner some hold high. It is a banner some hold with pride.”
2. Godet, “And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. ”—Even this fact has not sufficed to disturb the proud self-satisfaction which he has already rebuked in the Corinthians in the previous chapter, or to make them come down from the celestial heights on which they are now walking to the real state of things.—The word puffed up , goes back on the words, 4:6, and especially ver. 19. What have they done, those grand talkers, in view of this monstrous scandal? This is what the apostle called “having speech but not power.” Should not this moral catastrophe have opened their eyes to the fallen state in which their Church lay? Calvin admirably says: “A living Church, which had in it the duvnami" of its Head, would have risen as one man, and gone into a common act of humiliation and mourning, like a family for the death of one of its members. This is what is expressed by the verb penqei'n , to conduct a mourning. It cannot merely designate a feeling of inward grief. It shows that Paul is thinking of a positive, solemn deed, of something like a day of repentance and fasting, on which the whole Church before the Lord deplored the scandal committed, and cried to Him to bring it to an end.” 3. Jamison, “up― with your own wisdom and knowledge, and the eloquence of your favorite teachers: at a time when ye ought to be “mourning” at the scandal caused to religion by the incest. Paul mournedbecause they did not mourn (2Co_2:4). We ought to mournover the transgressions of others, and repentof our own (2Co_12:21) [Bengel]. by excommunication. The incestuous person was hereby brought to bitter repentance, in the interval between the sending of the first and second Epistles (2Co_2:5-10). Excommunication in the Christian Church corresponded to that in the Jewish synagogue, in there being a lighter and heavier form: the latter an utter separation from church fellowship and the Lord’s house, the former exclusion from the Lord’s Supper only but not from the Church.”
4. Barnes, “does not mean that they were puffed up, or proud on account of the existence of this wickedness, but they were filled with pride notwithstanding, or in spite of it. They ought to have been a humbled people. They should have mourned; and should have given their first attention to the removal of the evil. But instead of this, they had given indulgence to proud feeling, and had become elated with a vain confidence in their spiritual purity. People are always elated and proud when they have the least occasion for it. And have not rather mourned ... - Have not rather been so afflicted and troubled as to take the proper means for removing the offense. The word “mourn” here is taken in that large sense. Ye have not been “so much” afflicted - so troubled with the existence of this wickedness, as to take the proper measures to remove the offender Acts of discipline in the church should always commence with mourning that there is occasion for it. It should not be anger, or pride, or revenge, or party feeling, which prompt to it. It should be deep grief that there is occasion for it; and tender
compassion for the offender. Might be taken away - By excommunication. He should not, while he continues in this state, be allowed to remain in your communion.” 5. Clarke, “This is supposed by some to refer to the punishment of death, by others to excommunication. The Christian Church was at this time too young to have those forms of excommunication which were practised in succeeding centuries. Probably no more is meant than a simple disowning of the person, accompanied with the refusal to admit him to the sacred ordinances, or to have any intercourse or connection with him.” 6. Henry, “They were puffed up(1Co_5:2), they gloried,1. Perhaps on account of this very scandalous person. He might be a man of great eloquence, of deep science, and for this reason very greatly esteemed, and followed, and cried up, by many among them. They were proud that they had such a leader. Instead of mourning for his fall, and their own reproach upon his account, and renouncing him and removing him from the society, they continued to applaud him and pride themselves in him. ote, Pride or self-esteem often lies at the bottom of our immoderate esteem of others, and this makes us as blind to their faults as to our own. It is true humility that will bring a man to a sight and acknowledgment of his errors. The proud man either wholly overlooks or artfully disguises his faults, or endeavors to transform his blemishes into beauties. Those of the Corinthians that were admirers of the incestuous person's gifts could overlook or extenuate his horrid practices. Or else, 2. It may intimate to us that some of the opposite party were puffed up. They were proud of their own standing, and trampled upon him that fell. ote, It is a very wicked thing to glory over the miscarriages and sins of others. We should lay them to heart, and mourn for them, not be puffed up with them. Probably this was one effect of the divisions among them. The opposite party made their advantage of this scandalous lapse, and were glad of the opportunity. ote, It is a sad consequence of divisions among Christians that it makes them apt to rejoice in iniquity. The sins of others should be our sorrow. ay, churches should mourn for the scandalous behavior of particular members, and, if they be incorrigible, should remove them. He that had done this wicked deed should have been taken away from among them.” 7. Barclay, “Shocked as he was at the sin, Paul was even more shocked by the attitude of the Corinthian Church to the sinner. They had complacently accepted the situation and done nothing about it when they should have been grief-stricken. The word Paul uses for the grief they should have shown (penthein, GS 3996) is the word that is used for mourning for the dead. An easy-going attitude to sin is always dangerous. It has been said that our one security against sin lies in our being shocked at it. Carlyle said that men must see the infinite beauty of holiness and the infinite damnability of sin. When we cease to take a serious view of sin we are in a perilous position. It is not a question of being critical and condemnatory; it is a question of being wounded and shocked. It was sin that crucified Jesus Christ; it
was to free men from sin that he died. o Christian man can take an easy-going view of it.” 8. David Guzik, “More than anything, the Corinthian Christians were probably allowing this in the name of “tolerance.” They probably were saying to themselves, “Look how loving we are. We are accepting this brother just as he is. Look how open-minded we are!” We should never underestimate what people will allow in the name of “open-mindedness.” 9. Roger Hahn, “Apparently the Corinthian church not only saw no problem in the sin but also actually found it a point of pride. We can only surmise that they felt this provided them an opportunity to show how free they were from legalism. Paul's shock is clear. Grief, not arrogance, is the appropriate response. Contemporary Christianity often finds it too easy to fall into a similar error. In our efforts not to be judgmental or legalistic we too often have ignored the horror and devastation of sin in our midst.”
3Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present.
1. Paul did not have to be present to come to a conclusion about what needed to be done with this believer who let his sexual urges lead him into a vile sin abhorred even by the pagans. Paul had him judged without being present, for there can never be an excuse that would justify such behavior. It was an open and shut case, and Paul as the judge pronounces condemnation. 2. Godet, “Paul would bring out this contrast: “As for you who were present, you did nothing; and as for me, distant from you though I am, yet living spiritually among you, this is how I acted!” 3. Barnes, “I, whatever it may cost me; however you may esteem my interference; and whatever personal ill-will may be the result toward me, have adjudged this case to be so flagrant as to demand the exercise of discipline, and since the church to whom it belongs have neglected it, I use the authority of an apostle, and of a spiritual father, in directing it to take place. This was not a formal sentence of excommunication; but it was the declared opinion of an apostle that such a sentence should be passed, and an injunction on the church to exercise this act of discipline.
As absent in body - Since I am not personally present with you, I express my opinion in this manner. I am absent in body from you, and cannot, therefore, take those steps in regard to it which I could were I present. But present in spirit - My heart is with you; my feelings are with you; I have a deep and tender interest in the case; and I judge as if I were personally present. Many suppose that Paul by this refers to a power which was given to the apostles, though at a distance, to discern the real circumstances of a case by the gift of the Spirit. Compare Col_2:5; 2Ki_5:26; 2Ki_6:12. (Whitby, Doddridge, etc.) But the phrase does not demand this interpretation. Paul meant, probably, that though he was absent, yet his mind and attention had been given to this subject; he felt as deeply as though he were present, and would act in the same way. He had, in some way, been fully apprized of all the circumstances of the case, and he felt it to be his duty to express his views on the subject. Have judged already - Margin, “Determined” κέκρικα . I have made up my mind; have decided, and do decide. That is, he had determined what ought to be done in the case. It was a case in which the course which ought to be pursued was plain, and on this point his mind was settled. What that course should be he states immediately. As though I were present - As though I had a personal knowledge of the whole affair, and were with you to advise - We may be certain that Paul had the fullest information as to this case; and that the circumstances were well known. Indeed, it was a case about the facts of which there could be no doubt. They were everywhere known 1Co_5:1, and there was no need, therefore, to attempt to establish them by formal proof.” 4. Henry, “as absent in body, yet present in spirit, he had judged already as if he had been present;that is, he had, by revelation and the miraculous gift of discerning vouchsafed him by the Spirit, as perfect a knowledge of the case, and had hereupon come to the following determination, not without special authority from the Holy Spirit. He says this to let them know that, though he was at a distance, he did not pass an unrighteous sentence, nor judge without having as full cognizance of the case as if he had been on the spot. ote, Those who would appear righteous judges to the world will take care to inform them that they do not pass sentence without full proof and evidence. The apostle adds, him who hath so done this deed. The fact was not only heinously evil in itself, and horrible to the heathens, but there were some particular circumstances that greatly aggravated the offense. He had so committed the evil as to heighten the guilt by the manner of doing it. Perhaps he was a minister, a teacher, or a principal man among them. By this means the church and their profession were more reproached. ote, In dealing with scandalous sinners, not only are they to be charged with the fact, but the aggravating circumstances of it.” 5. So often we quote the text “judge not” and we think that forbids all judgment, but that is not the case at all. Judgment is a part of wisdom, and we must all make judgments constantly as to what is right or wrong, what is wise of foolish. John Ritenbaugh wisely writes of Paul's judgment here, “Paul not only judged, he judged
on the basis of the testimony and judgment of others he trusted! He then disfellowshiped the man without hearing the man's own testimony! This is the same man who wrote in Romans 14, "Who are you to judge another's servant?" (verse 4) and "But why do you judge your brother?" (verse 10). He obviously strongly believed that when the spiritual and moral integrity of a congregation was threatened by blatant sinsinsin , judgment was necessary.”
4When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present,
1. Paul is describing the ideal situation for the will of God to be achieved, for it is in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the spirit of Paul who has special authority, and in the power of Jesus being present. There cannot be a more godly atmosphere than this, and so what is done is fully sanctioned by God. This is serious business, and the full authority and power of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are involved. It is not something done lightly, but on the highest and most serious level. 2. Barnes, “general doctrine of the ew Testament is that the government of the church is invested, not in the people or church members at large, but in certain rulers or office-bearers, 1Co_12:28; Eph_4:11-12; 1Th_5:12-13; Heb_13:7; 1Ti_5:17. We find these elders or rulers existing in every church to which our attention is directed, while the people are continually exhorted to yield a willing submission to their authority. ow the passage under review must be explained in consistency with the analogy of truth, or the general scope of Scripture on the subject. It is unwise to build our conclusion on an insulated text. But, in reality, the language of the apostle, in this place, when fairly examined, gives no countenance to the idea that the judicial power of the church resides in the people. The case of the incestuous man was “judged by the apostle himself” previous to the transmission of his letter to the Corinthian church, which was therefore enjoined, not to adjudicate on the matter, but simply to give effect to the decision of Paul. “I verily ‘have judged already’ concerning him who hath done this deed; in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” etc. If it be still demanded why then were the people to assemble? the answer is obvious. It was necessary that the sentence should be published, where the crime had been committed, that the members of the church might concur in it, and withdraw from the society of the guilty person. The simple fact of the people being assembled is no proof that they were judges. Yet candor requires us to state that the words in the third verse, ἤδη κεκρίκα ̄dē
kekrika(I have already judged) are supposed by some to intimate, not the delivering of an authoritative sentence, but the simple expression of an opinion in regard to what ought to be done. This, however, seems neither consistent with the scope of the passage, nor with just ideas of apostolical authority. The apostles had “the care of all the churches, with power to settle matters of faith and order, to determine controversies, and exercise the rod of discipline on all offenders, whether pastors or flock; 1Co_5:3-6; 2Co_10:8; 2Co_13:10.”) With the power ... - This phrase is to be connected with the following verse. “I have determined what ought to be done. The sentence which I have passed is this. You are to be assembled in the name and authority of Christ. I shall be virtually present. And you are to deliver such a one to Satan, ‘by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.’” That is, it is to be done by you; and the miraculous power which will be evinced in the case will proceed from the Lord Jesus. The word “power” δύναµις is used commonly in the ew Testament to denote some miraculous and extraordinary power; and here evidently means that the Lord Jesus would put forth such a power in the infliction of pain and for the preservation of the purity of his church. 3. Gill, “ the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,.... These words contain an account of the several things and circumstances, that should attend the awful act of the apostle, in delivering this man to Satan; it would be done "in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ"; by his command, power, and authority, and for his glory; in whose name all miraculous actions, as this was one, were performed: when ye are gathered together; as a church, in a public manner, in one place; not to do this business, for this was purely apostolical; but to be witness of this wonderful operation, to acknowledge the justice of God in it, and that they might fear and take warning by it: and my spirit; meaning that though he was absent in body, he should be present in spirit; and that the extraordinary gift of the Spirit of God bestowed on him would be visibly exercised upon this man before them all, as if he himself was in the midst of them; and this not by any power of his own, but with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ; to which all such miraculous effects, as this hereafter related, are to be ascribed.” 4. Godet, “The tribunal is formed of the Christians of Corinth assembled in Paul's spiritual presence; his competency is the name of Jesus Christ, under whose authority the sentence is given; his ability to execute is the power of Jesus Christ. The moment has come for the Church to do what Jesus called binding; it has to judge. This judgment is to be pronounced by the faithful gathered together in His name , as many of them as will be found to agree in view of an interest of this kind, should there be only two or three. —The name denotes the person of the Lord in so far as it is revealed to the hearts of believers, recognized and adored by them.— Perhaps we should, with the documents, reject the word Christ , and preserve only the name Jesus , which calls up the historical personality of Him who has promised to be invisibly present at such an act. It is on this promised presence that the authority of the assembly which does it rests. The pronoun ye does not necessarily embrace the whole of the Church, for the matter in question here is not a vote by a majority of voices; it is a spiritual act in which, from the very nature of things, only
the man takes part who feels impelled to it, and each in the measure in which he is capable of it. Two or three suffice for this, in case of need, Jesus Himself says; for the means of action in such discipline is agreement in prayer. How could all this apply to a decree of excommunication, pronounced after contradictory debating, and by a majority of voices, perhaps a majority of one? The things of God do not admit of being thus treated.
5hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature[a] may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.
1. This judgment is just about as shocking as the sin that is being judged. Who ever heard of such a thing as handing a Christian over to Satan, and who ever dreamed that this could be a good thing? Satan is here a cleansing agent, for he destroys the sinful nature, and that leaves the spirit free to yet be redeemed on the day of the Lord. Here we have a mystery to try and unravel. How can this be is our first question? Is Paul telling us that Satan can play a role in our ultimate salvation if we are so sinful that we are not fit to live? Can he purge our sinful flesh so that our spirit can be saved? Who can answer these questions? Let us go to the commentators to see what they have to say. Paul seems to be saying there is a way to heaven by means of hell or the ruler of hell, which is Satan. Could it be that hell can be a help to heaven by burning the hell out of us, meaning the evil flesh nature? This idea of hell being a detour that will get us back on the road to heaven when we are too sinful to get their directly does not seem to be right, but other views seems so weak that this radical view seems more appealing. I searched as many authors as I could find who had a view of what Paul was saying. I will quote many, and then give my own conclusions. This first series were found after I quoted my basic commentaries, and so they are in this alphabetical form. 1B. An author who goes by iccbrisbane wrote, “Handing a person over to Satan caused him to be spiritually vulnerable. It is equivalent to being dropped, defenseless and disowned, in enemy occupied territory. It is hopeful that the sheer shock of such experience will bring the person to repentance.” 1C. David Guzik give us his view in three statements: “How could they deliver such a one to Satan? By putting him outside the church, into the world, which is the devil’s “domain.” The punishment is a removal of spiritual protection and social
comfort, not an infliction of evil.” “The purpose of putting this man outside the spiritual protection and social comfort of the church was the destruction of the flesh, not the body, but his rebellious flesh. i. This man, though a Christian, was at this time given over to the sins of the flesh. Paul is saying that through their taking him away, the man will be given over to the sinful consequences of his flesh, and the hope is that by wallowing in the results of his sin, the sinful impulse of the flesh in this particular area will be “destroyed.” “The words deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh were used to justify terrible torture during the Inquisition, but this isn’t what Paul is talking about at all. Paul isn’t talking about destroying the man’s physical body, but addressing the spiritual power of his sinful flesh.” 1D. John Darby, “ ow the world is the theater of Satan's power; the assembly, delivered from his power, is the habitation of God by the Spirit. If the enemy had succeeded in drawing aside by the flesh a member of Christ, so that he dishonours the Lord by walking after the flesh as men of the world do, he is put outside, and by the power of the Spirit, as then exercised in their midst by the apostle, delivered up to the enemy, who is in spite of himself the servant of the purposes of God (as in the case of Job), in order that the flesh of the Christian (which, from his not being able to reckon it dead, had brought him morally under the power of Satan) should be physically destroyed and broken down. Thus would he be set free from the illusions in which the flesh held him captive. His mind would learn how to discern the difference between good and evil, to know what sin was. The judgment of God would be realized within him, and would not be executed upon him at that day when it would be definitive for the condemnation of those who should undergo it. This was a great blessing, although its form was terrible. Marvelous example of the government of God, which uses the adversary's enmity against the saints as an instrument for their spiritual blessing!” 1E. Bruce . Cameron, “I think Paul suggests that by throwing the man out of the church, his sin will become clear to him (or he will sink deeper into sin) and will eventually see his need for repentance. Compare the story of the prodigal son.” 1F. Deffinbaugh, “Church discipline expels the wayward and unrepentant saint from the church, from participating in its worship (i.e., the Lord’s Table), and from fellowship with individuals or small groups of believers. In so doing, the sinning saint not only loses the positive benefits of being a part of the church body, but is placed in the very dangerous position of being vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. In Paul’s words, the one who is disciplined is “delivered to Satan” (see also 1 Timothy 1:20). Satan is a destroyer, a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (see 1 Peter 5:8). When the church expels a wayward member, that person is given over to Satan, knowing that he delights in destruction. It is not a pretty picture, nor is it something any church should take lightly. When we deliver one over to Satan, we are simply giving the unrepentant Christian what he has chosen. To remain in sin is to be in the bondage of Satan (2 Timothy 2:24-26). To be disciplined is simply to
hand that one over fully to Satan. Discipline confirms a choice that the sinner has already made. While Satan has the power to destroy the flesh, he does not have the authority to destroy the spirit. At Satan’s request, he was given the authority to attack Job, but this authority has always had boundaries. Given God’s permission, Satan could do so much to Job and no more (see Job 1:12; 2:6). Satan does not have the power to spiritually destroy one who is saved by the blood of Jesus Christ:” 1G. Expositors Bible is vague: “Many meanings have been put upon these words; but after all has been said, the natural and obvious meaning of the words asserts itself. Paul believed that certain sins were more likely to be cured by bodily suffering than by any other agency. aturally sins of the flesh belonged to this class. Bodily suffering of some kinds he believed to be the infliction of Satan. Even his own thorn in the flesh he spoke of as a messenger of Satan sent to buffet him. He expected also that the judgment pronounced by himself and the congregation on this offender would be given effect to in God s providence ; and accordingly he bids the congregation hand the man over to this disciplinary suffering, not as a final doom, but as the only likely means of saving his soul.” 1H. Wesley was also vague: “To deliver such an one - This was the highest degree of punishment in the Christian church; and we may observe, the passing this sentence was the act of the apostle, not of the Corinthians. To Satan - Who was usually permitted, in such cases, to inflict pain or sickness on the offender. For the destruction - Though slowly and gradually. Of the flesh - Unless prevented by speedy repentance.” 1I. Barton Johnson, “To deliver unto Satan is to excommunicate; to extradite from the kingdom of God to the prince of this world. The expression is used in 1 Tim. 1:201 Tim. 1:20 . For the destruction of the flesh. Fleshly desires had caused the sin. These must be destroyed. The humiliation of excommunication, the sense of one's lost condition, was well adapted to bring a repentance. Some have held that this meant to send some painful disease miraculously. I believe that the Latin fathers and Beza are right in understanding that it refers to the mortification of the offender, cast out, shunned by the church as a dead body. In 2 Cor. 2:72 Cor. 2:7 , this person is ordered to be restored, having repented, and no mention is made of disease. That the spirit may be saved. This is the object of all true discipline. If carried out, as in the early church, it was well calculated to bring to repentance. It was effective in this instance, as we learn from 2 Cor. 2:62 Cor. 2:6 . 1J. S. Lewis Johnson Jr. “the delivery of the individual to Satan is the turning over of the individual to Satan for the exercise of physical judgment as well as the experience of being separated from the body of the believers and unable to be a part of them in the prime meeting and activity of the church when they meet together as a church and observe the Lord’s table. So excommunication and bodily chastisement, it seems to me, are clearly in view. By the way Joseph Klausner, the Jewish author, so well-known because he’s written
on Jesus Christ and he’s written on Paul in his book “Jesus and Paul” suggests that perhaps this was for a secret execution of the individual. And you might understand why he would say that, because being a Jewish man when a person committed such adultery, he was put to death. And so, he just simply suggested that to deliver to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, might have been a secret execution of the individual, but we have no real biblical support for that, and so we’ll have to let that be for something else.” 2. Henry, “think that this is to be understood of a mere ordinary excommunication, and that delivering him to Satan for the destruction of the flesh is only meant of disowning him, and casting him out of the church, that by this means he might be brought to repentance, and his flesh might be mortified. Christ and Satan divide the world: and those that live in sin, when they profess relation to Christ, belong to another master, and by excommunication should be delivered up to him; and this in the name of Christ. ote, Church-censures are Christ's ordinances, and should be dispensed in his name. It was to be done also when they were gathered together,in full assembly. The more public the more solemn, and the more solemn the more likely to have a good effect on the offender. ote, Church-censures on notorious and incorrigible sinners should be passed with great solemnity. Those who sin in this manner are to be rebuked before all, that all may fear,1Ti_5:20. Others think the apostle is not to be understood of mere excommunication, but of a miraculous power or authority they had of delivering a scandalous sinner into the power of Satan, to have bodily diseases inflicted, and to be tormented by him with bodily pains, which is the meaning of the destruction of the flesh.In this sense the destruction of the flesh has been a happy occasion of the salvation of the spirit. It is probable that this was a mixed case. It was an extraordinary instance: and the church was to proceed against him by just censure; the apostle, when they did so, put forth an act of extraordinary power, and gave him up to Satan, nor for his destruction, but for his deliverance, at least for the destruction of the flesh, that the soul might be saved. ote, The great end of church-censures is the good of those who fall under them, their spiritual and eternal good. It is that their spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, 1Co_5:5. Yet it is not merely a regard to their benefit that is to be had in proceeding against them.
3. Jamison, “Satan receives power at times to try the godly, as Job (Job_2:4-7) and Paul (2Co_12:7; compare also as to Peter, Luk_22:31), much more the ungodly. Satan, the “accuser of the brethren” (Rev_12:10) and the “adversary” (1Pe_5:8), demands the sinner for punishment on account of sin (Zec_3:1). When God lets Satan have his way, He is said to “deliver the sinner unto Satan” (compare Psa_109:6). Here it is not finally; but for the affliction of the body with disease, and even death(1Co_11:30, 1Co_11:32), so as to destroy fleshly lust.He does not say, “for the destruction of the body,” for itshall share in redemption (Rom_8:23); but of the corrupt “flesh” which “cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” and the lusts of which had prompted this offender to incest (Rom_7:5; Rom_8:9, Rom_8:10). The “destruction of the flesh” answers to “mortifythe deeds of the body” (Rom_8:13),
only that the latter is done by one’s self, the former is effected by chastisement from God (compare 1Pe_4:6): the spirit ... saved ― the spiritual part of man, in the believer the organ of the Holy Spirit. Temporary affliction often leads to permanent salvation (Psa_83:16). 3B. “Church discipline is not a group of ‘pious policemen’ out to catch a criminal. Rather, it is a group of brokenhearted brothers and sisters seeking to restore and erring member of the family.” (Wiersbe)
4. Barnes, “, and the Latin fathers, suppose that this is only an expression of excommunication. They say, that in the Scriptures there are but two kingdoms recognized - the kingdom of God, or the church, and the kingdom of the world, which is regarded as under the control of Satan; and that to exclude a man from one is to subject him to the dominion of the other. There is some foundation for this opinion; and there can be no doubt that excommunication is here intended, and that, by excommunication, the offender was in some sense placed under the control of Satan. It is further evident that it is here supposed that by being thus placed under him the offender would be subject to corporal inflictions by the agency of Satan, which are here called the “destruction of the flesh.” Satan is elsewhere referred to as the author of bodily diseases. Thus, in the case of Job, Job_2:7. A similar instance is mentioned in 1Ti_1:20, where Paul says he had delivered Hymeneus and Alexander to “Satan, that they might learn not to blaspheme.” It may be observed here that though this was to be done by the concurrence of the church, as having a right to administer discipline, yet it was directed by apostolic authority; and there is no evidence that this was the usual form of excommunication, nor ought it now to be used. There was evidently miraculous power evinced in this case, and that power has long since ceased in the church. For the destruction of the flesh - We may observe here: (1) That this does not mean that the man was to die under the infliction of the censure, for the object was to recover him; and it is evident that, whatever he suffered as the consequence of this, he survived it, and Paul again instructed the Corinthians to admit him to their fellowship, 2Co_2:7. (2) It was designed to punish him for licentiousness of life - often called in the Scriptures one of the sins, or works of the flesh Gal_5:19, and the design was that the punishment should follow “in the line of the offence,” or be a just retribution as punishment often does. Many have supposed that by the “destruction of the flesh” Paul meant only the destruction of his fleshly appetites or carnal affections; and that he supposed that this would be effected by the act of excommunication. But it is very evident from the Scriptures that the apostles were imbued with the power of inflicting diseases or bodily calamities for crimes. See Act_13:11; 1Co_11:30. What this bodily malady was we have no means of knowing. It is evident that it was not of very long duration, since when the apostle exhorts them 2Co_2:7again to receive him, there is no mention made of his suffering then under it - This was an extraordinary and miraculous power. It was designed for the government of the
church in its infancy, when everything was suited to show the direct agency of God; and it ceased, doubtless, with the apostles. The church now has no such power. It cannot now work miracles; and all its discipline now is to be moral discipline, designed not to inflict bodily pain and penalties, but to work a moral reformation in the offender. That the spirit may be saved - That his soul might be saved; that he might be corrected, humbled, and reformed by these sufferings, and recalled to the paths of piety and virtue. This expresses the true design of the discipline of the church, and it ought never to be inflicted but with a direct intention to benefit the offender, and to save the soul. Even when he is cut off and disowned, the design should not be vengeance, or punishment merely, but it should be to recover him and save him from ruin. In the day of the Lord Jesus - The Day of Judgment when the Lord Jesus shall come, and shall collect his people to himself. 5. Clarke, “deliver such a one unto Satan - is no evidence that delivering to Satan was any form of excommunication known either among the Jews or the Christians. Lightfoot, Selden, and Schoettgen, who have searched all the Jewish records, have found nothing that answers to this: it was a species of punishment administered in extraordinary cases, in which the body and the mind of an incorrigible transgressor were delivered by the authority of God into the power of Satan, to be tortured with diseases and terrors as a warning to all; but while the body and mind were thus tormented, the immortal spirit was under the influence of the Divine mercy; and the affliction, in all probability, was in general only for a season; though sometimes it was evidently unto death, as the destruction of the flesh seems to imply. But the soul found mercy at the hand of God; for such a most extraordinary interference of God’s power and justice, and of Satan’s influence, could not fail to bring the person to a state of the deepest humiliation and contrition; and thus, while the flesh was destroyed, the spirit was saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. o such power as this remains in the Church of God; none such should be assumed; the pretensions to it are as wicked as they are vain. It was the same power by which Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead, and Elymas the sorcerer struck blind. Apostles alone were intrusted with it.” 6. Gill, “deliver such an one unto Satan,.... This, as before observed, is to be read in connection with 1Co_5:3 and is what the apostle there determined to do with this incestuous person; namely, to deliver him unto Satan; by which is meant, not the act of excommunication, or the removing of him from the communion of the church, which is an act of the whole church, and not of any single person; whereas this was what the church had nothing to do with; it was not what they were to do, or ought to do, but what the apostle had resolved to do; and which was an act of his own, and peculiar to him as an apostle, see 1Ti_1:20. or is this a form of excommunication; nor was this phrase ever used in excommunicating persons by the primitive churches; nor ought it ever to be used; it is what no man, or set of men, have power to do now, since the ceasing of the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, which the apostles were endowed with; who, as they had a power over Satan to dispossess him
from the bodies of men, so to deliver up the bodies of men into his hands, as the apostle did this man's: for the destruction of the flesh; that is, that his body might be shook, buffeted, afflicted, and tortured in a terrible manner; that by this means he might be brought to a sense of his sin, to repentance for it, and make an humble acknowledgment of it: that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus; that he might be renewed in the spirit of his mind, be restored by repentance, and his soul be saved in the day of Christ; either at death, when soul and body would be separated, or at the day of the resurrection, when both should be reunited; for the flesh here means, not the corruption of nature, in opposition to the spirit, as a principle of grace, but the body, in distinction from the soul: nor was the soul of this man, only his body, delivered for a time unto Satan; the end of which was, that his soul might be saved, which could never be done by delivering it up to Satan: and very wrongfully is this applied to excommunication; when it is no part of excommunication, nor the end of it, to deliver souls to Satan, but rather to deliver them from him.” 7. Barclay, “Paul's verdict is that the man must be dealt with. In a vivid phrase he says that he must be handed over to Satan. He means that he must be excommunicated. The world was looked upon as the domain of Satan (Jn.12:31; Jn.16:11; Ac.26:18; Col.1:13) just as the Church was the domain of God. Send this man back to Satan's world to which he belongs, is Paul's verdict. But we have to note that even a punishment as serious as that was not vindictive. It was in order to humiliate the man, to bring about the taming and the eradication of his lusts so that in the end his spirit should be saved. It was discipline, not exercised solely to punish, but rather to awaken; and was a verdict to be carried out, not with cold, sadistic cruelty, but rather in sorrow as for one who had died. Always at the back of punishment and discipline in the early Church there is the conviction that they must seek not to break but to make the man who has sinned.” 8. Unknown author, “It is still more often assumed that the sequel of this case is referred to in 2 Cor. ii. 5-11, vii. 12. It is inferred from these passages that the Corinthian Church held a meeting such as the Apostle prescribes in this chapter, and by a majority (2 Cor. ii. 6) passed the sentence of expulsion, whereupon the offender was led to repentance ; and that the Corinthians then awaited the Apostle s permission to remit the sentence, which permission he gives (2 Cor. ii. 10). This view, however, is founded on two assumptions, one of which is open to serious question, and the other to question which is so serious as to be almost fatal. The view assumes that 2 Cor. i.-ix. was written soon after i Cor., which is very doubtful. It also assumes that 2 Cor. ii. 5-1 1 and vii. 12 refer to this case of incest, which is very difficult to believe. 2 Cor. vii. 12 certainly refers to the same case as 2 Cor. ii. 511, and the language in vii. 12 is so utterly unsuitable to the case of incest that it is scarcely credible that it can refer to it.” 9. Rev C Bouwman, “The city of Corinth had gained for itself in the course of the
years an international reputation for being a center of immorality. To call somebody a "Corinthian girl" was to say that she was a prostitute. The name of the city was also made into a verb, to "corinthianise", and the verb meant as much as "to fornicate". The immorality characterizing the Corinthian population used to characterize also those who now belonged to Christ's church in Corinth. After all, Paul says in I Cor 6 that "neither fornicators…, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites…will inherit the kingdom of God." And he adds: "and such were some of you" (vss 9ff). It appears, now, that the lifestyle which the believers of Corinth had before they came to faith followed them into their Christian lives. Old habits die hard, even for the regenerated. For there was a brother in the congregation who "has his father's wife". The woman concerned will not have been his own mother, but "his father's wife", that is, his step-mother. The words "deliver to Satan" are plain enough. This sinner is forthwith to be handed over to Satan. Without delay, without hesitation, he is to be placed in Satan's hands, Satan's camp, Satan's control. We find the thought frightening, radical. We are thankful that the Lord has given His only Son to ransom us from Satan's power, to ransom the saints of Corinth also from Satan's clutches (cf LD 11). This brother in the congregation of Corinth has professed the faith, claimed that Jesus died for him. He's joined with the congregation in the Lord's Supper celebration, received the signs and seals that Christ died for him. Is he now to be handed back to Satan?? We cringe at the thought of one of our loved ones -let alone ourselves!- being delivered back to the Satan from whose hands we were delivered through Jesus Christ!” Bouwman goes on to show that Job was given into the hands of Satan, and he came out better than ever, and that was the purpose here as well. The goal is not to damn this man, but to deliver him, and being in the hands of Satan for awhile will make him glad to be back in the hands of Jesus. Severe penalty can wake a man up to what he has, and propel him to cling to it rather than stray.
10. Roger Hahn, “Verse 5 is the most difficult part of this section to understand. There Paul demands that the man be "delivered to Satan." Several meanings of possible but it is likely that the apostle intended these words to simply mean "expel from the church." Paul and presumably the Corinthians lived in a world that believed that Satan and demonic spirits controlled the world. One's life and destiny were under the whims of these evil beings. The early Christian church confidently proclaimed that Christ had defeated Satan and the evil spiritual beings through the death and resurrection. Thus the church was a protected territory free from demonic influence and power. Part of the attraction of early Christian evangelism was the promise of the peace and security of living without fear of evil spiritual beings. To turn the man out of the church would be to remove him from the safety of the church and send him back to the onslaughts of Satanic beings. Paul further describes the results of being "delivered to Satan" as the "destruction of his flesh."
It is not clear whether the apostle envisioned death or simply physical difficulties as the result of the man's return to the realm of Satan. In either case the longer term goal is that his "spirit may be saved." Some have argued that death or physical torment would represent the penance that this man would have to pay for ultimate salvation. It is more likely that Paul hoped his difficulties outside the church would motivate a change in behavior, repentance, and the possibility of being reclaimed prior to the second coming of Christ.” 11. Dr. Grant Richison, “The act that the congregation duly assembled was to do was to deliver the incestuous believer over to physical death. The word “deliver” is a strong word in the Greek conveying the idea of a judicial sentence – the handing over for discipline. There is a sin unto physical death (Acts 5―Ananias and Sapphira; 2 Co 11:7; 1 Jn 5:16). This is not destruction of the being but of the body. The sin unto death is not a specific sin nor does it come from individual acts of sin but from continued, willful, negative volition towards God over a protracted period of time. 1 Ti 1: 20of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. The killing of the body is Satan’s work – “the destruction of the flesh.” He killed Job’s seven sons and three daughters. He has the power of death (He 2:14,15; 1 Jn 3:8). He is a murderer (Jn 8:44) and he motivated Cain to kill Abel (1 Jn 3:13). He is the agent for the sin unto death of the believer (here; 1 Ti 1:19,20). that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. All discipline of a believer in the Bible is remedial. The purpose is restoration, not punishment. The “spirit” of this believer will go to heaven but his body will die if he does not repent. God will resurrect even his body eventually. Satan cannot touch the soul of the believer but he can kill the body . Even after God takes a believer home prematurely, God will save his body when Christ comes again.” 12. Daniel Bediako gives us an excellent summary of different views from the International Journal for Pastors. “Much of the debate on the passage centers on the meaning of flesh and spirit.2 The discussion also deals with the nature of Pauål's verdict. Does it point merely to temporary discipline3 or to something more (that is, permanent expulsion and subsequent death)?4 Some scholars understand "deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh" in a physical sense: the expelled, incestuous man will suffer physical illness,5 or even physical suffering leading to death at the hands of Satan.6 Accordingly, some scholars have posited a "curse/death" interpretation of 1 Corinthians 5:51 Corinthians 5:5 based on analogies from Greek "magical" papyri and/or Jewish writings.7 Several variations of these views are promulgated: Paul may have meant a delivery of the man to Roman magistrates,8 a secret execution,9 a self-atoning physical death,10 or a delivery to purgatory.11 In any case, these interpretations take flesh in a physical sense, namely, the body. However, some understand flesh and spirit metaphorically, each denoting the whole person rather than a dichotomy of the person.12 Some
scholars believe that Paul refers to the expulsion of the incestuous man, and that this would lead to the "destruction" of his sinful nature,13 not his physical body. Some seek to identify the incestuous man in 1 Corinthians 5:51 Corinthians 5:5 with the offender in 2 Corinthians 2:6-112 Corinthians 2:6-11 whom Paul says the church should accept back.14 Others see in this expulsion both the mortification of the flesh (fleshly lust) and physical suffering (destruction of the flesh or body).15 While there is no consensus regarding the details of the text, many scholars agree that the purpose of Paul's verdict is the salvation of the man's "spirit." He concludes, 釘y figuratively handing over the incestuous man to Satan i.e., expelling him from the church, it is hoped, in view of the accompanying disgrace and grief, that the man would come back to his senses, repent of his sin, turn away from it, and be accepted back into fellowship.” 13. Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, “In the name....with the power of our Lord Jesus, to deliver such a one to Satan by a sentence of excommunication, depriving him of the sacraments, the prayers, and communion, and even of the conversation of the rest of the faithful. It is likely in those times, such excommunicated persons were delivered over to Satan, so as to be corp orally tormented by the devil. But most divines are of opinion that this man was delivered over to the devil, to strike a terror into others. See St. Chrysostom, hom. xv. and this is said to be done for the destruction, or punishment of the flesh, that the spirit, or soul, may be saved. (Witham) --- It is the opinion of most of the Greek fathers, that this man was either really possessed by the devil, or at least struck with such a complaint as a mortification, and humiliation to his body, whilst it served to purify his soul. We have seen from many instances in holy Scripture, that it was not unusual, in the origin of Christianity, for persons who had fallen into crimes of this nature, to be punished with death, some grievous sickness, or by being possessed by the devil. But most divines are of opinion that this man was delivered over to the devil, so as to be separated from the communion of the Church. (St. Ambrose; Estius; Just.[St. Justin Martyr?]; Menochius)” 14. Constable, “Paul had determined to deliver the man to Satan for the destruction of his flesh. Probably Paul meant that he had delivered the man over to the world, which Satan controls, with God's permission of course, for bodily chastisement that might even result in his premature death.133 This was the result of Peter's dealings with Ananias and Sapphira, though the text does not say he delivered them to Satan for the destruction of their flesh. God was bringing premature death on other Corinthians for their improper conduct during the Lord's Supper (11:30; cf. 1 John 5:16). We have no record that this man died prematurely, though he may have. Premature death might be his judgment (the "worst case scenario") if he did not repent. Paul passed similar judgment on Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim. 1:20). In that case he said he just delivered them to Satan. He wrote nothing about the destruction of the flesh. Deliverance to Satan must mean deliverance to the authority and control of Satan in a way that is different from the way all believers are under Satan's control. Everyone is subject to temptation and demonic influence under the sovereign authority of God.
A variation of this view is that the delivery to Satan would eventuate in wasting physical illness but not death.135 However the term "the destruction of the flesh" seems to imply death rather than simply disease. A third interpretation understands the term "flesh" metaphorically as referring to the destruction of the man's sinful nature.136 The destruction of the flesh in this case refers to the mortification of the lusts of the flesh. However it seems unusual that Paul would deliver the man to Satan for this purpose. Satan would not normally put the lusts of the flesh to death but stir them up in the man. It is hard to see how handing a person over to Satan would purify him.” 15. Calvin, “As the Apostles had been furnished with this power among others, that they could deliver over to Satan wicked and obstinate persons, and made use of him as a scourge to correct them, Chrysostom, and those that follow him, view these words of Paul as referring to a chastisement of that kind, agreeably to the exposition that is usually given of another passage, in reference to Alexander and Hymeneus, (1 Timothy 1:20.) To deliver over to Satan, they think, means nothing but the infliction of a severe punishment upon the body. But when I examine the whole context more narrowly, and at the same time compare it with what is stated in the Second Epistle, I give up that interpretation, as forced and at variance with Paul’s meaning, and understand it simply of excommunication. For delivering over to Satan is an appropriate expression for denoting excommunication; for as Christ reigns in the Church, so Satan reigns out of the Church, as Augustine, too, has remarked, “Has very well remarked.” in his sixty-eighth sermon on the words of the Apostle, where he explains this passage. “The reader will find the same sentiment quoted in the Institutes, volume 3. ― Ed. As, then, we are received into the communion of the Church, and remain in it on this condition, that we are under the protection and guardianship of Christ, I say, that he who is cast out of the Church is in a manner delivered over to the power of Satan, for he becomes an alien, and is cast out of Christ’s kingdom. The clause that follows, for the destruction of the flesh, is made use of for the purpose of softening; for Paul’s meaning is not that the person who is chastised is given over to Satan to be utterly ruined, or so as to be given up to the devil in perpetual bondage, but that it is a temporary condemnation, and not only so, but of such a nature as will be salutary. For as the salvation equally with the condemnation of the spirit is eternal, he takes the condemnation of the flesh as meaning temporal condemnation. “We will condemn him in this world for a time, that the Lord may preserve him in his kingdom.” This furnishes an answer to the objection, by which some endeavor to set aside this exposition, for as the sentence of excommunication is directed rather against the soul than against the outward man, they inquire how it can be called the destruction of the flesh My answer, then, is, (as I have already in part stated,) that the destruction of the flesh is opposed to the salvation of the spirit, simply because the former is temporal and the latter is eternal. In this sense the Apostle in Hebrews 5:7, uses the expression the days of Christs flesh, to mean the course of his mortal life. ow the Church in chastising offenders with severity,
spares them not in this world, in order that God may spare them.� 16. Godet goes into greater detail than others as he wrote, “The obscure expression to deliver to Satan , is found only elsewhere in 1 Tim. 1:20: “Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”―It has been understood in three ways. Some have found in it the idea of excommunication pure and simple (Calvin, Beza, Olshausen, Bonnet, Heinrici, etc.). Calvin thus briefly justifies this sense “As Christ reigns in the Church, so Satan outside the Church...He then, who is cast out of the Church, is thereby in a manner delivered to the power of Satan, in so far as he becomes a stranger to the kingdom of God.” But the insufficiency of this sense has been generally felt. Why use an expression so extraordinary to designate a fact so simple as that of exclusion from the Church, especially if, as those commentators hold, Paul had just designated the same act by a wholly different term (ver. 3)? Still, if the use of the term had a precedent in the forms of the synagogue! But Lightfoot has proved that this formula was never in use to denote Jewish excommunication. We have besides already called attention to the fact that the duvnami" , the power , of the Lord was not necessary to the execution of a sentence of excommunication. And how could this punishment have prevented Hymenaeus and Alexander from blaspheming? Is it not possible to blaspheme, and that more freely, outside than within the Church? Finally, it remains to explain the following words: for the destruction of the flesh; we do not think it is possible on this explanation to give them a natural meaning.―Moreover, from the earliest times of exegesis down to our own day, the need has been felt of adding another idea to that of excommunication, viz. bodily punishment , regarded either as the proper consequence of excommunication (Calov), or as a chastisement over and above, added to excommunication by the Apostle Paul. To the Church it belongs to exclude from its membership; to the apostle to let loose on the excommunicated one the disciplinary power of Satan to punish him in his body (so nearly Chrysostom, Theodoret, Ruckert , Olshausen, Osiander, Meyer). This sense certainly is an approach to the truth; but why seek to combine the idea of excommunication with that of bodily punishment? The former is taken from ver. 3; we have seen that it is not really there. But what is graver still is, that it would follow from this explanation that the second chastisement, bodily punishment, would be inflicted on the incestuous person in consequence of the Church's neglecting to inflict on him the first. In fact, it follows from ver. 3 that the apostle's intervention in this matter was rendered necessary by the lax toleration of the Christians of Corinth. In these circumstances the apostle could no doubt inflict the penalty which the Church should have pronounced, but he could not decree an aggravation of punishment; for the fault of the Church added nothing to that of the culprit. In this respect the first explanation would still be preferable to this second. The latter nevertheless contains an element of truth which we should preserve, and which will constitute the third (Lightfoot, Hofmann, Holsten): the idea of a bodily
chastisement , of which Satan is to be the instrument. Such is the punishment which Paul inflicts at his own hand, and in virtue of his apostolic power, and which corresponds to the taking away from among , to the cutting off which the Church had not sought to obtain from God. Satan is often represented as having the power to inflict physical evils. It is he who is God's instrument to try Job when he was stricken with leprosy. It is he, says Jesus, who for eighteen years holds bound the poor woman who was bent double, and whom He cured on the Sabbath day (Luke 13:6). Paul himself ascribes to a messenger of Satan the thorn in the flesh, of which God makes use to keep him in humility (2 Cor. 12:7). It is Satan who is the murderer of man in consequence of the first sin (John 8:44), and he has the dominion of death (Heb. 2:14). It is not hard to understand how a painful, perhaps mortal, punishment of this kind might bring the blasphemy on the lips of a heretic to an end. It is obvious how it might bring back to himself and to God a man who was led away by the seduction of the senses. Suffering in the flesh is needed to check the dominion of fleshly inclinations. The only difference between this chastisement decreed by the apostle, and that which the Corinthians should have asked from above, is, that the Church would have referred the mode of execution to God, while Paul, in virtue of his spiritual position superior to that of the Church, feels at liberty to determine the means of which the Lord will make use. For “he knows the mind of the Lord” (2:16). It will perhaps be asked how Satan can lend himself to an office contrary to the interests of his own kingdom. But we know not the mysteries of that being, in which the greatest possible amount of blindness is united to the most penetrating intelligence. “Malignity,” says M. de Bonald, “sharpens the mind and kills sound sense.” Was it not the messenger of Satan whom God used to preserve Paul from pride, and who kept him in that consciousness of his weakness by means of which the Divine power could always anew manifest itself in him? The apostle adds, for the destruction of the flesh. Those who apply the foregoing expression to excommunication are embarrassed by these words. Calvin takes them as a softening introduced into the punishment, a carnal condemnation importing simply a temporal and temporary condemnation, in opposition to eternal damnation. This interpretation of the genitive sarkov" is its own refutation. Others think of the ruin of the worldly affairs of the excommunicated person, in consequence of his rupture with his former customers, the other members of the Church. How is it possible to ascribe such a thought to the apostle! The only tenable explanation is that which is found already in Augustine, then in Grotius, Gerlach, Bonnet: the destruction of the flesh, in the moral sense of the word, that is to say, of the sinful tendencies, in consequence of the pain and repentance which will be produced in the man by his expulsion from the Church. But,―1. Might not this measure quite as well produce the opposite effect? Thrown back into the world, the man might easily become utterly corrupt. 2. The term destruction, perdition , would here require to denote a beneficent work of the Holy Spirit; that is impossible; see the threatening sense in which the word is always taken in the other passages of the ew Testament: 1 Thess. 5:3 and 2 Thess. 1:9 destruction sudden,
eternal ); 1 Tim. 6:9, destruction and perdition ). Paul means here to speak of a real loss for the man, according to the uniform meaning of the word. The matter in question is the destruction of one of the elements of his being with a view to the salvation of the other, which is the more precious. When Paul wishes to express the moral idea of the destruction of sin, he uses quite other terms: to reduce to impotence. (Rom. 6:6); to cause to die, kill, (Col. 3:3; Rom. 8:13); to crucify, (Gal. 5:24); terms which have a different shade from oleqro" . 3. The opposite of the flesh , in the following words, is pneu'ma , the spirit. ow this second term cannot simply denote spiritual life, to which the expression being saved would not apply; it can only denote the substratum of that life, the spirit itself, as an element of human existence. Hence it follows that neither does the flesh denote fleshly life, but the flesh itself, the substratum of the natural life.―The flesh must therefore be taken in the sense of the earthly man, or, as Hofmann observes, of the outward man , in Paul's phrase (2 Cor. 4:16: “If our outward man perish...”). It is in this sense that the word flesh itself is taken a few verses before (ver. 11), in the saying: “That the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh; ” so Phil. 1:22 and Gal. 2:20. The apostle might have two reasons for using the term flesh here rather than body; in the first place, savrx expresses the natural life in its totality, physical and psychical; and next, the body in itself is not to be destroyed (chap. 15). It is therefore the destruction of the earthly existence of the man which Paul meant to designate by the words o[leqro" th'" sarkov" ; and M. Renan is not wrong in saying: “There can be no doubt of it; it is a condemnation to death that Paul pronounces.” The sudden death of Ananias and Sapphira offers an analogy to the present case, not that Paul is thinking of so sudden a visitation; the expression he uses rather indicates a slow wasting, leaving to the sinner time for repentance. This destruction of the flesh has in view the saving of the spirit, in the day of Christ. Some versions translate: “that the soul may be saved...,” as if the soul and spirit were in Paul's eyes one and the same thing. The passage 1 Thess. 5:23 proves the contrary. “The soul is, in man as in the lower animals, the breath of life which animates his organism; but the spirit is the sense with which the human soul is exclusively endowed to experience the contact of the Divine and apprehend it.” This higher sense in the soul once destroyed by the power of the flesh, connection is no longer possible between the soul and God. This is undoubtedly what Scripture calls the second death. As the first is the body's privation of the soul, the second is the soul's privation of the spirit. This is why the apostle wishes at any cost to save the spirit in this man, in which there resides the faculty of contact with God and of life in Him throughout eternity. It need not be said that the spirit, thus understood as an element of human life, can only discharge its part fully when it is open to the working of the Divine Spirit.―The words, in the day of the Lord Jesus , transport us to the time when Jesus glorified will appear again on the earth to take to Him His own (15:23); then will be pronounced on each Christian the sentence of his acceptance or rejection. These last words appear to me to confirm the explanation given of the phrase, destruction of the flesh. For if this denoted the destruction of the fleshly inclinations in the incestuous person, the awaking of spiritual life which
would follow would not take place only at Christ's coming, it would make itself felt in him in this present life. Ruckert has very severely judged the apostle's conduct on this occasion. He is disposed, indeed, to make good as an excuse in his favor the impetuosity of his zeal, the purity of his intention, and a remnant of Judaic prejudice. But he charges him with having given way to his natural violence; with having compromised the salvation of the guilty person by depriving him, perhaps, if his sentence came to be realized, of time for repentance; and finally, with having acted imprudently towards a Church in which his credit was shaken, by putting it in circumstances to disobey him. We do not accept either these excuses or these charges for the apostle. The phrase deliver to Satan , being foreign to the formulas of the synagogue, was consequently, also, foreign to the apostle's Jewish past. The alleged violence of his temperament does not betray itself in the slightest in the severity of his conduct. The apostle here rather resembles a mother crying to God for her prodigal son and saying to Him: My God, strike him, strike him even to the death, if need be, if only he be saved! As to the Church, Paul no doubt knew better than the critic of our day how far he could and ought to go in his conduct toward it. Another critic, Baur, has taken up and developed the observations of Ruckert , confirming them by the Second Epistle. In the passage 2 Cor. 2:5-11, he sees the proof that the apostle's injunctions had not been executed, that the sentence pronounced by him against the incestuous person had not been followed with any effect, and that the apostolical power which he claimed was consequently nothing but an illusion; that after all, in short, nothing remained to the apostle but piteously to beat a retreat, “presenting as his desire what was done without his will,” and putting on the appearance of pardoning and asking favor for the guilty one from the Corinthians, who pardoned the delinquent in spite of him.―This entire deduction assumes one thing: to wit, that the passage 2 Cor. 2:5-11 refers to the affair of the incestuous person. But the close relation between this passage and that of 7:12 demonstrates that it is nothing of the kind, and that all that Paul writes in chap. 2 refers to an entirely different fact, to a personal insult to which he had been subjected at Corinth, and which had taken place posterior to the sending of the first letter. And supposing even that the passage of chap. 2 related to the incestuous person, what would it tell us? That the majority of the Church ( the larger number ) had entered into the apostle's views as to the punishment of the culprit; and that the latter had fallen into such a disheartened state that his danger now was of allowing himself to be driven by Satan from carnal security to despair. If such was the meaning of the passage, what would it contain that was fitted to justify the conclusions of Baur, and the awkward light in which they would place the conduct and character of the apostle?” MY CO CLUSIO S Excommunication is a common interpretation, but that seems way to weak to me. I do not see how putting the man out of the church will destroy his flesh, or in what
sense he is then handed over to Satan. He is doing Satan's work just fine already in the church, and so how is he going to be less under Satan's power by being put out of the church? This is the easiest interpretation to come to, but it seems superficial, and does not deal with the seriousness of being handed over to Satan. This action would be meaningless in our day, for the sinner would just go and join another church where nobody knew of his sin. Even in that day he could have moved away and found another body of believers to associate with, and have nobody aware of his sinful behavior. One author says, “If the sinner is expelled from church fellowship, he automatically finds himself in the sphere of Satan's operation.” If handing him over to Satan simply means, let him go and live in the world, then all of us are there already, for we live in the world with the ungodly that Paul says we have no business judging. We live in this world that is under Satan's control, and so it does not seem much of a punishment to send this man out to live where we all do, and how it can lead to the destruction of the flesh when the flesh rules in this realm is never really answered. How many people have been expelled from the church who ended up with destroyed flesh? one that I have ever heard of, and so this also seems a weak interpretation. The text says hand him over to Satan, and not send him out into the sphere of Satan's influence. If you see how serious Paul is taking this shocking sin, you cannot be content with a mere slap on the wrist. He is saying “To hell with this man. He is living in sin that is of such a disgrace that he needs to be weeded out just like idolaters were in the Old Testament. It is obvious that the man is not repenting and changing his ways. He no doubt claims to love this woman he lives with, and he will not give her up. He is stubbornly committed to his sinful life, and Paul say he has to be eliminated like a cancer in the body. The only thing that makes sense of this text is that the Apostle, and the combined authority of the whole church was to commit this man to Satan to destroy his sinful life by taking his life. I don't believe they had the power to carry out capital punishment, but they did have the power to hand him over to Satan to take his life, which I am sure he would be glad to do. It is equivalent to handing him over to the wrath of God, but in this case it is Satan who is the instrument of God's wrath. If this man is not dealt with drastically and dramatically, you are allowing him to corrupt the whole church, for if he is not severely disciplined the entire basis for Christian morality, in contrast to pagan immorality, will be so watered down and weakened that Christianity will be nothing more than a slight variation on paganism. This sin, terrible as it is, is not unforgivable, but he is not asking for forgiveness, and he is not forsaking his sin. The only alternative for his sake and the church is for him to be suffer judgment unto death. It is a paradox, but premature death can be a blessing, for it takes a person out of the flesh where he or she is in bondage to sin. It sets them free to no longer be a slave to sin, and the assumption is that in that freedom a person can repent and seek God's forgiveness and be a part of his family again instead of a sinful rebel. This man needs to die to be free of his flesh, or he will bring damnation on himself and who knows how many others?
I think John Piper was on the right track when he concluded his sermon on this text with these strong words: “I close with what I hope will feel as hopeful to you as it does to me. Jesus is Satan's ruler. And he uses Satan, our archenemy, to save and sanctify his people. He brought Job to penitence and prosperity. He brought Paul to the point where he could exult in tribulation and make the power of Christ manifest. And Paul hopes that the result of handing over this man to Satan will be the salvation of his spirit at the day of Christ. In other words, Paul's aim—our aim—in handing someone over to Satan is that some striking misery will come in such a way that the person will say with Job, "My eyes have seen the Lord, and I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." It could be boils. It could be blindness. It could be AIDS.” Swindoll adds this comment, “This may include physical death (1 Cor.11:30; 1 Jn.5:16). Or, it refers to defeating a sinner’s fleshly desires by letting Satan push those passions to extreme’s, creating such an anguish in the sinner that his lust is destroyed!” The point is, we need to see that a believer who is stubborn in pursuing sinful behavior, and who has no intention of repenting needs to experience some harsh discipline that includes severe physical suffering, even to the point of death. Whatever it takes to end his life of immorality is what we need to pray for. Thank God I have never had to pray like this: “Lord, make so and so miserable to the point of despair of his life in order to get him to repent and return to the body of believers.” Many a prodigal son needs these prayers offered, and when they are answered, that rebel child may end up dead as a result, but that can be a blessing, for the loss of their body prevents them from going so far, even into blasphemy of the Spirit that could see them ending up in hell forever unforgiven. The destruction of their flesh cuts them off from life, but spares them from the death of their spirit. It is now free to enter eternity where it will deal with judgment, but also salvation. A good analogy of what Paul is saying is the many who experience salvation by means of going to prison. Many a rebel son is so disobedient to the law that they become more and more evil in their behavior. Moms and dads sometimes have to give them over to the hands of the law that puts them behind bars. How is this a blessing? They are no longer free to live a wild life of lawlessness that was leading them to hell. ow in their confinement they have to think about life and meaning and purpose. They hear the gospel, and read their Bible, and by many means they are exposed to what Jesus did for them, and they receive him and become children of God. Going to prison turns out to be the greatest thing that could happen to them. Their flesh life was destroyed so that their spirit life could be discovered and lived. It is not a perfect analogy, but it does illustrate how a terrible thing can be a good thing. So it is with being handed over to Satan. It is terrible it is true, but it prevents a sinner bound in his sin from living in it to the point that he crosses the line where forgiveness is no longer an option, and he ends up permanently under the wrath of God. There is a point of no return, and Paul is saying to deliver this man to Satan to destroy his flesh before he reaches that point, for then there is still the hope of eternal salvation. I don't know about you, but I would rather see a child suffer judgment and even death than to see them go on sinning to the point of no return and be lost forever.
Another analogy is that of surgery. I have a doctor friend who just had serious surgery, and he was in great pain. He said to me that he knew he would have to endure some weeks of hell in order to get to a place where he had the freedom to live a normal life with a body that functioned properly. He called his severe pain an experience of hell, and that is how the term hell is often used. It is a time of great suffering, but it can be suffering that is good because it comes due to eliminating a problem in the flesh that has to be cut out and done away with. Handing a sinful man over to Satan is radical surgery where the man's body will suffer loss, and possibly all the way to death. This is an awful thing to endure, but it allows the spirit to be free of that sinful burden that has it captured, and it lets the spirit be free to enter a kingdom where all can be made right. By eliminating the negative you elevate the positive. That is what surgery is all about, and that is what Paul has in mind in his severe judgment on this sinful believer. The bottom line is this: It is better to make a man experience the pangs of hell than to let him go on sinning until he has no alternative but ending up in the eternal lake of fire. It is all about prevention of eternal suffering by means of temporal suffering. According to Paul some stubborn sinful Christians need to endure the hell of being handed over to Satan for the destruction of their sinful nature, for this is their only hope. o church has the authority to inflict any kind of physical suffering on its members, but they do have the right and authority to obey Paul and hand that sinful unrepentant member over to Satan. They can pray that he will suffer at the hands of Satan until he repents, or until he dies and escapes his sinful flesh. It is truly a going to hell as a way to get to heaven, but it is so much better than never getting there at all.
6Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?
1. Jamison, “glorying in your own attainments and those of your favorite teachers (1Co_3:21; 1Co_4:19; 1Co_5:2), while all the while ye connive at such a scandal, is quite unseemly. A little leaven leaveth ... whole lump ― (Gal_5:9), namely, with presentcomplicity in the guilt, and the danger of future contagion (1Co_15:33; 2Ti_2:17). 1B. C. Bouwman, “To make matters still worse, the congregation tolerated this brother; they did nothing about him. That may puzzle us today, but it appears, from what Paul wrote earlier, that this inactivity on the part of the congregation was rooted in their sins of self-satisfaction. Paul says in vs 2 that the Christians of Corinth were "puffed up", arrogant. Well, from what Paul wrote earlier, we need to conclude that arrogance characterised the Christians of Corinth. Listen to the
sarcasm in Paul's words as he flatters the Corinthian Christians with words they claimed for themselves. Chap 4:8: "You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings…" (vs 8). And Paul continues with his sarcasm in vs 10: "We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished…." That was the sentiment the Corinthians had about themselves, and with their smug satisfaction they saw no need to do anything about the brother in their midst who lived in blatant sin.”
2. Barnes, “Your glorying - boasting; or confidence in your present condition, as if you were eminent in purity and piety.Is not good - Is not well, proper, right. Boasting is never good; but it is especially wrong when, as here, there is an existing evil that is likely to corrupt the whole church. When people are disposed to boast, they should at once make the inquiry whether there is not some sin indulged in, on account of which they should be humbled and subdued. If all individual Christians, and all Christian churches, and all people of every rank and condition, would look at things as they are, they would never find occasion for boasting. It is only when we are blind to the realities of the ease, and overlook our faults, that we are disposed to boast. The reason why this was improper in Corinth, Paul states - that any sin would tend to corrupt the whole church, and that therefore they ought not to boast until that was removed. A little leaven ... - A small quantity of leaven or yeast will pervade the entire mass of flour, or dough, and diffuse itself through it all. This is evidently a proverbial saying. It occurs also in Gal_5:9. Compare the note at Mat_13:33. A similar figure occurs also in the Greek classic writers - By leaven the Hebrews metaphorically understood whatever had the power of corrupting, whether doctrine, or example, or anything else. See the note at Mat_16:6. The sense here is plain. A single sin indulged in, or allowed in the church, would act like leaven - it would pervade and corrupt the whole church, unless it was removed. On this ground, and for this reason, discipline should be administered, and the corrupt member should be removed. 3. Clarke, “Your glorying is not good - are triumphing in your superior knowledge, and busily employed in setting up and supporting your respective teachers, while the Church is left under the most scandalous corruptions - corruptions which threaten its very existence if not purged away. Know ye not - With all your boasted wisdom, do you not know and acknowledge the truth of a common maxim, a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? If this leaven the incestuous person, be permitted to remain among you; if his conduct be not exposed by the most formidable censure; the flood-gates of impurity will be opened on the Church, and the whole state of Christianity ruined in Corinth. 4. Gill, “ glorying is not good,.... Their glorying in their outward flourishing condition, in their riches and wealth, and in their ministers, in their wisdom and parts when under such an humbling dispensation; and especially if their glorying
was in the sin itself, and their connivance at it, it was far from being good, it was very criminal, as the consequence of it was dangerous: know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? This, in nature, is what everybody knows; and the proverb, which is much used by the Jews (f), was common in the mouths of all, and the meaning of it easy to be understood: thus, whether applied to the leaven of false doctrine, nothing is more manifest, than when this is let alone, and a stop is not put to it, it increases to more ungodliness; or to vice and immorality, as here; which if not taken notice of by a church, is not faithfully reproved and severely censured, as the case requires, will endanger the whole community; it may spread by example, and, under the connivance of the church, to the corrupting of good manners, and infecting of many. 5. Henry, “hints the danger of contagion from this example: Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?The bad example of a man in rank and reputation is very mischievous, spreads the contagion far and wide. It did so, probably, in this very church and case: see 2Co_12:21. They could not be ignorant of this. The experience of the whole world was for it; one scabbed sheep infects a whole flock.A little heaven will quickly spread the ferment through a great lump. ote, Concern for their purity and preservation should engageChristian churches to remove gross and scandalous sinners.” 6 Godet, “The apostle has terminated what concerns the particular case of the incestuous person. From this point onwards the subject broadens; he shows in the general state of the Church the reason why it has so badly fulfilled its obligations in this particular case. Your glorying is not good; know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?”―There are two ways of understanding the connection between the following passage and that which precedes: either the apostle continues to dwell on the disciplinary obligation of the Church,―and we must then regard the leaven to be taken away as either the incestuous person, or rather the vicious in general,―or it may be held that Paul, after upbraiding the Church with its negligence, seeks to guide its finger to the true cause of the mischief: the want of moral sincerity and firmness. This is the state which must be remedied without delay. Then reaction against the presence of the vicious will take place of itself. The first words are better explained in the second sense, for they relate to the present state of the Church in general. I have translated (boasting), as if it had been (the act of boasting), because we have no word in French to denote the object of boasting. Chrysostom thought the word should be applied to the incestuous person himself, assuming that he was one of the eminent men in whom the Church gloried. Grotius and Heinrici have reproduced this explanation. It seems to us untenable: the Church was satisfied with its state in general, and in particular with the wealth of its spiritual gifts, on which Paul himself had congratulated it (1:5-7), and of which chaps. 12-14 will furnish proof. But this abundance of knowledge and speech was no real good except in so far as it effected the increase of spiritual life in the Church, and the sanctification of its members. As
this was not the case, the apostle declares to them that their ground of selfsatisfaction is of bad quality; a being vainly puffed up (4:19): “Ye are proud of the state of your Church; there is no reason for it!” He thus returns to the idea of ver. 2.―This judgment is called forth by the softness of their conduct in regard to the evil which shows itself among them. Should they who are so rich in knowledge fail to know the influence exercised on a whole mass by the least particle of corruption which is tolerated in it? Paul clothes his thought in a proverbial form (Gal. 5:9). Leaven is here, as in many other passages (Matt. 13:33; Luke 12:1), the emblem of a principle apparently insignificant in quantity, but possessing a real penetrating force, and that either for good (Matt. 13:33) or for evil (Matt. 16:6; Gal. 5:9). Does Paul understand by this little leaven (the literal sense), the incestuous person or any other vicious member of the same kind, whose tolerated presence is a principle of corruption for the whole community? This is the meaning generally held. Or is he rather thinking of evil in general, which, when tolerated even in a limited and slightly scandalous form, gradually lowers the standard of the Christian conscience in all? It does not seem to me likely that Paul would designate as a little leaven a sinner guilty of so revolting an act as that in question (ver. 1), or other not less scandalous offenders. It is therefore better to apply this figure to all sin, even the least, voluntarily tolerated by the individual or the Church. This meaning, held by Meyer, de Wette, Hofmann, Gerlach, is confirmed by vers. 7 and 8.” 7. “..implies an argument a fortiori: if even a little leaven is so powerful, if even one unsatisfactory feature may have a septic influence in a community, how much more must a scandal of this magnitude infect the whole life of the Church. The simile of leaven is frequent in the .T. See Gal. v. 9. Here the stress of the argument lies less in the evil example of the offender than in the fact that toleration of this conduct implies concurrence (Rom. i. 32) and debases the standard of moral judgment and instinct. To be indifferent to grave misbehavior is to become partly responsible for it. A subtle atmosphere, in which evil readily springs up and is diffused, is the result. The leaven that was infecting the Corinthian Church was a vitiated public opinion.” unknown author
7Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
1. Jamison, “leaven― The remnant of the “old” (Eph_4:22-24) heathenish and natural corruption. The image is taken from the extreme care of the Jews in searching every corner of their houses, and “purging out” every particle of leaven
from the time of killing the lamb before the Passover (Deu_16:3, Deu_16:4). So Christians are continually to search and purify their hearts (Psa_139:23, Psa_139:24). as ye are unleavened ― normally, and as far as your Christian calling is concerned: free from the leaven of sin and death (1Co_6:11). Paul often grounds exhortations on the assumption of Christian professors’ normalstate as realized (Rom_6:3, Rom_6:4) [Alford]. Regarding the Corinthian Church as the Passover “unleavened lump” or mass, he entreats them to correspond in fact with this their normal state. “For Christ our Passover (Exo_12:5-11, Exo_12:21-23; Joh_1:29) has been(English Version,“is”) sacrificed for us”; that is, as the Jews beganthe days of unleavened bread with the slaying of the Passover lamb, so, Christ our Passover having been already slain,let there be no leaven of evil in you who are the “unleavened lump.” Doubtless he alludes to the Passover which had been two or three weeks before kept by the Jewish Christians (1Co_16:8): the Gentile Christians probably also refraining from leavened bread at the love-feasts. Thus the Jewish Passover naturally gave place to our Christian Easter. The time however, of keeping feast(metaphorical; that is, leading the Christian life of joy in Christ’s finished work, compare Pro_15:15) among us Christians, corresponding to the Jewish Passover, is not limited, as the latter, to one season, but is ALL our time; for the transcendent benefits of the once-for-all completed sacrifice of our Passover Lamb extends to all the time of our lives and of this Christian dispensation; in no part of our time is the leaven of evil to be admitted. For even ― an additional reason, besides that in 1Co_5:6, and a more cogent one for purging out every leaven of evil; namely, that Christ has been already sacrificed, whereas the old leaven is yet not removed, which ought to have been long ago purged out. 2. Barnes, “out therefore ... - Put away; free yourselves from. The old leaven - The apostle here takes occasion, from the mention of leaven, to exhort the Corinthians to put away vice and sin. The figure is derived from the custom of the Jews in putting away leaven at the celebration of the passover. By the OLD leaven he means vice and sin; and also here the person who had committed the sin in their church. As the Jews, at the celebration of the passover, gave all diligence in removing leaven from their houses - searching every part of their dwellings with candles, that they might remove every particle of leavened bread from their habitations - so the apostle exhorts them to use all diligence to search out and remove all sin. That ye may be a new lump - That you may be like a new mass of flour, or dough, before the leaven is put into it. That you may be pure, and free from the corrupting principle. As ye are unleavened - That is, as ye are bound by your Christian profession to be unleavened, or to be pure. Your very profession implies this, and you ought, therefore, to remove all impurity, and to become holy. Let there be no impurity, and no mixture inconsistent with that holiness which the gospel teaches and requires. The apostle here does not refer merely to the case of the incestuous person, but he takes occasion to exhort them to put away all sin. ot only to remove this occasion of offense, but to remove all impurity, that they might become entirely and only holy. The doctrine is, that Christians are by their profession holy, and that
therefore they ought to give all diligence to remove everything that is impure. For even Christ ... - As the Jews, when their paschal lamb was slain, gave great diligence to put away all leaven from their dwellings, so we Christians, since our passover is slain, ought to give the like diligence to remove all that is impure and corrupting from our hearts - There can be no doubt here that the paschal lamb was a type of the Messiah; and as little that the leaven was understood to be emblematic of impurity and sin, and that their being required to put it away was intended to be an emblematic action designed to denote that all sin was to be removed and forsaken. Our passover - Our “paschal lamb,” for so the word πάσχα usually signifies. The sense is, “We Christians have a paschal lamb; and that lamb is the Messiah. And as the Jews, when their paschal lamb was slain, were required to put away all leaven from their dwellings, so we, when our paschal lamb is slain, should put away all sin from our hearts and from our churches.” This passage proves that Paul meant to teach that Christ had “taken the place” of the paschal lamb - that that lamb was designed to adumbrate or typify him - and that consequently when he was offered, the paschal offering was designed to cease. Christ is often in the Scriptures compared to a lamb. See Isa_53:7; Joh_1:29; 1Pe_1:19; Rev_5:6, Rev_5:12. Is sacrificed for us - Margin, Or “slain” (ἐτυθη ̄). The word θύωthuōmay mean simply to slay or kill; but it is also used often in the sense of making a sacrifice as an expiation for sin; Act_14:13, Act_14:18; 1Co_10:20; compare Gen_31:54; Gen_45:1; Exo_3:18; Exo_5:3, Exo_5:8,Exo_5:17; Exo_8:8, Exo_8:25-29; Exo_13:15; Exo_20:24; 2Ch_15:16, where it is used as the translation of the word זבחzaabach, “to sacrifice.” It is used as the translation of this word no less than 98 times in the Old Testament, and perhaps always in the sense of a “sacrifice,” or bloody offering. It is also used as the translation of the Hebrew word טבחTaabach, and שׁחטshaachat, to slay, to kill, etc. in Exo_12:21; 1Ki_11:19; 2Ki_25:7; 2Ch_29:22, etc.; in all in eleven places in the Old Testament. It is used in a similar sense in the ew Testament, in Mat_22:4; Luk_15:23, Luk_15:27, Luk_15:30; Joh_10:10; Act_10:13; Act_11:7. It occurs no where else in the ew Testament than in the places which have been specified - The true sense of the word here is, therefore, to be found in the doctrine respecting the passover. That that was intended to be a sacrifice for sin is proved by the nature of the offering, and by the account which is everywhere given of it in the Old Testament. The paschal lamb was slain as a sacrifice. It was slain in the temple; its blood was poured out as an offering; it was sprinkled and offered by the priests in the same way as other sacrifices; see Exo_23:18; Exo_34:25; 2Ch_30:15-16. And if so, then this passage means that Christ was offered “as a sacrifice for sin” - in accordance with the numerous passages of the ew Testament, which speak of his death in this manner (see the note at Rom_3:25); and that his offering was designed to take the place of the paschal sacrifice, under the ancient economy. For us - For us who are Christians. He died in our stead; and as the Jews, when celebrating their paschal feast, put away all leaven, so we, as Christians, should put away all evil from our hearts, since that sacrifice has now been made once for all.
3. Gill, “Purge out therefore the old leaven,.... Meaning either the incestuous person, whose crime might well be compared to sour "leaven", and be called old because of his long continuance in it; whom the apostle would have removed from them; this is properly the act of excommunication, which that church was to perform, as a quite distinct thing from what the apostle himself determined to do. The allusion is to the strict search the Jews made (g), just before their passover after leaven, to purge their houses of it, that none of it might remain when their feast began; which they made by the light of a lamp, on the night of the fourteenth of the month isan, in every secret place, hole, and corner of the house: or this may be an exhortation to the church in general with respect to themselves, as well as this man, to relinquish their old course of sinning, to "put off concerning the former conversation the old man", Eph_4:22the same with the old leaven here; it being usual with the Jews (h) to call the vitiosity and corruption of nature " ,שאור שבעיסהleaven in the lump"; of which say (i), "the evil imagination of a man, as leaven the lump, enters into his bowels little, little, (very little at first,) but afterward it increases in him, until his whole body is mixed with it.'' That ye may be a new lump; that they might appear to be what they professed to be, new men, new creatures in Christ, by their walking in newness of life; and by removing that wicked person, they would be as the apostles were, when Judas was gone from them, all clean through the word of Christ: as ye are unleavened; at least professed to be. They were without the leaven of sin; not without the being of sin in their hearts, nor without the commission of it, more or less, in their lives; but were justified from it by the righteousness of Christ, and had the new creature formed in their souls, or that which was born of God in them, that sinned not. The apostle compares the true believers of this church to the unleavened bread eaten at the passover, for the grace of their hearts, and the simplicity of their lives; as he does the incestuous man to the old leaven, that was to be searched for, and cast out at the feast: for even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. This is observed, to show the pertinency of the similes of leaven and unleavened, the apostle had made use of; and to make some further improvement of them, for the use, comfort, and instruction of this church; saying, that Christ is "our passover", the Christians' passover; the Jewish passover was a type of Christ; wherefore Moses kept it by faith, in the faith of the Messiah that was to come; see Heb_11:28as it was instituted in commemoration of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, so likewise to prefigure Christ, and the redemption of his people by him. The Jews have a saying (k), "that in the month isan they were redeemed, and in the month isan they will be redeemed;'' which was the month in which the passover was kept; and for the confirmation of which, they mention the following texts, Mic_7:15. There is an agreement between the passover, and Christ, in the sacrifice itself, and the qualities of it; it was a "lamb", as Christ is the "Lamb" of God, of his appointing and providing, and fitly so called, for his innocence and harmlessness, his meekness,
humility, and patience; it was a lamb "without blemish", as Christ is, without spot and blemish, without the spot of original sin, or blemish of any actual transgression: it was a male, as Christ is the son or man, the head of the body, and the "firstborn" among many brethren; it was a male of the first year; in which it might prefigure Christ in the flower of his age, arrived at man's estate, and having had experience of a variety of sorrows and afflictions. There is also some likeness between them in the separation and slaying of it. The passover lamb was to be "taken out from the sheep, or from the goats"; as Christ's human nature was chosen out from among the people, and, in God's eternal counsel and covenant, separated from the rest of the individuals of human nature, and taken into a federal union with the Son of God, and preordained before the foundation of the world, to be the Lamb slain; it was also wonderfully formed by the Holy Ghost in the virgin's womb, and separated and preserved from the infection of sin; and in his life and conversation here on earth, he was separated from sinners, from being like them, and is now made higher than the heavens. This lamb was kept up from the "tenth" of the month, to the "fourteenth", before it was killed; which might typify preservation of Christ, in his infancy, from the malice of Herod, and, in his riper years, from the designs of the Jews upon him, until his time was come; and it is to be observed, that there was much such a space of time between his entrance into Jerusalem, and his sufferings and death; see Joh_12:11. The lamb was "slain", so the Prince of life was killed; and "between the two evenings", as Christ was in the end of the world, in the last days, in the decline of time, of the age of the world, and even of the time of the day, about the "ninth" hour, or three o'clock in the afternoon, the time between the two evenings; the first evening beginning at noon as soon as the sun began to decline, the other upon the setting of it. There is likewise a comparison of these together to be observed, in the dressing and eating of it. The passover lamb was not to be eaten "raw nor sodden"; so Christ is to be eaten not in a carnal, but in a spiritual way, by faith; it was to be "roast with fire", denoting the painful sufferings of Christ on the cross, and the fire of divine wrath that fell upon him; it was to be eaten "whole", as a whole Christ is to be received by faith, in his person, and in all his offices, grace, and righteousness; not a "bone" of it was to be "broken", which was fulfilled in Christ, Joh_19:36it was to be eaten "with unleavened bread", which is spiritualized by the apostle in the next verse; and also with "bitter herbs", expressive of the hard bondage and severe afflictions, with which the lives of the Israelites were made bitter in Egypt; and significative of the persecutions and trials that such must expect, who live godly and by faith in Christ Jesus: it was eaten only by Israelites, and such as became proselytes, as Christ, only by true believers; and if the household was too little, they were to join with their "neighbors"; which might typify the calling and bringing in of the Gentiles, when the middle wall of partition was broken down, Christ, his flesh and blood being common to both. The first passover was eaten in haste, with their loins girt, their shoes on, and staves in their hands, ready to depart from Egypt to Canaan's land; denoting the readiness of believers to every good work; having their feet shod with the preparation of the
Gospel of peace; their loins girt about with truth, their lights burning, and they like men waiting for their Lord's coming; hasting unto the day of the Lord, being earnestly, desirous of being absent from the body, that they might be present with him: in a word, the receiving of the blood of the passover lamb into a bason, sprinkling it on the lintel, and two side posts of the doors of the houses, in which they ate it, which the Lord seeing passed over those houses, when he passed through Egypt to destroy the firstborn, whence it has its name of the passover, were very significative of the blood of sprinkling, even the blood of Christ upon the hearts and consciences of believers; whereby they are secured from avenging justice, from the curse and condemnation of the law, and from wrath to come, and shall never be hurt of the second death. Thus Christ is our antitypical passover, who was sacrificed, whose body and soul were offered as an offering and sacrifice unto God for us, that he might be proper food for our faith; and also in our room and stead, to make satisfaction to divine justice for all our sins and transgressions. 4. Henry, “the apostle exhorts them to purity, by purging out the old leaven. In this observe, I. The advice itself, addressed either, 1. To the church in general; and so purging out the old leaven, that they might be a new lump, refers to the putting away from themselves that wicked person,1Co_5:13. ote, Christian churches should be pure and holy, and not bear such corrupt and scandalous members. They are to be unleavened, and should endure no such heterogeneous mixture to sour and corrupt them. Or, 2. To each particular member of the church. And so it implies that they should purge themselves from all impurity of heart and life, especially from this kind of wickedness, to which the Corinthians were addicted to a proverb. See the argumentat the beginning. This old leaven was in a particular manner to be purged out, that they might become a new lump. ote, Christians should be careful to keep themselves clean, as well as purge polluted members out of their society. And they should especially avoid the sins to which they themselves were once most addicted, and the reigning vices of the places and the people where they live. They were also to purge themselves from malice and wickedness - all ill-will and mischievous subtlety. This is leaven that sours the mind to a great degree. It is not improbable that this was intended as a check to some who gloried in the scandalous behavior of the offender, both out of pride and pique. ote, Christians should be careful to keep free from malice and mischief. Love is the very essence and life of the Christian religion. It is the fairest image of God, for God is love(1Jo_4:16), and therefore it is no wonder if it be the greatest beauty and ornament of a Christian. But malice is murder in its principles: He that hates his brother is a murderer (1Jo_3:15), he bears the image and proclaims him the offspring of him who was a murderer from the beginning,Joh_8:44. How hateful should every thing be to a Christian that looks like malice and mischief. II. The reason with which this advice is enforced: For Christ our passover is sacrificed for us,1Co_5:7. This is the great doctrine of the gospel. The Jews, after they had killed the passover, kept the feast of unleavened bread. So must we; not for seven days only, but all our days. We should die with our Savior to sin, be planted into the likeness of his death by mortifying sin, and into the likeness of his
resurrection by rising again to newness of life, and that internal and external. We must have new hearts and new lives. ote, The whole life of a Christian must be a feast of unleavened bread. His common conversation and his religious performances must be holy. He must purge out the old leaven, and keep the feast of unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.He must be without guilt in his conduct towards God and man. And the more there is of sincerity in our own profession, the less shall we censure that of others. ote, On the whole, The sacrifice of our Redeemer is the strongest argument with a gracious heart for purity and sincerity. How sincere a regard did he show to our welfare, in dying for us! and how terrible a proof was his death of the detestable nature of sin, and God's displeasure against it! Heinous evil, that could not be expiated but with the blood of the Son of God! And shall a Christian love the murderer of his Lord? God forbid.” 5. Barclay, “ With very few exceptions, leaven stands in Jewish literature for an evil influence. It was dough which had been kept over from a previous baking and which, in the keeping, had fermented. The Jews identified fermentation with putrefaction; and so leaven stood for a corrupting influence. ow the Passover bread was unleavened (Exo.12:15ff; Exo.13:7). More than that, on the day before the Passover Feast the law laid it down that the Jew must light a candle and search his house ceremonially for leaven, and that every last bit must be cast out (compare the picture of God's search in Zeph.1:12). (We may note in the by going that the date of this search was 14th April and that in the search has been seen the origin of spring-cleaning!). Paul takes that picture. He says our sacrifice has been sacrificed, even Christ; it is his sacrifice which has delivered us from sin, as God delivered the Israelites from Egypt. Therefore, he goes on, the last remnant of evil must be cleared out of your lives. If you let an evil influence into the Church, it can corrupt the whole society, as the leaven permeates the whole lump of dough. Here again we have a great practical truth. Discipline has sometimes to be exercised for the sake of the Church. To shut our eyes to offenses is not always a kind thing to do; it may be damaging. A poison must be eliminated before it spreads; a weed must be plucked out before it pollutes the whole ground. Here we have a whole principle of discipline. Discipline should never be exercised for the satisfaction of the person who exercises it, but always for the mending of the person who has sinned and for the sake of the Church. Discipline must never be vengeful; it must always be curative and prophylactic.” 6. Godet, “Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ, our Paschal lamb, hath been sacrificed. 8. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of purity and truth.”―If the figure applied to the incestuous man or to the vicious, the word, to purify by removing , would apply to an act such as the: taking away from among (ver. 2), and the: delivering to Satan (ver. 5); and the words: that ye may be a new lump , would signify: that ye may present the spectacle of a Church renewed by the absence of
every vicious member. But the epithet old , given to leaven, and ver. 8 show that leaven is here taken in an abstract sense: “the leaven which consists of natural malignity and perversity.” The exhortation to purging applies therefore to the action of each on himself, and of all on all, in order to leave in the Church not a single manifestation of the old man, of the corrupt nature, undiscovered and unchecked. As the Israelites at every Passover feast were bound to leave behind them the pollutions of their Egyptian life, in order to become a new people of God, so the Church is bound to break with all the evil dispositions of the natural heart, or that which is elsewhere called the old man. ―The desired result of this breaking on the part of each one with his own known sin, will be the renewing of the whole Church: that ye may be a new lump. Another allusion to Jewish customs. On the eve of the feast, a fresh piece of dough was kneaded with pure water, and from it were prepared the cakes of unleavened bread which were eaten during the feast. The word nevon , new , does not signify: new as to quality (as kainovn would do), but recent , as to time. The whole community, by this work of purification wrought on itself, should become like a piece of dough newly kneaded. Has not the awakening of a whole Church been seen more than once to begin with submission to an old censure which weighed on the conscience of one sinner? This confession drew forth others, and the holy breath passed over the whole community. The phrase which follows, as ye are unleavened , has greatly embarrassed commentators, who have explained it as if it were, “ye should be,” which grammatically is inadmissible. Chrysostom thinks of final sanctification, others of baptismal regeneration,―meanings equally impossible. In saying, ye are , the apostle thinks of what they are, not in point of fact, but of right; the idea is the same as in Rom. 6:11: death to sin and life to God, virtually contained in faith in the dead and risen Christ. For the believer nothing more is needed than to become what he is already (in Christ). He must become holy in fact, as he is in idea.―Grotius has proposed to give to a[zumo" , unleavened , the active meaning belonging to the adjectives a[sito", a[oino" (abstaining from bread, from wine); according to him, Paul characterizes the Corinthians as persons who no longer feed on leavened bread (in the spiritual sense). But this term cannot be twisted from the definite meaning which it has in the Jewish ritual, and which is perfectly appropriate. They ought to become individually the organs of a new nature, which is in accordance with their true character as beings unleavened so far as they are believers.―The proof that this is what they are in point of right is given in the sequel. From the time when the Paschal lamb was sacrificed in the temple, no leaven bread was allowed to appear on an Israelitish table; and this continued during the whole feast. Similarly the expiatory death of Christ, containing the principle of death to sin, there begins with His death in the case of the Church and of each believer the great spiritual Passover, from which all sin is banished, as leaven was from the Jewish feast. Every Christian is an azyme (unleavened one).―The particle kai; gavr , for also , has for its characteristic the connecting of two facts of an analogous nature ( also ), the second of which is the ground of the first ( for ): this is exactly the case here.―The work pavsca , strictly speaking, passing , denoted God's passing
over Egypt, on the night when He smote the first-born and spared the houses of the Israelites sprinkled with the blood of the lamb. The word was afterward applied to the lamb itself; in this sense it is taken here.―The words for us , read by T. R., are omitted in the majority of the Mjj.―By the complement hJmw'n , our , Paul contrasts the Christian Passover with that of the Jews. As the latter began with the slaying of the lamb, ours began with the bloody death of Christ; Cristov" is in apposition to pavsca . The practical consequence of His death thus understood, and of the new state in which it places believers, is drawn in the following verse.”
8Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.
1. Jamison, “... old leaven― of our unconverted state as Jews or heathen. malice ― the opposite of “sincerity,” which allows no leaven of evil to be mixed up with good (Mat_16:6). ― the opposite of “truth,” which allows not evil to be mistaken for good. The Greekfor “malice” means the evil habitof mind; “wickedness,” the outcomingof the same in word and deed. The Greekfor “sincerity” expresses literally, a thing which, when examined by the sun’s light,is found pure and unadulterated.” 2. Barnes, “us keep the feast - Margin, “Holy day” ἑορτάζωµεν ̄men. This is language drawn from the paschal feast, and is used by Paul frequently to carry out and apply his illustration. It does not mean literally the paschal supper here - for that had ceased to be observed by Christians - nor the Lord’s Supper particularly; but the sense is “As the Jews when they celebrated the paschal supper, on the slaying and sacrifice of the paschal lamb, put away all leaven - as emblematic of sin so let us, in the slaying of our sacrifice, and in all the duties, institutions and events consequent thereon, put away all wickedness from our hearts as individuals, and from our societies and churches. Let us engage in the service of God putting away by all evil.” ot with the old leaven - ot under the influence, or in the indulgence of the feelings of corrupt and unrenewed human nature - The word “leaven” is very expressive of that former or “old” condition, and denotes the corrupt and corrupting passions of our nature before it is renewed. The leaven of malice - Of unkindness and evil which would diffuse itself, and pervade the mass of Christians. The word “malice” (κακίας ) denotes “evil” in general. And wickedness - Sin; evil. There is a particular
reference here to the case of the incestuous person. Paul means that all wickedness should be put away from those who had been saved by the sacrifice of their “Passover,” Christ; and, therefore, this sin in a special manner. But with the unleavened bread ... - That is, with sincerity and truth. Let us be sincere, and true, and faithful; as the Jews partook of bread unleavened, which was emblematic of purity, so let us be sincere and true. It is implied here that this could not be done unless they would put away the incestuous person - o Christians can have, or give evidence of sincerity, who are not willing to put away all sin.” 3. Clarke, “let us keep the feast - is very likely that the time of the passover was now approaching, when the Church of Christ would be called to extraordinary acts of devotion, in commemorating the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ; and of this circumstance the apostle takes advantage in his exhortation to the Corinthians. ot with old leaven - Under the Christian dispensation we must be saved equally from Judaism, heathenism, and from sin of every kind; malice and wickedness must be destroyed; and sincerity and truth, inward purity and outward holiness, take their place. The apostle refers here not more to wicked principles than to wicked men; let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven - the impure principles which actuated you while in your heathen state; neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, κακιας και πονηριας, wickedness, radical depravity, producing unrighteousness in the life; nor with the persons who are thus influenced, and thus act; but with the unleavened bread, αλλ’εν αζυµοις, but with upright and godly men, who have sincerity, ειλικρινεια, such purity of affections and conduct, that even the light of God shining upon them discovers no flaw, and truth - who have received the testimony of God, and who are inwardly as well as outwardly what they profess to be. The word πονηριας, which we translate wickedness, is so very like to πορνειας, fornication, that some very ancient MSS. have the latter reading instead of the former; which, indeed, seems most natural in this place; as κακιας, which we translate malice, includes every thing that is implied in πονηριας, wickedness whereas πορνειας, as being the subject in question, see 1Co_5:1, would come more pointedly in here: ot with wickedness and fornication, or rather, not with wicked men and fornicators: but I do not contend for this reading. 4. Gill, “let us keep the feast,.... ot the feast of the passover, which was now ceased, though this is said in allusion to it; when the master of the house used to say (l), "everyone that is hungry, let him come and eat; he that hath need, let him come " ,ויפסחand paschatize", or keep the feast of the passover:'' but rather the feast of the Lord's supper is here meant, that feast of fat things Isaiah prophesied of; in which are the richest entertainments, even the flesh and blood of Christ; though it seems best to understand it of the whole course of a Christian's life, spent in the exercise of spiritual joy and faith in Christ; he that is of a merry heart, as the believer of all men in the world has reason to be of, "hath a continual feast", Pro_15:15of spiritual mirth and pleasure, rejoicing always in Christ, as he
ought to do: which feast, or course of life, is to be kept "not with old leaven"; in the old, vain, sinful manner of conversation, as before: neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; not in malice to any man, or one another, nor in any sort of wickedness, living in no known sin, and allowing of it: but with the unleavened bread of sincerity; as opposed to malice, of sincere love to God and Christ, and to his people: and of truth; of Gospel doctrine, discipline, and conversation. 5. GODET, “The Christian's Paschal feast does not last a week, but all his life. In an admirable discourse Chrysostom has developed this idea: “For the true Christian, it is always Easter, always Pentecost, always Christmas.” Such is the sense in which the apostle exhorts the Corinthians to keep the feast.―The words, not with old leaven , signify, in accordance with what precedes: not by persisting in the corrupt dispositions of the old man.―The particle mhdev , nor any more , according to Edwards, does not introduce an additional thought, but only the explanation of the preceding allegorical phrase. I do not think this meaning possible. The mhdev seems to me intended to bring out a special feature in the general idea in direct connection with present circumstances; so, or nearly so, de Wette, Ruckert , Meyer, etc. The word kakiva denotes rather corruption of the nature or state, and the word ponhriva , deliberate malice of the will. In the context, the first of these terms relates to a corrupt state of the soul, which does not allow it to be indignant against evil, but leaves it to act toward it with lax toleration; the second goes further: it denotes active connivance and protection. These two vices, both proceeding from the leaven of the old nature, had been prominently manifested in the Church's conduct towards the incestuous person. With these dispositions Paul contrasts those which should characterize the renewing of the purified mass. Must it be concluded from these verses that the apostle wrote this letter at the time of the Passover? The figures used do not, as we have seen, contain anything which does not admit of explanation independently of all connection with the actual celebration of the Passover. Yet it is certain, that if we hold this feast and the composition of our letter to have been simultaneous, the choice of the figures, which come on us somewhat abruptly, is more naturally explained. This induction is confirmed by 16:8: “I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.” And as Acts 20:6 shows that St. Paul, as well as the Churches founded by him, observed the Passover and celebrated it at the same time as the Jews, we shall not assuredly be going beyond his thought if we find in the words, “Let us keep the feast,” an allusion to that which was being celebrated at the time in the Churches. A second question often discussed is the following: May the words, “Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed,” be regarded as a testimony in favor of John's narrative, according to which Jesus died on the day (14th isan) when the Paschal lamb was sacrificed, and not, as it has been thought necessary to conclude from the synoptics, on the afternoon of the 15th isan? It seems to me that the name Paschal lamb, given to Jesus by St. Paul, does not depend in the least on the day or hour when He died. His relation to the Paschal lamb lies in the essence of things, and does not depend on a chronological coincidence. But there is one aspect in which Paul's words cannot be well understood, as it appears to me, except from that point of view
which the narrative of John brings into light. The feast of unleavened bread began on the 14th in the evening, after the slaying of the lamb. ow this relation, which forms the basis of our passage, would be disturbed if Jesus, in Paul's view, did not die till the afternoon of the 15th, after the feast of unleavened bread had already lasted for a whole day.―After pointing out to the Church what it should have done, the apostle gives it to understand the reason why it has not done so: it is because the old leaven has regained the upper hand in its moral life, and that it requires to undergo a complete renovation. This said, the subject of discipline is finished; if Pauls adds a few more observations, it is to dissipate a misunderstanding arising from a passage of his on the subject in a letter which he had previously addressed to them.”
9I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—
1. Jamison, “wrote ... in an epistle― rather, “in the Epistle”: a former one not now extant. That Paul does not refer to the presentletter is proved by the fact that no direction “not to company with fornicators” occurs in the previous part of it; also the words, “in an (or, the) epistle,” could not have been added if he meant, “I have just written” (2Co_10:10). “His letters” (plural;not applying to merely one) confirm this. 2Co_7:8also refers to our firstEpistle, just as here a formerletter is referred to by the same phrase. Paul probably wrote a former brief reply to inquiries of the Corinthians: ourfirst Epistle, as it enters more fully into the same subject, has superseded the former, which the Holy Spirit did not design for the guidance of the Church in general, and which therefore has not been preserved. 2. Barnes, “wrote unto you - have written ἔγραψα . This word may either refer to this Epistle, or to some former epistle. It simply denotes that he had written to them, but whether in the former part of this, or in some former epistle which is now lost, cannot be determined by the use of this word. In an epistle - ἐν τῇ ἐπιστολῇ tē epistolē. There has been considerable diversity of opinion in regard to this expression. A large number of commentators as Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, most of the Latin commentators, and nearly all the Dutch commentators suppose that this refers to the same Epistle (our 1 Corinthians), and that the apostle means to say that in the former part of this Epistle 1Co_5:2he had given them this direction. And in support of this interpretation they say that τῇ ̄here is used for ταυτῇtautē, and appeal to the kindred passages in Rom_16:2; Col_4:6; 1Th_5:27; 2Th_3:3-4. Many others - as Grotius, Doddridge, Rosenmuller, etc. - suppose it to refer to some other epistle which is now lost, and which had been sent to them before their messengers had reached him. This Epistle might have been very brief, and might have contained little more than this direction. That this is the correct opinion, may appear from the
following considerations, namely: (1) It is the natural and obvious interpretation - one that would strike the great mass of people. It is just such an expression as Paul would have used on the supposition that he had written a previous epistle. (2) It is the very expression which he uses in 2Co_7:8, where he is referring to this Epistle as one which he had sent to them. (3) It is not true that Paul had in any former part of this Epistle given this direction. He had commanded them to remove an incestuous person, and such a command might seem to imply that they ought not to keep company with such a person; but it was not a general command not to have contact with them. (4) It is altogether probable that Paul would write more letters than we have preserved. We have but fourteen of his remaining. Yet he labored many years; founded many churches; and had frequent occasion to write to them. (5) We know that a number of books have been lost which were either inspired or which were regarded as of authority by inspired men. Thus, the books of Jasher, of Iddo the seer, etc., are referred to in the Old Testament, and there is no improbability that similar instances may have occurred in regard to the writers of the ew Testament. (6) In 1Co_5:11, he expressly makes a distinction between the Epistle which he was then writing and the former one. “But now,” that is, in this Epistle, “I have written (ἔγραψα ) to you,” etc. an expression which he would not use if 1Co_5:9, referred to the same epistle. These considerations seem to me to be unanswerable, and to prove that Paul had sent another epistle to them in which he had given this direction. (7) This opinion accords with that of a very large number of commentators. As an instance, Calvin says, “The Epistle of which he here speaks, is not now extant. or is it to be doubted that many others have perished; but it is sufficient that these survive to us which the Lord saw to be needful.” If it be objected that this may affect the doctrine of the inspiration of the ew Testament, since it is not to be supposed that God would suffer the writings of inspired men to be lost, we may reply: (a) That there is no evidence that these were inspired. Paul often makes a distinction in regard to his own words and doctrines, as inspired or uninspired (see 1 Cor. 7); and the same thing may have occurred in his writings. (b) This does not affect the inspiration of the books which remain, even on the supposition that those which were lost were inspired. It does not prove that these are not from God. If a man loses a guinea it does not prove that those which he has not lost are counterfeit or worthless. (c) If inspired, they may have answered the purpose which was designed by their inspiration - and then have been suffered to be lost - as all inspired books will be destroyed at the end of the world. (d) It is to be remembered that a large part of the discourses of the inspired apostles, and even the Savior himself Joh_21:25, have been lost. And why should it be deemed any more wonderful that inspired books should be lost than inspired oral teaching? Why more wonderful that a brief letter of Paul should be destroyed than that numerous discourses of him “who spake as never man spake,” should be lost to the world?
(e) We should be thankful for the books that remain, and we may be assured that all the truth that is needful for our salvation has been preserved and is in our bands. That any inspired hooks have been preserved amidst the efforts which have been made to destroy them all, is more a matter of wonder than that a few have been lost, and should rather lead us to gratitude that we have them than to grief that a few, probably relating to local and comparatively unimportant matters, have been destroyed. ot to company ... - ot to associate with; see Eph_5:11; 2Th_3:14. This, it seems, was a general direction on the subject. It referred to all who had this character. But the direction which he now 1Co_5:11proceeds to give, relates to a different matter the proper degree of contact with those who were “in the church.” 3. Clarke, “wrote unto you in an epistle - wisest and best skilled in Biblical criticism agree that the apostle does not refer to any other epistle than this; and that he speaks here of some general directions which he had given in the foregoing part of it; but which he had now in some measure changed and greatly strengthened, as we see from 1Co_5:11. The words εγραψα εν τῃ επιστολῃmay be translated, I Had written to you in This Epistle; for there are many instances in the ew Testament where the aorist, which is here used, and which is a sort of indefinite tense, is used for the perfect and the plusquam-perfect. Dr. Whitby produces several proofs of this, and contends that the conclusion drawn by some, viz. that it refers to some epistle that is lost, is not legitimately drawn from any premises which either this text or antiquity affords. The principal evidence against this is 2Co_7:8, where εν τῃ επιστολῃ, the same words as above, appear to refer to this first epistle. Possibly the apostle may refer to an epistle which he had written though not sent; for, on receiving farther information from Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, relative to the state of the Corinthian Church, he suppressed that, and wrote this, in which he considers the subject much more at large. See Dr. Lightfoot. ot to company with fornicators - With which, as we have already seen, Corinth abounded. It was not only the grand sin, but staple, of the place. 4. Gill, “wrote unto you in an epistle,..... ot in this same epistle, and in 1Co_5:2as some think; for what is here observed is not written in either of those verses, but in some other epistle he had sent them before, as is clear from 1Co_5:11which either came not to hand, or else was neglected by them; and so what he here says may be considered as a reproof to them, for taking no notice of his advice; but continuing to show respect to the incestuous person, though he in a former epistle had advised them to the contrary: no doubt the apostle wrote other epistles to the Corinthians, besides those that are in being; see 2Co_10:10nor does such a supposition at all detract from the perfection of Scripture; for not all that were written by him were by divine inspiration; and as many as were so, and were necessary for the perfection of the canon of Scripture, and to instruct us in the whole counsel of God, have been preserved; nor is this any contradiction to this epistle's being his first to this church; for though it might not be his first to them, yet it is the first to them extant with us, and therefore so called: what he had written to them in another epistle was not
to company with fornicators; which he had not so fully explained, neither what fornicators he meant, nor what by keeping company with them; he therefore in this distinguishes upon the former, and enlarges his sense of the latter; declaring that they were not so much as to eat with such persons; which shows, that this prohibition does not regard unclean copulation, or a joining with them in the sin of fornication, they had been used to in a state of unregeneracy, for some sort of companying with fornicators is allowed of in the next verse; whereas no degree of a sinful mixture with them would ever be tolerated: but that it is to be understood of a civil society and familiar conversation with them; which might bring a reproach upon religion, be a stumbling to weak Christians, and be of dangerous consequence to themselves and others; who hereby might be allured and drawn by their example into the commission of the same sinful practices. The apostle seems to allude to the customs and usages of the Jews, who abstained from all civil commerce and familiar acquaintance with unbelievers. They say, "that everyone that does not study in the law, אסיר למקרב לגביה ולמעבד ביה סחורתא וכש " ,למהך עמיה באורחאit is forbidden to come near him, and to exercise merchandise with him, and much less to walk with him in the way", because there is no faith in him (m).'' 5. Henry, “the apostle advises them to shun the company and converse of scandalous professors. Consider, I. The advice itself: I wrote to you in a letter not to company with fornicators,1Co_5:9. Some think this was an epistle written to them before, which is lost. Yet we have lost nothing by it, the Christian revelation being entire in those books of scripture which have come down to us, which are all that were intended by God for the general use of Christians, or he could and would in his providence have preserved more of the writings of inspired men. Some think it is to be understood of this very epistle, that he had written this advice before he had full information of their whole case, but thought it needful now to be more particular. And therefore on this occasion he tells them that if any man called a brother, any one professing Christianity, and being a member of a Christian church, were a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer,that they should not keep company with him, nor so much as eat with such a one.They were to avoid all familiarity with him; they were to have no commerce with him; they were to have no commerce with him: but, that they might shame him, and bring him to repentance, must disclaim and shun him. ote, Christians are to avoid the familiar conversation of fellow-christians that are notoriously wicked, and under just censure for their flagitious practices. Such disgrace the Christian name. They may call themselves brethren in Christ,but they are not Christian brethren. They are only fit companions for the brethren in iniquity; and to such company they should be left, till they mend their ways and doings. 6. Godet, “It is vain for Chrysostom, Erasmus, Lange, to allege that Paul alludes to vers. 2, 6, and 7 of this same chapter, or for Lardner to attempt to find here the
announcement of what is about to follow, vers. 10-13. It is easy to see that nothing in what precedes contained the direction given here, and that the e[graya , I wrote , can only refer to the rectification of an idea which had been fathered on Paul, and which had been reported to him. A correspondence between Paul and the Church had certainly preceded our Epistle; comp. 7:1: “ ow concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me.” In 2 Cor. 7:8, Paul refers, using the same expression, to a previous letter. Had there not been dogmatic reasons for denying the possibility of the loss of an apostolic document, this meaning would not have been contested.―The term to company (mingle) with , sunanamivgnusqai , strictly denotes living in an intimate and continuous relation with one,― suvn emphasizing the intimacy, and ajnav the repetition of the acts. Does the rupture demanded by the apostle refer to the conduct of Christians in private life, or to ecclesiastical communion? In any case, the Corinthians could not have thought of an ecclesiastical rupture with people with whom no ecclesiastical bond existed. Did they not apply Paul's regulation to sinners who were yet outside of the Church? We may see in 2 Thess. 3:14 how the expression “not to company with” is synonymous with stevllesqai ajpov , to hold aloof from , of ver. 6; and in that context the term certainly refers to private life. Finally, if the matter in question here were the ecclesiastical relation, the apostle would not have to say to believers, “Do not company with the vicious,” but, “Do not allow the vicious to company with you.” This precept of Paul's is parallel to that of John, Second Epistle, ver. 10: “If any one bringeth not this teaching, receive him not into your house, and give him no greeting.” 7. “There is little doubt that a number of the Apostle s letters have perished, especially those which he wrote in the early part of his career, when his authority was less clearly established, and the value of his words less under stood ; 2 Thess. ii. 2, iii. 17.” unknown author
10not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.
1. Jamison, “of the prohibition alluded to in 1Co_5:9. As in dissolute Corinth to “company with no fornicators,” etc., would be almost to company with none in the (unbelieving) world; ye need not utterly(“altogether”) forego intercourse with fornicators, etc., of the unbelieving world (compare 1Co_10:27; Joh_17:15; 1Jo_5:18, 1Jo_5:19). As “fornicators” sin against themselves, so “extortioners” against their neighbors, and “idolaters” against God. The attempt to get “out of the
world,” in violation of God’s will that believers should remain in it but keep themselves from its evil, led to monasticism and its consequent evils. 2. Barnes, “not altogether ... - my direction not “to company” with them, I did not mean that you should refuse all kinds of contact with them; that you should not treat them with civility, or be engaged with them in any of the transactions of life, or in the ordinary contact of society between man and man, for this would be impossible - but that you should not so associate with them as to be esteemed to belong to them, or so as to be corrupted by their example. You are not to make them companions and friends. With the fornicators - Most pagans were of this description, and particularly at Corinth. See the introduction to this Epistle. Of this world - Of those who are out of the church; or who are not professed Christians. Or with the covetous - The avaricious; those greedy of gain. Probably his direction in the former epistle had been that they should avoid them. Or extortioners - Rapacious persons; greedy of gain, and oppressing the poor, the needy, and the fatherless, to obtain money. Or an idolater - All the Corinthians before the gospel was preached there worshiped idols. Then must ye needs ... - It would be necessary to leave the world. The world is full of such persons. You meet them everywhere. You cannot avoid them in the ordinary transactions of life, unless you either destroy yourselves, or withdraw wholly from society. This passage shows: (1) That that society was full of the licentious and the covetous, of idolaters and extortioners. (Compare the notes at Rom. 1.) (2) That it is not right either to take our own lives to avoid them, or to withdraw from society and become monks; and therefore, that the whole monastic system is contrary to Christianity; and, (3) That it is needful we should have some contact with the people of the world; and to have dealings with them as neighbors, and as members of the community. “How far” we are to have contact with them is not settled here. The general principles may be: (1) That it is only so far as is necessary for the purposes of good society, or to show kindness to them as neighbors and as members of the community. (2) We are to deal justly with them in all our transactions. (3) We may be connected with them in regard to the things which “we have in common” - as public improvements, the business of education, etc. (4) We are to endeavor to do them good, and for that purpose we are not to shun their society. But, (5) We are not to make them our companions; or to associate with them in their wickedness, or as idolaters, or covetous, or licentious; we are not to be known as partakers with them in these things. And for the same reason we are not to associate with the frivilous in their gaiety; with the proud in their pride; with the fashionable in their regard to fashion; with the friends of the theater, the ballroom, or the
splendid party, in their attachment to these amusements. In all these things we are to be separate; and are to be connected with them only in those things which we may have “in common” with them; and which are not inconsistent with the holy rules of the Christian religion. (6) We are not so to associate with them as to be corrupted by their example; or so as to be led by that example to neglect prayer and the sanctuary, and the deeds of charity, and the effort to do good to the souls of people. We are to make it a great point that our piety is not to suffer by that contact; and we are never to do anything, or conform to any custom, or to have any such contact with them as to lessen our growth in grace; to divert our attention from the humble duties of religion; or to mar our Christian enjoyment. 3. Clarke, “then must ye needs go out of the world - an awful picture of the general corruption of manners does this exhibit! The Christians at Corinth could not transact the ordinary affairs of life with any others than with fornicators, covetous persons, extortioners, railers, drunkards, and idolaters, because there were none others in the place! How necessary was Christianity in that city!” 4. Gill, “not altogether with the fornicators of this world,.... By "the fornicators of this world" are meant, such as were guilty of this sin, who were the men of the world, mere worldly carnal men, who were never called out of it, or ever professed to be; in distinction from those that were in the church, that had committed this iniquity; and the apostle's sense is, that his former prohibition of keeping company with fornicators was not to be understood as referring to such persons as were, out of the church, as if no sort of civil conversation and commerce were to be had with men of such, and the like infamous characters; or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters: that is, of this world; for this clause is to be understood of each of these; so we read (n)of " ,בצעין דעלמאthe covetous of the world"; by the covetous are meant, either such who are given up to inordinate lusts, who work all uncleanness with greediness, and can never be satisfied with their filthy enjoyments; or such who are greedily desirous of riches and wealth, and of increasing their worldly substance by any method, right or wrong; and who not only withhold that which is meet from others, but will not allow themselves what is proper and necessary: "extortioners" are either "ravishers", as the word may be rendered: such who by force violate the chastity of others, youths or virgins; or robbers, who, by violence and rapine, take away that which is the fight and property of others; or such who oppress the poor, detain their wages by fraud, or lessen them, and extort that by unlawful gain, which is unreasonable: idolaters are those who worship the false deities of the Heathens, or any idol, graven image, or picture of God, or men, or any creature whatsoever, or any but the one Lord God. The apostle, under these characters, comprises all manner of sin against a man's self, against his neighbor, and against God; against himself, as fornication; against his neighbor, as covetousness and extortion; and against God, as idolatry: and since the world abounded with men guilty of these several vices, all kind of civil correspondence with them could not be avoided, for then must you needs go out of the world; meaning not out of Greece, or of any of
the cities thereof, into other parts, but out of the world itself; they must even destroy themselves, or seek out for a new world: it is an hyperbolical way of speaking, showing that the thing is impracticable and impossible, since men of this sort are everywhere; and were all trade and conversation with them to be forbidden, the families of God's people could never be supported, nor the interest of religion maintained; a stop would soon be put to worldly business, and saints would have little or nothing to do in the world; wherefore, as the Arabic version reads it, "business would compel you to go out of the world". 5. Henry, “he limits this advice. He does not forbid the Christians the like commerce with scandalously wicked heathens. He does not forbid their eating nor conversing with the fornicators of this world,etc. They know no better. They profess no better. The gods they serve, and the worship they render to many of them, countenance such wickedness. “You must needs go out of the worldif you will have no conversation with such men. Your Gentile neighbors are generally vicious and profane; and it is impossible, as long as you are in the world, and have any worldly business to do, but you must fall into their company. This cannot be wholly avoided.” ote, Christians may and ought to testify more respect to loose worldlings than to loose Christians. This seems a paradox. Why should we shun the company of a profane or loose Christian, rather than that of a profane or loose heathen? 6. GODET, “When I spoke of fornicators in my letter, I did not thereby mean all the fornicators of this world in general.” After all attempts to explain this ouj pavntw" differently, it seems to me that this is the interpretation which holds good. Only, it logically implies that by the phrase, the fornicators of this world , Paul denotes, not only those who are without the Church, but those also who profess the gospel. It is the only way of explaining the ouj pavntw" , which is not the absolute negative, like pavntw" ouj , absolutely not , but, on the contrary, a restricted negative ( not absolutely, not entirely ): I wrote to you to break with fornicators, not with fornicators in general, which would oblige you to go out of the world, but with those only who profess the gospel. This is the meaning adopted by eander, Hofmann, and others. It is objected that the phrase, the fornicators of this world , must be exclusive of those of the Church. Why so? The idea is simply, “not generally with all the fornicators living with you in this world.” Such is evidently the meaning of the word world in the following sentence. Meyer has thought that it is to mark the difference between these two meanings given to the word world that Paul rejects the touvtou , this , in the following sentence. But it may also be to avoid an awkward and useless repetition. As to those who, like Meyer, de Wette, Edwards, hold that the fornicators of this world must here be necessarily contrasted with those of the Church, they are thrown into embarrassment by the ouj pavntw" , and they apply it solely to the limitation of relations with these fornicators: “I meant you not to have relations too complete ( pavntw" ) with non-Christian fornicators,” which would authorize restricted relations, without which life in the world would be impossible. But this meaning is not natural; for what Paul here distinguishes is not the greater or less degree of intimacy in relations to impure
heathen; he is contrasting with the relation to impure heathen, which he authorizes, the relation to impure Christians, which he forbids.―We do not take account here of the interpretations which separate ouj from pavntw" , connecting the former with the verb e[graya , and the latter with the verb sunanamivgnusqai ,―a separation far from natural,―nor of that of Ruckert , who understands ouj pavntw" almost as if it were pavntw" ouj , absolutely not , though Paul knows perfectly the use and meaning of this form; comp. 16:12. However this may be, the view of the apostle remains substantially the same: the rupture which he demands is not applicable to the vicious in general, but only to those who lay claim to the name of Christians.―To libertinism Paul adds covetousness as to earthly goods, and that in the two forms of pleonexiva , which, to have more, uses fraudulent and indelicate processes, like usury, and that of aJrpaghv , injustice by violent means. These two words are connected, not by h[ , or , but by kaiv , and , as two species of one and the same genus.― Idolaters , as such, would seem to be an impossibility in the Church; but there might be Corinthians who, after believing, had kept up habits of idolatry; and chap. 8 will show us that many of them could not bring themselves to give up the banquets to which they were invited in idol temples. These three vices, fornication, covetousness, idolatry, are related, as Estius and Edwards observe, the first to the individual himself, the second to his neighbors, the third to God. It is evident that in a city like Corinth, to break off all connection with persons of these three categories would have been for a man to condemn himself to live as a hermit. This is probably what the Corinthians had retorted with a measure of irony; and so the apostle, no less than they, rejects an idea so absurd. The majority of the Mjj. read wjfeivlete , ye would need , which gives a simple sense. T. R. with P and Chrysostom reads ojfeivlete , ye need , a form which is also, though less easily, intelligible: “Since, if it is so, ye need...” Calvin, starting from this reading, has given the sentence a quite different meaning: “For ye need really to separate yourselves from the world (morally).” But the particle a[ra , then , indicates, on the contrary, a consequence from what precedes.―And now Paul establishes his true thought.”
11But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
1. I doubt that most Christians even know this is Paul's rule of life for the believer.
We must not even associate with one who calls himself a brother, but who acts like a heathen. He gets sexually immoral. He gets greedy by always wanting more and more, and probably steals and swindles to get that more. He is an idolater or a slanderer. Listen to your brother believer as he talks of his political persuasion and likely you will hear some slander. He may even be addicted to drink, and be a con man in his profession where he smooth talks people into buying a product that has no real value, but for which he gets a good price. We are not to go out and eat with this kind of person, but who ever considers that when asked to join a brother for lunch? Paul does not say this man is an authentic brother, but only that he calls himself such. This does not mean that a true believer cannot be all of these negative things, and if he is, he is to be shunned. 2. Jamison, “now― “ ow” does not express time,but “the case being so,” namely, that to avoid fornicators, etc., of the world,you would have to leave the world altogether, which would be absurd. So “now” is used in Heb_11:16. Thus we avoid making the apostle nowretract a command which he had before given. I have written ― that is, my meaning in the letter I wrote was “not to keep company,” etc. a brother ― contrasted with a “fornicator ... of the world” (1Co_5:10). There is less danger in associating with open worldlings than with carnal professors. Here, as in Eph_5:3, Eph_5:5, “covetousness” is joined with “fornication”: the common fount of both being “the fierce and ever fiercer longing of the creature, which has turned from God, to fill itself with the inferior objects of sense” [Trench, Greek Synonyms of the ew Testament]. Hence “idolatry” is associated with them: and the covetous man is termed an “idolater” ( um_25:1, um_25:2). The Corinthians did not fall into open idolatry, but ate things offered to idols, so making a compromise with the heathen; just as they connived at fornication. Thus this verse prepares for the precepts in 1Co_8:4, etc. Compare the similar case of fornication, combined with a similar idolatrous compromise, after the pattern of Israel with the Midianites (Rev_2:14). no not to eat ― not to sit at the same table with such; whether at the love-feasts () or in private intercourse, much more at the Lord’s table: at the last, too often now the guests “are not as children in one family, but like a heterogeneous crowd of strangers in an inn” [Bengel] (compare Gal_2:12; 2Jo_1:10, 2Jo_1:11). 3. Barnes, “But now.” In this Epistle. This shows that he had written a former letter. I have written to you. - Above. I have designed to give this injunction that you are to be entirely separated from one who is a professor of religion and who is guilty of these things. ot to keep company - To be wholly separated and withdrawn from such a person. ot to associate with him in any manner. If any man that is called a brother - Any professing Christian; any member of the church. Be a fornicator ... - Like him who is mentioned, 1Co_5:1. Or an idolater This must mean those persons who, while they professed Christianity, still attended the idol feasts, and worshipped there. Perhaps a few such may have been found who had adopted the Christian profession hypocritically. Or a railer - A reproachful man; a man of coarse, harsh, and bitter words; a man whose characteristic it was to
abuse others; to vilify their character, and wound their feelings. It is needless to say how much this is contrary to the spirit of Christianity, and to the example of the Master, “who when he was reviled, reviled not again.” Or a drunkard - Perhaps there might have been some then in the church, as there are now, who were addicted to this vice. It has been the source of incalculable evils to the church; and the apostle, therefore, solemnly enjoins on Christians to have no fellowship with a man who is intemperate. With such an one no not to eat - To have no contact or fellowship with him of any kind; not to do anything that would seem to acknowledge him as a brother; with such an one not even to eat at the same table. A similar course is enjoined by John; 2Jo_1:10-11. This refers to the contact of common life, and not particularly to the communion. The true Christian was wholly to disown such a person, and not to do anything that would seem to imply that he regarded him as a Christian brother. It will be seen here that the rule was much more strict in regard to one who professed to be a Christian than to those who were known and acknowledged pagans. The reasons may have been: (1) The necessity of keeping the church pure, and of not doing anything that would seem to imply that Christians were the patrons and friends of the intemperate and the wicked. (2) In respect to the pagan, there could be no danger of its being supposed that Christians regarded them as brethren, or showed to them any more than the ordinary civilities of life; but in regard to those who professed to be Christians, but who were drunkards, or licentious, if a man was on terms of intimacy with them, it would seem as if he acknowledged them as brethren and recognized them as Christians. (3) This entire separation and withdrawing from all communion was necessary in these times to save the church from scandal, and from the injurious reports which were circulated. The pagan accused Christians of all manner of crime and abominations. These reports were greatly injurious to the church. But it was evident that currency and plausibility would be given to them if it was known that Christians were on terms of intimacy and good fellowship with pagans and intemperate persons. Hence, it became necessary to withdraw wholly from them to withhold even the ordinary courtesies of life; and to draw a line of total and entire separation. Whether this rule in its utmost strictness is demanded now, since the nature of Christianity is known, and since religion cannot be in “so much” danger from such reports, may be made a question. I am inclined to the opinion that the ordinary civilities of life may be shown to such persons; though certainly nothing that would seem to recognize them as Christians. But as neighbors and relatives; as those who may be in distress and want, we are assuredly not forbidden to show toward them the offices of kindness and compassion. Whitby and some others, however, understand this of the communion of the Lord’s Supper and of that only. 4. Clarke, “now I have written - not only write this, but I add more: if any one who is called a brother, i.e. professes the Christian religion, be a fornicator, covetous, idolater, railer, drunkard, or extortioner, not even to eat with such - have no
communion with such a one, in things either sacred or civil. You may transact your worldly concerns with a person that knows not God, and makes no profession of Christianity, whatever his moral character may be; but ye must not even thus far acknowledge a man professing Christianity, who is scandalous in his conduct. Let him have this extra mark of your abhorrence of all sin; and let the world see that the Church of God does not tolerate iniquity. 5. Gill, “now have I written unto you,.... Which shows, that what he had written before was at another time, and in another epistle; but not that what he was now writing was different from the former, only he explains the persons of whom, and the thing about which he has before written: not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother, be a fornicator; or if any man that is a brother is called, or named a fornicator; or covetous, or an idolater; or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, with such an one, no, not to eat. The apostle's meaning is, that in his prohibition of keeping company with men of the above character, he would be understood of such persons as were called brethren; who had been received into the church, and had been looked upon, and had professed themselves to be such; and who might be mentioned by name, as notoriously guilty of fornication, covetousness, idolatry, and extortion, mentioned in the former verse; to which are added two other sins any of them might be addicted to, as "railing" either at their fellow brethren and Christians, or others giving reproachful language to them, and fixing invidious characters on them: and "drunkenness"; living in the frequent commission of that sin, and others before spoken of; and that such persons remaining impenitent and incorrigible, still persisting, in such a vicious course of life, after due admonition given them, were not only to be removed from their religious society, from the communion of the church, and be debarred sitting down, and eating with them at the Lord's table, or at their love feasts, but also were to be denied civil conversation and familiarity with them, and even not suffered to eat common food at the same table with them: which though lawful to be used with the men of the world, yet for some reasons were not advisable to be used with such; partly for vindicating the honor of religion, and preventing the stumbling of the weak; and partly to make such offenders ashamed, and bring them to repentance. The apostle alludes to the behavior of the Jews, either to persons that were under any pollution, as a woman in the days of her separation, when her husband " ,לא יאכל עמהmight not eat with her" off of the same plate, nor at the same table, nor on the same cloth; nor might she drink with him, nor mix his cup for him; and the same was observed to persons that had issues on them (o): or rather to such as were under " ,נדויthe sentence of excommunication", and such an one was obliged to sit the distance of four cubits from others, and who might not eat nor drink with him; nor was he allowed to wash and shave himself, nor a sufficiency of food, nor any to sit with him within the space of four cubits, except those of his house.” 6. Barclay, “It is to be noted that these three basic sins are representative of the three directions in which a man sins.
(a) Fornication is a sin against a man's own self. By falling to it he has reduced himself to the level of an animal; he has sinned against the light that is in him and the highest that he knows. He has allowed his lower nature to defeat his higher and made himself less than a man. (b) Greediness is a sin against our neighbors and our fellow men. It regards human beings as persons to be exploited rather than as brothers to be helped. It forgets that the only proof that we do love God must be the fact that we love our neighbors as ourselves. (c) Idolatry is a sin against God. It allows things to usurp God's place. It is the failure to give God the first and only place in life.” 7. Godet, “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one, no, not to eat.”―The words but now can only express a logical contrast. The nu'n contrasts Paul's true thought, which remains, with his thought as it was disfigured by the Corinthians, which is relegated to the past. ― The emphasis is on the words, who is called a brother; as Paul goes on to say in ver. 12, he has not to exercise discipline on those who do not profess the faith. But when a man, who parades the title of Christian, exhibits this profession side by side with vice, the Church is bound to protest against this lying union, and with this view, so far as depends on it, to break off all relations with such a man. This is the way to tear from him the mask with which he covers himself to the shame of the Church and of Christ Himself.―The six following terms have been grouped, either in threes (Meyer) or in three pairs (Hofmann), with more or less ingenuity. It seems to me that, as in the enumeration Rom. 1:29 seq., we have here rather an unstudied accumulation than a classification, strictly so called. It may be said that in such cases disgust excludes order. To the four terms of ver. 10 Paul adds two new ones: loivdoro" , a man who speaks rudely, who calumniates, and mevquso" , the intemperate man. ―We have already shown that the not to company with indicates the rupture of private relations. But should not the last words, with such a man, no, not to eat , be applied to the rupture of the ecclesiastical relation by his exclusion from worship and from the Holy Supper? The word mhdev , nay, no more, not even , does not allow this explanation of sunesqivein , to eat with. For this act is thus characterized as a matter of less gravity, and Paul could never so speak of the Holy Supper. Among the ancients, for a man to receive any at his table was much more a sign of intimacy than in our day; and the apostle is unwilling that by the sign of so close a personal relation the idea should be authorized that the vicious man is acknowledged by other Christians as worthy of the name. Meyer, indeed, admits that the phrase, no, not to eat with ..., can only refer to the believer's private table. But by an argument a: fortiori , he concludes that it applies with still more certainty to the Holy Supper. Theodoret had already argued in the same way: “ ot to eat, with stronger reason not to hold communion with him.” In such a matter it is dangerous to proceed by way of logical deduction.
In arguing thus, account is not taken of this difference, that the table prepared in my house is my own, while the Holy Supper is the Lord's Table. I am therefore responsible for those whom I admit to the former, but not for those who appear at the latter. It appears from 11:28, 29, that the Lord thinks good to leave each one liberty to eat and drink his condemnation at the holy table, and will not prevent him from doing so by external means. The parable of the tares already suggested such a course, the only one in keeping with God's regard for human liberty. The apostle justifies the distinction which he has just made between believers and unbelievers.” 8. “Origen says that in his time the plea that idolatry was a matter of indifference was common among Christians serving in the army. Modern experience teaches that it is very difficult to extinguish idolatrous practices among converts, and Chrysostom may be right in suggesting that the Apostle inserts idolater in his list as a preparation for what he is about to say on the subject (viii. 10, x. 7, 14 f.). The Corinthians were evidently very lax.” author unknown
12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?
1. It is not our business to judge people who are not believers. They may be terrible, but that is their business as long as their sins do not affect the believers. We need to let them live their godless life if that is their choice. We can plead with them, and share the gospel with them, but to judge them is not to be our calling. We have an obligation, however, to judge those within the church body, for their conduct reflects on Christ, and can bring disgrace to the name of Christian. This has to be controlled by judgment on those who walk after the flesh and not after the Spirit. 2. Jamison, “have I to do― You might have easily understood that my concern is not with unbelievers outsidethe Church, but that I referred to those within it. also ― Implying, Those withingive me enough to do without those outside. do not ye, etc. ― Ye judge your fellow citizens, not strangers: much more should I [Bengel]. Rather, Is it not your dutyto judge them that are within? Godshall judge them that are without: do you look at home [Grotius]. God is the Judge of the salvation of the heathen, not we (Rom_2:12-16). Paul here gives an anticipatory censure of their going to law with saints before heathen tribunals, instead of judging such causes among themselves within.
3. Barnes, “what have I to do ... - have no authority over them; and can exercise no jurisdiction over them. All my rules, therefore, must have reference only to those who are within the church. To judge - To pass sentence upon; to condemn; or to punish. As a Christian apostle I have no jurisdiction over them. Them also that are without - Without the pale of the Christian church; pagans; people of the world; those who did not profess to be Christians. Do not ye judge ... - Is not your jurisdiction as Christians confined to those who are within the church, and professed members of it? ought you not to exercise discipline there, and inflict punishment on its unworthy members? Do you not in fact thus exercise discipline, and separate from your society unworthy persons - and ought it not to be done in this instance, and in reference to the offender in your church? 4. Clarke, “what have I to do to judge them also that are without? - term without, τους εξω, signifies those who were not members of the Church, and in this sense its correspondent term: החיצוניםhachitsonim, those that are without, is generally understood in the Jewish writers, where it frequently occurs. The word καιalso, which greatly disturbs the sense here, is wanting in ABCFG, and several others, with the Syriac, Coptic, Slavonic, Vulgate, and the Itala; together with several of the fathers. The sentence, I think, with the omission of καιalso, should stand thus: Does it belong to me to pass sentence on those which are without - which are not members of the Church? By no means (ουχι.) Pass ye sentence on them which are within which are members of the Church: those which are without - which are not members of the Church, God will pass sentence on, in that way in which he generally deals with the heathen world. But put ye away the evil from among yourselves. This is most evidently the apostle’s meaning, and renders all comments unnecessary. In the last clause there appears to be an allusion to Deu_17:7, where the like directions are given to the congregation of Israel, relative to a person found guilty of idolatry: Thou shalt put away the evil from among you - where the version of the Septuagint is almost the same as that of the apostle: και εξαρεις τον πονηρον εξ ὑµων αυτων. There are several important subjects in this chapter which intimately concern the Christian Church in general. 1. If evil be tolerated in religious societies, the work of God cannot prosper there. If one scandal appear, it should be the cause of general humiliation and mourning to the followers of God where it occurs; because the soul of a brother is on the road to perdition, the cause of God so far betrayed and injured, and Christ re-crucified in the house of his friends. Pity should fill every heart towards the transgressor, and prayer for the backslider occupy all the members of the Church. 2. Discipline must be exercised in the Christian Church; without this it will soon differ but little from the wilderness of this world. But what judgment, prudence, piety, and caution, are requisite in the execution of this most important branch of a minister’s duty! He may be too easy and tender, and permit the gangrene to remain till the flock be infected with it. Or he may be
rigid and severe, and destroy parts that are vital while only professing to take away what is vitiated. A backslider is one who once knew less or more of the salvation of God. Hear what God says concerning such: Turn, ye backsliders, for I am married unto you. See how unwilling He is to give them up! He suffers long, and is kind: do thou likewise; and when thou art obliged to cut off the offender from the Church of Christ, follow him still with thy best advice and heartiest prayers. 3. A soul cut off from the flock of God is in an awful state! his outward defense is departed from him; and being no longer accountable to any for his conduct, he generally plunges into unprecedented depths of iniquity; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. Reader, art thou without the pale of God’s Church? remember it is here written, them that are Without God judgeth, 1Co_5:13. 4. Christians who wish to retain the spirituality of their religion should be very careful how they mingle with the world. He who is pleased with the company of ungodly men, no matter howsoever witty or learned, is either himself one with them, or is drinking into their spirit. It is impossible to associate with such by choice without receiving a portion of their contagion. A man may be amused or delighted with such people, but he will return even from the festival of wit with a lean soul. Howsoever contiguous they may be, yet the Church and the world are separated by an impassable gulf. 5. If all the fornicators, adulterers, drunkards, extortioners, and covetous persons which bear the Christian name, were to be publicly excommunicated from the Christian Church, how many, and how awful would the examples be! If however the discipline of the visible Church be so lax that such characters are tolerated in it, they should consider that this is no passport to heaven. In the sight of God they are not members of his Church; their citizenship is not in heaven, and therefore they have no right to expect the heavenly inheritance. It is not under names, creeds, or professions, that men shall be saved at the last day; those alone who were holy, who were here conformed to the image of Christ, shall inherit the kingdom of God. Those who expect it in any other way, or on any other account, will be sadly deceived. 5. Gill, “what have I to do to judge,.... To admonish, reprove, censure, and condemn: them also that are without? without the church, who never were in it, or members of it; to whom ecclesiastical jurisdiction does not reach; and with whom the apostle had no more concern, than the magistrates of one city, or the heads of one family have with another: do not ye judge them that are within? and them only? The apostle appeals to their own conduct, that they only reproved, censured, and punished with excommunication, such as were within the pale of the church, were members of it, and belonged unto it; nor did they pretend to exercise a power over others; and it would have been well if they had made use of the power they had over their own members, by admonishing and reproving such as had sinned; by censuring delinquents, and removing from their communion scandalous and impenitent offenders; and therefore they need not wonder that the apostle only meant fornicators, &c. among them, and not those that were in the world, by his
forbidding to company with such: reference seems to be had to ways of speaking among the Jews, who used not only to call themselves the church, and the Gentiles the world, and so them that were without, both their land and church; but even those among themselves that were profane, in distinction from their wise and good men. They say, "if a man puts his phylacteries on his forehead, or upon the palm of his hand, this is the way of heresy (or, as in the Talmud (r), the way of the Karaites); if he covered them with gold, and put them upon his glove (or on his garments without, so Bartenora, or, as Maimonides interprets it, his arm, shoulder, or breast), lo, this is " ,דרך החיצוניםthe way of them that are without":''on which the commentators (s)say, "these are the children of men, who walk after their own judgment, and not the judgment of the wise men": and Maimonides (t)says, they are such who deny the whole law, and neither believe anything, either of the written or the oral law.” 7. Godet, “For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do ye not judge them that are within? 13. But them that are without, God judgeth. And put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”―The first question is the justification ( for ) of ver. 10: “We have not to judge unbelievers.” The second is the justification of ver. 11: “But we have to judge believers.”―Our competency to exercise discipline does not extend further than the solidarity established by confession of the common faith. This general truth the apostle expresses in his own person ( moiv , mine ), as is often done in stating moral maxims (6:12, for example); this form does not therefore assume, as has been sometimes thought, that the word krivnein , to judge , has here a particular meaning, applicable exclusively to the apostle; for example, that of laying down disciplinary rules: “The rules which I prescribe to you on this subject are not to be applied to those who are without.” This sense of krivnein is inadmissible. In any case, had it been the part which he had to take personally on which Paul wished to lay stress, he would not have used the enclitic form ( moi ), but the full form ( ejmoiv ). He speaks of himself, not as an apostle, but as a Christian; and what he says applies consequently to every Christian. Every Christian has individually the mission to exercise the judgment of which he speaks in ver. 11. We have already pointed out the profound analogy which prevails between this chapter and the disciplinary direction given to the apostles by the Lord (Matt. 18:15-20). We find in the latter (in ver. 17) the same use of the singular pronoun, which strikes us here in the language of the apostle; only the pronoun is in the second person, because it is Jesus who is addressing the believer: “Let him be to thee as a heathen and publican.” It is therefore every believer who is bound freely at his own hand to pronounce this rupture of relations with the unbelieving brother which Paul prescribes to the Church in general. For if it is in itself the duty of all, it cannot be other in point of fact than a completely individual act.―T. R. with 3 Mjj. reads: “What have I to do to judge those also ( kaiv ) that are without?” This kaiv may, after all, be authentic: “The competency which I have in regard to my
brethren, should I not also extend to others?” The Jews called the heathen chitsonim, those without (Lightfoot, Hor. hebr. , p. 6). The apostle borrows the name from them to designate, not only the heathen, but the Jews themselves; comp. the analogous term used by Jesus, Mark 4:11. In all the synagogues dispersed throughout heathen countries careful watch was kept over the respectability of the members of the community. Should the Church in this point remain behind the synagogue?―The term judge can only be explained in the context by what precedes. It can only therefore refer to the means which have just been indicated, viz. private rupture. The second question (ver. 12 b) is in the same relation to ver. 11 as the first (ver. 12 a) to ver. 10. “I have not the task of judging them that are without; but have not you that of judging them that are within, the vicious among believers, and that in name of the faith which they profess along with you?” We are called to remark the emphasis put on the word uJmei'" , ye , in opposition to qeov" , God , the subject of the following proposition. Ver. 13 justifies by a remark, and moreover by a Scriptural quotation, the distinction laid down in ver. 12. There are two domains, each subject to a different jurisdiction: the Christian judges the Christian; the man of the world is judged by God. It is needless to say that this contrast is only relative. The unfaithful Christian is also judged by God (11:30-32); but he has at the same time to do with another judge, the Christian community to which he belongs; while the non-Christian can sin without being subjected to any judgment of the latter kind. It seems at the first glance as if this saying were in contradiction to that of our Lord: “Judge not....Why seest thou the mote in thy brother's eye?” (Matt. 7:1-3). But when Jesus speaks thus, the judgment which He would exclude is that of secret malevolence, which condemns precipitately, on simple presumptions, or putting a malignant construction on motives. St. Paul is equally averse to such judging, 13:7. The judgment he lays on the Christian as a duty is that of charity, which, in view of notorious facts, seeks the best means to bring a brother back to himself who is self-deceived as to his spiritual state, and to save him (ver. 5). The former of these judgments is accompanied with a haughty joy, the other is an act of self- humiliation and mourning (ver. 2). The first proposition of ver. 13 might be made the continuation of the second question of ver. 12: “Do not ye judge...and does not God judge?” But the affirmative meaning seems simpler.―The verb krinei might be a future ( krinei' ): “God shall judge; ” the words would then refer to the last judgment. But, after the presents krivnein, krivnete , the verb is rather a present ( krivnei ), the present of the idea and competency: “It is God who is their Judge.”―The final proposition, containing a Scripture quotation, is usually separated from what immediately precedes, to form, as it were, a last peremptory order summing up the whole chapter. It is clear that in this sense the kaiv , and (before the imperative ejxavrate or the future ejxarei'te ), is out of place. It is omitted therefore in the Alex. and Greco-Latin readings, which evidently proceed on this interpretation. But what is overlooked in adopting this sense is the close connection established by the last words: ejx uJmw'n aujtw'n , from among yourselves , with what immediately precedes (vers. 12, 13 a): “Thou shalt take away the wicked, not from human society, as if thou hadst to judge also
them that are without, but from the midst of thyself , from those that are within.” Such then is the Scriptural justification of the distinction laid down by Paul, vers. 10-13 a, between the judgment of those without and of those within. As Israel was bound to cut off the malefactor, not from heathen nations, but from its own midst , so with the Church. From this point of view we cannot but adopt the kaiv , and , of the T. R. and of the Byzantines, to which must be added the support of the Peschito, a support by no means to be despised, notwithstanding all that Westcott and Hort say: “ And finally , you remember the Bible rule...!” This is the final proof.―The same reason which led to the suppression of the kaiv , and , no doubt led also to the change of the future ejxarei'te , ye shall take away , into the aor. imperative ejxavrate , take away! Once this last word was held to be the summary of the chapter, it is evident the imperative alone was suitable. If, on the contrary, the explanation here proposed is the true one, the future ought to be preserved, as giving more literally the formula quoted; comp. Deut. 17:7-12, 22:21, 24:7. It has been suspected that the reading ejxarei'te , ye shall take away , was borrowed from these passages; but the text of the LXX. has in all these sentences the sing. ejxarei'" , thou shalt take away. Why should the Byzantine copyists have transformed it into a plural?―The term take away , like that of judge (ver. 12), should be determined by what precedes. The means of execution, of which the apostle is thinking, can only be the two indicated by himself, that of mourning, ver. 2, which appeals to the intervention of God (with or without the paradidovnai ), and that of the personal rupture, indicated ver. 11, which plunges the sinner into isolation. Such are the weapons of Christian discipline, which correspond to Israelitish stoning; Paul knows no others, when once the first warnings have failed. The very act of delivering to Satan , which he does as an apostle, not without the co-operation of the Church, is not essentially different from the judgment which it should itself have carried out according to ver. 2.― Ruckert , who always takes a very close grip of questions, does not think that the term to;n ponhrovn , the wicked , can possibly designate any other than the incestuous person. These last words would thus be the summary of chap. 5: “Exclude that guilty one!” But then, how explain the two passages, vers. 6-8 and 913 a, which seem to deviate from the subject properly so called? The first, according to him, is intended to prove the necessity of the exclusion; the second, its possibility; then, lastly, would come the final order, as an abrupt conclusion. This is able, but inadmissible. The passage vers. 6-8 has a wholly different meaning, as we have seen. The passage vers. 9-13 is introduced, not by a logical connection, but by an accidental circumstance, the misunderstanding on the part of the Corinthians. The to;n ponhrovn , the wicked , does not therefore refer in the least to the incestuous man personally, but, as in the precepts of Deuteronomy, to the whole category of the vicious who are within. Paul does not return to the case of the incestuous man, but continues to treat the general subject of discipline to which he had passed from ver. 6. Ecclesiastical Discipline. Let us briefly study the few passages of the ew Testament which bear on this
subject. Matt. 5:22.―Jesus here distinguishes three judicial stages: the judgment ( krivsi" ), the Sanhedrim, and the Gehenna of fire. These phrases are borrowed from the Israelitish order of things, in which they denote the district tribunal, the superior court, and, finally, the immediate judgment of God. If we apply these terms to the new surroundings which are formed about Jesus, and regard the first as brotherly admonition, the second as that of the heads of the future community of which the little existing flock is the germ, the third as God's judgment falling on the incorrigible sinner, we shall have a gradation of punishments corresponding, on the one hand, to the received Israelitish forms, and, on the other, to the passages of the ew Testament, including that which we are explaining. Matt. 18:15-20.―Here is the fullest passage. Jesus begins with admonition; there are three degrees of it: 1. personal ,―as it is a private offence which is in question, the offended man takes the initiative; then 2. it takes a graver character by the addition of two witnesses; 3. it is the whole assembly together which admonishes the culprit. In the second place, admonition is followed by judgment; the dealing of the Church having failed, the offended person and every member of the congregation regard the brother, now recognised to be guilty, as a heathen or publican, which, in Jewish language, signifies that they break off all personal connection with him. Finally, the Church does not yet abandon the guilty man; it prays that he may repent, or, if not, that God may punish him visibly. Two or three brethren are sufficient to carry out this appeal to God effectually. The last stage, final perdition, is not here mentioned by Jesus; but it had been indicated by Him in the saying Matt. 5. 2 Thess. 3:6, 14, 15.―The first stage, that of warning, is here satisfied by the apostle's own letters; comp. 1st Ep. 4:11, and 2nd Ep. 3:6-12. The second stage, that of judgment, begins at ver. 14. It is the shmeivwsi" , the public declaration , probably a communication from the rulers of the flock regarding what has taken place, and the invitation to the congregation to break off private relations with the culprit, without however ceasing to love him, and to act accordingly by praying for him and seeking to bring him back. The apostle stops here, like Jesus, in the second passage of Matthew. Rev. 2:19-22.―A false prophetess, whom the bishop has not checked, is to be punished by a disease sent by the Lord. This threat corresponds to the judgment whereby Paul gives over the incestuous person to Satan; and John's position in delivering this message is not without analogy to Paul's in our chapter. With this punishment coming directly from the Lord might be compared the punishment drawn down by profane communions, of which mention is made in chap. 11 of our Epistle. But we would not anticipate the explanation of the passage. It is clear that the means of excommunication cannot be supported by any passage of the ew Testament, but that the Church is not for all that defenceless against the scandals which arise within it. After admonitions, if they are useless, it has two arms: 1st. humiliation, with prayer to God to act; and 2nd. private rupture. The use of these means depends on individual believers, and may dispense with all decision by way of a numerical majority. And how much ought we to admire the Lord's
wisdom, who took care not to confide the exercise of discipline to such uncertain hands as those of the half plus one of the members of the Church. To be convinced of this, it is enough to cast our eyes on the use which the Church has made of excommunication. There is not on the earth at this hour a Christian who is not excommunicated: Protestants are so by the Roman Church; the Roman Church by the Greek Church, and vice versa; the Reformed by the Lutherans, who refuse to admit them to their Holy Supper; the Darbyites by one another. Is there not then enough here to cure the Church of the use of this means? “The weapons of our warfare,” says St. Paul, 2 Cor. 10:4, “are not carnal, but are powerful by God.” It is certainly probable that the incestuous member of the Corinthian Church, visited with judgment from above, and abandoned for the time by all his brethren, did not present himself at the love-feast and the Holy Supper. And even at this hour it is hard to believe that a scandalous sinner, with whom the most of his brethren have broken, and for whom they besiege the throne of God, would have the audacity to present himself with them at the holy table; but if he chooses, he should have it in his power as Judas had. If the Church lives, the Lord will show that He also is living. Excommunication may have been a measure pedagogically useful at a time when the whole Church was under a system of legality. ow the Church has recovered consciousness of its spirituality; ought not its mode of discipline to follow this impulse, and return to the order of primitive spiritual discipline?”
13God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."[b]
1. Barnes, “But them ... - They who are unconnected with the church are under the direct and special government of God. They are indeed sinners, and they deserve punishment for their crimes. But it is not ours to pronounce sentence upon them, or to inflict punishment. God will do that. our province is in regard to the church. We are to judge these; and these alone. All others we are to leave entirely in the hands of God. Therefore - Greek “And” (καὶ kai). “Since it is yours to judge the members of your own society, do you exercise discipline on the offender and put him away?” Put away from among yourselves - Excommunicate him; expel him from your society. This is the utmost power which the church has; and this act the church is bound to exercise upon all those who have openly offended against the laws of Jesus Christ. Remarks On 1 Corinthians 5
1. A public rumor with regard to the existence of an offense in the church should lead to discipline. This is due to the church itself that it may be pure and uninjured; to the cause, that religion may not suffer by the offense; and to the individual, that he may have justice done him, and his character vindicated if he is unjustly accused; or that if guilty he may be reclaimed and reformed - Offenses should not be allowed to grow until they become scandalous; but when they do, every consideration demands that the matter should be investigated; 1Co_5:1. 2. People are often filled with pride when they have least occasion for it; 1Co_5:2. This is the case with individuals - who are often elated when their hearts are full of sin - when they are indulging in iniquity; and it is true of churches also, that they are most proud when the reins of discipline are relaxed, and their members are cold in the service of God, or when they are even living so as to bring scandal and disgrace on the gospel. 3. We see in what way the Christian church should proceed in administering discipline; 1Co_5:2. It should not be with harshness, bitterness, revenge, or persecution. It should be with mourning that there is necessity for it; with tenderness toward the offender; with deep grief that the cause of religion has been injured; and with such grief at the existence of the offence as to lead them to prompt and decided measures to remove it. 4. The exercise of discipline belongs to the church itself; 1Co_5:4. The church at Corinth was to be assembled with reference to this offence, and was to remove the offender. Even Paul, an apostle, and the spiritual father of the church, did not claim the authority to remove an offender except through the church. The church was to take up the case; to act on it; to pass the sentence; to excommunicate the man. There could scarcely be a stronger proof that the power of discipline is in the church, and is not to be exercised by any independent individual, or body of people, foreign to the church, or claiming an independent right of discipline. If “Paul” would not presume to exercise such discipline independently of the church, assuredly no minister, and no body of ministers have any such right now. Either by themselves in a collective congregational capacity, or through their representatives in a body of elders, or in a committee appointed by them; every church is itself originate and execute all the acts of Christian discipline over its members. (See the supplementary note on 1Co_5:4.) 5. We see the object of Christian discipline; 1Co_5:5. It is not revenge, hatred, malice, or the more exercise of power that is to lead to it; it is “the good of the individual” that is to be pursued and sought. While the church endeavors to remain pure, its aim and object should be mainly to correct and reform the offender, that his spirit may be saved. When discipline is undertaken from any other motive than this; when it is pursued from private pique or rivalship, or ambition, or the love of power; when it seeks to overthrow the influence or standing of another, it is wrong. The salvation of the offender and the glory of God should prompt to all the measures which should be taken in the case.
6. We see the danger of indulging in any sin - both in reference to ourselves as individuals, or to the church; 1Co_5:6. The smallest sin indulged in will spread pollution through the whole body, as a little leaven will effect the largest mass. 7. Christians should be pure; 1Co_5:7-8. Their Savior - their paschal lamb, was pure; and he died that they might be pure. He gave himself that his people might be holy; and by all the purity of his character; by all the labors and self-denials of his life; by all his sufferings and groans in our behalf, are we called on to be holy. 8. We are here presented with directions in regard to our contact with those who are not members of the church; 1Co_5:10. There is nothing that is more difficult to be understood than the duty of Christians respecting such contact. Christians often feel that they are in danger from it, and they are disposed to withdraw almost entirely from the world. And they ask with deep solicitude often, what course they are to pursue? Where shall the line be drawn? How far shall they go? And where shall they deem the contact with the world unlawful or dangerous? - A few remarks here as rules may aid us in answering these questions. (I) Christians are not wholly to withdraw from contact with the people of this world. This was the error of the monastic system, and this error has been the occasion of innumerable corruptions and abominations in the papal church - They are not to do this because: (a) It is impossible. They must needs then, says Paul, go out of the world. (b) Because religion is not to be regarded as dissocial, and gloomy, and unkind. (c) Because they have many interests in common with those who are unconnected with the church, and they are not to abandon them. The interests of justice, and liberty, and science, and morals, and public improvements, and education, are all interests in which they share in common with others. (d) Many of their best friends - a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, may be outside of the church, and religion does not sever those ties, but binds them more tenderly and closely. (e) Christians are inevitably connected in commercial dealings with those who are not members of the church; and to cease to have any connection with them would be to destroy their own business, and to throw themselves out of employment and to break up society. (f) It would prevent the possibility of doing much good either to the bodies or the souls of people. The poor, the needy, and the afflicted are, many of them, out of the church, and they have a claim on the friends of Christ, and on their active beneficence. (g) It would break up and destroy the church altogether. Its numbers are to be increased and replenished from age to age by the efforts of Christians; and this demands that Christians should have some contact with the people of the world whom they hope to benefit. (h) An effort to withdraw wholly from the world injures religion. It conveys the impression that religion is morose, severe, misanthropic; and all such impressions do immense injury to the cause of God and truth.
(II) The principles on which Christians should regulate their contact with the world, are these: (a) They are not to be conformed to the world; they are not to do any thing that shall countenance the views, feelings, principles of the world “as such,” or as distinguished from religion. They are not to do anything that would show that they approve of the special fashions, amusements, opinions of the people of the world; or to leave the impression that they belong to the world. (b) They are to do justice and righteousness to every man, whatever may be his rank, character, or views. They are not to do anything that will be calculated to give an unfavorable view of the religion which they profess to the people of the world. (c) They are to discharge with fidelity all the duties of a father, husband, son, brother, friend, benefactor, or recipient of favors, toward those who are out of the church; or with whom they may be connected. (d) They are to do good to all people - to the poor, the afflicted, the needy, the widow, the fatherless. (e) They are to endeavor so to live and act - so to converse, and so to form their plans as to promote the salvation of all others. They are to seek their spiritual welfare; and to endeavor by example, and by conversation; by exhortation and by all the means in their power to bring them to the knowledge of Christ. For this purpose they are kept on the earth instead of being retrieved to heaven; and to this object they should devote their lives. 9. We see from this chapter who are not to be regarded as Christians, whatever may be their professions; 1Co_5:11. A person who is: (1) a fornicator: or, (2) covetous; or, (3) an idolater; or, (4) a “railer;” or, (5) a drunkard; or, (6) an “extortioner,” is not to be owned as a Christian brother. Paul has placed the covetous man, and the railer, and extortioners, in most undesirable company. They are ranked with fornicators and drunkards. And yet how many such persons there are in the Christian church - and many, too, who would regard it as a special insult to be ranked with a drunkard or an adulterer. But in the eye of God both are alike unfit for his kingdom, and are to be regarded as having no claims to the character of Christians. 10. God will judge the world, 1Co_5:12-13. The world that is outside the congregation - the mass of people that make no profession of piety, must give an account to God. They are traveling to His bar; and judgment in regard to them is taken into God’s own hands, and He will pronounce their doom. It is a solemn thing “to be judged” by a holy God; and they who have no evidence that they are Christians, should tremble at the prospect of being soon arraigned at His bar. 2. Gill, “But them that are without God judgeth,.... Or "will judge", in the great day of judgment; wherefore though such persons did not fall under the censures and punishment of the apostle, nor of a church of Christ, yet they shall not go unpunished; God will call them to an account for their fornication, covetousness,
idolatry, extortion, &c. and will judge, condemn, and punish them, according to their works; and therefore since they do not fall under the cognizance of the churches of Christ, they are to be left to the tribunal of God; and all that the saints have to do is to watch over one another, and reprove, rebuke, and censure, as cases require, and as the case of this church did. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person; not that wicked thing, as some read it, but that wicked one; meaning not the devil, who is sometimes so called; a sense of the words proposed by Calvin, not asserted; but that wicked man, that, incestuous person, whom the apostle would have removed from among them, by excommunication; which was what became them as a church to do, and which lay in their power to do, and could only be done by them, and was to be their own pure act and deed: reference seems to be had to those passages in Deu_17:7 where the Septuagint render the phrase, εξαρεις τον πονερον εξ υµων αυτων, "thou shalt put away that wicked one among yourselves".” 3. Barclay, “So Paul comes to an end with the definite command, "Put away the wicked man from amongst you." That is a quotation from Deut.17:7 and Deut.24:7. There are times when a cancer must be cut out; there are times when drastic measures must be taken to avoid infection. It is not the desire to hurt or the wish to show his power that moves Paul; it is the pastor's desire to protect his infant Church from the ever-threatening infection of the world.”
Appendix 1. Below you will find many of my other commentaries that can be seen by a click on the titles, or by copy and paste in the search engine.
CHRISTMAS WITH DR. LUKE CHRISTMAS TREASURES BIBLE PARADOXES PARADOXES OF PAUL LOVE IS THE GREATEST
THE GLORY OF EASTER LOOKI G AT JESUS U USUAL BIBLE TOPICS BEHOLD THE GLORY OF GOD SUCCESSFUL CHRISTIA LIVI G THE BEAUTY OF THE CROSS
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
THE PASSIO EXPOU DED BEI G-THA
JESUS THE GREATEST JESUS THE GREATEST VOL. 2 ISSUES OF SUFFERI G, DEATH A D EVIL
A STUDY OF GOD’S CREATIO FAMOUS BIBLE CHARACTERS ME -I -THE-LIFE-OF-JESUS
THE SECO D COMI G
THE TE COMMA DME TS HAPPI ESS THE JESUS WAY WOMEN IN THE LIFE OF JESUS STUDIES I GALATIA S STUDIES IN I PETER
STUDIES IN II PETER
STUDIES IN JAMESHYPERLINK
STUDIES IN JONAH STUDIES IN MARK STUDIES IN LUKE STUDIES IN ROMANS WI DOWS I TO HEAVE
ISSUES WORTH THI KI G ABOUT
THE ABC’S OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE LOVE AND ROMANCE IN THE BIBLE
MESSAGES TO INSPIRE MOTHERS STUDIES IN I CORINTHIANS STUDIES I II CORI THIA S
THE LORD’S PRAYER THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT JESUS TEACHES US FAMOUS FATHERS OF FAITH MESSAGES O PRAISE MESSAGES O PRAYER
FAMOUS BIBLE CHARACTERS
STUDIES I ACTS
STUDIES I DA IEL STUDIES I ESTHER STUDIES I GALATIA S
STUDIES I GE ESIS
STUDIES I JOH ’S GOSPEL
STUDIES I JOH ’S LETTERS
STUDIES I LUKE
STUDIES I MARK
STUDIES I ROMA S STUDIES I I A D II THESSALO IA S STUDIES I PHILIPPIA S STUDIES I I PETER STUDIES I TITUS STUDIES I II PETER STUDIES I I TIMOTHY STUDIES I JOB
STUDIES I PROVERBS
STUDIES I JO AH
STUDIES I RUTH
STUDIES I THE PSALMS STUDIES I REVELATIO
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