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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary
1 Corinthians 5

 

 

Verses 1-13

5:1-6:20 MORAL FAULTS IN THE CHURCH

Adulterous living (5:1-13)

Paul now turns to the second difficulty that had been reported. In this case the sin was one that would hardly be found even among the pagan Greeks. A man was living in adultery with his father's wife, probably a minor wife or the wife of a remarriage. Yet the Christians did nothing about the shameful situation. They thought they were so advanced in their Christian experience that there was no need to restrict the freedom of the church members. Actually, says Paul, they should have put the guilty man out of the church (5:1-2).

Though absent from Corinth, Paul quickly takes action. He urges the church to meet and deal with the matter immediately. The man must be put out of the community of God's people; that is, out of the sphere where God rules, into the sphere where Satan rules. The purpose of this is 'that the flesh might be destroyed', an expression that may refer to physical disease or even death. Such severe physical punishment in this world may be necessary so that the man's spirit may be saved in the next (3-5; cf. Mark 9:43-47; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 11:30).

The Corinthians are foolish to think themselves so free from rules and laws that they can allow such things to go on. By keeping such sin among them they are really helping to destroy their own church. Sin spreads throughout a group of people in the same way as yeast spreads throughout a lump of dough (6). The Christian life is likened to a festival such as Israel's Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread. Just as Israelites cleaned all leaven out of their houses at the time of the Passover, so the Corinthians should clean the leaven of sin out of their church, because Christ the true Passover Lamb has already been sacrificed (7-8).

Paul had given instructions on these matters in his previous letter, but the Corinthians misunderstood them. He did not mean that Christians should have nothing to do with the sinful people they meet in the world, because that would require them to leave the world altogether (9-10). Rather he meant that Christians are to have no close fellowship with those who say they are believers but deny it by their shameful behaviour (11).

Christians are not required to judge non-Christians for their sins, but they are required to take action against sin in the church. In the case in question, this will mean the removal of the guilty person from the church fellowship (12-13).

 


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Bibliography Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 5:4". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/1-corinthians-5.html. 2005.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, December 13th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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