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Bible Commentaries

Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 Corinthians 5

Verse 1

1 Corinthians 5:1 . Ὅλως , absolutely [Engl. Vers., commonly ]) Paul has nowhere else used this particle, but it is found thrice in this epistle (here, and in 1 Corinthians 6:7 , and 1Co 15:29 ), as well fitted to express his thoughts, and in these and in all other places, the particle, ὅλως , omnino , is either put in a negative sentence, or it by implication contradicts a negative sentence: So Chrys. Homil. 5, c . Anom., Nevertheless, although man differs little from an angel , ἐπειδὴ ὍΛΩΣ ἐστί τι μεσον , since nevertheless there is some difference between them, we do not accurately know, what angels are: so in this passage, no fornication, ὅλως , at all should be reported among you; nevertheless it is, ὅλως , absolutely reported. The same principle applies to the particle, τὴν ἀρχὴν , absolutely . ἐν ὑμῖν , concerning you [Engl. Vers. among ]) in your name [case]. πορνεία , καὶ τοιαύτη πορνεία , fornication and such fornication ) An important repetition; by which the Corinthians might be more affected. οὐδὲ , not even ) It was a crime not named even among the Gentiles, with the exception of a few monsters; ὥστε is the Protherapeia [37] of the following clause. The apostle shows, that such infamous conduct was held in abhorrence even by the Gentiles. ΓΥΝΑῖΚΑ , wife ) She was no doubt a heathen; therefore he does not direct his rebuke against her, 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 . The father , we may suppose, was dead. ἔχειν , should have ) by a single act, or by habitual intercourse, 1 Corinthians 5:2-3 .

[37] See App. Anticipatory mitigation of what follows.

Verse 2

1 Corinthians 5:2 . Καὶ ὑμεῖς , and ye ) He presses their sin home to them. πεφυσιωμένοι , puffed up ) [ as if you were free from blame in the matter . V.g.] The force of the word is evident from its antithesis, to mourn . ἐστε , ye are ) hitherto. ἐπενθήσατε , you have mourned ) Paul himself wrote these words mourning, nay weeping; 2 Corinthians 2:4 ; we should mourn over the transgressions of others; 2 Corinthians 12:21 , and repent of our own; and we should do both as regards the first and original sin. ἵνα , that ) you have felt no grief, which might stir you up, that , etc. ἀρθῆ , he might be taken away ) Paul has already in his mind what he is about to write at 1 Corinthians 5:13 . αἴρειν is a milder word here, than ἐξαίρειν afterwards. [38]

[38] Τὸ ἔργον , the daring deed ) It was a wicked action, without marriage. V. g.

Verse 3

1 Corinthians 5:3 . Ἐγὼ μὲν γὰρ , I indeed for my part ) An antithesis between the lighter punishment, which would have been inflicted by the Corinthians, and the severer one, which is threatened by Paul: thence also we have in 1 Corinthians 5:2 , ποιήσας , he that hath done , a gentler expression; but in 1 Corinthians 5:3 κατεργασάμενον , he that hath perpetrated , a much more severe expression. Afterwards the Corinthians did what they ought, 2 Corinthians 2:6 . Therefore the severer punishment pronounced on the sinner (here in 1Co 5:5 ) admitted of being superseded. Thence arose the joy of Paul, 2 Corinthians 1:24 ; 2 Corinthians 2:1 , etc. τῳ πνεῦματι , in spirit ) Col 2:5 , 2 Kings 5:26 . ἤδη κέκρικα , I have already judged ) A weighty effect is produced by the sense of the sentence continuing to be gravely suspended and poised [as it were a lance], till we come to 1 Corinthians 5:5 , where the expression, he who hath perpetrated [ κατεργασάμενον ] is again taken up in the expression, such a one [ τὸν τοιοῦτον ]. ὡς παρὼν , as though I were present ) It is construed with, to deliver , 1 Corinthians 5:5 . τὀν οὕτω τοῦτο ) A triple demonstrative. οὓτω , so ) very shamefully, so , while he was called a brother.

Verse 4

1 Corinthians 5:4 . Ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι , in the name ) It is construed with, to deliver . τοῦ ἐμοῦ πνεῦματος , and my spirit ) 1 Corinthians 5:3 . σὺν τῇ δυνάμει , with the power) The spirit and power are almost synonymous. Paul, speaking of himself, uses the word, spirit; of Christ, power , 2 Corinthians 13:3 ; Matthew 28:20 ; Matthew 18:20 . A Hypotyposis, [39] i.e. so that the power of the Lord may immediately exert itself.

[39] A vivid presenting of a thing in words, as if before one’s very eyes. See Append.

Verse 5

1 Corinthians 5:5 . Παραδοῦναι , to deliver ) This was the prerogative of the apostle, not of the Corinthians; comp. 2 Corinthians 13:10 , note, and 1 Timothy 1:20 , note. This is a specimen of the highest degree of punishment in the Christian republic, adapted to those early times. ὄλεθρον , destruction ) death although not sudden. The Hebrew word כרת corresponds to it: comp. ch. 1 Corinthians 11:30 . τῆς σαρκὸς , of the flesh) with which he had sinned. [1 Peter 4:6 ; comp. as to the Spirit, Romans 8:10 . V. g.]

Verse 6

1 Corinthians 5:6 . Οὐ καλὸν , not good ) The not , is directed against the careless indifference of the Corinthians. τὸ καύχημα , glorying ) This in itself is something good and becoming, 1 Corinthians 15:31 ; but wherever it is not anxiously watched, it is at fault, and comes very near to a puffing up of the spirit, 1 Corinthians 5:2 . μικρὰ ζυμοῖ ) an Iambic verse of six feet [Senarius], Galatians 5:9 . ζύμη , leaven ) even one sin and one sinner. φύραμα , lump ) the assembly of Christians. ζυμοῖ , leavens ) with guilt and its example creeping on to a very wide extent. [ Alas! for how long a period of time, and in how great a degree, must the Christian world, if we except those portions of it which are renewed, be a lump, or collection of filth most thoroughly leavened! V. g.]

Verse 7

1 Corinthians 5:7 . Τὴν παλαιὰν , the old ) leaven of heathenism and natural corruption. ἵνα ἦτε νέον φύραμα , that you may be a new lump ) the whole of you, evil being taken away. καθὼς , even as ) The third clause of this verse depends rather on the first, than on the second. ἄζυμοι , unleavened ) individuals among you, in consequence of conversion, 1 Corinthians 6:11 . τὸ πάσχα , the passover ) The epistle was written about the time of the passover, 1 Corinthians 16:8 . ἡμῶν , [ our or] of us ) Christians. The Jewish passover was a type of the Christian and new passover. ἐτύθη ) was sacrificed . Paul speaks in the past time; he was much more likely to speak in the present, as his scope so required, if he had acknowledged the sacrifice of the Mass. Hesychius: ἐτύθη , ἐσφάγη .

Verse 8

1 Corinthians 5:8 . Ἑορτάζωμεν , let us keep the feast ) The Vulgate has epulemur , “ let us feast: ” an apposite expression. παλαιᾷ , with the old ) of Judaism and heathenism. These constitute the genus. κακίας καὶ πονηρίας ) These constitute the species: κακία is vice, the reverse of virtue, and that too, virtue unmixed, or in sincerity , τῇ εἰλικρινείᾳ . πονηρία is in those, who strenuously retain and defend κακίαν , and is opposed, τῇ ἀληθείᾳ , to the truth. Ammonius writes thus: πονηρὸς , ὁ δραστικὸς κακοῦ , he who is disposed TO DO evil; [40] comp. 1 Corinthians 5:13 . Sincerity takes care not to allow evil to be mixed up with good; truth , not to allow evil to be mistaken for good.

[40] Κακία is the evil habit of the mind: πονηρία , the outcoming of the same. Calvin defines κακία , “animi pravitas,” on Ephesians 4:32 . πονηρός is ὁ παρέχων πόνους . See Trench, Syr. Gr. Text. ED.

Verse 9

1 Corinthians 5:9 . Ἔγαρψα , I wrote ) A new part of the wepistle, corresponding to the former part; comp. 1 Corinthians 5:1 . ἐν τῇ ἐπιστολῇ , in the epistle ) written before this one. The Corinthians had not sufficiently understood it; he now therefore explains it. There is no doubt, that Paul and Peter and the rest of the apostles wrote many things, which are not now extant; comp. 1 Corinthians 16:3 ; 2 Corinthians 10:10 . μὴ συναναμίγνυσθαι , not to be mixed together ) in the way of association; 1Co 5:11 at the end. πόρνοις , with fornicators ) πόρνος , on other occasions signifies a male prostitute, but here it applies to every one, who commits fornication. Supply here also from 1 Corinthians 5:11 , or covetous , etc.

Verse 10

1 Corinthians 5:10 . Καὶ ) and that . οὐ πάντως , not altogether ) What is here said is not a universal, but a particular negative, Romans 3:9 , note. τοῦ κόσμου τούτου , of this world ) [ there is no place wherein you may not fall in with the covetous and extortioners , etc. V. g.] In antithesis to a brother , 1 Corinthians 5:11 . [41] ἅρπαξιν , extortioners ) He gives them this name rather than that of thieves; because their theft is not apparent. [ They are included by implication, who try to get the property of others, either by violence or injustice . V. g.] He mentions three kinds of flagitious crimes, which are committed against the man himself, against his neighbour, and against God. ἐπεὶ ὀφείλετε , for then must ye needs ) Others have written ὠφείλετε [42] [Ye ought to have gone out, etc.], for ὀφείλετε , but the present is also used, 1 Corinthians 7:14 , ἐπεὶ ἄρα τὰ τέκνα ὑμῶν ἀκαθαρτά ἐστι . What is written without express limitation, should not be always taken absolutely, if there should follow from it any unsuitable consequence. In the present day there is room for this paraphrase; “otherwise you must needs go out of a land inhabited by Christians.” They are therefore especially to be avoided, who among Christians wish to be considered virtuous above others, and yet are fornicators , etc. ὀφείλετε ) you must needs . For thus all intercourse as citizens would be done away with: That, which is evangelical perfection to monks, is absurd ( ἄτοπον , out of place) and unsuitable in the eyes of Paul. κόσμου , of the world ) which abounds in profligate men.

[41] πλεονέκταις , covetous ) Those greedy of gain for themselves. V. g.

[42] So ACD( Λ )G Vulg. both Syr. and Memph. Versions. But B (judging from silence) favours Rec. Text’s reading, ὀφείλετε . ED.

Verse 11

1 Corinthians 5:11 . Ἀδελφὸς , a brother ) an ordinary appellation. ὀνομαζόμενος , who is called ) A word in the middle voice [or rather, used in a middle sense , neither a favourable nor unfavourable sense]. πόρνος , a fornicator ) the crimes are here enumerated, on account of which others are to be avoided; then in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 , more are added, on account of which every man should fear for himself. [43] μηδὲ συνεσθίειν , not so much as to eat ) not only not with such a man as a host, but not even with him at the house of a third person. The lowest degree of intercourse, which men have, when mixed up in company with one another, is to eat together . Even among the Jews, חרם , excommunication took away all intercourse in regard to eating together. We must not eat with the man, who shall be unfit to eat along with the saints in the kingdom of God, 1 Corinthians 6:10 . Let the Church of the present day take heed, in which the guests at the Lord’s table are not like children in one family, but like a number of strangers of various kinds in a large inn.

[43] Μέθυσος , a drunkard ) It indicates the man who drinks large quantities of wine, although he does not break out into unbridled revellings. V. g.

Verse 12

1 Corinthians 5:12 . Τί γάρ μοι καὶ τοὺς ἔξω κρίνειν ; οὐχὶ τοὺς ἔσω ὑμεῖς κρίνετε ;) Artemonius, p. 212, refers to the conjecture of Le Clerc, and after changing a few words presents it in this form: τί γάρ μοι καὶ τοῖς ἔξω ; καὶ νῦν οὖν τοὺς ἔσω ὑμεῖς κρίνετε . There are here various changes of letters, by which the word κρίνειν , the most necessary of them all, is cancelled. If the meaning of Paul had been, what have I to do with those that are without? the Greek idiom would have required ἐμοί , not μοι . Τί γάρ μοι καὶ τοὺς ἔξω κρίνειν , viz. ἐστί ; for what have I to do to judge those that are without? (Verbals [such as Bengel’s “externos judicatio ”] govern the case of the verb, ex. gr.: Curatio hanc rem , taking charge of this matter.) Expressions very similar occur, ἱνατί μοι ζῇν , Genesis 27:46 : οὐ σοὶ , Ὀζία , θυμιᾶσαι , 2 Chronicles 26:18 : οὐκ ἔστι γὰρ χαίρειν , λέγει Κύριος , τοῖς ἀσεβέσιν , Isaiah 48:22 : ὄπως μὴ γένηται αὐτῷ χρονοτριβῆσαι , Acts 20:16 : πόθεν σοι ταῦτα ἐιδέναι , Hippolytus de antichristo, chap. 32. These remarks apply to the whole sentence; we shall now consider the words one by one. καὶ ) also , which intimates, that those, who are within , give me enough to do. [44] ΚΡΊΝΕΙΝ , to judge ) He judges, who is not mixed up with them, does not keep company with them . οὐχὶ , do not ye? ) From what is wont to occur in the Church, you ought to have interpreted my admonition, alluded to in 1 Corinthians 5:9 , You judge your fellow-citizens, not strangers; how much more should I? You judge , will thus signify righteous judgment. But this may also be a previous [anticipatory], and, that too, a seasonable sting to the Corinthians, who were judging [bringing before heathen courts of justice] them that were within , while [though] they considered the saints removed [exempt] from judgments concerning things pertaining to this life , 1 Corinthians 6:1-3 .

[44] This very particle καὶ , also , however, is considered of less importance in the 2d, than in the 1st Ed., and it is entirely omitted in the Germ. Vers. E. B. ABCG Vulg. Memph. fg (ante-Hieron. Lat.) Versions omit καὶ . D and later Syr. retain καὶ . ED.

Verse 13

1 Corinthians 5:13 . Τοὺς δὲ ἔξω , them that are without ) The knowledge concerning the destruction or salvation of the Gentiles is a matter reserved for God alone. κρινεῖ , shall judge ) Romans 2:16 . Supply, and this judgment we in all humility leave to God . Thus the and , that follows, more closely coheres with this clause. καὶ , and ) an Epiphonema [45] suited to both parts of this chapter. The particle ΚΑῚ with the whole sentence is quoted here, from the LXX., Deuteronomy 17:7 ; Deuteronomy 19:19 ; Deuteronomy 24:7 , ΚΑῚ , and so . But the phrase, as it is written , is not prefixed here, and this is the case either for the sake of severity [c. 1Co 4:21 ], or because ἐξαρεῖτε , Heb. ובערת , is used by Moses for taking away a wicked man from among the people by capital punishment, by the apostle for taking away a wicked man from the Church by excommunication. ΤῸΝ ΠΟΝΗΡῸΝ , the wicked person ) 1Co 5:2 ; 1 Corinthians 5:9 . ὑμῶν αὐτῶν , from among yourselves ) So it is found in the LXX. often. The antithesis in this passage is, those that are without .

[45] An exclamation after a weighty demonstration or narration. Append.

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 5". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.