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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
1 Corinthians 5

 

 

Verse 1

1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

Ver. 1. As is not so much as named] To wit, without detestation. The apostle seems to allude to Antiochus Soter, who married his step-mother Stratonice, being first like to die for love of her, as Erasistratus the physician told his father. (Aelian.) Of this incestuous marriage came Antiochus Theos, or Antiochus the god, so called of the Milesians, because he did put down their tyrant Timarehus. This god was poisoned by his wife Laodice.

Among the Gentiles] In Mexico and those parts, whoredom, sodomy, and incest (those Spanish virtues, as one calleth them) are common without reproof; the pope’s pardons being more rife in those parts than in any part of Europe for these abominable filthinesses, whereout he sucketh no small advantage. (Sir Fra. Drake.) Notwithstanding, the Indians abhor this most loathsome living; showing themselves in respect of the Spaniards, as the Scythians did in respect of the Grecians, whom they so far excelled in life and behaviour as they were short of them in learning and knowledge. Who hath not heard of the abhorred incest of the house of Austria? King Philip II could call Archduke Albert both brother, cousin, nephew, and son. (Spec. Europ.) For all this was he to him either by blood or affinity; being uncle to himself, first cousin to his father, husband to his sister, and father to his wife; and all this by papal dispensation. The Papists themselves write with detestation, that in Rome a Jewish maid might not be admitted into the stews of whoredom, unless she would be first baptized. (Espenc. de Continen. iii. 4.)

That one should have his father’s wife] Ethelbald, king of West Saxons, with great infamy marrying his father’s widow Judith, enjoyed his kingdom but two years and a half. (Daniel’s Hist. of Eng.)


Verse 2

2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

Ver. 2. And ye are puffed up] And yet ye are puffed up (so Piscator reads it), viz. with your spiritual gifts, and your brave teachers; whereas you have more cause to be cast down for your other men’s sins now made yours, because unlamented by you. There were great divisions among them at this time; and when this incest occured, the other faction thought they had an advantage against the whole party, and this puffed them up, -Nay, do ye not see what one of them hath done, &c.

And have not rather mourned] That any of you should incur the censure of excommunication; at which time they did anciently fast and lament.


Verse 3

3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,

Ver. 3. Have judged already, &c.] q.d. I by mine apostolic authority do excommunicate him. And yet how fiercely doth learned Erastus contend with Calvin and Beza about excommunication, denying the Church any such power. The Jews had their three sorts of excommunication. The heathen also had theirs; among the old Gauls, if any one did not obey the decrees of their Druids or priests, he was forbidden their sacrifices; and therehence shunned by all as a wicked man, he had no benefit of their laws, nor any respect given him, &c.


Verse 4

4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Ver. 4. With the power of our Lord] Promised, Matthew 18:18-20. This makes it to be a heavy case to be rightly excommunicated. Indeed it may happen that Jonah shall be cast out of the ship, when Ham shall be reserved in the ark. "Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake said (for a pretence), Let the Lord be glorified; but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed," Isaiah 66:5. When the sentence of excommunication began with, In nomine Domini, In the name of God, to be read against a certain martyr, he cried out, as well he might, You begin in a wrong name. And another of them, together with his five fellow sufferers, did formally excommunicate their persecutors. It grew to a common proverb, by the abuse of this ordinance in those corrupt times, In nomine Domini incipit omne malum. In the name of God all evel matters start.


Verse 5

5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Ver. 5. To deliver such an one to Satan] That he may learn not to blaspheme, that is, not to cause others to blaspheme or speak evil of the good way of God, for his flagitious courses.


Verse 6

6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

Ver. 6. Your glorying is not good] It is the height of wickedness to glory in wickedness, as Lamech, Genesis 4:23-24, and Alexander Pheraeus, who consecrated the javelin wherewith he had slain Polyphron. Protagoras boasted that he had spent forty years in corrupting of youth. (Plato.) Mark Antony vomited out a book concerning his own ability to eat and drink much. Joannes a Casa, dean of the pope’s chamber, wrote a poem in commendation of his own beastly sin of sodomy. And Stokesly, Bishop of London in King Henry VIII’s time, lying at point of death, rejoiced, boasting that in his lifetime he had burned fifty heretics, that is, good Christians. (Acts and Mon.)

A little leaven leaveneth, &c.] One spoonful of vinegar will soon sour a great deal of sweet milk; but a great deal of milk will not so soon sweeten one spoonful of vinegar. One sinner may destroy much good, saith Solomon, Ecclesiastes 9:18. He may be a common mischief, if tolerated, by spreading the infection of his wickedness, which is more catching than the plague.


Verse 7

7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

Ver. 7. As ye are unleavened] viz. In part sanctified. Every new man is two men. Many a one that is merry in company hath a shrew at home; so have the best their inward troubles. The comfort is, that God overlooks our involuntary infirmities, and accounts us unleavened, when yet there is much still to be purged out. The leper, when his leprosy began but to heal, was pronounced clean, because then he went on still to heal, and his leprosy to shale off.


Verse 8

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 sincerity and truth.

Ver. 8. Let us keep the feast] The benefits we receive by Christ should crown the calendar of our lives with continual festivals; yea, make us everlastingly merry at our convivium iuge everflowing feast of a good conscience. Diogenes could say, that a good man keeps every day a holy day. (Plut.) And the Jews were bound to rejoice at all their feasts. "Eat therefore thy meat with joy, and drink thy wine with gladness, since God now accepteth thy works," Ecclesiastes 9:7.


Verse 9

9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

Ver. 9. Not to company with fornicators] Dion Chrysostom saith, that Corinth was the most luxurious and lascivious city in the world, πολιν επαφροδιτατην. Strabo saith, that Venus had a most stately temple there, that was kept by more than a thousand beautiful courtesans. Another saith, that it was the brothel house of Greece, and a most filthy market town of abominable lusts. (Molin.) Cicero indeed calleth it lumen Groeciae, the light or eye of Greece. It might be so in some respects. But surely this sin was no small snuff in this light, but a blemish in this eye.


Verse 10

10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

Ver. 10. Yet not altogether, &c.] Here he lets them know that in that former epistle (not extant now) he meant not that they should wholly sever themselves from those wicked that are yet without the Church (for that they cannot do), but from profligate professors, discinct Christians, that they may be ashamed.


Verse 11

11 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.

Ver. 11. Not to keep company] Gr. συναναμιγνυσθαι, not to be mingled with them. The rivers of Peru, after they have run into the main sea, yea, some write twenty or thirty miles, they keep themselves unmixed with the salt water; so that a very great way within the sea men may take up as fresh water as if they were near the land. So at Belgrade in Hungary, where the Danube and Sara (two great rivers) meet, their waters mingle no more than water and oil, &c. We must so converse with the wicked, as that we commingle not by holding any needless society with such, no, not with him that is called a brother, but belies his profession. Yet still must we perform to such, though excommunicated, offices of charity, natural and civil duties, as those of parents toward their children, of children toward their parents, and the like. But come not near such stinking stuff, except ye have the wind of it.


Verse 12

12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?

Ver. 12. Them also that are without] These come not under the verge of Church censures, Revelation 22:15.


Verse 13

13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Ver. 13. Therefore put away] Gr. εξαρειτε, Ye will put away, q.d. I hope ye will, though hitherto ye have not. Soft words and hard arguments do soonest prevail, especially when we reprove or admonish not in our own, but in God’s words, as here the apostle doth out of Deuteronomy 13:1-5. Some warmth must be in a reproof, but it must not be scalding hot. Aegros, quos potus fortis non curavit, ad salutem pristinam aqua tepens revocavit, saith Gregory. They that could not be cured with strong potions, have been recovered with warm water. Gentle showers, and dews that distil leisurely, do comfort the earth, when dashing storms drown the seed.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 5:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-corinthians-5.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, December 10th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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