1 Corinthians 5 Commentary

To go directly to that verse

Click chart to enlarge
Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

FROM CHART: Note 2 major divisions:

  • FIRST DIVISION - Chapters 1-6 = Problems of Congregation - Divisions & Depravities,
  • SECOND DIVISION - Chapters 7-16 = Personal Problems, Worship Problems

John Philips - Exploring 1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 5 Matters of a moral nature (5:1-13)  

The charge (5:1-5)

Accusation (5:1-2)

The sin of the culprit (5:1)

Its fleshly nature (5:1a)

Its flagrant nature (5:1b)

The sin of the Corinthians (5:2)

Their inflation (5:2a)

Their insensitivity (5:2b)

Their inaction (5:2c)

Adjudication (5:3-5)

Paul's indignation (5:3)

Paul's injunction (5:4-5)

The source of his authority (5:4)

The force of his authority (5:5)

Excommunication (5:5a)

Expectation (5:5b)

The challenge (5:6-13)

The leaven (5:6-8)

A disclaimer (5:6a)

A declaration (5:6b)

A demand (5:7-8)

The reason for discipline (5:7)

The results of discipline (5:8)

The letters (5:9-13)

The past letter (5:9-10)

Its content (5:9)

Its context (5:10)

The present letter (5:11-13)

                      a. The expansion of the rule (5:11)

                      b. The explanation of the rule (5:12-13a)

                      c. The execution of the rule (5:13b)

1 Corinthians 5:1  It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father's wife.

Amplified - IT IS actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, impurity of a sort that is condemned and does not occur even among the heathen; for a man has [his own] father’s wife. 

Wuest Paraphrase - There is actually fornication reported to be among you, and this fornication of such a nature that it does not exist even among the Gentiles, that a certain person is possessing the wife of his father. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)

  • It is actually: 1Co 1:11 Ge 37:2 1Sa 2:24 
  • there is immorality: 1Co 5:11 6:9,13,18 Ac 15:20,29 2Co 12:21 Ga 5:19 Eph 5:3 Col 3:5 1Th 4:7 Rev 2:21 21:8 
  • and immorality of such a kind : Jer 2:33 Eze 16:47,51,52 
  • that someone has his father's wife: Ge 35:22 49:4 Lev 18:8 20:11 De 22:30 27:20 2Sa 16:22 20:3 1Ch 5:1 Eze 22:10 Am 2:7 2Co 7:12
  • 1 Corinthians 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

A Silent Scourge in the Body of Christ


In the first 4 chapters Paul dealt with the problem of divisions due to strife and quarreling, saints attaching themselves to one man or another and saints espousing human wisdom and philosophy, which were primarily intellectual sins, but now Paul deals with the fleshly, physical sins that had come into the church at Corinth.

Guzik - Previously in the letter, Paul dealt mainly with the “mental” problems of the Corinthian Christians: their wrong ideas about God’s power and work and His servants. Now Paul starts to deal with their “moral” problems. But the two are connected; their moral problems come because they aren’t thinking right about God and His world. (1 Corinthians 5 Commentary)

“A low view of God is the cause of a hundred lesser evils.
A high view of God is the solution to ten thousand temporal problems.”
-- A W Tozer

As John MacArthur (in a sermon preached in 1975, almost half a century ago!) said that "The Corinthian church was truly an island in a sea of paganism, and particularly the waves of immorality were washing over this little island, and the Corinthian church had been infested with immorality. And more than that, it had become tolerant of it." He goes on to state a very important point "that one of the securities that we have against sin is our being shocked by it....But in our society...nothing really shocks us anymore." (1 Cor 5:1-5 Immorality in the Church - excellent sermon - you need to listen to this one!)  (As an aside I know from discussion with a local pastor that a number of his congregation were actively engaged in a lengthy series called Game of Thrones that apparently is filled with pornographic images for lack of a better word). MacArthur's comment is reminded of the fable of the frog in the kettle of water. The heat is turned up so slowly that the frog fails to perceiving the rising, dangerous temperatures and before long it is too late and frog is boiled alive! Are Christians in America becoming like this frog? The Corinthian church was an island in a sea of immorality. Not only had many of the member actively participated in this lifestyle before conversion (cf 1 Cor 6:9-10+), the cities of Corinth and Athens were "the seat of most of the immorality (IN THE ANCIENT WORLD). They, according to historians, were the two most immoral cities. Even their worship was immoral. They had prostitutes in their temples where the people went to worship." (John MacArthur)

“Our security against sin lies in our being shocked at it.”
-- William Barclay

Kenneth Wuest  - The moral life of the Graeco-Roman world had sunk so low that, while protests against the prevailing corruption were never entirely wanting, fornication had long come to be regarded as a matter of moral indifference, and was indulged in without shame or scruple, not only by the mass, but by philosophers and men of distinction who in other respects led exemplary lives.(Wuest Word Studies - Eerdman Publishing Company Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3 - used by permission)

John MacArthur gives us an interesting background and cultural context to help us understand the prevalence of immorality among the Grecians considered by many to be the intellectually elite - "The Greeks’ view of life was that sex was a biological urge, as much as taking a drink of water or getting sleep or exercise or eating. Sex just was there and whatever happened, happened, and it was fine. Live it up, no hang-ups. And that doesn’t sound like it’s too old fashioned, really. It sounds like kind of up-to-date. I remember seeing a quote from Hugh Hefner, “Sex is a biological necessity. Find yourself a girl who’s like-minded and let yourself go. It’s no different than eating and drinking.” Well, that is exactly what the Greek view of sex was."

But interestingly enough, though they gave absolutely no sacredness to it, though they gave absolutely no assent to the fact that it had some kind of a pure context, they also forbid any woman to do it outside of her marriage, while a man could do anything he wanted. That’ll give you some idea who ran things in those days.

The chapter breaks (not inspired) unfortunately often cause us to lose a sense of context and continuity in the flow of the Biblical text. The chapter break here while not necessarily bad, might result in us forgetting what Paul had just declared, having just given the church a strong, clear warning in the form of a question, asking "What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?" And then we read about we read about this flagrant sin which the church is in effect almost flaunting! In effect in his question in this context he was saying "Clean up this immorality and I’ll come lovingly. If it’s still there when I get there, some heads are going to roll.” (MacArthur)

It is actually reported  that there is immorality (porneia) among you - NLT = "I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you." Actually reported is in the present tense indicating that this was an active, continuing report that immorality was present in the church in Corinth (CSB = "it is widely reported"). The immorality is well known, notorious, and public not secret scandal; but was on the front page of the Corinthian Times, so to speak! I like the more literal rendering by Young that says "Whoredom actually heard (primary meaning of verb akouo is to hear) of among you." (1Co 5:1YLT) GWT paraphrases it "Your own members are aware that there is sexual sin going on among them." (1 Co 5:1GWT) Among means in the midst of the holy, set apart assembly of God. Ellicott suggest that probably the household of Chloe (1 Cor 1:11+) brought this sad news.

Immorality in the Church:
Should We Sweep It under the Rug?
No we should put it under the blood!

BDAG renders the phrase actually reported, “It’s bandied about everywhere = it’s a matter of general knowledge, it’s the talk of the town.” 

Robertson comments on actually reported this the "Height of scorn. The Corinthian Christians were actually trying to win pagans to Christ and living more loosely than the Corinthian heathen among whom the very word “Corinthianize” meant to live in sexual wantonness and license. See Cicero pro Cluentio, v. 14."

Utley - The English “actually” is the Greek holōs, a rare form which occurs in I Corinthians several times (cf. 1 Cor 5:1; 6:7; 15:34). It is a form of the term holōs, which means “wholly,” “altogether.” This rare form seems to mean “widely known” (cf. NJB). This may have been one of the reasons Paul was so upset over this flagrant immorality. The Corinthian church was glorying in it and it was being widely reported to the other churches. Paul had to deal with this out-of-bounds action and the attitude of this church lest they negatively affect all churches (the yeast principle, cf. 1 Cor 5:6–8).

Where did this sin arise? Jesus explains "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications (porneia), thefts, murders, adulteries...All these evil things proceed from within and defile (koinoo in present tense - continually pollute) the man.” (Mk. 7:21, 23+) Paul adds in Gal 5:19+ "Now the deeds of the flesh (flesh - the fallen, unregenerate state inherited from Adam - Ro 5:12+) are evident, which are: immorality (porneia), impurity, sensuality." Paul goes on to declare these are sins "of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who (present tense - continually) practice (practice does not make perfect!) such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." In Ephesians 5:3, 5+ Paul declares that "immorality (porneia) or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints....For this you know with certainty, that no (habitually, continually practicing) immoral (pornos) or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater (DON'T MISS THIS POINT - COVETOUSNESS & GREED = IDOLATRY! MONEY/POSSESSIONS TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER GOD!), has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God." Both Jesus and Paul warn that immorality is a dangerous and that if it is practiced as one's lifestyle, one's habitual, continuing, unabated practice (NOT TALKING ABOUT "BACKSLIDING" CHRISTIANS WHO SADLY CAN HAVE SEASONS OF UNREPENTANCE BUT NOT FOR THEIR ENTIRE LIFE!) will take a person straight to hell! Woe! 

Guzik - “Porneia” so often appears first in New 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. (1 Corinthians 5 Commentary)

THOUGHT - JUST THINKING - This is a topic no one likes to speak about and sadly I feel it is seldom seriously addressed from the pulpits in America which is a grave mistake as indicated by articles like this one from Feb,2021 Porn is Rewiring a Whole Generation, Christians Included which says "The porn pandemic is engulfing the Christian world as well. The Barna Group (another article) discovered there is virtually no difference in the monthly porn use of non-Christian men (65%) versus Christian men (64%). Porn use is even worse among the younger Christian generation." And one has to wonder if they numbers are falsely low, as shame might prohibit many from saying they had seen illicit images. This sin (as do all sins) will blunt the ministry of the Holy Spirit (cf Eph 4:30+, 1 Th 5:19+) and thereby blunt to power of the light of Christians in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation because they are hardly blameless or innocent (Php 2:15+). 

Immorality (4202porneia from root verb pernao = to sell, porneuo = to play the harlot; pornos = male prostitute) originally referred to any excessive behavior or lack of restraint. Porneia originally was used especially to describe the practice of consorting with prostitutes (porneis = “prostitute”) and eventually came to mean “habitual immorality.” Porneia in the Scripture describes any illicit sexual activity outside of the divine bounds established by marriage and thus includes the ideas of unlawful sexual intercourse, unchastity and fornication (including but not limited to adultery, premarital sex, homosexuality, bestiality, incest, and prostitution). As an aside, while porneia refers primarily to sins of the flesh, those sins can never be divorced from the sins of the mind or heart, because all sin is related. Sin in one area always makes us more susceptible to sin in other areas. Nowhere does Scripture sanction the commitment of any form of extramarital sexual activity, a far cry from our modern American culture! Sex was often linked to pagan religious practices (both male and female prostitutes), with the idolatrous worship of false gods (idolatry and immorality are commonly described together in the Bible). Porneia  gives us our English word pornography.   Porneia is the opposite of the Greek word enkrateia/egkrateia (literally "holding oneself in"), which usually referred to sexual self-control (see Acts 24:25+)

Porneia is found in 24v in NT - fornication(4), fornications(2), immoralities(1), immorality(16), sexual immorality(1), unchastity(1). Matt. 5:32; Matt. 15:19; Matt. 19:9; Mk. 7:21; Jn. 8:41; Acts 15:20; Acts 15:29; Acts 21:25; 1 Co. 5:1; 1 Co. 6:13; 1 Co. 6:18; 1 Co. 7:2; 2 Co. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:5; 1 Thess. 4:3; Rev. 2:21; Rev. 9:21; Rev. 14:8; Rev. 17:2; Rev. 17:4; Rev. 18:3; Rev. 19:2

And immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles - NLT = "something so evil that even the pagans don't do it." MacArthur said that we "we have a situation here of sexual immorality that was actually shocking to the pagans. Now, when the sin of the church shocks the world, we've got a problem!" (Immorality in the ChurchGentiles in this context clearly refers to Gentiles who are not believers, because clearly some of the saints in the church at Corinth were Gentiles. Paul's point is biting, declaring that even the unregenerate sinners have not fallen to the level of depravity seen in this church member. This in interesting in that it shows even pagans have an inner sense of right/wrong, albeit blurred and perverted (cf Ro 2:14-15+). The problem therefore is that this sin considered even "too much" by the pagans sullied the purity of the Bride of Christ (cf Eph 5:25-27+, 2 Cor 11:2) and brought serious reproach on the Name of Christ! 

Guzik - The ancient Roman writer and statesman Cicero said this type of incest was an incredible crime and practically unheard of. 

THOUGHT - Is there a habit, thought pattern, or attitude in my life that I would be touchy about if someone tried to bring it to my attention? Have I stopped to consider the frightening consequences that my sin has on the life of my entire church? Who am I currently accountable to?

What a tragedy to have a church known by such shocking immorality not even seen among the unsaved and yet this 2000 year old widely publicized report sounds all too modern. For example in December, 2018 it was widely reported in American news media that "Hundreds Accuse Independent Baptist Pastors of Abuse." When the church shocks the world with its sin, the church is in a grave condition! 

Gentiles (1484) ethnos gives us our word "ethnic") in general refers to a multitude of persons associated with one another, living together, united in kinship, culture or traditions and summed up by the words nation, Gentiles (especially when ethnos is plural), people (much like "people groups" in our modern missionary vernacular). In somewhat of a negative sense ethnos conveys the meaning of godless (generally idol worshipping) pagans (heathens, cp Eph 4:17, Mt 6:32), foreign nations not worshipping the true God (Mt 4:15).Uses of ethnos in the Corinthian letters  1 Co. 1:23; 1 Co. 5:1; 1 Co. 10:20; 1 Co. 12:2; 2 Co. 11:26 (What is a Gentile? | GotQuestions.org)

That someone has his father's wife - NLT = "I am told that you have a man in your church who is living in sin with his father's wife." This description indicates a son is consorting with his step mother. This was not a "one night stand," for the verb has is in the present tense (and active voice = willful) indicating this was an ongoing, active sinful relationship. Paul says "someone" who is clearly a member of the church of Corinth, and while he does not say here that he is a genuine believer, the 1 Cor 5:5 indicates that he is a believer, living a fleshly life. Immorality with his stepmother which we today would call incest, a sin God spoke against in Leviticus 18:6–18+, specifically writing "‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness....Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. 25 ‘For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed ("vomited") out its inhabitants." (Lev 18:8, 24-25+, Dt 22:30, 27:20). Even the otherwise utterly depraved Roman Empire actually made incest forbidden, Wikipedia recording that "Incestuous unions were discouraged and considered nefas (against the laws of gods and man) in ancient Rome."  

As an aside a number of commentaries think the father's wife was a non-believer because there is not record of disciplinary action being taken against her. 

Brian Harbour gives us a little context on Corinth - It was a common saying in that day that it was not for every man to go to Corinth, meaning that not every person could withstand the temptation that permeated the life of this city. Out of that kind of situation these Christians had been called to commit themselves to the controlled, disciplined, holy lifestyle of a Christian. The conflict between their context in Corinth and their calling as Christians led to problems.

Craig Keener - The marriage of full brothers and sisters was considered immoral throughout the Roman Empire except in Egypt; parent-child incest was universally abhorred throughout the Roman world. From the revulsion against the idea exhibited in the Greek Oedipus stories to slanders leveled against emperors, it was one of those few crimes that all cultures agreed were terrible. Its Roman legal punishment was banishment to an island. Relations with stepmothers were treated like relations with mothers—as incestuous. ( IVPBBCNT)

Zodhiates - Sin among the Christian community may be secret or out in the open. If the pastor of a local church learns about a secret sin in his congregation, he should not imprudently publicize it. The publicizing of sin within the church or beyond its borders is not the duty of any Christian, and especially not of a church leader. One should carefully examine his or her motive for wanting to expose a fellow believer's sin. If it becomes necessary to expose an offense, the chief purpose should be to reclaim the offender.

Question: Why did God allow incest in the Bible?

Answer: There are numerous examples of incest in the Bible. The most commonly thought-of examples are the sons/daughters of Adam and Eve (Genesis 4), Abraham marrying his half-sister Sarah (Genesis 20:12), Lot and his daughters (Genesis 19), Moses’ father Amram who married his aunt Jochebed (Exodus 6:20), and David’s son Amnon with his half-sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13). It is important to note, however, that in two of the above instances (Tamar and Lot), one of the parties involved was an unwilling participant in the incest—better described as rape in those cases.

It is important to distinguish between incestuous relationships prior to God commanding against them (Leviticus 18:6–18) and incest that occurred after God’s commands had been revealed. Until God commanded against it, it was not incest. It was just marrying a close relative. It is undeniable that God allowed “incest” in the early centuries of humanity. Since Adam and Eve were the only two human beings on earth, their sons and daughters had no choice but to marry and reproduce with their siblings and close relatives. The second generation had to marry their cousins, just as after the flood the grandchildren of Noah had to intermarry amongst their cousins. One reason that incest is so strongly discouraged in the world today is the understanding that reproduction between closely related individuals has a much higher risk of causing genetic abnormalities. In the early days of humanity, though, this was not a risk due to the fact that the human genetic code was relatively free of defects.

Another consideration is that incest today almost always involves a pre-pubescent or powerless victim, and the perpetrator is abusing his or her authority with the goal of unilateral sexual pleasure. By that standard, the “incest” of the Bible has nothing whatsoever in common with modern-day incest. There was no power difference between Cain and his wife, for example; the goal of Abraham and Sarah’s marriage was to create a family. Intermarriage among close family members was a necessity in the generations immediately following Adam and Noah and was not a sinful perversion of sex.

It seems that, by the time of Moses, the human genetic code had become polluted enough that close intermarriage was no longer safe. So, God commanded against sexual relations with siblings, half-siblings, parents, and aunts/uncles (Genesis 2:24 seems to indicate that marriage and sexual relations between parents and children were never allowed by God). It was not until many centuries later that humanity discovered the genetic reason that incest is unsafe and unwise. Genetics was not an issue in the early centuries of humanity, and the marriages that occurred between Adam and Eve’s children, Abraham and Sarah, and Amram and Jochebed were not selfish pursuits of sexual gratification or abuses of authority; accordingly, those relationships should not be viewed as incestuous. The key is that sexual relations between close relatives were viewed differently pre-Law and post-Law. It did not become “incest” until God commanded against it. GotQuestions.org


A.      This is one of several passages in the NT on church discipline (cf. 1 Cor. 5:2, 7, 13; 2 Cor. 2:5–7; 2 Thess. 3:14–15; 1 Tim. 1:20; Titus 3:10).
B.      Church discipline has three purposes.
      1.      to maintain the reputation and integrity of the local church
      2.      to help disciple and restore an erring covenant brother or sister (cf. 2 Cor. 2:5–11; 2 Thess. 3:14–15)
      3.      to cause other Christians not to sin (cf. 1 Tim. 5:20)
C.      Discipline takes place in stages.
      1.      first, private confrontation and, if not successful, personal disfellowship (cf. Matt. 18:15; Gal. 6:1; 2 Thess. 3:14–15; Titus 3:10)
      2.      second, small group confrontation (cf. Matt. 18:16)
      3.      third, public exclusion from the Christian fellowship (cf. Matt. 18:17; 1 Cor. 5:1; 1 Tim. 1:20)
The goal is always repentance and restoration, not just isolation and punishment (cf. 2 Cor. 2:6–8; Gal. 6:1) (1 Corinthians 5 Commentary)

Related Resources:

Pastor Brian Bell addresses the issue of pornography in the church - This is just his introduction - I would recommend reading his entire message (1 Corinthians 5 Turn & Connect)

A. Temptations in Paul’s day? (Mark Driscoll calls the Cor church, Christians Gone Wild!)

B. Corinth was known and identified far and wide as a city of evil & immorality. (Corinthianize, i.e., practice immorality). [A liberal town, a dble port city in Greece]

1. They had their temple dedicated to Aphrodite, w/some 1000 female priests, or religious prostitutes.

C. Siren’s in Greek Mythology: Sirens combine women & birds in various ways, w/or w/o wings, playing a variety of musical instruments, especially harps.

1. The term “siren song” refers to an appeal that is hard to resist but that, if heeded, will lead to a bad result.

2. Odysseus(legendary Greek king of Ithica) was curious as to what the Sirens sounded like, so, on Circe’s advice(Sur-see’s, minor godess of magic), he had all his sailors plug their ears with beeswax and tie him to the mast. He ordered his men to leave him tied tightly to the mast, no matter how much he would beg. When he heard their beautiful song, he ordered the sailors to untie him but they bound him the tighter. When they had passed out of earshot, Odysseus demonstrated with his frowns to be released.

3. In his notebooks Leonardo da Vinci wrote of the Siren, "The siren sings so sweetly that she lulls the mariners to sleep; then she climbs upon the ships and kills the sleeping mariners." [no, they didn’t have internet, but the appeal was just as great]

D. Temptations in our day?

E. They were looked on as Corinthianized. Today...we have Californication (TV show; & song by Red Hot Chili Peppers).

(Californication is a portmanteau of California and fornication)

Corinthianize is actually in Collins Dictionary

F Pornography Stats:

1. At 13.3 billion, the 2006 revenues of the sex and porn industry in the U.S. are bigger than the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball combined.. Worldwide sex industry sales for 2006 are reported to be 97 billion. Perspective? Microsoft, who sells the operating system used on most of the computers in the world(think all of India & China)reported sales of 44.8 billion in 2006.

2. The porn industry made more last year than: “Microsoft, Google, Amazon, E-bay, Yahoo, Apple, Netflix, & Earth Link”...combined.

3. Pornography is scarring lives, destroying marriages(lying/trust issues, hurt, forgiveness, how many times. Feelings of: “being cheated on”, “lack of her self-worth”, “I’m not good enough”), corrupting the church and destroying our nation; without action the problem will only get worse.

G. We are going tonight to have a serious talk about real life issues. (Stats: about 50% men in churches; 17% women struggle w/pornography)

H. A serious talk about the bondage, addiction and trauma that so many people are struggling with today.

1. Hopefully, those who are struggling with this (a family, husband, wife, oldest son, single man/women) you’ll be challenged to open up these areas of their lives to God, so He can heal you and set you free.

I. How do we deal with then, sexual immorality in the church today? Like Paul did.

J. Our Outline, sexual immorality needs to be dealt with for...


III. #2 FOR THE CHURCH’S SAKE! (6-8)- For the World’s Sake! [Title: Turn & Connect]


V. Chapter Overview:

VI. What To Do?

1 Corinthians 5:2  You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.

Amplified - And you are proud and arrogant! And you ought rather to mourn (bow in sorrow and in shame) until the person who has done this [shameful] thing is removed from your fellowship and your midst!

Wuest's Paraphrase - And as for you, you have been guilty of an inflated ego and are at present in the same state. And ought you not to have rather gone into mourning, to the end that the one who has done this deed might be taken out of your midst? (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)

  • You have become arrogant: 1Co 5:6 4:6-8,18 
  • have not mourned: Nu 25:6 2Ki 22:19 Ezr 9:2-6 10:1-6 Ps 119:136 Jer 13:17 Eze 9:4,6 2Co 7:7,9-11 12:21 
  • would be removed 1Co 5:5,7,13 Rev 2:20-22 
  • 1 Corinthians 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

2 Thessalonians 3:6  Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.

Revelation 2:19-23+  (CHURCH AT THYATIRA HAS PARALLELS WITH CHURCH AT CORINTH) ‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. 20 ‘But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray (EXAMPLE OF A "LOT OF LEAVEN" CORRUPTING THE LUMP!) so that they commit acts of immorality (porneuo) and eat things sacrificed to idols (NB: IMMORALITY ALMOST ALWAYS CLOSELY ASSOCIATED WITH IDOLATRY). 21 ‘I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. 22 ‘Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. 23 ‘And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. (GOD IS JEALOUS FOR THE PURITY OF HIS BRIDE! THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH. )


While the sin of incest surely shocked Paul, what shocked and saddened him even more was the failure of the Corinthian church to take any disciplinary action against the man committing the sin. And in this passage he explains why they basically "did nothing" and/or "looked the other way!" 

The church as Corinth was tolerating this heinous sin of incest which had been ongoing. Sin seen too often soon appears less sinful or as Alexander Pope put it...

    Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
    As to be hated needs but to be seen;
    Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
    We first endure, then pity, then embrace.

Paul's instructions to the church at Ephesus should be the watchword of every church for Paul warned that...

"immorality (porneia)  or any impurity or greed must not even be named (present imperative with a negativepassive voice - see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey)  among you, as is proper among saints...5:11 Do not participate (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them." (Ephesians 5:3, 11+) While the Corinthians were not necessarily participating physically in the unfruitful deeds, they were nevertheless fully culpable, for they willfully refused to expose the sinner even though the sin was exposed to even the pagan world. 

You have become arrogant (phusioo  as in 1 Cor 4:6, 18, 19+) and have not mourned instead - NLT = "And you are so proud of yourselves! Why aren't you mourning in sorrow and shame?" Notice carefully that Paul does not level his spiritual "guns" at the man who was committing the incest (his only other mention of the man is in 1 Cor 5:5) but instead rebukes the entire congregation, like a good spiritual father (1 Cor 4:15)! You is plural so he is addressing the church collectively. This was a congregational problem, not just a problem with one or two arrogant members. Applying this, it follows that this is not a job we should leave to the pastor or elders, but must each be diligent to be alert to persistent sin in our midst. WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT BEING A DIVINE "SHERLOCK HOLMES," just being alert to serious persistent sin and using Matthew 18:15-20 as our guide! Clearly the church at Corinth knew from God's perspective that incest was a gross sin, for Paul had taught them truth for 18 months and Apollos had watered following Paul (1 Cor 3:6). Not only that but as Paul goes on to say "I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people." (1 Cor 5:9) And now they have immoral people in the midst of their congregation and everyone knew this sin was there! This was flagrant, willful, direct disobedience to the exhortation of their spiritual father! Typical children! The church failed to practice what Paul had taught them about not associating with immoral people! His words were "in one ear and out the other!" Even the Gentiles who flaunted their sexual freedom abhorred the sin of incest! Amazing when the pagans know better than the saints! Little wonder this was bringing reproach to the local body of Christ and ultimately to the glorious holy Name of Christ. It should have caused deep remorse and grief in the saints of the Church. Instead of being saddened, they were "satisfied" in self (in their arrogance - the root is "I", middle letter of prIde!) 

Gotquestions on you have become arrogant suggests that "the Corinthians had misunderstood the grace of God so badly that they had come to believe all sin should be tolerated, maybe even celebrated proudly, as evidence of God’s grace and forgiveness (1 Cor 5:2)."

This church was into “permitting” rather than “confronting”!
-- Brian Bell

And so here Paul says that instead they were "puffed up", arrogant and apathetic toward the potential harm this gross sin would bring on the Body of Christ. The tragedy was that the church had become arrogant and were now in a settled state of arrogance (depicted by use of the perfect tense) regarding this sin. Wuest picks up this meaning in his paraphrase "you have been guilty of an inflated ego and are at present in the same state." (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)

The verb mourned (pentheo) pictures a deep sadness, grief and sorrow (as when mourning over someone dead!) which the believers should have felt in light of such a severe reproach to the Name of Christ, the Head of the Church. Paul is implying that they should have been overwhelmed with shame, but their lack of sadness suggests they had little or no shame over sexual sin in their midst. Paul had undoubtedly taught them the words of Jesus “Blessed are those who mourn (pentheo), for they shall be comforted." (Mt 5:4+)

“Lord, let me weep for nought but sin,
And after none but Thee;
And then I would-oh, that I might-
A constant mourner be!”

Utley has an interesting comment that "The real problem was the attitude of the church (PLURAL pronoun and verbs). They were proud of this situation. This shocking incident has several possible rationales: (1) from the general context it is possible that this was seen by the church as an example of the radical newness which salvation brings or (2) it reflects the Jewish background of Rabbi Aqibah illustrating how a new convert was a totally new person (A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, p. 111). Therefore, in the Corinthian setting this was not incest, but Christian freedom (one’s newness in Christ). (1 Corinthians 5 Commentary)

In his second letter Paul used pentheo again because he was afraid even after warning the saints he was still going to find sinful issues

"For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there will be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn (pentheo) over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced." (2 Cor 12:20-21)

Arrogant (inflated)(5448)(phusioo from phusia = a pair of bellows!) means literally to puff up, to inflate, to cause to swell up or blow up. Figuratively, as in the present passage phusioo means make proud or arrogant (active sense) or to become conceited, proud or haughty (passive sense as in this verse). To become puffed up or put on airs. In classic Greek phusioo was used to describe anger that swells (puffs up) the heart. Moulton and Milligan record an example of phusioo from ancient literature - "priding themselves on their birth". Phusioo describes one who has an exaggerated self-concept (as indicated by the adverb eike = there being no reason).

All 7 uses in NT -  1 Co. 4:6; 1 Co. 4:18; 1 Co. 4:19; 1 Co. 5:2; 1 Co. 8:1; 1 Co. 13:4; Col. 2:18 Clearly the concentration of phusioo in the first epistle to the Corinthians reflects that spiritual pride among the believers in Corinth was a serious spiritual problem. God is inveterately opposed to the self inflated mindset (Jas 4:6+ cp Pr 6:16, 17, 29:23)

Mourned (3996pentheo  from pénthos = mourning) means to mourn for, lament. Pentheo denotes loud mourning such as the lament for the dead or for a severe, painful loss. It is grief and sorrow caused by profound loss, especially death. Mourning can reflect an outward expression of sorrow. It is to experience sadness or grief as the result of depressing circumstances or the condition of persons and so to be sad, to grieve, to bewail or to lament. Grieving over a personal hope (relationship) that dies,. In Jewish society mourning was done for the dead, for some tragedy, or for blasphemy (cf. Mark 14:63).

Pentheō ("mourn over a death") refers to "manifested grief"severe enough to take possession of a person and hence cannot be hid. This is the same meaning of penthéō throughout antiquity.  

10x in NT - Matt. 5:4; Matt. 9:15; Mk. 16:10; Lk. 6:25; 1 Co. 5:2; 2 Co. 12:21; Jas. 4:9; Rev. 18:11; Rev. 18:15; Rev. 18:19

Krell writes "The church was without excuse! They had been privileged to sit under the preaching of two of the greatest preachers in world history. Yet, the sad reality is: Christians continue to sin regardless of who is preaching and leading. Frequently, biblical preachers can unwittingly breed pride in the congregations they serve. The people proclaim, “Our preacher preaches the Word!” “We know the Word.” “We eat meat, not broth.” Consequently, these church members assume they are spiritually mature when in reality they are not." 

THOUGHT - Let me ask a tough question: Are you involved in some sin that, if revealed, would devastate your loved ones and destroy any ministry you have? Okay, maybe you haven’t done what this man did, but are you involved in Internet pornography, or an emotional affair at work, or abuse of prescriptions drugs, or the greedy pursuit of wealth. Whatever it is, stop today! Get into an accountability relationship. Begin practicing the spiritual disciplines of prayer and Bible study. God will grant you plenty of grace if you come clean with Him and others. (Krell)

Craig Keener - These people may have been boasting in their spiritual freedom. Committing a crime was considered bad in antiquity, but boasting about it in addition to committing it was considered even worse ( IVPBBCNT)

So that (hina - term of purpose - what purpose/result?)  the one who had done this deed (ergon - work) would be removed from your midst - NLT = "And why haven't you removed this man from your fellowship?" Paul does not hesitate to declare that the punishment must be removal. The thought is either church discipline or excommunication, but the main point is that the grossness of the sin should have provoked a great outrage and a clear action against the sinning parties. Removed from your midst (from the assembly, the ekklesia) means they should have excommunicated him! Excommunication is an institutional act of religious censure used to end or at least regulate the communion of a member of a congregation with other members of the religious institution who are in normal communion with each other. The meaning of the verb removed (airo) is nicely illustrated by the first use in the Septuagint where Jacob told his household "Put away (command - Lxxairo) the foreign gods and purify yourselves and change your garments (cf Rev 19:7-8+)." (Ge 35:2) Indeed, the act of expunging the evil man from their assembly would exert a "purifying effect" on the assembly in whom the Holy Spirit dwelt (1 Cor 3:16+). The Spirit would now be free to carry out His supernatural work.

Utley- The purpose of church discipline is three-fold: (1) cleansing of the local church (both from sin and the restoration of its image in the local community); (2) reforming and redeeming erring believers. It is just possible because of 1 Cor 5:5 (also the same terms are used in Luke 23:18) that this refers to the death of the erring believer(s); and (3) other believers, seeing God’s discipline, are encouraged not to sin.

Guzik on the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst-  "Clearly, this was Paul’s solution to the problem—to take this notoriously unrepentant man away from the protection of the fellowship of God’s people. Yet, the Corinthian Christians were not doing this. Why not? How could this kind of thing be allowed?. Remember that Corinth was a city notorious for sexual immorality, and the pagan religions did not value sexual purity. It wasn’t hard for a Corinthian to think you could be religious, yet still act any way you pleased when it came to sex. Greek culture could matter-of-factly say: “Mistresses we keep for the sake of pleasure, concubines for the daily care of the body, but wives to bear us legitimate children.” Wouldn’t they know it was wrong through the Old Testament? Though Leviticus 18:8 expressly forbids a man to have sex with his stepmother (The nakedness of your father’s wife you shall not uncover), some rabbis, such as Rabbi Akibah, said such a relationship was permissible for a Gentile convert to Judaism, because they were a completely new person, and their old family relationship didn’t count at all.More than anything, the Corinthian Christians probably allowed this in the name of “tolerance.” They probably said to themselves, “Look how loving we are. We accept 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.”  The Corinthian Christians were proud (you are puffed up) of their acceptance of this man; they thought it said something good about them! But instead of glorying, they should have grieved, both for the man and for what they must do to him (1 Corinthians 5 Commentary)

Robertson - Decent self-respect should have compelled the instant expulsion of the man instead of pride in his rascality.

MacArthur makes an excellent point that "Discipline is not inconsistent with love. It is lack of discipline, in fact, that is inconsistent with love. The Lord disciplines his children because he loves them, and we will discipline our brothers and sisters in the Lord if we truly love Him and truly love them." (see Heb 12:6+)

Craig Keener - Synagogues, which functioned as social centers for their communities, disciplined their members, especially those whose immorality threatened to bring Gentile reproach on the whole Jewish community. Discipline could include corporal punishment (beatings), but the ultimate punishment was exclusion from the Jewish community—spiritual banishment. This expulsion was meant to be the spiritual equivalent of a death sentence, executed only by God; but it was reversible if the banned person repented. ( IVPBBCNT)

THOUGHT - One wonders if the failure to see the powerful working of the Holy Spirit in many churches today is not a reflection of their failure to remove the blatant sinners from their midst (if they refuse to repent). And by powerful working I am not referring to "signs and wonders" per se, but to the lives of saints saturated with the Word (Col 3:16ff+), filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18+), fighting the good fight of faith by the Spirit resisting strong fleshly temptations (Gal 5:16+) and boldly living out and speaking forth the Gospel (cf Acts 4:31+, Eph 6:19-20+) in the midst of people who are "dead in (their) trespasses and sins" (Eph 2:1+) and in danger of entering into eternal punishment. (See Spirit Filled Church)

Done (4160prasso means doing something as a regular practice or as a routine habit, and is distinguished from poieo which means "to do" which focuses more on the end/achievement of the action. In contrast prasso focuses on the process or habitual effort to arrive at the end/achievement (in the present context the gratification of fleshly desires!), and thus refers more to the course of conduct of a person.

Removed (142airo literally means to lift up something (Mt 17:27) and to carry it (Lxx - Ge 44:1, Ex 25:28 = the Ark). Here in 1 Cor 5:3 the idea is to expel the sinning man by force if necessary (cf this tragic eschatological use in Mt 21:43). Airo is the word Jesus used when He declared " “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny (aorist imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) himself, and take up (airo in aorist imperative) his cross and follow (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) Me." (Mk 8:34+). One final note is that airo in some contexts conveys the sense of to kill (Jn 19:15), which is interesting in view of the fact that Paul says he will "deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh." (1 Cor 5:5). 

1 Corinthians 5:3 For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present.

Amplified - As for my attitude, though I am absent [from you] in body, I am present in spirit, and I have already decided and passed judgment, as if actually present,

Wuest's Paraphrase - For, as for myself, I indeed, being absent in body but present in spirit, already handed down my sentence, and this sentence stands as though I were present concerning this one who thus did this thing.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)

  • absent in body but present in spirit,: 2Co 10:1,11 13:2 Col 2:5 1Th 2:17 
  • 1 Corinthians 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit - The NLT paraphrase capitalizes Spirit signifying Holy Spirit, but almost every other version has little "s" spirit, signifying Pau's human spirit. "There is some hesitation in taking this to indicate Paul’s metaphysical presence with them apart from his body." (CBC) Paul is in Ephesus, but he is connected to the believers in Corinth by virtue of the fact that both are members of the mystical Body of Christ. Geographic separation did not separate him spiritually from the Corinthians, and his written words were to be taken as if he himself were physically present. And so here Paul expresses his response in his innermost spirit upon hearing of this sin of incest.

Regarding the spirit as big or little "s" - Fee (1986:204–205), and Witherington (1995:158) lobby for the primary sense to be the Holy Spirit, as the NLT has. Rightly, they emphasize that Paul was drawing upon Matt 18:15–20, where Jesus promised to be present with the church as it exercises just discipline over its members. Having imparted his Spirit to the church and to its individual members upon their baptism into it, Paul’s theological conviction is that the Spirit’s presence among them, when they met to deal with this matter, would link them to Paul’s apostolic authority." (W. Baker)

Kistemaker on present in spirit -  In spirit he takes the gavel in hand, so to speak, and chairs the meeting of the local church. He knows that he and the Corinthians have to remove the blemish from the congregation. He does this through prayer on behalf of the Corinthians and through his epistle....The intent of Paul’s words is to move the church at Corinth to eliminate immediately this evil from its midst. He instructs the members to meet in assembly and to do so as if he himself were present.

Guzik has a good note on present in the spirit - When Paul mentions his spirit being present, he isn’t speaking of astral-projection in the early church. He is truly represented in their midst by his letter, which was a valid spiritual extension of his apostolic authority. In other words, Paul didn’t have to be there to exercise his authority; distance didn’t make him any less an apostle.

Craig Keener - Letter writers sometimes expressed their intimate concern for the readers by saying that, although they were “absent in body,” they were with them “in spirit” or in mind. In some cases, the letter itself communicated the effect of the writer’s presence. But this expression was always meant as a statement of intimacy, not of metaphysical presence.( IVPBBCNT)

Body (4983)(soma refers to the physical body in this context. Uses in the Corinthian letters  1 Co. 5:3; 1 Co. 6:13; 1 Co. 6:15; 1 Co. 6:16; 1 Co. 6:18; 1 Co. 6:19; 1 Co. 6:20; 1 Co. 7:4; 1 Co. 7:34; 1 Co. 9:27; 1 Co. 10:16; 1 Co. 10:17; 1 Co. 11:24; 1 Co. 11:27; 1 Co. 11:29; 1 Co. 12:12; 1 Co. 12:13; 1 Co. 12:14; 1 Co. 12:15; 1 Co. 12:16; 1 Co. 12:17; 1 Co. 12:18; 1 Co. 12:19; 1 Co. 12:20; 1 Co. 12:22; 1 Co. 12:23; 1 Co. 12:24; 1 Co. 12:25; 1 Co. 12:27; 1 Co. 13:3; 1 Co. 15:35; 1 Co. 15:37; 1 Co. 15:38; 1 Co. 15:40; 1 Co. 15:44; 2 Co. 4:10; 2 Co. 5:6; 2 Co. 5:8; 2 Co. 5:10; 2 Co. 10:10; 2 Co. 12:2; 2 Co. 12:3

Spirit (4151)(pneuma from pneo = to breath) refers most likely to Paul's spirit as part of his personality, the representative part of his inner life. 

Have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present - Wuest - "already handed down my sentence, and this sentence stands." Recall what Paul had asked in (1 Cor 4:21+) "What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?" Here we see he is coming with a rod!  Paul had sufficient evidence in the report described in 1 Cor 5:1 to make a just and fair judgment, speaking now as if he were present in the midst of the assembly. Recall Paul had just declared he was their spiritual father (1 Cor 4:15+), and now he shows he holds to the principle of "spare the rod and spoil the child," as he levels a blow with the "rod of judgment" so to speak.(cf 1 Cor 4:21+). In effect Paul is bring "church discipline" against the man in the church who was committing incest. 

Krell comments on already judged him - "Paul doesn’t need to call the immoral couple in for extensive marriage counseling. The couple is having sex outside of marriage—that is all the information he needs. Paul has already judged the man, but notice he does not say anything about the woman because she is not a part of the church at Corinth. This principle of not judging those outside the church will be brought up later in 1 Cor 5:9-13.

Guzik - Is Paul disobeying what Jesus said in Matthew 7:1–5+? After all, “judge not, lest you be judged!” Paul is not being disobedient in the slightest way. Jesus’ command in Matthew 7:1–5+ forbids hypocritical judgment, and judging others by a standard that we ourselves do not want to be judged by. Paul is perfectly willing to apply the same standards to himself that he is applying to the Corinthian Christians. (Krell on Matthew 7:1-5 - This is the most quoted verses in the world today. Yet, very few people read Jesus’ words in context. Jesus says that we can judge, but first we must judge ourselves. Before we can take a speck of dust out of our brother’s eye, we must first take the Redwood tree out of our own eye. Jesus doesn’t want hypocritical judging.)

Wiersbe - While Christians are not to judge one another’s motives or ministries, we are certainly expected to be honest about each other’s conduct.” 

Paul was following the guidelines of Jesus Who declared "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”  (Jn.7:24)

In another letter Paul wrote "But examine (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) everything carefully; hold fast (present imperative) to that which is good; abstain (present imperative) from every form of evil. (1 Thes.5:21-22)

Thomas Schreiner helps unravel the somewhat difficult section writing that "The syntax of verses 3–4 is complicated and controversial, but fortunately the main point of the verses is clear enough. Paul has already determined what the church should do, and he calls upon the church to gather together and to deliver the sinning person over to Satan. The different ways of understanding the syntax are apparent by comparing the NIV with the CSB. The NIV reads, "For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present …" Alternatively, the CSB translates, "  Even though I am absent in the body, I am present in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who has been doing such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus, and I am with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus …"Does the phrase in the name of our Lord Jesus belong with passed judgment (so NIV) or with ‘assembled’ (so CSB)? Both are possible syntactically, but the latter is to be preferred, for two reasons. First, in the name of our Lord Jesus is closer in the Greek text to the word ‘assembled’ than it is to the word passed judgment, and though word order is not decisive in Greek, it does play some role. Second, there is probably an allusion to the teaching of Jesus on church discipline in Matthew 18:15–20, where Jesus speaks of ‘two or three … gathered together in my name’ (Matt. 18:20CSB; see also Deut. 19:16–20). (TNTC-1 Cor

Jesus gives us the pattern for practicing church discipline in Matthew 18 declaring 

Matthew 18:15-20 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. 17 “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.  19 “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. 20 “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”

Judged (determined, condemned)(2919)(krino and its cognates [see below] is a root of English words like critic, critical [kritikos] = a decisive point at which judgment is made) primarily signifies to distinguish, to decide between (in the sense of considering two or more things and reaching a decision), to make up one's mind, to separate, to discriminate. to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong, without necessarily passing an adverse sentence, although that is often what is usually involved.  The basic meaning of krino is to form an opinion after separating and considering the particulars in the case. Krino means to evaluate and determine what is right, proper, and expedient for correction. Wuest gives an excellent sense of the progression of meaning of this Greek word - The word krino meant originally to separate, then to distinguish, to pick out, to be of opinion, and finally, to judge. The act of judgment was therefore that of forming an accurate and honest opinion of someone, thus, appraising his character, and placing him in a certain position with respect to the law of God. The result of such a judgment is commonly condemnation. (Wuest Word Studies - Eerdman Publishing Company Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3 - used by permission)  Uses in the Corinthian letters  1 Co. 2:2; 1 Co. 4:5; 1 Co. 5:3; 1 Co. 5:12; 1 Co. 5:13; 1 Co. 6:1; 1 Co. 6:2; 1 Co. 6:3; 1 Co. 6:6; 1 Co. 7:37; 1 Co. 10:15; 1 Co. 10:29; 1 Co. 11:13; 1 Co. 11:31; 1 Co. 11:32; 2 Co. 2:1; 2 Co. 5:14

Committed (2716)(katergazomai from kata = + ergazomai = work)  from katá = intensifies meaning of verb + ergazomai = labor, work or engage in an activity involving considerable expenditure of effort) means to work out fully and thoroughly, to accomplish or achieve an end (implying thoroughness), to finish or carry something to its conclusion. To work so as to bring something to fulfillment or successful completion and implies doing something with thoroughness. It means to do that from which something results. This verb always means to complete the effort and the work begun. Uses in the Corinthian letters 1 Co. 5:3; 2 Co. 4:17; 2 Co. 5:5; 2 Co. 7:10; 2 Co. 7:11; 2 Co. 9:11; 2 Co. 12:12; Eph. 6:13; Phil. 2:12; Jas. 1:3; 1 Pet. 4:3

Present (3918)(pareimi from pará = near, with + eimí = to be) conveys the idea of a continually being beside another 

Question:  What does the Bible say about church discipline?

Answer: Church discipline is the process of correcting sinful behavior among members of a local church body for the purpose of protecting the church, restoring the sinner to a right walk with God, and renewing fellowship among the church members. In some cases, church discipline can proceed all the way to excommunication, which is the formal removal of an individual from church membership and the informal separation from that individual.

Matthew 18:15–20 gives the procedure and authority for a church to practice church discipline. Jesus instructs us that one individual (usually the offended party) is to go to the offending individual privately. If the offender refuses to acknowledge his sin and repent, then two or three others go to confirm the details of the situation. If there is still no repentance—the offender remains firmly attached to his sin, despite two chances to repent—the matter is taken before the church. The offender then has a third chance to repent and forsake his sinful behavior. If at any point in the process of church discipline, the sinner heeds the call to repent, then “you have gained your brother” (Mt 18:15ESV). However, if the discipline continues all the way through the third step without a positive response from the offender, then, Jesus said, “let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (Mt 18:17ESV).

The process of church discipline is never pleasant just as a father never delights in having to discipline his children. Sometimes, though, church discipline is necessary. The purpose of church discipline is not to be mean-spirited or to display a holier-than-thou attitude. Rather, the goal of church discipline is the restoration of the individual to full fellowship with both God and other believers. The discipline is to start privately and gradually become more public. It is to be done in love toward the individual, in obedience to God, and in godly fear for the sake of others in the church.

The Bible’s instructions concerning church discipline imply the necessity of church membership. The church and its pastor are responsible for the spiritual well-being of a certain group of people (members of the local church), not of everyone in the city. In the context of church discipline, Paul asks, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” (1 Corinthians 5:12). The candidate for church discipline has to be “inside” the church and accountable to the church. He professes faith in Christ yet continues in undeniable sin.

The Bible gives an example of church discipline in a local church—the church of Corinth (1 Corinthians 5:1–13). In this case, the discipline led to excommunication, and the apostle Paul gives some reasons for the discipline. One is that sin is like yeast; if allowed to exist, it spreads to those nearby in the same way that “a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough” (1 Corinthians 5:6–7). Also, Paul explains that Jesus saved us so that we might be set apart from sin, that we might be “unleavened” or free from that which causes spiritual decay (1 Corinthians 5:7–8). Christ’s desire for His bride, the church, is that she might be pure and undefiled (Ephesians 5:25–27). The testimony of Christ Jesus (and His church) before unbelievers is important, too. When David sinned with Bathsheba, one of the consequences of his sin was that the name of the one true God was blasphemed by God’s enemies (2 Samuel 12:14).

Hopefully, any disciplinary action a church takes against a member is successful in bringing about godly sorrow and true repentance. When repentance occurs, the individual can be restored to fellowship. The man involved in the 1 Corinthians 5 passage repented, and Paul later encouraged the church to restore him to full fellowship with the church (2 Corinthians 2:5–8). Unfortunately, disciplinary action, even when done correctly and in love, is not always successful in bringing about restoration. Even when church discipline fails to bring about repentance, it is still needed to accomplish other good purposes such as maintaining a good testimony in the world.

We have all likely witnessed the behavior of a youngster who is always allowed to do as he pleases with no consistent discipline. It is not a pretty sight. Nor is the overly permissive parent loving, for a lack of guidance dooms the child to a dismal future. Undisciplined, out-of-control behavior will keep the child from forming meaningful relationships and performing well in any kind of setting. Similarly, discipline in the church, while never enjoyable or easy, is necessary at times. In fact, it is loving. And it is commanded by God. GotQuestions.org

1 Corinthians 5:4  In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus,

Amplified - In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, on the man who has committed such a deed. When you and my own spirit are met together with the power of our Lord Jesus,

Wuest Paraphrase - In the Name of the Lord Jesus, when you are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)

  • In the name of our Lord Jesus: Ac 3:6 4:7-12,30 16:18 Eph 5:20 Col 3:17 
  • when you are assembled: Mt 16:19 18:16-18,20 28:18,20 Joh 20:23 2Co 2:9,10 13:3,10 
  • 1 Corinthians 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


In the Name of our Lord Jesus - (See note above on this phrase).  The Name speaks of Jesus' divine attributes and holy character and when used in a context like the present passage it signifies the authority of the Lord Jesus. Paul as an apostle of Jesus Christ is saying I have the Lord's authority to make the decree regarding the sinning man in your midst. And now Paul is calling on the assembled body in Corinth to exercise church discipline. 

Lenski on in the Name -  In all vital actions of the church such as the one here recorded the essential point is that these actions accord fully with the revelation which Christ has made to us in his Word.

Name (3686onoma

Lord (Master, Owner)(2962) see kurios

Jesus (2424) see Iesous

When you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus - He is speaking as an apostle, absent in body (for he is in Ephesus), but present with them in spirit explaining to them that when they are assembled for this task, they also have the Lord's power (and authority from the Head of the Church) to carry out this discipline. The point is that the Lord Jesus (note this name is mentioned twice in one passage!) had given authority to the church and to the apostles to exercise discipline in all such cases. As explained more below, note that the disciplinary action involves three entities, the church, the apostle and the Lord Jesus' power.

Jack Arnold - Paul imagines himself in the presence of the Corinthian Church conducting a church court to mete out discipline on the guilty offender. He saw the elders taking no action on the offender, so he, present in spirit, presides at the church court. The court was assembled in the name (authority) of the Lord Jesus Christ.  All church discipline is exercised in the authority of Jesus Christ who is Lord of the Church. Discipline is not just a group of elders making capricious judgments as human beings. It is action taken in the power, authority and name of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why much discernment must be used when discipline is meted out; it is a serious matter. 

Hodge writes that "There was to be a meeting of the church, where Paul, spiritually present, would, in the name of Christ, and in the exercise of the miraculous power with which he was invested, deliver the offender to the power of Satan.”

Lenski asks an interesting question - Why this emphasis on his presence in Corinth for this judgment? Why can he not say right here in Ephesus: “I here and now give this verdict”? Why is his presence in a duly called meeting of the congregation so essential? Because not even an apostle can of himself and by himself excommunicate a person from a Christian congregation. The attempt to do such a thing is papal arrogance. No pastor can expel a member no matter what the member has done. Expulsion is an act that can be performed only in a duly called meeting of the congregation. If a wrong-minded congregation refuses to expel where it ought to, the person involved remains a member to the disgrace of the congregation. The pastor should use all proper efforts, as Paul does here, to persuade the congregation to take action. If it refuses, the pastor, who is Christ’s slave-steward (4:1) and directly responsible to him for the mysteries of God entrusted to his hands, has the right to withhold from the unexpelled sinner the Lord’s Supper, etc., in order to safeguard his own conscience and his office so that he may not become a δοῦλος or slave of men.


Assembled (4863sunago (sun = with + ago = lead) means to gather together. Only use in the Corinthian letters 1 Co. 5:4. 

Spirit (4151)(pneuma from pneo = to breath) is a blowing or wind (Jn 3:8), a breathing, breath (2Th 2.8), a condition and agent of life breath (of life), life spirit, soul (Lu 8.55); and in the present context refers to the immaterial part of the human personality in contrast to the outward and visible aspects of sarx (flesh) and soma (body), spirit (1Co 5.3; 2Co 7.1) 

Power (1411)(dunamis) speaks of Inherent power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, in this context the "nature" is the omnipotence of Christ the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe! Our word “dynamite” is the transliteration of this Greek word but not its translation. Dunamis does not refer to an explosive powder. The Greeks knew nothing about gunpowder. Although in the sense that a stick of dynamite contains the inherent power to effect results it would be a reasonable picture of the Greek word. 

Uses in the Corinthian letters 1 Co. 1:18; 1 Co. 1:24; 1 Co. 2:4; 1 Co. 2:5; 1 Co. 4:19; 1 Co. 4:20; 1 Co. 5:4; 1 Co. 6:14; 1 Co. 12:10; 1 Co. 12:28; 1 Co. 12:29; 1 Co. 14:11; 1 Co. 15:24; 1 Co. 15:43; 1 Co. 15:56; 2 Co. 1:8; 2 Co. 4:7; 2 Co. 6:7; 2 Co. 8:3; 2 Co. 12:9; 2 Co. 12:12; 2 Co. 13:4;


(1)  On the wording “our Lord Jesus” (τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ, tou kuriou hēmōn Iēsou) there is some variation in the extant witnesses: ἡμῶν is lacking in א A Ψ 1505 pc; Χριστοῦ (Christou, “Christ”) is found after Ἰησοῦ in ?46 א D2 F G 33 1881 ? co and before Ἰησοῦ in 81. The wording τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ is read by B D* 1175 1739 pc. Concerning Χριστοῦ, even though the external evidence for this is quite good, it may well be a motivated reading. Elsewhere in Paul the expression “our Lord Jesus” is routinely followed by “Christ” (e.g., Rom 5:1, 11; 15:6, 30; 1 Cor 1:2, 7, 10; 15:57; 2 Cor 8:9; Gal 6:14, 18, Eph 1:3, 17; 5:20; 6:24; Col 1:3; 1 Thess 1:3; 5:9, 23, 28). Less commonly, the wording is simply “our Lord Jesus” (e.g., Rom 16:20; 2 Cor 1:14; 1 Thess 2:19; 3:11, 13; 2 Thess 1:8, 12). A preference should thus be given to the shorter reading. As for the ἡμῶν, it is very difficult to decide: “the Lord Jesus” occurs as often as “our Lord Jesus” (cf. 1 Cor 11:23; 16:23; 2 Cor 4:14; 11:31; Eph 1:15; 1 Thess 4:2; 2 Thess 1:7; Phlm 5). Although scribes would tend to expand on the text, the only witnesses that have “the Lord Jesus” (without “our” or “Christ”) are A Ψ 1505 pc. On balance, then, “our Lord Jesus” is the best reading in this verse.

(2) Verses 4b–5a are capable of various punctuations:

(1) “and I am with you in spirit, through the power of our Lord Jesus turn this man over to Satan”;

(2) “and I am with you in spirit with the power of our Lord Jesus, turn this man over to Satan”;

(3) “and I am with you in spirit, along with the power of our Lord Jesus, turn this man over to Satan” (as adopted in the text).

The first option suggests the Lord’s power is needed when the church is to hand the man over to Satan; the second option suggests that the Lord’s power is present when Paul is gathered with the Corinthians in spirit; the third option leaves the relation of the Lord’s power to the surrounding phrases vague, perhaps implying that both are in view.

1 Corinthians 5:5  I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Amplified -You are to deliver this man over to Satan for physical discipline [to destroy carnal lusts which prompted him to incest], that [his] spirit may [yet] be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Wuest Paraphrase - my sentence is that you deliver such a one to Satan for the subjugation of the flesh [the evil nature], in order that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)

  •  I have decided to deliver : 1Co 5:13 Job 2:6 Ps 109:6 2Co 2:6 10:6 13:10 Ac 26:18 1Ti 1:20 
  • so that his spirit 1Co 11:32 2Co 2:7 Ga 6:1,2 2Th 3:14,15 Jas 5:19,20 1Jn 5:16 Jude 1:22,23 
  • the day of the Lord Jesus: 1Co 1:8 Php 1:6 2Ti 1:18 2Pe 3:12 
  • 1 Corinthians 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

1 Corinthians 11:27-33  (DESCRIBES DISCIPLINE RANGING FROM SICKNESS TO DEATH FOR ABUSING THE LORD'S SUPPER) - Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. 30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.  33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

Job 2:4-7 (SATAN ALLOWED TO CAUSE "DESTRUCTION" OF JOB'S FLESH BUT NOT TAKE HIS LIFE) Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. 5 “However, put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face.” 6So the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.”  7 Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.

1 John 5:16+  If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.

2 Thessalonians 3:14-15  If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 


Warren Wiersbe - Church discipline is a forgotten ministry in many churches these days. Yet, if we really love one another, and if the pastor really loves his flock, he will see to it that wandering ones are warned and disciplined for their own good.

The NET Note says "This is one of the most difficult passages in the NT, and there are many different interpretations regarding what is in view here.," and I would have to concur as I have wrestled with this text countless hours without a firm resolution or confidence in its meaning. 

This verse clearly deals with church discipline, but it is a very difficult passage because Paul simply makes the statement that the church is to deliver the sinning man to Satan. One thing which makes this verse difficult is that Paul makes no allusion to the pattern presented by Jesus in Matthew 18 which deals with how to address a brother who is trapped in sin. Here is the passage

“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16“But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. 17 “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind (MEANS TO FORBID) on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (MEANS TO ALLOW) on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. (See Discussion of Binding and Loosing) 19 “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. 20 “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” (Mt 18:15-20)

Comment on bind...loose -  In giving instruction for church discipline to all His people, Jesus said that, if a sinning believer refuses to turn from his sin after being counseled privately and even after being rebuked by the entire congregation, the church not only is permitted but obligated to treat the unrepentant member “as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer” (Matt. 18:15–17). He then said to the church as a whole what He earlier had said to Peter and to the other apostles: “Truly I say to you, whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (v. 18). In other words, a duly constituted body of believers has the right to tell an unrepentant brother that he is out of line with God’s Word and has no right to fellowship with God’s people. Christians have such authority because they have the truth of God’s authoritative Word by which to judge. The source of the church’s authority is not in itself, anymore than the source of the apostles’ authority was in themselves or even in their office, exalted as it was. Christians can authoritatively declare what is acceptable to God or forbidden by Him because they have His Word. Christians do not determine what is right or wrong, forgiven or unforgiven. Rather, on the basis of God’s own Word, they recognize and proclaim what God has already determined to be right or wrong, forgiven or unforgiven. When they judge on the basis of God’s Word, they can be certain their judgment corresponds with the judgment of heaven.  (See MacArthur's discussion).  (Bold added)

Jesus gives us four steps:

(1) Go to the brother in private and if he listens we have won our brother

(2) If he does not listen take one or two witnesses with you 

(3) If he still refuses then tell the matter to the entire church

(4) If he still refuses he is to be treated as a Gentile or tax collector which is another way of saying he is to be removed from the body

Here in 1 Cor 5:5 Paul seems to go directly to step #4 with no mention of steps 1-2. Why would he do that? We have to speculate, but from the context we know the church is arrogant about this sin which would support the premise that no one in the church was even willing to go to him one on one much less two-three on one. 1 Cor 5:4 does imply that the matter is brought before the whole assembly. But Paul who is not physically present gives his decision which the church is to carry out which would be Step 4. And so in essence it appears that Paul is forced to bypass the usual steps of discipline because of the arrogance of the church! 

As Wayne Barber says "Two things happen when sin is not dealt with within the church. First of all, the testimony of believers is damaged outside the church. But secondly, the purity of the believers is affected inside the church. You see, you have young people growing up, you have people that aren’t mature in the faith, and when you allow sin to go on and you don’t deal with it, it’s sending a message it must be okay. So a younger person says, “Well, if it’s okay for him, it’s okay for me.” The purity of believers within the church begins to decay. Paul, as an apostle under the authority of Christ Himself, says, “I’m making a decision and this decision is not based on my own opinion. It’s based on the fact of the authority of Christ. It’s God’s idea. It’s not man’s idea.....when we begin to tolerate sin in our lives, we’re going to begin to tolerate it in others lives. Then it begins to get in the church. It just decays our testimony in the world. The world looks at us and laughs and says, “You’re spiritual air bags. You know what to say but your life does not show us that you really love the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Note that the NAS adds I have decided. Let's read it in the NET version "When you gather together in the name of our Lord Jesus, and I am with you in spirit, along with the power of our Lord Jesus, turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. 

I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh - Let's take this word by word or phrase by phrase

To deliver (paradidomi) means to give one over to the power and authority of another, in this case Satan and from 1 Cor 5:2+ we know one thing deliver means  is that the man is to be removed from the church. Paul uses deliver (paradidomi) in Romans 1 (Ro 1:24, 26, 28+) for turning God rejecters (Ro 1:18-23+) over to "the lusts of their hearts to impurity....to degrading passions....to a depraved mind." So in Romans the delivering over is not for restoration but for retribution, divine judgment. In another use of deliver (paradidomi) in the context of discipline in 1 Ti 1:20 Paul writes "Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme." So in this passage the delivering over is intended to have a restorative or remedial effect which is similar to Paul's intent of the deliverance in 1 Cor 5:5 "so that his spirit may be saved." In other words, whatever the disciplinary action God allows Satan to carry out, the effect is that while Satan means it for evil, God means it for good. Whether the final outcome will be good however depends on the response of the sinning man. Will he repent and turn from his sin and unto God? Or will he willfully refuse to repent? If he does the former, his spirit will be saved. If he does the latter, the implication is that his spirit would not be saved. 

The question also arises as to how could the church deliver such a one to Satan? First of all, this deliverance to Satan clearly does not mean the church had the authority to send the man to hell, for no individual or church has that authority. Only God has such authority. So almost every commentator agrees that the deliverance is carried out by expelling or removing the man from fellowship with the church He would then in effect be in the world, the domain controlled by Satan ((Col. 1:13+, John 12:31). John adds that "the whole world lies in the power of the evil one." (1 Jn 5:19+). The sinning man would be under the dominion of Satan. And this is where we have to speculate. Would Satan be able to inflict physical harm as he did to Job (Job 2:4-7)? Would Satan be allowed by God to take the man's life? Or would God take the man's life if he refused to repent? I cannot be dogmatic. 

Such a one refers to the man, not the woman which suggests that she was apparently not a part of the church family, otherwise Paul would have had the church deal with her as well. 

Paul uses the word Satan and not "devil" for Satan specifically means adversary, the evil antagonist who offers opposition, hostility, resentment, contention, etc. The sinning one is given over to the Adversary! This is a frightening thought! .

Destruction (olethros) speaks of ruin which means harm ranging from physical harm, to decay and even death. The idea is that the quality or value of something is damaged even to the point of being irreparable. What does this mean in this man's case? It is very difficult to say with certainty, but we know it is not a good effect and we also know that Paul sees it to potentially have a positive effect in that his spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord.

Jack Arnold on destruction of the flesh -  The reason the Apostle Paul turned the offender over to Satan was that there might be a “destruction of the flesh.” This may refer to bodily discipline such as sickness and disease, using Satan as the instrument. Satan apparently would put on this offender his own destructive whims, for we know in the Bible the agency of physical sickness is sometimes Satan as seen in the life of Job (Job 1 and Job 2:4-7). However this probably refers to the destruction of the fleshly nature or the acts of carnality which caused this man’s condition so he may repent. This could and probably does include bodily discipline from Satan as well.  Some say only the original Apostles had the power to deliver an excommunicated Christian to Satan, but I see nothing in scripture to support this view. Authority has now passed down to the elders and they have the authority in the name of Christ to turn an excommunicated person over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. What an awesome responsibility rests on the elders!

John MacArthur feels that "The destruction of the flesh indicates that the incestuous man in Corinth would eventually die unless he repented of his sin. We are not told of the specific affliction, disease, or circumstances (ED: the "destruction"), but his body was on the way to destruction in a special disciplinary way. If he kept sinning, his life would end before he otherwise would have died. He would go to heaven, if he was truly a believer; (ED: SOME WRITERS THINK HE WAS A BELIEVER, BUT OTHERS DO NOT) but he would go before he should have gone. To protect His church, the Lord would have to take him early. Since some believers hold so tightly to this life because they have such limited vision of heaven, such deadly discipline acts as a warning of what might happen to them because of sin.  Perhaps the man did repent. He may be the one spoken of in 2 Corinthians, whom Paul said should be forgiven and comforted and for whom they should reaffirm their love, “in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes” (2 Cor 2:5–11). A disciplined brother is still a brother and is never to be despised, even when unrepentant (2 Th. 3:14–15). And if he repents, he is to be forgiven and restored in love (Gal. 6:1–2). (What Does It Mean to Be Handed Over to Satan?) (Bolding added)

Another comment by John MacArthur on destruction of his flesh -The result of such discipline is the destruction of the flesh. Destruction (olethros) may refer even to death. It is used frequently in connection with divine judgment on sin. But Satan has no power over the spirits of believers. When Satan attacked Job, he was only allowed to harm that man of God physically. He could destroy his possessions and afflict his body, but he could not destroy his soul. The inner believer belongs entirely to Christ and we have the absolute assurance that he will be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. But in the meanwhile the unrepentant believer may be turned over to suffer greatly at the hands of Satan.....Scripture is just as clear, however, that sickness may be the direct result of sin. Because some of the Corinthian Christians had abused and unworthily participated in the Lord’s Supper, Paul told them, “For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep” (1 Cor. 11:30+). Physical weakness, sickness, and even death can result from persistent sinning. When Ananias and Sapphira lied to the church about the proceeds from the sale of their property, they also lied to the Holy Spirit. Their wickedness caused them to die on the spot, “And great fear came upon the whole church, and upon all who heard of these things” (Acts 5:1–11+). Because they were believers, the Lord took them to be with Himself, but He could not allow such wickedness to corrupt the church. The destruction of the flesh indicates that the incestuous man in Corinth would eventually die unless he repented of his sin. (MNTC-1 Cor)

Bell on the destruction of his flesh - “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!”

Robertson on destruction of his flesh feels this refers to "Both for physical suffering as in the case of Job (Job 2:6) and for conquest of the fleshly sins, remedial punishment.....Paul’s motive is not merely vindictive, but the reformation of the offender who is not named here nor in 2 Cor. 2:5–11 if the same man is meant....The final salvation of the man in the day of Christ is the goal and this is to be attained not by condoning his sin.

Another difficulty in this passage is what is the meaning of flesh (sarx)?  Some favor literal "flesh and blood" or physical flesh and thus destruction of this flesh would seem to describe physical harm up to and including death, assuming that he does not repent. Others favor the idea that flesh refers to the fallen nature of man and suggest this man's fallen flesh was "destroyed" but that seems less likely as even Spirit filled believers still possess the fallen flesh, which will not be completely "destroyed" until we are glorified. 

Jack Arnold - Paul made an apostolic disciplinary decision to deliver the offender over to Satan which is part of the excommunication process...The church was merely to carry out what the leadership had decided (ED: AS DISCUSSED ABOVE PAUL APPARENTLY BYPASSES THE STEPS IN MATTHEW 18). The Bible states there are two kingdoms at work in this world--the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of Satan. The kingdom of Christ is within the Church and the sphere outside the Church is the kingdom of Satan (I Jn. 5:19; Col. 1:13). To be put out of the local church is to be put into the sphere where Satan controls. In excommunication, the local church is to place the unrepentant offender back under the control of Satan. The offender’s persistence in evil demonstrates he has never really left Satan’s kingdom. Therefore, the church is to think of him as back under the control of Satan and publicly treat him as an unbeliever. He is, as Jesus said, to be treated like a Gentile, a tax collector, a sinner, an unregenerate and not to be considered as Christian at all (even though the person may actually be a Christian). Excommunication does not mean a person is not a Christian. It means he is to be treated as though he were not a Christian. No pope, bishop, pastor, presbytery or congregation has the power to damn a soul so as to remove salvation. God alone has that power, but the church can put a wayward, professing Christian into Satan's kingdom for discipline. Excommunication involves an absolute loss of all Christian privileges. It does not put a person out of the invisible, universal Church but out of the visible, local church. Hopefully, the unrepentant Christian, while in Satan's realm, will find himself miserable, sensing that he cannot live without the fellowship of God’s people. A true Christian will truly repent when excommunicated. If he does not repent, then he simply proves he was never in Christ's kingdom and was always in Satan’s power. He proves his Christian experience was superficial and spurious with absolutely no genuineness to it.  In short, he proves he was never saved in the first place.

TECHNICAL NOTE FROM NET BIBLE on the phrase "turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh,  (1Co 5:5NET)" - Or perhaps “turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of your fleshly works, so that your spirit may be saved …”; Greek “for the destruction of the flesh, so that the spirit may be saved.” This is one of the most difficult passages in the NT, and there are many different interpretations regarding what is in view here.

(1) Many interpreters see this as some sort of excommunication (“turn this man over to Satan”) which in turn leads to the man’s physical death (“the destruction of the flesh”), resulting in the man’s ultimate salvation (“that [his] spirit may be saved …”).

(2) Others see the phrase “destruction of the flesh” as referring to extreme physical suffering or illness that stops short of physical death, thus leading the offender to repentance and salvation.

(3) A number of scholars (e.g. G. D. Fee, First Corinthians [NICNT], 212–13) take the reference to the “flesh” to refer to the offender’s “sinful nature” or “carnal nature,” which is “destroyed” by placing him outside the church, back in Satan’s domain (exactly how this “destruction” is accomplished is not clear, and is one of the problems with this view).

(4) More recently some have argued that neither the “flesh” nor the “spirit” belong to the offender, but to the church collectively; thus it is the “fleshly works” of the congregation which are being destroyed by the removal of the offender (cf. 5:13) so that the “spirit,” the corporate life of the church lived in union with God through the Holy Spirit, may be preserved (cf. 5:7–8). See, e.g., B. Campbell, “Flesh and Spirit in: 1 Cor 5:5: An Exercise in Rhetorical Criticism of the NT,” JETS 36 (1993): 331–42. The alternate translation “for the destruction of your fleshly works, so that your spirit may be saved” reflects this latter view.

Guzik reminds us that "God often protects us from the attacks of Satan, even when we never knew about the attacks (Job 1:10 and Luke 22:31–32)....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 means at all. Paul isn’t talking about destroying the man’s physical body, but addressing the spiritual power of his sinful flesh." 

Robertson - we are not to infer that expulsion from the local church means the damnation of the offender. The wilful offenders have to be expelled and not regarded as enemies, but admonished as brothers (2 Th 3:14-15). 

If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother

H. A. W. Meyer suggests that while the church could excommunicate an erring member, it was the prerogative of only the apostles to consign a man to Satan. He calls the latter "the intensified penalty of excommunication"

Bell has an interesting thought that this "Seems to suggest that there is spiritual safety within the fellowship of the local church. And a vulnerability to Satan’s attacks on the “outside”! (cf 1 Pe 5:8)

Deliver (hand over) (3860paradidomi from para = alongside, beside, to the side of, over to + didomi = to give) conveys the basic meaning of to give over from one's hand to someone or something, especially to give over to the power of another. Jesus was “betrayed” (delivered over) into human hands (Matt 17:22; 20:18–19; 24:9).

Uses in the Corinthian letters  1 Co. 5:5; 1 Co. 11:2; 1 Co. 11:23; 1 Co. 13:3; 1 Co. 15:3; 1 Co. 15:24; 2 Co. 4:11; 

Satan (4567satanas transliterated from Hebrew Satan - see 07854 and Aramaic sātānâ) literally means Adversary, the evil antagonist who offers opposition, hostility, resentment, etc. An enemy who that contends with, opposes, resists. An adversary is one who hates or opposes another person and tries to harm them or stop them from doing something because of hatred and malice. Satan is the inveterateimplacable, relentless, ruthless, remorseless, merciless, heartless, pitiless, cruel, hard, harsh, hardened, incorrigible, dedicated enemy of God and man. In 2 Cor. 12:7 Paul speaks of his own physical suffering = "Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me–to keep me from exalting myself!"

Uses in the Corinthian letters 1 Co. 5:5; 1 Co. 7:5; 2 Co. 2:11; 2 Co. 11:14; 2 Co. 12:7; 

Destruction (3639olethros  from ollumi = to destroy. Derivative = apollumi = destroy utterly or fully and has to do with that which is ruined and is no longer usable for its intended purpose) is a state of utter and hopeless ruin and the end of all that gives worth to human existence! Do not confuse with a state of annihilation (and non-existence so that there is no longer an actual personal perception) for olethros signifies an unavoidable, very real experience of distress and torment! The destruction Paul warns about is a time of unavoidable distress, disaster and ruin. This destruction will not be a loss of being but rather a loss of well-being. The idea of olethros is to suffer the loss of all that gives worth to existence. We get a clue as to the meaning of olethros in 1 Th 5:3 where Paul writes "then destruction (olethros) will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape." What this passage suggest is that the destruction is progressive like labor pains and grows in intensity like labor pains. In 2 Th 1:9-10 Paul says unbelievers "will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power." So there the destruction includes separation from God. 

Used in only 5v in NT - 1 Co. 5:5; 1 Th 5:3; 2 Th. 1:9; 1 Ti 6:9; Heb. 11:28

Flesh (4561sarx is used 147 times in the NT.  A simple definition of sarx is difficult because sarx has many nuances (e.g., some Greek lexicons list up to 11 definitions for sarx!). In the present context sarx is one having flesh and blood,  the physical body as a whole. 

Summary of sarx - 1) flesh (the soft substance of the living body, which covers the bones and is permeated with blood) of both man and beasts 2) the body 2a) the body of a man 2b) used of natural or physical origin, generation or relationship 2b1) born of natural generation 2c) the sensuous nature of man, "the animal nature" 2c1) without any suggestion of depravity 2c2) the animal nature with cravings which incite to sin 2c3) the physical nature of man as subject to suffering 3) a living creature (because possessed of a body of flesh) whether man or beast 4) the flesh, denotes mere human nature, the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God 

Uses in the Corinthian letters 1 Co. 1:26; 1 Co. 1:29; 1 Co. 5:5; 1 Co. 6:16; 1 Co. 7:28; 1 Co. 10:18; 1 Co. 15:39; 1 Co. 15:50; 2 Co. 1:17; 2 Co. 4:11; 2 Co. 5:16; 2 Co. 7:1; 2 Co. 7:5; 2 Co. 10:2; 2 Co. 10:3; 2 Co. 11:18; 2 Co. 12:7; 

So that - Term of purpose. Paul specifies the goal of the giving over and it was not to totally destroy the man.

His spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus - This is a difficult passage to interpret and one needs to be careful and not be too dogmatic. Clearly the goal of being given over to Satan is not only punishment, but punishment that leads to repentance (that "his spirit may be saved").

Paul does does not say "will be saved" (NLT paraphrases it "will be saved" but that is not what the literal Greek says) but "may be saved." This is the subjunctive mood which is the mood of possibility. This suggests that this man's spirit might be saved but there is no guarantee. 

Jack Arnold on his spirit saved on the day of the Lord - The ultimate reason for this excommunication and the turning of the offender over to Satan was not to have a sadistic glee over a brother who has fallen but to see this brother’s spirit saved on judgment day at the second coming of Christ. Hopefully, being put back into Satan’s kingdom and through negative experiences in that kingdom, he will see the need for true repentance and confession of his sin, so that he will be restored to fellowship with Christ and the local church. Paul wanted to see this man demonstrating the reality of his salvation so that on judgment day he would be accepted by Christ.

Not everyone agrees with Arnold's suggestion that "There is very strong evidence that this offender in the Corinthian Church repented and came back into fellowship with Christ and the church. “If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him” (2 Cor. 2:5-8). (ED: WAS THIS THE 1 COR 5 MAN IN INCEST? ARNOLD THINKS SO WRITING) The discipline worked, but then the Corinthian Church had a hard time forgiving the erring brother and letting him back into the church. The Corinthians went from one extreme to the other. Such is human nature which is filled with pride, smugness, prejudice and self-righteousness. 

Ray Stedman -  “Why does the church take action? Well, not just to get rid of a trouble-maker or not merely to show itself clean in this regard, but rather in order to reach the individuals involved and so deal with them that eventually they will see their wrongdoing and repent. And all judgment ends at repentance; all discipline ceases when repentance occurs. Therefore, the hope here is that when you put someone back into the world, as it were, under Satan's control, that he will learn what worldings will learn if they live long enough -- that the philosophies they are following are delusive, empty and vain, and when they find themselves drained, jaded and empty of heart, they will turn back to the living Lord and their spirits will be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. When He comes or when they meet Him in death, their spirits will be saved even though their lives have been wasted. This is the hope and that is the purpose for church discipline" (1 Corinthians Notes).

Some like Warren Wiersbe refer to the incestuous sinner as a Christian. He writes "What does it mean to deliver a Christian “unto Satan”? It does not mean to deprive him of salvation, since it is not the church that grants salvation to begin with. When a Christian is in fellowship with the Lord and with the local church, he enjoys a special protection from Satan. But when he is out of fellowship with God and excommunicated from the local church, he is “fair game” for the enemy. God could permit Satan to attack the offender’s body so that the sinning believer would repent and return to the Lord." (BEC)

Believer's Study Bible on may be saved - Two very different interpretations have been advocated with regard to this admittedly difficult passage: (1) The delivery unto Satan has reference to the ban or excommunication, and the "destruction of the flesh" is to be understood as the destruction of the fleshly nature of the sinner. (2) The delivery unto Satan involves something of an apostolic judgment which would result in actual physical malady and perhaps even death. Support for this position might be marshalled from 1 Ti 1:20, in which Paul delivers Hymenaeus and Alexander unto Satan, and from the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11. Certainly the passage as a whole establishes the certainty of the first interpretation, but this does not eliminate the truthfulness of the second one. The necessity of such grave action arises out of the inevitable result of a little leaven in a lump of dough. The whole lump is soon leavened (v. 6). The effect of grave sin tolerated within the church would eventually be a widespread loss of purity.

In 1 Cor 1:8+ we read "Who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." This is the "day" when Christ returns to defeat His enemies, reward His saints and set up His kingdom on earth. 

MacArthur - The unrepentant person may suffer greatly under God’s judgment, but will not be an evil influence in the church; and he will more likely be saved under that judgment than if tolerated and accepted in the church (Study Bible)

Wiersbe - “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 an erring member of the family.”

Guzik - Some call this “excommunication” or “disfellowshipping” a person. They are to be put outside the congregation until they repent. In today’s church culture, this rarely brings a sinner to repentance, because they can so easily just go to another church and pretend that nothing happened at their old church. Or, it is easy for them to play the victim, and act as if their former church was cruel towards them. While it is true that some churches have been cruel towards their members, and have unjustly put some out of the congregation, it does not mean the church should never practice the Biblical principles Paul teaches here. It is to be done, for both the good of the church and the good of the sinner.

Saved (4982)(sozo) has the basic meaning of rescuing one from great peril. Additional nuances include to protect, keep alive, preserve life, deliver, heal, be made whole. Sozo in the Corinthian letters - 1 Co. 1:18; 1 Co. 1:21; 1 Co. 3:15; 1 Co. 5:5; 1 Co. 7:16; 1 Co. 9:22; 1 Co. 10:33; 1 Co. 15:2; 2 Co. 2:15;

Lord (Master, Owner)(2962kurios from kuros = might or power, related to kuroo = to give authority) primarily means the possessor, owner, master, the supreme one, one who is sovereign and possesses absolute authority, absolute ownership rights and uncontested power. DOES THAT DESCRIBE WHO JESUS IS TO YOU? IT SHOULD BELOVED, FOR YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN BUT HIS! 

Jesus (2424Iesous is transliteration of the Greek Iesous, which in turn is the transliteration of the Hebrew name Jehoshua (Yehoshua) or Jeshua (Yeshua) which mean Jehovah is help or Jehovah is salvation. Stated another way the Greek Iesous corresponds to the OT Jehoshua (Yehoshua) which is contracted as Jeshua (Yeshua). His Name is indeed "the Name which is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth" (Php 2:9-11+) and "there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other Name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12+) Indeed, His very Name "Iesous" conveys His supreme purpose for coming to earth -- to save men dead in their trespasses and sins (Mt 1:21+) Our goal should be to fix our "eyes on Jesus the Author and Perfecter of faith." (Heb 12:2+)One of my favorite (older) choruses is Jesus, Name Above All Names - YouTube

Jesus, Name above all names,
Beautiful Savior, glorious Lord.
Emanuel, God is with us,
Blessed Redeemer, Living Word.

Krell on  Why should a church practice church discipline? There are a number of critical reasons.

  1. To glorify God. God commands His children to be holy as He is holy (1 Pet 1:16). Consequently, the Lord disciplines us so that we can share in His holiness (Heb 12:5-11). As a father delegates part of the discipline of the children to the mother, so the Lord has delegated the discipline of the church family to the church itself (1 Cor 5:12-13; 2 Cor 2:6). 
  2. To purify the church. Sin is a spiritual cancer that cannot be allowed to grow. Sin that is not dealt with can corrupt the entire church. The health of the church requires its removal through repentance or excommunication. 
  3. To restore the sinning believer. Church discipline should focus on restoration, not judgment and condemnation (Matt 18:15; 2 Cor 2:5-8). We are not to be vultures, preying on fallen Christians. We should, however, be like divine physicians restoring those members who are out of joint with the body of Christ (Gal 6:1). 
  4. To deter the church from sin. The discipline of an individual reminds everyone that sin and righteousness are serious matters. Discipline instills godly fear, which is a significant deterrent to sin (1 Tim 5:20). Deterrence was the result of the discipline of Ananias and Sapphira, for “great fear came over all who heard of it.” 
  5. To maintain a credible witness before the world. The world observes the behavior and life of the church. When the church acts no differently than the world it loses its credibility (1 Pet 2:11-18; 3:8-16; 4:1-4). Moreover, on a practical note, church discipline is a powerful tool in evangelism. People notice when our lives are different, especially when there’s a whole community of people whose lives are different. When churches are seen as conforming to the world, it makes our evangelistic task all the more difficult. We become so much like unbelievers they have no questions they want to ask us. May we so live that people are made constructively curious.26

Question:  What is excommunication in the Bible?

Answer: First, we should note that the Bible never uses the word excommunication. It’s a word that has been adopted by some religious groups, especially by the Catholic Church, to denote the formal process of removing someone from membership and participation in the church, from relationship with the church community, or, in the Catholic view, even from the family of God. While the Bible does not teach that a Christian can lose his salvation, it does describe the process of church discipline in several passages. The final step of church discipline is excommunication—a removal from the local church.

In Matthew 18:15–17, Jesus teaches His disciples about excommunication. The Lord details a multi-step approach for responding to sinful offenses in the church community:

Step 1: Go to the person privately, tell him how he has sinned against you, and be reconciled if he is willing. If the offending person repents, no more action is required.

Step 2: If he won’t listen, go back with two or three witnesses to have the conversation again, establishing the facts and the evidence.

Step 3: If he still refuses to listen and repent from his sinfulness, bring him before the full church body and make the case against him.

Step 4: If there is still no repentance, the church is to excommunicate the sinner. Jesus’ words are “let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (Matthew 18:17, ESV).

The Jews saw both groups Jesus mentions—Gentiles and tax collectors—as outsiders. Gentiles were pagan idolaters, and tax collectors were in collusion with Rome. In Jesus’ day, religious Israelites would not associate beyond what was strictly necessary with Gentiles or tax collectors. They would not have meals with them, for instance, or invite them to social gatherings. So, when Jesus says to view the unrepentant sinner in the church as “a Gentile and a tax collector,” He is instructing the church to officially and with clear communication stop having close fellowship with the unrepentant sinner; the sinner is to be put out of the close-knit community of Christians. This is excommunication.

What is the purpose of excommunication? The dismissal of an unrepentant, defiant sinner from the community of believers is not about public shaming or judgment. It’s about loving that person enough to do what is best for him or her and about doing what is best for the church as a whole.

We have an example of excommunication and its aftermath in two passages from Paul. A man in the church in Corinth was having sex with his step-mother, a sin so egregious “that even pagans do not tolerate [it]” (1 Corinthians 5:1). Paul rebukes the Christians in Corinth for accepting this man’s incest. Apparently, the Corinthians had misunderstood the grace of God so badly that they had come to believe all sin should be tolerated, maybe even celebrated proudly, as evidence of God’s grace and forgiveness (1 Cor 5:2).

Paul says, “No way.” Sin in the church must be dealt with. He instructs the Corinthians to come together for the purpose of excommunication. The local body of believers was, under apostolic authority, to turn this man over to Satan for “the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 5:4–5). Evidently, in this particular case, there was a physical affliction of supernatural origin associated with the excommunication; it was excommunication with an added apostolic curse.

Scripture does not indicate that every excommunication is followed by physical consequences. The general principle, however, is that excommunication lets the sinner experience the full, painful consequences of his sinful choices so that he will repent, submit to God, and be saved from spiritual ruin. The motive for excommunication is not punishment or vengeance but reformation and spiritual health.

Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians deals with the follow-up to excommunication. In 2 Corinthians 2:5–11, Paul seems to be talking about the very same person he had instructed the church to excommunicate. The sinner had repented, and Paul writes, “The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him” (verses 6–8). As soon as the excommunicated believer repents, he should be welcomed back into warm relationship with the church community. Once repentance has been established, the excommunication should be fully reversed. The goal has been accomplished.

So, who is eligible for excommunication? The Bible is clear that excommunication is only for church members (not unbelievers) and only in response to obvious and ongoing sin from which a person refuses to repent despite multiple exhortations: “I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people” (1 Corinthians 5:11).

Five important things to remember about excommunication:

1. The Bible never instructs individual Christians to decide on their own or even in a small group to “excommunicate” another believer. Excommunication is meant to be a formal action taken by the local church as a whole.

2. Excommunication is primarily about relationship. Those in the church are specifically instructed to stop sharing meals with the unrepentant person (1 Corinthians 5:11), to limit their contact with him.

3. This process of excommunication is for believers, for those who declare themselves to have sincerely trusted in Christ for their salvation. Excommunication is the church’s response to one who says, “Yes, I’m a Christian, and, no, I will not turn from this sin.”

4. The process of excommunication is not meant for someone who admits his sin and is repentant but continues to struggle to break free of it. If a believer sins and, when confronted, says, “Yes, that was wrong. I’m sorry. I want to start again,” he is to be forgiven—even if he has sinned in the same way repeatedly (Matthew 18:21–22). In such a case, Scripture doesn’t suggest that person’s sin should be exposed to the full church as a kind of penalty, unless he chooses to reveal it himself.

5. The goal of excommunication is restoration. According to Jesus, the whole process of removing a member from the church is to be gradual, deliberate, and cautious. If at any point in the process the sinning person repents, then “you have gained your brother” (Matthew 18:15), and the fellowship is restored. GotQuestions.org

STORY FROM DONALD CANTRELL - I know a man that used to be an old timed old fashioned preacher back in the 1960’s and 1970’s but he chose to back up on the Lord. It was not very long before this preacher ended up divorced. It was not long after this that his exwife nearly cut his wrist off with a butcher knife. The preacher turned to drinking and carousing and his kids grew up to hate him and to despise him. He remarried but that also ended up in a disastrous divorce. He tried to get back to the former place of servitude in his life, but I will never forget his words. The man looked at me and said, “I just can’t get back to where I was, God is done with me and I have gone too far”. I can hear many now saying this proved that he was lost; I beg to differ with you. It proves to me that the man was saved and that upon his continual rebellion the Lord turned him over to Satan and Satan literally destroyed this man. I will never forget when he was about to die and he was only a former shell of himself. He told his brother whom also was a preacher that he was afraid to die and go stand before God, and that he did not know how to die!!!

ILLUSTRATION - Jeb Stuart McGruder was one of the figures involved in Watergate. He was a promising young politician with a good background and a great future. But he became confused about the distinction between right and wrong, and was caught up in the Watergate cover-up. When he was sentenced to prison, someone asked him why he did it. He said, "My ambition obscured my judgment. Somewhere between my ambition and my ideals I lost my compass." That is what evidently happened in the church at Corinth. The result was a blatant example of immorality that Paul had to deal with in chapter 5 of his first Corinthian letter. 

I. The Discovery for the Duplication That Is Denied
"that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles" (v. 1).

A. The Information That Is Communicated
"It is reported commonly" (v. 1).
B. The Incest That Is Committed
"that one should have his father’s wife" (v. 1).
C. The Inflation That Is Characterized
"And ye are puffed up" (v. 2).
D. The Insensitivity That Is Carried
"and have not rather mourned" (v. 2).
E. The Irresponsibility That Is Charged
"that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you" (v. 2).

II. The Determination in the Deed That Is Declared

"have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed" (v. 3).
A. The Absence From the Assembly That Is Noted
"For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit" (v. 3).
B. The Authority for the Action That Is Named
"In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered  together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ" (v. 4).

III. The Delivery to the Devil That Is Decided

"To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh" (v. 5).
A. The Purpose in Punishment for the Preservation
"that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" (v. 5).
B. The Presence of Pride for the Purging
"Your glorying is not good" (v. 6).
C. The Permission of Puniness for the Prevention
"Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?" (v. 6).

IV. The Depiction of the Design That Is Developed

"Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump" (v. 7).
A. The Satisfaction of the Type
"as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us" (v. 7).
B. The Sincerity With the Task
"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" (v. 8).

V. The Direction About the Depravity That Are Dispatched

"I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators" (v. 9).
A. The Exception Recognized in the Wickedness
"Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters" (v. 10).
B. The Exit Required From the World
"for then must ye needs go out of the world" (v. 11).

VI. The Dinner With the Despiteful That Is Disallowed
      "with such an one no not to eat" (v. 11).

A. The Brother That Is Left
"But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother" (v. 11).
B. The Behavior That Is Listed
"be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner" (v. 11).

VII. The Discipline Against the Deviation That Is Demanded

"Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person" (v. 13).
A. The Job That Is Given for the Guilt Inside
"For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?" (v. 12).
B. The Judgment That Is God’s for the Guilt Outside
"But them that are without God judgeth" (v. 13).

Related Resources:

1 Corinthians 5:6  Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?

Amplified - [About the condition of your church] your boasting is not good [indeed, it is most unseemly and entirely out of place]. Do you not know that [just] a little leaven will ferment the whole lump [of dough]?

Wuest Paraphrase -  Your boasting [in the state of the local assembly] is not seemly or fitting. Do you not know with a positive assurance that a little yeast permeates and affects the entire bread dough with itself?  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)

  • Your boasting is not good.: 1Co 5:2 3:21 4:18,19 Jas 4:16 
  • little leaven leavens the whole lump 1Co 15:33 Mt 13:33 16:6-12 Lu 13:21 Ga 5:9 2Ti 2:17 
  • 1 Corinthians 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 16:6; 12   And Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Galatians 5:9+  A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.

Matthew 13:33+   He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.” 

Luke 13:20-21+ And again He said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21 “It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”


MacArthur introduces this next section (1 Cor 5:6-8) - Discipline sometimes must be severe because the consequences of not disciplining are much worse. Sin is a spiritual malignancy and it will not long stay isolated. Unless removed it will spread its infection until the whole fellowship of believers is diseased.

Your boasting is not good - In context, their "puffed up" attitudes which led them to sinful boasting, which in turn led them to become blinded to the heinous incest which if left untouched eventually destroy their church if it were not removed! (THOUGHT: This is a truism for any sin we fail to deal with personally, be it immorality, alcoholism, etc). When our pride blinds us to what is going on around us or to the consequences of our actions, we are in trouble. Pride blinds us to our limitations and distorts our ability to reason things out. Pride blinds us to how needy we really are, so that we rely on ourselves or on other people or on some godless method to get us out of our troubles.  Pride blinded the church to moral vision, so that they could not see the baseness of their sin especially the heinous nature of the sin of incest in the their midst! (See Utley's topic Boasting).

MacArthur - A large congregation, an impressive Sunday school, active witnessing and visitation and counseling, and every other sort of good program give no protection or justification to a church that is not faithful in cleansing itself. When sin is willingly, or even neglectfully, allowed to go unchallenged and undisciplined, a larger church will be in danger of a larger malignancy.

Boasting (glorying) (2745) kauchema akin to aucheo = boast + euchomai = pray to God <> auchen = neck which vain persons are apt to carry in proud manner) strictly speaking describes either a boast (the act) or the ground or the matter of glorying or boasting (the object). The boast can be either proper or improper (sinful, as in 1Co 5:6), and whether it is a good or bad sense is determined by the context.

Used 11x in NT - Rom. 4:2; 1 Co. 5:6; 1 Co. 9:15; 1 Co. 9:16; 2 Co. 1:14; 2 Co. 5:12; 2 Co. 9:3; Gal. 6:4; Phil. 1:26; Phil. 2:16; Heb. 3:6

Good (2570kalos describes that which is inherently excellent or intrinsically good, providing some special or superior benefit. Kalos is good with emphasis (as discussed below) on that which is beautiful, handsome, excellent, surpassing, precious, commendable, admirable. 

Do you not know that a little (mikros - small piece of) leaven (present tense -continually, progressively) leavens the whole lump of dough? Paul used this phrase Do you not know  to bring to mind truth that his readers knew but either forgot or in this case more likely disregarded. Paul asks a question which expects an affirmative answer. Paul uses this phrase Do you not know (found repeatedly in this first letter)  to remind them what they should have known because they had been previously taught by him and then by Apollos, two of the greatest teachers in the history of the church!  The point is that this basic baking principle about leaven is one they should know for it was known by everyone who made bread. Paul is trying to get them to see the situation clearly for their boasting had blinded their spiritual vision. To neglect the sin would result in spread of the sin just like leaven spreads through the dough. A little leaven is thought by many commentators to be the sin of incest. While there is some truth in that, from the immediate context, there was also another dangerous leaven in the congregation, the leaven of the sin of boasting. which he is says is not good. Then he mentions leaven, so clearly in context the leaven is boasting. Of course the whole lump is the Corinthian church. And of course the man in incest is also "leaven." 

THOUGHT -  If you’re not dealing with sin in your own individual life, you don’t realize right now the damage it’s doing to your home. It’s like that leaven. It’s in there and it’s beginning to fester, and if you don’t deal with it, it’s going to destroy. It can destroy relationships of any kind. (Wayne Barber)

Jack Arnold on a little leaven leavens the whole lump - The first principle is from the nature of sin. Paul uses yeast (leaven) which speaks of evil, for his illustration. He reached back into the kitchen and brought out something which would be familiar to every woman in New Testament days. A little leaven (yeast) permeates the whole dough and causes it to rise. Paul’s point is obvious: a little evil, by its very nature, defuses itself, spreading its corrupting influence so that which it contacts is corrupted also. A little sin contaminates the whole assembly. Sin can wreck the purity of the church. One spoiled apple can cause the whole barrel to rot. By keeping this incestuous adulterer in the local church, the whole body could be infested with sexual immorality and other breaches of God’s law. Sin spreads like wildfire. It must be stopped to protect the congregation. Or to put this whole thought in perspective we might use the illustration of cancer. One cancer cell inside a healthy body can spread the disease to the other cells. Only radical surgery on the bad cells can save the body from dying. To discipline an offender is painful but it does have a sobering effect upon the whole church. Christians might think twice before they get involved in premarital sex, or have an extramarital affair, or file for divorce, or fall into homosexuality or lesbianism or any other gross sin if they knew that the local church would discipline them. (ED: I KNOW OF A LOCAL CHURCH WHERE THE MARRIED WORSHIP LEADER DIED OF AIDS AT A YOUNG AGE. UNFORTUNATELY THE PASTOR CHOOSE NOT TO DISCLOSE THIS SIN TO THE CONGREGATION. ONE CAN ONLY WONDER IF HE HAD DONE SO, WOULD OTHERS TRAPPED IN VARIOUS SEXUAL SINS HAVE COME TO EXPERIENCE THE FEAR OF THE LORD AND CEASED THEIR DALLIANCES? ONLY GOD KNOWS!)

Krell on leaven Leaven is a little lump of bread dough that is saved out of the batch. It is allowed to ferment or sour, and then it’s used in the next batch of bread so that it will rise. A little bit of yeast can make a whole loaf rise. The Jews associated fermenting with rotting, so leaven became a symbol of corrosive evil.

Phrase - Do you not know  Gen. 44:15; Jdg. 15:11; 2 Sam. 2:26; 2 Sam. 3:38; 2 Chr. 13:5; 2 Chr. 32:13; Isa. 40:21; Isa. 40:28; Ezek. 17:12; Zech. 4:5; Zech. 4:13; Jn. 19:10; Rom. 6:3; Rom. 6:16; Rom. 7:1; Rom. 11:2; 1 Co. 3:16; 1 Co. 5:6; 1 Co. 6:2; 1 Co. 6:3; 1 Co. 6:9; 1 Co. 6:15; 1 Co. 6:16; 1 Co. 6:19; 1 Co. 9:13; 1 Co. 9:24; Jas. 4:4

Wiersbe - leaven always “puffs up” whatever it infects.

Wayne Barber asks "What does the apostle Paul say about the church there at Corinth? He said, “You’re arrogant.” What is the word for arrogantPhusioo, which means what? You’re a spiritual air bag. Leaven has caused you to rise up; and people look at you and think you really love Jesus. But on the inside there’s nothing to back up your walk. By the way, I found out something else. Do you know what the substance is that causes yeast not to activate? It’s salt. Now, if you have a creative mind, and you want to illustrate something, have fun with that one. What did Jesus say for us to be in the world? Salt and light (Mt 5:13+). And the more we live godly lives, the more we cause leaven not to be able to function as it needs to function. So it’s a beautiful picture, obviously, of the Holy Spirit of God that we understand how sin works, whether in an individual’s life or in the body of believers.

Zeisler: Perhaps we can draw an analogy with fruit flies. If a single female fruit fly were introduced into this county, the fruit harvest could be devastated. The fruit fly does its work invisibly, reproducing in massive numbers and destroying valuable crops. Leaven works in the same way. Paul charges the Corinthians that they are an arrogant people. One rotten apple among them was threatening to rot all of the other apples and they had to do something about it.

Bell - The principle is that the "Part effects the whole! As one drop of foul water spoils a cup of clean water. As one bad tooth affects your whole body. As a drop of poison to your whole blood stream. So, one saint at Calvary Murietta can corrupt our whole congregation!

MacArthur has an excellent explanation of leaven in light of the OT teaching in Exodus 12+ - For the Jews, leaven historically had also represented something bad from the past brought over into the present. When God was preparing Israel to leave Egypt He instructed His people to sprinkle lamb’s blood on their doorposts and lintels so that, in the last of the ten plagues on Egypt, the angel of death would pass over and not slay their firstborn (Ex. 12:23+). And when they baked bread in preparation for the trek out of Egypt, the Israelites were not allowed to add leaven. For one thing, they did not have time to knead the leaven into the dough and wait for it to rise, since “they could not delay” (Ex 12:39+). For another, bread represented sustenance of life, and the Passover and Exodus represented deliverance from the old life (in Egypt) and entrance into the new life (in the Promised Land). The leaven represented the old life—the way of Egypt, the way of the world—which was to be left entirely behind. Consequently, while they were traveling out of Egypt and during every subsequent Passover celebration, the Lord commanded that “nothing leavened shall be seen among you” (Ex 13:3, 7+). Every bit of leaven was to be thrown out. Christians likewise are to be separated from the old life. We are to bring none of it into the new life. (MNTC-1 Cor)

Know (1492)(eido) means to know beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Leaven (yeast)(2219zume probably from zeo = to heat, as occurs in fermentation of dough when leaven is mixed in) was literally a small portion of dough that was retained in order to start a new batch of dough (literal uses -  Mt 16:12; Lk 13:21; 1 Cor 5:6; Gal 5:9). In ancient times, when bread was about to be baked, a small piece of dough was pulled off and saved. That leaven or yeast would then be allowed to ferment in water, and later kneaded into the next batch of fresh dough to make it rise. Leaven throughout Scripture was used figuratively to describe permeating power or influence, usually the influence of evil, but also of good in Mt 13:33 and Lk 13:21 referring to the growth or expansion of the Kingdom of God. Zume was used proverbially to demonstrate great effect from little causes (Gal 5:9).  Zume is used figuratively to depict corruption of thought and conduct, which Jesus termed hypocrisy here in Lk 12:1. Zume was used figuratively to describe teachings based on unspiritual value systems (Mt 16.12). Finally, zume was a metaphor for sin within a believing community, and was identified as wicked ways (1Cor 5.8). The first use of zume in the Septuagint (Ex. 12:15; 12:19) is associated with the Passover, where the Jews were instructed to eat bread without leaven for seven days. (See What is the significance of unleavened bread?)

Zume in 11v in NT - Matt. 13:33; Matt. 16:6; Matt. 16:11; Matt. 16:12; Mk. 8:15; Lk. 12:1; Lk. 13:21; 1 Co. 5:6; 1 Co. 5:7; 1 Co. 5:8; Gal. 5:9

Zume - 10x in 10v in the Septuagint - Ex. 12:15; Ex. 12:19; Ex. 13:3; Ex. 13:7; Ex. 23:18; Exod. 34:25; Lev. 2:11; Deut. 16:3; Deut. 16:4

Related Resources:

Leavens (2220)(zumoo)  ferments, causes to ferment, use yeast or leaven to cause bread dough to rise. To cause a substance to undergo fermentation using leaven, usually in bread or a liquid. 4x in the NT - Matt. 13:33; Lk. 13:21; 1 Co. 5:6; Gal. 5:9. 5x in the Septuagint - Ex 12:34; Ex 12:39; Lev. 6:17; Lev. 23:17; Hos. 7:4;

Lump (5445)(phurama from phurao = to mix) refers a compact, kneaded mass of some mixture, especially dough or clay. Any substance that has been mixed and kneaded together; (1) of bread dough, lump, batch (1Co 5.6); literally fresh dough, i.e. without yeast; used metaphorically of a morally clean community of believers (1Co 5.7); (2) of potter's clay lump ( Ro 9.21). NIDNTT- In the classical and Hellenistic periods phyrama describes something mixed or kneaded, like dough (Mnesimachus 4, 11; Aristotle, Problems 929 a 25; Plutarch, Moralia 693 e). The cognate verb is almost restricted to the sense of mixing flour or some similar substance. Only rarely is there reference to the mixing of soil with water to form a clay paste (cf. Plato, Timaeus 73 e; Theaetetus 147 c). Not until Plutarch is there a clear instance of the use of phyrama for the dough-like mixture from which the potter moulds his ware (Moralia 811 c).

Phurama - 5x in Septuagint - Ro 9:21; Ro 11:16; 1 Co. 5:6; 1 Co. 5:7; Gal. 5:9

Phurama - 4x in Septuagint - Ex. 8:3; Ex. 12:34; Nu 15:20; Nu 15:21; 

1 Corinthians 5:7  Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.

Amplified - Purge (clean out) the old leaven that you may be fresh (new) dough, still uncontaminated [as you are], for Christ, our Passover [Lamb], has been sacrificed.

Wuest Paraphrase - Cleanse out completely, at once and once for all, the old yeast which is part of a world which has passed away for you and out from which you were saved, in order that you may be a fresh aggregation of individuals, even as you are without yeast. For, indeed, our Passover was slain, Christ.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)

  • Clean out the old leaven: 1Co 5:13 Ex 12:15 13:6,7 Eph 4:22 Col 3:5-9 
  • so that you may be a new lump 1Co 10:17 
  • Christ our Passover 1Co 15:3,4 Ex 12:5,6 Isa 53:7-10 Joh 1:29,36 19:14 Ac 8:32-35 1Pe 1:19,20 Rev 5:6-9,12 
  • 1 Corinthians 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries .

Related Passages:

Exodus 12:15+ ‘Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.

Exodus 12:19+; ‘Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is an alien or a native of the land.

Exodus 13:7+ “Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days; and nothing leavened shall be seen among you, nor shall any leaven be seen among you in all your borders.


Paul now appeals to an OT illustration to make his point that a thorough purging was absolutely necessary. 

Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump - Paul is giving a command to with the  aorist imperative  (see need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) signifying that this calls for urgent action on the part of the church at Corinth. To delay is to risk the danger of the "leaven" of sin spreading throughout the congregation.

Wayne Barber - What does he mean by new lump? Qualitatively new? No. This is a different word, neos. It means new in relation to time. It means that you’ll have a new testimony to the people of Corinth. In other words, up until now the pagans don’t respect the Corinthian church (ED: THINK ABOUT IT - EVEN THE PAGANS DON'T COMMIT THE SIN OF INCEST WHICH IS WIDELY REPORTED IN THE CHURCH!). Paul’s trying to tell them that. They have absolutely no respect whatsoever for you Corinthian church. They know that you tolerate sin and even though you don’t associate with them, they know that you tolerate sin in your midst. However, if you want a brand new look to them, if you want to have a witness amongst the lost people of Corinth, then you remove this man. And it will send a message to them and you can have a fresh testimony among them. They were in great need of revival and repentance. This is what Paul’s saying. Deal with this man, and you’ll set a standard once again in the body. You’ll send a message to this world that we’re attached to Christ and leaven has no place in our lives.

Utley on clean out - It is an allusion to the Jewish custom of removing yeast from the house just before Passover each year (cf. Ex 12:15+). The annual ritual was a symbol of repentance.

Clean out (1571ekkathairo from ek = out or giving sense of "utterly" + kathaíro = purge, clean = English “catharsis”) means to clean out thoroughly, to completely purge and rid of something unclean. This word strongly emphasizes the completeness of cleansing called for. This is not just a little dusting off but a purging from the evil (people and/or teaching). Ekkathairo was used in the following phrases in Greek writings -- to clear out ditches; he clears this land of monsters. The only other use 2 Ti 2:21+ also speaks of cleansing (from destructive teachings and/or dishonorable people) Paul writing that "if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work."

Kathaírō is used with the meaning of pruning useless branches so that the useful branches may be made more productive (John 15:2). When the preposition ek, "out of," is used as a prefix, it means to remove an evil since evil affects others. It means to excise.

Old (3820) see palaios 

Leaven (yeast)(2219) see zume

New (3501neos signifies new in respect to time (contrast kainos = new in respect to quality) and describes that which has recently come into existence but for a relatively short time (eg, "new wine" Mt 9:17). Vine says that the use of neos "stresses… the fact of the believer’s new experience, recently begun and still proceeding. New in contrast to that which was of long duration.

Lump (5445) see phurama

Just as you are in fact unleavened - Paul continues with the figure of leaven to describe the fact that  in Christ they have been made new creatures, the old having passed away and the new having come. (cf 2 Cor 5:17+)

Utley on you are in fact unleavened - This shows Paul’s typical combination of the MORAL command (Clean out) linked with the POSITIONAL statement (IN FACT UNLEAVENED). What we are in Christ positionally, we are to become in Christ-like lifestyle. 

Krell adds that "In 1 Cor 5:7-9 Paul couples the imperative to the indicative: Clean out the leaven so that you can start over unleavened bread, because that is what you are. The imperative to clean out the old leaven is predicated on the indicative: they are unleavened. In other words, Paul tells them to be who they are, to live like Christians. Who they are is revealed in what they do. What they do comes from who they are.  Paul’s point is clear: Sin spreads in the church as leaven does in dough (cf. Gal 5:9; Mark 8:15). Sin always spreads and contaminates if left alone, just as poison, weeds, and cancer do. Eventually the whole moral fabric of the congregation would suffer if the believers did not expunge this sin. Thus, we must purge the church of sin for the church stands or falls together. (How to Handle a Scandal)

THOUGHT - One of the greatest protections from sin that we have as Christians is simply focusing on our Lord and on the sacrifice He made for us. To understand that His death for sin applied to us calls us away from sin and to a clean break with the old ways is to understand the sanctifying work of the cross (see Titus 2:11–14). It is impossible to be occupied with this truth and with sin at the same time. (MacArthur)

Unleavened (106) see azumos

For (gar) term of explanation - Paul explains how they were made "unleavened" 

Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed - This is the only place in the NT which connects the OT Passover sacrifice with Christ (cf Col 2:17+). And so paul is alluding to the fact that now Christ is the true Passover Lamb of God Who took away the sins of the world (Jn 1:29+  What is the Passover Lamb?) when He spilt His precious blood (1 Pe 1:18-19+) and surrendered His perfect life on the Cross (Lk 23:46+). The Passover Lamb paid the price to make the Corinthians (and us) "clean and unleavened." 

Christ (5547Christos from chrio = to rub or anoint, consecrate to an office) describes one who has been anointed with oil, one who has been consecrated. The majority of the NT uses refer to Jesus, the "Anointed One" (Hebrew = Mashiach/masiyahLxx = Christos). the Greek synonym for "Messiah ( messias)." (See also Messiah - Anointed One

Related Resources:

Passover (3957) pascha is the transliteration of the Hebrew word pesach/pesah (06453) which is a masculine noun thought by some writers (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon) to have its origin from pacach/pasah which apparently means to pass over; to spare (Ex 12:13, 23, 27+ - "Jehovah will pass"). Depending on the context, pascha refers to the Passover lamb (Lk 22:7+), the Passover meal (Lk 22:8+), or the festival of Passover (Lk 22:1+). The Passover as used in Lk 22:1 is combined with the Feast of Unleavened Bread by Luke in a metonymy (one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it's closely associated)  writing "the Feast of Unleavened Bread…called the Passover, was approaching." (Lk 22:1) 

Sacrificed (butchered)(2380thuo gives us English "thyme") means to kill or slaughter for a sacrifice, to offer bloody and nonbloody offerings (Mt 22:4; Lk 15:23; Jn 10:10; Acts 10:13; 1 Cor 5:7). BDAG - "to make a cultic offering." 




Ex 12:1-2+ The Passover marked a new year and a new beginning for Israel.

Every believer is a new creation in Christ "Old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (2 Cor 5:17+)

Ex 12:5+ A male lamb in its first year was taken into the home on the 10th of Nisan and was inspected for blemishes or defects before it was sacrificed on the 14th of Nisan.

Christ was closely inspected by:

The priests  (Lk 20:1-26+), Sadducees  (Lk 20:27-38+) and Scribes  (Lk 20:39-21:4+)

Pilate (Mt 27:11-26; Lk 23:1-6, 13-25+; Jn 18:28-19:16)

Herod (Lk 23:8-12+)

Annas (Jn 18:12-13, 19-24)

Caiaphas (Mt 26:57)

They could find no fault for He was "a lamb unblemished and spotless" (1 Pe 1:19+).

Ex 12:6+ The "whole community" of God's people was required to participate in the sacrifice.

Receiving and believing in Christ's sacrifice is required for all who desire to participate in God's Kingdom (Ro 3:21-26+).

Ex 12:7, 23+ The blood of the lamb was applied to "the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it" and "the LORD will pass over the door" marked with blood.

Christ shed His blood to deliver sinners. One needs to be covered by the blood to be delivered from condemnation (Ro 3:25+; Ro 5:9+, Ro 8:1+). The Lamb of God takes away the sins of the world (Jn 1:29+).

Ex 12:14+ The Passover was to be kept as a permanent memorial.

The Lord's Supper is to be done frequently "in remembrance of" Christ (Lk 22:19+).

Ex 12:46+ God commanded Israel not "to break any bone of" the lamb.

Roman soldiers came to break Jesus' legs, but He was already dead, so no bones were broken (Jn 19:32-33).

Adapted from Christ in the Passover - Benjamin Galan

1 Corinthians 5:8  Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Amplified - Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with leaven of vice and malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened [bread] of purity (nobility, honor) and sincerity and [unadulterated] truth. 

Wuest Paraphrase - Wherefore, let us be keeping the feast, not with the yeast which has been relegated to a time that is past when we lived a life not for us today, neither with the yeast of malice and perniciousness, but with cakes permeated and affected by the yeast of an unadulterated life, having no admixture of evil in them, and having in them the yeast of truth. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)

  • Therefore let us celebrate: Ex 12:15 13:6 Lev 23:6 Nu 28:16,17 De 16:16 Isa 25:6 
  • the feast, Ps 42:4 Isa 30:29 
  • not with old leaven 1Co 5:1,6 6:9-11 De 16:3 2Co 12:21 Eph 4:17-22 1Pe 4:2 
  • nor with the leaven of malic: 1Co 3:3 Mt 16:6,12 26:4,5 Mk 8:15 Lu 12:1  Joh 18:28-30 2Co 12:20 1Pe 2:1,2 
  • but with the unleavened bread: Jos 24:14 Ps 32:2  Joh 1:47 2Co 1:12 8:8 Eph 6:24 1Jn 3:18-21 
  • 1 Corinthians 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Therefore - Term of conclusion. Based on their position (in Christ) which has been paid for by the Passover Lamb, Paul now gives them an exhortation on how they are to live in light of this great truth.

Let us (present tense - continually) celebrate the feast - What did the Passover Feast remind the Jews about? The fact that they had been delivered from bondage in Egypt and thus they were commanded to celebrate this feast yearly as a memorial of their deliverance. Paul continues his use of the analogy of the Passover in the lives of the Corinthians, but uses the present tense which calls not for an annual remembrance, but for a daily remembrance! The saints were to make this their lifestyle. "Our every thought, every plan, every intention should be under Christ’s control." (MacArthur)

Wayne Barber has a great explanation for celebrate the feastcelebrate the feast is in the present tense. He says, “Whereas they celebrated it once a year, we celebrate it every day. Daily we get the leaven out of our life. And as we’re willing to get the leaven out of our life, and then we can celebrate Christ being our deliverance, Christ being our victory, Christ being our sacrifice. But you can’t celebrate victory until you’re willing to deal with the leaven, the sin, that’s in your life.” It’s a beautiful picture of a Christian dealing with leaven. We all have it. It can be as subtle as an attitude, but it’s still leaven and it must be dealt with and be put under the blood of Jesus. We must be cleansed of it so that we can continue to celebrate our victory over the penalty of sin and the power of sin day by day in our life. Well, let us continually celebrate the feast. He goes on to say that we celebrate it “with the unleavened bread of sincerity (eilikrineia) and truth.” That’s the life that we now live. If you hold us up before Him (ED: "SON TESTED" LIKE THE POTTERY WAS TESTED BY THE SUN), you can see right through us, because whatever was there to mar what you might see has been dealt with under the blood. We are transparent. God is using us. We’re sincere and real, which is really the basic meaning of the word “truth,” (aletheia) absolutely genuine and real. That’s the way we live. And if we live that way, then we have a testimony to the lost world.

THOUGHT - What difference might it make in my daily walk if I arose each morning and "celebrated the feast" (so to speak), if I cleaned out the leaven and recalled the great sacrifice by the Lamb of God to set me free (cf eleutheroo in Jn 8:32, 36+, Ro 6:22+) from sin's sway/reign (Ro 6:11-14+), Satan's servitude (Col 1:13+, cf Acts 26:18+) and the world's passing attractions (Gal 6:14+, 1 Jn 2:17+, cf Heb 11:25+)? JUST THINKING!  

Jesus, the very thought of Thee

Jesus, the very thought of Thee
  With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far Thy face to see,
  And in Thy presence rest.

Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,
  Nor can the memory find
A sweeter sound than Thy blest Name,
  O Savior of mankind!

O Hope of every contrite heart,
  O Joy of all the meek,
To those who fall, how kind Thou art!
  How good to those who seek!

But what to those who find? Ah, this
  Nor tongue nor pen can show;
The love of Jesus, what it is
  None but His loved ones know.

O Jesus! light of all below!
  Thou fount of life and fire!
Surpassing all the joys we know,
  And all we can desire.

No other source have we but Thee,
  Soul-thirst to satisfy.
Exhaustless spring! the waters free!
  All other streams are dry.

Jesus, our only Joy be Thou,
  As Thou our Prize wilt be;
Jesus, be Thou our Glory now,
  And through eternity.

Let us celebrate (1858)(heortazo) heortē = festival, feast) means to keep a day or period of time set aside for feasting and joyful celebration, sometimes involving pilgrimage. Friberg - celebrate a festival, take part in a feast; metaphorically, of the Christian life likened to a Passover feast kept with unleavened bread Only in 1 Cor 5:8 in NT - In Lxx = Ex 5:1+, Ps 42:4.

Brian Bill -  Day 1 of the Passover Feast they would light a candle and search the house for leaven, every bit had to be removed.  Today at Passover the Jews still put bread in a corner for the kids to find, to throw out.. We need to remember, we cannot enjoy the feast of fellowship with Christ before taking the candle, and examining our heart for sin (ED: CF Pr 28:13+ - DON'T HIDE YOUR "LEAVEN" ["LITTLE SIN"] UNDER THE RUG, BUT BRING IT TO LIGHT AND PUT IT UNDER THE BLOOD - 1 Jn 1:6-7+ and 1 Jn 1:9+)!. You cannot have the benefits of fellowship, without its responsibilities! (ED: A GOOD PRAYER TO FREQUENTLY PRAY IS Ps 139:23-24).

Not with old leaven - Wuest = "not with the yeast which has been relegated to a time that is past when we lived a life not for us (SELF - SELFISH)." In context old leaven speaks of impurity. A good "commentary" on out with the old, in with the new is Paul's exhortation in Ephesians 4

So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk (LIKE "OLD LEAVEN"), in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way (LIKE "UNLEAVENED BREAD"), 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life (anastrophe), you lay aside (apotithemi in reflexive middle voice = you initiate and then participate in benefits) the old self (Old Man - Cast it off, like a foul smelling garment), which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind (Pr 23:7, Ro 12:2+) 24 and put on THE ("UNLEAVENED") new self (New Man) which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.  (Eph 4:17-24+)

Nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness - Wuest = "neither with the yeast of malice and perniciousness." Malice (kakia) denotes a vicious mean-spirited disposition, ill-will, spitefulness, hatefulness, a sinful attitude (and action) which is not only a moral deficiency but one which destroys fellowship. To varying degrees, the unsaved spend their life maliciously and such were some (most) of us before Christ transplanted our hearts. Wickedness (poneria) refers to a depraved evil disposition, active malice, not only doing evil, but being evil. Kakia speaks more of the vicious disposition of one's mind whereas poneria pictures the active exercise of this evil. Remember that leaven pictures permeation, so if we allow these sinful attitudes into our heart, they will surely permeate our entire being! If these "weeds" are present, they need to be radically removed! 

But with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth - Wuest = "but with cakes permeated and affected by the yeast of an unadulterated life, having no admixture of evil in them, and having in them the yeast of truth." Unleavened bread speaks of good attributes we should seek to cultivate. Sincerity speaks of that which is genuine, pure, uncontaminated, unmixed by seductive influences of the world, the flesh and the devil. Truth is literally (a = negative + letho = conceal, hide) that which is unconcealed, not hidden. The idea is clearly that we live our lives (private and public) "out in the open" as holy people ("unleavened"), people supernaturally empowered by the Holy Spirit to live a life "free of leaven." (not perfection, but direction). What people see and hear is what we truly are. We are authentic. We are like Job who "was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil." (Job 1:1) (See also Truth in Paul's Writings)

Hodge Sincerity is purity, transparent clearness, something through which the sun may shine without revealing any flaw. Truth, in Scripture, is far more than veracity. In its subjective sense, it means that inner state that corresponds to the truth—that moral condition that is conformed to the law and character of God.

MacArthur - We are called to celebrate our Passover in Christ not with an annual feast but with constant life devotion to purity and rejection of sin. Discipline in the church assists in this celebration by removing impurities that will contaminate and corrupt it. It preserves Christ’s Body from the permeation of evil.

Old (3820palaios rom pálai = in the past, long ago) antique, not recent, not new, old in the sense of worn out and decrepit. (see old self = old manPalaios means in existence for a long time, and in a number of contexts conveys the sense of being obsolete, antiquated or outworn. Worn out from use is the idea in (Mt 9:16, 17 Mk 2:21, Lk 5:36) Palaios is the antonym of kainos which means brand new. 

Palaios - 19x in 15v - Matt. 9:16; Matt. 9:17; Matt. 13:52; Mk. 2:21; Mk. 2:22; Lk. 5:36; Lk. 5:37; Lk. 5:39; Rom. 6:6; 1 Co. 5:7; 1 Co. 5:8; 2 Co. 3:14; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9; 1 Jn. 2:7

  • Old garment = Mt. 9:16, 17
  • What is old out of treasure = Mt 13:52
  • Old garment (twice) = Mk. 2:21
  • Old wineskins = Mk 2:22
  • Old wineskins… old wine = Lk. 5:36, 37, 39+
  • Old self = Ro 6:6
  • Old leaven = 1 Co. 5:7, 8
  • Old covenant = 2 Co. 3:14
  • Old man (figuratively of prior unregenerate behavior "in Adam") = Eph. 4:22+
  • Old man = Col. 3:9+
  • Old commandment (twice)= 1 Jn. 2:7+ Regarding 1Jn 2:7, Hiebert writes that "It is not a recent innovation, yet it is qualitatively new as experienced in Christ.”

Leaven (yeast)(2219) see zume

Malice (2549) kakia  refers to the quality of wickedness and thus in a moral sense means depravity, vice or baseness (James 1:21, 1 Peter 2:16, Acts 8:22). It is the opposite of arete and all virtue and therefore lacks social value. It denotes a vicious disposition, evilness, ill-will, spitefulness. Malice is not only a moral deficiency but destroys fellowship. To varying degrees, the unsaved spend their life maliciously. In reference to behavior kakia conveys the idea of a mean-spirited or vicious attitude or disposition as indicated by words such as malice, ill-will, hatefulness, and dislike. It is an attitude of wickedness as an evil habit of one's mind. Kakia is used in NT to describe the wickedness which comes from within a person. Malice describes a vicious intention and expresses the desire to hurt another and rejoices in it! Aristotle defines malice as “taking all things in the evil part” Trench says that kakia is "that peculiar form of evil which manifests itself in a malignant interpretation of the actions of others, an attributing of them all to the worst motive." Webster says that "malice" is a desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another and implies a deep-seated often unexplainable desire to see another suffer or experience pain, injury, or distress! One Greek scholar terms malice “the vicious character generally.” Vincent writes that kakia "In NT is a special form of vice, not viciousness in general, as Cicero, Tusc. iv. 15, who explains by “vitiositas, a viciousness which includes all vices.” Calvin, on Ephesians 4:32 (see note), defines as “a viciousness of mind opposed to humanity and fairness, and commonly styled malignity.” The homily ascribed to Clement of Rome, describes kakia as the forerunner of our sins (x)… (Kakia) is the word denoting a malevolent disposition toward one’s neighbor. Hence it is not a general term for moral evil, but a special form of vice.

In Romans Paul describes those who have refused to acknowledge God and are given over by God to a depraved mind as "being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips. (Ro 1:29-+).

Used 11x in NT - Matt. 6:34; Acts 8:22; Rom. 1:29; 1 Co. 5:8; 1 Co. 14:20; Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8; Tit. 3:3; Jas. 1:21; 1 Pet. 2:1; 1 Pet. 2:16

Related Resources:

  • Bridgeway Bible Dictionary Malice
  • Charles Buck Dictionary Malice
  • Holman Bible Dictionary Malice
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible Malice
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the NT Malice
  • McClintock and Strong's Bible Encyclopedia Malice
  • The Jewish Encyclopedia Malice

Wickedness (4189poneria from poneros from pónos = labor, sorrow, pain and and poneo = to be involved in work, labor) refers to depravity, to an evil disposition, to badness or to an evil nature. Poneria is used in the NT only in the moral and ethical sense and refers to intentionally practiced ill will. Poneria describes the state of lacking moral or social values (baseness, sinfulness, maliciousness, malevolence). Poneria is active malice. Poneria is malevolence, not only doing evil, but being evil. Webster defines malevolence as the condition which arises from intense often vicious ill will, spite, or hatred. Kakia is another Greek word for evil which speaks more of the vicious disposition of one's mind (one's ill will or hatefulness, a mean-spirited or vicious attitude or disposition) whereas poneria pictures the active exercise of this evil. Wuest writes that poneria "speaks of wickedness, not merely in the abstract, but active. It has in it, the ideas of “dangerous, destructive.” Our word pernicious excellently describes it.  (Wuest Word Studies - Eerdman Publishing Company Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3 - used by permission)Note that pernicious is defined as highly injurious or destructive and implies irreparable harm done through evil or insidious corrupting or undermining) 

Poneria in NT 7x in 7v - malice(1), wicked ways(1), wickedness(5). Mt. 22:18; Mk. 7:22; Lk. 11:39; Acts 3:26; Ro 1:29; 1 Co. 5:8; Eph. 6:12 

Vincent  - Wickedness poneria. Plural. Rev., wickednesses. From ponein, to toil. The adjective poneros means, first, oppressed by toils; then in bad case or plight, from which it runs into the sense of morally bad. This conception seems to have been associated by the high-born with the life of the lower, laboring, slavish class; just as our word knave (like the German knabe from which it is derived) originally meant simply a boy or a servant-lad. As ponos means hard, vigorous labor, battle for instance, so the adjective poneros, in a moral sense, indicates active wickedness. So Jeremy Taylor: “Aptness to do shrewd turns, to delight in mischiefs and tragedies; a loving to trouble one’s neighbor and do him ill offices.” Poneros, therefore, is dangerous, destructive. Satan is called ho poneros, the wicked one. Kakos, evil (see evil thoughts, ver. 21), characterizes evil rather as defect: “That which is not such as, according to its nature, destination, and idea it might be or ought to be” (Cremer). Hence of incapacity in war; of cowardice (kakia). Kakos dolos, the evil servant, in Matt. 24:48, is a servant wanting in proper fidelity and diligence. Thus the thoughts are styled evil, as being that which, in their nature and purpose, they ought not to be. Matthew, however (15:19), calls these thoughts poneroi, the thoughts in action, taking shape in purpose. Both adjectives occur in Apoc. 16:2. (Word Studies in the New Testament)

William Barclay commenting on Mark 7:22 notes that "There follows evil deeds. In Greek there are two words for evil—kakos, which describes a thing which in itself is evil, and poneros, which describes a person or a thing which is actively evil. Poneria is the word used here. The man who is poneros is the man in whose heart there is the desire to harm. He is, as Bengel said, “trained in every crime and completely equipped to inflict evil on any man.” Jeremy Taylor defined this poneria as “aptness to do shrewd turns, to delight in mischiefs and tragedies; loving to trouble our neighbour, and to do him ill offices; crossness, perverseness and peevishness of action in our intercourse.” Poneria not only corrupts the man who has it; it corrupts others too. Poneros—the Evil One—is the title of Satan. The worst of men, the man who is doing Satan’s work, is the man who, being bad himself, makes others as bad as himself. (The Daily Study Bible Series)

Commenting on poneria in Romans 1:29+ William Barclay adds that "this word means more than badness. There is a kind of badness which, in the main, hurts only the person concerned. It is not essentially an outgoing badness. When it hurts others, as all badness must, the hurt is not deliberate. It may be thoughtlessly cruel, but it is not callously cruel. But the Greeks defined poneria as the desire of doing harm. It is the active, deliberate will to corrupt and to inflict injury. When the Greeks described a woman as ponera they meant that she deliberately seduced the innocent from their innocence. In Greek one of the commonest titles of Satan is ho poneros, the evil one, the one who deliberately attacks and aims to destroy the goodness of men. Poneros describes the man who is not only bad but wants to make everyone as bad as himself. Poneria is destructive badness. (Ibid)

Unleavened bread (106)(azumos) without fermentation; free from yeast or leaven, unleavened bread made into flat cakes (Hebrew matzoth) eaten by Jews at Passover season. Figuratively in 1 Cor 5:7. As a noun, plural unleavened bread Lk 22:1+; figuratively of a life free from sinful corruption = 1 Cor 5:8. The festival of unleavened bread Mk 14:1, immediately following the Passover and often identified with it Lk 22:1, 7+. By metonymy for the Passover festival of unleavened bread ( Mt 26.17). Azumos - 9x in 9v in NT - Matt. 26:17; Mk. 14:1; Mk. 14:12; Lk. 22:1; Lk. 22:7; Acts 12:3; Acts 20:6; 1 Co. 5:7; 1 Co. 5:8

Azumos in Septuagint - Gen. 19:3; Exod. 12:8; Exod. 12:15; Exod. 12:18; Exod. 12:20; Exod. 12:39; Exod. 13:6; Exod. 13:7; Exod. 23:15; Exod. 29:2; Exod. 29:23; Exod. 34:18; Lev. 2:4; Lev. 2:5; Lev. 6:16; Lev. 7:12; Lev. 8:2; Lev. 8:26; Lev. 10:12; Lev. 23:6; Num. 6:15; Num. 6:17; Num. 6:19; Num. 9:11; Num. 28:17; Deut. 16:3; Deut. 16:8; Deut. 16:16; Jos. 5:11; Jdg. 6:19; Jdg. 6:20; Jdg. 6:21; 1 Sam. 28:24; 2 Ki. 23:9; 1 Chr. 23:29; 2 Chr. 8:13; 2 Chr. 30:13; 2 Chr. 30:21; 2 Chr. 30:22; 2 Chr. 35:17; Ezr. 6:22; Ezek. 45:21; 

Sincerity (1505)(eilikrineia  from eilikrines from heíle = shining of sun + krino = judge) literally means judged by sunlight, and then figuratively to that is tested as genuine, pure, sincere, uncontaminated, unmixed by seductive influences of world, the flesh, devil. BDAG - the quality or state of being free of dissimulation. Purity of motive. In ancient times the finest pottery was thin. It had a clear color, and it brought a high price. Fine pottery was very fragile both before and after firing. And … this pottery would [often] crack in the oven. Cracked pottery should have been thrown away. But dishonest dealers were in the habit of filling cracks with a hard pearly wax that would blend in with the color of the pottery. This made the cracks practically undetectable in the shops, esp when painted or glazed; but the wax was immediately detectable if the pottery was held up to light, especially to the sun. In that case the cracks would show up darker. It was said that the artificial element was detected by “sun-testing.” Honest dealers marked their finer product by the caption from heíle (n.f.), the shining or splendor of the sun, and krino (2919), to judge, discern. sine cera = “without wax.” Even as it was wise for customers in the ancient marketplaces to give all pieces of pottery the “sunlight test,” so it is wise and necessary for all believers to test their lives for the wax of hypocrisy. When held up to the light of God’s Word, the presence or absence of sinful cracks will be apparent. That’s why it is so important for us to feed daily on Scripture (Ps119:9-11) and to allow our lives to be shaped by its power (Heb 4:12). 

Eilikrineia 3x in NT - 1 Co. 5:8; 2 Co. 1:12; 2 Co. 2:17 and not in Lxx

Truth (225aletheia rom a = indicates following word has the opposite meaning ~ without + lanthano = to be hidden or concealed, to escape notice, cp our English "latent" from Latin = to lie hidden) has the literal sense of that which contains nothing hidden. Aletheia is that which is not concealed. Aletheia is that which that is seen or expressed as it really is (this idea is discussed more below). Truth then is the correspondence between a reality and a declaration which professes to set forth or describe the reality. To say it another way, words spoken or written are true when they correspond with objective reality. Persons and things are true when they correspond with their profession (which we describe with words like integrity, sincerity, non-hypocritical, etc). In other words, "what you see is what you get". Hence a truth is a declaration which has corresponding reality, or a reality which is correctly set forth. Since God is Himself the great reality, that which correctly sets forth His nature is pre-eminently the Truth of Creation (Natural Revelation) and the Truth of Scripture (Special Revelation). Thus it is not surprising that rebellious, sinful men actively hold down or suppress the Truth of Creation (and the glorious Creator) (Ro 1:18) and even exchange this clearly manifested (and objective) reality (Creation) for a lie (Ro 1:25). See Utley's topic Truth in Paul's Writings

Uses in the Corinthian letters  1 Co. 5:8; 1 Co. 13:6; 2 Co. 4:2; 2 Co. 6:7; 2 Co. 7:14; 2 Co. 11:10; 2 Co. 12:6; 2 Co. 13:8;

1 Corinthians 5:9  I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people;

Amplified - I wrote you in my [previous] letter not to associate [closely and habitually] with unchaste (impure) people—

Wuest Paraphrase - I wrote to you in my letter not to be mingling in a close and habitual intimacy with those who indulge in unlawful sexual intercourse (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)

  • not: 1Co 5:2,7 Ps 1:1,2 Pr 9:6 2Co 6:14,17 Eph 5:11 2Th 3:14 
  • 1 Corinthians 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Paul has warned us to refuse to tolerate rebellion in the church. But how should we live in this world with people who are rebellious and sinful? Should we judge them too? Paul will now give the answer.

MacArthur adds that "These verses indicate some types of offenses that require discipline and give further explanation as to how the discipline is to be carried out."

I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people - This letter has been lost, but here Paul repeats what he had instructed the church in that letter. He had in fact given a clear warning regarding the danger of immoral people in the church not in the world (see 1 Cor 5:10). Either they disregarded his warning or forgot it because they did exactly what he had told them NOT to do. Truth not "truly" heard will obviously not be heeded and when it is not heeded it often becomes "hidden" in the recesses of our mind (if it was ever there in the first place). The best truth is that which is (1) from God and (2) is put into practice in the power of the Spirit. Immoral is pornos, a slightly different word than porneia, which he used earlier in this chapter, but the meaning is virtually identical -- one who is sexually immoral. Paul uses a rare verb for associate (sunanamignumi) which speaks of keeping intimate or close company with the immoral person, the present tense picturing  this as continually mingling with fellow believers who practice these sins. Don't do this he says!  They are not to be mixed up together with them. (cf 2 Th 3:14).

MacArthur adds "If the offenders will not listen to the counsel and warning of two or three other believers and not even of the whole church, they are to be put out of the fellowship. They should not be allowed to participate in any activities of the church—worship services, Sunday school, Bible studies, or even social events. Obviously, and most importantly, they should not be allowed to have any leadership role. They should be totally cut off both from individual and corporate fellowship with other Christians, including that of eating together (v. 11; cf. 2 Thess. 3:6–15). No exceptions are made. Even if the unrepentant person is a close friend or family member, he is to be put out. If he is a true believer he will not lose his salvation because of the sin (v. 5), but he is to lose contact with fellow believers, in order not to corrupt them with his wickedness and to suffer the consequences of his sin. The pain of such isolation may drive the person to repentance....No church is healthy enough to resist contamination from persistent sin in its midst, any more than the healthiest and most nutritious bushel of apples can withstand contamination from even a single bad one. 

J D Watson - The application is again inescapable. The Christian is not to intermingle or have a close relationship with those who practice such serious sin. This very passage (1 Cor 5:9-13), in fact, deals with church discipline. If a Christian persists in such sin, he is to be put out of the church, and other Christians are to have nothing to do with him. Why? Because sin "rubs off." It's a communicable disease. Yes, we will have contact with the world, as Paul implies in 1 Cor 5:10, but we are not to company with it. Abraham is a perfect example of this principle. Hebrews 11:9 says of him, "By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise." What is most significant here is that he didn't live with the natives of that land, but rather, with "Isaac and Jacob." While he certainly had contact with them, he still remained a stranger to the pagans around him and lived instead with his godly family. In stark contrast, Lot "pitched his tent toward Sodom" (Gen. 13:12) and ended up in Sodom. Let us be challenged each day to be careful of our company.

Wrote (1125grapho from root graph- = primarily means to scratch on or engrave as on an ornament, reports, letters, etc; English = graph, graphic, etc) means to engrave or inscribe with a pen or stylus characters or letters on a surface which can be wood, wax, metal, leather, stone, parchment, dirt (John ), paper, etc. 

Associate with (4874) (sunanamignumi from sun/syn = with in an intimate sense + ana = on, upon + mignumi = to mix) means to mingle, to get involved or mixed up with or together. This compound is more intense and means “to keep intimate, close company with. Louw-Nida - to associate with one another, normally involving spacial proximity and/or joint activity, and usually implying some kind of reciprocal relation or involvement Friberg - active mix, mingle together, as when mixing ingredients for medicine; figuratively and only middle or passive in the NT mingle oneself with, intermingle, associate with (1Co 5.9)  1 Co. 5:9; 1 Co. 5:11; 2 Th. 3:14 (One use in the Lxx = Hos. 7:8 = "Ephraim mixes himself with the nations").

Zodhiates - This verb sunanamígnusthai implies a closer connection than the synonymous preposition metá, "with." It implies not just a casual encounter but a joining together. The second word which helps form this verb is aná, "on" or "upon," which in composition as a prefix implies repetition, increase, intensity. And the basic verb is mígnumi, "to mix, mingle." The meaning then of this triple compound verb is to be conjoined repeatedly to prostitutes. We can easily see that the Greek word has a stronger and more intense and intimate meaning than simply "to company." The active voice indicates a personal initiative to have repeated relationships with prostitutes. This is not company; it is throwing oneself into the fire. The advice is valid, and each one of us, no matter how good his standing in Christ, needs to take it seriously. Let us remember that the same apostle wrote to these Corinthian believers, "Wherefore let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor. 10:12).

Keep Company (Company With) sunanamignumi <4874> Again in the matter of fellowship, let's consider another related NT word. So important is right company that Paul repeats in 1 Corinthians 5:9-10 what he had already written to those believers in another letter that no longer exists....The words "to company with" (1 Cor 5:9) and "to keep company" (1 Cor 5:11) translate a single Greek word, sunanamignumi <4874>, a compound from the root anamignumi (not in the NT), "to mix together," and sun (sun/syn), which means "together" and intensifies the root. The full idea, then, is "to mix together." Hippocrates, the famous fifth-century BC founder of scientific medicine, used it in the sense of mixing various ingredients together for medication. The fourth-century BC scholar Theophrastus uses it of different weeds that spring up and intermingle with the grain. (J D Watson)

Immoral (4205)(pornos from pernáo = sell [as those who sell their bodies for lust] in turn from peráō = to pass thru, as a merchant would do, passing thru and then coming to mean to sell) (see also study of related word porneia) means a fornicator, one who is sexually immoral or who commits sexual immorality. Pornos originally meant a "male prostitute" but came to be used in the universal meaning of "fornicator" or one who engages in sexual immorality, whether a man or a woman. A pornos in secular Greece was a person who prostituted themselves for gain. The KJV translates pornos as “whoremonger”, which describes one who consorts with whores (a lecher). One can carry on the life of a "whoremonger" in "private" on the internet's plethora of sleazy porn sites, in filthy magazines at the newsstand (or even at the checkout stand at the grocery store!), or at the movies (unfortunately even PG Rated can be contaminated with pornos). In our local cable listings in Austin, Texas (Summer, 2008) there are some 5-10 channels devoted solely to pornography (I don't subscribe to any of them by the way). America is in very serious trouble beloved. Let us pray for revival (2Chr 7:13,14, 6:37, 38, 39) Here are the 10 uses of pornos in the NT - 1Cor 5:9, 10, 11; 6:9; Eph. 5:5-note; 1Ti 1:10; describing Esau = Heb 12:16-note; describing those who defile the marriage bed = Heb 13:4-note; describing those who will not be in heaven = Rev 21:8-note; Re 22:15-note.

The NAS translates pornos as fornicators(2), immoral(2), immoral men(1), immoral people(2), immoral person(1), immoral persons(2). 1 Co. 5:9; 1 Co. 5:10; 1 Co. 5:11; 1 Co. 6:9; Eph. 5:5; 1 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 12:16; Heb. 13:4; Rev. 21:8; Rev. 22:15 The KJV as noted translates pornos with the word whoremonger (5 times). Pornos is not found in the non-apocryphal Septuagint.

1 Corinthians 5:10  I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.

Amplified - Not [meaning of course that you must] altogether shun the immoral people of this world, or the greedy graspers and cheats and thieves or idolaters, since otherwise you would need to get out of the world and human society altogether!

Wuest Paraphrase -. I did not altogether forbid you having dealings with the fornicators who are members of this world system [of evil] or with those who are covetous and rapacious, or with idolaters, since then you would be obliged to go out of the world of mankind.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)

  • I did not at all mean: 1Co 10:27 
  • of this world: 1Co 1:20 Joh 8:23 15:19 17:6,9,15,16 2Co 4:4 Eph 2:2 1Jn 4:5,7 
  • for then you would have to go out of the world: Mt 5:14-16 Joh 17:15 Php 2:15 1Jn 5:19 Rev 12:9 
  • 1 Corinthians 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world - Paul did not mean to forbid social relationships with pagans. Apparently the church thought Paul's first letter referred to the unbelieving immoral people in Corinth. In my opinion it is also very possible that they interpreted Paul that way so that they could "wink" at the immorality in their very midst! 

Hodge - The world means mankind as distinguished from the church (Galatians 4:3; Ephesians 2:2; Colossians 2:8).

Immoral (4205) see pornos

World (2889) kosmos related to the verb kosmeo = to order or adorn, to put in order [Mt 25:7 = "trimmed"], to adorn literally [1Ti 2:9], to adorn figuratively [Titus 2:9-note]) means essentially something that is well-arranged, that which has order or something arranged harmoniously. Kosmos refers to an ordered system or a system where order prevails. As explained below however, kosmos as used here in James 4:4 and many places in the NT, takes on a considerably more negative shade of meaning. In this sense kosmos is much like the Greek word for flesh (sarx), which can be a neutral word, but which many times in the NT takes on an evil connotation.

or with the covetous (pleonektes) and swindlers (harpax), or with idolaters (eidololatres) - Now Paul adds to the list of sordid sinful practitioners with which the saints were not to associate. MacArthur adds that "The Greek terms used here to identify the sins are substantives, indicating patterns of behavior." In other words these sins were being practiced continually. In the context of the preceding section on church discipline, it follows that these sinners were to be disciplined and if they refused to repent, they were to be expelled from the local body. They were like the leaven Paul had described and if allowed to remain in an unrepentant state would eventually mingle with and leaven the entire "lump" of the body in Corinth. 

Hodge on covetous (pleonektes) and swindlers (harpax), or with idolaters - the greedy—those who want more, and especially those who defraud for the sake of gain. In the Scriptures the controlling love of gain is spoken of as a specially heinous sin in God’s sight. It is called idolatry in Ephesians 5:5 because wealth becomes the object supremely loved and sought. Therefore, someone who sacrifices duty to the acquisition of wealth, who makes gain the great object of his life, is a greedy person. He cannot be a Christian and should not, according to the apostle, be recognized as such. Swindlers. That is, those who exact what is not justly due to them, or more than is justly due. The sin is not confined to exactions by force or open robbery, but to all undue exactions. Someone who takes advantage of another person’s poverty, or of his needs, to secure exorbitant gain is a “swindler.” Or idolaters. That is, those who either professedly worship false gods or who do what, in its own nature and in people’s common judgment, amounts to such worship. This is said to be the earliest known instance of the use of the Greek word; it is never used in the Septuagint, although a related word is constantly used in that version in the sense of “false gods.”

Covetous (4123pleonektes from pleonekteo = to be covetous in turn from pleíon = more + écho = have) describes one who is "grasping", one who wants more, one who is always eager for more and especially for what belongs to someone else. Greedy for gain. One who desires to have more than is due. The Greeks defined pleonektes as “the spirit which is always reaching after more and grabbing that to which it has no right.” It is aggressive getting. It is not the miser’s spirit, for it aimed to get in order to spend, so that it could live in more luxury and greater pleasure and it cared not over whom it took advantage so long as it could get.  Morris writes that here is "Another surprising revelation is that a "covetous man" is equivalent to an "idolater." In fact, "Thou shalt not covet" is the last of God's ten commandments (Ex 20:17), whereas the first two are commands against idolatry (Ex 20:3, 4, 5). Covetousness, in God's sight, is equivalent to the worship of the creation rather than the Creator (Ro 1:25-note), the same as the worship of other aspects of nature as personified in various gods and goddesses. The god of money and material things is mammon, and Jesus stressed that "ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Mt 6:24-note). (Defenders Study Bible)

There are only 4 uses in the NT -

1 Corinthians 5:10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world.

1 Corinthians 5:11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler-- not even to eat with such a one.

1 Corinthians 6:10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 5:5+ For this you know with certainty (PAUL IS NOT VACILLATING!), that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, (HE IS SPEAKING OF THOSE WHO MAKE THIS THEIR LIFESTYLE) has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Swindlers (727) harpax from harpazo - to seize, catch away, word for the "rapture") means grasping, violently greedy, robber, swindler. One who uses force and violence in stealing. In some context it means rapacious or ravenous (Mt 7:15-note, Lxx Gen 49:27). Swindlers were prohibited in the 10 Commandments (Ex 20:15) Robbers did this to people and so did the tax collectors, but the Pharisees did this, too. They would pressure those who were weak or widows to surrender their possessions through ruthless, scheming tactics (see Mt 23:14). "The word “swindler” means to seize. It’s one who secretly steals from another. The word picture is of a wolf that preys upon other animals. That’s the kind of mind-set. Somebody always preying on somebody to see if he can get a buck out of them or to swindle them in some way."(Barber) Harpax -ravenous(1), swindler(1), swindlers(3) -  Matt. 7:15; Lk. 18:11; 1 Co. 5:10; 1 Co. 5:11; 1 Co. 6:10

Idolaters (1496) eidololatres from eidolon = idol, image, a phantom or likeness [from eidos = form, appearance, literally that which is seen from eido = to see] + látris = servant, worshiper) (see study of eidololatreia) (See multiple Bile dictionary articles on idolatry) is literally an image worshipper or one who serves idols or images representative of false gods. Idolatry is the worship of something created which is in direct opposition to the worship of the Creator Himself. Ultimately it is placing anything in the place of God, Who alone deserves the right to be number one in our focus. Originally, a physical idol helped visualize the god it represented but later people worshipped the physical object itself (Ro 1:19; 20; 21; 22; 23 see notes Ro 1:1920212223).

Barclay adds that "The greatest building in Corinth was the Temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, where idolatry and immorality flourished side by side. Idolatry is a grim example of what happens when we try to make religion easier. An idol did not begin by being a god; it began by being a symbol of a god; its function was to make the worship of the god easier by providing some object in which his presence was localized. But very soon men began to worship not the god behind the idol but the idol itself. It is one of the chronic dangers of life that men will come to worship the symbol rather than the reality behind it."


for then you would have to go out of the world - Or circle your wagons so tightly that no sinner could contact you - the old "holy huddle" syndrome. So Paul is saying in reality to avoid contact with sinners you would have to go to heaven which is the only place where these sins have absolutely no existence!

As Krell says "Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners and He calls us to be “salt and light” (Matt 5:13-16). We need to stop cursing the darkness and instead extend the light and bless our community.....Many of us are trying to clean up the world’s fishbowl when all God asks us to do is fish. Jesus says, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt 4:19). If you’ve been spending your time trying to scour the world, put down your scrub brush, pick up your fishing pole, and go for the fish!49

Jesus declared to His disciples (and by application to all disciples) "I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." (John 17:14-16)

You would have (3784opheilo from ophéllo = heap up) means to owe something to someone. Literally it speaks of financial indebtedness and thus means to owe money, to be in debt, or to describe that which is due (Mt 18:28, Lk 7:41, 16:5, 7, Philemon 1:18). The verb opheilo was sometimes used to describe "the debt" itself. Figuratively, opheilo describes a sense of indebtedness to someone for something. For example, it was used to describe owing good will (1Co 7:3), love (Ro 13:8 = we can never love enough and will always "owe" this debt).

1 Corinthians 5:11  But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one.

Amplified - But now I write to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of [Christian] brother if he is known to be guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater [whose soul is devoted to any object that usurps the place of God], or is a person with a foul tongue [railing, abusing, reviling, slandering], or is a drunkard or a swindler or a robber. [No] you must not so much as eat with such a person.

Wuest Paraphrase - But now I am writing to you to urge you not to be mingling in a close and habitual intimacy—should anyone who is called a brother [Christian] be a fornicator or a covetous person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or rapacious—with such a person not even to be eating.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)

  • so-called: 1Co 6:6 7:12,15 8:11 Mt 18:17 Ac 9:17 Ro 16:17 2Th 3:6,14 2Jn 1:10 
  • an immoral person: 1Co 5:1-9,10 Ps 50:16-21 2Co 12:20,21 Ga 5:19-21 1Th 4:3-8 Rev 2:14 Rev 2:20 21:8 22:15 
  • or covetous Ps 10:3 Mk 7:21-23 Lu 12:15-31 Eph 5:5 Col 3:5 1Ti 3:3 6:9,10 2Pe 2:14,15 
  • or an idolater: 1Co 10:7,8,14,18-22 
  • or a reviler: 1Co 6:10 Ps 101:5 
  • drunkard: 1Co 11:21 Mt 24:49-51 Lu 12:45,46 21:34 Ro 13:13 Ga 2:12 Eph 5:18 1Th 5:7,8 
  • a swindler: Eze 22:12 Mt 23:25 Lu 18:11 
  • not even to eat with such a one: 1Co 5:13 Mt 18:17 Ro 16:17 2Th 3:6,14 1Ti 6:5 2Jn 1:10 
  • 1 Corinthians 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


But actually - Paul clarifies what he had written in the first letter which they either misinterpreted or ignored because of sin in the church. "The apostle is explaining the meaning of what he had written. “I did not write this, but I wrote—that is, I meant this.”" (Hodge)

I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother - So-called is the verb onomazo which means to name and in this context might be paraphrased as a "brother in name only," Paul's clear implication being that such a person might not be a genuine born again brother or at least we would have difficulty discerning if he were a genuine believer. In the case described in the first part of chapter the perpetrating pervert did appear to be a believer for Paul says that his discipline was such that "his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." (1 Cor 5:5+

Krell on not to associate -  the word “associate” means “to keep intimate company with.” It doesn’t mean you don’t speak. It doesn’t mean when you see that rebellious Christian that you walk away. It doesn’t mean you become cruel and hard. But it means there is no intimate fellowship with this person. When you do talk with this wayward child, it must always be with the goal of restoring him or her. 

Hodge on so-called - Someone who calls himself a Christian professes to renounce all these sins; if he does not act consistently with his profession, he is not to be recognized as a Christian.

MacArthur - We cannot always tell wheat from tares, or know whether a so-called brother is genuine. Such acts of sin make a believer indistinguishable from a nonbeliever to the world, to the church, and even to himself. All assurance is forfeited (cf. 2 Pet. 1:5–10; 1 John 2:5). It is essential to realize that in a true believer the flow of sin will not be uninterrupted, as in one who is unredeemed. There will be some fruit of righteousness, for the new nature must be manifest (John 15:1–8).

Utley - It is very clear that Paul believed that one’s lifestyle revealed one’s true self (cf. Matt. 7:15–23). Profession must be matched with knowledge of the gospel, the indwelling Spirit, personal obedience, and perseverance.

So-called (3687onomazo rom onoma = name) means to give a name, to assign an appellation, pronounce a name (as in exorcism - Acts 19:13) or make mention of (Eph 5:3), bear the name of (in this case of the Lord). Onomazo means to be known or to name in worship in Ro 15:20. The sense of onomazo in 2Ti 2:19 is to profess. To make mention of the name of Jehovah in praise, which is true of His worshippers (Is. 26:13; Am. 6:10). Wuest says onomazo in 2Ti 2:19 means "to pronounce a name as having a special virtue, to utter a name as acknowledging and appropriating what the name involves, as a confession of faith and allegiance. Marvin Vincent writes that onomazo "means to give a name to, to style, as Mk. 3:14; L. 6:14; 1 Cor. 5:11: to pronounce a name as having a special virtue, as in incantation, as Acts 19:13: to utter a name as acknowledging and appropriating what the name involves, as a confession of faith and allegiance. So here (2Ti 2:19).

Associate with (4874) see above on sunanamignumi 

Brother (80adelphos from a = denotes unity + delphus = a womb) literally means brother referring to a physical brother or figuratively as used here refers to a brother in the spiritual sense, a fellow member of the family of God (cf 1 Jn 3:1+).

IF - "This is a THIRD CLASS CONDITIONAL SENTENCE, which means possible action. There are several lists in Paul’s writings of the sins of the flesh (cf. Rom. 1:29–31; 1 Cor. 5:10–11; 6:9–10; 2 Cor. 12:20; Gal. 5:19–21; Eph. 4:31; 5:3–4; Col. 3:5–9)." (Utley)

he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler - Paul adds reviler and drunkard to the previous list.

Hodge on idolater- It may appear strange that Paul should assume that anyone calling himself a Christian could be an idolater. By idolatry, however, he understands not merely the intentional and conscious worship of false gods, but doing anything which, according to people’s common judgment, expresses such worship. Thus eating sacrifices within the precincts of a temple was an act of heathen worship, as much as sharing in the Lord’s Supper is an act of Christian worship. And yet some of the Corinthians did not hesitate to eat heathen sacrifices under those circumstances (10:14–22). The principle laid down by the apostle is that to join in the religious rites of any people is to join in their worship, whether we so intend it or not.

Not even to eat with such a one - Why? Eating in the ancient world was viewed as an act of fellowship.  Paul is saying the sinners propensity toward their "pet sin" is like leaven so if you fellowship with them, you are very likely to become contaminated in thought, word or deed! If you have ever used glue, it is very difficult to keep it from touching your skin and then when you try to wash it off, it is almost impossible. 

Hodge - This does not refer to the Lord’s Supper, which is never designated as a meal.

Immoral (4205) see above pornos

Covetous (4123) see above on pleonektes 

Idolater (1496) see above on eidololatres 

Reviler  (3183)(loidoros - see verb loidoreo) as one who intentionally abuses another with speech - reviler, slanderer, abusive person. TDNT -  This common word group has the secular sense of reproach, insult, calumny, and even blasphemy. In the LXX it carries the nuance of wrangling, angry remonstrance, or chiding as well as the more usual calumny. Philo has it for mockery or invective. In the NT the verb occurs four times and the noun and adjective twice each. "It means to go behind somebody’s back with a rumor or a lie and tear down their reputation to somebody else." (Barber) Only 3x in NT 1 Co. 5:11; 1 Co. 6:10

Drunkard (3183)(methusos) drunkard (used of both men and women); drunken, intoxicated.  Barclay says "The word used comes from a word (methos) which signifies uncontrolled drinking. Even little children in ancient Greece drank wine; the name for breakfast is akratisma and it consisted of bread dipped in wine. The universality of wine drinking was of course due to the inadequate water-supplies. But normally the Greeks were sober people, for their drink was three parts of wine mixed with two of water. But in luxury-loving Corinth uncontrolled drunkenness abounded." Only 2x in NT 1 Co. 5:11; 1 Co. 6:10 

Swindlers (727) see harpax 

Eat with (4906sunesthio from sun/syn = together with + esthío = to eat) means literally to eat with someone, to take food together with. Friberg adds the verb means "of social association eat together, associate with on familiar terms."  The use of the imperfect tense in Gal 2:12+ indicates that Peter joined the Gentiles in meals repeatedly. It was Peter's regular practice to commune with them. Note the prefix sun/syn which speaks of an intimate association. In Gal 2:12 Peter's interaction with these Gentile Christian was one of close communion and genuine fellowship with his Gentile brothers in Christ. It was a good relationship that spoke powerfully to the unifying effect of the Gospel regarding Jewish and Gentile believers. Peter's subsequent actions however began to impugn the truth of the oneness and unity believers have in Christ. Note especially the events in Acts 11+ where Peter actually defended eating with the uncircumcised Gentiles! Clearly he did not remain steadfast in the face of Jewish peer pressure as Paul relates here in Gal 2:12+. Here in 1 Cor 5:11 Paul gave instructions explaining that one should not eat with a "so-called brother"  who is living in sin, which clearly was not true in Peter's failure to eat with the Gentile brethren.

1 Corinthians 5:12  For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?

Amplified - What [business] of mine is it and what right have I to judge outsiders? Is it not those inside [the church] upon whom you are to pass disciplinary judgment [passing censuring sentence on them as the facts require]?

Wuest Paraphrase - For what responsibility of mine is it to pass judgment upon those who are outside [the Church]?  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)

  • For what have I to do : Lu 12:14 Joh 18:36 
  • with judging outsiders: Mk 4:11 Col 4:5 1Th 4:12 1Ti 3:7 
  • Do you not judge those: 1Co 6:1-5 
  • 1 Corinthians 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


For what have I to do with judging outsiders? - We are share the Gospel with the unsaved outsiders (outside the Kingdom of God), not to judge them, for God Alone is their judge as he explains in the following passage.

Krell - When sinners sin, they are merely doing what they are supposed to do. Sin is a part of a sinner’s job description! The difference between a sinner and a saint is that a saint doesn’t have to sin anymore. (ED: BEFORE WE WERE SAVED WE CHASED AFTER SIN. NOW THAT WE ARE SAVED, SIN CHASES AFTER US!) This means that our ministry is not to spend our time judging the world. That’s left to God. It’s none of our business. Too often we preach against the wrong sin. It’s easy to stand in the pulpit and talk about what’s going on in Washington and with the National Organization of Women and the ACLU. But we are not to judge those. Don’t ever get mad at the world for acting like the world. What else are they going to do? We need to confront the sin that is within the walls of our churches, within the lives of our people. That is our ministry.

MacArthur makes an interesting statement about outsiders stating that "We cannot chasten them, and no remedial steps will alter the sin of the ungodly."  See Mark 4:11+; Colossians 4:5+; 1 Thessalonians 4:12+

Judging (2919) see krino

Do you not judge those who are within the church? - And the answer is yes, they were to judge those in the church, for that is what Paul described in 1 Cor 5:1-5. 

Utley - Believers must not judge one another (cf. Matt. 7:1ff; Rom. 14:1–15:13), but (1) we must examine each other’s fruits for leadership positions (cf. 6:1–3; Matt. 7) and (2) we must exercise church discipline when the reputation of the church is at risk. This is often a fine line! By implication Paul is asserting that the sinning man of v. 1 must be placed in the realm of God’s judgment (outside the church).

1 Corinthians 5:13  But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

Amplified - God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside. Drive out that wicked one from among you [expel him from your church].

Wuest Paraphrase -  Indeed, those who are outside will God judge. Expel at once the pernicious person from among yourselves. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)

  • God judges Ps 50:6 Ac 17:31 Ro 2:16 Heb 13:4 2Pe 2:9 
  • REMOVE THE WICKED 1Co 5:1,5,7 De 13:5 17:7 21:21 22:21,22,24 Ec 9:18 Mt 18:17 
  • 1 Corinthians 5 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


But those who are outside, God judges - Outside refers to all unregenerate mankind, all those "outside" of Christ, not in Christ, but IN (under the anti-God influence of) the world and IN (dominated by) the flesh and IN (under) the dominion of Satan. 

Judges (2919) see krino

REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES - Now Paul gives the church's responsibility in the area of judging, closing this section on church discipline with another command (aorist imperative) to expel or drive out the wicked man (aka "leaven") from the church. The command calls for them to do this without delay because of the inherent danger of associating with these sinners. Paul lumps all the previous sins (1 Cor 5:11) into one category called wicked (poneros) a word which means not only viciously evil in influence but actively harmful in effect. These moral malefactors are like "cancers" that must be "surgically removed" lest they "metastasize" to other members in the body of Christ and lead to sever damage! 

Utley - Paul clinched his argument from the Jewish point of view by alluding to the writings of Moses (cf. Deut. 13:5; 17:7, 12; 19:19; 21:21; 22:21, 24; 24:7). If the church glories in, or even tolerates, immoral members they will affect the whole church (cf. 1 Cor 5:11).

Hodge on remove - This seems to have been borrowed from Deuteronomy 24:7. It is a simple imperative injunction or necessary application of the principle of Christian communion just laid down.

Garland notes: Converts to Christianity already placed themselves on the fringes of society as religious misfits. Persons expelled from the Christian community might find it difficult to be integrated into society. Unlike today, when an expelled member can join another church down the street, expelled Christians in this era could find themselves in social limbo—neither fish nor fowl

Craig Keener - The Old Testament often commanded God’s people to purge evildoers from among their ranks, normally by execution (Deut 13:5; 17:7; 19:19; 21:21; 22:21, 24; 24:7). Otherwise, the unrepentant offender could remove God’s blessing from the whole community and bring about the death of others (Josh 7:5, 25). Here the evildoer is purged from the community by being banished; banishment was a common punishment in the Roman period. In Judaism, exclusion from the community was a spiritual equivalent of execution, applied in the New Testament period to capital crimes of the Old Testament (see comment on 1 Cor 5:2; capital sentences of Jewish courts could not be legally carried out without Roman permission).( IVPBBCNT)

Remove (1808) (exairo) means exclude, expel, drive out or away. Remove someone from a group. Only here in NT (over 200x in the Lxx)

Wicked (evil, bad) (4190)(poneros from poneo = work or toil, Robertson says the idea is that labor is an annoyance, bad, evil; Noun poneria derived from poneros) means evil including evil, malignant character, pernicious (see Webster 1828 definition below), that which is morally or socially worthless, wicked, base, bad, degenerate. Poneros denotes determined, aggressive, and fervent evil that actively opposes what is good. Poneros is not just bad in character (like kakos - see below), but bad in effect (injurious)! Poneros describes evil in active opposition to good. It means not only evil in its nature but viciously evil in its influence and actively harmful. Poneros used to describe Satan (ho poneros = "Evil one"), the god of this age, who is corrupting man and dragging him to destruction. This denotes someone who is not content in being corrupt themselves. They seek to corrupt others and draw them into the same destruction! 

Only use of poneros in Corinthians letters is in 1 Co. 5:13 Other uses by Paul - Gal. 1:4; Eph. 5:16; Eph. 6:13; Eph. 6:16; Col. 1:21; 1 Th 5:22; 2 Th 3:2; 2 Th 3:3; 1 Ti 6:4; 2 Ti 3:13; 2 Ti 4:18;

Poneros is an adjective that modifies a wide variety of subjects in the NT including (but not inclusive)...

  • Some of the the scribes and Pharisees,
  • evil demonic spirits,
  • evil eye which fills the whole body with great darkness (it's an eye that actively works evil)
  • evil treasure in the heart,
  • bad fruit,
  • evil and adulterous generation craving a sign,
  • tares of the evil one,
  • evil thoughts (out of heart),
  • deliverance from this present evil age,
  • days as evil,
  • call to resist in the evil day,
  • an evil conscience,
  • evil motives,
  • Cain as of the evil one.