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1 Corinthians 5

SUMMARY.--The Incestuous Person. The Discipline Commanded. The Old Leaven to be Purged Out. Heinous Offenders Not to be Recognized Socially in the Church.

      6-8. Your glorying is not good. Boasting, in such a state of affairs, was unseemly. A little leaven, etc. As a little leaven leavens the whole mass of dough, so one sinner suffered to go on in impurity sends a corrupting influence through the whole church. 7. Purge out therefore the old leaven. Let the leaven of impurity be removed, by putting out the fornicator, that the church may be pure from the impure leaven, or influence. So, too, each one must cleanse his own heart. For even Christ our passover, etc. At the passover, Jews were required to put all leaven from their houses ( Exod. 12:15 ). As we have a Paschal Lamb, slain for us, the church should cleanse out the leaven of sin. 8. Let us keep the feast. Let us keep feast, or festival. There is no article in the Greek. The reference is not to the Lord's Supper, or to Easter, as some have supposed, so much as to a constant duty. We always have a Paschal Lamb; hence it is always our duty to keep festival by casting out all leaven; either the old leaven of heathen vice, or of malice and wickedness, or any sin.

      9-13. I wrote unto you in an epistle. He had written an earlier letter which has not been preserved, probably a short one, to which reference is made. So most commentators understand. 10. Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world. His direction had been misunderstood. The fornicator in the church must be shunned as an outcast, for the sake of the discipline. This was what he meant. He did not give directions concerning their conduct towards the heathen. Then must ye needs, etc. As the whole heathen world were addicted to the vices named, to apply the rule to it would require that the church have nought whatever to do with the unconverted. 11. Now I have written unto you, etc. He now writes and explains his meaning. Church members must not have social intercourse with one who has been a member who is guilty of the grievous sins named. Covetous. A greedy person, under the influence of passions, not only greedy for gain, but for self-indulgence. The Greek word implies this. With such a one, no, not to eat. Either at the Lord's table, or in friendly meals, which would imply a brotherly recognition. 12. For what have I to do, etc. It was not Paul's business, nor ours, to judge those without; hence the rule just given is not one to regulate our intercourse with them. Do not ye judge them that are within? The authority of the church is over those who have been united with it. It can judge them. 13. Them that are without God judgeth. The unconverted are left in the hands of God. He will judge them according to their deeds. We are not to seek to inflict punishment on them by shunning them, but rather to go to them in the love of Christ to try to lead them to repentance. Therefore put away, etc. A summary order to execute discipline upon the incestuous offender, an order that we know from the second letter was obeyed.

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