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1 Corinthians Chapter Five


1 Corinthians 5

He begins to treat the details of conduct and of discipline; and, first of all, the carnal defilement carried on in their midst to the last degree of hardness of conscience. Those who sought their own personal influence as teachers allowed them to go on in it. He condemns it without reservation. Discipline follows; for Christ had been offered up as the Paschal Lamb, and they were to keep the feast without leaven, keeping themselves from the old leaven; in order that they might be in fact, what they were before God-an unleavened lump. As to discipline, it was this: before they knew that it was their duty to cut off the wicked person, and that God had given them the power and imposed on them the obligation to do so, a moral sense of evil ought, at least, to have led them to humble themselves before God, and to pray that He would take him away. On the contrary, they were puffed up with pride. But now the apostle teaches them what must be done, and enforces it with all his apostolic authority. He was among them in spirit if not in body, and with the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, they being gathered together, to deliver such a one to Satan; but as a brother for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit might be saved in the day of Christ.

Here all the power of the assembly in its normal condition, united to and led by the apostolic energy, is displayed. Its members; the apostle, vessel and channel of the power of the Spirit; and the power of the Lord Jesus Himself, the Head of the body. Now the world is the theatre of Satan's power; the assembly, delivered from his power, is the habitation of God by the Spirit. If the enemy had succeeded in drawing aside by the flesh a member of Christ, so that he dishonours the Lord by walking after the flesh as men of the world do, he is put outside, and by the power of the Spirit, as then exercised in their midst by the apostle, delivered up to the enemy, who is in spite of himself the servant of the purposes of God (as in the case of Job), in order that the flesh of the Christian (which, from his not being able to reckon it dead, had brought him morally under the power of Satan) should be physically destroyed and broken down. Thus would he be set free from the illusions in which the flesh held him captive. His mind would learn how to discern the difference between good and evil, to know what sin was. The judgment of God would be realised within him, and would not be executed upon him at that day when it would be definitive for the condemnation of those who should undergo it. This was a great blessing, although its form was terrible. Marvellous example of the government of God, which uses the adversary's enmity against the saints as an instrument for their spiritual blessing! We have such a case fully set before us in the history of Job. Only we have here. in addition, the proof that in its normal state, [1] being there, the assembly exercised this judgment herself, having discernment by the Spirit and the authority of Christ to do it. Moreover, whatever may be the spiritual capacity of the assembly to wield this sword of the Lord (for this is power), her positive and ordinary duty is stated at the end of the chapter.

The assembly was an unleavened lump, looked at in the Spirit as an assembly, and not individually. It is thus that we must view it, for it is only in the Spirit that it is so. The assembly is seen of God as being before Him in the new nature in Christ. Such she ought to be in practice by the power of the Spirit, in spite of the existence of the flesh, which by faith she ought to count as dead, and allow nothing in her walk that is contrary to this state. The assembly ought to be a "new lump," and was not if evil was allowed, and, consequently, ought to purge herself from the old leaven, because she is unleavened in God's thoughts. Such is her position before God. For Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us: therefore we ought to keep the feast with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. They did wrong therefore in boasting while this evil was in their midst, however great their gifts might be. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. The evil did not attach to that man alone who was personally guilty of it. The assembly was not clear till the evil was put out (2 Cor. 7:11). They could not dissociate themselves in the intercourse of ordinary life from all those who, in the world, walked corruptly, for in that case they would have to go out of the world. But if any one called himself a brother and walked in this corruption, with such a one they ought not even to eat. God judges those who are outside. The assembly must herself judge those that are within, and put out whatever must be called "wicked."


[1] The apostle (1 Tim. 1:20) exercises this power alone as to certain blasphemers. It is power, not mere duty, and it is important clearly to distinguish the two: though the apostle here did it in and with the gathered assembly, yet he says, "I have judged already to deliver such an one to Satan. In verse 13 we have the positive duty of the assembly without the question of special power.

── John DarbySynopsis of 1 Corinthians


1 Corinthians 5

Chapter Contents

The apostle blames the Corinthians for connivance at an incestuous person; (1-8) and directs their behaviour towards those guilty of scandalous crimes. (9-13)

Commentary on 1 Corinthians 5:1-8

(Read 1 Corinthians 5:1-8)

The apostle notices a flagrant abuse, winked at by the Corinthians. Party spirit, and a false notion of Christian liberty, seem to have saved the offender from censure. Grievous indeed is it that crimes should sometimes be committed by professors of the gospel, of which even heathens would be ashamed. Spiritual pride and false doctrines tend to bring in, and to spread such scandals. How dreadful the effects of sin! The devil reigns where Christ does not. And a man is in his kingdom, and under his power, when not in Christ. The bad example of a man of influence is very mischievous; it spreads far and wide. Corrupt principles and examples, if not corrected, would hurt the whole church. Believers must have new hearts, and lead new lives. Their common conversation and religious deeds must be holy. So far is the sacrifice of Christ our Passover for us, from rendering personal and public holiness unnecessary, that it furnishes powerful reasons and motives for it. Without holiness we can neither live by faith in him, nor join in his ordinances with comfort and profit.

Commentary on 1 Corinthians 5:9-13

(Read 1 Corinthians 5:9-13)

Christians are to avoid familiar converse with all who disgrace the Christian name. Such are only fit companions for their brethren in sin, and to such company they should be left, whenever it is possible to do so. Alas, that there are many called Christians, whose conversation is more dangerous than that of heathens!

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on 1 Corinthians


1 Corinthians 5

Verse 1

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

Fornication — The original word implies criminal conversation of any kind whatever.

His father's wife — While his father was alive.

Verse 2

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

Are ye puffed up? Should ye not rather have mourned - Have solemnly humbled yourselves, and at that time of solemn mourning have expelled that notorious sinner from your communion?

Verse 3

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

I verily, as present in spirit — Having a full (it seems, a miraculous) view of the whole fact. Have already, as if I were actually present, judged him who hath so scandalously done this.

Verse 4

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

And my spirit — Present with you.

With the power of the Lord Jesus Christ — To confirm my sentence.

Verse 5

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

To deliver such an one — This was the highest degree of punishment in the Christian church; and we may observe, the passing this sentence was the act of the apostle, not of the Corinthians.

To Satan — Who was usually permitted, in such cases, to inflict pain or sickness on the offender.

For the destruction — Though slowly and gradually.

Of the flesh — Unless prevented by speedy repentance.

Verse 6

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

Your glorying — Either in your gifts or prosperity, at such a time as this, is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven - One sin, or one sinner.

Leaveneth the whole lump — Diffuses guilt and infection through the whole congregation.

Verse 7

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

Purge out therefore the old leaven — Both of sinners and of sin.

That ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened — That is, that being unleavened ye may be a new lump, holy unto the Lord.

For our passover is slain for us — The Jewish passover, about the time of which this epistle was wrote, 1 Corinthians 5:11, was only a type of this. What exquisite skill both here and everywhere conducts the zeal of the inspired writer! How surprising a transition is here, and yet how perfectly natural! The apostle, speaking of the incestuous criminal, slides into his darling topic,-crucified Saviour. Who would have expected it on such an occasion. Yet, when it is thus brought in, who does not see and admire both the propriety of the subject, and the delicacy of its introduction?

Verse 8

[8] Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Therefore let us keep the feast — Let us feed on him by faith. Here is a plain allusion to the Lord's supper, which was instituted in the room of the passover.

Not with the old leaven — Of heathenism or Judaism. Malignity is stubbornness in evil. Sincerity and truth seem to be put here for the whole of true, inward religion.

Verse 9

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

I wrote to you in a former epistle — And, doubtless, both St. Paul and the other apostles wrote many things which are not extant now.

Not to converse — Familiarly; not to contract any intimacy or acquaintance with them, more than is absolutely necessary.

Verse 10

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

But I did not mean that you should altogether refrain from conversing with heathens, though they are guilty in some of these respects.

Covetous, rapacious, idolaters — Sinners against themselves, their neighbour, God.

For then ye must go out of the world — Then all civil commerce must cease. So that going out of the world, which some account a perfection, St. Paul accounts an utter absurdity.

Verse 11

[11] But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

Who is named a brother — That is, a Christian; especially if a member of the same congregation.

Rapacious — Guilty of oppression, extortion, or any open injustice.

No, not to eat with him — Which is the lowest degree of familiarity.

Verse 12

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

I speak of Christians only. For what have I to do to judge heathens? But ye, as well as I, judge those of your own community.

Verse 13

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

Them that are without God will judge — The passing sentence on these he hath reserved to himself.

And ye will take away that wicked person — This properly belongs to you.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on 1 Corinthians


Chapter 5. No Adultery

Hand Over to Satan
Destroy the Sinful Nature

I. The Apostle Exercises His Authority

  1. God's Punishment
  2. Believers' Excommunication
  3. The Church's Expulsion

II. Keep the Church Holy

  1. A Dough without Yeast
  2. Become a New Batch
  3. Real Bread without Yeast

III. Six Categories to be Expelled

  1. Sexually Immoral or Greedy
  2. Idolater or Slanderer
  3. Drunkard or Swindler
── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament
Chapter Five General Review
1) To understand the need for proper church discipline
2) To understand the nature of church discipline
Having dealt with the problem of division in the first four chapters, 
Paul now addresses the problem of immorality in the church at Corinth.  
He describes the particular case at hand, one which even pagan Gentiles 
would find shameful (1).  Rebuking them for being "puffed up" instead 
of mourning (2), Paul then instructs them to "deliver such a one to 
Satan", giving them reasons why this action is necessary (3-8).  
Clarifying what may have been written in an unknown earlier epistle, 
Paul concludes by limiting towards whom such action is to be taken, and 
describing how it is to be carried out in practice (9-13).
      1. Something not even the Gentiles would approve! (1a)
      2. A man was living with his father's wife (1b)
      1. They were "puffed up" (2a)
      2. Rather than mourning that such conduct might result in the
         removal of the offender (2b)
      1. Must exercise judgment, as Paul though present has already
         done (3)
      2. When assembled together in the name of Jesus, deliver such a
         one to Satan (4-5a)
      1. To save the sinner (5b)
         a. By destroying the flesh (its pride and works)
         b. That his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord
      2. To save the church (6-8)
         a. "A little leaven leavens the whole lump" (6)
         b. Christ, our "passover", should be kept with the unleavened
            bread of sincerity and truth (7-8)
      1. Not to be exercised toward those who are of the world (9-10)
      2. But towards brethren in Christ who remain in sin, with such
         don't even eat (11)
      3. For God judges those outside the church, while we must judge
         those inside (12-13a)
      4. The nature of church discipline:  "put away from yourselves
         that wicked person" (13b)
1) List the main points of this chapter
   - The Problem Of Immorality In The Church At Corinth (1-2)
   - Instructions For Dealing With This Problem (3-13)
2) What was the nature of the immorality that existed in the church at
   Corinth? (1)
   - A man had his father's wife
3) What was the attitude of the church in this regard? (2)
   - They were "puffed up"
4) Why does a church "deliver such a one to Satan"? (5)
   - For the destruction of the flesh
   - That his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord
5) Why should a church be diligent in exercising church discipline? (6)
   - A little leaven leavens a whole lump
6) Who is the "passover" for Christians? (7)
   - Christ
7) How should we observe our "passover"? (8)
   - With sincerity and truth
8) Towards whom is church discipline to be administered? (9-11)
   - Those in the church who do not repent; not those in the world
9) Who has the responsibility of judging whom? (12-13)
   - God judges those outside the church; the church is to judge its
10) What expressions may help explain what it means to "deliver such a
    one to Satan"? (11,13)
   - "not to keep company"
   - "not even to each with such a person"
   - "put away from yourselves that wicked person"


--《Executable Outlines


No Adultery

Hand Over to Satan

Destroy the Sinful Nature


I.  The Apostle Exercises His Authority

1.    God’s Punishment

2.    Believers’ Excommunication

3.    The Church’s Expulsion

II.Keep the Church Holy

1.    A Dough without Yeast

2.    Become a New Batch

3.    Real Bread without Yeast

III.       Six Categories to be Expelled

1.    Sexually Immoral or Greedy

2.    Idolater or Slanderer

3.    Drunkard or Swindler

-- Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament