Lange Commentary - 1 Corinthians 5:6 - 5:13

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Lange Commentary - 1 Corinthians 5:6 - 5:13

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

X—[B. The duty of Church purification in general. Its motives, grounds, and limitations. Rectification of misconceptions as to his meaning in an earlier Epistle]


6Your glorying [That in which you glory] is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7Purge out therefore [omit therefore] the old leaven, that ye may he a new lump, as ye are unleavened. ] For even Christ our pass over is sacrificed for us [omit for us]: 8Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; hut with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with for 10nicators: Yet [omit Yet2] not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or [and] extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out 11of the world. But now I have written [I wrote] 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 a one no not to eat. 12For what have I to do to judge them also that are without ? do not ye judge them that are within ? 13But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore [omit therefore] put away from among yourselves that wicked person [ ôὸí ðïíçñὸí , the wicked one].


[In this section the specific duty of excommunicating an incestuous church member is expanded into the broader one of individual and social purification in general. And this is exhibited under a familiar metaphor, and enforced by reasons drawn from it. In entering upon it Paul starts with alluding to that state of mind which presented so strange a contrast to their actual condition.]

1Co_5:6. That in which you boast is not good.—In view of the word here rendered, ‘boasting’ ( êáý÷çìá ), the question arises, whether it is the act, or the ground of boasting that is intended. The latter meaning is certainly the one which prevails in the New Testament, even 2Co_9:3, [and this is in accordance with the passive form of the noun]. Then we should render it: ‘that of which you boast;’ and while with the other signification ïὐ êáëüí would mean: ‘it does not become you,’ etc., it would in the other case be rendered: ‘is not seemly or beautiful,’ implying that it is, rather, hateful. It is not, however, the incestuous person that is meant [as Hammond and Whitby singularly suggest, supposing him to have been a man of some reputation for wisdom and eloquence], but the whole condition of the Church, the complete corruption of which he proceeds to illustrate by a familiar comparison.—Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?—In like manner, he implies, that the whole Church was infected by one crime, tolerated in the midst of it. The “little leaven” here refers not so much to the person in question, as to the vice of fornication, which had broken out upon him in its worst form. “It denotes some impurity of the former state, not yet purged out,—a little remnant of which, if allowed, was sufficient to corrupt again the salvation already obtained, and render it ineffective.” Burger. [It is not, however, says Alford, the “danger of corruption hereafter” by the future spread of the tolerated evil, that he here speaks of, but “the character already tainted” by its presence among them in this one instance.” But are not the consequences merely anticipated in their certainty, and the future and present all included under one view? The leaven and is working must here be taken together]. The same comparison, used to illustrate a corrupting influence, occurs in Gal_5:9, and Mat_16:6, and the parallel passages. On the other hand, it appears in Mat_13:33, and in the parallel passages, to illustrate the penetrating and pervading power of Divine grace.

In consequence of the contagious effects of tolerated evil, Paul gives the following exhortation:—Purge out.—’ Åêêáèáßñåéí sometimes is followed by the Accus. of the thing cleansed, and sometimes, as here, with that of the thing removed. [Stanley calls it “a strong expression,” and remarks that the duty it enjoins was “carried out in later times with such extreme punctiliousness, that on the fourteenth day they searched with candles into the darkest holes and corners to see whether any leaven remained.”]—The old leaven.—This, in accordance with what has been said, does not indicate the incestuous person, so that the command would only be a repetition of that in 1Co_5:2; 1Co_5:13, but the moral evil which was defiling the Church. This he calls ‘old,’ because it was the remains of their former unregenerate state which, like leaven, was still at work vitiating their character.—That ye may be a fresh lump, íÝïíöýñáìá ,—wherein there is no leaven, hence a complete whole, morally renewed by purification—a Church holy and free from sin, evincing its early love and zeal. (Starke). ( ÍÝïò , fresh differs from êáéíüò , which means new, entirely different from what it was before).—What follows clearly shows that the Apostle had in mind the practice of the Israelites removing leaven from their houses before the Passover began.—As ye are unleavened.—Thus he designates the Church ideally considered, and as it can become only through the power of Divine grace, and shows the divinely postulated character of its member ship; and hence it presents an argument for removing the existing evil, as he enjoins them to do. They are to come up to their true ideal. [Conybeare and Howson, however, interpret this clause literally, as alluding to the condition in which the Jewish portion of the Church were at that moment, it being the time of Passover: “Even as ye, at this Paschal season, are without the taint of leaven.” This view Alf. combats at length. His strongest argument, and one which must be deemed conclusive, is that it is “wholly alien from the habit and spirit of the Apostle. “The ordinances of the Old Law,” he says, “are to Paul not points, on whose actual observance to ground spiritual lessons, but things passed away in their literal acceptance, and become spiritual verities in Christ.” Kling’s view is the one generally adopted, and in refutation of the one above suggested, he adds further]. It would evidently transcend the meaning of the term, ἄæõìïé to make it mean those who eat no leaven, or observe the festival of unleavened bread, i.e., the Jews, nor would such a meaning be applicable to the case of a Church composed mainly of heathen converts. But it may be fitly used of all professing Christians, inasmuch as they are themselves supposed to be free from those sinful corruptions which prevail without in the world, and which are here denoted by the leaven. And such an interpretation accords with the previous phrase “a fresh lump.” The translation of ἐóôå by: ‘ye ought to be,’ instead of by: ‘ye are’ [as Chrysostom, Theoph., and after them Billroth, Flatt and Pott, and many others suggest], though in itself incorrect, would point to the ideal view of Christians expressed in the word ‘unleavened.’ [But the strongest argument for the interpretation given, above of the clause before us, is in what follows, where we see that the Apostle’s mind was moving not in the sphere of Jewish carnal ordinances, but among the higher verities which they typified].—For our Passover also has been sacrificed even Christ.—[Such can only be rendering of the words, êáὶ ãὰñ ôὸ ðÜó÷áἡìῶí ἐôý èç ×ñéóôü ò . The main subject is evidently to ôὸ ðÜó÷á ; and the intent of the Apostle is to show the propriety of speaking of Christians as unleavened, since they, too, had a paschal offering, which was Christ. Kling, however, goes on to raise the question]. Does this declaration furnish the ground of what Immediately precedes ? or is it a further argument for the whole exhortation? In the former case, the sense would be: ye are free from that corruption by virtue of that redemption achieved by Christ. But such connection would suit, provided only, that we took the term “unleavened” In the sense rejected above. [But why so ? Why not consider it as justifying the application of the term to Christians also, on the ground that they likewise had a passover which obliged them to be free from the corruption which the leaven symbolized?] We, therefore, refer the clause to the whole exhortation, as furnishing an argument for that. [And such, no doubt, is the more extended bearing of it.] As among the Israelites from the first day of the feast to the slaying of the Paschal lamb, it was the rule to put away all leaven and all unleavened bread from their houses, so likewise were Christians under obligation to put away all former sinful practices—the leaven of wickedness—inasmuch as their Paschal lamb, even Christ, had been slain. And here we have an evidence that the ancient Paschal lamb was a type of Christ. And to this also Joh_19:36, plainly conducts us. The point of comparison is, primarily, the redeeming power of the blood of the victim. It was with this that at the time of their departure from Egypt, the lintels and doorposts of the Israelites were sprinkled, and by reason of this that those within were preserved from the destroying sword, while the Egyptians fell under its stroke. In like manner under the new dispensation, which fulfils the old, it is said the hearts of believers are sprinkled by the blood of Christ (Heb_10:22; Heb_12:24; 1Pe_1:12), and thus saved from destruction. The slaying of the Paschal lamb accordingly obtains the character of a sacrifice ( èýåéí ), and indeed of an expiatory, covenant kind, forming a distinction between the members of the covenant, whose sins are covered with its blood, and the others who are left to their doom. Worthy of consideration, though somewhat problematical, is Lücke’s and Meyer’s observation, that this designation of Christ accords with John’s account of the crucifixion which places it on the day of the slaying of the Paschal lamb (contrary to the account of the Synoptists), and can only be explained on this ground. But, however this may be, a powerful motive is found in this fact for moral purification. (comp. 1Pe_2:24).—This is further carried out in

1Co_5:8. Let us therefore keep the feast.—The previous command in a milder form—that of an exhortation to a social solemnity, for which the expression, “our Pass-over,” forms a fit transition. The whole context alludes to the Easter festival; and it is highly probable that the Apostle wrote the Epistle at or near the approach of Easter (comp. 1Co_16:8), and, being full of the idea, gave to his exhortation a corresponding form. That the Christian festival of Easter, commemorating the resurrection of our Lord, had already been established, can hardly be affirmed. But that Gentile converts united with the Jewish, to celebrate the Passover in commemoration of its fulfilment through Christ, is too probable to be denied. In any case, it is safe to assert with Osiander, that it was solemnized in spirit. As for the rest, the language is figurative. The duty indicated is not the outward, but the inward spiritual observance, namely, the united offering of praise to God for His redeeming grace, through the maintenance of a Christian conversation (comp. Osiander). [Hodge, Alf., Stanley, agree in the opinion that there is no reference here to the keeping of the Passover festival, nor yet to the observance of the Lord’s Supper (though Wordsworth regards “the text as specially applicable to a consideration of the privileges and duties” connected with this), but, as Kling, to that “continued Passover feast,” that “sacred festival” of a consecrated life, which should follow upon our union to Christ in His death, even as a feast, professedly of holy joy and gladness, protracted through seven days always followed upon the observance of the Pass over among the Jews].

How the feast was to be kept is explained still further; first, negatively.—not with old leaven,—which he had just told them to purge out. (1Co_5:7), and which he goes on further to describe in words which are to be understood, not as introducing a new thought, but as explanatory of the former.—neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness.—What, in point of fact is one, is here formally distinguished; or we may say with Meyer, that of the kind in general one particular is selected and made prominent. The preposition ἐí with, indicates that with which the feast was accompanied, or in which its character was violated. [The Genitives are those of apposition, ‘the leaven which is,’ &c. See Winer, § 59, 8, a], Êáêßá denotes the opposite of that love which seeks the welfare of another—a desire and effort to injure a neighbor (Eph_4:31); ðïíçñßá [“is a still stronger word” Hodge], and denotes wickedness, villany [“the performance of evil with persistency and delight. Hence Satan is called ὁ ðïíçñüò ”—Hodge]. In contrast with these we have the true method expressed.—but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Åἰëéêñßíåéá is purity—the quality of having been proved in the sunlight ( åß ̔ ëç ) and found ( êñßíåôáé ) genuine; ἀëÞèåéá , the harmony of man with himself, and with Divine truth, which is made known in the uprightness of conduct. To distinguish these terms as indicating, the one the substance, the other the manifestation of goodness, and thus as expressing the opposite to êáêßá , the substance, and ðïíçñßá , the manifestation of evil would be too abstract. Bengel’s distinction: “ êáêßá is vice, as contrary to virtue, and that virtue unalloyed, or insincerity, and ðïíçñßá , wickedness, as in those who strenuously defend and retain êáêßáí , and is opposed to the truth”—is very uncertain. We can better accept the distinction he makes between åἰëéêñßí and ἀëÞèåéá —“the former takes care not to admit evil with the good, the latter not to admit evil instead of good.” For other attempts to discriminate between these words, see Starke in loco. [Also Trench “Syn. of the New Testament.” § 11, and W. Webster “Syntax and Syn. of the New Testament,” pp. 194, 195].

1Co_5:9-13. We here have an episode to the proper subject of this paragraph, which is resumed again in 1Co_5:13 The exhortation given above suggests the correction of a misunderstanding in regard to the meaning of a certain passage in a previous letter, which he had written to them about holding intercourse with fornicators.—I wrote to you in the Epistle.—The stringency of theological dogmatism, which refuses to admit the loss of any Apostolic writing, insists that the reference here is to a previous passage in this Epistle, viz., 1Co_5:2; 1Co_5:6. But such reference neither suits the expression “in the Epistle,” nor yet the contents of the verses cited. The allusion must therefore be to some earlier letter now lost. [This is the conclusion of Calvin, Beza, Bengel, de Wette, Meyer, Wordsworth, Alford, Hodge, Barnes, and most other modern commentators, and as Words. argues, “is perfectly consistent with the position, ‘that no Canonical Book of Holy Scripture has been lost.’ ” Stanley, however, ingeniously argues for the other view, advocated mainly by the Greek Fathers, also by Hammond and Whitby, and asks whether there are not indications that the whole passage from 1Co_5:9 to 1Co_6:8 is, in some sense, a distinct note, a postscript not merely to 5 :6–8, but also to 1Co_6:9-20? This he says has been already conjectured by two Englishmen, J. Edwards and Dr. Thos. Arnold, and he alludes in the way of comparison to a remarkable passage in Livy. 1Co_4:20, called by Niebuhr, the only instance of a note in any ancient author. Similar digressions he thinks he finds elsewhere, also in Paul’s Epistles. To say the least, he makes a very plausible case, and his arguments, if not convincing, are very interesting].—not to keep company with fornicators. Óõíáíáìßãíåóèáé , to mingle oneself up with, as in 2Th_3:14; the Inf. after verbs of counselling, or commanding. The warning thus conveyed they had interpreted to mean, that they should hold no intercourse at all with persons of the sort mentioned; and they did this perhaps from a secret disinclination to follow Paul’s instruction, and in their letter had pointed out the utter impracticability of the thing. He therefore goes on now to explain himself more exactly upon the subject.

1Co_5:10. Not altogether with the fornicators of this world.—The ellipsis here is certainly to be supplied from the foregoing—‘I wrote not to mingle with.’ But the question is, whether these words are to be inserted after ‘not,’ so as to separate it from ‘altogether’ ( ðÜíôùò ), or whether these two words are to be taken together; and then, in the latter case, whether the two are to be joined with ‘I wrote,’ or with the nouns following. In our opinion, the separation of ‘not altogether’ ( ïὐ ðÜíôùò ), ought, if possible, to be avoided. But if we connect the words unitedly, to ‘I wrote,’ and render the clause: ‘I did by no means write to you not to associate with the wicked,’ then it has the appearance of promoting directly such intercourse. [“And this, although perhaps the more common explanation, does not give so good sense.” Hodge]. They had better therefore be joined with what follows, in the way of limitation; ‘not entirely and under all circumstances’ with the fornicators of this world. By the epithet, ‘of this world,’ the persons alluded to are distinguished from those of the same class found in the Church.—Since he is treating, in this paragraph, of moral purification in general, he adds yet other sorts of persons who presented a decided contrast to the Christian character, and with whom it was unbecoming in them to associate—persons whom he had already spoken of in his previous letter.—or with the converts and extortioners.—These two classes go together, as may be seen by the êáὶ and, which connect them—a reading better supported than , or of the Rec. The ðëåïíÝêôçò is one who means to have more than his neighbors, or, more than belongs to him, and who therefore indulges in frauds, and over-reaching, and oppression. This trait is more prominently brought out in the second term, ἅñðáî , which denotes one who manifests his greed of gain in robbery and plunder. [Conybeare renders the former of these words: ‘lascivious person,’ and says that “ ðëÝïíåîßá in St. Paul almost invariably means impurity.” And Stanley advocates this interpretation as being more in accordance with the drift of discourse. And there is not a little to justify the view taken. Sensuality and rapine most frequently go together as branches from the same root of covetousness, and stand in close connection with idolatry. The same view is also maintained by Hammond, who explain ðëåïí ́ êôáéò to mean ‘men of inordinate lusts;’ and in consistency with this, supported by no small show of classic authorities, translates ἅñðáãåò , ravishers. But there is no special reason why “the extraordinary sense” should be adopted here; and the conjunction ‘and’ seems to affiliate the words in meaning with the other to which it is thus connected. See Trench, N. T. Syn. § 24]—or with idolaters.—To those who violate the rights of neighbors, he joins such as violate the highest right—that of God. And in this religious aberration is found the source of all moral aberration. [“This is said to be the earliest known instance of the use of the word åἰäùëïëÜôñçò ; it is never used in the LXX., although åἴäùëïí is constantly employed in that version to denote ‘false gods.’ ” Hodge]. That the prohibition which he had formerly given could not have been meant in the broad sense supposed by his readers, he now shows apagogically by exhibiting the absurdity of the thing.—Since, indeed, ye must then have gone out of the world.—The ἄñá , in that case, following upon ἐðåὶ , since, shows yet more definitely the consequence which would ensue upon the interpretation put on his language. Properly a protasis is here to be supplied. ‘If it were so as you say, why then in that case,’ etc. [For the force of ἄñá , see Winer § LIII. a], Êüóìïò , world, in this last clause, is to be taken in its physical, not, as in the first clause, in its ethical sense. The world is full of bad people, with whom we are compelled to deal, in some form, in business or traffic, by the very exigencies of our earthly lot; and if we would avoid them altogether, we can only do it by quitting the world altogether.

1Co_5:11. But now I wrote to you.—He cannot here be repeating what was in the former Epistle, for had the words which follow been there, the misunderstanding could not have arisen. Íῦí äὲ ἔãñáøá must accordingly imply: ‘but now my meaning was,’ íῦí being taken in its logical sense, as referring back to the previous statement (comp. 1Co_15:20; 1Co_12:18; 1Co 19:6). In like manner ëÝãù and ἔåãïí often stand for: ‘this is what I mean, or meant, by what I say, or said.’ Son_1:12 and elsewhere. This interpretation is better suited to the context. We have here the positive explanation of a former declaration, following upon the negative one in 1Co_5:10,—and not a new declaration made ‘now’ ( íῦí ), differing from that made “in the Epistle,” 1Co_5:10; in which case the aorist ἔãñáøá : I wrote, must be taken after the old epistolary style as referring to what was said in process of writing (see Meyer in loco). [“Thus by the right rendering, we escape the awkward inference deducible from the ordinary interpretation, that the Apostle had previously given a command and now retracted it.” Alf.].—not to keep company, if any one called a brother be a fornicator.—The participle ὀíïìáæüìåíïò , called, forms an antithesis to , is, as contrasting profession with reality. To connect the participle with the following noun [as Augustine, Ambrose, Estius, and others], so as to read: ‘be a reputed, or notorious fornicator,’ would be alike opposed to the drift of the passage, and to the usage of language. ’ ÏíïìÜæåóèáé can mean only: to be called, or, to be honorably mentioned. Besides in this case the text would have been: ἀ äåëöüò ôéò ,—or a covetous, or an idolater.—The term idolater, as applied to one called a brother, must denote, [not an open worshipper of idols, for such a person would hardly have been found among the brethren], but one who ate of the heathen sacrifices, and participated in the heathenish customs connected therewith—a practice alluded to in 1Co_10:14. Then enlarging his catalogue beyond that of 1Co_5:10, he adds,—or a railer, or a drunkard, ìÝèõóïò , a term which in old Greek was used of women only,—or an extortioner; with such a one neither to eat.—This does not refer to communion at love-feasts, or at the Lord’s Supper; but to association at ordinary meals, a practice which would indicate intimate companionship. The characters described, they were not to entertain as guests, nor visit as hosts, nor unite with them at a party in the house of a common acquaintance; but they were to cut them off from their society and give it to be understood that they would have nothing in common with them. “Here we learn what sins justify excommunication. We must also suppose that among the converts at Corinth, here and there, a reaction towards their former state had already taken place.” Neander.

1Co_5:12-13. A further reason why he could have designed his exhortation only in a limited sense. The contrary would have been an assumption of authority over those not Christians, an application of discipline to them which was not allowed him.—For what have I to do,— ôß ãÜñ ìïé .—The expression is pure Greek. It means, ‘what concern is it of mine? It does not belong to my office.’—to judge also those Without. Ïἱἔîù , was a designation applied by the Jews to the heathen, and by Christians to unbelievers. The latter are without, because they are outside the pale of God’s Church—not to be found among His people. In like manner Col_4:5, 1Th_4:12. His refusal to judge such he sustains by a reference to their own procedure.—do not ye judge them that are within?—The ôïῦò ἔóù , holding the emphatic place, forms the antithesis to ôïῦòἔîù , and ὑìåῖò to ìïé . Then the argument is: ‘since you yourselves confine your jurisdiction to those within the Church, you had no reason to ascribe to me advice which went beyond this limit.’ It would be clearly wrong to separate, as some [Theoph. Hammond, Michaelis, Rosenmuller] do, ὂõ÷ß from what follows, and then take the verb in the Imper. q. d., ‘No, judge ye,’ etc. It would then have read, ïὐäÝí , nothing, as the reply to the previous question; and ἀëëἀ , but, would have appeared after it. In saying ‘ye,’ Paul does not mean to exclude himself. This would be contrary to what he had just enjoined in 1Co_5:3-5.—But those without God will judge, or judgeth.—This clause is best taken by itself, affirmatively, and not as continuing the previous question: ‘The right to judge unbelievers belongs solely to God, not to you or me.’ Whether the verb here is to be taken in the present or future is doubtful, for the accentuation is uncertain—whether êñßíåé ͅ or êñéíåῖ . If the latter—the future, the reference is to the last judgment. But this is not what Paul has exclusively in mind. Taken in the present, it corresponds best with the previous clauses. [“These remarks about judging form a transition point to the subject of the next chapter. But having now furnished his explanation of the prohibition formerly given, and with this subject of the fornicator among them, he gives, before passing on, a plain command in terms for the excommunication (but no more) of the offender. And this he does in the very words of Deu_24:7, from which the reading êáὶ ἐîáñåῖôå has come.” Alf. and this he does without any connecting word, the abruptness being characteristic].—Put away the wicked one from among your own selves.—In this he but resumes the chief topic of this section, which had not been altogether abandoned. Even during the seeming digression, Paul clinches it. There is no sign of that momentary passionate outburst which Rückert detects. The reference in ôὸíðïíçñüí : that wicked one, is to fornicator, not to the devil, as Calvin supposes, whose power was to be averted by the removal of what was evil and impure. Such a reference is disproved by the plain citation here from Deuteronomy 26 ’ Åî ὑìῶí is emphatic: ‘from out of the midst of yourselves.’


[1. Christ the antitype of the Paschal Lamb. Thus the Old Testament pours light upon the New, and reveals to us the meaning of Christ’s mission. As the Paschal Lamb saved the Israelites from destruction through the sprinkling of its blood upon their habitations, so Christ saves His people, not by instruction, not by example, not by the converting grace of His Spirit, though these means are included in His work—but primarily, by giving His blood for their ransom. He is our Redeemer in virtue of His having made Himself a sacrifice for us. This truth is involved in the very word employed to designate the nature of His death, ἐôýèç —a word appropriated to denote the slaying of victims at an altar. And should it be objected that the Paschal Lamb was not, properly speaking, a sacrifice, it not having been offered at an altar, nor through a priest, nor in a consecrated place, thus answering to the requisitions of a sacrifice, it is enough to reply that it is so called in Scripture in various places (Exo_12:27; Exo_23:18; Exo_34:25; Deu_16:2; Deu_16:4-6), and had all the effect of an expiatory offering. Indeed, it seems to have been the root out of which the whole sacrificial system grew. And as its offering was the very condition on which the Israelites escaped the doom of Egypt which set them free, and as its observance was the condition of continued membership in the ransomed nation, so is the death of Christ the ground of the sinner’s exemption from the condemnation and curse resting upon the world, and the continued commemoration of that death is a duty imposed on all that would be numbered among His saints].

[2. Both the sanctification of the individual believer, and the purification of the Church as a body, necessarily follow from the fact of our redemption through the sacrifice of Christ. As the Israelites were redeemed to be a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exo_30:6), so is the Church redeemed to be “a royal priesthood and a holy nation” (1Pe_2:9). And this purpose is realized under the inspiring motive of grateful joy for the deliverance vouchsafed. Hence the whole of every truly Christian life becomes a holy festival, an offering of praise to God for the glorious works He hath done for us through Christ. His redemption was nothing less than the achievement of a Divine love that condescended to take upon itself the doom of the sinner, and expiate his guilt by the sacrifice of a life assumed in his nature 1. Now where this fact is known and felt, there the sin thus atoned for can no longer be tolerated in its selfishness and lovelessness. He who truly believes that Christ died for him in love, himself becomes “dead unto sin” (Rom_6:11). In him the body of sin with all its affections and lusts is nailed upon the cross of his Lord, and the life he henceforth leads, is maintained in fellowship with that Saviour who loved him and gave Himself for him. Thus it is that malice and wickedness are purged away, and instead thereof we see a life of simplicity and truth manifesting itself in word and deed; and this, not under the constraints of legal obligation and fear, but under the actuating power of devout gratitude and joyful devotion. Such is the ideal of a Christian life. And so far as this ideal is realized, both the Church as a whole, and every individual in the Church becomes a temple of God where He is perpetually worshipped and where a true and lasting festival goes on].

3. It follows from the above that wherever the Christian life is in full and vigorous exercise, there the Church will, as far as possible, maintain a discipline, which shall separate between the holy and the profane, and preserve its own consistency and integrity; there Christians will withhold the title of ‘brother’ from every professor that walketh disorderly, and will take heed how they countenance by their friendlysociety those who openly dishonor the name after which they are called; there the vices which stain the Christian character will be regarded with greater abhorrence and put under severer censure than those which are openly practised by the world. And this discipline will be the natural operation of that holy love which the death of Christ enkindles, manifesting itself both in the ordinary intercourse of life, and through official acts. Without this vital power, Church discipline, however exercised, may indeed succeed in maintaining a creditable external order, and in carrying on a creditable conflict with public immoralities, but it never can accomplish an inward renovation, or bring to pass deep and lasting results.


[1. The Church of God, as a body redeemed from condemnation by the death of Christ, is thereby put under obligations to purge itself from all sin and immoralities, and to preserve a saintly character and appearance. The inflation of vanity is one evidence of the working of the leaven of wickedness, and should excite suspicion of its presence 1Co_5:6.—No immoralities should be tolerated under the pretext that they are small, because—1, the toleration of them indicates a general laxity of principle; and 2, endangers the purity of the whole body by a vicious infection 1Co_5:6; 1 Corinthians , 3, is contrary to the ideal character of the Church 1Co_5:7. The sins of our former state are especially to be guarded against, and the remains of them to be searched for and cast out. They both desecrate the purity and mar the joy of what should be the Christian’s life-long feast 1Co_5:7. The Church, though separate from the world, is yet to exist in the world; and one of the problems it must solve is so to mingle with the ungodly and profane as not to compromise its character or countenance iniquity, and yet so as to maintain peace with all men and win the worst to Christ. The principles which should regulate its intercourse with the world are thus given by Barnes: ‘a. The Church is not to be compared to the world in any of its peculiar and distinguishing features; b. It must treat all men justly and righteously; c. Its members must discharge all obligations and duties belonging to the social relations; d. They must do good to all men; e. They must so associate with sinners as to be able to work for their salvation’ (1Co_5:9-10).—Those that are justly liable to church censure, and must be excommunicated, are the openly immoral and profane. But while these characters in the Church are to be judged by the Church, the world without is to be left to the judgment of God. And this judgment is to be exercised in the Church in order that those who are judged by it may, if possible, escape the condemnation awaiting the world (1Co_5:12).]

Starke:—If evil be allowed free course, the result will be a settled wantonness of character, leading the person to commit iniquity without reserve—yea, even with pleasure and determination; and then to ignore guilt, or so to varnish it over that the villain beneath shall not be suspected under the fair outside. Sin has its lurking holes, and must be hunted out through them all. Alas, for the few genuine Easter days which Christians enjoy, 1Co_5:8.—Of what profit is it to leave the world and skulk away in the mountains and clefts of the wilderness? The old Adam will skulk with thee even there. Drive him out, and then will thy heart itself be a blessed solitude, where Christ will come and converse with thee. So associate with open sinners as to teach, not learn—warn, not confirm—help to life, not hasten to death (1Co_5:9-10).—Look out for home; God will take care of things abroad.—In order to effective Church discipline, the majority of the Church must themselves be sound 1Co_5:13.

Berlen. Bibel:—If thy wrong is made public and judged, count it not as an injury; for a genuine purification requires that we do not withdraw our iniquity from condemnation and destruction. Now that Christ has died for our justification, and sent us His Spirit for our sanctification, this personal purification may be justly required. We ought to do it, because now we can do it—not, however, in our own strength, but in that of our risen Saviour (1Co_5:7).—The true Passover festival of Christians is followed by a constant succession of Sabbaths, wherein they daily rise with Christ to newness of life. He who has learned this, keeps Easter all the time, Christ’s life is his life; and this life is peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. His festival will terminate only when Christ ceases to be 1Co_5:8.—If we must be surrounded by the world, let us take care to abide with ourselves through a constant inward intercourse with God. In such a case the world will not harm us.

Heubner:—The Pericope on Easter. To the worthy celebration of Easter there belongs—1, repentance 1Co_5:6-7; 1 Corinthians 2, faith and joy, because of redemption 1Co_5:7; 1 Corinthians 3, new resolves for greater sanctification (1Co_5:8).—The life of a Christian is a continuous Easter—1, in ceaseless repentance and sorrow for man’s fall; 2, in constant looking to Christ, the risen, reigning Lord.—Easter as the festival of a spiritual resurrection—1. Its necessity as a memorial of the Apostacy, since from one sin the whole race has been corrupted 1Co_5:6; 1Co_7:2. It shows the possibility of redemption. Only One, Christ, can raise us from our fall 1Co_5:7. 3. It is a general demand to walk in newness of life, in order to become fit for eternal life through sanctification (1Co_5:8). Heubner.

F. W. Besser:—We, too, have a Paschal Lamb. It was a gift from God. What has God from us in return? We have the true-Paschal Lamb. God requires of us the true Easter-cake. What vile ingratitude, if we are disobedient! (1Co_5:7). Daily would we celebrate Easter in spirit, provided we daily acknowledge, enjoy and praise our Paschal Lamb, ‘who was slain for us once for all’ (Heb_10:10). “The time of the N. T. is a perpetual festal period,” says Augustine. God’s word exhorts you to purge out the old leaven, and if you refuse, you make your natural- sourness altogether sourer through the vinegar and the gall of your opposition; weakness turns to stiff-neckedness and malice, and indolence, to spite and wickedness. But if, on the contrary, our old leaven is sweetened:—if, we admit the purifying influence of the Spirit, then instead of wicked resistance we show honest repentance; instead of cherishing malice, we accept the truth in love. In the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth we celebrate our Easter by allowing ourselves to be reproved by the light (Eph_5:13), and by giving honor to the truth.

[F. W. Robertson:—’Ye are unleavened.’ Here is the true conception of the Church: regenerated humanity—new life without the leaven of old evil. The Church visible and invisible, however, to be distinguished; the former composed of the men who in this age or that profess Christ, the latter such as every Church is only potentially and conceivably, according to its idea. For want of keeping these distinct, two grand errors arise: 1. Undue severity towards the lapsed. 2. Wrong purism in the matter of association with the world, its people, its business, its amusements. Under, 1. The attempt to make the Church entirely pure must ever fail. Only as a Church visible she must separate from her all visible evil; she must sever from herself all such foreign elements as bear unmistakable marks of their alien birth. Her purity must be visible purity, not ideal; representative, not perfect. Under, 2. We are not to go out of the world, but only to take care, in associating with sinners, not to recognize them as brothers, or as fulfilling in any degree the Christian idea].

[J. Edwards: 1Co_5:11. The Nature and End of Excommunication. I. The nature of excommunication: 1. Wherein it consists: a. It is privative of the charity of the Church, of brotherly society with its members, of its fellowship, and of its internal privileges; b. Positively it is a deliverance unto the calamities to which those are subject who belong to the visible kingdom of the devil, and into the special power of Satan, who may be employed by God for the infliction of such chastisement, as their apostacy deserves. 2. By whom inflicted: a. Primarily, by Christ; b. Ministerially, by the Church. II. The proper subjects for excommunication. 1. Those visibly wicked by gross sin. 2. The obdurately impenitent. III. The ends of excommunication. 1. That the Church may be kept pure, and its ordinances undefiled. 2. That others may be deterred from wickedness. 3. That the guilty parties may be reclaimed. IV. Motives to the duty. 1. The honor of Jesus, and of His religion, and His Church. 2. Our own good. 3. The good of those who are without. 4. Benevolence towards offending brethren. 5. The absolute authority of Christ].


1Co_5:6.—The variations äïëïῖ and öèåßñåé are glosses.

1Co_5:7.—The ïὖí of the Rec. as well as the êáß before ïὐ , 1Co_5:10, and the êáß before ἐîÜñáôå , 1Co_5:13, are connective particles that are feebly supported. [They are not found in A. B. D. P. Cod. Sin.]

1Co_5:7.— ὐðὲñ ἡìῶí after ἡìῶí is a dogmatic gloss, which has all the most important authorities against it. [This sentence ought to be rendered: ‘For our passover has been sacrificed, even Christ.’]

1Co_5:8.—[“ åïñôÜæïìåí , A. D., but åïñôÜæùìåí , B. C. F L. Cod. Sin.” Alf.]

1Co_5:10.—The Rec. is feebly supported and is an alteration to conform to the general context. [A. B. C. D1. F. Cod. Sin. all have êáß .]

1Co_5:10.—[The Rec. has ὀöåßëåôå with B3., which Alf. calls “a correction from misunderstanding.” Wordsworth and Meyer retain it. A. B1. C. D. F. L. Cod. Sin. have ὠöåßëåôå . It would then read: ‘Ye ought to have gone.’ “The necessity would long ago have occurred and the act passed. And this Lachmann, Tisch., Rückert, approve.]

1Co_5:11.—[The Rec. has íõíὶ with C. D. Cod. Sin1.; and so Meyer, Words. But A. B. F. L. Cod. Sin3., have all íῦí , which Alf. adopts.]

1Co_5:11.—The Rec. is accented according to the analogy of what follows. But is best authorized [being supported by nearly all the ancient versions.]

1Co_5:12.—The êáß has indeed many important authorities against it. [A. B. C. F. Cod. Sin.] But it might very easily have been omitted as dispensable, and ought to be retained with Meyer arid Tischendorf. [Alf. omits it.]

1Co_5:13.—The Rec. êáὶ ἐîÜñåῖôå arose from Deu_24:7. ἘîÜñÜôå is decidedly better supported. A. B. C. D1. F. Cod. Sin.]

See this disproved, and the whole chronology of our Lord’s last acts fully discussed in Andrew’s “Life of our Lord,” pp. 423–460: also Lange on Matth. pp. 456 and 468].

And yet Calvin’s interpretation is more in accordance with the enlarged course of thought pursued in the latter part of the chapter, and carries with it greater force. It also explains the abruptness with which the injunction is introduced. The grand finale of the whole matter is: ‘Put the wicked one away from tho midst of you—the wicked one and all that belongs to him.’ This seems more natural than to suppose a recurrence to a matter already settled].

See Archb. Magee’s conclusive argument on this subject in his “Atonement and Sacrifice,” Note 35 Kurtz Sacrificial Worship, § 180, and articles on “Passover” in Kitto Bib. Ency., and Smith’s Bible Dict. Also Bahr Symbolik, Vol. II., p. 627 ff., Lange Life of Christ, Edinburgh. Tran., IV., p. 149, and Lange Mat_26:1-5].