1 Corinthians


4. Some moral issues affecting unity, 5:1-6:20

i] The case of incest, 5:1-13


In dealing with a case of incest in the Corinthian church, Paul presents an analogy to his readers. As the congregation is a new batch of dough in Christ, they must remove the polluting leaven of the wicked man. The sacrifice of the Passover lamb (the death and resurrection of Christ) made them pure dough. As pure dough they should clean out any corruption, and that includes corrupt attitudes and wicked behavior. Simply, as a new creation, both individually and as a congregation, they should strive to be the new person they already are in Christ.


i] Context: See 1:1-3. Having dealt with the issue of disputes and divided loyalties and how they affects apostolic authority, 1:10-4:21, Paul goes on to tackle a number of specific problems within the Corinthian congregation, problems which reflect a breakdown of apostolic authority, 5:1-15:58. As far as Paul is concerned, these problems are a direct result of the fallacious teaching emanating from the preacher/s of wisdom.

In chapters 5-6, Paul deals with three specific failings evident in the Corinthian congregation. These problems were reported to Paul by members of Chloe's household, two of which being of a serious sexual nature. It is interesting to compare how the Leviticus holiness code gives prominence to sexual holiness, see Lev.18:6-30.

• A case of incest, 5:1-13;

• Litigation between church members, 6:1-11;

• The visiting of prostitutes, 6:12-20.

In chapter 7, Paul deals with other sexual issues, this time issues raised with him in a letter sent to him by the Corinthian congregation. Whereas the issues in chapter 5 and 6 reflect a tendency toward libertarianism, the issues in chapter 7 reflect a tendency toward asceticism.

• Sex within marriage, 7:1-9;

• Divorce, 7:10-24;

• Celibacy, 7:25-40.


ii] Background: Libertarianism: Dealing with ethics in the Gentile churches was no easy task for Paul. On the one hand, he has to steer Gentile believers away from nomism, the idea that law-obedience restrains sin and progresses holiness for the appropriation of covenant blessings, but on the other hand, he has to restrain libertarianism, the misuse of Christian freedom - enslavement to sin being its inevitable end. Paul knew well enough that a return to law-righteousness not only promotes disobedience, but also undermines salvation. A believer's progression toward Christ-likeness, as well as their possession of Christ-likeness, is always a matter of grace appropriated through faith. It is "Christ in us" that enables us to be what we are. Yet, in dealing with the Corinthians it is the problem of libertarianism that confronts Paul. Interestingly, it is quite possible that those he speaks against are influenced by his own teaching on justification by faith apart from works of the law. Have the Corinthians misunderstood the concept of "freedom" in Christ? Paul's legalist brothers, the judaizers, argued that to remove the law from a believer is to promote sin. The ethical problems in Corinth may well stem from this issue.

There are other possible scenarios for the libertarianism prevalent in the Corinthian congregation. The influence of Platonic thought is certainly a possibility. In Platonic thought, flesh is separate from spirit. One is of this earth and is destined for oblivion; the other is of God and is destined for eternity. Such a view can promote an "anything goes" mentality. The Corinthians were certainly into the "spiritual" and their emphasis on the spiritual-self might have left them open to a disregard for the physical-self. Just as it is possible for us to subject ourselves to the law and end up undermining our salvation, so it is possible to subject ourselves to sin and similarly undermine our salvation.

It is certainly true that many believers tend toward a Platonic dualism - the body is matter and is to be cast off; the soul is of God and is to be preserved. In popular theology it comes down to the body of the dead still in the grave, but the soul alive in heaven. Resurrection is often seen as a spiritual reality which concerns the soul, the real self, separate from the body which is something to be cast off. This heresy results in two different approaches. The first approach is libertarianism. Seeing the body is something to be cast off in death, then it doesn't matter what we do with it. We might as well satisfy its appetites, for then we won't get distracted from the more important spiritual issues of life. The second approach is asceticism. Seeing the body is something to be cast off in death, then it is best now to subdue its control over us and so allow us to live free from its constraints and thus accentuate the spiritual self.

How then does Paul confront this libertarian problem? He focuses on sound teaching - Spirit filled truth. Walking in the Spirit comes about by hearing the leading of the Spirit. It is this leading, through the ministry of the Apostles, Prophets, Teachers and Pastors, which inevitably builds us "up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ", Eph.4:11-13. So, Paul gives the Corinthians sound teaching, and in the power of the Spirit, this truth will set them free. Those who are in Christ hear Christ, and those who hear Christ are changed into his image through the power of the indwelling Spirit.


ii] Structure: Paul's instructions concerning incest in the church:

Instruction, v1-5:

Excommunicate the person.

The theological basis for that instruction, v6-8;

Clarification, v9-13:

Dissociation from a sinner does not mean

dissociation from the world.


iii] Interpretation:

Paul expresses his amazement that incest should exist within the congregation and that the congregation should be so slow to act against it, v1-2. Paul goes on to call on the congregation to excommunicate the person concerned, v3-5. This excommunication is not the casting off of a brother, but an action which exposes their sin and promotes repentance. Paul then warns the congregation that they too are in danger of undermining their salvation along with the sinner - like leaven, sin infects, v6-8. Paul has already warned the congregation not to associate with sinners, and now he warns them again, specifying the sinners he is speaking of, v9-13. The sinners with whom the congregation is to break fellowship are not those outside the church, but rather those inside. Disciplining a wayward society is not the business of the church; disciplining a wayward brother / sister is the business of the church.


iv] Comment :

As a divorced and remarried person I find this passage difficult to handle. As my marriage began to fail I resigned from my role as a Parish Priest and returned to the building trade for a living, and to my books for a calling. To my mind, it was not a complex decision; if you can't discipline your own life you can't discipline a church. I therefore am inclined to support those denominations that will not appoint a divorced person to a headship role in a church, but at the same time, fully include a divorced person into the life of the church. Yet, is that assessment correct, given Paul's instructions in the passage before us? Is the Roman church more in line with Holy Writ when it denies the Mass to a divorced person (I note that increased flexibility is now applied, given the guidance of Pope Francis)? Are the more liberal Protestant churches correct who welcome practicing homosexual couples into the life of their church? The line seems so fuzzy. Would we reflect the mercy of God in Christ if we shunned an alcoholic believer (a "drunkard"?) who suffers from occasional drinking bouts? Many an alcoholic has found a home in the Salvation Army because of their warm acceptance of down-and-outs.

In the passage before us, Paul seeks to apply Israel's holiness code to his Gentile church by listing some applicable covenantal requirements. Like the prophets of old, he focuses on the removal of corruption from God's holy people. Yet, over this there is the blanket of God's mercy in Christ, cleansing, accepting us in our flawed and compromised condition. How we bring those two together remains a conundrum, for me at least!


v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text 5:1

A case of incest within the Corinthian congregation, v1-13: i] Instruction, v1-5; a) Introduction; Paul expresses amazement that the Corinthian believers have not acted against a member who has partnered up with his father's wife (presumably not his mother), v1-2.

oJlwV adv. "actually" - actually, really [fornication is reported]. An emphatic sense is intended, as NIV. "Fornication" = "sexual immorality", here of an illicit sexual relationship, but probably not incest. He has moved in with his step-mother, probably with his father still alive, but now separated / divorced, although it is possible that father and son are cohabiting with the same woman.

en + dat. "among" - in = among [you]. Local, "localizes the report", R&P, or association; "among you." Possibly with the OT sense of "evil in your midst", referring to Israel and the need of God's people to purge evil "from the midst" of the people.

kai "and [of a kind]" - and [such fornication]. Probably ascensive; "even fornication of a kind which is not found among pagans", or epexegetic, making the initial statement more specific.

oude adv. "[does] not [occur among pagans] / [even pagans do] not [tolerate]" - [which] not even [among the gentiles]. Even pagan society does not tolerate such behavior.

wJste + inf. "-" - so that. This construction is usually adverbial, sometimes final, expressing purpose, or more likely consecutive, expressing result. It is possible that wJste is standing here for an epexegetic wJV, sometimes used to introduce an example; "namely, a certain one has the wife of his father" = "namely, a member of the congregation has moved in with his step-mother."

tina acc. pro. "a man" - a certain one [to have]. The accusative subject of the infinitive ecein, "to have."

tou patroV (hr roV) gen. "his father's [wife]" - [wife] of the = his father. The genitive is adjectival, possessive / relational.


Paul expresses disgust, given that the congregation seems to have so "arrogantly" accepted this situation in defiance of God's word and even the cultural requirements of the day. "They boast of their maturity as spiritual people, of their superior knowledge and freedom", Pfitzner.

uJmeiV pro. "you" - [and] you. Nominative subject of the verb "to be puffed up." Emphatic by use and position + an emphatic kai giving the sense "in fact / indeed, you are arrogant!" Possibly as a question; "Are you in these circumstances puffed up?" Barrett.

pefusiwmenoi (fusiow) perf. mid./pas. part. "are proud" - having been puffed up [are]. The perfect participle with the present verb to-be forms a periphrastic perfect construction, possibly emphasizing aspect.

ouci "[Should]n't" - [and] not [rather grieved]. This emphatic negation, when used in a question, as here, expects the answer "yes". Instead of defiant arrogance, the Corinthian believers should mourn over the sinful behavior of their brother and and their own spiritual insensitivity.

kai "-" - and. Emphatic; "Indeed, shouldn't you ....."

iJna + subj. "and" - so that. The rare imperatival use of this construction is suggested by some; "Let him who has done this be removed from among you", ESV. Yet, it is likely that it is adverbial, consecutive, expressing result, "Indeed, shouldn't you rather mourn that / so that / with the result that the person having done this deed is removed from among you?"

ek + gen. "[have put out] of [your fellowship]" - [he may be taken out / up] from [the midst of you]. Expressing separation, away from. Again the OT language of dealing with sin settled in the midst of the people; it must be drawn out and cast away.

oJ .... praxaV (prassw) aor. part. "the man who has done [this]" - the one having done [this work = deed]. The participle serves as a substantive.


b) Paul calls for the breaking of table fellowship with / excommunication of the believer who is defiantly "living with his father's wife", v3-5.

gar "for" - for. More reason than cause; "bringing out the grounds on which the preceding clause rests", Barrett. Probably best left untranslated, so Cassirer.

egw pro. "my part" - i. Emphatic by use and position.

men "-" - indeed. A rare assertive use of this particle (asseverative).

apwn (apeimi) pres. part. "even though I am not [physically] present" - being absent [in the body]. The participle, as with parwn, "being present", is adverbial, concessive. "Although I am absent in the body, I am present in the spirit." Paul is not present in some magical / spiritual sense, but psychologically present; this is his church family, and although not present, he is fully involved in its life and is well within his rights to guide its life.

tw/ swmati (a atoV) dat. "physically" - in the body [but/and being present in the spirit] The dative, as with tw/ pneumati, "in the spirit", is adverbial, modal, expressing manner, "bodily / spiritually"; physically absent, but present in thought.

wJV "just as if / as" - [already have i judged] like / as if [being present]. Comparative, "like someone present in body"; "as if I were present", Barclay.

hdh adv. "[I have] already [passed judgment]" - already. Temporal adverb. "I have already reached my decision", Barrett.

ton .... katergasamenon (katergazomai) aor. part. "on the one who has been doing [this]" - the one having done. The participle serves as a substantive, accusative of respect; "I have already reached my decision with respect to the one who has done this."

ouJtwV adv. "-" - [this thing] in this way. Modal, expressing manner; "the man who has perpetrated this act under such circumstances", Thiselton.


Although absent in the body, Paul is present in spirit, ie., Paul is a partner with them in the action of excommunication.

en "in [the name]" - in [the name of the lord]. Possibly instrumental, expressing means, "by means of", or modal, expressing the manner of passing judgment. The "name" identifies the person and "by the name of Jesus" defines the authority by which Paul acts; Paul passes judgment "by / under / with" the authority of the person of Jesus who is our Lord.

hJmwn gen. pro. "our [Lord Jesus]" - [jesus] of us. Variant reading. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, or subordination, "Lord over us."

sunacqentwn (sunagw) gen. aor. pas. part. "when [you] are assembled" - having been gathered together with [you]. Genitive absolute participle, temporal, as TNIV. Note NIV, as with many translations, have "when you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus", but it seems likely that Paul judges the matter in the name, rather than the Corinthians assemble in the name. The problem stems from a faulty verse division.

emou "I am with you" - [and] my [spirit]. Typical Pauline short-talk; "and my spirit is present" = "when you gather for worship consider me there with you in person."

th/ dunamei (iV ewV) dat. "the power" - [with] the power / authority. Authority could be in Paul's mind here rather than power; "consider me present with the authority of Christ."

tou kuriou (oV) gen. "of [our] Lord" - of the lord [of us, jesus]. The genitive is ablative, expressing source / origin; a power derived from Jesus Christ.

sun "is present" - with. Expressing association / accompaniment; "along with." Paul is probably indicating the source of his institutional authority, whether present or not, to influence matters in the Corinthian church, so "consider me there with you in person attended with all the authority of our Lord Jesus / powerfully supported by the Lord Jesus." The prepositional phrase could be linked to "when you are assembled", so "when you meet together and the power of the Lord Jesus is with you", CEV, or could also be linked to the following verse, "by the power of the Lord Jesus you are to deliver this man to Satan."


With rather colorful language, Paul calls on the Corinthian believers to excommunicate the sinner. This excommunication is for the purpose of reconciliation, ie., confronting a person with their sin for the purpose of reconciliation with the congregation and the Lord. "Hold this man's conduct up to public scrutiny. Let him defend it if he can! But if he can't, then out with him! It will be totally devastating to him, of course, and embarrassing to you. But better devastation and embarrassment than damnation. You want him on his feet and forgiven before the Master on the Day of Judgment", Peterson.

paradounai (paradidwmi) aor. inf. "hand [this man] over to [Satan]" - to hand over, deliver over [such a person]. The infinitive is likely to form a dependent statement of indirect speech / commanding; "My instruction is as follows, hand over to Satan such a man." The substantive pronoun ton toiouton, "such a man", stands as the accusative subject of the infinitive. "Banish such a person from the Christian fellowship."

tw/ satana/ (as atoV) "Satan" - to satan. Dative of indirect object after the para prefix verb "to hand over to."

eiV "for" - to = for. Here expressing purpose / end-view. A positive purpose / end is envisaged by most commentators rather than a cursing. So, the destruction of the man's proud and sinful self by repentance and faith in Christ, so bringing about forgiveness, so Pfitzner; "perhaps by tasting the bitterness of life outside the congregation the perpetrator will repent and be saved", Barnett.

thV sarkoV (x koV) gen. "the flesh" - [destruction] of the flesh. The genitive is usually taken as verbal, objective. "Flesh" and "spirit" are used here in a contrasting fashion. Paul is calling for the purging of the man's sinful / corrupt self to give his real self the freedom to repent and so be saved; "this you must do so that this salutary and painful discipline may mortify this man's fleshly desires", Barclay.

iJna + subj. "so that " - that [the = his spirit may be saved]. This construction serves to introduce a final clause expressing purpose, "in order that he may be saved in the day of judgment."

en + dat. "on" - in [the day of the lord]. Local, as NIV, or possibly adverbial, temporal, "when the Lord Jesus returns", CEV. The day of the Lord is the day of eschatological judgment - a bad news day for the unforgiven.


ii] The theological basis for the instruction - like leaven, sin infects us, corrupts us, v6-8. The Corinthians were proud of their egalitarian acceptance of those from all walks of life, yet "their headiness put them in imminent danger of being spoiled by fermentation", Fee. They should know well enough the proverb "a little leaven leavens the whole batch of dough", or as we sometimes put it, "a bad apple spoils the whole barrel". The NIV "yeast" is incorrect. The ancients didn't use much yeast, rather they made sour bread by keeping back a small piece of dough to mix with next weeks dough. This rather foul fermented mixture then leavened next weeks bread. At the feast of Unleavened Bread the cycle was broken, for both health and religious reasons, by making a new starter.

uJmwn gen. pro. "your" - [the boast] of you [is not good]. The genitive may be treated as adjectival, possessive, or verbal, subjective.

to kauchma (a atoV) "boast / boasting" - the boast, pride. Nominative subject of an assumed verb to-be. It seems rather strange that the Corinthians would boast about incest, although as already indicated, the woman may be married to his father, but is likely not his mother. The boast is probably that the case of incest is isolated and not representative of the life of the congregation and it is for this reason that the congregation has not acted firmly against the problem. To this Paul makes the point "that even if only one member of the church is involved, his conduct will rapidly influence the rest, just as only a very small amount of yeast is necessary to leaven a large lump of dough", Thrall.

ouk + ind. "don't [you know]" - [do you] not [know]. A negation expecting an answer in the positive. "You are well aware, aren't you, that ...?"

oJti "that" - Here introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what they should know.

zumh (h) "yeast" - [a little] leaven. Yeast was not readily available in most households, so "leaven" is a better reading than the NIV "yeast". The rancid, and often quite unhealthy sour dough of the ancient household, serves as a good illustration of the infectious evil that should be removed from the Christian fellowship. "Infection", Mitton.

zumoi (zumow) pres. "works through" - leavens [all the mixture]. A gnomic present tense expressing a universal principle. "An evil influence can, from the smallest beginnings, spread like an infection through a whole community", Barclay.


Extending the imagery of the feast of the Unleavened Bread, Paul applies the idea of cleansing the house of fermented material prior to preparing the new unleavened bread for the Passover festival. In this way, he again calls on the church to cast out the incestuous member, as with all evil, so that they might be a cleansed people for God. Paul immediately qualifies this imperative in case it encourages nomism - the notion that obedience secures God's favour. Paul reminds his readers that they are already this new dough because of Christ's sacrificial death on their behalf. They are "the new batch" (loaf) because Christ has become the "Passover Lamb", sacrificed for them, achieving their eternal forgiveness and freedom for a new life in the Spirit. We can summarize Paul's ethical imperative for believers as: "be what you are."

ekkaqarate (ekkaqairw) aor. imp. "get rid of" - purge out, clean out, cleanse [the old leaven]. The aorist, being perfective, possibly suggests a command to perform a specific act, although an imperative often ignores aspect. The prefix to the verb suggests both motion and intensity and therefore the urgency of the action, cf., Thiselton. "Clean out every bit [of the old infection]", Phillips.

iJna + subj. of verb to-be. "that" - that [you may be]. Probably introducing a final / telic clause, expressing purpose, "in order that", or hypothetical result, "with the result that", eg., CEV. Paul is heading toward a sanctification by obedience position, so he quickly qualifies this statement in the next phrase.

neon adj. "a new" - a new, fresh, young. Predicate nominative. As of unleavened bread, "then you will be like fresh bread made without yeast", CEV.

azumoi adj. "[batch] without yeast / unleavened [batch]" - lump of dough. The adjective "unleavened", which actually sits with kaqwV esti, "as you really are", is probably functioning as a substantive. In which case the clause reads "so that you may be a new batch, insomuch as / for you are unleavened loaves".

kaqwV "as" - as, insomuch as, just as [you are unleavened uninfected]. Normally serving as a comparative, but sometimes taking a causal sense, a sense likely here, cf., BDF 236; "for you are free from the old leaven", Moffatt. Note Paul's typical imperative indicative formula; be what you are - be an unleavened batch of dough because you are an unleavened batch of dough.

gar "for" - [and = indeed] for. Introducing a causal clause explaining how it is that the Corinthians are a new batch of dough; "for you are an unleavened batch of dough, and this because ....."

to pasca "Passover lamb" - [christ] the passover lamb [of us]. Standing in apposition to "Christ". The NIV (as with NRSV, REB, Moffatt, NAB... ) assumes, and probably correctly, that Paul has in mind Christ's role as the Passover lamb, rather than just the Passover festival as a whole. "Christ is for us the Passover lamb, sacrificed for our deliverance", Barclay.

etuqh (quw) aor. pas. "has been sacrificed" - was sacrificed. The aorist is perfective, indicating a once-and-for-all sacrifice; "has already been sacrificed", CEV, cf. Ex.12, Jn.1:29, 36, 1Pet.1:19.


Paul now applies the point he has just made - be the new leaven and not the old leaven of "malice and wickedness." As the seven day festival of the Passover is kept by excluding leaven from the home, so the church is to exclude evil from its life. Celebrating the unleavened state, Paul describes it as living in "sincerity and truth." These words concern the motivation behind behavior, of being authentic, open and honest, rather than into theatre, deception, sham...

w{ste + subj. "therefore" - so. Here the conjunction wJste is followed by a subjunctive rather than the usual infinitive to introduce a consecutive clause expressing result, but this may well indicate that w{ste here is simply inferential, "therefore", as NIV, and so serves to draw a logical conclusion.

eJortazwmen (eJortazw) pres. subj. "let us keep the festival" - let us keep the feast. A hortatory subjunctive, "let us." The negation mh may go with the subjunctive, "let us not", although an aorist would be expected rather than the present tense, as here.

en + dat. "[not] with" - [not] in / with, by. The dative is probably not local, but rather instrumental, "with", as NIV; "we who observe the festival must not use the old leaven", REB. The best placement of the negation mh is with the preposition, "not with" = "having got rid of the old leaven", Bruce.

kakiaV kai ponhriaV gen. "malice and wickedness" - [old leaven, nor / neither with leaven] of nastiness / wickedness and evil. The genitives are often classified as verbal, objective, but they can be taken to be adjectival, attributive, possibly epexegetic, limiting "leaven", the malice and wickedness type of leaven, such that Paul is describing the old leaven, the "infection". "So let us keep the feast with no trace of the yeast (infection) of the old life, nor the yeast (infection) of vice and wickedness", Phillips.

all (alla) "but" - Strong adversative standing in a counterpoint construction; "not ....., but ..."

en + dat. "with" - with [unleavened bread]. Instrumental, as above, but a local sense can be argued; "in the uninfected state of purity and truthfulness."

eilikrineiaV (a) gen. "of sincerity" - of purity. The genitive as above. A sincerity that is expressed in pure and unadulterated motives is possible. Because the word touches on motives it is not quite the opposite of "malice" (nastiness), a more generalized word. Conzelmann suggests the appropriate opposites would be "goodness" and "righteousness", in which case "innocence", Moffatt, or better, "purity", Goodspeed.

alhqeiaV (a) "truth" - [and] truth. The genitive as above. Often used of divine knowledge, "the truth", but also used of being truthful, "integrity", even moving toward firmness, stability, "faithfulness."


iii] Paul clarifies his exhortation not to associate with sinners, v9-13. The majority of commentators argue that Paul has written a previous letter to Corinth, making first Corinthians his second letter. In the lost letter to the Corinthians, Paul tackles the issue of church members associating with "sexually immoral people." Given the preceding verses, the Corinthians have obviously ignored this advice (they may have thought it stupid), and so Paul sets out to clarify his instruction in v10. Paul is not suggesting that the Corinthian believers should separate from sinners in general, whether sexually immoral or otherwise; Paul is not promoting disengagement from corrupt pagan society. In v11 he makes the point that his instruction entails breaking table fellowship with a brother or sister who is flagrantly defying God's moral requirements.

uJmin dat. pro. "to you" - [i wrote] to you. Dative of indirect object. The aorist "I wrote" being read as past tense.

en + dat. "in [my letter]" - in [the epistle I sent to you]. Local, expressing space.

mh sunanamignusqai (sunanamignumai) pres. mid. inf. "not to associate with" - not to mix together with, associate with [fornicators, sexually immoral persons]. The infinitive introduces an object clause / dependent statement expressing what Paul wrote.


ou pantwV adv. "not at all meaning" - not wholly, entirely, altogether to have nothing to do. The negated adverb probably takes the sense "not generally with fornicators of this world"; "not meaning absolutely", Conzelmann. In his lost letter Paul had in mind particular fornicators, those in the Christian fellowship, not those living in secular society. "In no way did I refer to people in secular society who are immoral", Thiselton.

toiV pornoiV (oV) dat. "-" - in = with fornicators. The dative, as with "greedy", "swindlers, robbers" and "idolaters", parallels the use of the preposition en from v9 to express association; "I did not mean completely have nothing to do with fornicators in general, or with ........... because then ......"

tou kosmou (oV) gen. "of [this] world" - of [this] world [or the greedy and swindlers or idolators]. The genitive is adjectival possessive, those who belong to this world, or attributive, "secular fornicators", or possibly partitive.

epei "in that case" - since. What we have with this causal conjunction, epi, "because", + ei, "if", is the introduction to a 2nd. class conditional clause, unfulfilled, where the condition posed in the protasis is untrue, although here there is no protasis and no an in the apodosis; "because, if as is not the case, I was instructing you to not associate with fornicators in general, then you would have to leave the world."

exelqein (exercomai) aor. ind. "[you would have] to leave" - [you would have] to go out. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to be obligated."

ara "-" - therefore. Inferential, drawing a logical conclusion; "because then ....

ek + gen. "this world" - from [the world]. Expressing separation; "away from."


Paul now makes clear what he intended when he first broached the subject of association with immoral people. The people he has in mind are believers (a known brother defiantly immoral), and the association he has in mind is table fellowship, possibly just the Lord's Supper, or the congregational love-feasts, or just table fellowship in general. The moral issues are serious, particularly with regard the church member in a sexual relationship with his stepmother. So, for example, a "drunkard" is not someone who enjoys a tittle, a regular happy-hour, but someone who is a menace to society. It is obvious that a new convert coming into the Christian fellowship from a Godless pagan society doesn't need to move from one ethically compromised community to another. It is important to maintain standards in the Christian community.

de "but" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step to an argument; the issue raised in the lost letter, and misunderstood, is "now" clearly restated.

nun adv. "now" - Temporal adverb; if it wasn't clear previously Paul now makes his instruction clear in this letter. It is likely that nun is logical, rather than temporal, "in which case / in fact what I wrote to you (in my previous letter) was that ...."

egraya (grafw) aor. "I am writing" - i write. It is not clear how we should take this aorist. It may be an epistolary aorist, "I am writing this letter to you", but if read as a punctiliar past, "I wrote", then Paul is referring to the first letter. This reading works if nun is logical, "but in fact what I wrote was ......", Bruce (alternative reading), ie., Paul is clarifying his instruction in the first letter which the Corinthians have not properly understood.

uJmin dat. pro. "to you" - Dative of indirect object.

ean + subj. "-" - if [as the case may be, someone being called a brother, a fornicator, or greedy person, or idolater, or slanderer, or drunkard, or robber, then not to mix with, nor to eat with such a one]. Introducing a 3rd. class conditional clause where the proposed condition has the possibility of coming true; "but in fact, what I wrote to you was that if someone who claims to be a brother is lewd or greedy or idolatrous or abusive or a drinker or a robber, then you must not get intimate with him, nor even eat with one of that type", Berkeley amended.

sunanamignusqai (sunanamignumai) pres. inf. "that you must not associate with" - to mix with. The infinitive, as with mhde sunesqiein, "neither to eat", introduces an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech, indirect command, expressing what Paul wrote / commanded, namely, "that .........not to mix indiscriminately with, nor to eat with such a one."

anomazomenoV (onomazw) pres. mid./pas. part. "[anyone] who claims to be [a brother or sister]" - [any] being called [a brother]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting the pronoun tiV, "any", serving as a substantive, "anyone".

tw/ toioutw/ dat. pro. "[do not eat with] such people" - [neither to eat with] such. The pronoun serves as a substantive, "one such" = "such a person", dative of direct object after the sun prefix verb "to eat with."


Paul provides a reason why believers are to disassociate themselves from immoral believers, but not from such in secular society. We may well critically assess secular society, but our job is not to judge it, that's God's job. Our job is to judge the church. This is not a green light to judgmentalism, but a directive to address explicit and extreme immorality in the Christian fellowship.

gar "-" - for. More reason than cause. Paul supports his argument that believers are not to dissociate themselves from unbelievers, but rather from believers.

moi dat. pro. "[what business] is it of mine" - [what] to me. Dative of interest / possession.

krinein (krinw) pres. inf. "to judge" - The infinitive is epexegetic, specifying the "what", namely, "that I should judge outsiders."

touV exw adv. "those outside" - the ones outside. The articular adverb serves as a substantive; "outsiders."

ouci "[are you] not" - [judge you] not. This emphatic version of the negation ou expects the answer "yes" in a question; "do you surely not judge the ones inside?" = "is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?" ESV.

touV esw adv. "those inside" - the ones inside? The articular adverb serves as a substantive; "Is it not those inside the church on whom you pronounce judgment", Barclay. God will handle touV exw, "the outsiders", v13.


Paul concludes by repeating his instruction, although in somewhat stronger terms: "separate from" = shun, becomes "purge, expel, remove", very much in the language of Deuteronomy, 17:7, 24:7, also 19:19, 22:21, 24. Although unstated, the principle outlined in v5 surely applies - the ultimate purpose of the action is to prompt repentance and thus the final salvation of the sinner.

exarate (exairw) aor. imp. "expel" - [but/and the ones outside god judges] remove from, purge [the evil man]. Hapax legomenon, once only use in the NT. The verb, as used in the LXX, is stronger than airw used in v2. The aorist is punctiliar - do it, no buts or maybe. Singular in the LXX, plural here, as Paul sees the action as a congregational one; "you all must remove ....." "Banish", NJB.

ex (ek) + gen. "from" - from among. Expressing separation; "away from." The repetition of the ex prefix of the verb is common usage.

uJmwn autwn "among you" - you yourselves. Possibly a reflexive construction, "you yourselves"; "from your company", Barrett, although see BDF #288.1. "Banish the evil man", Thiselton.


1 Corinthians Introduction.



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