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Bible Commentaries

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

1 Corinthians 5



Verse 1

That there is fornication; that is, a case of fornication.--His father's wife; his step-mother. Such a marriage was universally considered, even among the heathen nations, as criminal.

Verse 4

And my spirit; I being with you in spirit, exercising the power with which Christ has invested me.

Verse 5

To deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh. Some suppose that this expression refers to a miraculous power with which the apostles were invested, and which Paul here intended to authorize the Corinthian church, to employ, for the punishment of this criminal, by subjecting him to bodily disease and suffering, through the agency of Satan, in judgment for his sin. Others suppose that the phrase delivering him to Satan, is a figurative expression, meaning his excommunication from the church, which would be removing him from the kingdom of Christ, into the visible kingdom of Satan; and that by the destruction of the flesh, is meant the subduing and eradicating of those fleshly lusts, which had causeD him to sin.

Verse 6

Your glorying; your self-complacency, and satisfaction with your condition, while such a sin remains unpunished.--Leaven. The Jews, in keeping the passover, were required to use only unleavened bread, the better to commemorate the haste and confusion in which they left Egypt, and which prevented the preparation of bread in the usual manner. From the very nature of leaven, tending, as it does, so strongly to disseminate itself, it was necessary to avoid admitting the smallest quantity into the mixture from which the bread was to be prepared. Hence leaven, as a prohibited thing which had a powerful tendency to spread from small beginnings until it pervaded the whole mass, became an apt emblem of sin, and is often so made use of by many of the sacred writers.

Verse 7

As ye are unleavened; required to be unleavened, that is, pure.--Christ our passover. It was only at the time of the passover that the Jews were required to abstain from the use of leaven. The sacrifice of Christ is therefore represented as a passover, to compete the figure.

Verse 9

In an epistle; apparently referring to, some former Epistle, now lost.

Verse 10

Yet not altogether, &c. The sense is, that he did not mean to cut them off from all communication with vicious men, who were of this world,--that is, who were not of the church,--and whose vices, of course, did not compromise the purity and character of the church; but only, as is explained in the 1 Corinthians 5:11, from every such one, who is called a brother; that is, who, being joined with them in name, would bring upon them the reproach of his sins. Thus it seems that special precautions are necessary to avoid countenancing the sins of those, who make pretensions to piety.

Verse 11

No,not to eat. By thus refusing all intercourse with him, they were to show the world that they utterly, disavowed and reprobated his doings. In those times, there Was no other mode by which so distinct and effectual a disavowal could be made.

Verse 12

Without; without the church.

Verse 13

That wicked person; viz., the person of whom he had been speaking in the former part of the chapter. What is said in 2 Corinthians 2:5-10 is generally considered as referring to this case; and, if so, it shows that the discipline here enjoined was successful in bringing the sinner to repentance and reformation.


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 5:4". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". 1878.

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