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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

1 Corinthians 5

 

 

Introduction

CHAPTER 5

1 Corinthians 5:1. After ἔθνεσιν Elz. has ὀνομάζεται, which is defended by Matthaei and Reiche, but in the face of quite decisive evidence. Supplied, perhaps from Ephesians 5:3. Equally decisive is the evidence against ἐξαρθῇ, 1 Corinthians 5:2 (Elz.). From 1 Corinthians 5:13.—1 Corinthians 5:2. ποιήσας] Rück. and Tisch. read πράξας, which Griesb., too, recommended, with A C א, min(739) Or.? Manes (in Epiph.), Epiph. Bas. The external evidence is pretty evenly balanced. But at all events the phrase ποιεῖν ἔργον was very familiar to the transcribers from the N. T.; hence πράξας should have the preference.—1 Corinthians 5:3. ἀπών] Elz. Scholz, Tisch. have ὡς ἀπ., against A B C D* א, min(740) and several VSS(741) and Fathers. According to the analogy of the ὡς παρών which follows, ὡς (as embracing the whole ἀπώνπνεύμ.) was first of all written on the margin, and then taken into the text.—1 Corinthians 5:4. ἰησοῦ alone (without χριστοῦ) is the reading in both cases of A B D, Aeth. Clar. Lucif., and, as regards the second, of several other vss(742) and Fathers. So also Lachm. Rück. and Tisch. Rightly; the solemn character of the address gave occasion to the addition of χριστοῦ.—1 Corinthians 5:5. τοῦ κυρίου ἰησοῦ] So also א . Rückert reads τοῦ κυρ. ἡμῶν . χριστοῦ, with evidence of considerable weight in favour of it, but probably taken from 1 Corinthians 1:8. Lachm. brackets ἡμῶν . χ.; for B, Or. (thrice) Tert. (twice) Epiph. Aug. (once) Hilar. Pacian, have simply τοῦ κυρίου. So Tisch. But since ἰησοῦ occurs in all the other witnesses except those few, and since their discrepancies concern only ἡ΄ῶν and χριστοῦ, the Rec(743) τοῦ κυρίου ἰησοῦ should be retained; for ἰησοῦ might very easily be overlooked, especially where four words, one after another, end in ου.—1 Corinthians 5:6. ζυ΄οῖ] The various readings δολοῖ (D*, Bas. Hesych., recommended by Griesb.) and φθείρει (Lat. in Cerular.; corrumpit: Vulg. Clar. and Latin Fathers) are interpretations.—1 Corinthians 5:7. After ἐκκαθάρ. Elz. has οὖν, against a great preponderance of evidence. A connective addition, as are also καί before οὐ in 1 Corinthians 5:10, and καί before ἐξαρ. in 1 Corinthians 5:13. After ἡ΄ῶν Elz. and Scholz read ὑπὲρ ἡ΄ῶν, contrary to decisive testimony. An inappropriate (for the apostle is speaking only of the death of Christ in itself, see Reiche, Comm. crit. I. p. 161 ff.) dogmatic gloss.—1 Corinthians 5:10. ἅρπ.] καὶ ἅρπ. is the reading of almost all the uncials and Clar. Boern. (so Lachm. Rück. and Tisch.); was mechanically taken up from the context.—1 Corinthians 5:11. Instead of before πόρν. Elz. has , contrary to Syr(744) utr. Erp. Copt. Vulg. Ir. Tert. Chrys. and many other Fathers, also some min(745) The , which occurs in B** D א, came in mechanically from the succeeding context.—1 Corinthians 5:12 . καί] is wanting in A B C F G א, min(746) and several VSS(747) and Fathers (suspected by Griesb., deleted by Lachm. and Rück.); the authorities which omit it are so decisive, that it must be regarded as an addition in favour of the apostolic power of discipline as respects those that are within.—1 Corinthians 5:13. ἐξαρεῖτε] ἐξάρατε, approved by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. Rück. and Tisch., has perfectly conclusive evidence in its favour. The former reading has arisen from Deuteronomy 24:7, a passage which has also given origin to the weakly-attested καί before ἐξαρ. in Elz.


Verse 1

1 Corinthians 5:1. The censure of the party-divisions is concluded. Without note of transition, but after the closing words of 1 Corinthians 4:21 with all the more telling force, the discourse falls with severity at once upon another deep-seated evil in the church.

ὅλως] means simply in general, in universum, as in 1 Corinthians 6:7, 1 Corinthians 15:29, Matthew 5:34, and in Greek writers; it belongs to ἀκούεται, so that to the general expression ὅλως ἀκούεται πορν. there corresponds the particular καὶ τοιαύτη πορν., sc(748) ἀκούεται. The latter, however, is something worse than the former, hence the καί is intensive (Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 134; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 147): One hears generally (speaking broadly) of fornication among you, and even of such fornication one hears among you, as is not found among the heathen themselves. To render it certainly (so as to indicate that it is no dubius rumor, sed res manifesta; so Calvin, Beza, Piscator, Estius, Elsner, Calovius, Wolf, al(749)) or universally (Schrader, Ewald) is against the meaning of the word, which may, indeed, signify prorsus or omnino (Vulgate), but neither ubique nor certainly. Rückert thinks that it assigns the ground by means of a generalization for the thought which is to be supplied after 1 Corinthians 4:21 : I fear that I shall have to use severity; and that Paul would more fittingly have written γοῦν. This is arbitrary, and even in point of logic doubly incorrect, because ὅλως here introduces the report of a quite special offence, and therefore cannot assign a ground by generalization; and because, if the restrictive γοῦν would have been better in this passage, Paul in using the generalizing ὅλως must have expressed himself illogically.

ἐν ὑμῖν] not: as occurring among you (comp Ewald), for it is a defining statement which belongs to ἀκούεται; but: one hears talk among you of fornication, one comes to hear of it in your community. Paul expresses the state of things as it was perhaps made known to him by Chloe’s people (1 Corinthians 1:11) or others who came from Corinth, and spoke to him in some such way as this: In the Corinthian church one learns the existence of fornication, etc.; such things as these one is forced to hear of there!

ἐν τοῖς ἔθν.] ἀεὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἐθνικῶν ὀνειδίζει τοῖς πιστοῖς, Chrysostom. Regarding the prohibition among the Jews: Leviticus 18:8; Deuteronomy 22:30; Philo, de spec. leg. p. 301; Michaelis, Mos. R. II. p. 206; Saalschütz, Mos. R. p. 766 f. The instances of such incest among the Greeks and Romans (see Maji Obss. I. p. 184) were exceptions contrary to law (see Elsner, p. 90; Wetstein and Pott in loc(751)), and abhorred (Wetstein, l.c(752)).

γυναῖκα τοῦ πατρός] i.e. אֵשֶׁת אָב, stepmother, Leviticus 18:8, and the Rabbinical authorities in Lightfoot, p. 166. It was, no doubt, in view of the prohibition announced in Leviticus 18:8 that Paul chose this form of expression (instead of the Greek designation ΄ητρυιά), ὥστε πολλῷ χαλεπώτερον πλῆξαι, Chrysostom. The departure from the usual arrangement of the words, too, γυναῖκά τινα τοῦ πατρός, puts an emphasis of ignominy upon γυναῖκα.

ἔχειν] Many expositors, such as Calvin, Rückert, Neander, leave it undecided whether this refers to having her in marriage (Vorstius, Michaelis, Billroth on 2 Corinthians 7:12, Maier) or in concubinage (Grotius, Calovius, Estius, Cornelius a Lapide, Pott, Olshausen, Osiander, Ewald, Hofmann). But in favour of the former there is, first of all, the fact that ἔχω is never used in the N. T. in such sense as that of the well-known ἔχω λαΐδα (Diog. Laert. ii. 75; Athen. xxii. p. 544 D), or “quis heri Chrysidem habuit?” (Terent. Andr. i. 1. 58), but always of possession in marriage(753), Matthew 14:4; Matthew 22:28; Mark 6:18; 1 Corinthians 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:29. Comp 1 Maccabees 11:9; Hom. Od. iv. 569; Herod. iii. 31; Thuc. ii. 29. 1; Xen. Cyr. i. 5. 4; Gregor. Cor. 931, ed. Schaef.; Maetzn. a(755) Lycurg. p. 121); but further, and more especially, the use of the past tenses ποιήσας, 1 Corinthians 5:2, and κατεργασάμενον, 1 Corinthians 5:3, to designate the matter, which convey not the conception of illicit intercourse, but that of an incestuous marriage having actually taken place. Paul ranks this case under the head of πορνεία (see on Matthew 5:32); because, in the first place, he needed this general notion in order to describe the state of licentiousness subsisting at Corinth generally, and now further intends to designate definitely by κ. τοιαύτη πορν. κ. τ. λ(756) the particular occurrence which is included under this general category. Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9, should have sufficed to keep Hofmann from asserting that πορνεία proves the case not to have been one of adultery. The objection, again, that Paul does not insist upon a divorce, is of no weight; for he does insist upon excommunication, and, after that had taken place, the criminal marriage—if the offender were not thereby sufficiently humbled to dissolve the connection of his own accord—would no longer concern the Christians (see 1 Corinthians 5:12-13). Another objection: How could the magistrates have tolerated such a marriage? is obviated, partly by the consideration that in that large and morally corrupt city the magisterial eye was doubtless blind enough, especially on the point of the κορινθιάζεσθαι (see Introd. § 1); and partly by remembering the possibility that the offender, whether previously a Jew or—which is more likely—a heathen, having turned Christian, might put forward in his own defence before the tolerant magistracy the Rabbinical axiom that the becoming a proselyte, as a new birth, did away with the restrictions of forbidden degrees (Maimonides, Jebhamoth, f. 982; Michaelis, Einl. § 178, p. 1221; Lübkert in the Stud. u. Krit. 1835, p. 698 f.). Whether or not he belonged to one of the four parties (as, for example, to that of Apollos), we need not attempt to decide. See remark at the end of this chapter.

As to the wife of the incestuous person, nothing can be affirmed with certainty, and with probability only this, that she was not a Christian, else Paul would have censured her conduct also. Her former husband was still alive (so that she must have been divorced from or have deserted him), and was probably a Christian; 2 Corinthians 7:12.


Verses 1-8

1 Corinthians 5:1-8. Reproof and apostolical judgment respecting an incestuous person in the church.


Verse 2

1 Corinthians 5:2. A question suddenly introduced with and, laying bare the incongruity of this state of things with the attitude previously noticed (see Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 146 f.).

ὑμεῖς emphatic: Ye, the people among whom so disgraceful a thing can occur; for κοινὸν πάντων τὸ ἔγκλημα γέγονε, Chrysostom.

πεφυσ. ἐστέ] What is meant is the spiritual self-conceit already censured (1 Corinthians 4:6 ff., 1 Corinthians 4:18) regarding the lofty degree of Christian wisdom and perfection in general, which they supposed themselves to have reached; not pride in the incestuous person himself, who is conceived to have been a highly-esteemed teacher (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Grotius).

ἐπενθήσ.] are fallen into distress (penitential mourning), for by reason of the fellowship between Christians (comp 1 Corinthians 12:26) ἔδει πενθῆσαι, διότι εἰς τὸ κοινὸν τῆς ἐκκλησίας διαβολὴ προεχώρησεν, Theophylact, comp Chrysostom.

ἵνα ἀρθῇ κ. τ. λ(759)] The design which, according to the apostle’s view, the ἐπενθ. ought to have had, and the attainment of which would have been its result, had it taken place: in order that he might be removed, etc. It intensifies and completes the contrast with their conceited self-assurance, and leads appropriately to the introduction of his own judicial sentence, which comes in, 1 Corinthians 5:3, with ἐγὼ μὲν γὰρ κ. τ. λ(760); all the less, therefore, is ἵνα ἀρθῇ κ. τ. λ(761) to be regarded as forming such a judicial utterance (Pott, Hofmann) standing forth with imperative independence: Away with him, etc. (see on 2 Corinthians 8:7). That does not come in until 1 Corinthians 5:13.

ἔργον] facinus, the nature of which is shown by the context. See Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 671.


Verse 3

1 Corinthians 5:3. ἐγὼ μὲν γάρ] introduces the independent resolution already arrived at by himself, and therewith the justification of the ἵνα ἀρθῇ; for he, Paul, for his part, has resolved already to inflict a yet heavier punishment upon him. Comp also Winer, p. 422 [E. T. 568]; the contents of 1 Corinthians 5:3-5 correspond to the ἵνα ἀρθῇ in its connection with καὶἐπενθήσ. The μέν solitarium must be taken as meaning: I at least. See Hermann, a(763) Viger. p. 841 f.; Wunder, a(764) Soph. Phil. 159; Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 413.

τῷ πνεύματι] Comp 1 Corinthians 5:4 : τοῦ ἐμοῦ πνεύματος, hence not to be understood, as Chrysostom and others hold,(766) of the Holy Spirit, against which τῷ σώματι also militates, comp 1 Corinthians 7:34; Romans 8:10; Colossians 2:5.

ἤδη κέκρ. ὡς παρών] have made up my mind already, as though I were present (personally superintending your community).(768)

τὸν οὕτω τοῦτο κατεργ.] belongs to πάραδ. τῳ σατ., 1 Corinthians 5:5, so that, after the intermediate statements which follow, the object of the sentence is taken up again by τὸν τοιοῦτον in 1 Corinthians 5:5 (hunc talem inquam), comp 2 Corinthians 12:2. See Matthiae, p. 1045; Schaefer, Melet. p. 84. Bengel says happily: “Graviter suspensa manet et vibrat oratio usque ad 1 Corinthians 5:5.” Not so happy is Hofmann’s view, that τὸνκατεργ. belongs to κέκρικα as an accusative of the object, whereupon παραδοῦναι κ. τ. λ(770) is then set down to a mixing up of two constructions, this being coupled with an inappropriate comparison of Mark 14:64.

οὕτω] after such fashion, in such a way. The way and manner thereby referred to as aggravating the offence were known to the readers, but are unknown to us. Respecting οὕτω in a bad sense, see on John 18:22, and Bremi, a(771) Dem. Phil. I. p. 120. Pott and Olshausen explain it wrongly: “licet Christianus sit,” which is not implied in the text, and would state nothing special, for it was a matter of course that the person in question was not a non-Christian.

κατεργ.] has perpetrated, more emphatic than ποιήσας, 1 Corinthians 5:2. See on Romans 1:27.


Verse 4

1 Corinthians 5:4. Four different ways of dividing the verse are possible: either ἐν τῷ ὀνόμ. belongs to συναχθ. and σὺν τῇ δυν. to παραδοῦναι (Beza, Justiniani, Calovius, Heydenreich, Billroth, Olshausen, Ewald, Hofmann), or both belong to συναχθ. (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Calvin, Grotius, Rückert), or both belong to παραδοῦναι (Mosheim, Pott, Flatt, Schrader, comp also Osiander); or ἐν τ. ὀνόμ. belongs to παραδοῦναι, and σὺν τ. δυνάμ. to the participial clause. Against the second and third of these views, there is the fact that the symmetry of the address would be needlessly destroyed by bringing in the authority of Christ twice over in the one division, and not at all in the other; against the first, again, there is this, that ἐν τῷ ὀνόμ. κ. τ. λ(773), as a solemn formula of apostolic enactment (2 Thessalonians 3:6; Acts 3:6; Acts 16:18), links itself more suitably to the sense with παραδοῦναι κ. τ. λ(774) than with συναχθ. κ. τ. λ(775) (to the latter of which Matthew 18:20, εἰς τὸ ὄν., might seem to offer not exactly a parallel, but still a similar representation). There remains therefore, as worthy of preference, the fourth method of connecting the words (Luther, Castalio, Estius, Bengel, Maier, al(776); Neander with hesitation). Against this, Hofmann objects that ἐν τῷ ὀνό΄ατι κ. τ. λ(777) ought not to have come in until after the participial clause; but quite under a misapprehension, for it is plainly of set purpose, and with all reason and propriety, that the apostolic sentence bears, so to speak, on its very front the seal of his high and plenary authority.

συναχθέντωνἰησοῦ] after ye are assembled, and my spirit (note the emphatic τ. ἐμοῦ), with the power of Jesus (“qui nostram sententiam sua potentia reddet efficacem,” Erasmus, Paraphr.). The substance of the thought, namely, which this whole statement sets before us with concrete vividness and solemnity, is the following: I have already resolved that ye hold an assembly of the church, in which ye shall consider me as present furnished with the power of Christ, and in this assembly shall declare: “Paul, in the name of Christ, with whose power he is here spiritually in the midst of us, hereby delivers over the incestuous man unto Satan.” φρίκης μεστὸν συνεκρότησε δικαστήριον, Theodoret.

σύν] denotes in efficient connection therewith, that is to say, the spirit of the apostle is present in the assembly, not in virtue of his own independent power (comp Acts 3:12), but clothed with the authority of Christ, Winer, p. 366 [E. T. 458]. Thus the power of Christ is not conceived as the third party in the assembly,—a view in behalf of which Matthew 18:20; Matthew 28:20 are cited; so Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Erasmus, Luther, Estius, and others, including Rückert and Maier.(779) For Paul bore this power in himself, being as an apostle its official possessor and organ, and could not therefore imagine himself meeting with other persons and with it in the third place, but: as being present in immanent union with it as Christ’s apostle at the eventual act of judgment. It was just as the depositary of this power that he could give over the sinner to Satan in the name of the Lord, and be assured that the sentence would take effect. According to Hofmann, by σὺν τ. δυν. κ. τ. λ(780) Paul means only to express this, that he would rely upon the aid of the power of Christ. Comp the classic σὺν θεοῖς, deorum ope (Reisig, Enarr. p. lxiv.; Kühner, a(782) Xen. Anab. iii. 2. 8). But the thought thus yielded, after the ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι κ. τ. λ(783) which has gone before it, would be far too weak.


Verse 5

1 Corinthians 5:5. τὸν τοιοῦτον] the so-constituted, comprises in one word the whole abhorrent character(784) of the man. Note the similar expression in 2 Corinthians 2:7.

παραδοῦναι τῷ σατανᾷ] is—although the phrase may not occur in Jewish formulae of excommunication (Lightfoot, Horae, p. 167 ff., but see Pfaff, Orig. jur. eccles. p. 72 ff.)—the characteristic designation of the higher Christian grade of excommunication, with which there was essentially joined the ordaining in the power of the apostolic office (not simply the presupposition, as Billroth’s rationalizing interpretation has it), that Satan should plague the person delivered over to him with corporeal inflictions. Therein consisted the difference between this peculiar species of the חֵרֶם which had passed over from the synagogue to the church, and the simple αἴρειν ἐκ ΄έσου, 1 Corinthians 5:2, comp 1 Corinthians 5:13. The latter could be performed by the church itself, whereas the παραδοῦναι τῷ σατ. appears in this passage, as in 1 Timothy 1:20, to be reserved for the plenary authority of an apostle. It pertained to the apostolic ἐξουσία, 2 Corinthians 13:10. Comp the analogous penal power in the cases of Ananias and Elymas, Acts 5:1 ff; Acts 13:9 ff. The simple exclusion belonged to the church independently, 1 Corinthians 5:2; and the apostle calls upon them in 1 Corinthians 5:13 to exercise this right of theirs. To himself, again, in the power of Christ, belonged the title and the power to inflict the intensified penalty of excommunication, the delivery to Satan, of which, accordingly, he does not say that the church ought to execute it, but that he has already resolved, etc. Observe, too, that παραδοῦναι is active; he does not say παραδοθῆναι, but he himself will do it. There is no reason to doubt the fact of this power being the prerogative of the apostleship, as the higher authority vested with power to punish(787) (Lipsius, Rechtfertigungsl. p. 181, Hofmann); comp also Ritschl, altkath. Kirche, p. 373. As regards the special assumption, again, that the thought would be complete in itself without τῷ σατανᾷ (Hofmann), 1 Timothy 1:20 should have been enough, even taken singly, to preclude it; for, judging from that passage, one might rather say that εἰς ὄλεθρον τ. σαρκός was obvious of itself. The delivery over to Satan can only be viewed as an express and declaratory act of relegation from Christian fellowship into the power of the ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου; not as if Satan were but he, “through whom the evil-doer should come to experience what was destined for him” (Hofmann), which would not imply an exclusion from the church at all. Many other expositors, following Chrysostom and appealing to the case of Job, find here only the handing over to Satan for bodily chastisement,(789) and not along with that the excommunication (Lightfoot, Bochart, Wolf, al(790)). But this is against the connection, according to which (see 1 Corinthians 5:2; 1 Corinthians 5:13) the παραδ. τῷ σατανᾷ cannot belong to a different category from the αἴρειν ἐκ μέσον. At the same time it is not quite identical with it,(791) not simply a description of the excommunication (Calvin, Beza, and others, including Semler, Stolz, Schrader, Maier), seeing that the bodily result is indicated by εἰς ὄλεθρ. τ. σαρκ. as essential and as explaining itself to the reader without further interpretation.

εἰς ὄλεθρ. τ. σαρκ.] is that which is to be effected by Satan on the man delivered over to him: for behoof of destruction of the flesh, i.e. in order that ( ἕλκει πονηρῷ νόσῳ ἑτέρᾳ, Chrysostom) his sinful fleshly nature, which is turned to account by the indwelling power of sin as the work-place of his desires and lusts, might be emptied of its energy of sinful life by the pains of bodily sickness, and might in so far perish and come to nought.(792) It is not his σῶμα that is to die, but his σάρξ (Romans 8:3; Colossians 3:5). The reason why the word σάρξ is here purposely selected, and not the ethically indifferent σῶμα, was correctly discerned by so early an expositor as Chrysostom, although many more recent interpreters, such as Rückert, have failed to perceive it. Hofmann also takes, in substance, the right view, Schriftbeweis, I. p. 462. To make, however, as he does (p. 105), the ὄλεθρ. τ. σαρκ. the same as διαφθείρεται ἔξω ἡμῶν ἄνθρωπος, 2 Corinthians 4:15, accords neither with the real meaning nor with the ethical relations of the case. As regards the two telic statements: εἰς ὄλεθρ. τ. σ. and ἵνα τὸ πνεῦμα κ. τ. λ(793) (which last expresses the final design of the whole measure of the παραδοῦναι κ. τ. λ(794)), observe that it is with an anti-Christian purpose that Satan smites the man delivered over to him with bodily misery, but that against his own will this purpose of his is made to serve God’s aim of salvation.

ἵνα τὸ πνεῦμα κ. τ. λ(795)] in order that his spirit, the underlying element of the higher moral life, of the true ζωή, may be saved (with the Messianic salvation) on the day of the (approaching) Parousia. That the σῶμα, again,—in which the σάρξ has lost its life, so that it is no longer the σῶ΄α τῆς σαρκός, Colossians 2:11,—should then be glorified, was a thing which did not need to be expressly stated to the Christian eschatological consciousness. See so early an expositor as Chrysostom. Calovius puts it well: “Non ergo dividit hominem apostolus, quasi eum partim interire, partim servari velit. Nam nec corpus interire potest sine divulsione ab anima, nec anima servari absque corporis salute.” Now this Messianic salvation was to Paul’s mind not merely a possible thing (Olshausen), but he expected it as a result, which, in virtue of the saving power of Christ, could not fail to ensue after the slaying of the sinful impulses by the ὄλεθρος τῆς σαρκός in the case of the man led by this punishment to conviction of sin and true penitence. The παραδοῦναι τῷ σατ. was therefore a paedagogic penal arrangement, a “medicinale remedium” (Calovius), as is shown by the whole scope of this passage and 1 Timothy 1:20 (not by the term παραδοῦναι itself, as Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Theophylact maintain, on the ground of Paul’s not having written ἐκδοῦναι),—a measure, in connection with which the πνεῦ΄α remained out of Satan’s power and accessible to the gracious influences of Christ, inasmuch as it retained the vital principle of faith, which was to develope its supremacy just in proportion as the σάρξ was destroyed. This may suffice to set aside Rückert’s censure of the apostle’s proceeding, on the ground that the punishment might easily have led to the utter destruction of the sinner, and, moreover, that Paul acted “imprudently” (comp Baur, I. p. 335 f., 2d ed.), since he could not have compelled the Corinthians to obey him in the matter. He does not, in fact, actually ordain(797) the παραδοῦναι τῷ σατ., but says merely that he, for his part, has already resolved on this, confining himself, therefore, certainly (against Lipsius and Hofmann) to the threat(798) in the meantime; and what he desires for the present is just the simple αἴρειν ἐκ μέσου (comp 1 Corinthians 5:13), which also was done by the majority, as we learn from 2 Corinthians 2:6, and that with the best results! Comp Bengel on 1 Corinthians 5:3. Upon the whole, too, we may believe that Paul knew his own powers of apostolic discipline, and may trust him to have been satisfied that, to try milder measures first (the omission of which Rückert blames as arising from passion), would not with the person concerned have had the effect aimed at.


Verse 6

1 Corinthians 5:6. In face of the necessity for such measures as these—how odious appears that of which ye make boast! Rather ought ye to consider that a little leaven, etc., and (1 Corinthians 5:7) sweep out the old leaven! καύχημα is not the same as καύχησις, but: materies gloriandi (see on Romans 4:2); and what is meant by it is not the incestuous person (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Grotius) as a man of high repute for wisdom in Corinth, but the condition of the Corinthians as a Christian church, inasmuch as they boasted themselves of this so confidently, while morally it was foul enough and full of shameful abuses! αἰσχρὸν κλέος, Eur. Hel. 135.

οὐκ οἴδατε κ. τ. λ(801)] Basis of the admonition which follows in 1 Corinthians 5:7. The meaning of the proverbial saying (comp Galatians 5:9, and on the figure of the leaven, which is very frequently used elsewhere, and that in different senses, Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:21; Matthew 16:6; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1) is ordinarily defined to be this: that a corrupt man corrupts the whole church. But 1 Corinthians 5:8 proves that Paul was thinking not of persons, but of abstract qualities in connection with ζύμη and ἄζυμα. The meaning, therefore, must be: Know ye not that one scandal in the church robs the whole church of its moral and Christian character? Comp also Hofmann. In virtue of their relation as members of a common society, all become chargeable with guilt by the toleration among them of a single scandalous offence, and their ἁγιότης is gone!


Verse 7

1 Corinthians 5:7. ἐκκαθάρατε τὴν παλ. ζύμ.] From what has been already said, the meaning apart from the figure cannot, it is plain, be: Exclude from your communion the incestuous person (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Cornelius a Lapide, Zeger, Estius, Michaelis) and other notorious offenders (Rosenmüller), but: Empty your church of the sinful habits, which still remain among you from your pre-Christian condition (as a residuum of the unregenerate παλαιὸς ἄνθρωπος, Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9). Comp Theodoret, Calvin, de Wette, Osiander, Ewald, Maier, Neander, Hofmann. Flatt, Pott, and Rückert join the two ideas together; but this is unwarranted and against the unity of sense of the passage. Respecting τὴν παλαιάν, comp Ignatius, Magnes. 10 : τὴν κακὴν ζύμην τὴν παλαιωθείσαν καὶ ἐνοξίσασαν.

The expression ἐκκαθάρ. (comp Plato, Euth. p. 3 A LXX. Deuteronomy 26:13) is selected in view of the custom, based on Exodus 12:15 ff; Exodus 13:7, and very strictly observed among the Jews, of removing all leaven from the houses on the day before the Passover (see as to this, Schoettgen, Hor. p. 598; Lund, Jüd. Heiligth., ed. Wolf, p. 1111 f.), which was meant to be a sign of the moral purification of the house (Ewald, Alterth. p. 475 f.).

νέον φύραμα] a fresh kneaded mass, i.e. figure apart: a morally new church, freshly restored after the separation from it of all immoral fermenting elements, its members being νέοι ἄνθρωποι through Christ (Colossians 3:9-10). As respects the difference between νέος and καινός, see on Colossians 3:10.

καθώς ἐστε ἄζυμοι] in accordance with your unleavened character, i.e. in keeping with the ethical nature of the position of a Christian, which, as such, is separated from sin. For this ἄζυμον εἶναι is the essential characteristic in the Christian,—who is, it is taken for granted, reconciled to God, born again, spiritually dead and risen again with Christ (Romans 6:2 ff.), and who as a new κτίσις of God (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10) in the καινότης πνεύματος (Romans 7:6) is free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2), and constantly developing the powers of a divine life towards perfect holiness (1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 6:14 ff.), being alive unto God as His child in whom Christ lives (Galatians 2:19-20)—and sin in such an one (the being leavened) is abnormal. Hence Christians are—according to this higher mode of regarding the position of a Christian

ἄζυμοι. There is as little warrant for rendering ἐστέ here by esse debetis (Flatt, Pott, Billroth, following Chrysostom, Theophylact, al(807)) as in Luke 9:55. Rosenmüller holds that ἄζυμ. has here its proper meaning: as ye now “vivitis festos dies azymorum.” But ἄζυμος, in fact, does not mean qui abstinet fermento (as Grotius would make out, likening it to ἄσιτος, ἄοινος), but non fermentatus (comp מַצוֹת ). Plato, Tim. p. 74 D Athen. iii. p. 109 B Genesis 19:3; Ezekiel 29:2, al(809) Moreover, Paul could not address these words in that proper meaning to the church as a whole, even if the Jewish-Christians among them still kept the Jewish Passover.

καὶ γὰρ τὸ πάσχα κ. τ. λ(810)] The motive for ἐκκαθάρατε κ. τ. λ(811) The emphasis is on τὸ πάσχα,(812) and καὶ γάρ does not mean simply for, etenim, but for also (Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 137 f.; Stallbaum, a(813) Plat. Gorg. p. 467 B), the “also” introducing the objective relation of things corresponding to the exhortation which had just been given. The paschal lamb slain, and the leaven not purged out—what a contradiction that is! Paul designates Christ as the Christians’ paschal lamb which had been slain (Deuteronomy 16:6; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7), because He is the antitype of the Passover lamb under the law, inasmuch, namely, as His blood was shed, not by any means merely “as the beginning of redemption which made it possible” (Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, II. 1, p. 323), but, according to the whole N. T., as the atonement for believers, and that, too, on the very same day (the day before the feast of the Passover, see on John 18:28) on which, from the earliest times, the blood of the paschal lambs had been shed as an expiation for each family (see Ewald, Alterth. p. 466 f.; Keil, § lxxxviii. 11). Comp also John 19:36. In connection with this verse it has been justly remarked (comp on John 18:28, and Lücke in the Gött. gel. Anz. 1834, p. 2020), that Paul could not with propriety have given this title to Christ, if he had followed the Synoptical account of the day of Jesus’ death. Comp Introd. to John, § 2. In point of fact, had he followed the tradition of the Synoptists, that death-day, as being the 15th Nisan, would, by the mode of conception necessarily arising from his Jewish nationality, have hindered his calling Christ antitypically the slain Paschal lamb. For a Passover lamb slain on the first day of the feast would have been, to a Jewish mind moulded according to the ancient and venerated appointment of the divine law, a “contradictio in adjecto;”(817) even supposing that the point of the comparison—which, in accordance with the invariable Pauline mode of regarding the death of Jesus (comp also on John 1:29), must of necessity be His being slain as a ἱλαστήριον, Romans 3:25—were the new divine polity of the holy people, to which the death of Jesus stands, it is said, just in the same relation as the slaying of the paschal lamb in Egypt to the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt (as Hofmann objects). Wieseler, in his chronol. Synopse, p. 374 f. (comp also his Beitr. z. Würdigung d. Ev. p. 266), urges as an argument on the other side, that in 1 Corinthians 10:16, τὸ ποτήριον τῆς εὐλογίας, as a technical phrase for the cup in the Lord’s Supper, shows that this cup was identified with that of the Passo1Co 5:Assuredly! but it shows also, in necessary connection therewith, that Christ slain on the 14th Nisan was the Paschal Lamb of believers. The Supper, therefore, which brought them into fellowship with the body and blood of Christ, could not but present itself to the Christian consciousness as the paschal meal, corresponding to the eating of the paschal lamb, and so, too, the cup in the Supper as the antitype of the paschal cup. Consequently chap. 1 Corinthians 10:16, taken in connection with the passage before us, speaks for and not against the account in John. It is, however, from the view held by the primitive church respecting the Supper as the antitype of the paschal meal, that the origin of the Synoptical tradition is to be historically understood. See on John 18:28.


Verse 8

1 Corinthians 5:8. The paschal lamb having been slain, there follows the keeping of the feast, and that not with leaven, but with what is unleavened. Since, then, Christ has been slain as the Christian’s paschal lamb, they too must keep their feast in an ethical sense, that is to say, by leading a holy life, without sinful admixture, with pure and true Christian virtue. Hence the admonition: let us therefore keep feast, etc. The ἑορτή implied in ἑορτάζ is, it is true, the feast of the Passover, but in such a sense that the keeping of the Passover is meant to be a figurative representation of the character of the whole of a Christian’s walk and conversation, because this is to be without moral leaven, etc. Comp Philo, de congr. er. qu. gr. p. 447 D. It may be added, that Theodore of Mopsuestia says aptly: ὡς γὰρ παρὼν, οὕτω πρὸς τοὺς παρόντας λοιπὸν διαλέγεται.

ἐν ζύμῃ παλ]. Precisely as in 1 Corinthians 5:7; not as a designation of the incestuous person (Michaelis, Rosenmüller, Heydenreich), which would, besides, have required the article. ἐν is used in the sense of provided with. Comp on 1 Corinthians 4:21.

΄ηδὲ ἐν ζύ΄ῃ κακ. κ. πον.] singles out something special from the general ΄ὴ ἐν ζ. παλ.: and in particular not with the leaven of maliciousness and wickedness (see on Romans 1:29). The genitives are genitives appositionis. The apostle must have had ground enough in the condition of the church, even apart from the case of the incestuous man, for laying such peculiar stress in the way of warning upon nequitia and malitia.

ἀζύμοις] from ἄζυ΄α, what is unleavened, i.e. מַצוֹת (Exodus 12:15; Exodus 12:18). There is nothing (such as ἄρτοις) that needs to be supplied.

εἰλικριν. and ἀληθ. differ from each other only in degree; the former is moral purity ( καθαρότης διανοίας καὶ ἀδολότης οὐδὲν ἔχουσαι συνεσκιασμένον καὶ ὕπουλον, Theophylact on 2 Corinthians 1:12); the latter, moral truth, the essence of actual moral goodness. See on John 3:21; Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 4:8.

REMARK.

This whole allegory, 1 Corinthians 5:6-8, would have been unnatural on Paul’s part, had he been writing this Epistle, which was written before Pentecost (1 Corinthians 16:8), after Easter, and so between that feast and Pentecost,—extremely natural, on the other hand, if the Jewish Passover was then in immediate prospect. Were that the case, this very allegory, which is taken up by him in no other place, would offer itself to him unsought, so that the peculiar stamp of his discourse would be accounted for as bearing the impress of the festal thoughts awakened within him by the approach of the Passo1Co 5:The passage before us, therefore, compared with 1 Corinthians 16:8, is rightly regarded by Bengel and most of the succeeding commentators (comp especially Wieseler, Chronologie d. Apost. Zeitalt. p. 327 ff.) as giving evidence of the fact that Paul was now writing shortly before Easter. The few expositors who oppose this view (Henke on Paley’s Hor. Paul. p. 413 ff.; Eichhorn, Einl. III. p. 138; de Wette, Curtius, de temp. quo prior P. ad Tim., etc. p. 43; Schrader, II. p. 132; Hofmann) have only this in their favour, that a demonstrative proof is of course impossible. But it is a misunderstanding of the passage to find in it an admonition to celebrate properly the approaching feast of Easter (see especially Heydenreich). Considering the figurative nature of the expression (see on 1 Corinthians 5:8), we must not try to draw any inferences from this passage as to the question whether or how Christians kept the feast of Easter in those days (against Weitzel, Passahf. p. 183 ff.; Lechler, p. 350). Theophylact says well: δείκνυσιν ὅτι πᾶς χρόνος ἑορτῆς ἐστι καιρὸς τοῖς χριστιανοῖς διὰ τὴν ὑπερβολὴν τῶν δοθέντων αὐτοῖς ἀγαθῶν· διἀ τοῦτο γὰρ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ ἄνθρωπος γέγονε καὶ ἐτύθη, ἵνα σε ἑορτάζειν ποιήσῃ. Comp Hilgenfeld, Paschastreit, p. 173 f.


Verse 9

1 Corinthians 5:9. Sequence of thought: What I have written to you thus far concerning the exclusion of the incestuous person, and concerning the purging out of the leaven, leads me now to speak of the passage in my former letter which has been misunderstood among you, etc.

ἐν τῇ ἐπιστολῇ] i.e. in the letter which I wrote to you, and so: in my letter, by which Paul means the letter to the Corinthians, composed before the present one and in the possession of his readers, but not in ours. So rightly Ambrosiaster, and after him Calvin, Beza, Estius, Clarius, Zeger, Grotius, Calovius, Bengel, Wetstein, Mosheim, Semler, and many others, including most modern interpreters. Chrysostom, again, Theodoret, Theophylact, Erasmus, Cornelius a Lapide, Fabricius, Wolf, Glass, Baumgarten, Bolten, Stosch (de epp. ap. non deperd. 1753, p. 75 ff.), and Müller (de trib. Pauli itinerib. Corinth. suscept. de epistolisque ad eosd. non deperdit., Basil. 1831), understand it of the present Epistle, either supposing that a reference is intended to 1 Corinthians 5:2; 1 Corinthians 5:6, or even making ἔγρ. apply to 1 Corinthians 5:11. This method of interpretation arises for the most part from dogmatic prejudices,(824) and has against it the following considerations: first, the parallel passage in 2 Corinthians 7:8; secondly, that ἐν τῇ ἐπ. would in that case be singularly superfluous; thirdly, the fact that μὴ συναναμ. πόρν. occurs neither in 1 Corinthians 5:2 nor 1 Corinthians 5:6; and finally, that no occasion at all had been given in the preceding statements for any such misapprehension as is here corrected. Lange, in his Apostol. Zeitalter, I. p. 205, pronounces in a peculiarly positive way that the hypothesis of a lost Epistle is a “fiction;” Paul means the present letter, but distinguishes it as a letter from the ecstatic act which he had just performed through the medium of this letter, namely, the transference of himself in spirit into the midst of the church; what he wishes to declare is the permanent epistolary significance of that act. But this itself is quite an empty “fiction,” since there is not a trace of an ecstasy here, since Paul would, on this theory, have taken the very vaguest way possible of expressing his supposed meaning, and since the parallel statement in 2 Corinthians 7:8 is decisively against any such arbitrary fancies. It may be added that, when Rückert holds that the article here, and the absence of any defining adjective, prove the lost Epistle to have been the only one which Paul had then already sent to Corinth, this, on a comparison with 2 Corinthians 7:8, appears to be an over-hasty conclusion, although, so far as the fact itself is concerned, it may be regarded as correct, seeing that we have no hint of any other lost letter having also preceded our first Epistle.

συναναμιγν.] to mix oneself up with, have intercourse with, 2 Thessalonians 3:14; Athen. vi. p. 256 A Lucian. Cont. xv. Comp the affirmative στέλλεσθαι ἀπό, 2 Thessalonians 3:6.

πόρνος, in the N. T. and in Sirach 23:16, signifies fornicator.(826) See also Lennep. Phalar. ep. xi. p. 60. 2.


Verses 9-13

1 Corinthians 5:9-13. Citation and fuller explanation of a passage of the former letter which had been misinterpreted in Corinth by his malevolent adversaries. The new section begins without a connective particle, like 1 Corinthians 6:1, 1 Corinthians 5:1.


Verse 10

1 Corinthians 5:10. More precise negative explanation of the rule laid down in the said letter, μὴ συναναμ. πόρν., which had been misinterpreted among the Corinthians (as Paul gathered probably from their letter to him) into a prohibition of association with fornicators among those who were not Christians; perhaps from a disposition to connive at the offenders within the bosom of the church itself.

οὐ πάντως τοῖς πόρν. τ. κ. τ.] is dependent on μὴ συναναμιγν.; it stands in a relation of opposition to the preceding πόρνοις, and explains what that πόρνοις did not mean. “I wrote to you to refrain from intercourse with fornicators, (i.e.) not absolutely(827) with the fornicators of this world.” An entire cessation of intercourse with πόρνοις in that sense of the word, it would, of course, be impossible to establish, seeing that you cannot go out of the world; but what I meant was Christians given to fornication, 1 Corinthians 5:11. Comp Plato, Pol. v. p. 454 C: οὐ πάντως τὴν αὐτὴν κ. τὴν ἑτέραν φύσιν ἐτιθέμεθα, ἀλλʼ ἐκεῖνο τὸ εἶδος μόνον κ. τ. λ(829) The οὐ instead of μή is correct enough (in opposition to Rückert), because οὐ πάντως τ. πόρν. τ. κ. τ. conveys something which is objectively denied, a definition of the notion of πόρνοις, which does not occur. Comp Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 334 [E. T. 389]. The conception is a different one, e.g., in Plato, Pol. iv. p. 419 A: ἐὰν τίς σε φῇ μὴ πάνυ τι εὐδαίμονας ποιεῖν τούτους. Commentators often supply ἔγραψα after οὐ; so, among the rest, Olshausen; not (wrote I, meant I): with the fornicators of this world in general. But what an arbitrary separation this is of the mutually connected words οὐ πάντως! And the interpretation in question has this, too, against it, that τ. κόσμου τ. does not refer to the world in general, but to those who were non-Christians (see below), so that the “in general” would be logically incorrect. Rückert takes οὐ πάντως as an intensified negative like that in Romans 3:9 (comp Luther), and supplies ἔγραψα after it: “By no means did I write; i.e., the import of my prohibition was by no means, to have no intercourse with the fornicators of this world.” But so understood, the words would lend countenance to intercourse with fornicators not Christian, which cannot be Paul’s meaning. His intention is merely to set aside the misinterpretation which had been put upon his words, as if he had meant thereby to enforce an absolute cessation of intercourse with unchaste men outside the Christian society. Lastly, Billroth is wrong in rendering, after Chrysostom and Theophylact ( τὸ πάντως ὡς ἐπὶ ὡμολογημένου τέθεικε πράγματος): “not, of course, with the fornicators of this world.” In that case, we should have had at least πάντως οὐ, for the sense would be, as Theophylact himself states: καὶ πάντως οὐ τοῖς πόρνοις τ. κόσμου συναναμίγνυσθαι ἐκώλυσα, τουτέστι τοῖς τῶν ἑλλήνων.

τοῦ κόσμου τούτου] who belong to this (ante-Messianic) world, not, like the Christians, to the Messiah’s kingdom as its future members; hence it is the ἀλλότριοι τῆς πίστεως (Theodoret) who are here denoted, whose opposite is the ἀδελφός in 1 Corinthians 5:11. To understand it of mankind in general, Christians and non-Christians together (Pott, Hofmann, al(832)), is, seeing that τούτου is joined with it, contrary to the apostle’s mode of using language (Galatians 4:3; Colossians 2:8; Ephesians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 3:19; 1 Corinthians 7:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4), and contrary also to the context (1 Corinthians 5:11-12). Afterwards, when Paul is thinking of the world of men in general, he purposely omits the τούτον.

τοῖς πλεονέκταις κ. τ. λ(833)] We may suppose that Paul, in the passage of his former letter now alluded to, had warned them not merely against πόρνοις, but also against those guilty of the other kinds of vice indicated here, and yet more specifically in 1 Corinthians 5:11. Hence: “with the fornicators of this world, or—not to overlook the others, with whom also I forbade you to hold intercourse—with those greedy of gain, and violently grasping at it.” These two, connected with each other as general and particular by καί (see the critical remarks), are conceived of as belonging together to one category. It is otherwise in 1 Corinthians 5:11, where each of these sins is viewed by itself. As to ἅρπ., the essential characteristic of which is violence, comp Luke 18:11; Soph. Phil. 640: κλέψαι τε χἀρπάσαι βίᾳ.

τ. κόσμου τ. is to be understood again after ἅρπ. and εἰδωλ. See 1 Corinthians 5:11.

ἐπεὶ ὀφείλετε κ. τ. λ(835)] for so (were you absolutely and entirely to break off from the heathen fornicators, etc.) you must needs go out of the world ( ἑτέραν οἰκουμένην ὀφείλετε ζητῆσαι, Theophylact), since nowhere could you be perfectly relieved from casual contact with such non-Christians. I should thus have demanded what was impossible. As regards the direct ὀφείλετε, comp 1 Corinthians 7:14; Romans 3:6; Romans 11:6; Romans 11:22. It is attested by B, Chrysostom, and Theodoret. In place of it, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Rückert, and Hofmann read ὠφείλετε, which has, indeed, the preponderance of evidence in its favour, but must be considered as an emendation. The strangeness of the conclusion is not conveyed by the ἄρα (Hofmann, following the mistake of Hartung), but by the case itself assumed, in which the ἄρα merely introduces what was indubitably involved in the supposed protasis (comp Baeumlein, Partik. p. 19 ff.). See against Hartung, Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 214.


Verse 11

1 Corinthians 5:11. νυνὶ δέ] But thus (see on Romans 3:21), in reality as contrasted with the aforesaid misconstruction, I did write to you. Herewith Paul now introduces the true meaning of the passage from his letter quoted above, 1 Corinthians 5:9. Other expositors make νυνὶ δέ refer to time: but at present (Cajetanus, Morus, Pott, Heydenreich). But the whole context is against this; according to it, Paul’s design is simply to define more precisely the purport of that phrase in his former letters: “ μὴ συναναμίγνυσθαι πόρνοις.” He has done this only negatively in 1 Corinthians 5:10, but goes on now to do it positively in 1 Corinthians 5:11. Further, were a contrast drawn between the present and the former letter, the present γράφω would have been more natural and more distinct than the epistolary aorist (see on Galatians 6:11); nay, to obviate the misunderstanding, it would have been a thing of necessity, 1 Corinthians 4:14.

ἀδελφὸς ὀνομαζόμ.] the most important element in the more definite explanation(838) which Paul is giving of his misunderstood prohibition: being called a brother, i.e. bearing the name of Christian. Comp ὄνομα ἔχειν, Revelation 3:1. Estius, following Ambrosiaster, Augustine, and Oecumenius, joins ὀνομαζ. with what comes after, in the sense of: if a brother is a notorious fornicator, having the name of being such. But ὀνομάζεσθαι means always simply to be called, without any such pregnancy of significance either in a good or bad sense (even in Ephesians 1:21; Ephesians 5:3; Romans 15:20). Had Paul wished to express the meaning of: bearing the character and repute of a fornicator, he must have used the phrase ὀνομάζεσθαι εἶναι πόρνος (Plato, Pol. iv. p. 428 E Prot. p. 311 E). Besides, it is unlikely that he should have expressly limited the prohibition to notorious fornicators alone, and thereby weakened its moral force.

λοίδορος] as in 1 Corinthians 6:10; comp on 1 Corinthians 4:12.

εἰδωλολάτρης] Estius observes well that this applies to the Christian, who “sive ex animo, seu metu, seu placendi voluntate, seu quavis alia ratione inductus, infidelium sacris se admiscet, ut vel idolum colat, opere saltem externo, vel de idolothytis edat.” Comp 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Corinthians 8:10, 1 Corinthians 10:7, 1 Corinthians 14:1; John 5:21; and Düsterdieck in loc(842) Among the frivolous Corinthians, such reversions to the old habits and fellowship might not be uncommon.

μέθυσος] used by old writers only of the female sex; but of the male also in later Greek, after Menander. See Wetstein; Lobeck, a(843) Phryn. p. 151 f.; Meineke, Menander, p. 27.

There are no traces discernible of a logical order in the series of vices here enumerated beyond this, that the three which are of specifically heathen character are put first, and then three others follow, which destroy the peace of the church-life.

τῷ τ. μηδὲ συνεσθ.] parallel, though by way of climax, to the μὴ συναναμ.; hence not anacoluthic in point of construction. As regards the meaning, again, we must not limit it to the Agapae (Vorstius, Mosheim, Stolz, Heydenreich), which would suit neither the quite general phrase συνεσθ. (comp 1 Corinthians 11:20) nor the intensifying μηδέ. It means: with one so constituted (comp 1 Corinthians 5:5) not even to have fellowship at table (neither to ask him to your table, nor sit with him at his). Comp Luke 15:2; Galatians 2:12. This implies of course of itself, that they ought also to have no fellowship at the Agapae with such persons. εἰ δὲ κοινῆς τροφῆς τοῖς τοιούτοις οὐ δεῖ κοινωνεῖν, ἤπου γε μυστικῆς τε καὶ θείας, Theodoret. Respecting the distinction between the μὴ συναναμίγν. and excommunication, see 2 Thessalonians 3:15.


Verse 12

1 Corinthians 5:12 f. The reason for his having spoken in reference to the Christians, and not those without the Christian pale: for it does not at all concern me to be passing disciplinary judgments upon the latter.

τὶ γάρ μοι] for what concern is it of mine? etc. See Wetstein on the passage, and Schaefer, a(847) Bos. Ell. p. 598. The emphasis falls so entirely upon τί and τοὺς ἔξω, that we have not ἐμοί, which is not needed even if the reading καὶ (even, besides) τ. ἔξω be adopted.

τοὺς ἔξω] was with the Jews the standing name ( חיצונים ) for the heathen (see Lightfoot, Hor., a(848) Marc. iv. 11; Schoettgen on this verse; Kypke, II. p. 198); and so, in like manner, with the Christians it was the standing appellation for all who were non-Christians, as being outside the fellowship of the true people of God (Colossians 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:12; 1 Timothy 3:7).

οὐχὶ τοὺς ἔσω ὑμεῖς κρίνετε;] By this question Paul appeals, in justification of what he has just said: “what does it concern me,” etc., to the exercise of judicial functions by his readers themselves in the administration of church discipline, in so far, that is to say, as that discipline bore upon their fellow-Christians, and not upon those outside of the Christian society. Rückert thinks that Paul means to say: Judging is not my matter at all (seeing that the members of the church were judged by their fellow-members themselves; while those without, again, God would hereafter judge). But judging was doubtless his matter (see 1 Corinthians 5:4-6, 1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 5:13), only not respecting those ἔξω. What he means is rather this: “To judge those who are not Christians is no concern of mine, any more than you take in hand to judge any others except your fellow-believers.” “Ex eo, quod in ecclesia fieri solet, interpretari debuistis monitum meum, 1 Corinthians 5:9; cives judicatis, non alienos,” Bengel. The simple κρίνετε is altered in meaning by Billroth: Is it not enough that ye? etc., as well as by Castalio, Grotius, al(849): judicare debetis (we find this interpretation as early as Theophylact). The Corinthians actually judged, every time that they passed a sentence of ecclesiastical discipline. Lastly, it is a mistake to render, as is done by τινές in Theophylact, Knatchbull, Hammond, Michaelis, Semler, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Heydenreich: No; judge ye your fellow-Christians! οὐχί is not a suitable answer to τί, and would, besides, require ἀλλά after it (Romans 3:27; Luke 1:60; Luke 12:51; Luke 13:3; Luke 13:5; Luke 16:30), and that with a clause forming a logically correct antithesis to the question put.


Verse 13

1 Corinthians 5:13. But of those that are without God is judge,—not I and not you. This statement appears more weighty and striking when taken as a sentence by itself, than as a continuation of the question (and still in dependence upon οὐχί; so Lachmann, Rückert, Olshausen, Hofmann). The accentuation κρινεῖ—although preferred by Luther, Grotius, Estius, Wetstein, Bengel, Valckenaer, al(850), Lachmann, Scholz, Rückert, Olshausen, Tischendorf, Ewald, Hofmann (in accordance with Arm., Copt., Vulgate, Chrysostom, al(851))—is to be rejected, because it is clear from the context, that so far from there being any necessity for the reference to the last judgment which would give occasion for the future (Romans 3:6; Romans 2:16), on the contrary the present κρίνει (Erasmus, Castalio, Beza, Calvin, al(852), Pott, de Wette) corresponds in much the most natural way to the preceding κρίνειν and κρίνετε. According to this view, then, the future judgment is neither exclusively pointed to by κρίνει, nor is it thereby excluded; but the judgment of those who are non-Christians is described generally as a matter for God, whenever and however it may take place.

Paul has now ended his more definite explanation and correction as regards that misunderstood statement in his letter, 1 Corinthians 5:9. But for the Corinthians what more direct inference could be drawn from this explanation, than the duty of expelling the offender already spoken of, whom they should indeed have excluded before (1 Corinthians 5:2)? Hence the apostle adds, without further preface (note, too, the aorist), the brief categorical command: ἐξάρατε κ. τ. λ(853) This injunction corresponds so exactly to the LXX. version of Deuteronomy 24:7, that it must be set down as simply arbitrary to deny that the form of expression here was purposely selected from remembrance of that passage. ΄ωσαϊκὴν τέθεικε μαρτυρίαν, θείῳ νόμῳ βεβαιώσας τὸν λόγον. Theodoret. Hofmann conjectures that Paul wrote καὶ ἐξαρεῖ τε, and that this meant: “and no less will He (God) also take away the wicked one (those who are wicked in general) from the midst of you;” but this is neither critically established—since the Recept(854) καὶ ἐξαρεῖτε is on critical grounds to be utterly rejected—nor grammatically admissible, for the assumed use of καὶτέ is foreign both to Attic prose and to the N. T.;(855) nor, finally, is it in accordance with the context, for τὸν πονηρόν manifestly refers to the specific malefactor of 1 Corinthians 5:2, and to his exclusion from the church; comp Augustine: “ τὸν πονηρόν, quod est hunc malignum.”

ὑμῶν αὐτῶν] is more expressive than the simple ὑμῶν: out of your own midst, in which you have hitherto tolerated him. Bengel’s comment hits the mark: “antitheton externos.”

REMARK.

Paul has ended what he had to say against the party-divisions in chap. 4. That the evils censured in chap. 5 (and 6) had any connection in point of principle with the party-divisions, is a view which finds no trace of support in the apostle’s way of speaking of them. Hence, too, it is impossible to prove that the persons at whom Paul’s censures were levelled belonged to any one special party, and if so, to which. In particular, we must refrain from attempting to refer the πορνεία in question, and its odious manifestation, to one definite party, and to the principles held by it, whether to the Pauline section (Neander), or the Christ-party (Olshausen, Jaeger, Kniewel), or the Apollonians (Räbiger). This much only may be regarded as certain, that the misuse of Christian freedom, so far as that in principle lay at the root of the mischief (1 Corinthians 6:12), cannot be charged upon the Petrine party.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 5:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-corinthians-5.html. 1832.

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