First Corinthians - Part 13


Last week we looked at Chapter 5:1-8 - a chapter that has parallels in the book of Revelation. Under the figure of a "rod", Paul warns them of impending discipline unless they change (implied in the question "what will ye?") their conduct. The apostles gifts were awesome and powerful and to sin against the holy Ghost could be met with death as the punishment. (See Acts 5:1-11, 1 Cor. 11).

Are we seeing these things today in this age? Surely we must say "No!!" -- and if this is so why not? It has been our labour to show the reader why these things are not happenning today and give a full and clear explanation of the Biblical account without the admixture of man's philosophy or eisogesis. The momentous events around Acts 28 cannot be over emphasized and we as students of the scriptures must clarify and teach the contextual truths that bring to light the revelation given to PAul the prisoner.

Chapter 5:9-13

The rest of the chapter deals with the matter of how to deal with those in and out of the assembly who were involved with illicit sex. 

9 ¶  I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 
9  Ἔγραψα ὑμῖν ἐν τῇ ἐπιστολῇ μὴ συναναμίγνυσθαι πόρνοις·

Paul evidently had written a letter previously to the Corinthians (Ἔγραψα ὑμῖν) in an epistle. Where is this epistle? Since this is First corinthians -- we must assume that it was uninspired and unpreserved. Paul must have written many epstles to many different people in his life and we should not assume everything that fell from his pen was inspired or "God breathed" for preservation. However to the Corinthians the advise was clearly God given and Paul reminds them of his previous advice "μὴ συναναμίγνυσθαι πόρνοις·" not to keep company with fornicators. Naturally we need and  should expect clarification on the extent of this prohibition:

10  Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 
10  καὶ οὐ πάντως τοῖς πόρνοις τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, ἢ τοῖς πλεονέκταις, ἢ ἅρπαξιν, ἢ εἰδωλολάτραις· ἐπεὶ ὀφείλετε ἄρα ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου ἐξελθεῖν.

A range of sinner classifications are mentioned here starting with the sin at hand "fornicators", "covetous", "extortioners (robbers)" and idolaters. The verse begins with "Yet not altogether" -- we can't expect to separate ourselves completely from the sinners of this world because "then" ἐπεὶ ὀφείλετε ἄρα ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου ἐξελθεῖν, "it would be necessary to come out of the world. The verb here is   ὀφείλετε -- "you are obligated" and goes with the infinitive at the end of the sentence, "to come out" -- a double emphasis is given to the out, the preposition ek is used on the verb and in the prepositional phrase "out of the world". It is more needful to abide said PAul to the Philippians in another context:

Php 1:24  Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

The Corinthians were not to abide in the world with monastic separation but were to function as ambassadors from another country seeking to bring the healing truths of the gospel to a dark and dieing world. To attempt a complete separation from the world of sin would require a removal from the world and this was not God's intent for them nor for us.

11  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
11  νυνὶ δὲ ἔγραψα ὑμῖν μὴ συναναμίγνυσθαι, ἐάν τις ἀδελφὸς ὀνομαζόμενος ᾖ πόρνος, ἢ πλεονέκτης, ἢ εἰδωλολάτρης, ἢ λοίδορος, ἢ μέθυσος, ἢ ἅρπαξ· τῷ τοιούτῳ μηδὲ συνεσθίειν.

To whom much is given much is required. The "yet not altogether" is contrasted with not to keep company" and "no not to eat" when separating from the brother (named so) who is a fornicator or the other named categories of sinners. A man called a brother, that is one who is commonly named such and is a known believer in the Lord is to be made an example of and must be separated from when he becomes a fornicator or covetous, idolater, railer, drunkard or extortioner. The first sinner category is fornication but this is by no means the only category worthy of the discipline outlined above.

12  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
12  τί γάρ μοι καὶ τοὺς ἔξω κρίνειν; οὐχὶ τοὺς ἔσω ὑμεῖς κρίνετε;

Paul is not sent to bring judgment on sinner and saint, and he expects a discerning judgment to come from within the assembly to address sin within the camp

13  But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
13  τοὺς δὲ ἔξω ὁ Θεὸς κρίνει. καὶ ἐξαρεῖτε τὸν πονηρὸν ἐξ ὑμῶν αὐτῶν. (1Co 5:9-13 TBT)

It will be God's prerogative to judge them that are without and the assembly's job to effect church discipline. The possibility of extreme judgment was available in the Acts period, clearly this was something that the assembly could avoid if it acted righteously.


Last time we examined Chapter 5 where a doctrine of necessary separation was introduced when a believer was involved with immoral and other sinful  practices. 

5:11  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

"Purge out the leaven", "no not to eat", "judge" -- there was required in these appropriate injunctions a practical application of judgment. 

5:12  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?

Paul takes this appeal to judgment further in chapter 6. This whole matter and context is something that the world wishes to "go away" -- the world's spokesmaen say: you shouldn't judge and especially point the finger at various sexual activities in our communities this is "judgmental" and "hypocritical" or "Victorian" etc etc. We have heard this from the liberals of this world. The problem is that if there is a God -- and there IS, then we should be more concerned with His prerogatives and wishes than the pursuit of satisfying the "flavour of the day" morality of this broken and fallen world.

Chapter 6

1 ¶  Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
TBT  1 Corinthians 6:1 Τολμᾷ τις ὑμῶν, πρᾶγμα ἔχων πρὸς τὸν ἕτερον, κρίνεσθαι ἐπὶ τῶν ἀδίκων, καὶ οὐχὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἁγίων;

The verb here is Τολμᾷ -- "to dare" to do something without fear, the following is a concordance of the root:

Matt. 22:46
Acts 7:32
2 Co. 11:21
Mk. 12:34
Rom. 5:7
Phil. 1:14
Mk. 15:43
Rom. 10:20
2 Pet. 2:10
Lk. 20:40
Rom. 15:15, 18
Jude 1:9
Jn. 21:12
1 Co. 6:1
Acts 5:13
2 Co. 10:2, 12

Looking through the concordance we see many examples that give the various shades of meaning to this word, for example:

KJG  John 21:12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. (Joh 21:12 KJG)

They would not "dare" ask him because they knew that He was the Lord. That is they had knowledge of the answer and to ask the question would be at the least foolish. It would be a naive boldness to ask the redundant question.

KJG  Romans 15:15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,

TBT  Romans 15:15 τολμηρότερον δὲ ἔγραψα ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, ἀπὸ μέρους, ὡς ἐπαναμιμνήσκων ὑμᾶς, διὰ τὴν χάριν τὴν δοθεῖσάν μοι ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ,

Here the root of the word is formed into a comparative adverb -- "the more boldly" 

In 1 Cor. 6:1 -- Paul backgrounds the foolishness of going to law before the unbelievers by asking the question "Dare any one of you". This poor application of boldness needs to be addressed up front. We can learn from this and ask whether we need to take any such actions ourselves, what are the ramifications of going to law with a fellow Christian before the unbelievers? It is at the least a very poor testimony before the world -- we who have the light of Christ. In this age we should at least attempt to avoid it and work our differences through within the confines of the church. Better yet as Paul shows in the verses that follow -- why not suffer wrong? Gulp!

2  Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
TBT  1 Corinthians 6:2 οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ ἅγιοι τὸν κόσμον κρινοῦσι; καὶ εἰ ἐν ὑμῖν κρίνεται ὁ κόσμος, ἀνάξιοί ἐστε κριτηρίων ἐλαχίστων; (1Co 6:2 TBT)
3  Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

The hagioi will judge the world, that is Paul uses the active, the saints shall judge the world, then he moves to the passive, and if the world shall be judged by you are you unworthy to judge the smallest ἐλαχίστων? This is a nice logical structure, active, passive, active with the conclusion that these matters that arise amongst us are "small" compared to the large matters to come and it is expected that the believers should easily take care of them.

The saints are the belivers, the unjust are the unbelievers, when taliking of believers who fall into wrong living, Paul calls them "carnal". What angels should be judged -- Peter says this:

2Peter 2:3 ¶  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
4  For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
5  And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
6  And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
7 ¶  And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
8  (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
9  The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

Notice that Tartarus is the hell of verse 4 and in verse 9 we have the unjust reserved unto the day of judgment to be punished. These are possible judgments that the saints could be involved with and preside over. Lets look back at 1 Cor. 6:

4  If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
5  I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?

There might be a difficulty in understanding the use of the words "least esteemed in the church" and "wise" in verse 6. You could argue that Paul is using some sarcasm to refer to the least esteemed. That is Paul is saying - 'you cannot even find a person capable of doing the job presecribed for the "least esteemed" '. While this is possible -- there is another consideration that might bring to light more in this context, here is the greek for the verse

TBT  1 Corinthians 6:3 οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ἀγγέλους κρινοῦμεν; μήτι γε βιωτικά; (1Co 6:3 TBT)
TBT  1 Corinthians 6:4 βιωτικὰ μὲν οὖν κριτήρια ἐὰν ἔχητε, τοὺς ἐξουθενημένους ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, τούτους καθίζετε. 

Notice the word  βιωτικὰ, translated "things pertaining to this life" -- it occurs also in Luke

KJG  Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
TBT  Luke 21:34 Προσέχετε δὲ ἑαυτοῖς, μήποτε βαρυνθῶσιν ὑμῶν αἱ καρδίαι ἐν κραιπάλῃ καὶ μέθῃ καὶ μερίμναις βιωτικαῖς, καὶ αἰφνίδιος ἐφ᾽ ὑμᾶς ἐπιστῇ ἡ ἡμέρα ἐκείνη·

The cares of this life are placed in with the fleshly actions of those who do not take heed and contrul their passions. Clearly there would be problems that would require a more in depth and wise application of the doctrine of Christ and to judge these matters would require a wise person. This judgment would be between brethren in deeper matters and hence the wise man of 1Cor.6:5. The things pertaining to this life are for the least esteemed, the deeper matters for the wise. That there would be believers in the church capable of these judgments was expected and needed.

6  But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.
7  Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
8  Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

The matter of defrauding comes up in the context of the commandments KJG  Mark 10:19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. (Mar 10:19 KJG) the greek for the prohibition "Defraud not"  is μὴ ἀποστερήσῃς, which is the subjunctive of the verb found in verse 8 translated "defraud" -- Paul takes them back to the commandments and shows the severity of their actions, the act of taking by deception was a sin and to do this in front of the unbeliever was to compound it.