|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:9-13 Christians are to avoid familiar converse with all who disgrace the Christian name. Such are only fit companions for their brethren in sin, and to such company they should be left, whenever it is possible to do so. Alas, that there are many called Christians, whose conversation is more dangerous than that of heathens!
Verse 12. - For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? To pass sentence on heathens is no concern of mine; it is no part of my office. The phrase "them that are without" was originally a Jewish phrase. To the Jews all men were outsiders (chitsonin) except themselves. The phrase was adopted by Christians, but in a less contemptuous sense (1 Thessalonians 4:12; Colossians 4:5). We find a description of "those that were without" - "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenant of promise" - in Ephesians 2:12. Do not ye judge them that are within! An appeal to their own practice and to common sense. Christian rules can, of course, only apply to Christian communities.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For what have I to do to judge,.... To admonish, reprove, censure, and condemn:
them also that are without? without the church, who never were in it, or members of it; to whom ecclesiastical jurisdiction does not reach; and with whom the apostle had no more concern, than the magistrates of one city, or the heads of one family have with another:
do not ye judge them that are within? and them only? The apostle appeals to their own conduct, that they only reproved, censured, and punished with excommunication, such as were within the pale of the church, were members of it, and belonged unto it; nor did they pretend to exercise a power over others; and it would have been well if they had made use of the power they had over their own members, by admonishing and reproving such as had sinned; by censuring delinquents, and removing from their communion scandalous and impenitent offenders; and therefore they need not wonder that the apostle only meant fornicators, &c. among them, and not those that were in the world, by his forbidding to company with such: reference seems to be had to ways of speaking among the Jews, who used not only to call themselves the church, and the Gentiles the world, and so them that were without, both their land and church; but even those among themselves that were profane, in distinction from their wise and good men. They say (q),
"if a man puts his phylacteries on his forehead, or upon the palm of his hand, this is the way of heresy (or, as in the Talmud (r), the way of the Karaites); if he covered them with gold, and put them upon his glove (or on his garments without, so Bartenora, or, as Maimonides interprets it, his arm, shoulder, or breast), lo, this is , "the way of them that are without":''
on which the commentators (s) say, "these are the children of men, who walk after their own judgment, and not the judgment of the wise men": and Maimonides (t) says, they are such who deny the whole law, and neither believe anything, either of the written or the oral law.
(q) Misn. Megilla, c. 4. sect. 8. (r) T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 24. 2.((s) Jarchi, Bartenora, & Yom Tob, in Misn. Megilla, c. 4. sect. 8. (t) In. ib.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. what have I to do—You might have easily understood that my concern is not with unbelievers outside the Church, but that I referred to those within it.
also—Implying, Those within give me enough to do without those outside.
do not ye, &c.—Ye judge your fellow citizens, not strangers: much more should I [Bengel]. Rather, Is it not your duty to judge them that are within? God shall judge them that are without: do you look at home [Grotius]. God is the Judge of the salvation of the heathen, not we (Ro 2:12-16). Paul here gives an anticipatory censure of their going to law with saints before heathen tribunals, instead of judging such causes among themselves within.
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