1 Corinthians 5:10
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.
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(10) Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world.—This is a limitation and explanation of the command given not to associate with fornicators. It would have been almost impossible for the command to be literally obeyed without the Christian withdrawing altogether from the business of life, so the Apostle explains that it is the fair fame and purity of the Church which he is anxious to preserve. There are so many fornicators, and covetous, and idolaters in this world (i.e., the heathen world) that men must meet with them. But the Christian must tolerate no such sins among themselves; they must exclude from the social circle any brother who, bearing the name of Christ, indulges in the vices of the heathen world. The Church is to be the light of the world, and not the recipient of the world’s darkness.

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!Yet not altogether ... - In my direction not "to company" with them, I did not mean that you should refuse all kinds of contact with them; that you should not treat them with civility, or be engaged with them in any of the transactions of life, or in the ordinary contact of society between man and man, for this would be impossible - but that you should not so associate with them as to be esteemed to belong to them, or so as to be corrupted by their example. You are not to make them companions and friends.

With the fornicators - Most pagans were of this description, and particularly at Corinth. See the introduction to this Epistle.

Of this world - Of those who are out of the church; or who are not professed Christians.

Or with the covetous - The avaricious; those greedy of gain. Probably his direction in the former epistle had been that they should avoid them.

Or extortioners - Rapacious persons; greedy of gain, and oppressing the poor, the needy, and the fatherless, to obtain money.

Or an idolater - All the Corinthians before the gospel was preached there worshipped idols.

Then must ye needs ... - It would be necessary to leave the world. The world is full of such persons. You meet them everywhere. You cannot avoid them in the ordinary transactions of life, unless you either destroy yourselves, or withdraw wholly from society. This passage shows:

(1) That that society was full of the licentious and the covetous, of idolaters and extortioners. (Compare the notes at Romans 1.)

(2) that it is not right either to take our own lives to avoid them, or to withdraw from society and become monks; and therefore, that the whole monastic system is contrary to Christianity; and,

(3) That it is needful we should have some contact with the people of the world; and to have dealings with them as neighbors, and as members of the community. "How far" we are to have contact with them is not settled here. The general principles may be:

(1) That it is only so far as is necessary for the purposes of good society, or to show kindness to them as neighbors and as members of the community.

(2) we are to deal justly with them in all our transactions.

(3) we may be connected with them in regard to the things which "we have in common" - as public improvements, the business of education, etc.

(4) we are to endeavor to do them good, and for that purpose we are not to shun their society. But,


10. Limitation of the prohibition alluded to in 1Co 5:9. As in dissolute Corinth to "company with no fornicators," &c., would be almost to company with none in the (unbelieving) world; ye need not utterly ("altogether") forego intercourse with fornicators, &c., of the unbelieving world (compare 1Co 10:27; Joh 17:15; 1Jo 5:18, 19). As "fornicators" sin against themselves, so "extortioners" against their neighbors, and "idolaters" against God. The attempt to get "out of the world," in violation of God's will that believers should remain in it but keep themselves from its evil, led to monasticism and its consequent evils. Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world; I did not intend that admonition as to such persons as were no Christians, no members of the church (so this term world is used, John 15:19 17:14; and so it is to be interpreted here). He extendeth this admonition to other scandalous sinners, such as covetous persons, by which he understandeth such as by any open and scandalous acts discover their too great love of money, whether by oppression, or by cheating and defrauding, &c.;

or extortioners, such as exact more than their due; or with idolaters, by which he understandeth such as worship images: and under these few species of scandalous sinners here mentioned, the apostle understands all others alike scandalous.

For then must ye needs go out of the world; for (saith he) you could have no commerce nor trading with men in the world, if you might keep no company with such as these. Which is true at this day, when the world is much more Christianized than it was at that time.

Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world,.... By "the fornicators of this world" are meant, such as were guilty of this sin, who were the men of the world, mere worldly carnal men, who were never called out of it, or ever professed to be; in distinction from those that were in the church, that had committed this iniquity; and the apostle's sense is, that his former prohibition of keeping company with fornicators was not to be understood as referring to such persons as were, out of the church, as if no sort of civil conversation and commerce were to be had with men of such, and the like infamous characters; or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters: that is, of this world; for this clause is to be understood of each of these; so we read (n) of , "the covetous of the world"; by the covetous are meant, either such who are given up to inordinate lusts, who work all uncleanness with greediness, and can never be satisfied with their filthy enjoyments; or such who are greedily desirous of riches and wealth, and of increasing their worldly substance by any method, right or wrong; and who not only withhold that which is meet from others, but will not allow themselves what is proper and necessary: "extortioners" are either "ravishers", as the word may be rendered: such who by force violate the chastity of others, youths or virgins; or robbers, who, by violence and rapine, take away that which is the fight and property of others; or such who oppress the poor, detain their wages by fraud, or lessen them, and extort that by unlawful gain, which is unreasonable: idolaters are those who worship the false deities of the Heathens, or any idol, graven image, or picture of God, or men, or any creature whatsoever, or any but the one Lord God. The apostle, under these characters, comprises all manner of sin against a man's self, against his neighbour, and against God; against himself, as fornication; against his neighbour, as covetousness and extortion; and against God, as idolatry: and since the world abounded with men guilty of these several vices, all kind of civil correspondence with them could not be avoided,

for then must you needs go out of the world; meaning not out of Greece, or of any of the cities thereof, into other parts, but out of the world itself; they must even destroy themselves, or seek out for a new world: it is an hyperbolical way of speaking, showing that the thing is impracticable and impossible, since men of this sort are everywhere; and were all trade and conversation with them to be forbidden, the families of God's people could never be supported, nor the interest of religion maintained; a stop would soon be put to worldly business, and saints would have little or nothing to do in the world; wherefore, as the Arabic version reads it, "business would compel you to go out of the world".

(n) Zohar in Exod. fol. 31. 2.

Yet not {h} 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.

(h) If you should utterly abstain from such men's company, you should go out of the world. Therefore I speak of those who are in the very bosom of the Church, who must be brought back into order by discipline, and not of those who are outside of the Church, with whom we must labour by all means possible, to bring them to Christ.

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.

ἢ 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.

[827] The phrase πάντῃ πάντως, which is common with Greek writers (Lobeck, Paral. p. 57), would have been still stronger if used in place of πάντως, altogether, absolutely. See generally on 1 Corinthians 9:22.

[829] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[832] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[833] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[835] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

1 Corinthians 5:10 gives the needful definition of the above injunction. οὐ πάντως is best understood as by Er[859] (non omnino), Cv[860] (neque in universum), Mr[861], Bt[862], Ed[863], El[864], as not absolutely, not altogether, οὐ negativing πάντως and making the inhibition a qualified one: “I did not altogether forbid your holding intercourse with the fornicators of this world”. To make the πάντως emphasise the οὐ (as in Romans 3:9)—“Assuredly I did not mean to forbid association with fornicators outside the Church” (Lt[865])—is to lend the passage the air of recommending association with unconverted profligates!—What applies to one sort of immorality applies to others: ἢ τ. πλεονέκταις καὶ ἅρπαξιν ἢ εἰδωλολάτραις, “or with the covetous and rapacious, or with idolaters”. The πλεονεκται (from πλέον and ἔχω: see parls.) are the self-aggrandising in general; ἅρπαγες, those who seize with violence; sins of greed are frequent in commercial cities. “Idolaters”(the first appearance of the word in literature: cf. notes on 1 Corinthians 8:1 and 1 Corinthians 10:19) included the entire pagan world; Cor[866] idolatry was specially associated with sensual sin.—ἐπεὶἄρα κ.τ.λ., “since in that case”—the logical consequence of absolute non-intercourse—“you were bound to go out of the world!”—ἑτέραν οἰκουμένην ὠφείλετε ζητῆσαι (Thp[867]). One could not pursue any avocation at Cor[868] without daily contact with such sinners. ὠφείλετε, in the impf[869] tense of the unfulfilled condition (implied in ἄρα); for the omission, common with vbs. of this nature, of the ἂν of contingency, see Wr[870], p. 382, and cf. Hebrews 9:26. For the principle implied—as against the cloister—see John 17:14-19.

[859] Erasmus’ In N.T. Annotationes.

[860] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.

[861] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[862] J. A. Beet’s St. Paul’s Epp. to the Corinthians (1882).

[863] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[864] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[865] J. B. Lightfoot’s (posthumous) Notes on Epp. of St. Paul (1895).

[866] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[867] Theophylact, Greek Commentator.

[868] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[869]mpf. imperfect tense.

[870] Winer-Moulton’s Grammar of N.T. Greek (8th ed., 1877).

10. or with the covetous] The word used here in the original is derived from two Greek words signifying to have more. Hence it signifies (1) one who has more than enough, (2) who desires more than enough of whatever kind, (3) one greedy after money. In some passages it, and the substantive and verb of similar derivation, are used of sensual sin, as in Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:6. In this verse, as well as in Ephesians 5:5, and Colossians 3:5, these words are connected with idolatry; either (1) because the love of riches is a kind of idolatry (1 Timothy 6:17) or (2) because the idolatrous rites of heathenism were so frequently stained with sensual indulgence. The verb formed from it generally signifies to overreach, take advantage of. Thus in 2 Corinthians 2:11 it is translated ‘get an advantage of,’ in 1 Corinthians 7:2 ‘defraud,’ and in 1 Corinthians 12:17-18 ‘make a gain of.’ Dean Stanley illustrates its use by the word covet as used in the Tenth Commandment; first in the ordinary sense of covetousness, ‘thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house,’ and next in the sense of sensual desire, ‘thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife.’ We may also compare the words greed and greedy, which coming from the Anglo-Saxon grædan to cry, and kindred with the Gothic greitan, the Lowland Scotch greet, and the Italian gridare, words of similar signification, have diverged from one another in sense, and are used, the former exclusively of gain, the latter of the indulgence of appetite.

1 Corinthians 5:10. Καὶ) and that.—οὐ πάντως, not altogether) What is here said is not a universal, but a particular negative, Romans 3:9, note.—τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, of this world) [there is no place wherein you may not fall in with the covetous and extortioners, etc.—V. g.] In antithesis to a brother, 1 Corinthians 5:11.[41]—ἅρπαξιν, extortioners) He gives them this name rather than that of thieves; because their theft is not apparent. [They are included by implication, who try to get the property of others, either by violence or injustice.—V. g.]—He mentions three kinds of flagitious crimes, which are committed against the man himself, against his neighbour, and against God.—ἐπεὶ ὀφείλετε, for then must ye needs) Others have written ὠφείλετε[42] [Ye ought to have gone out, etc.], for ὀφείλετε, but the present is also used, 1 Corinthians 7:14, ἐπεὶ ἄρα τὰ τέκνα ὑμῶν ἀκαθαρτά ἐστι. What is written without express limitation, should not be always taken absolutely, if there should follow from it any unsuitable consequence. In the present day there is room for this paraphrase; “otherwise you must needs go out of a land inhabited by Christians.” They are therefore especially to be avoided, who among Christians wish to be considered virtuous above others, and yet are fornicators, etc.—ὀφείλετε) you must needs. For thus all intercourse as citizens would be done away with: That, which is evangelical perfection to monks, is absurd (ἄτοπον, out of place) and unsuitable in the eyes of Paul.—κόσμου, of the world) which abounds in profligate men.

[41] πλεονέκταις, covetous) Those greedy of gain for themselves.—V. g.

[42] So ACD(Λ)G Vulg. both Syr. and Memph. Versions. But B (judging from silence) favours Rec. Text’s reading, ὀφείλετε.—ED.

Verse 10. - Yet not altogether. The words correct a false inference, and mean, "I did not intend absolutely to prohibit all communication with Gentiles guilty of this sin under all circumstances." Of this world. Those outside the pale of the Christian Church (comp. 1 Corinthians 3:19; 2 Corinthians 4:4). Or with the covetous. St. Paul often uses the Greek word in immediate connection with sins of impurity (1 Corinthians 6:10; 2 Corinthians 9:5; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:3), and, though it does not exclude the connotation of greed and avarice (2 Corinthians 9:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:5), it seems to have been used euphemistically of the deadliest form of heathen sensuality. The principle of selfishness may work equally in greed and in lust. Extortioners. The word may also mean "ravishers," but there is no reason to abandon the sense of "rapacious." Idolaters. This is the earliest instance of the use of this word, which does not occur in the LXX. No Christian could still be an open "idolater." So, unless we suppose that the expression has slipped in involuntarily, we must here give the word a metaphorical sense, as in Colossians 3:5. We must else be driven to suppose that there were some half and half Christians, like Constantine, who "feared the Lord, and served their own gods" (comp. 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 8:10; 1 Corinthians 10:7, 14; Ephesians 5:5). For then must ye needs go out of the world; for in that case (as they had perhaps implied in their letter of questions to St. Paul) ye would have been morally bound to leave the world altogether and seek a new one. The Greek particle ara perhaps refers to the astonishment caused by their misapprehension of St. Paul's rule. The clause throws painful light on the condition of the heathen world. If all communication with "fornicators" was to be forbidden, the sin was so universal, especially at Corinth, that all intercourse with Gentiles would have be. come impossible. Even some who professed to be stern moralists among the heathen, like Cato and Cicero, looked on the sin as being, at the worst, quite venial, and even, under certain circumstances, commendable. 1 Corinthians 5:10Idolaters (εἰδωλολάτραις)

Only twice outside of Paul's writings: Revelation 21:8; Revelation 22:15. This is the earliest known instance of the use of the word. For the collocation of the covetous and idolaters, compare Colossians 3:15; Ephesians 5:5. New-Testament usage does not confine the term to the worship of images, but extends it to the soul's devotion to any object which usurps the place of God.

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