1 Corinthians 5:13
But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
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(13) God judgeth.—In the best MSS. the verb is in the future tense: God will judge. He is the judge of the whole earth; we are to leave the heathen world in His hands.

Therefore put away . . .—Better omit “therefore.” The Apostle in this passage adopts the form of pronouncing sentence on great criminals, with which especially the Jewish converts would be familiar (Deuteronomy 13:5; Deuteronomy 17:7; Deuteronomy 24:7).

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!But them ... - They who are unconnected with the church are under the direct and special government of God. They are indeed sinners, and they deserve punishment for their crimes. But it is not ours to pronounce sentence upon them, or to inflict punishment. God will do that. our province is in regard to the church. We are to judge these; and these alone. All others we are to leave entirely in the hands of God.

Therefore - Greek "And" (καὶ kai). "Since it is yours to judge the members of your own society, do you exercise discipline on the offender and put him away?"

Put away from among yourselves - Excommunicate him; expel him from your society. This is the utmost power which the church has; and this act the church is bound to exercise upon all those who have openly offended against the laws of Jesus Christ.

Remarks On 1 Corinthians 5

1. A public rumor with regard to the existence of an offence in the church should lead to discipline. This is due to the church itself that it may be pure and uninjured; to the cause, that religion may not suffer by the offence; and to the individual, that he may have justice done him, and his character vindicated if he is unjustly accused; or that if guilty he may be reclaimed and reformed - Offences should not be allowed to grow until they become scandalous; but when they do, every consideration demands that the matter should be investigated; 1 Corinthians 5:1.

2. People are often filled with pride when they have least occasion for it; 1 Corinthians 5:2. This is the case with individuals - who are often elated when their hearts are full of sin - when they are indulging in iniquity; and it is true of churches also, that they are most proud when the reins of discipline are relaxed, and their members are cold in the service of God, or when they are even living so as to bring scandal and disgrace on the gospel.

3. We see in what way the Christian church should proceed in administering discipline; 1 Corinthians 5:2. It should not be with harshness, bitterness, revenge, or persecution. It should be with mourning that there is necessity for it; with tenderness toward the offender; with deep grief that the cause of religion has been injured; and with such grief at the existence of the offence as to lead them to prompt and decided measures to remove it.

4. The exercise of discipline belongs to the church itself; 1 Corinthians 5:4. The church at Corinth was to be assembled with reference to this offence, and was to remove the offender. Even Paul, an apostle, and the spiritual father of the church, did not claim the authority to remove an offender except through the church. The church was to take up the case; to act on it; to pass the sentence; to excommunicate the man. There could scarcely be a stronger proof that the power of discipline is in the church, and is not to be exercised by any independent individual, or body of people, foreign to the church, or claiming an independent right of discipline. If "Paul" would not presume to exercise such discipline independently of the church, assuredly no minister, and no body of ministers have any such right now. Either by themselves in a collective congregational capacity, or through their representatives in a body of elders, or in a committee appointed by them; every church is itself originate and execute all the acts of Christian discipline over its members. (See the supplementary note on 1 Corinthians 5:4.)

5. We see the object of Christian discipline; 1 Corinthians 5:5. It is not revenge, hatred, malice, or the more exercise of power that is to lead to it; it is "the good of the individual" that is to be pursued and sought. While the church endeavors to remain pure, its aim and object should be mainly to correct and reform the offender, that his spirit may be saved. When discipline is undertaken from any other motive than this; when it is pursued from private pique or rivalship, or ambition, or the love of power; when it seeks to overthrow the influence or standing of another, it is wrong. The salvation of the offender and the glory of God should prompt to all the measures which should be taken in the case.

6. We see the danger of indulging in any sin - both in reference to ourselves as individuals, or to the church; 1 Corinthians 5:6. The smallest sin indulged in will spread pollution through the whole body, as a little leaven will effect the largest mass.

7. Christians should be pure; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8. Their Saviour - their paschal lamb, was pure; and he died that they might be pure. He gave himself that his people might be holy; and by all the purity of his character; by all the labors and self-denials of his life; by all his sufferings and groans in our behalf, are we called on to be holy.

8. We are here presented with directions in regard to our contact with those who are not members of the church; 1 Corinthians 5:10. There is nothing that is more difficult to be understood than the duty of Christians respecting such contact. Christians often feel that they are in danger from it, and they are disposed to withdraw almost entirely from the world. And they ask with deep solicitude often, what course they are to pursue? Where shall the line be drawn? How far shall they go? And where shall they deem the contact with the world unlawful or dangerous? - A few remarks here as rules may aid us in answering these questions.

(I) Christians are not wholly to withdraw from contact with the people of this world. This was the error of the monastic system, and this error has been the occasion of innumerable corruptions and abominations in the papal church - They are not to do this because:

(a) It is impossible. They must needs then, says Paul, go out of the world.


13. put away from among yourselves that wicked—Sentence of excommunication in language taken from De 24:7. But them that are without God judgeth; for heathens that live brutish and scandalous lives, God will judge them; the church hath nothing to do with them, they never gave up themselves to them, and are only under the justice of God in the administrations of his providence.

Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person: do you, therefore, what belongs to you to do. This incestuous person, besides his subjection to God’s judgment, who is the Judge of all, whether within or without the church, is subjected also to your judicature; therefore use that power which God hath given you, and put away from amongst you that evil person. The conclusion of this discourse helps us clearly to understand those former precepts, Purge out the old leaven, 1 Corinthians 5:7, and: Let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, 1 Corinthians 5:8; that they are not so properly to be interpreted of particular Christians’ purging out their lusts and corruptions, (though that be every good Christian’s duty), as of every Christian church’s duty to purge themselves of flagitious and scandalous persons.

But them that are without God judgeth,.... Or "will judge", in the great day of judgment; wherefore though such persons did not fall under the censures and punishment of the apostle, nor of a church of Christ, yet they shall not go unpunished; God will call them to an account for their fornication, covetousness, idolatry, extortion, &c. and will judge, condemn, and punish them, according to their works; and therefore since they do not fall under the cognizance of the churches of Christ, they are to be left to the tribunal of God; and all that the saints have to do is to watch over one another, and reprove, rebuke, and censure, as cases require, and as the case of this church did.

Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person; not that wicked thing, as some read it, but that wicked one; meaning not the devil, who is sometimes so called; a sense of the words proposed by Calvin, not asserted; but that wicked man, that, incestuous person, whom the apostle would have removed from among them, by excommunication; which was what became them as a church to do, and which lay in their power to do, and could only be done by them, and was to be their own pure act and deed: reference seems to be had to those passages in Deuteronomy 17:7 where the Septuagint render the phrase, , "thou shalt put away that wicked one among yourselves".

But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
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. Μωσαϊκὴν 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.”

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

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

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

[853] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[854] ecepta Textus receptus, or lectio recepta (Elzevir).

[855] The apparent proof-passages from Greek writers are either founded on corrupt readings or are deprived of their force when correctly explained. See especially Bornemann, ad Anab. i. 8. 3; Kühner, ad Memor. iv. 2. 28; Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 113 ff.; also Krüger on Thuc. i. 9. 3. The atque etiam would have been rendered by καὶδέ. With respect to the occurrence of καί τε and καίτε, without a corresponding καί after it, in Homer, Herodotus, etc., see Nägelsbach on the Iliad, p. 176 f., ed. 3; and on the whole subject, comp. Matthiae, § 626, p. 1504 f.


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.

1 Corinthians 5:13. Τοὺς δὲ ἔξω, them that are without) The knowledge concerning the destruction or salvation of the Gentiles is a matter reserved for God alone.—κρινεῖ, shall judge) Romans 2:16. Supply, and this judgment we in all humility leave to God. Thus the and, that follows, more closely coheres with this clause.—καὶ, and) an Epiphonema[45] suited to both parts of this chapter. The particle ΚΑῚ with the whole sentence is quoted here, from the LXX., Deuteronomy 17:7; Deuteronomy 19:19; Deuteronomy 24:7, ΚΑῚ, and so. But the phrase, as it is written, is not prefixed here, and this is the case either for the sake of severity [c. 1 Corinthians 4:21], or because ἐξαρεῖτε, Heb. ובערת, is used by Moses for taking away a wicked man from among the people by capital punishment, by the apostle for taking away a wicked man from the Church by excommunication.—ΤῸΝ ΠΟΝΗΡῸΝ, the wicked person) 1 Corinthians 5:2; 1 Corinthians 5:9.—ὑμῶν αὐτῶν, from among yourselves) So it is found in the LXX. often. The antithesis in this passage is, those that are without.

[45] An exclamation after a weighty demonstration or narration. Append.

Verse 13. - God judgeth. To that "judgment of God" (Romans 1:29) Christians must leave them. They have no jurisdiction over them. The mention of "judging" forms a natural transition to the next chapter. Therefore. The word is omitted in the best manuscripts. The command is more abruptly forcible without it. Put away from among yourselves that wicked person. The command would come the more powerfully because it is a direct reference to the language of Deuteronomy 17:7; Deuteronomy 24:7. The explanation, "Put away the evil one [i.e. the devil] from among you!" is adopted by Calvin, but is too general.

1 Corinthians 5:13Wicked (πονηρὸν)

Mischievous to the Church. See on Luke 3:19. The usage of the Septuagint emphasizes the idea of active harmfulness. The word has, however, in some passages, the sense of stubborn or grudging, and the Hebrew word which is usually translated by πονηρός mischievous, is sometimes rendered by βάσκανος malignant, with a distinct reference to the "evil" or "grudging eye." This sense may go to explain Matthew 20:15, and possibly Matthew 6:19, and Matthew 7:11.

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