1 Corinthians 5:2
And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that has done this deed might be taken away from among you.
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(2) And ye are puffed up.—Better, And are ye puffed up? &c. We have instances of similar sentences beginning with “and,” Luke 10:29. The Apostle cannot mean that they actually gloried in this act of sin, but that their temper of mind was of that kind which he has already described in the earlier chapters, puffing themselves up, one against another, in party rivalry, instead of being united in one common grief by this common cause, which would lead them as one man to remove from among them the person who had done this deed.

5:1-8 The apostle notices a flagrant abuse, winked at by the Corinthians. Party spirit, and a false notion of Christian liberty, seem to have saved the offender from censure. Grievous indeed is it that crimes should sometimes be committed by professors of the gospel, of which even heathens would be ashamed. Spiritual pride and false doctrines tend to bring in, and to spread such scandals. How dreadful the effects of sin! The devil reigns where Christ does not. And a man is in his kingdom, and under his power, when not in Christ. The bad example of a man of influence is very mischievous; it spreads far and wide. Corrupt principles and examples, if not corrected, would hurt the whole church. Believers must have new hearts, and lead new lives. Their common conversation and religious deeds must be holy. So far is the sacrifice of Christ our Passover for us, from rendering personal and public holiness unnecessary, that it furnishes powerful reasons and motives for it. Without holiness we can neither live by faith in him, nor join in his ordinances with comfort and profit.And ye are puffed up - See the note at 1 Corinthians 4:18. You are filled with pride, and with a vain conceit of your own wisdom and purity, notwithstanding the existence of this enormous wickedness in your church. This does not mean that they were puffed up, or proud on account of the existence of this wickedness, but they were filled with pride notwithstanding, or in spite of it. They ought to have been a humbled people. They should have mourned; and should have given their first attention to the removal of the evil. But instead of this, they had given indulgence to proud feeling, and had become elated with a vain confidence in their spiritual purity. People are always elated and proud when they have the least occasion for it.

And have not rather mourned ... - Have not rather been so afflicted and troubled as to take the proper means for removing the offence. The word "mourn" here is taken in that large sense. Ye have not been "so much" afflicted - so troubled with the existence of this wickedness, as to take the proper measures to remove the offender - Acts of discipline in the church should always commence with mourning that there is occasion for it. It should not be anger, or pride, or revenge, or party feeling, which prompt to it. It should be deep grief that there is occasion for it; and tender compassion for the offender.

Might be taken away - By excommunication. He should not, while he continues in this state, be allowed to remain in your communion.

2. puffed up—with your own wisdom and knowledge, and the eloquence of your favorite teachers: at a time when ye ought to be "mourning" at the scandal caused to religion by the incest. Paul mourned because they did not mourn (2Co 2:4). We ought to mourn over the transgressions of others, and repent of our own (2Co 12:21) [Bengel].

that—ye have not felt such mourning as would lead to the result that, &c.

taken away from among you—by excommunication. The incestuous person was hereby brought to bitter repentance, in the interval between the sending of the first and second Epistles (2Co 2:5-10). Excommunication in the Christian Church corresponded to that in the Jewish synagogue, in there being a lighter and heavier form: the latter an utter separation from church fellowship and the Lord's house, the former exclusion from the Lord's Supper only but not from the Church.

And ye are puffed up; you are so conceited of your own parts and gifts, and are so full of your contentions about the preference of ministers, and things of little concernment to your souls and the interest of the church, that you have not been able to find leisure to deal with this scandalous person, as a church of Christ ought to have done. This seemeth rather the reason of their not mourning, than any rejoicing in iniquity, as if they had thought the gospel had opened that door against this licentiousness which the law had shut, or triumphed in this incestuous person, being one of their teachers (which can hardly be thought).

And have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you: they ought rather to have mourned, keeping times of fasting and prayer, on the behalf of this scandalous member amongst them, that his sin might (upon his due sense of it, and repentance for it) have been forgiven him, and the blot upon their church, by their having such a one in their fellowship, might be washed out, by his being cast out of their fellowship and communion. It was no time for them to glory in their gifts, and be puffed up with the parts of their teachers or members, when they had such a blot upon them by a putrid member that was amongst them. They had a great deal more cause for humiliation, than for pride and glorying. And ye are puffed up,.... Either with the gifts, learning, and eloquence of their preachers, and particularly of this man, who, by some, is thought to be one of their teachers; and though he was guilty of so foul a crime, yet they still applauded him, and cried him up for a wonderful preacher: or one party was puffed up against another; that which was opposite to the party this man belonged to, boasting over the other as free from the scandal that was exposed unto; or the other were puffed up with their lenity and forbearance, boasting of it as an act of humanity and good nature, and an instance of charity, showing that they were not severe upon one another, for mistakes in life: or else were puffed up and gloried in the thing itself, as an instance of Christian liberty, and their freedom from the law, through a sad mistake of it; and in which they might be strengthened by a notion of the Jews, that it was lawful for proselyted Gentiles to do such things, for so says Maimonides (b).

"The sentence of the law is, that it is free for a Gentile , "to marry his mother", or his sister that are made proselytes; but the wise men forbid this thing, that they may not say we are come from a holiness that is heavy, to one that is light.''

But this writer concludes that a proselyte might marry his father's brother's wife, and his father's wife; and so says his commentator (c), and observes, that it was the opinion of R. Akiba, which Rabbi was contemporary with the Apostle Paul: so that this notion prevailed in his days, and does in some measure account for the commission of such a sin by a church member, and the church's negligence about it:

and have not rather mourned; not only personally, and separately, but as a body; they ought to have met together as a church, and humbled themselves before God for this scandalous iniquity done in the midst of them, and pray unto him,

that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you; not by excommunication, for that they could and ought to have done themselves; but by the immediate hand of God, inflicting some visible punishment, and taking him away by an untimely death, which the Jews call "cutting off", by the hand of God; and such a punishment, they say, this crime deserved; according to them, there were six and thirty cuttings off in the law, or so many things which deserved death by the hand of God; and the two first that are mentioned are these, he that lies with his mother or with his father's wife (d).

(b) Hilchot lssure Bia, c. 14. sect. 12, 13. (c) Auctor Ceseph Misna in ib. (d) Misn. Ceritot, c. 1. sect. 1.

{2} And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

(2) There are none more proud than they that least know themselves.

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 Ἡ 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.

[759] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[760] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[761] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.1 Corinthians 5:2. What are the Cor[805] doing under this deep disgrace? Not even grieving. Καὶ ὑμεῖς πεφυσιωμένοι ἐστέ; κ.τ.λ.: “And are you (still) puffed up? and did you not rather mourn?” For the grammatical force of πεφυσ. ἐστέ, see parls. in 1 Corinthians 1:10, 1 Corinthians 4:8; and for the vb[806], note to 1 Corinthians 4:6. P. confronts the pride of the Cor[807] Church with this crushing fact; no intellectual brilliance, no religious enthusiasm, can cover this hideous blot: “argumentatur a contrario, ubi enim luctus est, cessit gloria” (Cv[808]). The ver. is best read interrogatively, in view of the οὐχὶ in 2nd clause (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:20), and in Paul’s expostulatory style (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:7 f.).—ἐπενθήσατε (see parls.) connotes funeral mourning—over “a brother dead to God, by sin, alas! undone;” the tense signifies “going into mourning”—“breaking out in grief” (Ev[809]) when you heard of it. Of such grief the fit sequel is expressed by ἵνα ἄρθῃ ἐκ μέσου ὑμῶν, “that he should be removed from your midst, who so perpetrated this deed”. This is the later Gr[810] “sub-final” ἵνα, of the desired result: see Wr[811], p. 420; Bm[812], p. 237; cf. 1 Corinthians 14:12 f.—πράξας, as distinguished from ποιήσας (T.R.), implies quality in the action (see parls.).

[805] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[806] verb

[807] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

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

[809] T. S. Evans in Speaker’s Commentary.

[810] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

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

[812] A. Buttmann’s Grammar of the N.T. Greek (Eng. Trans., 1873).2. And ye are (lit. have been) puffed up, and have not rather mourned] Puffed up. Vulgate, inflati. Tyndale, ye swell. Wiclif, are bolnun, i.e. swollen with pride. It sheds a terrible light upon the self-satisfaction of the Corinthian Church, that it was not disturbed by such a scandal as this.

might be taken away from among you] The power of excommunication, that is of separating from the Christian society those whose lives were a disgrace to the Christian profession, has always been a power claimed by the Church of Christ. Our own Church declares that it is “much to be wished” that such discipline could be restored among ourselves. But the power has unquestionably been misused, and the consequence of its abuse has been to a great extent to take away its use.1 Corinthians 5:2. Καὶ ὑμεῖς, and ye) He presses their sin home to them.—πεφυσιωμένοι, puffed up) [as if you were free from blame in the matter.—V.g.]—The force of the word is evident from its antithesis, to mourn.—ἐστε, ye are) hitherto.—ἐπενθήσατε, you have mourned) Paul himself wrote these words mourning, nay weeping; 2 Corinthians 2:4; we should mourn over the transgressions of others; 2 Corinthians 12:21, and repent of our own; and we should do both as regards the first and original sin.—ἵνα, that) you have felt no grief, which might stir you up, that, etc.—ἀρθῆ, he might be taken away) Paul has already in his mind what he is about to write at 1 Corinthians 5:13.—αἴρειν is a milder word here, than ἐξαίρειν afterwards.[38]

[38] Τὸ ἔργον, the daring deed) It was a wicked action, without marriage.—V. g.Verse 2. - And ye are puffed up; perhaps rather, And have ye been puffed up? The "ye," being expressed m the Greek, is emphatic - "ye, the very persons whose horror ought to have been most intense." It might seem inconceivable that any community calling itself Christian would fall so low as to be puffed up at the existence of such an offence among them. There is, indeed, a subtle and close connection between arrogance and sensuality, and beth are sometimes fatally linked to the conceit of religious knowledge without the reality. But not even a heathen community could have been "puffed up" on such grounds. Yet the Corinthians may have been "puffed up" with the conceited reasons which induced them to leave the offence unrebuked, because they boasted the possession of some spurious "knowledge." Perhaps they bad seized some deadly notion of antinomian liberty, such as has existed at times among Gnostic sects, like the Ophites in ancient and the Anabaptists in modern days. Perhaps they sheltered themselves under the arrogant Jewish rule that all a man's conditions of life were altered by becoming a proselyte - that old relationships were for him entirely abolished; for the Jews held that a prosolyte was like "a newborn child," and had begun life a second time (Bechoroth, f. 47, 1), and might marry any of his relatives. Such miserable sophisms would acquire fresh force from the universal impurity with which Corinthian society was stained, and which rendered it necessary for St. Paul in these Epistles to utter his most solemn warnings against every kind of sensuality (1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 6:15-18; 1 Corinthians 10:8; 1 Corinthians 15:83, 34; 2 Corinthians 5:11, etc.). But besides all this, St. Paul's remark does not necessarily mean that their "inflation" was exclusively connected with Gnostic excesses, which bore on the case of this offender. It may mean, "Here is a gross fault in the midst of you, and yet - not propter hoc, but cum hoc - the characteristic of your religious factions is pride and conceit." This was indeed Κορινθιάζεσθαι, "to play the Corinthian," in the worst sense, of that proverbial taunt. Possibly the prominence or wealth of the offender may have led to a more easy condonation of his crime. Exculpatory sophism may have been suggested by self interest. That; i.e. in order that, as a result of your godly sorrow, the offender might be removed from your midst. He that hath done this deed. The language of St. Paul, as always, is as delicate as clearness would allow. The fact that the verb is in the past aorist may perhaps allow us to hope that the offence, at any rate in its most aggravated forms, had ceased to be committed. The manner of the crime ("in such a way") seems to have been an aggravation of the crime itself. In this indignant verse we have, as Stanley says, "the burst of the storm, the mutterings of which had been heard in the earlier chapters." So intense was the effect produced by St. Paul's stern severity, that a great part of the Second Epistle had to be devoted to allaying the agitation which these words had excited (see especially 2 Corinthians 7:8-12).
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