1 Corinthians 5:5
To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
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(5) That the spirit may be saved.—The object of this punishment was the destruction of the flesh, and the salvation of the man.

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.To deliver - This is the sentence which is to be executed. You are to deliver him to Satan, etc.

Unto Satan - Beza, and the Latin fathers, suppose that this is only an expression of excommunication. They say, that in the Scriptures there are but two kingdoms recognized - the kingdom of God, or the church, and the kingdom of the world, which is regarded as under the control of Satan; and that to exclude a man from one is to subject him to the dominion of the other. There is some foundation for this opinion; and there can be no doubt that excommunication is here intended, and that, by excommunication, the offender was in some sense placed under the control of Satan. It is further evident that it is here supposed that by being thus placed under him the offender would be subject to corporal inflictions by the agency of Satan, which are here called the "destruction of the flesh." Satan is elsewhere referred to as the author of bodily diseases. Thus, in the case of Job, Job 2:7. A similar instance is mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:20, where Paul says he had delivered Hymeneus and Alexander to "Satan, that they might learn not to blaspheme." It may be observed here that though this was to be done by the concurrence of the church, as having a right to administer discipline, yet it was directed by apostolic authority; and there is no evidence that this was the usual form of excommunication, nor ought it now to be used. There was evidently miraculous power evinced in this case, and that power has long since ceased in the church.

For the destruction of the flesh - We may observe here:

(1) That this does not mean that the man was to die under the infliction of the censure, for the object was to recover him; and it is evident that, whatever he suffered as the consequence of this, he survived it, and Paul again instructed the Corinthians to admit him to their fellowship, 2 Corinthians 2:7.

(2) it was designed to punish him for licentiousness of life - often called in the Scriptures one of the sins, or works of the flesh Galatians 5:19, and the design was that the punishment should follow "in the line of the offence," or be a just retribution - as punishment often does. Many have supposed that by the "destruction of the flesh" Paul meant only the destruction of his fleshly appetites or carnal affections; and that he supposed that this would be effected by the act of excommunication. But it is very evident from the Scriptures that the apostles were imbued with the power of inflicting diseases or bodily calamities for crimes. See Acts 13:11; 1 Corinthians 11:30. What this bodily malady was we have no means of knowing. It is evident that it was not of very long duration, since when the apostle exhorts them 2 Corinthians 2:7 again to receive him, there is no mention made of his suffering then under it - This was an extraordinary and miraculous power. It was designed for the government of the church in its infancy, when everything was suited to show the direct agency of God; and it ceased, doubtless, with the apostles. The church now has no such power. It cannot now work miracles; and all its discipline now is to be moral discipline, designed not to inflict bodily pain and penalties, but to work a moral reformation in the offender.

That the spirit may be saved - That his soul might be saved; that he might be corrected, humbled, and reformed by these sufferings, and recalled to the paths of piety and virtue. This expresses the true design of the discipline of the church, and it ought never to be inflicted but with a direct intention to benefit the offender, and to save the soul. Even when he is cut off and disowned, the design should not be vengeance, or punishment merely, but it should be to recover him and save him from ruin.

In the day of the Lord Jesus - The Day of Judgment when the Lord Jesus shall come, and shall collect his people to himself.

5. Besides excommunication (of which the Corinthians themselves had the power), Paul delegates here to the Corinthian Church his own special power as an apostle, of inflicting corporeal disease or death in punishment for sin ("to deliver to Satan such an one," that is, so heinous a sinner). For instances of this power, see Ac 5:1-11; 13:11; 1Ti 1:20. As Satan receives power at times to try the godly, as Job (Job 2:4-7) and Paul (2Co 12:7; compare also as to Peter, Lu 22:31), much more the ungodly. Satan, the "accuser of the brethren" (Re 12:10) and the "adversary" (1Pe 5:8), demands the sinner for punishment on account of sin (Zec 3:1). When God lets Satan have his way, He is said to "deliver the sinner unto Satan" (compare Ps 109:6). Here it is not finally; but for the affliction of the body with disease, and even death (1Co 11:30, 32), so as to destroy fleshly lust. He does not say, "for the destruction of the body," for it shall share in redemption (Ro 8:23); but of the corrupt "flesh" which "cannot inherit the kingdom of God," and the lusts of which had prompted this offender to incest (Ro 7:5; 8:9, 10). The "destruction of the flesh" answers to "mortify the deeds of the body" (Ro 8:13), only that the latter is done by one's self, the former is effected by chastisement from God (compare 1Pe 4:6):

the spirit … saved—the spiritual part of man, in the believer the organ of the Holy Spirit. Temporary affliction often leads to permanent salvation (Ps 83:16).

What this delivering to Satan is, (of which also we read, 1 Timothy 1:20), is something doubted by interpreters. That by it is to be understood excommunication, or casting out of the communion of the church, can hardly be doubted by any that considereth:

1. That the apostle speaketh of an action which might be, and ought to have been, done by the church of Corinth when they met together, and for the not doing of which the apostle blameth them.

2. That the end of the action was, taking away the scandalous person from the midst amongst them, 1 Corinthians 5:2; purging out the old leaven, that they might become a new lump, 1 Corinthians 5:7.

3. It was a punishment inflicted by many. Those, therefore, who interpret the phrase of an extraordinary power given the apostles or primitive churches, miraculously to give up the scandalous person to the power of the devil, to be afflicted, tormented, or vexed by him, (though not unto death), seem not to have considered, that the apostle would not have blamed the church of Corinth for not working a miracle, and that we no where read of any such power committed to any church of Christ; and one would in reason think, that persons under such circumstances should rather be pitied and helped, than shunned and avoided.

The only question therefore is: Why the apostle expresseth excommunication under the notion of being delivered to Satan? Some have thought that the reason is, because God was so pleased to ratify the just censures of his church, delivering such persons as were cast out of it into the hands of Satan, to be vexed and tormented by him; and that this might be in some particular cases, none can deny, but that this was an ordinary dispensation of Providence as to all excommunicated persons, wants better proof than any have yet showed us. It appears to me a more probable account of this phrase which others have given us, telling us, that Satan is called the god of the world, and the prince of the world, as world is taken in opposition to the church of God; so as delivering to Satan, is no more than our Saviour’s—If he neglect to hear the church, let hint be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican, Matthew 18:17. Only for the further terror of it, the apostle expresseth it by this phrase of delivering up to Satan; thereby letting us know, how dreadful a thing it is to be out of God’s special protection, and shut out from the ordinary means of grace and salvation, and exposed to the temptations of our grand adversary the devil, which is the state of all those who are out of the church, either having never been members of it, or, according to the rules of Christ, cast out of the communion of it.

For the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus: the end of excommunication is not for the destruction of the person of him who is cast out, but for the destruction of his flesh, that is, his lusts, which are often in Scripture called flesh, or the maceration and affliction of his body through grief and sorrow; for a determination of his fleshly being cannot be here understood by the destruction of the flesh, for that is no effect of excommunication; and those who interpret the delivery to Satan, of an extraordinary punishment, which the apostles or church in the primitive times had a power to inflict, make it to terminate not in the death, but in the torments only, of the person so punished. Again, the apostle mentioneth this punishment as a means to the eternal salvation of this person’s soul in the day of Christ. There is no text in Scripture which more clearly asserts and opens the ordinance and nature of excommunication, than this text doth. As to those who are to inflict it, it lets us know, that it is to be done by the church, when gathered together; though the elders of the church may put the church upon it, and decree it, yet the consent and approbation of the whole church must be to it; and indeed it is vain for the officers of a church to cast any out of a communion, when the members of that communion will yet have conununion with him or them so cast out. It also lets us know, that it is a censure by which men are not shut out of the fellowship of men as men, but of men as Christians, as a church of Christ, in such religious actions and duties as concern them, considered as such a body: excommunication doth not make it unlawful for persons to buy and sell with the persons excommunicated, but to eat and drink at the Lord’s table with them, or have communion with them in acts proper to a church as the church of Christ. The excommunicated person is in something a better condition than a heathen, for he is not to be counted as an enemy, but admonished as a brother, 2 Thessalonians 3:15. Heathens also may hear the word; he is only to be avoided in acts of church fellowship; and as to intimate communion, though it be not religious, as appeareth from 1 Corinthians 5:11, and from 2 Thessalonians 3:14. Further, we are taught from hence, that none ought to be excommunicated but for notorious, scandalous sins, nor without a solemn invocation on the name of Christ, inquiring his will in the case. We are further taught, that the person that is duly excommunicated is in a miserable state, he is delivered up to Satan, cast out of God’s special protection, which is peculiar to his church, and oftentimes exposed to formidable temptations. Finally, we are from this text instructed, that excommunication ought to be so administered, as may best tend to the saving of the soul of him that falls under that censure: men’s end in excommunications should not be the ruin of persons in their health or estates, only the humbling of them, and bringing them to a sense of their sins, and a true repentance; and all means in order to that end should be used, even to such as are cast out of any church, such are repeated admonitions, the prayers of the church for them, &c.

To deliver such an one unto Satan,.... This, as before observed, is to be read in connection with 1 Corinthians 5:3 and is what the apostle there determined to do with this incestuous person; namely, to deliver him unto Satan; by which is meant, not the act of excommunication, or the removing of him from the communion of the church, which is an act of the whole church, and not of any single person; whereas this was what the church had nothing to do with; it was not what they were to do, or ought to do, but what the apostle had resolved to do; and which was an act of his own, and peculiar to him as an apostle, see 1 Timothy 1:20. Nor is this a form of excommunication; nor was this phrase ever used in excommunicating persons by the primitive churches; nor ought it ever to be used; it is what no man, or set of men, have power to do now, since the ceasing of the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, which the apostles were endowed with; who, as they had a power over Satan to dispossess him from the bodies of men, so to deliver up the bodies of men into his hands, as the apostle did this man's:

for the destruction of the flesh; that is, that his body might be shook, buffeted, afflicted, and tortured in a terrible manner; that by this means he might be brought to a sense of his sin, to repentance for it, and make an humble acknowledgment of it:

that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus; that he might be renewed in the spirit of his mind, be restored by repentance, and his soul be saved in the day of Christ; either at death, when soul and body would be separated, or at the day of the resurrection, when both should be reunited; for the flesh here means, not the corruption of nature, in opposition to the spirit, as a principle of grace, but the body, in distinction from the soul: nor was the soul of this man, only his body, delivered for a time unto Satan; the end of which was, that his soul might be saved, which could never be done by delivering it up to Satan: and very wrongfully is this applied to excommunication; when it is no part of excommunication, nor the end of it, to deliver souls to Satan, but rather to deliver them from him. The phrase seems to be Jewish, and to express that extraordinary power the apostles had in those days, as well in giving up the bodies to Satan, for a temporal chastisement, as in delivering them from him. The Jews say, that Solomon had such a power; of whom they tell the following story (e):

"one day he saw the angel of death grieving; he said to him, why grievest thou? he replied, these two Cushites have desired of me to sit here, "he delivered them to the devil"; the gloss is, these seek of me to ascend, for their time to die was come; but he could not take away their souls, because it was decreed concerning them, that they should not die but in the gate of Luz, "Solomon delivered them to the devils", for he was king over them, as it is written, 1 Chronicles 29:12 for he reigned over them, that are above, and them that are below.''

The phrase is much the same as here, and the power which they, without any foundation, ascribe to Solomon, the apostles had: this is their rod which they used, sometimes in striking persons dead, sometimes by inflicting diseases on them themselves; and at other times by delivering them up into the hands of Satan to be afflicted and terrified by him, which is the case here. And it may be observed, that the giving up of Job into the hands of Satan, by the Lord, is expressed in the Septuagint version by the same word as here; for where it is said, Job 2:6 "behold, he is in thine hand"; that version renders it, "behold, , I deliver him to thee", that is, to Satan; and which was done, that his body might be smote with sore boils by him, as it was; only his life was to be preserved, that he was not suffered to touch.

(e) T. Bab. Succa, fol. 53. 1.

{5} To {c} deliver such an one unto Satan for the {6} destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

(5) The one who is excommunicated is delivered to the power of Satan, in that he is cast out of the house of God.

(c) What it is to be delivered to Satan the Lord himself declares when he says, Let him be unto thee as a heathen and publican; Mt 18:17. That is to say, to be disfranchised and put out of the right and privileges of the city of Christ, which is the Church, outside of which Satan is lord and master.

(6) The goal of excommunication is not to cast away the excommunicate that he should utterly perish, but that he may be saved, that is, that by this means his flesh may be tamed, that he may learn to live to the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 5:5. Τὸν τοιοῦτον] the so-constituted, comprises in one word the whole abhorrent character[784] of the man. Note the similar expression in 2 Corinthians 2:7.

παραδοῦναι τῷ Σατανᾷ] is—although the phrase may not occur in Jewish formulae of excommunication (Lightfoot, Horae, p. 167 ff., but see Pfaff, Orig. jur. eccles. p. 72 ff.)—the characteristic designation of the higher Christian grade of excommunication, with which there was essentially joined the ordaining in the power of the apostolic office (not simply the presupposition, as Billroth’s rationalizing interpretation has it), that Satan should plague the person delivered over to him with corporeal inflictions. Therein consisted the difference between this peculiar species of the חֵרֶם which had passed over from the synagogue to the church, and the simple ΑἼΡΕΙΝ ἘΚ ΜΈΣΟΥ, 1 Corinthians 5:2, comp 1 Corinthians 5:13. The latter could be performed by the church itself, whereas the παραδοῦναι τῷ Σατ. appears in this passage, as in 1 Timothy 1:20, to be reserved for the plenary authority of an apostle. It pertained to the apostolic ἐξουσία, 2 Corinthians 13:10. Comp the analogous penal power in the cases of Ananias and Elymas, Acts 5:1 ff; Acts 13:9 ff. The simple exclusion belonged to the church independently, 1 Corinthians 5:2; and the apostle calls upon them in 1 Corinthians 5:13 to exercise this right of theirs. To himself, again, in the power of Christ, belonged the title and the power to inflict the intensified penalty of excommunication, the delivery to Satan, of which, accordingly, he does not say that the church ought to execute it, but that he has already resolved, etc. Observe, too, that παραδοῦναι is active; he does not say παραδοθῆναι, but he himself will do it. There is no reason to doubt the fact of this power being the prerogative of the apostleship, as the higher authority vested with power to punish[787] (Lipsius, Rechtfertigungsl. p. 181, Hofmann); comp also Ritschl, altkath. Kirche, p. 373. As regards the special assumption, again, that the thought would be complete in itself without τῷ Σατανᾷ (Hofmann), 1 Timothy 1:20 should have been enough, even taken singly, to preclude it; for, judging from that passage, one might rather say that ΕἸς ὌΛΕΘΡΟΝ Τ. ΣΑΡΚΌς was obvious of itself. The delivery over to Satan can only be viewed as an express and declaratory act of relegation from Christian fellowship into the power of the ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου; not as if Satan were but he, “through whom the evil-doer should come to experience what was destined for him” (Hofmann), which would not imply an exclusion from the church at all. Many other expositors, following Chrysostom and appealing to the case of Job, find here only the handing over to Satan for bodily chastisement,[789] and not along with that the excommunication (Lightfoot, Bochart, Wolf, al[790]). But this is against the connection, according to which (see 1 Corinthians 5:2; 1 Corinthians 5:13) the παραδ. τῷ Σατανᾷ cannot belong to a different category from the αἴρειν ἐκ μέσον. At the same time it is not quite identical with it,[791] not simply a description of the excommunication (Calvin, Beza, and others, including Semler, Stolz, Schrader, Maier), seeing that the bodily result is indicated by εἰς ὄλεθρ. τ. σαρκ. as essential and as explaining itself to the reader without further interpretation.

εἰς ὄλεθρ. τ. σαρκ.] is that which is to be effected by Satan on the man delivered over to him: for behoof of destruction of the flesh, i.e. in order that (ἕλκει πονηρῷ ἢ νόσῳ ἑτέρᾳ, Chrysostom) his sinful fleshly nature, which is turned to account by the indwelling power of sin as the work-place of his desires and lusts, might be emptied of its energy of sinful life by the pains of bodily sickness, and might in so far perish and come to nought.[792] It is not his σῶμα that is to die, but his σάρξ (Romans 8:3; Colossians 3:5). The reason why the word σάρξ is here purposely selected, and not the ethically indifferent σῶμα, was correctly discerned by so early an expositor as Chrysostom, although many more recent interpreters, such as Rückert, have failed to perceive it. Hofmann also takes, in substance, the right view, Schriftbeweis, I. p. 462. To make, however, as he does (p. 105), the ὄλεθρ. τ. σαρκ. the same as διαφθείρεται ὁ ἔξω ἡμῶν ἄνθρωπος, 2 Corinthians 4:15, accords neither with the real meaning nor with the ethical relations of the case. As regards the two telic statements: εἰς ὄλεθρ. τ. σ. and ἵνα τὸ πνεῦμα κ.τ.λ[793] (which last expresses the final design of the whole measure of the παραδοῦναι Κ.Τ.Λ[794]), observe that it is with an anti-Christian purpose that Satan smites the man delivered over to him with bodily misery, but that against his own will this purpose of his is made to serve God’s aim of salvation.

ἵνα τὸ πνεῦμα κ.τ.λ[795]] in order that his spirit, the underlying element of the higher moral life, of the true ζωή, may be saved (with the Messianic salvation) on the day of the (approaching) Parousia. That the σῶμα, again,—in which the ΣΆΡΞ has lost its life, so that it is no longer the ΣῶΜΑ Τῆς ΣΑΡΚΌς, Colossians 2:11,—should then be glorified, was a thing which did not need to be expressly stated to the Christian eschatological consciousness. See so early an expositor as Chrysostom. Calovius puts it well: “Non ergo dividit hominem apostolus, quasi eum partim interire, partim servari velit. Nam nec corpus interire potest sine divulsione ab anima, nec anima servari absque corporis salute.” Now this Messianic salvation was to Paul’s mind not merely a possible thing (Olshausen), but he expected it as a result, which, in virtue of the saving power of Christ, could not fail to ensue after the slaying of the sinful impulses by the ὄλεθρος τῆς σαρκός in the case of the man led by this punishment to conviction of sin and true penitence. The ΠΑΡΑΔΟῦΝΑΙ Τῷ ΣΑΤ. was therefore a paedagogic penal arrangement, a “medicinale remedium” (Calovius), as is shown by the whole scope of this passage and 1 Timothy 1:20 (not by the term παραδοῦναι itself, as Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Theophylact maintain, on the ground of Paul’s not having written ἘΚΔΟῦΝΑΙ),—a measure, in connection with which the ΠΝΕῦΜΑ remained out of Satan’s power and accessible to the gracious influences of Christ, inasmuch as it retained the vital principle of faith, which was to develope its supremacy just in proportion as the ΣΆΡΞ was destroyed. This may suffice to set aside Rückert’s censure of the apostle’s proceeding, on the ground that the punishment might easily have led to the utter destruction of the sinner, and, moreover, that Paul acted “imprudently” (comp Baur, I. p. 335 f., 2d ed.), since he could not have compelled the Corinthians to obey him in the matter. He does not, in fact, actually ordain[797] the παραδοῦναι τῷ Σατ., but says merely that he, for his part, has already resolved on this, confining himself, therefore, certainly (against Lipsius and Hofmann) to the threat[798] in the meantime; and what he desires for the present is just the simple αἴρειν ἐκ μέσου (comp 1 Corinthians 5:13), which also was done by the majority, as we learn from 2 Corinthians 2:6, and that with the best results! Comp Bengel on 1 Corinthians 5:3. Upon the whole, too, we may believe that Paul knew his own powers of apostolic discipline, and may trust him to have been satisfied that, to try milder measures first (the omission of which Rückert blames as arising from passion), would not with the person concerned have had the effect aimed at.

[784] Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 843.

[787] Even if 1 Tim. is not an apostolic Epistle, 1 Timothy 1:20 is at all events written in the belief that the delivery to Satan was effected not by the church, but by the apostle.

[789] So also Grotius, who, moreover,—and in this Billroth follows him,—rationalizes παραδοῦνα into precari Deum, ut eum tradat.

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

[791] So, too, Theophylact on 1 Tim. l.c. Comp. Balsamon, ad Can. vii. Basil. p. 938, where it is said that we term subjects of Satan: οἱ χωριζόμενοι ἀπὸ τῆς κοινωνίας τῶν πιστῶν, similarly Theodore of Mopsuestia in Cram. Cat. p. 92, who explains it of the excommunication (the result of which is the dominion of Satan; and Paul gives the name here from that result, in order the more to overawe), and then ὄλεθρον σαρκός: τὴν κατὰ τὸν παρόντα βίον διὰ τῆς μεταμεσυντριβήν. Comp. Ambrosiaster, Augustine, contr. Parm. iii. 2; Pelagius, Anselm.

[792] The expression: ὄλεθρ. τ. σαρκ., is too strong and characteristic to allow of its being understood merely of the pains of repentance breaking the sinful impulses. The repentance, too, was, in fact, just as likely to have remained lacking as to have set in, had it not been for these bodily pains intervening after the delivery over to Satan as a means of humiliation and discipline (comp. ἵνα παιδευθῶσι, 1 Timothy 1:20, and Huther on that verse). Thereby the whole mortification of the old man was to be brought about, inasmuch as the σάρξ constitutes the moral essence of the old man in virtue of the power of sin which dwells in it (Romans 7:18), and which guides and governs him. The σάρξ is to perish, in order that the δίκη of ὄλεθρος αἰώνιος may not be inflicted at the day of judgment (2 Thessalonians 1:9; comp. 1 Timothy 6:9).

[793] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[794] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[795] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[797] Baur, however, is of opinion (Paulus, I. p. 334) that as it never did come in the instance before us to the working of an actual apostolic miracle, so neither did such a thing ever take place in any other case. See, on the other hand, Romans 15:19; 2 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 12:29 f.

[798] Hence, too, the idea that the readers were to let him know of the day fixed for the meeting in question (Hofmann), is not conveyed in the passage, and is, indeed, quite alien to its scope.

5. to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh] Two explanations of this passage demand our notice. (1) It has been understood of excommunication, as though he who was excluded from the Christian Church was thereby solemnly given back to Satan, from whose empire he had been delivered when he became a Christian. The ‘destruction of the flesh’ and the salvation of the spirit are then explained to mean that mortification of carnal concupiscence and that amendment of life which the sentence is calculated to produce. But it is better (2) to understand it of some temporal judgment, such as befell Job in the Old Testament, Ananias, Sapphira, and Elymas the sorcerer, in the New. Such an idea was common among the Rabbis (see Stanley’s note). It falls in with such passages as St Luke 13:16; 2 Corinthians 12:7 (where ‘messenger’ may be translated ‘angel’), as well as with ch. 1 Corinthians 11:30 in this Epistle. The punishment was intended for the discipline and ultimate recovery of the spirit. Some have doubted whether this is possible, but we may bear in mind the acute remark of Meyer, that though “it is with an antichristian purpose that Satan smites the man, against his own will the purpose is made to serve God’s aim of salvation.” He also notices that it is not the body but the flesh, i.e., carnal appetite, that is to be destroyed by the chastisement. A similar instance of delivery to Satan is to be found in 1 Timothy 1:20. Whether the power was confined to the Apostolic age or not is a point we cannot determine with certainty.

such a one] The force of the expression in the original is a man of that sort, the person capable of such a deed.

that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus] “Human punishment rests upon three grounds: (1) it is an expression of Divine indignation; (2) it aims at the reformation of the offender; (3) the contagious character of evil; a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”—Robertson. For the day of the Lord Jesus see ch. 1 Corinthians 3:13, 1 Corinthians 4:5, and Romans 2:5; Romans 2:16.

1 Corinthians 5:5. Παραδοῦναι, to deliver) This was the prerogative of the apostle, not of the Corinthians; comp. 2 Corinthians 13:10, note, and 1 Timothy 1:20, note. This is a specimen of the highest degree of punishment in the Christian republic, adapted to those early times.—ὄλεθρον, destruction) death although not sudden. The Hebrew word כרת corresponds to it: comp. ch. 1 Corinthians 11:30.—τῆς σαρκὸς, of the flesh) with which he had sinned. [1 Peter 4:6; comp. as to the Spirit, Romans 8:10.—V. g.]

Verse 5. - To deliver such a one unto Satan. Scripture nowhere defines the character and limits of such a sentence as this. By cutting off an offender from Church communion (2 Thessalonians 3:14, 15), that is, from all the visible means of grace, he was for the time separated from spiritual influences, and was, therefore, so far handed over to Satan. The phrase is also applied to Hymenaeus and Alexander, in 1 Timothy 1:20. It is very doubtful whether it was necessarily meant to involve such physical inflictions as fell on Ananias, Sapphira, or Elymas. It is, however, important to observe that the intention of the sentence, like the true intention of excommunication, when exercised in a right spirit (see Hooker, 'Eccl. Pol.,' 3:1, § 13), was not wrathful, but merciful. It was, as Calvin says, "medicinale remedium" - "not for destruction, but for edification" (2 Corinthians 10:8). Hymenaeus and Alexander were handed to Satan, not for their final ruin and damnation, but with a kind and remedial purpose, "that they may learn not to blaspheme" (1 Timothy 1:20), and this offender with the express object ', that his spirit may be saved." Had these facts been more deeply studied, there would have been a very different tone and spirit in many of the mediaeval anathemas. Such a one (setup. 2 Corinthians 2:7). He seems to hold aloof from the man's very name. So "such as she" (τὰς τοιαύτας) is used of the adulteress in John 8:7. For the destruction of the flesh; i.e. that all carnal influences in him might be destroyed. It is not his "body" which is to be destroyed, but the , "flesh," the jetzer hara, or "evil impulse," as the Jews called it. When this was destroyed, the body might once more become a temple of the Holy Ghost. That the spirit may be saved. The destruction of the lowest element of our human nature is the salvation of the highest; it is the cutting away of the dead corpse from the living soul. In the day of the Lord; when the Lord should judge the quick and the dead. The merciful intention of St. Paul is clearly developed in 2 Corinthians 2:6-11. He looked on God's judgments as remedial, not as solely retributive (1 Corinthians 11:29-32). Here, as Chrysostom finely says, the apostle lays down, as it were, his laws to the devil, telling him how far, and how far only, he can proceed. The object of excommunication is to save the offender, and not to do the devil's work by ensuring his eternal ruin. We can imagine how awful would be the solemnity of these words when they were first read aloud to the little Christian communities of Corinth. It was natural that they should produce an overwhelming excitement. 1 Corinthians 5:5To deliver - unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh. On this very obscure and much controverted passage it may be observed: 1. That it implies excommunication from the Church. 2. That it implies something more, the nature of which is not clearly known. 3. That casting the offender out of the Church involved casting him back into the heathen world, which Paul habitually conceives as under the power of Satan. 4. That Paul has in view the reformation of the offender: "that the spirit may be saved," etc. This reformation is to be through affliction, disease, pain, or loss, which also he is wont to conceive as Satan's work. See 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 2 Corinthians 12:7. Compare Luke 13:16. Hence in delivering him over to these he uses the phrase deliver unto Satan. Compare 1 Timothy 1:20.
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