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.
1Co 5:1-13. The Incestuous Person at Corinth: The Corinthians Reproved for Connivance, and Warned to Purge Out the Bad Leaven. Qualification of His Former Command as to Association with Sinners of the World.
1. commonly—rather, "actually" [Alford]. Absolutely [Bengel]. "It is reported," implies, that the Corinthians, though they "wrote" (1Co 7:1) to Paul on other points, gave him no information on those things which bore against themselves. These latter matters reached the apostle indirectly (1Co 1:11).
so much as named—The oldest manuscripts and authorities omit "named": "Fornication of such a gross kind as (exists) not even among the heathen, so that one (of you) hath (in concubinage) his father's wife," that is, his stepmother, while his father is still alive (2Co 7:12; compare Le 18:8). She was perhaps a heathen, for which reason he does not direct his rebuke against her (compare 1Co 5:12, 13). Alford thinks "have" means have in marriage: but the connection is called "fornication," and neither Christian nor Gentile law would have sanctioned such a marriage, however Corinth's notorious profligacy might wink at the concubinage.