First Corinthians 5:1


This is a continuation of the discussion on their lack of wisdom.

It is also an example of how worldly sophia was going to destroy the temple of God which is the local church.

With this chapter Paul is going to prove to them that:

1)      Their arrogance towards him and the truth of the Word of God is destroying them.

2)      They are incapable of correct moral behavior because they have embraced a worldly Sophia


This chapter is part of the report he received from those from Chloe’s household.


It is important to notice that Paul is upset with the church first and the man living in immorality second.  The immoral man is wrong and that is an issue.  The greater issue is that the church failed to recognize and manage the sin according to the Word of God.  In this case, they did not handle the situation in agreement with Paul’s teaching and Paul’s viewpoint.  This topic continues into chapter 6.


The test Paul has set before the people is that in his absence are the Corinthians going to follow him or will they follow their new apostles of worldly sophia.


Pagan View

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

Col. 3:5-7

Ephesians 5:3-13


1 Corinthians 5:9; 6:12-20; 7:2; 10:8


The details of this problem are not given and some questions remain concerning the exact situation.

But, the answer is clear: Put this man out of the believing community and it is stated 4 times:

1)      5:2

2)      5:4-5

3)      5:7

4)      5:13


Outline of Chapter:

1)      5:1-2  Statement of the Problem

2)      5:3-5  How and why the removal should be done

3)      5:6-8  A theological analogy explaining why it should be done

4)      5:9-11  Returns to the church’s failure in this situation which is typical of the Corinthian church at this time because they misunderstood Paul’s teaching and disregarded his first letter.

5)      5:12-13  Returns to the point:  Don’t worry about the world’s behavior, but expel the immoral with in the church



States the problem

“sexual immorality” is the Greek word “porneia”.  The Greek word simply means “prostitution”.  Hellenistic Jews had used the word to refer to all extramarital sexual sins including homosexuality.


Paul had addressed the sin of “porneia” in his first letter to the Corinthians as seen in 5:9.


A man is living with his father’s wife in a sexual relationship.

This is clear from the context and these exegetical points:

1)      the phrase “father’s wife” is directly taken from the Septuagint Lev. 18:7-8

2)      the verb ecein “to have”  is present active infinitive. The present tense emphasizes the continual possession. It is used of an ongoing sexual relationship and not a one time event.  


A man was living with his father’s wife in an unmarried state:

1)      this is forbidden in the OT law

2)      this was forbidden by the rabbis

3)      this was forbidden by Roman law as well.



States the church’s response to the problem.

The church is:

1)      “proud”

a.       “take pride in” in 4:6

b.      “arrogant” in 4:18 (This chapter then serves as an illustration of the church’s arrogance towards the word of God)

c.       The problem here is they are holding their “wisdom” or “theology” over Paul’s teaching and saying we like ours better.  Paul’s point:  How can their theology be better if it allows this kind of immoral behavior.  Even the Pagan’s own thinking reject this.

d.      In other words, false Christian teaching is worse than what the Pagan’s gather from general revelation.

e.       This is true of all false religions.  Religion can override the natural conscience that God has given man.

f.        Classic example in scripture is found in 1 Timothy 4:1-4.  Religion is the context and religion sears the conscience that God gave man.  Every one knows according to Romans 1 and Romans 2:13-15

2)      “boasting” (5:6)

a.       1:29 – “so that no one may boast before him”

b.      1:31 – “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

c.       3:21 – “So then, no more boasting about men!”

d.      4:7 – “And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?”

e.       All of the examples of the word “boasting” in First Corinthians are stated in context with God, the word of God or human wisdom.

f.        The boasting here is the exaltation of their own ways over God’s ways.



filled with grief” is epenqhsate  “epenthasate” which means mourn and to express deep sorrow as one mourning for the dead.



The Corinthians have just had their position stated by Paul, now Paul states his position.

The Corinthians have not taken action, but Paul, even in his absence, has taken action.


“with you in spirit” may be like saying “you are in my thoughts”.

In Paul’s thoughts he has already passed judgment.

Paul is telling them to consider his “thoughts” or his “spiritual position” on this matter when they bring it up for a point of discussion at their nest church meeting.


But, Paul’s use of his “spirit” and “I am with you in spirit (or, Spirit)” means much more than Paul’s thoughts.  It has to do with the new life in Christ and the new age where we are indwelt by the same Holy Spirit.


Colossians 2:5 “present with you in spirit”


“Judgment” is kekrika  “kekrika” is perfect indicative active.  The perfect emphasizes the continuing results of the decision he has reached.