(i) The Case of Incest (5:1-13)

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Read the following passage of Scripture and go through the detective work as instructed...


1 Cor 5:1-13

1It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles-- that a man has his father's wife!

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

3For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.

4In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

5deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

6Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?

7Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

8Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

9I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.

10Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.

11But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner-- not even to eat with such a person.

12For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?

13But those who are outside God judges. Therefore "put away from yourselves the evil person."


(a) The Problem:

There are two parts to the problem in the Church in Corinth. Look at the verses first to do your own detective work and then click on the pop-up link.

PART ONE: Read verse 1 then click here.

PART TWO: Read verse 2 then click here.

Paul states the problem is a very Jewish way by saying 'a little leaven leavens the whole lump'. What does this mean ? Leaven (or yeast) is used in the New Testament to represent wrong doctrine that effects negatively the behaviour of all. Just as leaven would 'puff up' the bread, so the wrong theology in the Corinthian Church had made them proud and boastful and they became as 'leavened bread' unfit for use in God's feast (a type of living the Christian life).

(b) The Solution:

Read verse 5 and find out what Paul's inspired solution to the problem is and what exactly does this consist of ? Click here when you're ready.

This is the only way the 'keep the feast' as Paul puts it. The Passover feast is a beautiful image of how we should live our Christian lives. Only unleavened bread could be eaten and all 'leaven' would be swept out of every house to make unleavened bread. Read more about the Passover for greater insight. The Church has to be quite sure that all 'leaven' is swept outside of it's doors which may mean putting certain individuals out of fellowship.

(c) The Response:

According to verses 9-11 the response of the Corinthians is to not associate (or 'mingle') with sexually immoral people professing to be Christians and in the Church. Paul clarifies that this does not mean cutting oneself off from all sexually immoral and other wicked people who are not Christians because Jesus' teaching is that we do meet these people but with the aim of sharing the Gospel and bringing them into the truth that will set them free.

The Greek word used has the sense of not fellowshipping continually as one would among Christians with such a 'brother' (fellow Christian) who was unrepentant and living in such a sexually immoral sin. Behind this lies the principle of 'Love the sinner...hate the sin'. The most loving thing is always REDEMPTIVE - that which would cause the person to move away from a sinful life to one pleasing God.

(d) The Application:

We have done the EXEGESIS, now we move to the HERMENEUTICS.

Think about the following questions and come up with your own answer, based on what we have learnt, before clicking on the pop-up answer.

(i) In what cases in the church should we 'hand someone over to Satan' ? (e.g.. if someone steals some money and they are a member of the Church, should they be 'handed over the Satan' ?) - What practically would it mean to 'hand them over to Satan' ? Click here for the answer.

(ii) What is the purpose in handing the person over to Satan ? Click here for the answer.

(iii) Who is involved in Church discipline ? Click here for the answer.

(iv) What should our attitude be towards sexually immoral people, such as prostitutes, who are not Christians ? Click here for the answer.

Now you are ready to move onto CASE TWO: The Case of Lawsuits.

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