1 Corinthians 5:10 MEANING

1 Corinthians 5:10
(10) Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world.--This is a limitation and explanation of the command given not to associate with fornicators. It would have been almost impossible for the command to be literally obeyed without the Christian withdrawing altogether from the business of life, so the Apostle explains that it is the fair fame and purity of the Church which he is anxious to preserve. There are so many fornicators, and covetous, and idolaters in this world (i.e., the heathen world) that men must meet with them. But the Christian must tolerate no such sins among themselves; they must exclude from the social circle any brother who, bearing the name of Christ, indulges in the vices of the heathen world. The Church is to be the light of the world, and not the recipient of the world's darkness.

Verse 10. - Yet not altogether. The words correct a false inference, and mean, "I did not intend absolutely to prohibit all communication with Gentiles guilty of this sin under all circumstances." Of this world. Those outside the pale of the Christian Church (comp. 1 Corinthians 3:19; 2 Corinthians 4:4). Or with the covetous. St. Paul often uses the Greek word in immediate connection with sins of impurity (1 Corinthians 6:10; 2 Corinthians 9:5; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:3), and, though it does not exclude the connotation of greed and avarice (2 Corinthians 9:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:5), it seems to have been used euphemistically of the deadliest form of heathen sensuality. The principle of selfishness may work equally in greed and in lust. Extortioners. The word may also mean "ravishers," but there is no reason to abandon the sense of "rapacious." Idolaters. This is the earliest instance of the use of this word, which does not occur in the LXX. No Christian could still be an open "idolater." So, unless we suppose that the expression has slipped in involuntarily, we must here give the word a metaphorical sense, as in Colossians 3:5. We must else be driven to suppose that there were some half and half Christians, like Constantine, who "feared the Lord, and served their own gods" (comp. 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 8:10; 1 Corinthians 10:7, 14; Ephesians 5:5). For then must ye needs go out of the world; for in that case (as they had perhaps implied in their letter of questions to St. Paul) ye would have been morally bound to leave the world altogether and seek a new one. The Greek particle ara perhaps refers to the astonishment caused by their misapprehension of St. Paul's rule. The clause throws painful light on the condition of the heathen world. If all communication with "fornicators" was to be forbidden, the sin was so universal, especially at Corinth, that all intercourse with Gentiles would have be. come impossible. Even some who professed to be stern moralists among the heathen, like Cato and Cicero, looked on the sin as being, at the worst, quite venial, and even, under certain circumstances, commendable.

5:9-13 Christians are to avoid familiar converse with all who disgrace the Christian name. Such are only fit companions for their brethren in sin, and to such company they should be left, whenever it is possible to do so. Alas, that there are many called Christians, whose conversation is more dangerous than that of heathens!Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world,.... By "the fornicators of this world" are meant, such as were guilty of this sin, who were the men of the world, mere worldly carnal men, who were never called out of it, or ever professed to be; in distinction from those that were in the church, that had committed this iniquity; and the apostle's sense is, that his former prohibition of keeping company with fornicators was not to be understood as referring to such persons as were, out of the church, as if no sort of civil conversation and commerce were to be had with men of such, and the like infamous characters; or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters: that is, of this world; for this clause is to be understood of each of these; so we read (n) of , "the covetous of the world"; by the covetous are meant, either such who are given up to inordinate lusts, who work all uncleanness with greediness, and can never be satisfied with their filthy enjoyments; or such who are greedily desirous of riches and wealth, and of increasing their worldly substance by any method, right or wrong; and who not only withhold that which is meet from others, but will not allow themselves what is proper and necessary: "extortioners" are either "ravishers", as the word may be rendered: such who by force violate the chastity of others, youths or virgins; or robbers, who, by violence and rapine, take away that which is the fight and property of others; or such who oppress the poor, detain their wages by fraud, or lessen them, and extort that by unlawful gain, which is unreasonable: idolaters are those who worship the false deities of the Heathens, or any idol, graven image, or picture of God, or men, or any creature whatsoever, or any but the one Lord God. The apostle, under these characters, comprises all manner of sin against a man's self, against his neighbour, and against God; against himself, as fornication; against his neighbour, as covetousness and extortion; and against God, as idolatry: and since the world abounded with men guilty of these several vices, all kind of civil correspondence with them could not be avoided,

for then must you needs go out of the world; meaning not out of Greece, or of any of the cities thereof, into other parts, but out of the world itself; they must even destroy themselves, or seek out for a new world: it is an hyperbolical way of speaking, showing that the thing is impracticable and impossible, since men of this sort are everywhere; and were all trade and conversation with them to be forbidden, the families of God's people could never be supported, nor the interest of religion maintained; a stop would soon be put to worldly business, and saints would have little or nothing to do in the world; wherefore, as the Arabic version reads it, "business would compel you to go out of the world".

(n) Zohar in Exod. fol. 31. 2.

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