First Corinthians – Part 12
Last week we examined the remainder of Chapter 4 which ended in Paul addressing some of the Corinthians who were puffed up because they believed that he would not come to them — he reasuures them that he will – if God wills it.
18 (AV) Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.
18 ὡς μὴ ἐρχομένου δέ μου πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐφυσιώθησάν τινες.
19 (AV) But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.
19 ἐλεύσομαι δὲ ταχέως πρὸς ὑμᾶς, ἐὰν ὁ Κύριος θελήσῃ, καὶ γνώσομαι οὐ τὸν λόγον τῶν πεφυσιωμένων, ἀλλὰ τὴν δύναμιν.
“Shortly” is the adverb ταχέως from whose stem we get tachometer which measures how fast an engine runs. Paul is not interested in “the word” of the puffed up ones but the power. Paul the apostle has power to correct these who are “blown up”, he wants action not words and he is prepared to use his apostolic powers to quell the rebellion if needed.
20 (AV) For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
20 οὐ γὰρ ἐν λόγῳ ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἀλλ᾽ ἐν δυνάμει.
21 (AV) What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?
21 τί θέλετε; ἐν ῥάβδῳ ἔλθω πρὸς ὑμᾶς, ἢ ἐν ἀγάπῃ πνεύματί τε πρᾳότητος; (1Co 4:15-21 TBT)
The kingdom of God is not in word but in power. The real rulership of the kingdom will be beyond the canniving and artful use of words from the mouths of those who are puffed up. The “rod” (r`a,bdoj, ou, h` rod, staff, stick) will be applied if needed and while not Paul’s first choice he allows them to choose — “what do you wish?”, τί θέλετε;
Before moving into chapter 5 we should see some important connections between chapter 4, 5 and the kingdom power and discipline that God has revealed in His word. The rod is an interesting figure, and one which Paul will now repeat as we move into chapter 5 and a specific sin that was generally known about and not addressed in the assembly as it should.
Heb 1: 8 shows the excellency of the son – “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” This is interesting because of its connection with Christ, his thrown and the kingdom. Other uses in Hebrews include the rod that budded and stored in the ark and Jacob leaning on the top of his staff.
In Revelation, to the angel of the church of Thyatira, we find blessings coming on overcomers and those who do not hold to a particular doctrine see vs 2:24
2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
2:27 And he shall rule them with a rod <4464> of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
The rod is again associated with rule and power but is also given further context:
20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
This Jezebel who calleth herself a prophetess teaches a doctrine and by seduction encourages “fornication” and the eating of things sacrificed to idols. The Lord will cast this unrepentant woman into a bed and those who adulterate with her and do not repent will be also cast into great tribulation.
Revelation 11:1 is where John is given a reed like a rod to measure the temple of God, altar and those that worship. In Rev 12:5 a rod is associated with the man child that is to rule all nations. In Rev. 19:15 a description of the Lord in His second advent when he rules with a rod of Iron.
Re 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod <4464> of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
With this background let us move forward in our understanding of 1 Corinthians 5.
1 ¶ It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
Ὅλως ἀκούεται ἐν ὑμῖν πορνεία, καὶ τοιαύτη πορνεία, ἥτις οὐδὲ ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ὀνομάζεται, ὥστε γυναῖκά τινα τοῦ πατρὸς ἔχειν. (1Co 5:1 TBT)
The verb here is “to hear”, “it is commonly heard” or “this is generally known” — what does this verse mean? The most likely scenario is that a certain man has slept with his step mother. The word is πορνεία from which we get “pornography” and could be any unlawful sexual act. The context here demands “fornication” as the meaning.
2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
“And ye are puffed up” καὶ ὑμεῖς πεφυσιωμένοι ἐστέ, this word has just been used in chapter 4:19 — this puffing up is characteristic of those who are in rebellion to the Lords will. They should have been repentant and mourned but instead were puffed up as indignant of their evil actions. The right action would be that the person who did this action be taken away from them.
3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
Paul was absent but could give his judgment and this would be as though he were present
4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
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.
5 παραδοῦναι τὸν τοιοῦτον τῷ Σατανᾷ εἰς ὄλεθρον τῆς σαρκός, ἵνα τὸ πνεῦμα σωθῇ ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ. (1Co 5:5 TBT)
The name of “our” Lord Jesus Christ — Paul’s association with the Corinthian believers is still maintained. When they were gathered together with Paul’s spirit and the “power” of the Lord were to deliver this person to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. The word destruction “ὄλεθρον” is used in the following ways
1Co 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction <3639> of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
1Th 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction <3639> cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
2Th 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction <3639> from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
1Ti 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction <3639> and perdition.
The flesh is here carefully destinguished from the spirit which is to be saved. The flesh is not to be saved and can therefore be judged – even harshly! The Kingdom powers could be used and severe judgments fall. Death would not necessarily follow but could. Even for the believers during the great testing of Revelation could still repent even after their fall into sin promoted by Jezebel (see above).
6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
7 ¶ Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
In verse 6 Paul assumes they are “unleavened” — their glorying is looked at as “old leaven” for even Christ “our passover” is sacrificed for us. The passover is a Jewish feast — it commemorates delivery from the destroying angel and the effects of Paharoh and the sin of the world, the bread used was unleavened bread.
Notice that the feast was to be kept — and the bread was to be “unleavened” both in reality and more importantly in truth to its figurative meaning.