Dec 1 1Co 5:1-7:40; Pro 22:8-16

In chapter five Paul gets to the heart of problems in Corinth. Someone has taken his father’s wife as his own and the church has not only failed to confront him, but has condoned his act. Paul, even though absent, has already judged this one (perhaps condemned would be a proper translation). This person, Paul says, needs to be confronted and rebuked for his evil. He must not take communion and must truly repent before he may do so again (my interpretation of what Paul recommends). Then he asks if they’ve forgotten that one rotten apple will spoil the whole barrel. Get rid of the rotten apple! Eliminate evil from your midst or you will all eventually fall into its clutches. The combining of the idea of leaven and Christ the Passover Lamb would have reminded the people of all the aspects of the Passover and its celebration (no leaven was allowed in the home during that time. I know of groups within my own denomination in Pennsylvania who have various practices regarding this. Some make donuts to get rid of the leaven just before Passover).

Further Paul says it is not the wicked of the world we are to avoid (how can we convert or in any way introduce them to the Gospel if we avoid them?). But we are to avoid those who claim to be Christian and yet practice evil. We ARE to judge those in the church and rebuke where necessary, but to those outside the church we are to set a proper example.

In chapter six he gets on them for taking one another to civil courts saying that they should have these matters determined in courts within the church! He reminds them that one day they (we too) will judge the angels which should tell us that we can also make decisions on things here on earth as well. “Why do you go to judges who are of no account?! (6:4). Ah, some day someone needs to bring this up in a court of law!! He shows them that they are being unrighteous and reminds them that the unrighteous shall NOT inherit the kingdom of God (6:9). Think on that group of folks mentioned in verses nine and ten. NONE of those who continue to practice these things will be in heaven; ONLY those who repent and follow Christ. See also verse eleven.

We are to become one with the Lord in the Spirit. Paul uses the analogy of man and woman becoming one in marriage. Sex is not just physical but is spiritual as well. This is part of why it is wrong to be united with more than one person; and similarly wrong to try to be united with Christ and the world as well (6:12-17). At 6:19 he again reminds us that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit!

In chapter seven he gets around to answering questions that the church has written to him. One of these was whether or not folks ought to remain single. Paul says this is great IF God has gifted them to do so but that most should get married so that their passions do not cause them to sin. And then he tells us (7:3-5) we are not allowed to tell our spouse “no” when they want sex. Only if both have agreed for a set period of time to spend in prayer to God. Obedience here would solve many problems in marriage.

Realize as Paul speaks of singleness that this was written very shortly before the siege of Jerusalem. This was a terrible time predicted in Scripture to prepare the people for it; not so much as a warning for the evil ones to repent as for the true ones to take courage and make it through–kind of like when Jesus warned Peter of his denial of Christ ahead of time and then told him to strengthen the others when he’d gotten through it all. For some it would be easier to be single through a tribulations such as this. For many it would not. “It is better to marry than to burn” (with sexual passion; 7:9).

The commands on leaving and not leaving a spouse are for those who have been converted since marriage and have a non-believing spouse (7:10-16). Paul seems to teach that the believer is not only a magnet toward Christ for the other, but also a cleanser of the unsaved [hence unclean] spouse!

See above for “the present distress” of 7:26. In this section my translation adds the word “daughter” after virgin and the former term is in italics showing that it is not in the original text but added for clarity in translating. I believe this is totally wrong here. Daughters is wrong. It is speaking not to fathers but to would-be husbands. (This translation also inserts “her” instead of “them” for “let them marry” [verse 36]. Obviously this is a wrong interpretation). And note too that Paul is not giving commands from the Lord here, but his opinion! (7:25). Paul’s opinion is just that, free advice. Use it or discard it as you will. God’s opinions, however, should be treated like His commands and be obeyed!

Although Paul is still giving his opinion, verse 39 should be considered carefully. A Christian who is widowed may remarry, but should ONLY remarry another Christian. In a similar vein, our children should not marry unbelievers.

Proverbs: Those who give to the poor will be blessed by God. Drive evildoers from your midst and everyone will benefit (I’m guessing here this could mean physically beating them if necessary, despite what the “authorities” have to say). The lazy person makes up outrageous excuses for not working. The adulteress is like a deep but easily-avoided pit, except for those who have rejected God. Children are prone to foolishness, correct this with spankings as often as necessary. The foolishness of the world says this is wrong but Paul told us the world is wrong, God is always right. The one who enriches the rich and impoverishes the poor will himself come to poverty.