1 Corinthians Chapter 5 (complete)

Chapter 5 is fairly short, and it’s one of the few (the only?) that we’ve encountered that has a single theme. It’s devoted to sexual immorality. As such, I think it might be best just to do a straight translation, and save the comment for the summary. I have made some individual points along the way, but, as far as the overall message, that will come in the Summary to Chapter 5. Hope this works for everyone.

1 Ολως ἀκούεται ἐν ὑμῖν πορνεία, καὶ τοιαύτη πορνεία ἥτις οὐδὲ ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, ὥστε γυναῖκά τινα τοῦ πατρὸς ἔχειν.

It is heard from all that among you is debauchery, and such debauchery that even the gentiles don’t do it, so that someone has the wife of his (lit= ‘the’) father.

1 Omnino auditur inter vos for nicatio, et talis fornicatio qualis nec inter gentes, ita ut uxorem patris aliquis habeat.

2 καὶ ὑμεῖς πεφυσιωμένοι ἐστέ, καὶ οὐχὶ μᾶλλον ἐπενθήσατε, ἵνα ἀρθῇ ἐκ μέσου ὑμῶν ὁ τὸ ἔργον τοῦτο πράξας;

And you are inflated (with pride), and you have not even mourned (this), so that the one having done this deed has not been taken from the midst of you.

About the Greek: the tense of ‘has not been taken’ is difficult to render. It’s both a past tense and a subjunctive; it’s meant to connote an unreal condition, that something that should (subjunctive) have happened has not.

2 Et vos inflati estis et non magis luctum habuistis, ut tollatur de medio vestrum, qui hoc opus fecit?

3 ἐγὼ μὲν γάρ, ἀπὼν τῷ σώματι παρὼν δὲ τῷ πνεύματι, ἤδη κέκρικα ὡς παρὼν τὸν οὕτως τοῦτο κατεργασάμενον.

For I, while absent in body, but present in spirit, now have judged the one having done this as if being present (as if I were present).

Lovely example of the μὲν…δὲ construction.

3 Ego quidem absens corpore, praesens autem spiritu, iam iudicavi ut praesens eum, qui sic operatus est,

4 ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ κυρίου [ἡμῶν] Ἰησοῦ, συναχθέντων ὑμῶν καὶ τοῦ ἐμοῦ πνεύματος σὺν τῇ δυνάμει τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ,

In the  name of the (our) lord Jesus, you, and my spirit, having been gathered together, with the power of our lord Jesus, 

4 in nomine Domini nostri Iesu, congregatis vobis et meo spiritu cum virtute Domini nostri Iesu,

5 παραδοῦναι τὸν τοιοῦτον τῷ Σατανᾷ εἰς ὄλεθρον τῆς σαρκός, ἵνα τὸ πνεῦμασωθῇ ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ κυρίου.

to give over this one to Satan to the destruction of the flesh, so that you have become spiritual on the day of the lord.

I have to interpose here, largely because this point is off the track from what the general summary will discuss. First, we get the part about gathering in the name of Jesus–who is not called ‘the Christ’ in either of these references. This is significant. 

But what is truly significant is the idea of handing the sinner over to Satan. At first read I understood this in the same way that Dante did: that the devils were the tormentors of the damned in Hell. However, after another iteration, I understood it differently. The idea is that such a one is too depraved, and must be ‘given over’ by cutting him off from the assembly. This has an entirely difference set of implications. 

Where is the idea of forgiveness? To commit such an act as sleeping with your father’s wife puts you beyond the pale? You have become irredeemable? Is this a sin against the Holy Spirit/sacred breath? For Jesus said, in Mark 3:29, that the only irredeemable sin is to blaspheme against the holy spirit. I don’t think this qualifies as a sin against the sacred breath.

There is also the idea that not engaging in debauchery will stand you well when Jesus returns. But the details on how this works are not at all explicit. 

5 tradere huiusmodi Satanae in interitum carnis, ut spiritus salvus sit in die Domini.

6 Οὐ καλὸν τὸ καύχημα ὑμῶν. οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι μικρὰ ζύμη ὅλον τὸ φύραμα ζυμοῖ;

Your boasting is not a good (lit= ‘beautiful’) thing. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole  kneaded lump (as in, dough)?

Sounds a bit like Jesus warning about the ‘leaven of the pharisees’ in Mark 8:15. Did Mark get the metaphor from Paul? Or was this just a common expression? In English (by now pretty much archaic) the term is ‘one bad apple can spoil the whole bushel’. 

6 Non bona gloriatio vestra. Nescitis quia modicum fermentum totam massam corrumpit?

7 ἐκκαθάρατε τὴν παλαιὰν ζύμην, ἵνα ἦτε νέον φύραμα, καθώς ἐστε ἄζυμοι. καὶ γὰρ τὸ πάσχα ἡμῶν ἐτύθη Χριστός:

Cleanse the old leaven, so that you become a new lump of dough, in such a way that you are unleavened.  For our Passover Christ will be killed.

Our Passover? Were the members of the Corinthian assembly Jews? I did not have that impression, but this reference may not be meaningful to them if they weren’t Jewish.

7 Expurgate vetus fermentum, ut sitis nova consparsio, sicut estis azymi. Etenim Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus!

8 ὥστε ἑορτάζωμεν, μὴ ἐν ζύμῃ παλαιᾷ μηδὲ ἐν ζύμῃ κακίας καὶ πονηρίας, ἀλλ’ ἐν ἀζύμοις εἰλικρινείας καὶ ἀληθείας.

In this way, let us celebrate the festival, but in in the old leaven, not in the leaven that is bad and debauched, but in the unleavened (i.e., unleavened state), with sincerity and truth.

8 Itaque festa celebremus, non in fermento veteri neque in fermento malitiae et nequitiae, sed in azymis sinceritatis et veritatis.

9 Ἔγραψα ὑμῖν ἐν τῇ ἐπιστολῇ μὴ συναναμίγνυσθαι πόρνοις,

I write you in this letter, do not gather together with fornicators,

9 Scripsi vobis in epistula: Ne commisceamini fornicariis.

10 οὐ πάντως τοῖς πόρνοις τοῦ κόσμου τούτου ἢ τοῖς πλεονέκταις καὶ ἅρπαξιν ἢ εἰδωλολάτραις, ἐπεὶ ὠφείλετε ἄρα ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου ἐξελθεῖν.

(still working from: do not gather together with) never with the fornicators of this world, nor the greedy, nor the extortionists, nor the idolaters, because one ought to come out from the altar of the world.

10 Non utique fornicariis huius mundi aut avaris aut rapacibus aut idolis servientibus, alioquin debueratis de hoc mundo exisse!

11 νῦν δὲ ἔγραψα ὑμῖν μὴ συναναμίγνυσθαι ἐάν τις ἀδελφὸς ὀνομαζόμενος ᾖ πόρνος ἢ πλεονέκτης ἢ εἰδωλολάτρης ἢ λοίδορος ἢ μέθυσος ἢ ἅρπαξ, τῷ τοιούτῳ μηδὲ συνεσθίειν.

Now I have written to you not to keep company with someone being named brother, (if he is) a fornicator, nor avaricious, nor an idolater, nor who who is abusive, nor a drunkard, nor an extortionist, do not eat with this sort.

In case you missed the part about fornicators, extortionists, and idolaters, we’ll repeat it. 

11 Nunc autem scripsi vobis non commisceri, si is, qui frater nominatur, est fornicator aut avarus aut idolis serviens aut maledicus aut ebriosus aut rapax; cum eiusmodi nec cibum sumere.

12 τί γάρ μοι τοὺς ἔξω κρίνειν; οὐχὶ τοὺς ἔσω ὑμεῖς κρίνετε;

For what is it to me to judge those outside? Do you not judge those within?

Presumably, those outside the assembly, vs. those inside the assembly.

12 Quid enim mihi de his, qui foris sunt, iudicare? Nonne de his, qui intus sunt, vos iudicatis?

13 τοὺς δὲ ἔξω ὁ θεὸς κρινεῖ.  ἐξάρατε τὸν πονηρὸν ἐξ ὑμῶν αὐτῶν.

For God judges those outside. Take away the fornicator from among you.

13 Nam eos, qui foris sunt, Deus iudicabit. Auferte malum ex vobis ipsis!

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About James, brother of Jesus

I have a BA from the University of Toronto in Greek and Roman History. For this, I had to learn classical Greek and Latin. In seminar-style classes, we discussed both the meaning of the text and the language. U of T has a great Classics Dept. One of the professors I took a Senior Seminar with is now at Harvard. I started reading the New Testament as a way to brush up on my Greek, and the process grew into this. I plan to comment on as much of the NT as possible, starting with some of Paul's letters. After that, I'll start in on the Gospels, starting with Mark.

Posted on January 4, 2014, in 1 Corinthians, epistles, Paul's Letters and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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