“Deliver him unto Satan” — 1 Corinthians 5:5

Paul begins the chapter by referring to an incestuous believer in the Corinthian Church — he was CONTINUALLY having sexual relationships with his father’s wife! (vs. 1)


And to make matters worse, the Corinthian Church did not bother administering any form of correction or discipline towards this brother, which made him even more COMFORTABLE in his sinful lifestyle (vs. 2)


Paul wrote to do what the Corinthian Church failed to — administer discipline. He calls it “delivering unto Satan.” This phrase is used by Paul elsewhere (see 1 Tim. 1:20). So this implies that it was a form of discipline in the Early Church.


Now the question is: what exactly was this punishment? Some have said death, others a literal, spiritual “handing over” to the devil to torment, and loss of salvation. If Bible words and phrases are to be well understood, then the context in which they were used must ALWAYS be deciphered. Using 1 Corinthians 5 as a case study, we find certain words used by Paul to describe what exactly he means:


Vs 2 — “that he who has done this deed might be TAKEN AWAY from among you.”


Vs. 7 — “purge out the old leaven” (leaven was used figuratively for sinful conduct)


Vs. 9 — “I wrote to you in my epistle NOT TO KEEP COMPANY with sexually immoral people.”


Vs. 11 is most clear;


11 But 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.


So, we see Paul further explain “delivering unto Satan” as taking away the sinful brother from amongst the Church, not to have fellowship (keep company nor eat) with such a one. This would “purge out” his sinful lifestyle and preventing its spread to others. “To deliver unto Satan” therefore, referred simply to excommunication of the PERSISTENTLY sinful UNTIL they were remorseful for their actions. It is not death nor a loss of salvation as


1) The incestuous brother would need to still be alive, in order to learn. There is no correction when you are dead.


2) Paul says clearly that he is still saved until the Lord’s day (1 Corin. 5:5)


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2020.


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