“Let him be accursed” — 1 Corinthians 16:22 & Galatians 1:8-9

1 Corinthians 16:22 (NKJV)

22 If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be ACCURSED. O Lord, come!


Galatians 1: 8-9 (NKJV)

8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be ACCURSED. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be ACCURSED.


Did the Apostle Paul pronounce imprecations in these texts? Going back to the Greek would help.


The word “accursed” translates the Greek word “anathema” which was used for sacrifices pledged to a diety. These offerings were to be avoided (you couldn’t touch them or eat them) because they had ALREADY been dedicated or vowed to a god. In that culture, when you give something or someone to God in a vow, it is called “accursed,” i.e. something which must not be touched (See Lev. 27:28-29). It was also used for abominable things (see in Deuteronomy 7:26).


So in the Jewish custom, “an accursed thing,” refers something you don’t touch or associate with anymore. Therefore, Paul is saying simply; anyone who doesn’t love the Lord (1 Corinthians 16:22) or preaches another Gospel (Galatians 1:8-9) should be treated as an abominable thing, that is, withdrawn from, not associated with, so his false Gospel doesn’t spread. This was usually done in the Early Church by way of excommunication. Such a one was not to be related with. Paul wasn’t cursing but rather, teaching Christians to avoid false doctrine and false practices in the Church.


(For a detailed study on this, get the sermon “Coals of Fire: How to pay back your enemies” by Pastor Josh Banks)


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2021.


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