Study Sheet for I Corinthians 5:6-12 (click here for Study Notes)
Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast-as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.
I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the
church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.
"Expel the wicked man from among you." (NIV)
Paul follows up on his instructions to put the offending brother out of fellowship by saying, "Your boasting is not good." Then he says, "a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough."
1. Why does he chastise the Corinthians for boasting? (see James 4:16-17)
2. What were they boasting about? (I Cor. 4:6-7, 5:1-2)
3. What does yeast represent? (see v. 8)
4. Why is Paul warning the Corinthians about a "little yeast"
working through a "whole batch of dough"? (see Matthew 16:6, 12;
Paul is using the imagery of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread in this passage. He's clear that the Passover lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. He's urging the Corinthians to keep the Festival (the Feast of Unleavened Bread which followed Passover) in a new way-without "the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth."
1. How have the Corinthians broken from sincerity and truth? (see I Cor. 5:1-2; 4; 4:8-12; 18-20; 3:1-4)
2. How is truth related to sincerity?
3. How are their lives as Christ-followers to be the fulfillment of the
Feast of Unleavened Bread? (see Ex. 12:14, 15; Deut. 16:3)
The instruction in this passage is almost shockingly direct. Do not "associate with sexually immoral people." Do not "associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat." Paul's warning is against associating with people who call themselves "brothers" but engage in persistent sin. We're used to thinking of immorality, idolatry, and drunkenness as blatant sin.
1. Why does Paul put slander, greed, and swindling in this list? (see
James 3:6-10; I Cor. 6:9-10; Col. 3:5; Eph. 4:29,31; 5:3,5; Romans 1:18-19,
Paul says that believers should not even eat with people who are greedy, slanderers, immoral, drunken, idolaters, and swindlers.
1. Why? (Romans 16:17-18; II Thes. 3:6, 14; II Tim. 3:1-5; Titus 3:10-11; II John 10-11; I Cor. 12:24-26)
2. Why have Christians tended to see sexual sin, substance abuse, and idolatry as more serious sins than greed, gossip or slander, and swindling?
It is clear in this passage that Paul is not asking Christ-followers to avoid associating with sinful non-believers. "In that case you would have to leave this world," he says. (v. 10) He goes farther when he says, "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?" His surprising statement comes next: "Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside."
1. Why do we have jurisdiction over fellow believers but not over "those outside"?
2. How do we know when to exercise this judgment? (verses 3-5; Matt. 18:15-18; Romans 13:1-5; Rev. 20:11-15; Matt. 7:1; I Thes. 5:21; Matthew 13:10-12; 24-30; I Cor. 12:12-13)
Paul concludes this section on church discipline by quoting the Old Testament command: "Expel the wicked man from among you." (Deut. 17:7; 19:19; 21:21; 22:21, 24; 24:7)
1. How is Paul's discussion of discipline among believers different from experiences with discipline you may have had in the past?
2. How do the call to be "filled with grief" (verse 2) and the goal that the offender's "sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord" (verse 5) shape our response to sin within the body?
Galatians 6:1,2 says, "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gentlyCarry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
1. Is there someone you know who bears a burden of sin and needs someone to hold him accountable and to "restore him gently"?
2. What sin or persistent temptation do you have in your life from which you need to be freed?
3. What secret or habit do you need to admit and lay before Jesus?
4. What fellow Christ-follower do you know who would hold you accountable
and help to restore you? Ask Jesus to show you how he wants you to change,
and ask him to send the people into your life who will administer his justice
and mercy to you.
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Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Revised April 23, 2000.