What does 1 Corinthians 5:7 mean?
ESV: Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
NIV: Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch--as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
NASB: Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.
CSB: Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new unleavened batch, as indeed you are. For Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed.
NLT: Get rid of the old 'yeast' by removing this wicked person from among you. Then you will be like a fresh batch of dough made without yeast, which is what you really are. Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us.
KJV: Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
Verse Commentary:
Paul is using bread metaphors to help his readers understand why they must remove the man who is committing incest from among them (1 Corinthians 5:1–5). In the previous verse, he described sin in the church as leaven that is contaminated. It must be removed or it will infect the whole batch of dough, making the bread worthless. Just as is done with certain breads today, a small piece of an earlier batch of dough would be reserved to "seed" the next batch. Fermenting agents in that piece would be spread around the new dough and continue the cycle. A small influence would grow and become universal.

Here, Paul adjusts the metaphor to one best understood by those familiar with the Jewish Passover. In preparation for that celebration, Jews scour their homes to remove any hint of leaven. They would make and eat, instead, unleavened bread. In addition, they would sacrifice a Passover lamb and put its blood on their doorposts before eating it.

Paul's metaphor puts the Corinthian Christians in the place of the Passover dough. They must cleanse out all the old leaven and become a new, unleavened piece of dough.

Then Paul says something surprising: They are already the unleavened dough. This is true because Christ, the Passover lamb, was sacrificed on the cross to pay for their sin. The leaven has already been removed from them. Paul is urging them to live up to what they already are, the forgiven and set-apart people of Christ.

Put another way, why would the Corinthian Christians allow sin that Christ had died for to continue to be flagrantly practiced among them?
Verse Context:
First Corinthians 5:1–8 contains Paul's primary example of how the Corinthian's pride and self-sufficiency is hurting their community. He has just asked if they would prefer he come in gentleness, or ''with a rod,'' symbolic of harsh judgment. Here, Paul details a grievous sin: the believers in Corinth have failed to rebuke a member who is committing incest with his father's wife. They must remove him from the church and turn him over to Satan in hopes of his ultimate salvation. This is also crucial for the health of the church—just as tiny bits of leaven eventually spread to an entire batch of dough, sin left unconfronted can poison an entire church.
Chapter Summary:
Paul confronts the church in Corinth for failing to respond to a self-identified believer having a sexual affair with his father's wife. He insists they must remove the man from their community—to refuse his participation in the church—referred to here as delivering him to Satan. As the Jewish people would do during Passover, they must remove the leaven of this man and his sin from among them, to prevent it from spreading to the entire church. Christian congregations should not associate with those who claim to be believers, yet flaunt their sin.
Chapter Context:
First Corinthians 5 continues Paul's confrontational tone from the previous chapter. There, he warned the arrogant that he might return to them with a rod of correction. Now he points to a specific result of their pride: They have failed to respond to one among them who is openly committing incest. Paul commands them to remove the man from their community by turning him over to Satan for destruction of his flesh, in hopes that his spirit would be saved. They must not even share a meal with a Christian continuing in unrepentant sin. Paul will distinguish between the judgment of believers with that of non-believers. In the next chapter, this will include more details on how to handle conflict, as well as the ability of God to forgive any and all sin.
Book Summary:
First Corinthians is one of the more practical books of the New Testament. Paul writes to a church immersed in a city associated with trade, but also with corruption and immorality. These believers are struggling to properly apply spiritual gifts and to resist the ungodly practices of the surrounding culture. Paul's letter gives instructions for real-life concerns such as marriage and spirituality. He also deals with the importance of unity and gives one of the Bible's more well-known descriptions of love in chapter 13.
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