What does 1 Corinthians 5:8 mean?
ESV: Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
NIV: Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
NASB: Therefore let’s celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
CSB: Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old leaven or with the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
NLT: So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth.
KJV: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Paul has commanded the Christians in Corinth to gather as the church and to remove from among them a man who was known to be in an ongoing sexual relationship with his father's wife (1 Corinthians 5:1–5). To drive home how important this is, Paul has used a metaphor of leavened bread during the Jewish Passover celebration. Jewish people were to remove any trace of leaven from their homes and eat only unleavened bread during the Passover.
In the previous verse, Paul wrote that the Christians in Corinth were already unleavened or purified. This is because Christ, the Passover lamb, had already died to pay the price for all their sin. Now the time had come for the Corinthians to live up to what they already were. They must remove the sin from among them that Christ had died for.
Paul calls them to celebrate the festival. He does not seem to mean that they should observe the Passover celebration. Instead, he seems to be saying that they should always be in a spirit of celebrating the truth that Christ's blood had paid for their sin. For Christians, this in an ongoing reason to rejoice, not a once-a-year celebration. Some Bible teachers connect Paul's mention of the festival with the Christian practice of communion.
In either case, Paul writes that those who are celebrating the forgiveness of their sins by the blood of Jesus must not do so while living in sin, the leaven of "malice and evil." Such sin has no place among those who rejoice over being forgiven for their sin. Instead, such rejoicers should live with sincerity and truth.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Accessed 11/30/2023 5:10:00 AM
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