1 Corinthians 4:5 “…judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts”
Some things are hard to determine because we don’t have all the facts or can’t know everything. But God can. One day He will return and set all things right. His judgment is absolute as He knows all things.
6-12 Understanding the letters in scripture is dependent on knowing the context of what is said. It is obvious Paul is responding to something that has been happening at Corinth or something he has been told. He’s not just laying out suggestions for living the Christian life. Much of this section appears to be sarcasm. I gather the Corinthians had begun to be self-reliant in their beliefs, thinking they knew as much as Paul or any other teacher.
16 “Therefore I urge you, imitate me.”
Paul genuinely cares for the Corinthians as children that he has birthed into Christ through his teaching. He wants them to stay on the straight and narrow, so to speak. I don’t get the impression that he’s trying to lord his position over them, but he knows the danger of pride, and he’s beginning to see some of that in them. He’s trying to stop it before it gets started.
1 Corinthians 5:2 “…you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned…”
Results of the pride. Corinthians are allowing worldly thinking to guide their actions instead of what they’ve been taught in Christ.
3 “…I indeed…have already judged…him who has so done this deed”
Paul judging is not that against which Christ warns us. He’s not condemning the person to Hell, but is comparing his actions against what the scripture says and admonishing the Corinthians because they haven’t done the same and corrected the problem so the person can be saved from himself. We consider punishment and correction in a negative light, but if we allow them to instruct us, we can become better for them.
6 “…Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump”
Their self-righteous pride in dealing with this particular incident will grow into a larger problem if not dealt with properly.
11 “…not to keep company with anyone named a brother…”
Not forever, but only as a temporary means so that God can bring them back to Him. Paul touches on bringing back such a person later.
12 “…what have I to do with judging those also who are outside…”
We can’t expect those without Christ to live as those who are His. Too often we are more upset with a non-Christian’s behavior than the fact that they don’t know Christ. We must remember who does the saving. Do as Christ commands, share Him with the lost, and He will take care of changing their hearts and behavior.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.