1 Corinthians 5:3-5
New English Translation
3 For even though I am absent physically,[a] I am present in spirit. And I have already judged the one who did this, just as though I were present.[b] 4 When you gather together in the name of our Lord Jesus,[c] and I am with you in spirit,[d] along with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved[e] in the day of the Lord.[f]Read full chapter
- 1 Corinthians 5:3 tn Grk “in body.”
- 1 Corinthians 5:3 tn Verse 3 is one sentence in Greek (“For—even though I am absent in body, yet present in spirit—I have already judged the one who did this, as though I were present”) that has been broken up due to English stylistic considerations.
- 1 Corinthians 5:4 tc On the wording “our Lord Jesus” (τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦ, tou kuriou hēmōn Iēsou) there is some variation in the extant witnesses: ἡμῶν is lacking in א A Ψ 1505; Χριστοῦ (Christou, “Christ”) is found after ᾿Ιησοῦ in P46 א D2 F G 33 1881 M co and before ᾿Ιησοῦ in 81. The wording τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦ is read by B D* 1175 1739. Concerning Χριστοῦ, even though the external evidence for this is quite good, it may well be a motivated reading. Elsewhere in Paul the expression “our Lord Jesus” is routinely followed by “Christ” (e.g., Rom 5:1, 11; 15:6, 30; 1 Cor 1:2, 7, 10; 15:57; 2 Cor 8:9; Gal 6:14, 18, Eph 1:3, 17; 5:20; 6:24; Col 1:3; 1 Thess 1:3; 5:9, 23, 28). Less commonly, the wording is simply “our Lord Jesus” (e.g., Rom 16:20; 2 Cor 1:14; 1 Thess 2:19; 3:11, 13; 2 Thess 1:8, 12). A preference should thus be given to the shorter reading. As for the ἡμῶν, it is very difficult to decide: “the Lord Jesus” occurs as often as “our Lord Jesus” (cf. 1 Cor 11:23; 16:23; 2 Cor 4:14; 11:31; Eph 1:15; 1 Thess 4:2; 2 Thess 1:7; Phlm 5). Although scribes would tend to expand on the text, the only witnesses that have “the Lord Jesus” (without “our” or “Christ”) are A Ψ 1505. On balance, then, “our Lord Jesus” is the best reading in this verse.
- 1 Corinthians 5:4 tn Verses 4b-5a are capable of various punctuations: (1) “and I am with you in spirit, through the power of our Lord Jesus turn this man over to Satan”; (2) “and I am with you in spirit with the power of our Lord Jesus, turn this man over to Satan”; (3) “and I am with you in spirit, along with the power of our Lord Jesus, turn this man over to Satan” (as adopted in the text). The first option suggests the Lord’s power is needed when the church is to hand the man over to Satan; the second option suggests that the Lord’s power is present when Paul is gathered with the Corinthians in spirit; the third option leaves the relation of the Lord’s power to the surrounding phrases vague, perhaps implying that both are in view.
- 1 Corinthians 5:5 tn Or perhaps “turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of your fleshly works, so that your spirit may be saved…”; Grk “for the destruction of the flesh, so that the spirit may be saved.” This is one of the most difficult passages in the NT, and there are many different interpretations regarding what is in view here. (1) Many interpreters see this as some sort of excommunication (“turn this man over to Satan”) which in turn leads to the man’s physical death (“the destruction of the flesh”), resulting in the man’s ultimate salvation (“that [his] spirit may be saved…”). (2) Others see the phrase “destruction of the flesh” as referring to extreme physical suffering or illness that stops short of physical death, thus leading the offender to repentance and salvation. (3) A number of scholars (e.g. G. D. Fee, First Corinthians [NICNT], 212-13) take the reference to the “flesh” to refer to the offender’s “sinful nature” or “carnal nature,” which is “destroyed” by placing him outside the church, back in Satan’s domain (exactly how this “destruction” is accomplished is not clear, and is one of the problems with this view). (4) More recently some have argued that neither the “flesh” nor the “spirit” belong to the offender, but to the church collectively; thus it is the “fleshly works” of the congregation which are being destroyed by the removal of the offender (cf. 5:13) so that the “spirit,” the corporate life of the church lived in union with God through the Holy Spirit, may be preserved (cf. 5:7-8). See, e.g., B. Campbell, “Flesh and Spirit in 1 Cor 5:5: An Exercise in Rhetorical Criticism of the NT,” JETS 36 (1993): 331-42. The alternate translation “for the destruction of your fleshly works, so that your spirit may be saved” reflects this latter view.
- 1 Corinthians 5:5 tc The shorter reading, κυρίου (kuriou, “Lord”), is found in P46 B 630 1739; κυρίου ᾿Ιησοῦ (kuriou Iēsou, “Lord Jesus”) is read by P61vid א Ψ M; κυρίου ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ (kuriou Iēsou Christou, “Lord Jesus Christ”) by D; and κυρίου ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ (kuriou hēmōn Iēsou Christou, “our Lord Jesus Christ”) by A F G P 33 al. The shorter reading is preferred as the reading that best explains the other readings, especially in view of the mention of “Jesus” twice in the previous verse.