5:9–11 Prior to the writing of 1 Corinthians, Paul had sent a letter (no longer in existence) instructing the Corinthians to separate themselves from believers who practiced immorality. The Corinthians either misunderstood Paul, as if he were commanding complete separation from the world, or they tried to sidestep the issue by arguing that his request was unreasonable. The apostle explains that he had in mind anyone thought to be a Christian whose life openly contradicted the faith. The injunction to expel offenders (“not even to eat with such a one”) has primary reference to community life within the church and probably does not mean that all personal contact must be avoided (2 Thess. 3:15, “warn him as a brother”).
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