1 Corinthians 5:12

For what have I to do to judge them also that are outside? do not you judge them that are within?
All Commentaries on 1 Corinthians 5:12 Go To 1 Corinthians 5

John Chrysostom

AD 407
For what have I to do with judging them that are without? Calling the Christians and the Greeks, those within and those without, as also he says elsewhere, 1 Timothy 3:7 He must also have a good report of them that are without. And in the Epistle to the Thessalonians he speaks the same language, saying, 2 Thessalonians 3:14 Have no intercourse with him to the end that he may be put to shame. And, Count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. Here, however, he does not add the reason. Why? Because in the other case he wished to soothe them, but in this, not so. For the fault in this case and in that was not the same, but in the Thessalonians it was less. For there he is reproving indolence; but here fornication and other most grievous sins. And if any one wished to go over to the Greeks, he hinders not him from eating with such persons; this too for the same reason. So also do we act; for our children and our brethren we leave nothing undone, but of strangers we do not make much account. How then? Did not Paul care for them that were without as well? Yes, he cared for them; but it was not till after they received the Gospel and he had made them subject to the doctrine of Christ, that he laid down laws for them. But so long as they despised, it was superfluous to speak the precepts of Christ to those who knew not Christ Himself. Do not ye judge them that are within, whereas them that are without, God judges? For since he had said, What have I to do with judging those without; lest any one should think that these were left unpunished, there is another tribunal which he sets over them, and that a fearful one. And this he said, both to terrify those, and to console these; intimating also that this punishment which is for a season snatches them away from that which is undying and perpetual: which also he has plainly declared elsewhere, saying, 1 Corinthians 11:32 But now being judged, we are chastened, that we should not be condemned with the world. 3. Put away from among yourselves the wicked person. He used an expression found in the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 17:7 partly hinting that they too will be very great gainers, in being freed as it were from some grievous plague; and partly to show that this kind of thing is no innovation, but even from the beginning it seemed good to the legislator that such as these should be cut off. But in that instance it was done with more severity, in this with more gentleness. On which account one might reasonably question, why in that case he conceded that the sinner should be severely punished and stoned, but in the present instance not so; rather he leads him to repentance. Why then were the lines drawn in the former instance one way and in the latter another? For these two causes: one, because these were led into a greater trial and needed greater long-suffering; the other and truer one, because these by their impunity were more easily to be corrected, coming as they might to repentance; but the others were likely to go on to greater wickedness. For if when they saw the first undergoing punishment they persisted in the same things, had none at all been punished, much more would this have been their feeling. For which reason in that dispensation death is immediately inflicted upon the adulterer and the manslayer; but in this, if through repentance they are absolved, they have escaped the punishment. However, both here one may see some instances of heavier punishment, and in the Old Testament some less severe, in order that it may be signified in every way that the covenants are akin to each other, and of one and the same lawgiver: and you may see the punishment following immediately both in that covenant and in this, and in both often after a long interval. Nay, and oftentimes not even after a long interval, repentance alone being taken as satisfaction by the Almighty. Thus in the Old Testament, David, who had committed adultery and murder, was saved by means of repentance; and in the New, Ananias, who withdrew but a small portion of the price of the land, perished together with his wife. Now if these instances are more frequent in the Old Testament, and those of the contrary kind in the New, the difference of the persons produces the difference in the treatment adopted in such matters.
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Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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