1 Corinthians 5:9
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people;

King James Bible
I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

Darby Bible Translation
I have written to you in the epistle not to mix with fornicators;

World English Bible
I wrote to you in my letter to have no company with sexual sinners;

Young's Literal Translation
I did write to you in the epistle, not to keep company with whoremongers --

1 Corinthians 5:9 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

I wrote unto you - I have written ἔγραψα egrapsa. This word may either refer to this Epistle, or to some former epistle. It simply denotes that he had written to them, but whether in the former part of this, or in some former epistle which is now lost, cannot be determined by the use of this word.

In an epistle - ἐν τῇ ἐπιστολῇ en tē epistolē. There has been considerable diversity of opinion in regard to this expression. A large number of commentators as Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, most of the Latin commentators, and nearly all the Dutch commentators suppose that this refers to the same Epistle (our 1 Corinthians), and that the apostle means to say that in the former part of this Epistle 1 Corinthians 5:2 he had given them this direction. And in support of this interpretation they say that τῇ tē here is used for ταυτῇ tautē, and appeal to the kindred passages in Romans 16:2; Colossians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:27; 2 Thessalonians 3:3-4. Many others - as Grotius, Doddridge, Rosenmuller, etc. - suppose it to refer to some other epistle which is now lost, and which had been sent to them before their messengers had reached him. This Epistle might have been very brief, and might have contained little more than this direction. That this is the correct opinion, may appear from the following considerations, namely:

(1) It is the natural and obvious interpretation - one that would strike the great mass of people. It is just such an expression as Paul would have used on the supposition that he had written a previous epistle.

(2) it is the very expression which he uses in 2 Corinthians 7:8, where he is referring to this Epistle as one which he had sent to them.

(3) it is not true that Paul had in any former part of this Epistle given this direction. He had commanded them to remove an incestuous person, and such a command might seem to imply that they ought not to keep company with such a person; but it was not a general command not to have contact with them.

(4) it is altogether probable that Paul would write more letters than we have preserved. We have but fourteen of his remaining. Yet he labored many years; founded many churches; and had frequent occasion to write to them.

(5) we know that a number of books have been lost which were either inspired or which were regarded as of authority by inspired men. Thus, the books of Jasher, of Iddo the seer, etc., are referred to in the Old Testament, and there is no improbability that similar instances may have occurred in regard to the writers of the New Testament.

(6) in 1 Corinthians 5:11, he expressly makes a distinction between the Epistle which he was then writing and the former one. "But now," that is, in this Epistle, "I have written (ἔγραψα egrapsa) to you," etc. an expression which he would not use if 1 Corinthians 5:9, referred to the same epistle. These considerations seem to me to be unanswerable, and to prove that Paul had sent another epistle to them in which he had given this direction.

(7) this opinion accords with that of a very large number of commentators. As an instance, Calvin says, "The Epistle of which he here speaks, is not now extant. Nor is it to be doubted that many others have perished; but it is sufficient that these survive to us which the Lord saw to be needful." If it be objected that this may affect the doctrine of the inspiration of the New Testament, since it is not to be supposed that God would suffer the writings of inspired men to be lost, we may reply:

(a) That there is no evidence that these were inspired. Paul often makes a distinction in regard to his own words and doctrines, as inspired or uninspired (see 1 Corinthians 7); and the same thing may have occurred in his writings.

(b) This does not affect the inspiration of the books which remain, even on the supposition that those which were lost were inspired. It does not prove that these are not from God. If a man loses a guinea it does not prove that those which he has not lost are counterfeit or worthless.

(c) If inspired, they may have answered the purpose which was designed by their inspiration - and then have been suffered to be lost - as all inspired books will be destroyed at the end of the world.

(d) It is to be remembered that a large part of the discourses of the inspired apostles, and even the Saviour himself John 21:25, have been lost. And why should it be deemed any more wonderful that inspired books should be lost than inspired oral teaching? Why more wonderful that a brief letter of Paul should be destroyed than that numerous discourses of him "who spake as never man spake," should be lost to the world?

(e) We should be thankful for the books that remain, and we may be assured that all the truth that is needful for our salvation has been preserved and is in our bands. That any inspired hooks have been preserved amidst the efforts which have been made to destroy them all, is more a matter of wonder than that a few have been lost, and should rather lead us to gratitude that we have them than to grief that a few, probably relating to local and comparatively unimportant matters, have been destroyed.


1 Corinthians 5:9 Parallel Commentaries

July the Twenty-Eighth all Things New!
2 CORINTHIANS v. 14-21. Here is a new constraint! "The love of Christ constraineth me." The love of Christ carries me along like a crowd. I am taken up in its mighty movement and swept along the appointed road! Or it arrests me, and makes me its willing prisoner. It lays a strong hand upon me, and I have no option but to go. A gracious "necessity is laid upon me." I must! And here is a new world. "Old things are passed away." The man who is the prisoner of the Lord's love will find himself
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

The Festal Life
'Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven ... but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.'--1 COR. v. 8. There had been hideous immorality in the Corinthian Church. Paul had struck at it with heat and force, sternly commanding the exclusion of the sinner. He did so on the ground of the diabolical power of infection possessed by evil, and illustrated that by the very obvious metaphor of leaven, a morsel of which, as he says, 'will leaven the whole lump,' or, as we say, 'batch.'
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

That He who is About to Communicate with Christ Ought to Prepare Himself with Great Diligence
The Voice of the Beloved I am the Lover of purity, and Giver of sanctity. I seek a pure heart, and there is the place of My rest. Prepare for Me the larger upper room furnished, and I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples.(1) If thou wilt that I come unto thee and abide with thee, purge out the old leaven,(2) and cleanse the habitation of thy heart. Shut out the whole world, and all the throng of sins; sit as a sparrow alone upon the house-top,(3) and think upon thy transgressions
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

'For this is the will of God, even your sanctification.' I Thess 4:4. The word sanctification signifies to consecrate and set apart to a holy use: thus they are sanctified persons who are separated from the world, and set apart for God's service. Sanctification has a privative and a positive part. I. A privative part, which lies in the purging out of sin. Sin is compared to leaven, which sours; and to leprosy, which defiles. Sanctification purges out the old leaven.' I Cor 5:5. Though it takes not
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Cross References
1 Corinthians 5:10
I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.

2 Corinthians 6:14
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?

Ephesians 5:11
Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;

2 Thessalonians 3:6
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.

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