Thursday, 12 June 2014
I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 1 Corinthians 5:9
This verse is not a stand-alone verse. If one were to cite it as a stand alone, a false impression of what Paul intends will inevitably be the result. Unfortunately, it is often used in this way and thus it becomes a verse which is used as a tool to disgrace believers who have done nothing wrong. Context is always of paramount consideration when citing Scripture.
The words, “I wrote to you in my epistle” indicate that either he had written another letter to those in Corinth which is not included in the Bible, or that he is referring to what he just said in his previous thought in 5:4 and 5:5. Either way, in this he admonished them to send the sexually immoral offender out of the congregation.
What is important here concerning this not being a “stand alone” verse, is that Paul is reckoning the person who is to be expelled as a believer. Because he is a believer, keeping company with him would leave the perception that his actions were acceptable. These perceptions would be held by the offender and by those who saw the offender and who were unschooled in the Lord’s commands concerning sexual immorality.
As we will see, Paul will go on to make a distinction between socializing with believers and unbelievers and keeping “company with sexually immoral people.”
Life application: Context is king in interpreting the Bible. Anyone can form any doctrine by tearing verses out of their intended context. However, it takes study, care, and continued diligence to properly interpret and rightly divide the word of God based on context. Be approved! Considered context at all times.
Lord, Your word is a treasure and a most precious gem, but it takes care and study or it can be easily twisted to say anything anyone wishes. I would pray for wise discernment in order to ensure I am properly handling it, making certain that context is maintained, and for boldness to stand up for what is right and in accord with Your intent. Your Spirit has given it and so I know that I am accountable to it. Be with me as I read, study, teach, and preach this most precious gift. Amen.