Useful Bible Studies > 1 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 5

A church member who married his fatherís wife

1 Corinthians 5:1-2

A certain man had married a woman who was formerly one of his fatherís wives. Because of that family relationship, this man and this woman were carrying out sex acts that were against Godís law (Leviticus 20:11). The man was one of the members of the church at Corinth. And the facts of the matter were well-known.

Sometimes a person with a very evil life starts to attend church because he wants to know God. That is a good thing, and the church members should encourage that person. But that was not the situation in Corinth. There, the man was already a church member when he began his evil behaviour.

And this was not just the stupid actions of a Christian who does not understand Godís law properly. Even people who were not Christians considered such behaviour to be wicked. This man had chosen on purpose to act in a manner that was against Godís law.

We do not know why the man was acting in this manner. Perhaps he had become very proud. Perhaps he had allowed his emotions to rule his life. Perhaps he imagined that he did not have to obey any laws now.

It astonished Paul that some other members of that church felt proud (4:18). A member of their church was behaving wickedly, and they had been unable to stop him.

When a city is in danger, its inhabitants behave in a humble and serious manner (Jonah chapter 3). They stop their usual activities, and they desperately pray for Godís help.

And that was how the Christians in Corinth should behave in this terrible situation. Godís work in their city was in danger because of how this man had behaved (Ecclesiastes 9:18). The other Christians needed Godís help to deal with such a serious situation.

Next part: How church leaders should deal with a member who behaves very wickedly (1 Corinthians 5:3-5)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.