Paul's “Satan” Judgment: A Severe Physical Affliction?

“ deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Corinthians 5:5)

It is usual to regard the “delivering unto Satan” as a synonym for the excommunication of gross sinners, i.e., their expulsion from the Church into the “outer darkness” (vide Matthew 8:12), where “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) holds sway.

Such an explanation of this admittedly difficult verse seems inadequate, however. The sinner referred to was a member of the Ecclesia at Corinth who had committed fornication, and it is not easy to see how this man’s physical passions—described by the Apostle as his “flesh”—would be destroyed by sending him back into the pagan world. We feel that they would rather be stimulated when the man was cut off from the restraining influences of other Christians. Yet the declared object of the “delivering unto Satan” was the “destruction of the flesh.”

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Author: P. H. Adams

Keywords: Discipline, Disfellowship, Satan, Deliver unto Satan, Excommunication, Excommunicating, delivered unto Satan, destruction of the body

Bible reference(s): 1 Corinthians 5:1, 1 Corinthians 5:3, 1 Corinthians 5:5

Source: “Difficulties of the Daily Readings,” The Testimony, Vol. 19, No. 219, March 1949, pp. 69-70.

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