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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 3

Verse 3. For I verily. But I, whatever it may cost me; however you may esteem my interference; and whatever personal ill-will may be the result towards me, have adjudged this case to be so flagrant as to demand the exercise of discipline; and since the church to whom it belongs have neglected it, I use the authority of an apostle, and of a spiritual father, in directing it to take place. This was not a formal sentence of excommunication; but it was the declared opinion of an apostle that such a sentence should be passed, and an injunction on the church to exercise this act of discipline.

As absent in body. Since I am not personally present with you, I express my opinion in this manner. I am absent in body from you, and cannot, therefore, take those steps in regard to it which I could were I present.

But present in spirit. My heart is with you; my feelings are with you; I have a deep and tender interest in the case; and I judge as if I were personally present. Many suppose that Paul by this refers to a power which was given to the apostles, though at a distance, to discern the real circumstances of a case by the gift of the Spirit. Comp. Col 2:5; 2 Ki 5:26; 6:12.

(Whitby, Doddridge, etc.) But the phrase does not demand this interpretation. Paul meant, probably, that though he was absent, yet his mind and attention had been given to this subject; he felt as deeply as though he were present, and would act in the same way. He had, in some way, been fully apprized of all the circumstances of the case, and he felt it to be his duty to express his views on the subject.

Have judged already. Margin, Determined, kekrika. I have made up my mind; have decided, and do decide. That is, he had determined what ought to be done in the case. It was a case in which the course which ought to be pursued was plain, and on this point his mind was settled. What that course should be, he states immediately.

As though I were present. As though I had a personal knowledge of the whole affair, and were with you to advise. We may be certain that Paul had the fullest information as to this case; and that the circumstances were well known. Indeed, it was a case about the facts of which there could be no doubt. They were everywhere known, 1 Co 5:1, and there was no need, therefore, to attempt to establish them by formal proof.

{+} "verily" "truly" {1} "judged" "determined"

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