Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


1 Corinthians 5:7

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Purge out therefore the old leaven - As it is the custom of the Jews previously to the passover to search their houses in the most diligent manner for the old leaven, and throw it out, sweeping every part clean; so act with this incestuous person. I have already shown with what care the Jews purged their houses from all leaven previously to the passover; see the note on Exodus 12:8-19; (note), and on the term passover, and Christ as represented by this ancient Jewish sacrifice; see on Exodus 12:27; (note), and my Discourse on the Nature and Design of the Eucharist.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Purge out therefore … - Put away; free yourselves from.

The old leaven - The apostle here takes occasion, from the mention of leaven, to exhort the Corinthians to put away vice and sin. The figure is derived from the custom of the Jews in putting away leaven at the celebration of the passover. By the OLD leaven he means vice and sin; and also here the person who had committed the sin in their church. As the Jews, at the celebration of the passover, gave all diligence in removing leaven from their houses - searching every part of their dwellings with candles, that they might remove every particle of leavened bread from their habitations - so the apostle exhorts them to use all diligence to search out and remove all sin.

That ye may be a new lump - That you may be like a new mass of flour, or dough, before the leaven is put into it. That you may be pure, and free from the corrupting principle.

As ye are unleavened - That is, as ye are bound by your Christian profession to be unleavened, or to be pure. Your very profession implies this, and you ought, therefore, to remove all impurity, and to become holy. Let there be no impurity, and no mixture inconsistent with that holiness which the gospel teaches and requires. The apostle here does not refer merely to the case of the incestuous person, but he takes occasion to exhort them to put away all sin. Not only to remove this occasion of offence, but to remove all impurity, that they might become entirely and only holy. The doctrine is, that Christians are by their profession holy, and that therefore they ought to give all diligence to remove everything that is impure.

For even Christ … - As the Jews, when their paschal lamb was slain, gave great diligence to put away all leaven from their dwellings, so we Christians, since our passover is slain, ought to give the like diligence to remove all that is impure and corrupting from our hearts - There can be no doubt here that the paschal lamb was a type of the Messiah; and as little that the leaven was understood to be emblematic of impurity and sin, and that their being required to put it away was intended to be an emblematic action designed to denote that all sin was to be removed and forsaken.

Our passover - Our “paschal lamb,” for so the word πάσχα paschausually signifies. The sense is, “We Christians have a paschal lamb; and that lamb is the Messiah. And as the Jews, when their paschal lamb was slain, were required to put away all leaven from their dwellings, so we, when our paschal lamb is slain, should put away all sin from our hearts and from our churches.” This passage proves that Paul meant to teach that Christ had “taken the place” of the paschal lamb - that that lamb was designed to adumbrate or typify him - and that consequently when he was offered, the paschal offering was designed to cease. Christ is often in the Scriptures compared to a lamb. See Isaiah 53:7; John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 5:6, Revelation 5:12.

Is sacrificed for us - Margin, Or “slain” ( ἐτυθη etuthē). The word θύω thuōmay mean simply to slay or kill; but it is also used often in the sense of making a sacrifice as an expiation for sin; Acts 14:13, Acts 14:18; 1 Corinthians 10:20; compare Genesis 31:54; Genesis 45:1; Exodus 3:18; Exodus 5:3, Exodus 5:8, Exodus 5:17; Exodus 8:8, Exodus 8:25-29; Exodus 13:15; Exodus 20:24; 2 Chronicles 15:16, where it is used as the translation of the word זבח zaabach“to sacrifice.” It is used as the translation of this word no less than 98 times in the Old Testament, and perhaps always in the sense of a “sacrifice,” or bloody offering. It is also used as the translation of the Hebrew word טבח Taabachand שׁחט shaachatto slay, to kill, etc. in Exodus 12:21; 1 Kings 11:19; 2 Kings 25:7; 2 Chronicles 29:22, etc.; in all in eleven places in the Old Testament. It is used in a similar sense in the New Testament, in Matthew 22:4; Luke 15:23, Luke 15:27, Luke 15:30; John 10:10; Acts 10:13; Acts 11:7. It occurs no where else in the New Testament than in the places which have been specified - The true sense of the word here is, therefore, to be found in the doctrine respecting the passover. That that was intended to be a sacrifice for sin is proved by the nature of the offering, and by the account which is everywhere given of it in the Old Testament. The paschal lamb was slain as a sacrifice. It was slain in the temple; its blood was poured out as an offering; it was sprinkled and offered by the priests in the same way as other sacrifices; see Exodus 23:18; Exodus 34:25; 2 Chronicles 30:15-16. And if so, then this passage means that Christ was offered “as a sacrifice for sin” - in accordance with the numerous passages of the New Testament, which speak of his death in this manner (see the note at Romans 3:25); and that his offering was designed to take the place of the paschal sacrifice, under the ancient economy.

For us - For us who are Christians. He died in our stead; and as the Jews, when celebrating their paschal feast, put away all leaven, so we, as Christians, should put away all evil from our hearts, since that sacrifice has now been made once for all.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The apostle notices a flagrant abuse, winked at by the Corinthians. Party spirit, and a false notion of Christian liberty, seem to have saved the offender from censure. Grievous indeed is it that crimes should sometimes be committed by professors of the gospel, of which even heathens would be ashamed. Spiritual pride and false doctrines tend to bring in, and to spread such scandals. How dreadful the effects of sin! The devil reigns where Christ does not. And a man is in his kingdom, and under his power, when not in Christ. The bad example of a man of influence is very mischievous; it spreads far and wide. Corrupt principles and examples, if not corrected, would hurt the whole church. Believers must have new hearts, and lead new lives. Their common conversation and religious deeds must be holy. So far is the sacrifice of Christ our Passover for us, from rendering personal and public holiness unnecessary, that it furnishes powerful reasons and motives for it. Without holiness we can neither live by faith in him, nor join in his ordinances with comfort and profit.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 303-4

The apostle made no mention of the false teachers who were seeking to destroy the fruit of his labor. Because of the darkness and division in the church, he wisely forbore to irritate them by such references, for fear of turning some entirely from the truth. He called attention to his own work among them as that of “a wise masterbuilder,” who had laid the foundation upon which others had built. But he did not thereby exalt himself; for he declared, “We are laborers together with God.” He claimed no wisdom of his own, but acknowledged that divine power alone had enabled him to present the truth in a manner pleasing to God. United with Christ, the greatest of all teachers, Paul had been enabled to communicate lessons of divine wisdom, which met the necessities of all classes, and which were to apply at all times, in all places, and under all conditions. AA 303.1

Among the more serious of the evils that had developed among the Corinthian believers, was that of a return to many of the debasing customs of heathenism. One former convert had so far backslidden that his licentious course was a violation of even the low standard of morality held by the Gentile world. The apostle pleaded with the church to put away from among them “that wicked person.” “Know ye not,” he admonished them, “that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened.” AA 303.2

Another grave evil that had arisen in the church was that of brethren going to law against one another. Abundant provision had been made for the settlement of difficulties among believers. Christ Himself had given plain instruction as to how such matters were to be adjusted. “If thy brother shall trespass against thee,” the Saviour had counseled, “go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:15-18. AA 304.1

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Ellen G. White
Counsels to Writers and Editors, 82

The Bible is yet but dimly understood. A lifelong, prayerful study of its sacred revealings will leave still much unexplained. It is the deep movings of the Spirit of God that is needed to operate upon the heart to mold character, to open the communication between God and the soul, before the deep truths will be unraveled. Man has to learn himself before God can do great things for him. The little knowledge imparted might be a hundredfold greater if the mind and character were balanced by the holy enlightenment of the Spirit of God. Altogether too little meekness and humility are brought into the work of searching for the truth as for hidden treasures, and if the truth were taught as it is in Jesus, there would be a hundredfold greater power, and it would be a converting power upon human hearts; but everything is so mingled with self that the wisdom from above cannot be imparted.—Letter 37, 1887. CW 82.1

Present Truth in an Easy Style—In this age, when pleasing fables are drifting upon the surface and attracting the mind, truth presented in an easy style, backed up with a few strong proofs, is better than to search and bring forth an overwhelming array of evidence; for the point then does not stand so distinct in many minds as before the objections and evidences were brought before them. With many, assertions will go farther than long arguments. They take many things for granted. Proof does not help the case in the minds of such.—Testimonies for the Church 3:36 (1872). CW 83.1

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 77

The Passover was followed by the seven days’ feast of unleavened bread. On the second day of the feast, the first fruits of the year's harvest, a sheaf of barley, was presented before the Lord. All the ceremonies of the feast were types of the work of Christ. The deliverance of Israel from Egypt was an object lesson of redemption, which the Passover was intended to keep in memory. The slain lamb, the unleavened bread, the sheaf of first fruits, represented the Saviour. DA 77.1

With most of the people in the days of Christ, the observance of this feast had degenerated into formalism. But what was its significance to the Son of God! DA 77.2

For the first time the child Jesus looked upon the temple. He saw the white-robed priests performing their solemn ministry. He beheld the bleeding victim upon the altar of sacrifice. With the worshipers He bowed in prayer, while the cloud of incense ascended before God. He witnessed the impressive rites of the paschal service. Day by day He saw their meaning more clearly. Every act seemed to be bound up with His own life. New impulses were awakening within Him. Silent and absorbed, He seemed to be studying out a great problem. The mystery of His mission was opening to the Saviour. DA 78.1

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