Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


1 Corinthians 5:8

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Therefore let us keep the feast - It is very likely that the time of the passover was now approaching, when the Church of Christ would be called to extraordinary acts of devotion, in commemorating the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ; and of this circumstance the apostle takes advantage in his exhortation to the Corinthians. See the Introduction, Section 12.

Not with old leaven - Under the Christian dispensation we must be saved equally from Judaism, heathenism, and from sin of every kind; malice and wickedness must be destroyed; and sincerity and truth, inward purity and outward holiness, take their place.

The apostle refers here not more to wicked principles than to wicked men; let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven - the impure principles which actuated you while in your heathen state; neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, κακιας και πονηριας, wickedness, radical depravity, producing unrighteousness in the life; nor with the persons who are thus influenced, and thus act; but with the unleavened bread, αλλ 'εν αζυμοις, but with upright and godly men, who have sincerity, ειλικρινεια, such purity of affections and conduct, that even the light of God shining upon them discovers no flaw, and truth - who have received the testimony of God, and who are inwardly as well as outwardly what they profess to be.

The word πονηριας, which we translate wickedness, is so very like to πορνειας, fornication, that some very ancient MSS. have the latter reading instead of the former; which, indeed, seems most natural in this place; as κακιας, which we translate malice, includes every thing that is implied in πονηριας, wickedness whereas πορνειας, as being the subject in question, see 1 Corinthians 5:1, would come more pointedly in here: Not with wickedness and fornication, or rather, not with wicked men and fornicators: but I do not contend for this reading.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Let us keep the feast - Margin, “Holy day” ἑορτάζωμεν heortazōmenThis is language drawn from the paschal feast, and is used by Paul frequently to carry out and apply his illustration. It does not mean literally the paschal supper here - for that had ceased to be observed by Christians - nor the Lord‘s Supper particularly; but the sense is “As the Jews when they celebrated the paschal supper, on the slaying and sacrifice of the paschal lamb, put away all leaven - as emblematic of sin - so let us, in the slaying of our sacrifice, and in all the duties, institutions and events consequent thereon, put away all wickedness from our hearts as individuals, and from our societies and churches. Let us engage in the service of God putting away by all evil.”

Not with the old leaven - Not under the influence, or in the indulgence of the feelings of corrupt and unrenewed human nature - The word “leaven” is very expressive of that former or “old” condition, and denotes the corrupt and corrupting passions of our nature before it is renewed.

The leaven of malice - Of unkindness and evil - which would diffuse itself, and pervade the mass of Christians. The word “malice” ( κακίας kakias) denotes “evil” in general.

And wickedness - Sin; evil. There is a particular reference here to the case of the incestuous person. Paul means that all wickedness should be put away from those who had been saved by the sacrifice of their “Passover,” Christ; and, therefore, this sin in a special manner.

But with the unleavened bread … - That is, with sincerity and truth. Let us be sincere, and true, and faithful; as the Jews partook of bread unleavened, which was emblematic of purity, so let us be sincere and true. It is implied here that this could not be done unless they would put away the incestuous person - No Christians can have, or give evidence of sincerity, who are not willing to put away all sin.

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 Publishing Ministry, 324.5

The great apostasy is working to a point and will develop into darkness deep as midnight, impenetrable as sackcloth of hair. This is the time to employ any system that can be devised to discover and counteract the leaven of error. Let there be light. There should be one hundred light bearers in our world where there is one today. Darkness will become more dense in human minds after the truth has penetrated and been rejected. But there are some minds where the darkness will be removed. They recognize the light.... PM 324.5

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Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 96

None are so vile, none have fallen so low, as to be beyond the working of this power. In all who will submit themselves to the Holy Spirit a new principle of life is to be implanted; the lost image of God is to be restored in humanity. COL 96.1

But man cannot transform himself by the exercise of his will. He possesses no power by which this change can be effected. The leaven—something wholly from without—must be put into the meal before the desired change can be wrought in it. So the grace of God must be received by the sinner before he can be fitted for the kingdom of glory. All the culture and education which the world can give will fail of making a degraded child of sin a child of heaven. The renewing energy must come from God. The change can be made only by the Holy Spirit. All who would be saved, high or low, rich or poor, must submit to the working of this power. COL 96.2

As the leaven, when mingled with the meal, works from within outward, so it is by the renewing of the heart that the grace of God works to transform the life. No mere external change is sufficient to bring us into harmony with God. There are many who try to reform by correcting this or that bad habit, and they hope in this way to become Christians, but they are beginning in the wrong place. Our first work is with the heart. COL 97.1

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 408

The disciples were inclined to think that their Master should have granted the demand for a sign in the heavens. They believed that He was fully able to do this, and that such a sign would put His enemies to silence. They did not discern the hypocrisy of these cavilers. DA 408.1

Months afterward, “when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another,” Jesus repeated the same teaching. “He began to say unto His disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” Luke 12:1. DA 408.2

The leaven placed in the meal works imperceptibly, changing the whole mass to its own nature. So if hypocrisy is allowed to exist in the heart, it permeates the character and the life. A striking example of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, Christ had already rebuked in denouncing the practice of “Corban,” by which a neglect of filial duty was concealed under a pretense of liberality to the temple. The scribes and Pharisees were insinuating deceptive principles. They concealed the real tendency of their doctrines, and improved every occasion to instill them artfully into the minds of their hearers. These false principles, when once accepted, worked like leaven in the meal, permeating and transforming the character. It was this deceptive teaching that made it so hard for the people to receive the words of Christ. DA 408.3

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 277-8

The Passover was to be both commemorative and typical, not only pointing back to the deliverance from Egypt, but forward to the greater deliverance which Christ was to accomplish in freeing His people from the bondage of sin. The sacrificial lamb represents “the Lamb of God,” in whom is our only hope of salvation. Says the apostle, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians 5:7. It was not enough that the paschal lamb be slain; its blood must be sprinkled upon the doorposts; so the merits of Christ's blood must be applied to the soul. We must believe, not only that He died for the world, but that He died for us individually. We must appropriate to ourselves the virtue of the atoning sacrifice. PP 277.1

The hyssop used in sprinkling the blood was the symbol of purification, being thus employed in the cleansing of the leper and of those defiled by contact with the dead. In the psalmist's prayer also its significance is seen: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7. PP 277.2

The lamb was to be prepared whole, not a bone of it being broken: so not a bone was to be broken of the Lamb of God, who was to die for us. John 19:36. Thus was also represented the completeness of Christ's sacrifice. PP 277.3

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