Paul’s Religious Mind

Jesus said, Do not judge (κρίνετε, a form of κρίνω)[1] so that you will not be judged (κριθῆτε, another form of κρίνω).  For by the standard (κρίματι, a form of κρίμα)[2] you judge (κρίνετε,a form of κρίνω) you will be judged (κριθήσεσθε, another form of κρίνω), and the measure (μέτρῳ, a form of μέτρον)[3] you use (μετρεῖτε, a form of μετρέω)[4] will be the measure you receive (μετρηθήσεται, another form of μετρέω).[5]

In my opinion Paul’s religious mind wrote, For even though I am absent physically, I am present in spirit.  And I have already judged (κέκρικα, another form of κρίνω) the one who did this, just as though I were present.[6]  Paul was speaking about a man rumored to have (ἔχειν, a form of ἔχω)[7] his father’s wife.  (The NET translated the word ἔχειν cohabiting with,[8] rendering πορνεία[9] in this passage as adultery, incest or a violation of Leviticus 20:11[10] rather than idolatrous worship [including its drunken sexual practices].)

My reasons for calling this Paul’s religious mind are as follows: 1) the fact that Paul gave evidence of knowing Jesus’ command (1 Corinthians 4:5 NET):

So then, do not judge (κρίνετε, a form of κρίνω) anything before the time.  Wait until the Lord comes.  He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the motives of hearts.  Then each will receive recognition from God.

2) his own rhetorical justification sounds spurious (1 Corinthians 5:12, 13 NET) when contrasted to Jesus’ teaching.

For what do I have to do with judging (κρίνειν, another form of κρίνω) those outside?  Are you not to judge (κρίνετε, a form of κρίνω) those inside?  But God will judge (κρινεῖ, another form of κρίνω) those outside.  Remove the evil person from among you.

Here is Jesus’ teaching on the subject (Luke 6:37, 38 NET):

Do not judge (κρίνετε, a form of κρίνω), and you will not be judged (κριθῆτε, another form of κρίνω); do not condemn (καταδικάζετε, a form of καταδικάζω),[11] and you will not be condemned (καταδικασθῆτε, another form of καταδικάζω); forgive (ἀπολύετε, a form of ἀπολύω),[12] and you will be forgiven (ἀπολυθήσεσθε, another form of ἀπολύω).  Give, and it will be given to you:  A good measure (μέτρον), pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be poured into your lap.  For the measure (μέτρῳ, a form of μέτρον) you use (μετρεῖτε, a form of μετρέω)[13] will be the measure you receive (ἀντιμετρηθήσεται, a form of ἀντιμετρέω).[14]

I find it hard to believe that Jesus intended this graciousness for outsiders only and not for those who believed.  The presumed answer to Paul’s rhetorical question—Are you not to judge those inside?—is not sufficient to alter my belief.

3) Paul later forgave the sinner and urged the Corinthians to do likewise after they had shunned him (2 Corinthians 2:5-8 NET):

But if anyone has caused sadness, he has not saddened me alone, but to some extent (not to exaggerate) he has saddened all of you as well.  This punishment on such an individual by the majority is enough for him, so that now instead you should rather forgive (χαρίσασθαι, a form of χαρίζομαι)[15] and comfort (παρακαλέσαι, a form of παρακαλέω)[16] him.  This will keep him from being overwhelmed by excessive grief to the point of despair.  Therefore I urge (παρακαλῶ, another form of παρακαλέω) you to reaffirm your love (ἀγάπην, a form of ἀγάπη) [17] for him.

4) Paul altered his original justification for judging the man and commanding that he be shunned (2 Corinthians 2:9-11 and 7:11, 12 NET):

For this reason also I wrote you: to test (δοκιμὴν, a form of δοκιμή;[18] literally, γνῶ τὴν δοκιμὴν, “know” or “learn by testing”) you to see if you are obedient (ὑπήκοοι, a form of ὑπήκοος)[19] in everything.  If you forgive (χαρίζεσθε, another form of χαρίζομαι) anyone for anything, I also forgive him – for indeed what I have forgiven (κεχάρισμαι, another form of χαρίζομαι) (if I have forgiven [κεχάρισμαι, another form of χαρίζομαι] anything) I did so for you in the presence of Christ, so that we may not be exploited by Satan (for we are not ignorant of his schemes)….For see what this very thing, this sadness [caused by Paul’s original letter, cf. 2 Corinthians 7:8] as God intended, has produced (κατειργάσατο, a form of κατεργάζομαι)[20] in you: what eagerness, what defense of yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what deep concern, what punishment!  In everything you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.  So then, even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did wrong (ἀδικήσαντος, a form of ἀδικέω),[21] or on account of the one who was wronged (ἀδικηθέντος, another form of ἀδικέω), but to reveal to you your eagerness on our behalf before God.

5) Paul later developed a more appropriate way for dealing with similar situations, something more in line with Jesus’ teaching (Galatians 6:1-5 NET):

Brothers and sisters, if a person is discovered in some sin (παραπτώματι, a form of παράπτωμα),[22] you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness.  Pay close attention to yourselves, so that you are not tempted too.  Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill (ἀναπληρώσετε, a form of ἀναπληρόω)[23] the law of Christ.  For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  Let each one examine (δοκιμαζέτω, a form of δοκιμάζω)[24] his own work (ἔργον).[25]  Then he can take pride in himself and not compare himself with someone else.  For each one will carry his own load.

Below is a comparison/contrast of 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 (NET) and Galatians 6:1-5 (NET):

1 Corinthians 5:1-13 (NET)

Galatians 6:1-5 (NET)

It is actually reported that sexual immorality (πορνεία) exists among you, the kind of immorality (πορνεία) that is not permitted[26] even among the Gentiles, so that someone is cohabiting with his father’s wife.  And you are proud!  Shouldn’t you have been deeply sorrowful instead and removed the one who did this from among you?  For even though I am absent physically, I am present in spirit.  And I have already judged the one who did this, just as though I were present.  When you gather together in the name of our Lord Jesus, and I am with you in spirit, along with the power of our Lord Jesus, turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 5:1-5 (NET)

Brothers and sisters, if a person is discovered in some sin, you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness.

Galatians 6:1a (NET)

Your boasting is not good.  Don’t you know that a little yeast affects the whole batch of dough?  Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch of dough – you are, in fact, without yeast.  For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  So then, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of vice and evil, but with the bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

1 Corinthians 5:6-8 (NET)

Pay close attention to yourselves, so that you are not tempted too.  Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

Galatians 6:1b-3 (NET)

I wrote you in my letter[27] not to associate with sexually immoral people (πόρνοις, a form of πόρνος).[28]  In no way did I mean the immoral people (πόρνοις, a form of πόρνος) of this world, or the greedy and swindlers and idolaters, since you would then have to go out of the world.  But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who calls himself a Christian (ἀδελφός)[29] who is sexually immoral (πόρνος), or greedy, or an idolater, or verbally abusive, or a drunkard, or a swindler.  Do not even eat with such a person.  For what do I have to do with judging those outside?  Are you not to judge those inside?  But God will judge those outside.  Remove the evil person from among you.

1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (NET)

Let each one examine his own work.  Then he can take pride in himself and not compare himself with someone else.  For each one will carry his own load.

Galatians 6:4, 5 (NET)

What happened to Paul between the writing of 1 Corinthians 5 and Galatians 6?  The obvious answer is an affliction that happened to us in the province of Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of living.[30]  But something else probably occurred as well, the crystallization of the understanding that became, and the actual writing of, Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Peter and Cornelius

Paul’s Religious Mind Revisited – Part 1

Back to Romans, Part 3

Back to Romans, Part 7

Back to You Must Be Gentle, Part 1

Back to Son of God – John, Part 2

Back to Romans, Part 42

Back to Fear – Exodus, Part 5

Back to Romans, Part 48

Back to Paul’s Religious Mind Revisited – Part 2

Back to Sexual Immorality Revisited, Part 2

Back to Paul’s Religious Mind Revisited, Part 6

Back to Paul’s Religious Mind Revisited, Part 7


[5] Matthew 7:1, 2 (NET)

[6] 1 Corinthians 5:3 (NET)

[8] 1 Corinthians 5:1 (NET)

[10] If a man has sexual intercourse with his father’s wife, he has exposed his father’s nakedness.  Both of them must be put to death; their blood guilt is on themselves.  (Leviticus 20:11 NET) Also: Deuteronomy 22:30 (NET)

[26] The Greek word ονομαζεται (a form of ὀνομάζω; translated is named in Ephesians 3:15 KJV) is not included in the text from which the NET was translated.

[27] 1 Corinthians is at least Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth.  The previous letter was apparently not preserved.

[30] 2 Corinthians 1:8 (NET)