1 Corinthians 5:5New English Translation (NET Bible)
5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved[a] in the day of the Lord.[b]
1 Corinthians 5:5tn Or perhaps “turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of your fleshly works, so that your spirit may be saved…”; Grk “for the destruction of the flesh, so that the spirit may be saved.” This is one of the most difficult passages in the NT, and there are many different interpretations regarding what is in view here. (1) Many interpreters see this as some sort of excommunication (“turn this man over to Satan”) which in turn leads to the man’s physical death (“the destruction of the flesh”), resulting in the man’s ultimate salvation (“that [his] spirit may be saved…”). (2) Others see the phrase “destruction of the flesh” as referring to extreme physical suffering or illness that stops short of physical death, thus leading the offender to repentance and salvation. (3) A number of scholars (e.g. G. D. Fee, First Corinthians [NICNT], 212-13) take the reference to the “flesh” to refer to the offender’s “sinful nature” or “carnal nature,” which is “destroyed” by placing him outside the church, back in Satan’s domain (exactly how this “destruction” is accomplished is not clear, and is one of the problems with this view). (4) More recently some have argued that neither the “flesh” nor the “spirit” belong to the offender, but to the church collectively; thus it is the “fleshly works” of the congregation which are being destroyed by the removal of the offender (cf. 5:13) so that the “spirit,” the corporate life of the church lived in union with God through the Holy Spirit, may be preserved (cf. 5:7-8). See, e.g., B. Campbell, “Flesh and Spirit in 1 Cor 5:5: An Exercise in Rhetorical Criticism of the NT,” JETS 36 (1993): 331-42. The alternate translation “for the destruction of your fleshly works, so that your spirit may be saved” reflects this latter view.
1 Corinthians 5:5tc The shorter reading, κυρίου (kuriou, “Lord”), is found in P46 B 630 1739; κυρίου ᾿Ιησοῦ (kuriou Iēsou, “Lord Jesus”) is read by P61vidאΨM; κυρίου ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ (kuriou Iēsou Christou, “Lord Jesus Christ”) by D; and κυρίου ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ (kuriou hēmōn Iēsou Christou, “our Lord Jesus Christ”) by A F G P 33 al. The shorter reading is preferred as the reading that best explains the other readings, especially in view of the mention of “Jesus” twice in the previous verse.
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