Re: 1 Cor 5:5 (Was: Introduction)

From: Ben Crick (
Date: Sat Nov 21 1998 - 10:48:47 EST

On Fri 20 Nov 98 (20:01:43 +0000), wrote:
> An initial query: I was surprised to find that the Translator's New
> Testament (The British and Foreign Bible Society, 1973) translates THS
> SARKOS in 1 Cor 5:5 as "of his _body_" without a note. I'm aware of the
> view that SARX here refers to the physical rather than the sinful nature,
> but "body" seems to me to be rather interpretative in a text intended
> for translation purposes. Any illumination?

 Dear John

 Welcome to b-greek. Clayton has already given you an excellent answer.

 ISTM that Paul may be referring to the physical death of the offender (i.e.
 the destruction of his physical body of flesh) *in this instance*. Compare
 1 Corinthians 11:30 "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you,
 and many sleep". See also Acts 5:5, Revelation 2:22). But if 2 Corinthians
 2:4-11 is the *sequel* to 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, as many think it is, then
 clearly it was the *repentance and restoration* of the offender that was in
 view, not his premature decease. So SARX takes on a metaphorical sense,
 meaning the *Works* of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21).

 It also seems to me that the Translators' New Testament is pre-empting the
 issue by rendering SARX as if it were SWMA here. To do so without note or
 marginal comment seems "naughty" to say the least. Principal Edwards in
 his splendid commentary (long out of print) writes:

 "The distinction between SARX and SWMA is not precisely the same as that
 between SWMA and YUCH. The SARX is the principle of sin as it actuates
 itself through the SWMA, the members of the body being MELH THS SARKOS.
 Hence the destruction of the SARX involves the salvation of the PNEUMA,
 which the death of the body does not. As SARX here has an ethical meaning,
 so also has PNEUMA. It is not "the psychological opposite of SWMA"
 (Pfleiderer, /Paulin./ p 65).

 "We must add the notion of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, on which the
 salvation of the PNEUMA depends. Similarly in Romans 8:10-11 the life of
 the human spirit is connected with the indwelling of the Divine Spirit.
 The action of Satan is only destructive; but it is overruled by God to
 destroy the principle of sin. Salvation is the work of God. Finally, it is
 worthy of note that Satan is represented as acting from without, by the
 infliction of bodily suffering; but the Spirit of God from within, by
 dwelling in the human spirit" (TC Edwards, /The First Epistle to the
 Corinthians/, London, 1885, p 127).

 BTW are you descended from an illustrious former Archbishop of Canterbury,
 Archibald Campbell Tait?


 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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