1 Corinthians 5:1-13 Study Guide


1 Corinthians 5:1-13

Opening: Last week we summed up Chapter 4’s Beliefs, Values, and Behaviors in a single verse: 1 Cor. 4:2 “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” How did you do at making this verse a reality in your life this past week? In a sentence or two, briefly share any victories or difficulties you experienced.

Transition:  In chapter 5 we find that the Corinthians had taken pride in their tolerance of a serious violation of Christian morality. In response, Paul insisted that the unpleasant task of church discipline was necessary. The purity of the church was at stake; the eternal soul of the sinner was at stake. For these reasons, excommunication was essential.[1]

Objective: Today’s objective is to work through Chapter 5 and see what Paul has to say to us about the value and importance of the local church and why it is so important to respond quickly to unrepentant sin within the body of Christ.

Discussion 1: Read verses 1-5.

  • The opening verses of chapter 5 are dealing with church discipline. What does the severity of Paul’s words tell us about the nature of the church? What is it? Why would Paul respond so directly? What do Paul’s words tell us about the holiness, preciousness, and value of the church? How would not addressing the issue have affected the members of the church?
  • How was it that the Corinthians could be “proud” that this sort of thing was going on in their church? How might the same thing happen in the church today?
  • Why was the man to be handed over to Satan? Does that seem harsh to you?
  • What is the purpose of church discipline? What is its ultimate goal?

Discussion 2: Read verses 6-8.

  • What does Paul mean when he says, “a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?”
  • If sin is not dealt with decisively, what is communicated to the church?
  • What does this passage teach us about making judgments? How does it differ from what we discussed earlier (a person’s actions verses a person’s heart)?
  • How can we keep sin from permeating our lives?

Discussion 3: Read verses 9-13.

  • Why is Paul making a distinction between making judgments about believers’ and nonbelievers’ actions?

Discussion 4: Some Principles

  • Reflecting back on Terry’s sermon and based on what we have just read, what are some important principles that allow room for application in various times and settings that we should keep in mind when considering church discipline?

Application: Beliefs/Values/Behavior—Head/Heart/Hands

Head: Sin is bondage, but it wants you to believe it represents human freedom.

*Believe this: the church is precious and your involvement in it is super important and each of us contributes or takes away from its purity by our own choices.

Heart: Learn to love the church God has placed you in.

*Your heart will follow its investment; those who love the church do so because they have invested time, talent, and treasure in the church.

*If you do not love the church (a local church) it is because of a lack of investment.

Hands: Church discipline is extremely rare, maybe 3 times in 30 years. But the need to be in relationships where there is freedom and joy to give and receive scriptural correction is always there. Are you in those kinds of relationships? If not, will you take steps to enter into them? If so, will you continue to thrive in them?


[1] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 78). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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