In the N/T Letter to the Hebrews, we read:


We know that God does not tempt anyone (Jas. 1:13). Is this "reproving", "discipline", and "scourging" analogous to that we read elsewhere in the First Letter to the Corinthians?:

1 Corinthians 5:5: "I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."

In both cases, it seem that the "punishment" is used to save the spirit (at the very least). It also appears that Satan is given extreme latitude in this world. So, how is "reproving", "discipline", and "scourging" (Heb. 12:6) different from "the destruction of the flesh" (2 Cor. 5:5)?

  • 1
    The latter refers to apostolic anathema; the former, to God's corrective punishment.
    – Lucian
    Aug 29 at 22:04

1 Corinthians 5:5

The comments in 1 Cor 5:5 have occasioned much discussion for the last 2000 years. The traditional explanation, with which I essentially agree as propounded by such notables as Beza and others, that this is the formula for excommunication. The basis being that because there are, spiritually speaking, only two kingdoms of God and Satan, antithetical to each other, and to be excluded from one is be a member of the other.

The central idea here has the language of OT covenants and the essential divine promises of divine protection and spiritual prosperity contained therein. If one excludes oneself from the covenant blessings and protection, then one is immediately exposed to the wiles of Satan outside the kingdom of God.

Hebrews 12:5, 6

Therefore, I would regard 1 Cor 5:5 as a form of excommunication, HOWEVER, Heb 12:5, 6 is describing something else - discipline from the Lord similar to that described in other placers such as:

  • Rev 3:19 - Those I love, I rebuke and discipline. Therefore be earnest and repent.
  • Ps 38:1, 2 - O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your anger or discipline me in Your wrath. For Your arrows have pierced me deeply, and Your hand has pressed down on me.
  • Ps 39:11 - You discipline and correct a man for his iniquity, consuming like a moth what he holds dear; surely each man is but a vapor.


1 Cor 5:5 describes a form of excommunication from the Christian community. Heb 12:5, 6 describes the discipline of the Lord within the Christian community.

APPENDIX - Comments in 1 Cor 5:5

Albert Barnes:

Unto Satan - Beza, and the Latin fathers, suppose that this is only an expression of excommunication. They say, that in the Scriptures there are but two kingdoms recognized - the kingdom of God, or the church, and the kingdom of the world, which is regarded as under the control of Satan; and that to exclude a man from one is to subject him to the dominion of the other. There is some foundation for this opinion; and there can be no doubt that excommunication is here intended, and that, by excommunication, the offender was in some sense placed under the control of Satan. It is further evident that it is here supposed that by being thus placed under him the offender would be subject to corporal inflictions by the agency of Satan, which are here called the "destruction of the flesh." Satan is elsewhere referred to as the author of bodily diseases. Thus, in the case of Job, Job 2:7. A similar instance is mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:20, where Paul says he had delivered Hymeneus and Alexander to "Satan, that they might learn not to blaspheme."

Cambridge Commentary:

Two explanations of this passage demand our notice.

(1) It has been understood of excommunication, as though he who was excluded from the Christian Church was thereby solemnly given back to Satan, from whose empire he had been delivered when he became a Christian. The ‘destruction of the flesh’ and the salvation of the spirit are then explained to mean that mortification of carnal concupiscence and that amendment of life which the sentence is calculated to produce. But it is better

(2) to understand it of some temporal judgment, such as befell Job in the Old Testament, Ananias, Sapphira, and Elymas the sorcerer, in the New. Such an idea was common among the Rabbis (see Stanley’s note). It falls in with such passages as St Luke 13:16; 2 Corinthians 12:7 (where ‘messenger’ may be translated ‘angel’), as well as with ch. 1 Corinthians 11:30 in this Epistle. The punishment was intended for the discipline and ultimate recovery of the spirit. Some have doubted whether this is possible, but we may bear in mind the acute remark of Meyer, that though “it is with an antichristian purpose that Satan smites the man, against his own will the purpose is made to serve God’s aim of salvation.”

  • I was also wondering who is doing the discipline in Heb. 12:6, but I didn't add that to the OP as I might have. +1.
    – Xeno
    Aug 29 at 23:20
  • 1
    @Xeno - I think that is the fundamental difference between the two cases - discipline coming from the outside world vs discipline from the Lord.
    – Dottard
    Aug 29 at 23:28

Are Heb.12:6 and 1 Cor. 5:5 essentially describing similar punishments?

No, they are essentially and fundamentally different kinds of punishments in just about every aspect.

Hebrews 12:

4 In your struggle against sin,

The person being punished was struggling. He wanted to do good.

you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement

There was encouragement.

that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

There was a father-son relationship: the father punished the son.

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,

The Lord was doing the punishing.

and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,

The punishment was out of love.

and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

Everyone experienced this form of punishment sometimes.

Now, on the other hand, 1 Corinthians 5:

1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. 2And you are proud!

This was a really bad guy. He didn't even acknowledge his sin.

4So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present,

The expulsion order came from the assembly guided by Jesus.

5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh,

Let Satan do the dirty work of punishing him. Satan wouldn't be doing it out of love.

so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

This was the only common aspect between these two passages. The common goal was to ultimately save the person for eternal life. Otherwise, the two punishments were very different in the following 4 aspects:

  1. In Hebrews, the sinner struggled to do good; In Corinthians, the sinner didn't care.

  2. In Hebrews, it was for encouragement; In Corinthians, it was for destruction.

  3. In Hebrews, it was performed by God in love; In Corinthians, Satan carried it out in hatred.

  4. In Hebrews, it happened to everyone sooner or later; In Corinthians, it applied to only the extreme cases.

Are Heb.12:6 and 1 Cor. 5:5 essentially describing similar punishments?

Yes, only in terms of the ultimate goal. Otherwise, the two were diametrically opposites.


This man was disciplined by God Because he was a son, a believer in Christ.

The discipline was carried out through the apostle Paul instructing the eclessia in Corinth along with the power of the Lord Jesus.

It was a very egregious act and one that definitely needed to be disciplined. What's even interesting to see is that this ecclesia was puffed up about it. They were proud of what this man was doing. That tells a lot about them as well!

The Corinthians were very immature In their faith, and understandably so.

They were to judge this man and in turn, they too were being disciplined by the Lord. They obeyed Paul's word and expelled the wicked out from among themselves.

He was given up to Satan for the extermination of the flesh so that his spirit may be saved in the Day of the Lord Jesus. We know how Satan was used in Job's life to teach him… And he was a righteous man as well

This to was discipline in love The end result of not only this man's spirit being saved in the day of Christ but also for the Corinthians grow up in their faith.

Later on in second Corinthians We see Paul's instruction regarding this man.

But if anyone has caused grief, he not grieved me, but—in part, that I might not put it too severely—you all. 6The punishment which is by the majority is sufficient to such a one, 7so that on the contrary, rather for you to forgive and to comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be overwhelmed by more abundant sorrow. 8Therefore I exhort you to confirm your love toward him. 2 Cor: 2-6

It reminds me of the parable of the prodigal son who left with his Fathers inheritance And spent it lavishly…

After living it up he came to his senses and the father's heart was rejoicing that his son had come home.

It was the brother's heart who is was hardened towards the father for being so gracious to that son of his.

It's a good lesson to learn as even and stated in Galatians 6:1

Brothers, if someone is caught in a trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him with a spirit of gentleness. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

  • ? … Job was a righteous man? Where do we see this?
    – Dave
    Aug 30 at 1:10
  • Dave, I stand corrected. You are right, Job was upright and blameless. He was guilty of thinking he was more righteous than God. It is through the book of Job that we see God's purpose for the adversary in his life.
    – Sherrie
    Aug 30 at 4:51

Are Heb.12:6 and 1 Cor. 5:5 essentially describing similar punishments?

1 Corinthians 5:5: "I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."

The above translation is incorrect, the original Greek text does not say HIS spirit but "the" spirit. The NHEB, WNT, WEB, and YTL render the verse like the KJV below.

1 Corinthians 5:5 KJV

5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that THE spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Alternate reading as noted by the footnotes NET

Footnotes NET 1 Corinthians 5:5 tn Or perhaps “turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of your fleshly works, so that your spirit may be saved…”; Grk

1 Corinthians 5:5 NET [Your and Congregation]] Inserted in the verse by me--meaning the spirit of the congregation.

5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that [Your} spirit [of the congregation]may be saved[a] in the day of the Lord.[b]

Sexual Immorality Rebuked: 1 Cor.5:1-2.

This is a command to expel a man that had sexual relationships with his father's wife. This man would then become part of the world over which Satan is the god and ruler: [1 John 5:19] The expulsion would result in the destruction of the flesh-removal of the corrupting influence, on the other hand, the spirit of the congregation would be preserved. 2 Tim. 4:22 " The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you."

1 Corinthians 5:1-2, 13 NASB

5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and sexual immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, namely, that someone has his father’s wife. 2 [a]You have become [b]arrogant and [c]have not mourned instead so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.13 But those who are outside, God [l]judges. Remove the evil person from among yourselves.

Do Not Grow Weary or halfhearted in the race for life.Heb 12;3-6

They were getting tired of having to face the reproaches of godless people. (Heb. 12:3) They failed to realize that the harsh treatment from opposers served as discipline from God and confirmed that he loved them deeply as his sons.

Hebrews 12:3-6 NET

3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”


NO, It is essentially describing two different kinds of punishment. Hebrews 12:6 It is beneficial punishment. 1 Cor. 5:5 results in disfellowship of an unrepentant sinner from the congregation thus preserving the spiritual unity of the congregation.

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