Paul Delivering People Over to Satan?


Salvete, omnes!

What, precisely, does it mean when Paul says he is delivering someone over to satan? Is it the same thing as excommunication or something else? In what way, precisely, does he mean he is delivering them over to satan? What I mean when I ask this is, how does satan play a role in this matter? Why is satan even invoked in this way here?



This refers to 1 Cor. 5:5 and 1 Tim 1:20 (which information you should have included with your inquiry to make things a little easier for your respondents).

I consulted several of the commentaries that I have on my hard drive, and the consensus is that this expression is not something that one can take literally; rather, it is a euphemism for excommunication.


I think he means that when a person will not repent, leave him to Satan, so that he can finally hit bottom, and hopefully realize his sinfulness and repent. Some people have to learn the hard way, some never do. It’s like an addict who has to hit rock bottom before he will admit his life is out of control and seek help. Nagging and preaching will do nothing to save the person, it’s a waste of time.


yes, we can hit a “bottom” every day and one of those becomes the “bottom” of our life; hopefully we are always moving upward towards the Lord.

In a way, as has been said, being turned over to satan make us confront ourselves and what we are doing with and in our life. It should frighten us, to be swamped with evil.


All right, so, so far, we have seen two interpretations of the phrasse here.

While I do think the second interpretation is intriguing and indeed quite sensible, the first does seem the more traditional understanding.

However, how, precisely, is “excommunication” a “delivering over to satan”? In what sense is this the case?


As I said in my post, it isn’t a literal “delivering over to Satan;” the phrase is a euphemism, in the same way the “kicking the bucket” is a modern euphemism for dying, or, from the Old Testament, “covering one’s feet” is a euphemism for going to the bathroom.


This is the earliest reference we have for the doctrine of extra ecclesiam nulla salus. Outside the Chruch, there is no salvation. There is no salvation outside of Christ, and He is One with His Body, the Church.

Paul is instructing them to put him outside of the Church (excommunication). Satan is the god of this world, and we can only escape from his power by the grace of God, being united with Him in His One Body, the Church.


Scripture is not limited to either or but both /and. Scripture is rich enough to have multiple meanings. Like the tripod and quadriga
The density of scripture cannot be limited. If scripture is God inspired it’s meanings will be new and fresh and have impact on each generation.

closed #9

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