5:6 “our glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?”
Your glorying is not good.
The word “glorying” means ground of glorying. The ground of glorying in the Corinthian church was tolerance towards incest in the church. This was far more than acquiescing to the sin.
Do you not know
Six times the phrase “know you not” occurs in chapter six. The Corinthians church should have been aware of the danger of tolerance towards evil. The father, son, and stepmother were all there in church and no one said a word to them.
that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
Paul introduces an illustration of leaven because many in the congregation were from a Jewish background. During Passover all unleavened bread was to be put out of the house. The Greek puts stress on the word “little.” It does not take much leaven to infect the whole lump of bread. A small amount of leaven will spread through the whole lump of dough. Leaven here stands for evil influence. It ferments with putrefaction, with rottenness. Tolerance of incest in the congregation will spread its corrupting influence into the entire congregation.
A little tolerance will spread its corrupting influence into the entire congregation.
One bad apple in a barrel can make all the good apples bad. A little yeast will leaven a large lump of dough. By shutting our eyes to the corrupting influence of tolerance of a small amount of evil in the congregation, we will introduce penetrating putrefaction into the congregation. Church discipline is primarily for the spiritual health of the local church.