“I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.”
Paul now transitions into the church’s relationship to “sexually immoral people.”
I wrote to you in my epistle
The “epistle” here is an epistle written before First Corinthians. We have no record of this letter. The books in the canon of Scripture are not all the letters that Paul wrote, for he wrote many other letters. The Holy Spirit inspired the canonical books but not his other writings.
not to keep company with sexually immoral people.
The words “keep company” means to keep familiar company or close fellowship. It is a double compound word with the idea of mix yourself up with. The idea is of an intimate and continuous relationship with someone, in this context, someone who lives in incest. The church at Corinth should not treat the person living in incest as a bosom companion because that gives an impression of sanctioning the sin. Paul said in effect, “I wrote you not to be a bosom buddy with sexually immoral Christian people. I did not say that you should have no contact with these people or would not be able to go to work tomorrow. Corinth is filled with sexually depraved people. I am not saying that you should be prudish people.” The point is not to withdraw all association with sexually immoral people but to not enter their lifestyles. Paul will qualify what he means in verses ten and eleven.
2 Co 6:14-16, 14Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”
The believer is not to associate with another believer who is actively sexually immoral.
A virtue of the world system is broadmindedness. It is a culture without criteria, without standards. Christians are people with the criteria of the Word of God. Integrity demands that we live consistently with these standards. However, this does not mean we are to cut off contact with non-Christians, but only with Christians who live like they are not saved and violate the integrity demanded of being a Christian.
Jennifer, the context refers to the local church, not the physical family. In application, I think it would be wise not to associate with the friends or go to places where the physical brother goes.