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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
2 Corinthians 6

 

 

Introduction

CHAP. 6. THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED


Verse 1

1. Συνεργοῦντες δὲ καὶ παρακαλοῦμεν. But working together (with him) we intreat also. The reference is to 2 Corinthians 5:20 : ‘we besought you on Christ’s behalf to become reconciled to God; but we do more; we intreat also.’ Συνεργοῦντες implies working with some one, and with God or with Christ is probably meant. With the other Apostles, or with other teachers at Corinth, or with you Corinthians is possible, but does not fit the context so well as with Him. ‘Working together with our exhortations,’ joining example to precept, is forced. The καί refers to the previous appeal, and shows that the same class of readers is addressed as before. It takes up the idea of the ‘ambassador.’ Comp. 1 Corinthians 3:9.

μὴ εἰς κενὸν τ. χ. τ. θ. δέξασθαι ὑμᾶς. The ὑμᾶς is emphatic, ‘ye any more than we Apostles. Our converts must remember what the grace which they have received involves, and must live accordingly. That they have received it through divinely appointed Apostles should remind them of their obligations, and render Corinthian licentiousness impossible.’ For εἰς κενόν comp. Galatians 2:2; Philippians 2:16; 1 Thessalonians 3:5; Isaiah 65:23; Jeremiah 6:29. For the timeless aorist after παρακαλεῖν comp. 2 Corinthians 2:8; Romans 12:1; Romans 15:30; Ephesians 4:1. It is still more common after κελεύειν.


Verses 1-10

1–10. S. Paul continues his personal explanations respecting his work. These personal explanations are specially prominent in 2 Corinthians 6:3-4, about which 2 Corinthians 6:4-10 give details as to the way in which his ministry was exercised. He can give an account of it which might well put his adversaries to shame. His readers can use it as a material for defence. “The almost lyrical character which belongs to this burst of feeling may be fitly compared to Romans 8:31-39; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, which occupy in a similar manner the central place in these Epistles” (Stanley).


Verse 2

2. A parenthesis, showing why the Corinthians should at once follow his exhortations. The nom. to λέηει is ὁ θεός (2 Corinthians 6:1) who gives the grace, and with whom the Apostle works. The quotation is from the LXX. of Isaiah 49:8. At an acceptable time I hearkened to thee, and in a day of salvation I succoured thee. In the original the words apply to Jehovah’s ideal Servant, and they are here transferred to the followers and members of Christ. The καιρὸς δεκτός in the original is ‘a season of favour’: comp. λόγοι τῆς χάριτος (Luke 4:22): it is that in which ἡ χάρις τοῦ θεοῦ specially abounds. Comp. ἐνιαυτὸν Κυρἱου δεκτόν (Luke 4:19). The aorists point to this blessed season as certain. In the LXX. εἰσακούω is very frequent; in the N.T. here only.

ἰδοὺ νῦν καιρὸς εὐπρόσδεκτος. This is the Apostle’s comment on the Scripture just quoted, and in his earnestness he intensifies the δεκτός into a strong double compound: Behold now is the welcome and acceptable time: 2 Corinthians 8:12; Romans 15:16; Romans 15:31.


Verse 3

3. μηδεμίαν ἐν μηδενὶ διδόντες προσκοπήν. Coordinate with συνεργοῦντες (2 Corinthians 6:1). Comp. ἐν μηδενὶ λειπόμενοι (James 1:4). Winer, p. 608. On the relation of πρόσκομμα to σκάνδαλον see Ellicott on 1 Corinthians 8:9. In the N.T. πρόσκομμα is more common (1 Corinthians 8:9; Romans 9:32-33, &c.) than προσκοπή, which in the LXX. does not occur. The Vulgate has offendiculum for πρόσκομμα, except in lapis offensionis for λίθος προσκόμματος, and offensio for προσκοπή.

ἵνα μὴ μωμηθῇ ἡ διακονία. See critical note. The rare verb (2 Corinthians 8:20; Proverbs 9:7; Wisdom of Solomon 10:14) states that he strives not to be a disfiguring blemish (2 Peter 2:13), a disgrace to his profession. In him the reputation, not merely of all ministers, but of the cause for which they worked was at stake: tunc enim vituperaretur ministerium, si aliter quam praedicabant viverent (Atto Verc.). Vituperabitur enim, non si fecerimus mala solum quae improbamus, sed etiam si non fecerimus bona quae docemus (Herveius Burgidolensis).


Verse 4

4. ἀλλʼ ἐν παντὶ συνιστάνοντες ἑαυτοὺς ὡς θ. δ. See critical note. But in everything (2 Corinthians 7:11; 2 Corinthians 7:16, 2 Corinthians 9:8, 2 Corinthians 11:9) commending ourselves, as God’s ministers (should do): διάκονοι, not σιακόνους, with emphasis on θεοῦ. Comp. 2 Corinthians 3:1. Again (comp. 2 Corinthians 4:8-12) he counts up his sufferings.

ἐν ὑπομονῇ πολλῇ κ. τ. λ. The repetition of ἐν eighteen times, διά thrice, ὡς seven times, is impressive. There is a rough grouping in the series. One of the main characteristics of his ministry is placed first, and then we have in three groups the ways in which the ὑπομονή is exhibited. In 2 Corinthians 6:6 he returns to the main characteristics, of which he mentions eight more. The changes to διά and to ὡς mark two other groups. Distinguish ὑπομονή from μακροθυμία in 2 Corinthians 6:6. The former is endurance of what is adverse, without complaining or losing heart: it is a brave patience (2 Corinthians 1:6, 2 Corinthians 12:12). The latter is endurance of injuries, without being provoked to anger or retaliation. Trench, Synonyms § liii. See Mayor on James 1:3.

ἐν θλίψεσιν, ἐν ἀνάγκαις, ἐν στενοχωρίαις. These are one of the fields in which ὑπομονή is shown. They are troubles which beset his work. For θλίψεις comp. 2 Corinthians 1:4; 2 Corinthians 1:8, 2 Corinthians 2:4, 2 Corinthians 4:17. Obviously ἀνάγκαι are worse, as implying either that they cannot be avoided, or that, if they come, there is no escape (2 Corinthians 12:10; Job 5:19; Job 30:25; Ps. 24:17). But it is not clear that στενοχωρίαι are worse than ἀνάγκαι. In 2 Corinthians 4:8 he speaks of being θλιβόμενος ἀλλʼ αὐ στενοχωρούμενος. Here he speaks of being subject to both degrees of pressure.


Verse 5

5. ἐν πληγαῖς, ἐν φυλακαῖς, ἐν ἀκαταστασίαις. Another field in which the ὑπομονή is manifested. These are the troubles which are inflicted on him by men. The πληγαί refer to scourgings or beatings from Jews or Romans 11:23-25; Acts 16:23. We know of only one imprisonment of the Apostle previous to this letter, viz. the one at Philippi; but evidently there had been others (2 Corinthians 11:23). He was expelled from Antioch in Pisidia, and was stoned at Lystra; and he may have been put in prison previous to these indignities. What might be called ἀκαταστασίαι (2 Corinthians 12:20; Luke 21:9; Proverbs 26:28) are frequent in Acts (Acts 13:50; Acts 14:5; Acts 14:19; Acts 16:19; Acts 16:22; Acts 17:5; Acts 18:12; Acts 19:23).

ἐν κόποις, ἐν ἀγρυπνίαις, ἐν νηστείαις. The third field in which ὑπομονή is exhibited;—the troubles which he laid upon himself as a necessary part of his work. By κόποι (2 Corinthians 11:23; 2 Corinthians 11:27; 1 Corinthians 15:28) is meant all that involves great toil and weariness; by ἀγρυπνίαι (2 Corinthians 11:27; often in Ecclus.) all that interferes with sleep. The two cover all his energy, working with his hands, travelling, teaching, praying, ‘anxiety about all the Churches.’ Usage (Luke 2:37; Acts 14:23; Acts 27:9) almost requires us to understand νηστεῖαι of voluntary abstinence, rather than of inability to obtain food. In 2 Corinthians 11:27 he distinguishes νηστεῖαι from hunger and thirst (1 Corinthians 4:11). We pass on from the fields in which ὑπομονή is manifested to characteristics which are coordinate with ὑπομονή: but ἐν must still be rendered ‘in,’ not ‘by.’


Verse 6

6. ἐν ἁγνότητι. General purity of life and sincerity of purpose (2 Corinthians 11:3 and nowhere else in Biblical Greek): in castitate (Vulgate) is too narrow. See Westcott on 1 John 3:3.

ἐν γνώσει. Knowledge of the spirit of the Gospel; 2 Corinthians 8:7, 2 Corinthians 11:6; 1 Corinthians 12:8; 1 Corinthians 13:2; 1 Corinthians 13:8; 1 Corinthians 14:6.

ἐν μακροθυμίᾳ, ἐν χρηστότητι. These two (coupled Galatians 5:22) refer to his conduct towards others. The former is the opposite of ὀξυθυμία, which is not found in Biblical Greek (but ὀξύθυμος in Proverbs 14:17). The latter is the special grace of the gentleman, placing others at their ease and shrinking from causing pain; invitans ad familiaritatem sui, dulcis alloquio, moribus temperata (Jerome). Trench, Synonyms § lxiii.

ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ. It is strange to find the Holy Spirit placed, apparently in a subordinate place, in a list of virtues. But perhaps this and ἐν δυνάμει θεοῦ are the closing members of the series, being placed at the end as the source of all these characteristics of the ministry; while immediately after the Holy Spirit are inserted two of the chief particulars in which His influence is exhibited, love (Galatians 5:22) and truthfulness. One may arrange the whole list thus; [1] ὑπομονή, exhibited ἐν θλίψεσιν, κ.τ.λ., [2] ἁγνότης, [3] γνῶσις, [4] μακροθυμία, [5] χρηστότης, all of which spring from Πνεῦμα Ἄγιον, exhibited ἐν ἀγάπῃ κ.τ.λ., and from δύναμις θεοῦ. But this is only a possible arrangement, and must not be pressed as intentional. One is tempted, however, to abandon the common reference to the Holy Ghost (A.V., R.V., &c.) and translate, in a spirit that is holy, meaning the Apostle’s own spirit.

ἐν ἀγάπῃ ἀνυποκρίτῳ. Romans 12:9. Love free from affectation and formality, sincere and from the heart. In 1 Timothy 1:5, and 2 Timothy 1:5 it is applied to πίστις, James 3:17 to ἡ ἄνωθεν σοφία, 1 Peter 1:22 to φιλαδελφία, Wisdom of Solomon 5:18 to κρίσις, Wisdom of Solomon 18:16 to ἐπιταγή. See on 2 Corinthians 10:5. Profane writers seem not to know the word. Marcus Aurelius says, εἰπὲ ὡς δικαιότατον φαίνεταί σοι· μόνον εὐμενῶς καὶ αἰδημόνως καὶ ἀνυποκρίτως.


Verse 7

7. ἐν λόγῳ ἀληθείας. In Ephesians 1:13; Colossians 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:15 the Gospel is called ὁ λόγος τῆς ἀληθείας. The omission of the article here does not prove that the Gospel is not meant, as λόγῳ ἀληθείας (James 1:18), ποιηταὶ λόγου (James 4:11), λόγος ζωῆς (Philippians 2:16) show. But perhaps the sincerity of his utterances is all that is intended here. Through the influence of the Spirit neither his affection nor his speech was hypocritical. His enemies said that both were.

ἐν δυνάμει θεοῦ. Not to be confined to either his preaching or his miracles (2 Corinthians 12:12): it covers the whole of his ministerial work, the success of which was not his but God’s; ἐν ἀποδείξει πνεύματος καὶ δυνάμεως (1 Corinthians 2:4). For δύναμις θεοῦ comp. 2 Corinthians 13:4; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 2:5; Romans 1:16; &c.

διὰ τῶν ὅπλων τῆς δικαιοσύνης. By weapons of righteousness, i.e. which righteousness supplies. Neither ‘weapons,’ nor ‘armour’ is satisfactory, the one meaning almost exclusively offensive, and the other quite exclusively defensive arms; whereas ὅπλα includes both. ‘Arms’ might be understood as brachia rather than arma. Comp. Ephesians 6:13-17. See Chase, Chrysostom, p. 183.

τῶν δεξιῶν καὶ ἀριστερῶν. For the right hand and the left. This does not mean for prosperity and adversity, but for completeness. The arms form a panoply; neither side is unarmed or unprotected.


Verse 8

8. διὰ δόξης καὶ ἀτιμίας. By glory and dishonour. The δόξα comes from God and His true servants, as when the Galatians treated him as an ἄγγελος θεοῦ (Galatians 4:14): the ἀτιμία (2 Corinthians 11:21; 1 Corinthians 11:14) comes from those who oppose both, as the Jews and heathen (Acts passim). Such δόξα and such ἀτιμία are alike a recommendation of the Apostle and his work. For the opposition between δόξα and ἀτιμία comp. 1 Corinthians 15:43; between τιμή and ἀτιμία, Romans 9:21; 2 Timothy 2:20.

διὰ δυσφημίας καὶ εὐφημίας. While δόξα and ἀτιμία are bestowed on those who are present, δυσφημία and εὐφημία are commonly used of the absent. Note the chiasmus: in the two pairs the good elements are in reverse order. Comp. 2 Corinthians 2:6, 2 Corinthians 4:3, 2 Corinthians 13:3. From these pairs S. Paul passes on to show the nature of the dishonour and evil report, and of the glory and good report. In the first two of the seven clauses, the order δυσφημία, εὐφημία is followed, the evil report being placed first, and the good and true statement second.

ὡς πλάνοι καὶ ἀληθεῖς. Here, with the change to ὡς, 2 Corinthians 6:9 should begin, as 2 Corinthians 6:8 with the change from ἐν to διά. Christ had been called ἐκεῖνος ὁ πλάνος (Matthew 27:63), and ‘how much more shall they call them of his household’ (Matthew 10:25). This use of καί to introduce an antithesis is specially common in S. John (John 1:10-11; John 3:11; John 3:19; John 3:32; John 5:39-40; John 6:36; John 6:43, &c.). In the N.T. πλάνος is never ‘wandering,’ but ‘misleading, seducing’ (1 Timothy 4:1; 2 John 1:7). Contrast Job 19:4.


Verse 9

9. ὡς ἀγνοούμενοι καὶ ἐπιγινωσκόμενοι. This does not mean that he was known to some and not known to others; but that his opponents said that he was an insignificant teacher, about whose authority nothing was known, and yet, he was ‘becoming well known’ to very many. Many were coming round to his side (2 Corinthians 1:14, 2 Corinthians 3:2). The compound, ἐπιγιν., makes the antithesis more complete: comp. 1 Corinthians 13:12. Cremer, Lex. p. 159.

ὡς ἀποθνήσκοντες καὶ ἰδοὺ ζῶμεν. In this and the four remaining clauses the contrast between δυσφημία and fact no longer holds. Rather, the contrast, so far as there is one, is between different sides of the same fact. His adversaries may have rejoiced over him as a dying man, of whom they would soon be rid; but more probably the thought is similar to that in 2 Corinthians 4:10-11; he is always in a dying state, and he is always being revived in the life of Christ. This seems to be the view of both A.V. and R.V., which here drop ‘and yet,’ and have simply ‘and’ for καί. In his joyous recognition of the other side of the fact S. Paul changes the simple participle into ἰδοὺ ζῶμεν. It would have been much less forcible to say καὶ ζῶντες.

ὡς παιδευόμενοι καὶ μὴ θανατούμενοι. The present participles throughout 2 Corinthians 6:9-10 should be noted: as being chastened and not being killed. This is parallel to the preceding couplet, and it confirms the view that both members express, from different points of view, what is the fact. Both couplets seem to be taken from Psalms 118; οὐκ ἀποθανοῦμαι ἀλλὰ ζήσομαιπαιδεύων ἐπαίδευσέν με Κύριος, καὶ τῷ θανάτῳ οὐ παρέδωκέν με (17, 18). Here, as in the psalm, the chastening is that of God. Persecution by man, though not excluded, is not specially meant, having been mentioned in 2 Corinthians 6:5.


Verse 10

10. Here it is very improbable that λυπούμενοι, πτωχοί, and μηδὲν ἔχοντες are charges made against him by his enemies, while ἀεὶ χαίροντες, πολλοὺς πλουτίζοντες, and πάντα κατέχοντες are facts. All are given as facts. He was constantly being pained by his failures, and by his converts going astray; but God always turned his sorrow into joy (John 15:20). He was always poor in this world’s goods, but God enabled him to enrich others in spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 1:5). Note the change from καί to δέ in these two contrasts. Are the Beatitudes in his mind? Contrast the antitheses in 1 Corinthians 7:29.

ἀεὶ δὲ χαίροντες. The overwhelming sense of God’s love and of the indwelling of the Spirit in himself and in the Church filled him with inextinguishable joy: comp. Romans 5:3; Romans 14:7; Philippians 2:17-18; Philippians 4:4.

πολλοὺς δὲ πλουτίζοντες. Not by alms; he was not well enough off to give much even to a few, and the collections for the saints which he organized did not make any one rich. Moreover, such an interpretation is unworthy of the lofty tone of this passage. The imparting of spiritual gifts is specially meant; comp. Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 3:8; Revelation 2:9. On S. Paul’s poverty see Ramsay, Paul the Traveller, pp. 34 ff.

ὡς μηδὲν ἔχοντες. Not even himself: οὐκ ἔστε ἑαυτῶν (1 Corinthians 6:19). He had given both soul and body to the service of Christ: δοῦλος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ (Romans 1:1; Titus 1:1). The subjective negative does not imply that his adversaries mocked at his poverty, but only that from one point of view he possessed nothing. In the N.T. μή with participles is much more common than οὐ, the latter being used when something is denied of persons who are definitely before the mind (2 Corinthians 4:8-9; contrast 2 Corinthians 4:2). Winer, p. 609. The ὡς gives a subjective view.

πάντα κατέχοντες. A play on words (ἕχοντες, κατέχοντες) similar to those in 2 Corinthians 1:13, 2 Corinthians 3:2, 2 Corinthians 4:8. The compound implies holding fast as a sure possession (1 Corinthians 7:30; 1 Corinthians 11:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:21). For πάντα comp. 1 Corinthians 3:22. In accordance with Christ’s promise (Mark 10:27-30) he had received a hundredfold for what he had given up. He had everything that is of real value here, together with an eternal inheritance. As Augustine says, “The whole world is the wealth of the believer” (De Civ. Dei xx. 7). Comp. 2 Corinthians 4:6; 2 Corinthians 4:18, 2 Corinthians 5:1; Philippians 4:12.

2 Corinthians 6:11 to 2 Corinthians 7:16. CONCLUSION OF THE APPEAL FOR RECONCILIATION EXHORTATIONS TO CHRISTIAN HOLINESS STATEMENT OF THE HAPPY TIDINGS BROUGHT BY TITUS FROM CORINTH


Verse 11

11. Τὸ στόμα ἡμῶν ἀνέῳγεν. Not ‘is opened,’ but ‘is open, stands open.’ Comp. John 1:51. With his usual frankness, he tells the inmost workings of his heart. ‘Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.’ He is referring to what precedes, and perhaps also to what follows.

Κορίνθιοι. This is the only place in which he addresses the Corinthians by name: comp. Galatians 3:1; Philippians 4:15; rara et praesentissima appellatio (Bengel).

πεπλάτυνται. ‘Has been enlarged and remains so, ready to take you in.’ Affection εὐρυχώρους ἐργάζεται τὰς τῶν κεκτημένων καρδίας (Theodoret). In spite of the way in which he had been treated, he had felt his love for them becoming intensified by the preparation of this letter. Note the telling asyndeton, and comp. ὁδὸν ἐντολῶν σου ἔδραμον, ὅταν ἐπλάτυνας τὴν καρδίαν μου (Ps. 118:32). In Deuteronomy 11:16 the meaning is different.


Verses 11-13

11–13. Transition from the impassioned statement in 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 to the exhortations in 2 Corinthians 6:14 ff., which take up the exhortation in 2 Corinthians 6:1.


Verse 12

12. στενοχωρεῖσθε δὲ ἐν τοῖς σπλάγχνοις ὑμῶν. See on 2 Corinthians 4:8. If there is not τελεία ἀγάπη between them and him, the reason is, not that he has little room in his heart for them, but that they have no room in their affections for him. They were too full of prejudice and suspicion and unfounded resentment to admit the love which οὐ παροξύνεται, οὐ λογίζεται τὸ κακόν, πάντα ἐλπίζει (1 Corinthians 13:5-6). There seems to be no special point in the change from his καρδία to their σπλάγχνα beyond the avoidance of repetition. In both cases the seat of the affections is meant. The σπλάγχνα include the heart, lungs, and liver, rather than the bowels. See Lightfoot on Philippians 1:8; Philippians 2:1; Philemon 1:12. Comp. κλείσῃ τὰ σπλάγχνα αὐτοῦ ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ (1 John 3:17).


Verse 13

13. τῂν δὲ αὐτὴν ἀντιμισθίαν. These words have no regular construction. Apparently the adverbial τὸ αὐτό and ἀντιμισθία have coalesced by attraction. But as the same requital (Romans 1:27), i.e. as a requital in kind, a return of love for love: an adverbial accusative. The word is not found in the LXX.

ὡς τέκνοις λέγω. More affectionate than νἱοῖς: must not children love their parents? Comp. the outburst of affection, 1 Corinthians 4:14.

πλατύνθητε καὶ ὑμεῖς. Comp. καταλλάγητε τῷ θεῷ (2 Corinthians 5:20). This is the point to which the letter, after the eloquent outburst in 2 Corinthians 6:3-10, now returns. He had said, ‘Be reconciled to God,’ and ‘receive not the grace of God in vain’ (2 Corinthians 6:1). He has just added, ‘Be reconciled to me’ (2 Corinthians 6:13). He is now ready to tell them how they may prove their reconciliation to God and himself and make good use of the grace which God has given them. Corinthian immorality must be banished from among them.


Verse 14

14. ΄ὴ γίνεσθε ἑτεροζυγοῦντες ἀπίστοις (2 Corinthians 4:4). Become not incongruously yoked to unbelievers. ‘Do not become heterogeneous yokefellows with heathen: they belong to one species, you to quite another. They will not work in your way; you must not work in theirs.’ The γινέσθε gently puts the error as only possible, not as having actually occurred. No doubt there is allusion to Leviticus 19:19 and Deuteronomy 22:10. But Dr Chase points out that Deuteronomy 11:16 may be in the Apostle’s mind, giving a turn to his thoughts: φαγὼν καὶ ἐμπλησθεὶς πρόσεχε σεαυτῷ μὴ πλατυνθῇ ἡ καρδία σου, καὶ παραβῆτε καὶ λατρεύσητε θεοῖς ἑτέροις. The Apostle may have thought it well to warn the Corinthians, that, by enlargement of heart, he does not mean such as would embrace heathen ideas and acts. Some Corinthians had claimed liberty in such things: ‘to be scrupulous about them savoured of narrowness; one must take a broad view of life and of the Gospel.’ This is not the ‘enlargement’ for which he pleads; for it is precisely this which results in receiving the grace of God in vain. Note the careful limitation of his own πλατυσμός in 1 Corinthians 9:21. The prohibition is enforced by five rapid argumentative questions (2 Corinthians 12:17-18), which show how incongruous such yoking would be. The first four questions are in pairs. Chrysostom comments on the rhetoric of this passage.

τίς γὰρ μετοχὴἢ τίς κοινωνία; There is not much difference of meaning here; but the two words are not synonymous. Here only in the N.T. does μετοχή occur. It implies that something is shared between μέτοχοι (Hebrews 1:9; Luke 5:7), as profits, or supplies; whereas κοινωνία rather implies that what is κοινόν to all is enjoyed by each in its totality, e.g. a beautiful day or view. See T. S. Evans on 1 Corinthians 10:16. Here S. Paul is evidently seeking a change of word for each question; and his command of Greek is thus illustrated. In Ps. Sol. 14:4 we find μετοχὴ ἁμαρτίας: Hosea 4:17 μέτοχος εἰδώλων. As in 2 Corinthians 6:8, the A.V. here makes an antithesis which is not in the Greek, for δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ἀνομίᾳ does not mean ‘righteousness and unrighteousness,’ but righteousness and Iniquity (Matthew 7:23; Matthew 13:41; Romans 4:7; Romans 6:19) or lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 John 3:4), which is the characteristic of heathen life (Romans 6:19).

φωτὶ πρὸς σκότος. S. Paul not only varies the terms; he also varies the construction in four out of the five questions. For φῶς and σκότος in this moral sense comp. Romans 13:12; Ephesians 5:8; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 John 2:9. For the construction comp. τί κοινωνήσει χύτρα πρὸς λέβητα; (Sirach 13:3): τίς οὖν κοινωνία πρὸς Ἀπόλλωνα, τῷ μηδὲν οἰκεῖον ἐπιτετηδευκότι; (Philo, Leg. ad Gai. xiv. 1007).


Verses 14-18

14–7:1. Warning against heathen modes of thought and life. The Corinthians are to keep themselves apart from such influence. There is here no unintelligible change of topic; and it is exaggeration to speak of “a remarkable dislocation of the argument” and “disconnexion with the context.” It is true that 2 Corinthians 7:2 would fit on very well to 2 Corinthians 6:13 : it is indeed a return to the topic of 2 Corinthians 6:11-13. But that is no sufficient reason for maintaining, against all textual evidence, that this is an interpolation from the lost letter of 1 Corinthians 5:9, or some other lost letter. That the end of one of these lost letters might get attached to another letter is intelligible. One might be imperfect at the end as the other was at the beginning. But could a fragment of one roll get inserted into the middle of another roll? That this passage is wholly spurious, an interpolation composed by an early scribe, is very improbable. Βελίαρ, μετοχή, συμφώνησίς, συγκάθεσις, and μολυσμός are found nowhere else in the N.T.; but ἅπαξ λεγόμενα abound in S. Paul’s letters. There are about 38 such words in Colossians, about 41 in Philippians, about 42 in Ephesians. And it should be noticed that three out of the five in this passage are the result of trying to vary the word for union and fellowship. The tone of these verses is thoroughly Pauline; and after the hint given in 2 Corinthians 6:1 this exhortation to purity of faith and conduct comes in here naturally enough. The return to the affectionate appeal of 2 Corinthians 6:11-13, as soon as the exhortation is concluded, is also quite natural. So long a letter as 2 Corinthians was of course not all written at one sitting. There may have been many sittings, and some of the rapid changes in the letter may be due to this cause. But, apart from this possibility, S. Paul is given to rapid changes, especially in this letter. “Probably there is no literary work in which the cross-currents of feeling are so violent and so frequent” (Chase in the Classical Review, April 1890, p. 151: see also July, p. 317, and October, p. 359).


Verse 15

15. τίς δὲ συμφώνησις Χριστοῦ πρὸς Βελίαρ; And what concord is there of Christ with Belial? There can be no harmony between the perfection of holiness and the spirit of heathen impurity. ‘Belial’ in the O.T. is frequent and has various meanings. Its original meaning may be either ‘worthlessness’ or ‘hopeless ruin’; its secondary meaning, either ‘destruction’ or’ extreme wickedness.’ Between the O.T. and the N.T. ‘Belial’ or ‘Beliar’ came to be a proper name = Satan, and perhaps we have the transition to this use in ‘the wicked one’ of Nahum 1:15. We find it thus employed in the Book of Jubilees, and often in the Testaments of the XII. Patriarchs, where it is connected with the spirit of impurity (Reub. 4, 6; Sim. 5), deceit (Levi 3; Judah 25; Benj. 6), darkness (Levi 18), anger (Daniel 1). There, as in the best MSS. here, the form Βελίαρ is used. Another variation is βερίαρ. In the Sibylline Oracles the name indicates Nero. The Fathers commonly interpret it by ἀποστάτης and use it of Satan. See Chase, The Lord’s Prayer in the Early Church, p. 87.

τίς μερὶς πιστῷ μετὰ ἀπίστου; Here there is a verbal antithesis, and the A.V. destroys it by turning ‘unbeliever’ (2 Corinthians 6:14) into ‘infidel.’ What portion (Luke 10:42; Acts 8:21) is there for a believer (1 Timothy 5:16; Acts 16:1) with an unbeliever (John 20:27). Comp. μετὰ μοιχῶν τὴν μερίδα σου ἐτίθεις (Psalms 49:18). For the true Christian μερίς see Colossians 1:12.


Verse 16

16. τίς δὲ συνκατάθεσια ναῷ θεοῦ μετὰ εἰδώλων; The same construction as in the preceding question: What agreement is there for a sanctuary of God with idols? Συνκατάθεσις occurs nowhere else in Biblical Greek; but we have the verb Luke 23:51; Exodus 23:1; Exodus 23:32. It perhaps refers to depositing a vote with the votes of others and thus giving assent, in which sense it occurs in Polybius.

ἡμεῖς γὰρ ναὸς θεοῦ ἐσμὲν ζῶντος. See critical note. For we are a sanctuary of the living God. It is the community rather than the individual that is a sanctuary of God; but the same is true of the individual also (1 Corinthians 6:19). The emphasis is on ἡμεῖς, ‘we Christians’; and ζῶντος, emphatic by position, is in marked contrast to dead idols (1 Thessalonians 1:9; Acts 14:15). Just as the presence of idols pollutes the sanctuary, so the Christian community is polluted by beliefs and acts which savour of idolatry. Vos estis in quorum cordibus habitat et praesidet Deus, qui in se vivens est, et vitam suis dat aeternam; sicut e contrario idola sunt mortua suis cultoribus, qui eis sunt causa mortis aeternae (Herveius Burgidol.). As a metaphor for the Divine indwelling, the ναός, which contained the Holy of Holies, is more suitable than ἱερόν, which included the whole sacred enclosure: 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 2:21. Converts from heathenism would understand the metaphor, for ναός to them would suggest the cella or shrine in which the image of the god was placed. The quotation is from the LXX. of Leviticus 26:12, with perhaps some recollection of Ezekiel 37:27 : but ἐνοικησω ἐν αὐτοῖς is in neither passage, nor in any part of the O.T., although ἔσται ἡ κατασκήνωσίς μου ἐν αὐτοῖς (l.c.) seems to be nearly equivalent. But there is wide difference between ‘walk among them,’ or ‘tabernacle among them,’ and ‘dwell in them.’ It is the difference between the Old Covenant and the New.


Verse 17

17. διὸ Ἐξέλθατε. The Apostle draws the conclusion to which he pointed in 2 Corinthians 6:14. God’s people must be separated from the life of the heathen, at once and decisively (aor. imperat.). The quotation is made freely from memory, and is a mosaic of several passages; Isaiah 52:11-12; Ezekiel 20:34; comp. Ezekiel 11:17; Zephaniah 3:20; Zechariah 10:8. Exite de medio eorum, non corpore, sed mente, non vagatione loci, sed devotione (Atto Verc.).

κἀγὼ εἰσδέξομαι ὑμᾶς. And I will welcome you. The compound occurs nowhere else in the N.T., but is fairly common in the LXX., esp. of the Divine promises (Hosea 8:10; Micah 4:6; Zechariah 10:10; Jeremiah 23:3; &c.), as here. Cremer, Lex. p. 687. In Lk. and Acts ἀποδέχομαι is common. Both mean ‘receive with favour.’


Verse 18

18. This again seems to be a mosaic of several passages; 2 Samuel 7:14; Isaiah 43:6; 2 Samuel 7:8 : And I will be to you a Father, and ye shall be to Me sons and daughters. For ἔσομαι εἰς = γενήσομαι comp. Ephesians 5:31; Hebrews 8:10 : but the εἰς may = ‘to serve as, for.’ This is probably a Hebraism: comp. Acts 7:21; Acts 13:22; Acts 13:47. Simcox, Language of the N.T., pp. 80, 143. The recognition of daughters of God as well as sons of God is found in Isaiah 43:6 : but it was the Gospel which first raised woman to her true position in God’s family. At Corinth, where the degradation of women in the name of religion was so conspicuous, it might be specially necessary to point out that women are God’s daughters. Comp. Acts 2:17-18 from Joel 2:28.

λέγει Κύριος Παντοκράτωρ. This represents the O.T. formula, ‘saith the Lord of Hosts’ (2 Samuel 7:8, 1 Chronicles 17:7; Haggai 1:2; Haggai 1:5-7; Haggai 1:9; Haggai 1:14, &c.). In the O.T. παντοκράτωρ is frequent; but in the N.T. it is found only here and in Revelation (2 Corinthians 1:8, 2 Corinthians 4:8, 2 Corinthians 11:17, &c.). Westcott (The Historic Faith, pp. 36, 37) points out that παντοκράτωρ is ‘All-sovereign’ rather than ‘Almighty’; the title is descriptive of exercised dominion rather than of abstract power. Scripture speaks of powers of evil as ‘world-sovereign’ (Ephesians 6:12), but it proclaims God as ‘All-sovereign.’ The All-sovereign One can, the Lord will, fulfil his promises, whatever men may do. Si vos ejecerint, si vos parentes abdicaverint infideles, Me patrem habebitis sempiternum (Primasius). See Charles on the Book of Jubilees i. 24.

 


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Bibliography Information
"Commentary on 2 Corinthians 6:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/2-corinthians-6.html. 1896.

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Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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