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Thursday, July 25th, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 5

Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy ScriptureOrchard's Catholic Commentary

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Verses 1-21

V 1. ’If’, etc.: ’When this poor hut, our earthly home, falls to pieces, we have . . .’: i.e. it is as certain as if the glorified body were already made and waiting for us.

2. ’In this’—the earthly body. Omit ’also’. ’Clothed upon with our habitation’: a mixture of images, not uncommon in Paul, cf.1 Timothy 6:10 (’Storing away a good foundation’).

3. Probably: Because when once we have put it on, we shall not find ourselves naked’. The thought seems to be the same as in 4, where it is clearer.

4. Tabernacle’—the poor hut, our body. ’Groan’ there are two pains, present suffering and the longing for the glorious life with Christ. But relief from the first alone is worthless to him. He states this in homely language: We wish not to put off our clothing (the misery of bodily life) but to put on more clothing’. Immortality is pictured as a cloak enveloping the whole man, body and soul. 5. ’Maketh us’: ’Has prepared us’—perhaps a new image of ourselves as a field tilled and sown by God. ’The pledge’, etc., see 1:22.

6-9. The thought of a glorious home concentrates itself into a desire for that Person without whom heaven itself would be nothing. Of this ’pain of exile’ Paul speaks some years later in Philippians 1:21-25.8. Omit ’but’. The sentence is a continuation of v 6. 9. ’We labour’: ’We do our utmost’. He reminds himself that his present business is to do Christ’s will here, and therefore goes on to mention the Judgement. This smooth return from heaven to earth is as fine as anything. Paul was no visionary though he had visions.

10. ’The proper things etc. ’The due reward of his earthly life’.

11-14a Protest of his Honest Intentions —Difficult sentences: he is evidently defending his own apostleship against the False Apostles.

11. ’Persuasion’ may refer both to winning converts and to keeping them faithful, as he is now doing in the case of the Corinthians. He has to use ’persuasion’ (i.e. coaxing and tact), but his fundamental honesty is clear to God and ought to be clear to the Corinthians.

12. ’To glory’ —to speak with pride. ’Who glory in face’: Who boast of their external advantages and are without goodness of heart’. These advantages were Jewish birth, early acquaintance with the Twelve, etc.

13. Apparently: ’If we are mad, we are mad for God’s sake; if we are sane, we are sane for your sake’. Perhaps they had accused him of craziness. 14. ’Christ’s love holds us in its grip’: the memory of Christ’s great love for men dominates all his actions.

10-17 New Life —He dwells on the superhuman power of Christianity, which has made a new world. Resembles the thought of ch 3. 14b. ’Were dead’: ’Have died’. All Christians have (in baptism) died to their old sinful selves and risen to a new life of grace, lived for Christ. More fully in Romans 5:3-14.

15. ’All:’. The colon following ’all’ should be a comma.

16. ’We know . . .’: we no longer look at men according to the world’s standards, but as God sees them. ’And if . . .’: ’Even if we knew Christ . . .’: probably means: Even if some of us (the Twelve, etc.) knew Christ as neighbour, relative, etc., this is nothing in comparison with the knowledge of him as Saviour. A reply perhaps to his enemies’ interested praise of the Twelve.

17. ’Whoever is in Christ is a new creation’— such is the effect of grace on the soul.

V 18-VI 2 The Apostles as God’s Ambassadors—18. ’To us’—the Apostles. ’Ministry’: ’Service or work’.19. It is almost a re-statement of

18. ’The message of reconciliation’, the Gospel. /par/par20. His appeal is addressed to the world, not to the Corinthians, but is no doubt meant to remind the defiant Corinthians that they are still unreconciled to God. ’God, as it were . . .’: ’For God appeals through us’. Omit ’you’. /par/par21. ’Hath made sin’: i.e. ’Has made Christ to be sin’, a saying deliberately meant to be startling. God allowed Christ to suffer a punishment fit only for sinners, and in that sense made him a sinner. There may be some further meaning. ’Justice . . .’, i.e. men endowed with supernatural justice (holiness).

Bibliographical Information
Orchard, Bernard, "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5". Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/boc/2-corinthians-5.html. 1951.
 
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