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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 6

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Verses 1-99

6:1-10. There is once more an unintelligent division of the chapters: 6:1 is closely connected with 5:20, 21, and the first ten verses of this chapter are a continuation of the Apostle’s self-vindication from another point of view; they set forth his conduct and his experiences as God’s ambassador, and as a minister to whom has been entrusted the message of reconciliation. After an earnest appeal to the Corinthians not to lose through neglect the grace offered to them, the spiritual exaltation of the Apostle once more gives a rhythmic swing to his language, as if he were singing a song of triumph. Magna res est, et granditer agitur, nec desunt ornamenta dicendi (Aug. De Doc. Chris. iv. 20). Way calls it a “Hymn of the Herald of Salvation.” There is no good reason for supposing that St Paul here turns to “the better-disposed heathen believers.” He is addressing weak believers, who were in danger of a lapse into heathen laxity, through making so poor an attempt to reach a Christian standard of holiness. He points to the way in which an Apostle does his work, and to what he has to endure: these are things which the Corinthians can appreciate.*

1. Συνεργοῦντες δὲ καὶ παρακαλοῦμεν. ‘But there is more to be said than this (δὲ καί): as working together with God we entreat that you do not accept the grace of God in vain.’ God had committed the message of reconciliation to His ambassadors; St Paul had brought it to the Corinthians; they must do their part and make a right use of it. Where συνεργεῖν (1 Corinthians 16:16; Romans 9:28) or συνεργός (1:24, 8:23; 1 Corinthians 3:9) or other compounds of σύν occur, it is plain that the force of the συν- depends on the context. But that principle is not decisive here, because there are several possibilities in the context. Five connexions have been suggested. (1) ‘Co-operating with God’; which is the natural inference from 5:18, 21, and it is confirmed by 1 Corinthians 3:9. (2) ‘With Christ’; which might be inferred from 5:20, if ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ means ‘in Christ’s stead.’ (3) ‘With you’ (so Chrys.); the Corinthians have co-operated with the missionaries in listening to their message, and so the Apostle is a fellow-worker with them. The objection to this is that the whole context is concerned with the preachers’ part rather than with that of the hearers. (4) ‘With other teachers.’ This explanation assumes that the 1st pers. plur. refers to St Paul alone. If it included other teachers, the συν- would be meaningless; ‘co-operating with ourselves.’ (5) ‘With our exhortations, ’ i.e. adding our example to our precept. If this had been meant, it would have been expressed in a plainer manner.

εἰς κενόν. ‘To no profit’; in vacuum (Vulg.), frustra (Beza). The expression is freq. in LXX (Leviticus 26:20; Job 39:16; Isaiah 29:8; Jeremiah 6:29, 28:58), but in N.T. it is peculiar to Paul (1 Thessalonians 3:5; Galatians 2:2; Philippians 2:16). It is probable that δέξασθαι is a timeless aorist after παρακαλεῖν, like κυρῶσαι (2:8), παραστῆσαι (Romans 12:1), συναγωνίσασθαι (Romans 15:30), περιπατῆσαι (Ephesians 4:1), and may be rendered ne recipiatis (Vulg.). The reference is to the present time; acceptance of grace is continually going on, and there ought to be good results. But the aorist may have the force of a past tense and be rendered ne reciperetis (Beza). In this case the reference is to the time of their conversion; he exhorts them not to have accepted the grace of God in vain, i.e. not to show by their behaviour now that they accepted it then to no profit. Chrys. seems to take it in the latter way, for he interprets ἐς κένον as losing through unfruitfulness the great blessings which they have received. In any case, ὑμᾶς comes last with much emphasis; ‘you, whatever the rest of the κόσμος may do.’ ‘We are commissioned to preach to all mankind; I beseech you not to let the preaching prove vain in your case.’

2. As in 5:7, 16, we have a Pauline parenthesis. He remembers an O.T. saying which will drive home the exhortation that he has just given, Isaiah 49:8, and he injects it. In a modern work the verse would be a foot-note. As usual, he quotes the LXX with little or no change; cf. 4:13, 8:15, 9:9. Here there is no change. In LXX the words are introduced with οὕτως λέγει Κύριος, and we readily understand ὁ Θεός here (Blass, § 30. 4 from the context. But λέγει (Romans 15:10; Ephesians 4:8) and φησίν (see on 1 Corinthians 6:16), without subject, are common forms of quotation, equivalent to inverted commas. The conjecture is often repeated that δέξασθαι suggested the passage about καιρὸς δεκτός. It may be so; but a deeper reason is possible. The passage may have occurred to St Paul because of the resemblance of his own case to that of the Prophet. In Isa_49. the Prophet points out that the Lord has formed him from the womb to be His servant, and to reconcile Israel again to Him; but also to give him as a light to the Gentiles, that His salvation may be to the end of the earth. The servant has delivered his message, and a period of labour and disappointment follows (LXX of v. 4). Then come the encouraging words which St Paul quotes, and comforting thoughts arise. Although men despise him, God will honour him by confirming his message; and the God who has had compassion on Israel in spite of their sins, will have compassion on all the nations (see Driver, Isaiah, p. 149; W. E. Barnes, ad loc.). Word for word, this is true of the Apostle; and he also has his καιρὸς δεκτός, δεκτός to all the parties concerned. In Philippians 4:18, δεκτήν means acceptable to God, and τῷ Θεῷ is expressed. In Luke 4:19, δεκτόν means acceptable to man, and here the meaning is probably the same; the time in which such benefits are offered is welcome to the human race. On God’s side it is ‘a season of favour,’ on man’s it is ‘a season to be welcomed.’ Εἰσακούειν, freq. in LXX, occurs here only in N.T.

ἰδοὺ νῦν. The Apostle at once applies the words of the Prophet to his readers; they are to take the saying to heart. By νῦν is meant all the time between the moment of writing and the Advent. The common application of the ‘now,’ viz. ‘act at once, for delay is dangerous,’ is not quite the meaning of the νῦν here. The point is rather that the wonderful time which the Prophet foresaw is now going on; the Apostle and his readers are enjoying it. His comment is equivalent to that of Christ, Luke 4:21, but this carries with it the warning already given, not to neglect golden opportunities. To some persons the νῦν may be very short. Ex quo in carne Salvator apparuit semper est acceptabile tempus. Unicuique tamen finitur hoc tempus in hors obitus sui (Herveius). *

εὐπρόσδεκτος. In LXX δεκτός is freq., especially in the Psalms, and εὐπρόσδεκτος is not found, but St Paul prefers the compound, probably as being stronger; he uses it again 8:12 and Romans 15:16, Romans 15:31; and his use of it here indicates his jubilant feeling; ‘Behold now is the welcome acceptable time.’ The word is found of heathen sacrifices; κατανοεῖν εἰ εὐπρόσδεκτο͂ ἡ θυσία (Aristoph. Pax, 1054).


D*FG, d e g have καιρῷ γὰρ λέγει for λέγει γάρ· καιρῷ.

3. μηδεμίαν ἐν μηδενὶ διδόντες προσκοπήν The construction shows that v. 2 is a parenthesis, the participles in vv. 3 and 4 being co-ordinate with συνεργοῦντες in v. 1. Aug. (De Doc. Chris. xx. 42) has nullam in quoquam dantes offensionem, which is more accurate than Vulg. nemini dantes ullam offensionem. Luther follows in making ἐν μηδενί masc., and he makes δίδοντες an exhortation; lasset uns aber niemand irgend ein Aergerniss geben. Both context and construction show that this is wrong. It is the exhorters themselves who aim at ‘giving no cause of stumbling in anything whatever.’ Ἐν μηδενί embraces πρεσβεύομεν, δεόμεθα, παρακαλοῦμεν, and all the details of the διακονία τῆς καταλλαγῆς. Here again, as in 5:21, the μή probably has its subjective force: ‘not giving what could be regarded as a προσκοπή.’ Note the Pauline alliteration; cf. 8:22, 4:5, 8, 10:6. Nowhere else in Bibl. Grk. does προσκοπή occur; πρόσκομμα and σκάνδαλον are the usual words. All three denote what causes others to stumble, in behaviour or belief, such as vainglory, self-seeking, insincerity, inconsistency of life. Necesse est ejus praedicationem negligi, cujus vita despicitur (Greg. M.).

ἵνα μὴ μωμηθῇ ἥ διακονία. ‘That the ministry may not be vilified,’ vituperetur (Vulg.), verspottet. The verb is rare (Proverbs 4:7); St Paul, who has it again 8:20, may have got it from Wisd. 10:14, Ψευδεῖς τε ἔδειξεν τοὺς μωμησαμένους αὐτόν (Joseph), which AV vaguely renders ‘those that accused him.’ Heinrici quotes Lucian, Quom. hist. 33, ὃ οὐδεὶς ἄν,�


After διακονία, D E F G, Latt. Syrr. Sah. Goth. add ἡμῶν: א B C K L P, Copt. omit. The insertion spoils the sense. He is thinking of the Apostolic office in general; his conduct must not cause it to be reviled. In what was done at Corinth, the credit of the cause for which all ministers laboured was at stake. RV. wrongly substitutes ‘our ministration’ for ‘the ministry.’

4.�

ἐν ὑπομονῇ πολλῇ. See on 1:6; also Lightfoot on Colossians 1:11 and Mayor on James 1:3. The high position given by our Lord to ὑπομονή (Luke 8:15, Luke 21:19) and to ὑπομένειν (Mark 13:13; Matthew 10:22, Matthew 24:13) accounts for the prominence given to it here and 12:12. It not only stands first, but it is illustrated in detail; huc spectat tota enumeratio quae sequitur (Calv.). The word appears in all four groups of the Pauline Epistles, chiefly in Rom. and 2 Cor., often with the meaning of fortitude and constancy under persecution. This meaning is very freq. in 4 Macc., whereas in Ecclus. and in the Canonical Books of the O.T. it commonly means patient and hopeful expectation. In 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 3:10; Titus 2:2, it is placed next to�

ἐν θλίψεσιν,�1 Thessalonians 3:7, as in Job 15:24; Psalms 119:143; Zephaniah 1:15, θλίψις is coupled with�


It is difficult to decide between συνιστάνοντες (B P and some cursives), συνιστάντες (א * C D* FG 17), and συνιστῶντες (א 3 D 3 E K L). In 3:1 the evidence is decisive for συνιστάνειν, and that gives great weight to συνιστάνοντες here. For διάκονοι, D*, f g Vulgt. have διακόνους.

5. ἐν πληγαῖς, ἐν φυλακαῖς, ἐν�1 Corinthians 4:11, the Apostle, in describing the experiences of Apostles, says κολαφιζόμεθα,�1 Corinthians 14:33; James 3:16), and ‘breach of order, tumult’ (here and Luke 21:9). In LXX only twice, in the former sense (Proverbs 26:28; Tob. 4:13). In De Singularite Clericorum we again have two words in the Latin for one in the Greek; in seditionibus, in invocationibus. It is difficult to see what the latter can mean, and one might conjecture in concitationibus, the in being accidentally repeated, or in implicationibus, ‘in entanglements.’

ἐν κόποις, ἐν�1 Thessalonians 2:9, 1 Thessalonians 2:3:5; 2 Thessalonians 3:8). While πόνος indicates the effort which was required, κόπος points to the fatigue which was incurred. Trench, § cii., suggests ‘toil’ for πόνος and ‘weariness’ for κόπος: but in the ordinary Greek of this period the difference between the two words was vanishing. Swete remarks that κόπος with its cognate κοπιᾷν is “almost a technical word for Christian work,” and that in Revelation 2:2 τὸν κόπον and τὴν ὑπομονήν are “two notes of excellence, self-denying labour and perseverance.”

ἐν�Acts 20:7, Acts 20:9). In LXX the word is almost confined to Ecclus., where it is freq. and commonly means forgoing sleep in order to work. The Apostle no doubt often taught, and travelled, and worked with his hands to maintain himself, by night.

ἐν νηστείαις. Not ‘fasts’ in the religious sense; * but, just as�Mark 6:31). We infer from 11:27 that νηστεῖαι are voluntary abstentions from food, for there they are distinguished from involuntary hunger and thirst. Here the meaning might be that he neglected the handicraft by which he earned his bread (1 Corinthians 4:11, 1 Corinthians 4:12), or that he refused the maintenance which he might have claimed (1 Corinthians 9:4). But omitting meals in order to gain time is simpler. These sufferings, voluntarily undertaken, form an easy transition to the virtues which are evidence that he is one of God’s ambassadors and fellow-workers.


6. ἐν ἁγνότητι. The three triplets which state the sphere of ὑπομονή are ended, and the virtues mentioned in vv. 6 and 7 are co-ordinate with ὑπομονή. Ἁγνότης is mentioned again (probably) in 11:3, but nowhere else in Bibl. Grk. While castimonia (Tert.) or castitas (Vulg.) is too narrow on the one hand, ἡ τῶν χρημάτων ὑπεροψία. (Thdrt.) is too narrow on the other. It means purity of life in both senses, chastity and integrity, the delicacy of mind which makes a man careful to keep a clean heart and clean hands. The six virtues in this verse have reference to principles of action, then ἐν λόγῳ�

ἐν γνώσει. Not merely practical wisdom or prudence in dealing with different men and different circumstances, recte et scienter agendi peritia (Calv.), but comprehensive knowledge of the principles of Christianity (8:7, 11:6; 1 Corinthians 1:5; Romans 15:14).

ἐν μακροθυμίᾳ, ἐν χρηστότητι. While ὑπομονή is the courageous fortitude which endures adversity without murmuring or losing heart, μακροθυμία is the forbearance which endures injuries and evil deeds without being provoked to anger (James 1:19) or vengeance (Romans 12:19). It is the opposite of ὀξόθυμία, hasty temper; cf. Proverbs 14:17, ὀξόθυμος πράσσει μετὰ�Romans 2:4, Romans 2:9:22; etc.) and men. It is coupled with χρηστότης both of God (Romans 2:4) and men (Galatians 5:22). See on 1 Corinthians 13:4. Χρηστότης, bonitas (Vulg.), benignitas (Aug.), is ‘graciousness.’ It is opposed to�Titus 3:4). In men it is the sympathetic kindliness or sweetness of temper which puts others at their ease and shrinks from giving pain; ut nec verbo nec opere nostro aliis generemus asperitatem amaritudinis (Herveius).

ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ. It is scarcely credible that St Paul would place the Holy Spirit in a list of human virtues and in a subordinate place, neither first to lead, nor last to sum up all the rest. We may abandon the common rendering, ‘the Holy Ghost’ (AV, RV) and translate ‘a spirit that is holy,’ i.e. in the spirit of holiness which distinguishes true ministers from false. The Apostle sometimes leaves us in doubt whether he is speaking of the Divine Spirit or the spirit of man in which He dwells and works; e.g. ἐν ἁγιασμῷ πνεύματος (2 Thessalonians 2:13); κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης (Romans 1:4). This is specially the case with ἐν πνεύματι (Ephesians 2:22, Ephesians 3:5, Ephesians 5:18, Ephesians 6:18). Westcott on Ephesians 3:5 says. “The general idea of the phrase is that it presents the concentration of man’s powers in the highest part of his nature by which he holds fellowship with God, so that, when this fellowship is realised, he is himself in the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is in him.” See on Romans 12:2. It is worth noting that πνεῦμα ἅγιον is far more freq. in N.T. than τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον or τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα.

ἐν�Romans 12:9. In 1 Timothy 1:5 and 2 Timothy 1:5,�James 3:17, of the heaven-sent σοφία: in 1 Peter 1:22, almost as here, of φιλαδελφία, “the love like that of brothers to those who are not brothers” (Hort). In Wisd. 5:18 it is applied to judgment which does not respect persons; and 18:16, to the Divine command. This seems to be the first appearance of the word, and St Paul may have derived it from that Book. Hort remarks that the word is chiefly Christian, as might be expected from the warnings of Christ against hypocrisy and from the high standard of sincerity manifested by the Apostles. M. Aurelius (8:5) has�

7. ἐν λόγῳ�James 1:18, as here; so also in διὰ λόγου ζῶντος Θεοῦ (1 Peter 1:23), a passage which perhaps was suggested by James 1:18. In Ephesians 1:13; Colossians 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:15, we have the full expression, ὁ λόγος τῆς�

ἐν δυνάμει Θεοῦ. This Divine power was all the more conspicuous because of his personal weakness (4:7, 12:9). See on 1 Corinthians 2:4: neither there nor here is the chief reference, if there be any at all, to the miracles wrought by St Paul. In 12:12, where he does mention them, ἐν πάσῃ ὑπομονῇ is placed first among τὰ σημεῖα τοῦ�

The expression δύναμις Θεοῦ is chiefly Pauline in N.T. (13:4; 1 Corinthians 1:18, 1 Corinthians 1:2:5; Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 1:8; cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:11). On ἐν δυνάμει Θεοῦ (1 Peter 1:5) Hort remarks; “What is dwelt on is not so much that the power of God is exerted on behalf of men, as that men are uplifted and inspired by power, or by a power, proceeding from God. Ἐν is not here instrumental, but is used with its strict meaning. In one sense the power is in men; but in another and yet truer sense men are in the power, they yield to it as something greater and more comprehensive than themselves, in which their separateness is lost.”

διὰ τῶν ὅπλων τῆς δικαιοσύνης. ‘Through ( = by) weapons of righteousness.’ Here again the Book of Wisdom (5:17-20) may have suggested the expression used: cf.1 Thessalonians 5:8; Ephesians 6:13-17; and see on Romans 13:12.Isaiah 59:17 is another possible source. The change from ἐν to διά is made partly because the frequent repetition of ἐν has become intolerable; but the change may point to the difference between the δύναμις Θεοῦ and the ὅπλα used by the διάκονοι Θεοῦ. ‘Weapons of righteousness’ are those which righteousness supplies and which support the cause of righteousness (Romans 6:13). Whether he assailed others or defended himself, it was always with legitimate weapons and in a legitimate cause. He adds τῶν δεξιῶν καὶ�

8. διὰ δόξης καὶ�Romans 9:21; 2 Timothy 2:20). The Apostle received δόξα from God and from those whose hearts God touched, especially from his beloved Philippians and the Galatians, who would have dug out their eyes to serve him (Galatians 4:14). And he received plenty of�


διὰ δυσφημίας καὶ εὐφημίας. ‘Through ( = amid) evil report and good report.’ This is not a repetition of the preceding clause. That refers to personal treatment of the Apostle; this refers to what was said behind his back. It was during his absence from Corinth that the worst things were said of him. The next two couplets give specimens of the δυσφημία and εὐφημία.

ὡς πλάνοι. Ut seductores; in rendering ὡς, Vulg. varies between ut, quasi, and sicut. These clauses with ὡς look back to συνιστάνοντες ἑαυτοὺς ὡς Θεοῦ διάκονοι, and the thought behind them is, ‘Our Apostleship is carried on under these conditions.’ Their being called πλάνοι by their opponents told in their favour, for the calumnies of base persons are really recommendations.* The opprobrious word combines the idea of a deceiver and a tramp, an impostor who leads men astray and a vagabond who has no decent home. The idea of seducing prevails in N.T., the notion of vagrancy not appearing anywhere (1 Timothy 4:1; 2 John 1:7; Matthew 27:63; cf. 1 John 2:26; John 7:12):�

9. ὡς�1 Corinthians 13:12.


With this couplet the�

ὡς�1 Corinthians 15:13). He is moribund through infirmities of body, and is exposed to afflictions and dangers which may any day prove fatal. But he bears within himself ‘the life of Jesus’ which continues to triumph over everything, and will continue to do so (1 Corinthians 1:10). The change from the participle to καὶ ἰδοὺ ζῶμεν marks the exulting and confident feeling; ἰδού as in v. 2 and 5:17.

ὡς παιδευόμενοι καὶ μὴ θανατούμενοι. * He regards himself as requiring chastening. His enemies might regard it as a sign of Divine displeasure, but he knows that the chastening is a merciful dispensation of God. He is probably thinking of Psalms 118:17, Psalms 118:18, οὐκ�

10. Here, at any rate, we may suppose that he has ceased to think of the accusations and insinuations of his adversaries, and is soaring above such distressing memories. It is somewhat far-fetched to see in these contrasts allusions to the sneer that he refused the maintenance of an Apostle, because he knew that he was not an Apostle, and that he took no pay for his teaching, because he knew that it was worthless. Yet B Weiss thinks that Paul and his fellow-workers had been called “doleful, penniless paupers,”— trübselige, armselige Habenichtse,— and that he is alluding to that here. There was plenty of λύπη in his life (Romans 9:2; Philippians 2:27), and in spite of his labouring with his hands to support himself, he was sometimes in need of help and gratefully accepted it (11:9; Philippians 4:15).

ἀεὶ χαίροντες. Romans 5:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:16; Philippians 2:18, Philippians 3:1, Philippians 4:4. Such passages illustrate John 15:11, John 16:33. The thought of God’s goodness to him and to his converts is an inexhaustible source of joy.

πολλοὺς πλουτίζοντες. dagger; Chrys. refers to the collections for the poor saints; but they made no one rich, and such an explanation is almost a bathos in a pæan of so lofty a strain. It was spiritual riches which he bestowed with such profusion; of silver and gold he had little or none. “Apart from 1 Timothy 6:17. no instance of πλοῦτος in the sense of material wealth is to be found in St Paul’s writings. On the other hand, his figurative use of the word has no parallel in the rest of the Greek Bible. Of fourteen instances of it, five occur in Ephesians. In the use of the derivatives πλούσιος, πλουσίως, πλουτεῖν, πλουτίζειν, the same rule will be found to hold, though there are some interesting exceptions” (J. A. Robinson on Eph. iii. 8).

ὡς μηδὲν ἔχοντες. ‘As having nothing’; not even himself. In becoming the bondservant of Jesus Christ, he had given both soul and body to Him, and he was no longer his own (Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 6:19). The μηδέν may have its proper subjective force, but this view of the case is his own, not that of his adversaries.

καὶ πάντα κατέχοντες. The word—play between simple and compound resembles that in 3:2 and 4:8. The compound implies ‘keeping fast hold upon, having as a secure possession’. See Milligan, Thessalonians, p. 155. Bachmann quotes Ephraim; omnia possidemus per potestatem, quam in coelis et in terris habemus. Meyer quotes Gemara Nedarim, f. 40. 2; Recipimus non esse pauperem nisi in scientia. In Occidente seu terra Israel dixerunt; in quo scientia est, is est ut ille, in quo omnia sunt; in quo illa deest, quid est in eo? What the Stoic claimed for the wise man is true of the Christian; πάντα γὰρ ὑμῶν ἐστίν (1 Corinthians 3:21). “The whole world is the wealth of the believer,” says Aug. in reference to this verse (De Civ. Dei, xx. 7); and in showing that evil may have its uses in the world he says of these last four verses; “As then these oppositions of contraries lend beauty to the language, so the beauty of the course of this world is achieved by the opposition of contraries, arranged, as it were, by an eloquence not of words, but of things” (ibid. ix. 18). Jerome says on v. 10; “The believer has a whole world of wealth; the unbeliever has not a single farthing” (Ep. liii. 11, in Migne, 10).


6:11-7:16. THE RESTORATION OF CONFIDENCE BETWEEN THE APOSTLE AND THE CORINTHIANS

Under the impulse of strong feeling the Apostle has been opening his heart with great frankness to his converts. He now asks them with great earnestness to make a similar return and to treat him with affectionate candour. The appeal is conveniently regarded as in two parts (6:11-7:4, 5-16), but the first part is rather violently interrupted by the interjection of a sudden warning against heathen modes of life which are sure to pollute the lives of the Corinthians (6:14-7:1), and would impede their reconciliation with the Apostle.

6:11-7:4. Appeal of the Reconciled Apostle to the Corinthians

Let me have some return for my affectionate frankness. Close intimacy with heathen life is impossible for you. Open your hearts to me as mine is ever open to you.

11O men of Corinth, my lips are unlocked to tell you everything about myself; my heart stands wide open to receive you and your confidences. 12There is no restraint in my feeling towards you; the restraint is in your own affections. 13But love should awaken love in return—I appeal to you as my children—let your hearts also be opened wide to receive me.

Warning against Intimacy with Heathen (6:14-7:1).

14 Come not into close fellowship with unbelievers who are no fit yokefellows for you. For

What partnership can righteousness have with iniquity?

Or how can light associate with darkness?

15What concord can there be between Purity and pollution?

Or what portion can a believer have with an unbeliever?

16And what agreement can God’s sanctuary have with idols?

For we, yes we, are a sanctuary of the living God. This is just what was meant when God said,

I will dwell in them and move among them,

And I will be their God, and they will be My people.

17Therefore come out from the midst of them,

And sever yourselves, saith the Lord,

And lay hold of nothing that is unclean:

And I will give you a welcome.

18And I will be to you a Father,

And ye shall be to Me sons and daughters,

Saith the Lord Almighty.

8. 1Seeing then that the promises which we have are no less than these, beloved friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile flesh or spirit, and secure perfect consecration by reverence for God.

2Make room for me in your hearts. Why hesitate? In no single instance have I wronged any one, ruined any one, taken advantage of any one. 3It is not to put you in the wrong that I am saying this. Do not think that. In pleading my own cause I am blaming no one. I repeat what I said before; ye are in my very heart, and you will ever be there whether I die or live. 4I feel the greatest confidence in you; I take the greatest pride in you. And so I am filled with comfort, I am overflowing with joy, for all the affliction that I have to bear.

11. Τὸ στόμα ἡμῶν�John 1:51; 1 Corinthians 16:9) with the meaning of standing open. In class. Grk. the perf. pass. is preferred (2:12; Romans 3:13). There is much discussion as to whether these words refer to what the Apostle has just said or to what he is about to say. The former is right, but the latter may be to some extent included. He is himself a little surprised at the fulness with which he has opened his heart to them. The phrase is not a mere Hebraistic pleonasm, used to indicate that what is said is important (Matthew 5:2, Matthew 5:13:35; Acts 8:35, Acts 8:10:34; etc.). It is a picturesque indication that there has been no reserve on his part. Lata dilectio cordis nostri, quae vos omnes complectitur, non sinit ut taceamus ea quae prosunt vobis. Profectus enim discipulorum aperit os magistri (Herveius). His delight in them does not allow him to be silent.

Κορίνθιοι. Very rarely does the Apostle address his converts by name (Galatians 3:1; Philippians 4:5). Nowhere else does he do so to his Corinthians. The whole passage is affectionately tender.

ἡ καρδία ἡμῶν πεπλάτυνται. Just as his lips have been unsealed to tell them everything about himself and his office, so his ‘heart has been set at liberty’ (Psalms 119:32) to take all of them in. It has been expanded and stands wide open to receive them. Heat, as Chrysostom remarks, makes things expand, and warm affection makes his heart expand. Their hearts are so contracted that there is no room in them for him. Ab ore ad cor concludere debebant (Beng.). In his heart their misconduct is forgotten; their amendment and progress cancels all that, and sorrow is turned into joy (7:2-4).

12. οὐ στενοχωρεῖσθε ἐν ἡμῖν. ‘There is no restraint on my side; but whatever restraint there is is in your hearts.’ He had perhaps been accused of being close and reserved. Like the rapid changes of expression in vv. 14-16, the change from his καρδία to their σπλάγχνα is made to avoid repetition of the same word. In both cases the seat of the affections is meant. ‘Bowels’ is an unfortunate rendering; the word means the upper part of the intestines, heart, liver, lungs, etc. “Theophilus (ad Autol. ii. 10, 22) uses σπλάγχνα and καρδία as convertible terms” (Lightfoot on Philippians 1:8). Many things cause the heart to close against others, meanness, suspicion, resentment for supposed injury. Are they quite free from all these things? 1 John 3:17.

13. τὴν δὲ αὐτὴν�Romans 1:27, but nowhere else in Bibl. Grk. Various ways are suggested of explaining the irregular construction, but the meaning is the same however we regard it. The simplest explanation is that, after the affectionate parenthesis ὡς τέκνοις λέγω, he forgets the opening construction. See cornely, ad loc.; Blass, § 34. 3, 6.

ὡς τέκνοις λέγω. ‘I am speaking as to my children’; not ‘as to children,’ implying that they are still young in the faith and need to be fed with milk (νηπίοις, 1 Corinthians 3:1); still less ‘as the children say,’ which the Greek cannot mean. In neither case would τέκνα be used, but it is St Paul’s usual word in speaking of or to his spiritual children; 1 Corinthians 4:14, 1 Corinthians 4:17; Galatians 4:19; 1 Timothy 1:2, 1 Timothy 1:18; etc. By inserting these words he mitigates the severity of στενοχωρεῖσθε. ‘It is not a large demand, if a father claims affection from his children.’


πλατύνθητε καὶ ὑμεῖς. ‘Do you also open your hearts wide’; looking back to v. 11. The Corinthians must surely make some response to his open-hearted statement; τὸν αὐτὸν πλατυσμὸν ὡς�

6:14-7:1. This strongly worded admonition to make no compromise with heathenism comes in so abruptly here that a number of critics suppose that it is a fragment of another letter, and some maintain that the fragment is not by St Paul. We may set aside the latter hypothesis with confidence. The fact that ἑτεροζυγέω, μετοχή, συμφώνησις, συνκάθεσις, Βελίαρ, and μολυσμός are found nowhere else in N.T. counts for very little. There are more than three dozen of such words in each of the three Epistles, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philippians, and here these unusual words are needed by the subject. There is no inconsistency between this severe injunction and 1 Corinthians 5:9 f., 1 Corinthians 10:27 f. What is discouraged here is something much more intimate than accepting a heathen’s invitation to dinner. And there is nothing un-Pauline in ‘defilement of flesh and spirit.’ It is true that he often treats the flesh as the sphere of sin, and the spirit as its opponent. But here he is using popular language, in which ‘flesh and spirit’ sum up the totality of human nature. What stains the whole man is an abomination to be avoided. *

There is more to be said for the hypothesis that we have here a fragment of another of the Apostle’s letters, and probably the one mentioned 1 Corinthians 5:9. These verses might easily form part of the one there described. Moreover, if we abstract the passage, 7:2 fits on to 6:13 admirably; it is obviously a continuation, either immediate or by resumption, of the same topic. Nevertheless, this attractive hypothesis is a violent one. † There is no evidence in Ms., or version, or quotation, that any copy of the Epistle ever lacked this passage. If it belonged originally to another Epistle, how did it come to be inserted here, if not in the letter dictated by St Paul, in one of the earliest copies made from it? An interpolator would have chosen a more suitable place. The interpolation, if it be one, might possibly be due to accident, the careless insertion of a leaf from one MS. among the leaves of another. But we require very strong internal evidence to justify the use of such an explanation; and on this point opinions differ. ‡ Some critics regard the disconnexion with the context so glaring, and the connexion of 6:13 with 7:2 so obvious, that the theory of insertion, either deliberate or accidental, is demonstrated. Others contend that the connexion with the context is natural and close. There is perhaps some exaggeration in both these views. It is not incredible that in the middle of his appeal for mutual frankness and affection, and after his declaration that the cramping constraint is all on their side, he should dart off to one main cause of that constraint, viz. their compromising attitude towards anti-Christian influences. Having relieved his mind of this distressing subject, he returns at once to his tender appeal. On the whole, this view seems better than the hypothesis of interpolation. But this is one of the many places in 2 Cor. in which our ignorance of the state of things at Corinth renders certainty unattainable. We do not know to what kind of intimacy with heathen acquaintances and customs the Apostle is alluding. But a sudden digression for a few minutes is more probable than a long pause.* In the latter case the return to v. 13 in 7:2 would be less probable. See Meyer or Kiöpper, ad loc.; Zahn, Intr. i. p. 349.

14. μὴ γίνεσθε ἑτεροζυγοῦντες�1 Corinthians 6:6, 1 Corinthians 7:12 ff., 1 Corinthians 10:27, 1 Corinthians 14:22 ff.). The false apostles are certainly not included, and the dat. does not mean ‘to please unbelievers.’ And the metaphor in ἑτεροζυγοῦντες doubtless comes from Deuteronomy 22:10, where, among other unnatural combinations, ploughing with an ox and an ass harnessed together is prohibited. Species are made distinct by God, and man ought not to join together what He has put asunder. Cf. Leviticus 19:19. There may also be some allusion to Deuteronomy 11:16, where for ‘lest thy heart be deceived’ LXX has μὴ πλατυνθῇ ἡ καρδία σου, and what follows is a warning against idolatry, λατρεύειν θεοῖς ἑτέροις, ‘lest thy heart be enlarged so as to embrace heathenism.’ But the other allusion is manifest. ‘Heathen belong to one species, Christians to quite another, and it is against nature that Christians should be yokefellows with them. They will not walk as Christians do, and Christians must not walk in their ways.’† The meaning is not to be confined to mixed marriages; intimate combinations of other kinds are condemned. But with characteristic tenderness and tact St Paul does not assert that such things have taken place. He says, ‘Become not incongruously yoked with unbelievers’; such things may happen if they are not warned. Even the RV. does not preserve the important γίνεσθε. There is much softening in ‘Do not let yourselves become.’ Cf. μὴ οὖν γίνεσθε συνμέτοχοι αὐτῶν (Ephesians 5:7). See Blass, § 37. 6, § 62. 3. The idea of ζυγός = ‘balance’ and of scales unfairly tipped is certainly not in the phrase, although Theophylact takes it so; ‘be not too much inclined to the heathen.’ St Paul had said that he himself was willing to behave as a heathen to heathen (1 Corinthians 9:21; cf. Galatians 2:19), but not in the way of sharing or condoning their practices.


τίς γὰρ μετοχηή; The absolute incongruity between Christians and pagans is emphasized by quickly delivered argumentative questions, as in 12:17, 18. They are illustrations of the Apostle’s rhetorical power. The first four questions are in pairs; the last being a conclusion to the series and a premiss for what follows. The great variety of expression is no doubt studied, and it is effective. But inferior MSS. here and there spoil the effect by assimilating the constructions. ‘For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness, or what association can there be between light and darkness?’ The change from μετοχή to κοινωνία is for the sake of change, and we need not look to any important difference of meaning, as that μετοχή implies that each partner has a share, e.g. of the profits, whereas every member of a society enjoys the whole of what is κοινὀν, as the use of a park or building.

Here, as in v. 8 (‘honour and dishonour’), AV makes a verbal antithesis which does not exist in the Greek. We require ‘righteousness with lawlessness’ (2 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 John 3:4) or ‘with iniquity’ (Romans 4:7, Romans 6:19). Although μετοχή is a hapaxleg., μετέχω occurs five times in 1 Cor.

πρὸς σκότος. We have four different constructions in the five sentences, all for the sake of variety; two datives, dat. followed by πρός,. gen. followed by πρός, dat. followed by μετά The πρός after κοινων. is late Greek; φυσική ἐστιν ἡμῖν κοινωνία πρὸς�Romans 13:12; Ephesians 5:8; 1 John 2:9; Acts 26:18; Isaiah 42:16f; etc.). In N.T., σκότος is neuter.

15. τίς δέ συμφώνησις χριστοῦ πρὸς βελίαρ; In the first couplet of questions we have abstract terms, in the second, concrete; ‘And what concord is there of Christ with Belial?’ The Head of the Heavenly society is opposed to the Head of the infernal kingdom, the Pattern of perfect purity to the representative of devilish abominations. But is it possible that ‘Beliar’ here is Antichrist? ‘What harmony can there be of Christ with Antichrist?’ The antithesis is attractive rather than probable; but Bousset treats it as certain, and Antichrist is here represented as the devil incarnate. The Sun of righteousness and the Prince of darkness is the probable antithesis. In O.T. ‘Belial’ is often mentioned as meaning ‘worthlessness,’ ‘ruin,’ ‘desperate wickedness.’ Later, ‘Belial’ or ‘Beliar’ or ‘Berial’ comes to be a name for Satan or some Satanic power. In the Book of Jubilees (1:20) Moses prays, “Create in Thy people an upright spirit, and let not the spirit of Beliar rule over them to accuse them before Thee.” In the Testaments it is connected with various evil spirits, e.g. of impurity (Reub. 4:11, 6:3; Sim. 5:3), wrath (Daniel 1:7, Daniel 1:8), and so forth. “Choose, therefore, for yourselves either the light or the darkness, either the law of the Lord or the works of Beliar” (Leviticus 19:1).


The interchange of λ and ρ is not uncommon; e.g. κλίβανος and κρίβανος, γλώσσαλγος and γλώσσαργος. Alcibiades had a lisp which turned ρ into λ, saying ὀλᾷς for ὁρᾷς, κόλαζ for κόραζ κ.τ.λ. (Aristoph. Vesp. 45). ‘Inferior texts here have Βελίαλ, or Βελἰαν, or Βελίαβ; Vulg. Belial. In LXX it is translated�

τίς μερὶς πιστῷ μετὰ�1 Timothy 5:16 and Acts 16:1 with John 20:27. Μερίς suggests that there is a whole to be shared (Acts 8:21). Cf. μετὰ μοιχῶν τὴν μερίδα σου έίθεις (Psa_93 [1.] 18). It is certain that πιοτῷ does not mean ‘one who is faithful,’ viz. God; πιστὸς κύριος ἐν τοῖς λόγοις αὐτοῦ. Fidelis Dominus in omnibus verbis suis (Psa_144 [v.] 13).*

16. τίς δὲ συνκατάθεσις ναῷ Θεοῦ μετὰ εἰδώλων; In this final question, which has no pair, there is no new construction; ‘What agreement hath God’s sanctuary with idols?’ The noun is a technical term with the Stoics; it is not found elsewhere in Bibl. Grk., but ἐκ συνκαταθέσεως, “according to agreement” occurs in papyri. Cf. οὐ συνκαταθήση μετὰ τοῦ�Exodus 23:1). Manasseh had put a graven image of Ashera in the house of the Lord, and Josiah removed and burnt it (2 Kings 21:7, 2 Kings 23:6). Ezekiel tells of other abominations (8. 3-18), for which unsparing punishments were inflicted by God. The history of Israel had shown with terrible distinctness that God allowed no agreement between His house and idols. This shows that ναοῦ is not to be understood before εἰδώλων, as if the opposition was between the temple of God and a temple of idols. The absolute incongruity is between God’s sanctuary, in which not even an image of Himself might be put up, and images of false gods; also perhaps between dead idols and the temple of the living God. By the introduction of idols the temple ceases to be a temple of God.

ἡμεῖς γὰρ ναὸς Θεοῦ ἐσμὲν ζῶντος. ‘The Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands’ (Acts 7:48, Acts 17:24). The only suitable temple of the living God is the souls of living beings who can adore and love Him. ‘And such are we.’ The ἡμεῖς (see crit, note) is very emphatic. The Christian Church, rather than the individual Christian (1 Corinthians 6:19), is here regarded as God’s sanctuary. What is it about us that is divine? asks Seneca; Quaerendum est quod non fiat in dies deterius, cui non possit obstari. Quid hoc est? animus; sed hit rectus, bonus, magnus. Quid aliud voces hunc, quam Deum in humano corpore hospitantem Subsilire in coelum ex angulo licet; exsurge modo, et to quoque dignum finge Deo (Ep. xxxi. 9, 10). Calvin states the same fact somewhat differently: In Deo hoc speciale est, qui quemcunque locum dignatur sua praesentia, etiam sanctificat. As in John 2:21, ὁ ναὸς τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ, we have ναός rather than ἱερόν, when human beings are spoken of as shrines for God to dwell in. The ναός was the most sacred part of the ἱερόν, which included buildings for other uses than that of worship and also open spaces. Cf. 1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 3:3:6. 1 Corinthians 3:19; Ephesians 2:21. Ναός is from ναίειν, ‘to dwell.’

We ought certainly to read ἡμεῖς … έσμἑν (א * B D * L P 17, 67**, d e Copt. Aeth.) rather than ὑμεῖς … ἐστε (א 3 C D3 E F G K, Vulg. Syrr. Arm.), which probably comes from 1 Corinthians 3:16. The confusion between ἡμεῖς and ὑμεῖς in MSS. is freq. Cf. 7:12, 8:8, 19; 1 Corinthians 7:15. א * has ναοί, an obvious correction.

καθὼς εἶπεν ὁ Θεός. We have first a paraphrase and then a quotation of the LXX of Leviticus 26:11, Leviticus 26:12, with a mixture of other passages. Cf. Isaiah 52:11; Ezekiel 20:34, Ezekiel 20:37:27; 2 Samuel 7:14; but the remarkable ἐνοικήσω ἐν αὐτοῖς is not in any of them. It is much stronger than ‘walk among them’ or ‘tabernacle among them.’ The introductory words show in each case what passage the Apostle has in his mind. καθὼς εἶπεν ὁ Θεός points to Leviticus 26:12, λέγει Κύριος to Isaiah 52:5 or Ezekiel 20:33 or 37:21, and λέγει Κύριος παντοκράτωρ to 2 Samuel 7:8. Cf. Ezekiel 11:17; Zephaniah 3:20; Zechariah 10:8.


καὶ ἔσομαι αὐτῶν Θεός. This privilege depends upon their willingness to accept Him; Deus natura omnium est, voluntate paucorum (Pseudo-Primasius).

17. διὸ ἐξέλθατε. The διό introduces the practical conclusion to be drawn from vv. 14-16, and to make it as impressive as possible it is expressed in language taken from the utterances of Jehovah in O.T. The withdrawal is to be moral and spiritual, not local; it is not meant that Christians are to migrate from heathen cities. And the aor. imperat. shows that the withdrawal is to be immediate and decisive, as in 18:4, where Swete remarks that “the cry ἑζελθε, ἐξέλθετε, rings through the Hebrew history; in the call of Abram, in the rescue of Lot, in the Exodus, in the call to depart from the neighbourhood of the tents of Dathan and Abiram, etc.” Cf. Ephesians 5:11; 1 Timothy 5:22. See Index IV.


ἀκαθάρτου μὴ ἅπτεσθε. In Heb. it is an unclean person. Here the adj. may be masc. or neut. Luther, AV, RV., follow Chrys. in regarding it as neur.

εἰσδέξομαι ὑμᾶς. ‘Will receive you with favour.’ The compound verb is found in LXX, esp. of God’s promises, but no where else in N.T. St Luke, both in Gospel and Acts, often has�

18. ἔσομαι ὑμῖν εἰς. This may mean ‘I will become to you’ (Matthew 19:5; Ephesians 5:31); but more probably the εἰς means ‘for, to serve as (Hebrews 1:5, Hebrews 1:8:10; Ephesians 1:12) father.’ There is to be a family likeness and family affection between God and them. Cf. Jubilees 1:24. They have been called out of their original home, and their new one will more than compensate them. If the friendship of the world means enmity with God (James 4:4), the only N.T. passage in which φιλία occurs,—it is likely to be true that separation from the world will lead to friendship with God. The second Isaiah (43:6), with characteristic insight, penetrates to the truth that there are daughters of God as well as sons of God. But this truth was only dimly recognized until Christianity raised woman from the degradation into which she had been thrust, not only in heathen cities, like Corinth, but even among the Chosen People. With the wording comp. 2 Samuel 7:14.

λέγει Κύριος Παντοκράτωρ. ‘Saith the Lord All-Ruler’ or ‘All-sovereign.’ See Swete on Revelation 1:8, the only other book in N.T. in which παντοκράτωρ occurs. There and in O.T. it is freq. It indicates One who rules over all rather than One who is able do all things, ὁ παντοδύναμος (Wisd. 7:23, 11:17, 18:15). The promises of such a Potentate are no mean thing, and they are sure to be fulfilled.













* This chapter was the Second Lesson at Evensong on 8 June 1688, after the Seven Bishops had been imprisoned in the Tower. See also Job 11:14-20, which was part of the First Lesson.


* Calvin finds meaning in the order of the clauses; Prius tempus benevolentiac ponitur, deinde dies salutis; quo innuitur ex sola Dei misericordia tanquam ex fonte manare nobis salutem.

D D (Sixth century). Codex Claromontanus; now at Paris. A Graeco-Latin MS. The Latin (d) is akin to the Old Latin. Many subsequent hands (sixth to ninth centuries) have corrected the MS.

* information respecting the commentator is to be found in the volume on the First Epistle, pp. lxvi f.

F F (Late ninth century). Codex Augiensis (from Reichenau); now at Trinity College, Cambridge.

G G (Late ninth century). Codex Boernerianus; at Dresden. Interlined with the Latin (in minluscules). The Greek text is almost the same as that of F, but the Latin (g) shows Old Latin elements.

d d The Latin companion of D

e d The Latin companion of E

g d The Latin companion of G

* Nihil enim magis ridiculum quam de tua apud alios existimations vindicanda contendere quam ipse tibi flagitiosa ac turpi vita contumeliam arcessas (Calv.).

E E (Ninth century). At Petrograd. A copy of D, and unimportant

אԠא (Fourth century). Codex Sinaiticus; now at Petrograd, the only uncial MS. containing the whole N.T.

B B (Fourth century). Codex Vaticanus.

C C (Fifth century). Codex Ephraemi, a Palimpsest; now at Paris, very defective. Of 2 Corinthians all from 10:8 onwards is wanting.

K K (Ninth century). Codex Mosquensis; now at Moscow.

L L (Ninth century). Codex Angelicus; now in the Angelica Library at Rome.

P P (Ninth century). Codex Porfirianus Chiovensis, formerly possessed by Bishop Porfiri of Kiev, and now at Petrograd.

17 17. (Evan. 33, Act_13. Ninth century). Now at paris. “The queen of the cursives” and the best for the Pauline Epistles; more than any other it preserves Pre-Syrian readings and agrees with B D L.


f d The Latin companion of F

* St Paul would not mention as an apostolic hardship the fasts which he practised for his own spiritual good (Beet).

* “Their enemies did them service against their wills” (Chrys.).

† Sicut qui ignoti et cogniti (Vulg.); ut qui ignoraniur et cognosciniur (Aug.).

* ut castignti et non mortificati (Vulg.); ut coerciti et non mortificati (Aug.).

dagger; multos locuplolantes (Vulg.); multos ditanles (Aug.).

* “It is an error to suppose that Paul makes a rigorous distinction between the σάρξ and the σῶμα and its members in relation to the seat of sin” (O.Cone. Paul, p. 228).

† A. Sabatier, who rejects the less violent hypotheses that 10.— 13. is part of another letter, accepts this hypotheses as correct (The Apostle Paul, p. 177 n.).

‡ Lietzmann warns us against reosrting to the hypotheses of die von der Kritik aufgewirbelten ‘fiiegenden Blätler,’ die sich an verschiedenen Stellen des N.T. so uerwunderliche Ruheplätae ausgesucht haben sollen. Bousset says that reasons for excising the passage are worthy of consideration but not convincing, nicht durchschlagend. Calvin remarks that the Apostle, having regained his hold over his converts, hastens to warn them of a perilous evil. Perhaps it was an evil which had led to the temporaty breach between him and his converts.

* Wir haben uns hinteRV 13 eine lange Pause im Dictieren (Lietzmann).

† Cf. Plautus, Aulularia, II. ii. 51f., Nunc si filiam locassim mean tibi, in mentem venit, Te bovem esse, et me esse asellum: ubi tecum conjunctus siem, Ubi onus nequeam ferre pariter, jaceam ego asinus in luto; Tu me bos haud magis respicias.. Here the dat. implies that the ἄπιστοι will dominate.

* There is much danger in applying this law. It is perilous when men begin to decide who are believers and who not by party badges” (F. W. Robertson).

67 67. (Eleventh century). At Vienna. Has valuable marginal readings (67 * *) akin to B and M; these readings must have been copied from an ancient MS., but not from the Codex Ruber itself.

Bibliographical Information
Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 6". International Critical Commentary NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/icc/2-corinthians-6.html. 1896-1924.
 
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