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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 5

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


For we know. This links what he is about to say, with 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. This tent we live in. A tent is a temporary place to live. This is how Paul thinks of this physical body. Compare Mark 14:58, where Jesus contrasts his physical body with his resurrection body. See also notes on 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. Is torn down by death. God will have. Paul looked forward to a resurrection body which God would give him. Greek thought viewed the body as evil, the prisonhouse of the soul. The Bible, however, does not view the body as evil, and points forward to the time when all the dead are raised to live in another body which will be eternal! Compare 1 Corinthians 15:35-44.

Verse 2


And now we sigh. The Christian has already received the first of God’s gifts (Romans 8:23) which is the guarantee (2 Corinthians 5:5). But the fact that there is more to come makes Paul eager to make the change! Compare 1 Corinthians 15:47.

Verse 3


Without a body. Greek thought saw the immortal soul living forever without any body at all! Paul and the others proclaimed a raising from death which included a new body. Compare 2 Peter 3:13 and notes.

Verse 4


While. “The feeling of oppression does not come from a desire to escape from this world and our suffering, but it comes from our eager desire to exchange this mortal life for true life!!!” Put on over us. Paul purposely says it this way to show that there is a continuity between our physical body and our heavenly body (1 Corinthians 15:35-54).

Verse 5


God is the one. Again Paul points to God as the source of heavenly house. Compare Romans 5:18 and note. As the guarantee. The Spirit is our guarantee, because it is through the Spirit that we will be raised from death (Romans 8:11).

Verse 6


So we. Now Paul uses the language of a refugee. “Because we expect to live eternally, we are always full of courage as we live out our life here!” We know that. “As long as we live in this present body, we are away from the Lord’s home, and we are still refugees and strangers as we wait!”

Verse 7


Not sight. “In our life here on earth, we do not see the heavenly things we long for! So our lives are based on faith, not sight.”

Verse 8


And would much prefer. “We have no fear of death, and would like to receive our heavenly home (resurrection body) now, and be at home with the Lord!”

Verse 9


We want to please him. This is Paul’s answer to the problem. Whatever the Lord has for him, is what he wants!!! See how Paul explains this in Philippians 1:18-26.

Verse 10


Before Christ. Paul had no idea of anyone earning their salvation (see Ephesians 2:8)!!! Yet he taught that everyone was obligated to respond to this grace of God through good actions in their bodily life.

Verse 11


To fear the Lord. Not terror, but reverence and respect. Terror is never a valid motive to obey the Lord (1 John 4:18). [MacKnight takes this to mean: “Knowing, therefore, the terribleness of the Lord’s displeasure, we persuade men to repent and believe the gospel . . .”] The Good News shows God’s love, and so Paul tries to persuade men to see the urgency and truth so that they will escape the coming Judgment through Christ.

Verse 12


We are not. It may be that in the strong letter, Paul seemed to boast about his work (see 2 Corinthians 11:16 to 2 Corinthians 12:13). But Paul is very sensitive to the accusation that he has done this! He wants to give them a true picture of his mission and work, so that they can answer the opponents.

Verse 13


Are we really Insane? Some said this about Jesus (Mark 3:21 and note). MacKnight thinks the false teachers accused Paul of being insane because of the risks and dangers he placed himself in for the sake of the Good News. Compare Acts 26:24 and note. Or are we sane? At times Paul reasoned with them very quietly. [Johnson thinks the false teachers boasted about their visions from God, but said the visions Paul claimed, were due to insanity.]

Verse 14


By Christ’s love. “In our service to Christ, we are not insane. We are ruled in all this by Christ’s love for us. We take great risks and place ourselves in danger, because we recognize that one man died for all men.” Which means. Christ’s death was for all! 2 Corinthians 5:15 explains this. All men take part in his death, but this does not mean that all will be saved. Compare Romans 5:18 and note.

Verse 15


So that. “If you take Christ-on-the-cross seriously, you will see that Jesus died for all, Jew and Gentile. If you imitate Christ, you will no longer live for yourself, but you will live for Christ. For this reason, you become a Christian by being baptized into Christ’s death ( Romans 6:3-11; Colossians 2:12-13).”

Verse 16


No longer, then. Christians do not create distinctions (James 2:1-4). Even if. Before Paul became a Christian, he did look at Jesus from a human point of view. He could see no value in the cross. Compare 1 Corinthians 1:23. The cross makes peace between Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2:14).

Verse 17


When. At the time anyone is joined to Christ. See Galatians 3:27. He is, Not: he will be; but he is! The new being is opposed to the human point of view. It supersedes racial distinctions (Galatians 6:15), and it is a life of the Spirit (Romans 8:10-11). The old. Sin, guilt, and punishment are all put behind! The new. Life, forgiveness, the Spirit, a new point of view (1 Corinthians 2:14), etc.

Verse 18


All this is done by God. Paul gives the credit to God! For Paul, the cross demonstrates both Christ’s love and God’s love!!! Changed us from enemies. Note Christ’s sacrifice changes us, not God! God’s act in Christ to set us free changes us from enemies to friends, when we reach out through faith to seize it! And gave as the task. The church, and specifically Paul, has the task of making others the friends of God. This is done by preaching the Good News!

Verse 19


Our message. The basis of the Good News is that God himself had acted and was making friends of those who had rebelled against him! Keep an account. MacKnight says: “That God is by Christ bringing back the world to himself, promising not to punish them for their trespasses, but to pardon them upon their faith and repentance.” See Colossians 1:20; 1 Timothy 2:4-7; Hebrews 9:14-15. It is Christ’s doing and dying which makes it possible (Romans 8:3-4). Given us the message. The Good News of God’s finished work in Christ is the message that changes us into friends of God. See Romans 1:16-17 and notes.

Verse 20


As though God himself. Proxy probably would be a better word than ambassador. Paul (and every Christian) acts as a proxy for God by trying to persuade others to let God change them from enemies into friends!!!

Verse 21


Christ was without sin. The sinlessness of Jesus is affirmed throughout the New Testament. Christ therefore satisfied the righteous demands of the Law. God made him share our sin. MacKnight understands this to mean that God made Christ our sin-offering. The rite of the scapegoat pictured what Jesus would do. The sins of the people were confessed on the goat and transferred to it. At the cross, Jesus shared our sin, which was transferred to him. Johnson says: “Since we die with Christ, in him we pay the penalty, and are justified [put right with God].” God puts men right through their faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22).

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/2-corinthians-5.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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