Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 5

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

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Verse 1

2Co 5:1. Know is from EIDO which has a wide range of meanings. In the present passage Thayer defines it, "it is well known, acknowledged." Hence it does not mean knowledge as different from faith, but rather that something is so well established that no doubt can be felt about it. Earthly house means the fleshly body that is the victim of persecutions as set forth in the preceding chapter. Tabernacle is applied to it because it is the home of the spirit of man while in this world. Dissolve denotes that something is thrown down, as a building might be taken down and its use discontinued. Building of God means the spiritual body into which the present one of the saints will be changed when Jesus comes from heaven (Php 3:21).

Verse 2

2Co 5:2. In this we groan refers to the natural desire that every man has for something better than he now has in his fleshly body with all of its tendencies toward disease and decay. (See Rom 8:22-23.) House which is from heave n; the design of this house, and the power of carrying it out, exists in heaven the place of God.

Verse 3

2Co 5:3. Our spiritual being is not satisfied without a form or immaterial body to be associated with it.

Verse 4

2Co 5:4. The first clause of this verse is the same as that in the beginning of verse 2. Being burdened with the weight of fleshly infirmities creates a desire for relief. The desire is not merely to be relieved of the fleshly weight, but also that we may receive another kind of body for our soul. Mortality is from THNETOS, which Thayer defines, "liable to death, mortal," and hence life means the opposite. The saved will have their bodies changed into a form that will not be subject to death, for it will be like that of Jesus (Php 3:21; 1Jn 3:2).

Verse 5

2Co 5:5. Wrought us for the selfsame thing means that God has worked matters to accomplish this very result. Earnest means a pledge or foretaste of a more complete favor yet to come. Such an assurance was given in miraculous measure to the apostle, and is bestowed in a lesser measure upon all Christians. This is done in the church which is the body of Christ, and by the spiritual blessings that come to all faithful disciples of Christ.

Verse 6

2Co 5:6. Paul was never made uneasy by the threat of persecutions, for if "worst came to worst" and his enemies even slew him, he would then go into the presence of the Lord. On the other hand, as long as his soul was in its home in the body, he would be absent from the Lord. Hence the enemy could do nothing to make his condition less desirable. This accounts for his resolute firmness when in the midst of the severest persecutions, or even when it seemed that death was near. (See 1Co 15:30-32.)

Verse 7

2Co 5:7. Sight means the appearances of things in the present life, many of which are threatening and otherwise undesirable. Faith opens up before the apostle (as well as all other disciples) a vision of the Lord's presence. With such an incentive, the servant of Christ will walk or pursue his course while on the earth.

Verse 8

2Co 5:8. Paul's personal preference is expressed in this verse, which is the same thing that he does in Php 1:23. Were it not for the good he could do while remaining in the world, he would rather die and go to be with the Lord.

Verse 9

2Co 5:9. Not knowing how nor by what means he would be taken out of the land of the living, the apostle was determined so to live that he would be prepared to stand approved whenever the time came to go into judgment with Him.

Verse 10

2Co 5:10. We must all appear is especially significant because Paul had referred to his responsibility regardless of when or how he would end his life. The thought is in keeping with his discourse delivered in Athens (Act 17:31), and with Peter's statement in Act 10:42 that Jesus was ordained to be the judge of the quick (living) and the dead. Receive the things. The last word has no separate word in the original; the phrase means to receive something from the Judge in view of the things that were done while living in the fleshly body. According. This word has been perverted by those who wish to defend the heresy commonly called "degrees of reward and punishment." Such a use of it wholly disregards Paul's own application which is in the same verse, namely, whether the things done are good or bad. There are only two kinds of deeds that can possibly be done, and they come under one or the other of these two words. By the same token, there can be only two kinds of reward bestowed upon man, namely, a crown of life for the good or a sentence of death for the bad, and it will be administered according to whichever a man has done.

Verse 11

2Co 5:11. Terror is from PHOBOS, and Thayer defines it virtually the same as Robinson. but the latter gives a somewhat fuller definition which is, "fear, reverence, respect, honor," and he explains it at our passage to mean, "a deep and reverential feeling of accountability to God or Christ." Paul knew that such a feeling should be had toward the Lord, and it caused him to persuade men to prepare for the judgment day. Made manifest unto God. Everything a man does is known to God, which is one of the reasons Paul was constrained to do his duty by warning his fellow creatures against the day of final accounts. He believed that his work was so well known to the Corinthians that they could conscientiously commend him.

Verse 12

2Co 5:12. Commend not ourselves. Paul believes it would be better to let others do the praising of his work, hence he leaves that privilege to the Corinthians. Since self-praise is sometimes criticized, if Paul had indulged in that too much, his friends in Corinth would have been approached by the enemy with criticism of their leader (the apostle). But if the commendations were of their own formation, it would silence those pretenders who were not speaking from the heart.

Verse 13

2Co 5:13. Festus accused Paul of being beside himself (Act 26:24), and it is implied that he was so accused by some at Corinth. He affirms that if it is true, the matter is between himself and his God and so no one else needs be concerned about it, since no information for man would be at stake. On the other hand, his sober or serious conduct and speech would be maintained for the benefit of his brethren. Paul does not specifically deny either of the charges, but lets the conclusion be drawn that all of his manner of action and speech is such as to show respect for God and consideration for the needs of man.

Verse 14

2Co 5:14. The motive for the zeal of Paul was the love of Christ, which was so great that He died for all mankind. The death of Christ was needed by all as was proved by the truth that He died for them, since the death would not have taken place had such an event not been necessary.

Verse 15

2Co 5:15. The death of Christ was done that all humanity might be brought from the dead (1Co 15:22). But it was for the additional and far more important purpose of inducing men to live such lives while in this world, that when they are brought alive from the grave they may live in joy in the eternal world.

Verse 16

2Co 5:16. No man after the flesh. It makes no difference whether a man is a Jew or a Gentile in the apostle's estimation, for such a distinction counts for nothing in Christ Jesus. (See Gal 6:15.) It was necessary at one time to consider the fleshly nature of Christ, for that was a part of His qualification as the sacrifice for the sins of the world. But all that is past and He is at his Father's right hand in glory. Hence the time is no more present when such questions should be asked as to whether a man is a Jew or a Gentile, when the matter of his acceptance with God is considered. This fundamental truth was one thing that the brethren in Rome also had overlooked.

Verse 17

2Co 5:17. New creature. Adam was the first man in the first or material creation, and Christ is the first one in the second or spiritual creation (1Co 15:45). When a man obeys the Gospel and comes into Christ, he is renewed spiritually and becomes a part of the new creation. Old things are passed away denotes that such a man is to follow a new kind of life, not one of sin (Rom 6:4).

Verse 18

2Co 5:18. God is the creator of all things, whether the material world is being considered or the spiritual one. Reconciled us is true of all Christians, but Paul is here considering especially the relation of himself and the other apostles to the great work of the new creation. In order for man in general to be reconciled or brought to God in the spiritual creation, it was necessary for some agency to be empowered for the work. Such a service or ministry was given to the apostles.

Verse 19

2Co 5:19. To wit is an explanatory term, connecting the preceding verse with the present one. The Englishman's Greek New Testament renders this place, "How. that God was in Christ," etc. God accomplishes his work for the salvation of the world through the Son. (See Joh 14:6.) Reconciling is from KATALLASSO, which Thayer defines, "to receive one into his favor." It should be noted in which direction the reconciling is to be done, namely, from man to God. Man is the guilty party while God is the offended one. He has done nothing that needs to be made right, but man has separated himself from Him by his life of sin. However, God loves the creatures of His great wisdom and power, and desires to have them brought back into a life of righteousness. For this purpose the invitation is given for man to come into Christ by obedience to the Gospel. If he will do this, all his sins will be forgiven or not be imputed, which means they will not be longer held against him. The word by which the work is accomplished has been committed unto the apostles.

Verse 20

2Co 5:20. Ambassadors is from PRES-BEUO, which is used twice in the New Testament (here and in Eph 6:20). Both Thayer and Robinson give us the simple word that is used in our verse as their definition, which shows they understand the Greek term to mean the same as the English, namely, "the official representative of his own government." Hence there are no ambassadors for Christ living on earth today, for the apostles are still in authority (Mat 28:20). Be ye recanciled. The Corinthians had already been reconciled to God by their obedience to the Gospel (1Co 15:1-2), but it was necessary to remain faithful in order to continue in the faith or be reconciled.

Verse 21

2Co 5:21. Be sin, for us means that Christ the sinless one, was made an offering for sin on behalf of mankind. This makes it possible for man to lead a life of righteousness by being in Him.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/2-corinthians-5.html. 1952.
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