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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
2 Corinthians 6

 

 

Introduction

CHAPTER 6

2 Corinthians 6:14. τίς] Elz.: τίς δέ, against decisive evidence.—2 Corinthians 6:15. Instead of χριστῷ, Lachm. and Tisch. have χριστοῦ, following B C א, min. Vulg. Copt. Fathers. Rightly; the dative came in from the adjoining words.—2 Corinthians 6:16. ὑμεῖςἐστε] Lachm.: ἡμεῖςἐσμεν, following B D * L א* min. Copt. Clar. Germ. Clem. Didym. Aug. (once). To be preferred, since the Recepta was very naturally suggested as well by the remembrance of 1 Corinthians 3:16 as by the connection (2 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 6:17), while there was no ground for putting ἡμεῖςἐσμεν in its stea.

μοι] Lachm.: μου. Attested, no doubt, by B C א, 17, 37, but easily brought in after αὐτῶν.(245)2 Corinthians 6:17. ἐξέλθετε] The form ἐξέλθατε is to be adopted, with Lachm. Tisch. and Rück., following B C F G א, 71, al. Damasc. See Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 639.

After Paul has, in 2 Corinthians 5:20-21, expressed by δεόμεθα κ. τ. λ. the first and most immediate duty of his ministry as ambassador, he now expresses also his further working as a teacher, and that in reference to the readers, 2 Corinthians 6:1-2. And in order to show how important and sacred is this second part of his working as a joint-labourer with Christ, and certainly at the same time by way of an example putting his opponents to shame, he thereupon sets forth (2 Corinthians 6:3-10), in a stream of diction swelling onward with ever increasing grandeur, his own conduct in his hortatory activity. “Maxima est innocentiae contumacia,” Quintil. ii. 4. “Verba innocenti reperire facile est,” Curtius, vi. 10. 37.


Verse 1

2 Corinthians 6:1. Connection and meaning: “We do not, however, let the matter rest merely with that entreaty on Christ’s behalf: be ye reconciled to God, but, since we are His fellow-workers, and there is thus more laid on us to do than that entreaty on Christ’s behalf, we also exhort that ye lose not again the grace of God which you have received (2 Corinthians 5:21), that ye do not frustrate it in your case by an unchristian life.”

συνεργοῦντες] The συν finds its contextual reference not in the subject of 2 Corinthians 5:21, where there is only an auxiliary clause assigning a reason, nor yet in ὡς τοῦ θεοῦ παρακαλ. διʼ ἡμῶν, 2 Corinthians 5:20, in which there was given only a modal definition of the πρεσβεύειν ὑπὲρ χ., but in ὑπὲρ χριστοῦ, 2 Corinthians 5:20 : as working together with Christ. It cannot, therefore, apply to God (Oecumenius, Lyra, Beza, Calvin, Cajetanus, Vorstius, Estius, Grotius, Calovius, and others, including Rückert, de Wette, Osiander, Hofmann, in accordance with 1 Corinthians 3:9), or to the fellow-apostles (Heumann, Leun), or to the Corinthian teachers (Schulz, Bolten), or to the Corinthians in general (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Pelagius, Bengel, Billroth, Olshausen(246)), or to the exhortations, with which his own example co-operates (Michaelis, Emmerling, Flatt). The apostles are fellow-workers with Christ just in this, that they are ambassadors ὑπὲρ χριστοῦ, and as such have to represent His cause and prosecute His wor.

μὴ εἰς κενὸν κ. τ. λ.] ἐπάγει ταῦτα τὴν περὶ τὸν βίον σπουδὴν ἀπαιτῶν, Chrysostom. For if he that is reconciled through faith leads an unchristian life, the reconciliation is in his case frustrated. See Romans 6; Romans 8:12-13, al.

εἰς κενόν] incassum, of no effect, Galatians 2:2; Philippians 2:16; 1 Thessalonians 3:5; Diod. xix. 9; Heliod. x. 30; Jacobs, ad Anthol. VII. p. 328.

δέξασθαι] is to be explained as recipiatis. So Vulgate, Luther, and others, including Rückert, Ewald, Osiander, Hofmann. Those, namely, who, like the readers ( ὑμᾶς), have become partakers of the reconciliation through compliance with the entreaty in 2 Corinthians 5:20, are placed now under the divine grace (comp. Romans 6:14 f.). And this they are not to reject, but to receive and accept ( δέξασθαι), and that not εἰς κενόν, i.e. not without the corresponding moral results, which would be wanting if one reconciled and justified by faith were not to follow the drawing of grace and the will of the Spirit and to walk in the καινότης τῆς ζωῆς (Romans 6:4) as a new creature, etc. Comp. Theodoret. Pelagius also is right: “in vacuum gratiam Dei recipit, qui in novo testamento non novus est.” Hence it is not (not even in Romans 15:9) to be taken in the sense of the praeterite, as many of the more recent commentators (even de Wette) take it, contrary to usage, following Erasmus: “ne committatis, ut, semel gratis a peccatis exemti, in pristinam vitam relabentes in vanum receperitis gratiam Dei.”

ὑμᾶς] is now, after the apostolic calling has been expressed at 2 Corinthians 5:20 in its general bearing, added and placed at the end for emphasis, because now the discourse passes into the direct exhortation to the readers, that they receive not without effect, etc. If in their case that apostolic entreaty for reconciliation had not passed without compliance, they are now also to accept and act on the grace under which they have been placed.


Verse 2

does not assign the reason why Paul is concerned about his official action, because, namely, now is the time in which God would have the world helped (Hofmann), but gives, as the context requires by the exhortation brought in at 2 Corinthians 6:1, a parenthetic urgent inducement for complying with this exhortation without delay

2 Corinthians 6:2 does not assign the reason why Paul is concerned about his official action, because, namely, now is the time in which God would have the world helped (Hofmann), but gives, as the context requires by the exhortation brought in at 2 Corinthians 6:1, a parenthetic urgent inducement for complying with this exhortation without delay.

λέγει γάρ] sc. θεός, from what precedes. The passage is Isaiah 49:8, exactly according to the LXX. The person addressed is the עבד יהוה, whose idea is realized in Christ. He is regarded as the head of the true people of God; He is listened to, and He is helped, when the grace of God conveyed through Him is not received without result. Such is the Messianic fulfilment of that, which in Isaiah is promised to the servant of God regarding the deliverance and salvation of the unfortunate peopl.

καιρῷ δεκτῷ] Thus the LXX. translate בְּעֶת רָצוֹן, at a time of favour. Paul was able to retain the expression of the LXX. all the more, that in the fulfilment of the prophetic word the acceptableness ( δεκτῷ) of the καιρός for the people of God consists in this, that it is the point of time for the display of divine favour and grace. Chrysostom well says: καιρὸς τῆς δωρεᾶς, τῆς χάριτος, ὅτε οὐκ ἔστις εὐθύνας ἀπαιτηθῆναι τῶν ἁμαρτημάτων, οὔτε δἰκην δοῦναι, ἀλλὰ μετὰ τῆς ἀπαλλαγῆς καὶ μυρίων ἀπολαῦσαι ἀγαθῶν, δικαιοσύνης, ἁγιασμοῦ, τῶν ἄλλων ἁπάντων. In substance the same thing is indicated by ἐν ἡμέρᾳ σωτηρίας, on the day of deliverance. If καιρὸς δεκτός is taken as the time pleasing to God (Hofmann),(247) it is less in keeping with the parallel “day of salvation.” The aorists are neither of a future (Menochius) nor of a present character (Flatt), but the Deity speaking sees the future as having already happened. See on Luke 1:51.

In the commentary which Paul adds: ἰδοὺ, νῦν κ. τ. λ., he discloses the element of that utterance of God, which moves to the use of this welcome salvation-bringing time. Behold, now is the acceptable time, behold, now is the day of deliverance, which the prophet has foretold; now or never may you be successful in obtaining salvation through a fruitful acceptance and apprehension of the divine grace! If the νῦν is past, and you have frustrated in your case the grace received, then the hearing and help promised by the prophet are no longer possible! The duration of this νῦν was in Paul’s view the brief interval before the near-approaching Parousia. The stronger εὐπρόσδεκτος (2 Corinthians 8:12; Romans 15:16; Romans 15:31; Plut. Mor. p. 801 C), which he has used instead of the simple form, has proceeded involuntarily from his deep and earnest feeling on the subject.


Verse 3

2 Corinthians 6:3. The participle is not connected with 2 Corinthians 6:11, but (in opposition to Hofmann, see on 2 Corinthians 6:11) with παρακαλ. in 2 Corinthians 6:1, as a qualitative definition of the subject. Grotius aptly says: “ostendit enim, quam serio moneat qui ut aliquid proficiat nullis terreatur incommodis, nulla non commoda negligat.” Luther finds here an exhortation (let us give no one any kind of offence), which, however, is not allowed either by the construction ( διδόντας must have been used) or by the contents of what follow.

ἐν μηδενι] not masculine (Luther) but neuter: in no respect. Comp. ἐν παντί, 2 Corinthians 6:4. The μή is here used, neither unsuitably to the connection with 2 Corinthians 6:1 (Hofmann), nor instead of οὐ (Rückert), but from a subjective point of view: “we exhort … as those, who,” etc. Comp. 1 Corinthians 10:33, and see Winer, p. 451 [E. T. 608].

προσκοπή), only here in the N. T., not found in the LXX. and Apocr. (Polyb. vi. 6. 8, al.), is equivalent to πρόσκομμα, σκάνδαλον, i.e. an occasion for unbelief and unchristian conduct. This is given by a conduct of the teachers at variance with the doctrine taugh.

μωμηθῇ] be blamed; comp. 1 Corinthians 7:20. Paul is conscious that he represents the honour of the ministry entrusted to him. It cannot be proved that μωμ. denotes only light blame (Chrysostom and others, Osiander). See even in Homer, Il. iii. 412. It depends on.the context, as in Pindar, Pyth. i. 160; Lucian, Quom. hist 33: οὐδεὶς ἂν, ἀλλʼ οὐδʼ ΄ῶμος μωμήσασθαι δύναιτο.


Verse 4

2 Corinthians 6:4 f. συνιστῶντες ἑαυτ.] Here ἑαυτ. is not, as in 2 Corinthians 3:1, 2 Corinthians 4:12, prefixed, because συνιστ. is the leading ide.

ὡς θεοῦ διάκονοι] different in sense from ὡς θ. διακόνους (Vulg.: ministros). This would mean: we commend ourselves as those (accusative), who appear as God’s servants. The former means: we commend ourselves, as God’s servants commend themselves. Comp. Kühner, § 830, 5. The emphasis is on θεοῦ.

ἐν ὑπομονῇ πολλῇ] This is the first thing, the passive bearing, through which that συνιστ. ἑαυτ. ὡς θ. διάκ. takes place, through much patience; the further, active side of the bearing follows in 2 Corinthians 6:6, ἐν ἁγνότητι κ. τ. λ., so that ἐν θλίψεσιννηστείαις is that, in which ( ἐν) the much patience, the much endurance is shown.

Bengel aptly classifies ἐν θλίψεσιννηστείαις: “Primus ternarius continet genera, secundus species adversorum, tertius spontanea.” Comp. Theodore.

θλίψ., ἀνάγκ., στενοχ.: climactic designation. On στενοχ., comp. 2 Corinthians 4:8. It is impracticable, and leads to arbitrariness, to find a climax also in the three points that follow, the more especially as the very first point is worse and more disgraceful than the secon.

ἐν πληγαῖς] Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:23-25; Acts 16:23.

ἐν ἀκαταστασίαις] in tumults. Comp. e.g. Acts 13:50; Acts 14:19; Acts 16:19 ff; Acts 19:28 ff. The explanation: instabilities, i.e. banishments from one place to another (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Oecumenius, Beza, Schulz, Flatt, Olshausen), is in itself possible (comp. ἀστατοῦμεν, 1 Corinthians 4:11); but in the whole of the N. T. ἀκαταστ. only means either confusion, disorder (1 Corinthians 14:32; 2 Corinthians 12:20; James 3:16), or in a special sense tumult (Luke 21:9; comp. Sirach 26:27). See, regarding the latter signification, the profane passages in Wetstein, Schweighäuser, Lex. Polyb. p. 17.

ἐν ἀγρυπν.] in sleeplessnesses, for the sake of working with his hands, teaching, travelling, meditating, praying, through cares, etc. Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:27; Acts 20:31. On the plural, comp. Herod. iii. 129.

ἐν κόποις] is not, with Chrysostom, Theophylact, and others, to be understood only of labour with the hands (1 Corinthians 4:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8), which limitation is not suggested by the context, but of toilsome labours in general, which the conduct of the apostolic ministry entailed. Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:23; 2 Corinthians 11:27.

ἐν νηστείαις] is generally explained of the endurance of hunger and want (1 Corinthians 4:11; Philippians 4:12). But since νηστεία is never used of compulsory fasting, and since Paul himself (2 Corinthians 11:27) distinguishes ἐν νηστείαις from ἐν λιμῷ κ. δίψει, we must, with Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Calvin (comp. also Osiander, Hofmann), explain it of voluntary fasting, which Paul, using with free spirit the time-honoured asceticism, imposed on himself. The objections, that this is at variance with the apostle’s spirit, or is here irrelevant, are arbitrary. See Matthew 6:16; Matthew 9:15; Matthew 17:21; Acts 14:23; comp. 2 Corinthians 13:2-3, 2 Corinthians 9:9; also 1 Corinthians 7:5.

In 2 Corinthians 6:6, the series begun with ἐν ὑμομονῇ πολλῇ goes furthe.

ἐν ἁγνότητι] through purity, moral sincerity in general. Comp. ἁγνός, Philippians 4:8; 1 Timothy 5:22; 1 John 3:3. To understand this as meaning abstinentia a venere (Grotius and others), or contempt for money (Theodoret), is a limitation without ground in the context, and presents too low a moral standard for a servant of Go.

ἐν γνώσει] Of the high degree of his evangelical knowledge, in particular of the moral will of God in the gospel, there is evidence in every one of his Epistles and in every one of his speeches in the Book of Acts. Calvin and Moras arbitrarily think that what is meant is recte, et scienter agendi peritia, or (comp. also Rückert and Osiander) true practical prudence.

ἐν μακροθυμίᾳ] amid offence.

ἐν χρηστότητι] through kindness (Tittmann, Synon. p. 140 ff.). The two are likewise associated in 1 Corinthians 13:4; Galatians 5:22.

ἐν πνεύμ. ἁγίῳ] is not to be limited arbitrarily to the charismata (Grotius and others), but: through the Holy Spirit, of whom testimony is given by our whole working and conduct just as the fruit of the Spirit (comp. Galatians 5:22) and walk according to the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). The position of this and the following point is determined by the circumstance, that Paul, in addition to the points adduced ( ἐν ὑπομονῇἐν ἁγνότητι κ. τ. λ.), now further mentions their objective divine source, which he bears in himself ( ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ), as well as the fundamental virtue of the Christian ( ἐν ἀγάπῃ ἀνυποκρ., comp. Romans 12:9; 1 Peter 1:22 f., 2 Corinthians 4:8), which springs from this source, and without which even those elements already named would fail him (1 Corinthians 8:1; 1 Corinthians 13:1 ff; 1 Corinthians 14:1). In this way he brings to completion that portion of his self-attestation which reaches to this point.


Verse 7

2 Corinthians 6:7. The enumerations hitherto made related generally to the conduct and character of God’s servants; now the stream, swelling ever more boldly, passes over to the province of the teacher’s work, and pours itself forth from 2 Corinthians 6:8 in a succession of contrasts between seeming and being, which are so many triumphs of the apostle’s clear self-assuranc.

ἐν λόγῳ ἀληθ.] through discourse of truth, i.e. through doctrine, the character of which is truth. Comp. 2 Corinthians 2:17, 2 Corinthians 4:2. It will not do to take, with Rückert, λόγ. ἀληθ. objectively, as equivalent to εὐαγγέλιον, because, as at Ephesians 1:13, Colossians 1:5, the article could not have been omitte.

ἐν δυνάμει θεοῦ] through power of God, which shows itself efficacious in our work of teaching, 2 Corinthians 4:7. Comp. 1 Corinthians 2:4; 1 Corinthians 4:20. The limitation to the miracles is arbitrary (Theophylact, comp. Emmerling and Flatt).

διὰ τῶν ὁπλῶν τῆς δικαιοσ. κ. τ. λ.] is by Grotius connected with what precedes (Dei virtute nobis arma subministrante, etc.); but seeing that other independent points are afterwards introduced by διά, we must suppose that Paul, who elsewhere without any special purpose varies in his use of equivalent prepositions, passes from the instrumental ἐν to the instrumental διά, so that we have here also a special point: through the weapons, which righteousness furnishes. The δικαιοσύνη is to be taken in the usual dogmatic sense. Comp. τὴν θώρακα τῆς δικαιοσ., Ephesians 6:15. It is the righteousness of faith which makes us strong and victorious in the way of assault or defence against all opposing powers. See the noble commentary of the apostle himself in Romans 8:31-39. It has been explained of moral integrity (comp. Romans 6:13; Romans 6:19; Ephesians 5:9; Ephesians 6:14), the genitive being taken either as ad justitiam implendam (Grotius), or as weapons, which the consciousness of integrity gives (Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, Billroth), or which are allowed to a moral man and are at his command (Rückert), or which minister to that which is of right (Hofmann), and the like; but the explanation has this against it, that the context contains absolutely nothing which leads us away from the habitual Pauline conception of δικαιοσύνη, as it was most definitely expressed even at 2 Corinthians 5:21, whereas the idea of δύναμις θεοῦ stands in quite a Pauline connection with that of δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ. See Romans 1:16-17. Hence there is no ground for uniting the two conceptions of δικαιοσύνη (Osiander), or for explaining it of righteousness as a quality of God which works through Paul (Kling). The explanation: arma justa, legitimate weapons (Flatt, following Heumann and Morus), is out of the questio.

τῶν δεξιῶν καὶ ἀριστ.] right-hand and left-hand arms, an apportioning specification of the whole armament. The former are the weapons of attack wielded with the right hand, the latter are the weapons of defence (shield); the warrior needs both together. Hence it was unsuitable to refer the former specially to res prosperas, the latter to res adversas (Erasmus, Estius, Grotius, Bengel, and others, following the Fathers): “ne prosperis elevemur, nec frangamur adversis,” Pelagius. Comp. rather, on the subject-matter, 2 Corinthians 10:4 f.


Verse 8

2 Corinthians 6:8. It is usually supposed that διά here is not again instrumental, but local: (going) through honour and shame, or in the sense of the accompanying circumstances (Hofmann): amid honour and shame, we commend ourselves, namely, as God’s servants, 2 Corinthians 6:4. This is arbitrary on the very face of it; besides, in this way of taking it there is no mode of the apostolic self-commendation at all expressed. Hence Billroth was right in trying to keep to the instrumental sense: “as well honour as shame (the latter, in so far as he bears it with courage and patience) must contribute to the apostle’s commendation” But, on the other hand, it may be urged that, according to the words, it must be the shame itself (as also the δόξα itself), and not the manner of bearing it, which commends. Hence it is rather to be taken: through glory, which we earn for ourselves among the friends of God, and through dishonour, which we draw on ourselves among opponents; through both we commend ourselves as God’s servants. On the latter idea ( καὶ ἀτιμίας), comp. Matthew 5:11; Luke 6:22; 1 Peter 4:14; also Galatians 1:10. In a corresponding way also what follows is to be taken: through evil report and good report.

ὡς πλάνοι κ. ἀληθεῖς] With this there begins a series of modal definitions, which furnish a triumphant commentary on the two previous statements, διὰ δόξης κ. ἀτιμίας, διὰ δυσφημ. κ. εὐφημ. In this case the order of the clauses (the injurious aspect being always put first) corresponds to the order of δυσφ. κ. εὐφημ. The first clause always gives the tenor of the ἀτιμία and δυσφημία; the second clause, on the other hand, gives the actual state of the case, and consequently also the tenor of the δόξα and εὐφημία. Hence: as deceivers and true, i.e. as people who are both, the former in the opinion and in the mouth of enemies, the latter in point of fact. Accordingly, καί is not “and yet” (Luther and many others), but the simple and.

On the seven times repeated ὡς, Valla rightly remarks: “Paulina oratio sublimis atque urgens.” Comp. Augustine, de doctr. Christ. iv. 20.

On πλάνοι, which does not mean “erring” (Ewald), comp. Matthew 27:63; 1 Timothy 4:1; John 7:12; and Wetstein.


Verse 9-10

2 Corinthians 6:9-10. ἀγνοούμενοι] not: mistaken or misjudged (Flatt, Hofmann, and others), nor yet: people, for whom nobody cares (Grotius), but: people, whom no one is acquainted with (Galatians 1:22); obscure men, of whom no one knows anything. Comp. ἀγνώς and the contrasted γνώριμος, Plato, Pol. ii. p. 375 E also Demosth. 851. 27.

ἐπιγινωσκ.] becoming well known; comp. on 1 Corinthians 13:12; Matthew 11:27. By whom? Rückert thinks: by God. But without ground in the text, which rather demands the reference to men, as Chrysostom rightly saw: ὡς ἀγν. κ. ἐπιγινωσκ., τοῦτο ἔστι διὰ δόξης καὶ ἀτιμίας, τοῖς μὲν γὰρ ἦσαν γνώριμοι καὶ περισπούδαστοι, οἱ δὲ οὐδὲ εἰδέναι αὐτοὺς ἠξίουν. Hence: as people who are unknown (viz. according to the contemptuous judgment of opponents), and well known (in reality among all true believers).

ἀποθνήσκοντες] The continual sufferings and deadly perils of the apostle gave to his opponents occasion to say: he is on the point of death, he is at his last! Paul considered himself as moribundus (1 Corinthians 15:31), but from what an entirely different point of view! See 2 Corinthians 4:7-15.

καὶ ἰδοὺ ζῶμεν] and, behold, we are in life! We find a commentary on this in 2 Corinthians 4:7 ff. Comp. 2 Corinthians 1:10. The construction often varies so, that after the use of the participle the discourse passes over to the finite verb (Buttmann, neut. Gram. p. 327 f. [E. T. 382 f.]); but here, in the variation introduced with a lively surprise by ἰδού (comp. 2 Corinthians 5:17), there is implied a joyful feeling of victory. “Vides non per negligentiam veteres hoc genere uti, sed consulto, ubi quae conjuncta sunt ad vim sententiae simul tamen distinguere volunt paulo expressius,” Dissen, ad Pind. Isthm. p. 527.

ὡς παιδενόμενοι κ. μὴ θανατ.] a reminiscence, perhaps, of Psalms 118:18; παιδ. is not, however, to be understood of actual chastisements by scourging and the like (Cajetanus, Menochius, Estius, Flatt). This, judged by the analogy of the other clauses, would be too much a matter of detail, and it would be specially inappropriate, because in all the clauses the view of His opponents is placed side by side with the true state of the case. We must rather think of God as the παιδεύων. The sorrowful condition of the apostle gave his opponents occasion for concluding: he is a chastened man! a man who is under the divine chastening rod!

καὶ μὴ θανατ.] In his humble piety he does not deny that he stands under God’s discipline (hence there is here no opposite of the first clause); but he knows that God’s discipline will not proceed to extremity, as His opponents thought; therefore he adds: and not becoming killed! not sinking under this chastening.—2 Corinthians 6:10. In the opinion and judgment of our enemies we are people full of sorrow, poor, and having nothing (starving and penniless wretches!); and in reality we are at all times rejoicing (through our Christian frame of mind, comp. Romans 5:3, and the χαρὰ ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ, Romans 14:17; 1 Thessalonians 4:6), enriching many (with spiritual benefits, 1 Corinthians 1:5; 2 Corinthians 8:9), and having in possession everything (because entrusted with the store of all divine benefits in order to impart them to others). This πάντα κατέχ., like the previous πολλοὺς πλουτίζ., is by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Grotius, Estius, explained in this way, that Paul could have disposed of the property of the Christians, and have enriched many by instituting collections. But such an inferior reference is altogether out of keeping with the lofty tone of the passage, more especially at its close, where it reaches its acme. Comp. also 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 ilia deest, quid est in eo?” Rückert’s opinion, that in those two clauses Paul was thinking of nothing definite at all, is unjust towards the apostle. Olshausen, followed by Neander, wishes to find the explanation of πάντα κατέχ. in 1 Corinthians 3:22. But this is less suitable to the πολλοὺς πλουτίζ., evidently referring to the spiritual gifts, to which it is related by way of climax.


Verse 11

2 Corinthians 6:11. Our mouth stands open towards you, Corinthians; our heart is enlarged.

τὸ στόμα ἡμῶν ἀνέῳγε] This expression is in itself nothing further than a picturesque representation of the thought: to begin to speak, or to speak. See, especially, Fritzsche, Dissert. II. p. 97, and the remark on Matthew 5:2. A qualitative definition may be added simply through the context, as is the case also here partly through the general character of the previous passage, 2 Corinthians 6:3-10, which is a very open, unreserved utterance, partly by means of the parallel καρδία ἡμῶν πεπλάτυνται. Thus in accordance with the context the opposite of reserve is here expressed. Comp. Chrysostom 1. Had Paul merely written λελαλήκαμεν ὑμῖν, the same thought would, in virtue of the context, have been implied in it (we have not been reserved, but have let ourselves be openly heard towards you); but the picturesque τὸ στόμα ἡμῶν ἀνέῳγε is better fitted to convey this meaning, and is therefore purposely chosen. Comp. Ezekiel 33:22; Sirach 22:22; Ephesians 6:19; Aeschylus, Prometh. 612. This at the same time in opposition to Fritzsche, who adheres to the simple haec ad vos locutus sum, as to which, we may remark, the haec is imported. Rückert (comp. Chrysostom 2) finds the sense to be: “see, I have begun to speak with you once, I have not concealed … from you my apostolic sentiments; I cannot yet close my mouth, I must speak with you yet further.” But the thought: I must speak with you yet further, is imported; how could the reader conjecture it from the simple perfect? Just as little is it to be assumed, with Hofmann, that Paul wishes only to state that he had not been reserved with what he had to say, so that this expression is only a resumption of the παρακαλοῦμεν μὴ εἰς κενὸν κ. τ. λ. in 2 Corinthians 6:1. Only in an arbitrary and violent manner can we reject the reference to 2 Corinthians 6:3-10, where such a luxuriance of holy grandiloquentia has issued from his mout.

ἀνέῳγα, in the sense of ἀνέῳγμαι, is frequent in later Greek (in Il. xvi. 221, ἀνέῳγεν is imperfect), and is rejected by Phrynichus as a solecism. See Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 157 f.

κορίνθιοι] Regarding this particular form of address without article or adjective (it is otherwise in Galatians 3:1) Chrysostom judges rightly: καὶ προσθήκη δὲ τοῦ ὀνόματος φιλίας πολλῆς καὶ διαθέσεως καὶ θερμότητος, καὶ γὰρ εἰώθαμεν τῶν ἀγαπωμένων συνεχῶς γυμνὰ τὰ ὀνόματα περιστρέφειν. Comp. Philippians 4:15. Bengel: “rara et praesentissima appellatio.”

καρδία ἡμῶν πεπλάτυνται] cannot here mean either: I feel myself cheered and comforted (comp. Psalms 119:32; Isaiah 60:5), as Luther, Estius, Kypke, Michaelis, Schleusner, Flatt, Bretschneider, Schrader, and others hold, or I have expressed myself frankly, made a clean breast (Semler, Schulz, Morus, Rosenmüller, de Wette, comp. Beza), because 2 Corinthians 6:12-13 are against both ways of taking it; but, with Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, and the majority, it is to be taken as an expression of the love which, by being stirred up and felt, makes the heart wide, while by the want of love and by hate the heart is narrowed and contracted. The figurative expression needed no elucidation from the Hebrew, and least suitable of all is the comparison with Deuteronomy 11:16 (Hofmann), where the figurative meaning of יפתה is of quite another kind. See, however, the passages in Wetstein on 2 Corinthians 6:12.

The two parts of the verse stand side by side as parallels without a connective particle ( καί), in order that thus the second thought, which outweighs the first, might come into more prominent relief,—a relation which is indicated by the emphatic prefixing of τὸ στόμα and καρδία. The meaning accordingly is: We have (2 Corinthians 6:3-10) spoken openly to you, Corinthians; our heart has therein become right wide in love towards you—which, however, may not be interpreted of readiness to receive the readers (Hofmann), for they are already in his heart (2 Corinthians 7:3; comp. Philippians 1:7). The relation of the two clauses is taken differently by Emmerling, who inserts a because between them, and by Fritzsche, who says: “quod vobis dixi ejusmodi est, ut inde me vos amare appareat.” But it may be urged against both that we are not justified in taking the two perfects as different in temporal import, the one as a real praeterite, and the other with the force of a present. In πεπλάτυνται it is rather implied that Paul has felt his love to the Corinthians strengthened, his heart towards them widened, during his writing of the passage 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 (by its contents)—a result, after such an outpouring, intelligible enough, psychologically true, and turned to account in order to move his readers.


Verse 11

2 Corinthians 6:11 to 2 Corinthians 7:1. After the episode in 2 Corinthians 6:3-10,(248) Paul turns with a conciliatory transition (2 Corinthians 6:11-13) to a special, and for the Corinthians necessary, form of the exhortation expressed in 2 Corinthians 6:1 (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). This is followed up in 2 Corinthians 7:1 by a general appeal, which embraces the whole moral duty of the Christian.


Verse 12

2 Corinthians 6:12. A negative confirmation of the καρδία ἡμ. πεπλάτ. just said, and opposite state of matters on the part of the Corinthians.

Not straitened are ye in us, but straitened in your innermost part ( σπλ., the seat of love, like καρδία, 2 Corinthians 6:11, to which the expression stands related under the increasing emotion by way of climax). The meaning of it is: “valde vos amo, non item vos me.” It is impossible, on account of the οὐ, to take it as an imperative (Aretius, Luther, Heumann, Morus, Schleusner).

οὐ στενοχ. ἐν ἡμῖν] non angusto spatio premimini in animis nostris: in this Paul retains the figure of the previous καρδ. ἡμ. πεπλάτ. Chrysostom aptly says: γὰρ φιλούμενος μετὰ πολλῆς ἔνδον ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ τοῦ φιλοῦντος βαδίζει τῆς ἀδείας. Comp. 2 Corinthians 7:3; Philippians 1:7. The negative expression is an affectionate, pathetic litotes, to be followed by an equally affectionate paternal reproof. This is explanation enough, and dispenses with the hypothesis that Paul is referring to the opinion of the church, that it had too narrow a space—a smaller place than it wished—in his heart (Hofmann). Those who interpret πλατ., 2 Corinthians 6:11, as to cheer, take the meaning to be: not through us do ye become troubled, but through yourselves (Kypke, Flatt; comp. Elsner, Estius, Wolf, Zachariae, Schrader; comp. also Luther),—a thought, however, which is foreign to the whole connection; hence Flatt also assumes that Paul has 2 Corinthians 7:2 ff. already in his thoughts; and Schrader explains 2 Corinthians 6:14 to 2 Corinthians 7:1 as an interpolation.(249)

στενοχ. δὲ ἐν τ. σπλ. ὑμ.] so that there is in them no right place for us (comp. 1 John 3:17). Chrysostom: οὐκ εἶπεν· οὐ φιλεῖτε ἡμᾶς, ἀλλʼ· οὐ μετὰ τοῦ αὐτοῦ μέτρου. Paul did not write στενοχωρούμεθα δὲ ἡμεῖς ἐν τοῖς σπλ. ἡμ., because by this the contrast would have passed from the thing to the persons (for he had not, in fact, written οὐχ ὑμεῖς στενοχωρ. ἐν ἡμῖν), and so the passage would have lost in fitting concert and sharp force. Rückert thinks that Paul refers in 2 Corinthians 6:12 to an utterance of the Corinthians, who had said: στενωχορούμεθα ἐν αὐτῷ! meaning, we are perplexed at him, and that now he explains to them how the matter stood with this στενοχωρεῖσθαι, but takes the word in another sense than they themselves had done. A strangely arbitrary view, since the use of the στενοχωρεῖσθαι in our passage was occasioned very naturally and completely by the previous πεπλάτ. Comp. Chrysostom, Theodoret.


Verse 13

2 Corinthians 6:13. A demand for the opposite of the said στενοχωρεῖσθε ἐν τοῖς σπλ. ὑμ. just said.

The accusative τὴν αὐτὴν ἀντιμισθίαν is not to be supplemented either by habentes (Vulgate), nor by εἰσενέγκατε (Oecumenius, Theophylact), nor to be connected with λέγω (Chrysostom, Beza, and others); it is anacoluthic (accusative absolute), so that it emphatically sets forth an object of discourse, without grammatically attaching to it the further construction. It is otherwise in 2 Corinthians 3:18. There is not an interruption, but a rhetorical breaking off of the construction. These accusatives, otherwise explained by κατά, are therefore the beginning of a construction which is not continued. See Schaefer, ad Dem. V. pp. 314, 482 f.; Matthiae, p. 955. Comp. Bernhardy, p. 132 f.; Dissen, ad Pind. p. 329, ad Dem. de Cor. p. 407; Winer, p. 576 [E. T. 774].

αὐτήν] Paul has blended by way of attraction the two conceptions τὸ αὐτό and τὴν ἀντιμισθίαν. See Fritzsche, Dissert. II. p. 114 ff. Rückert arbitrarily says: Paul wished to write ὡσαύτως δὲ καὶ ὑμεῖς πλατύνθητε, τὴν ἐμὴν ἀντιμισθίαν, but, by prefixing the latter, he brought the idea of ὡσαύτως also into the first clause, where it necessarily had now to appear as an adjective. He certainly has not only placed, but also thought τὴν ἀντιμισθίαν first, but at the same time τὸ αὐτό was also in his mind.

The parenthetic ὡς τέκνοις λέγω justifies the expression τὴν αὐτ. ἀντιμισθίαν; for it is the duty of children to recompense a father’s love by love in return. Comp. 1 Timothy 5:4. Chrysostom: οὐδὲν μέγα αἰτῶ, εἰ πατὴρ ὢν βούλομαι φιλεῖσθαι παρʼ ὑμῶν. The notion of children yet untrained (Ewald) would be indicated by something like νηπίοις (1 Corinthians 3:1).


Verse 14

2 Corinthians 6:14. As a contrast to the desired πλατύν., Paul now forbids their making common cause with the heathen, and so has come to the point of stating what was said generally at 2 Corinthians 6:1 ( μὴ εἰς κενὸν τ. χ. τ. θεοῦ δέξασθαι) more precisely, in a form needful for the special circumstances of the Corinthians, in order to warn them more urgently and effectually of the danger of losing their salvatio.

μὴ γίνεσθε ἑτεροζυγ.] Bengel: “ne fiatis, molliter pro: ne sitis.” He does not forbid all intercourse with the heathen whatever (see 1 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 10:27; 1 Corinthians 7:12), but the making common cause with heathen efforts and aims, the entering into the heathen element of life. There is no ground for assuming exclusively special references (such as to sacrificial banquets or to mixed marriages), any more than for excluding such reference.

ἑτεροζυγοῦντες] see, in general, Wetstein. It means here: bearing another (a different kind of) yoke. Comp. ἑτερόζυγος, Leviticus 19:19; Schleusner, Thesaur. II. p. 557. Paul undoubtedly has in mind the figurative conception of two different animals (as ox and ass) which are yoked together in violation of the law (Deuteronomy 22:9),—a conception, in which the heterogeneous fellowship of Christians with heathen is aptly portrayed: drawing a yoke strange to you. In this verse the dative ἀπίστοις denotes a fellowship, in which the unbelieving partner forms the standard which determines the mode of thought and action of the Christian partner. For this dative cannot mean “with unbelievers” (the usual explanation), as if συζυγοῦντες had been used; but it is not so much dativus commodi (Hofmann: for the pleasure of unbelievers), a thought which Paul would have doubtless expressed with more precision, as the dativus ethicus (Krüger, § 48. 6); so that the words mean: do not draw for unbelievers a strange yoke. The yoke meant is that drawn by unbelievers, one of a kind strange to Christians ( ἑτεροῖον), and the latter are not to put themselves at the disposal of unbelievers by sharing the drawing it. The great danger of the relation against which Paul warns them, lies in this dative expression. According to Theophylact (comp. Chrysostom), the sense is: μὴ ἀδικεῖτε τὸ δίκαιον ἐπικλινόμενοι καὶ προσκείμενοι οἷς οὐ θέμις, so that the figurative expression is taken from the unequal balance (Phocylides, 13 : σταθμὸν μὴ κρούεις ἑτερόζυγον, ἀλλʼ ἴσον ἕλκειν). But apart from the circumstance that Paul would in that case have expressed himself at least very strangely, the reminiscence from the O. T., which the common view assumes, must still be considered as the most natural for the apostle.(250)

τίς γὰρ ΄ετοχὴ κ. τ. λ.] for how utterly incompatible is the Christian with the heathen character! Observe the impressiveness of the accumulated questions, and of the accumulated contrasts in these questions. The first four questions are joined in two pairs; the fifth, mounting to the highest designation of Christian holiness, stands alone, and to it are attached, as a forcible conclusion of the discourse, the testimony and injunction of God which confirm it.(251)

δικαιοσύνῃ κ. ἀνομίᾳ] For the Christian is justified by faith (2 Corinthians 5:21, 2 Corinthians 6:7), and this condition excludes immoral conduct ( ἀνομία, 1 John 3:4), which is the element of heathen life (Romans 6:19). The two life-elements have nothing in common with each other, Romans 8:1 ff.; Galatians 2:15 ff.

In the second question the Christian life-element appears as φῶς, and the heathen as σκότος. Comp. Ephesians 5:8; Ephesians 5:11 f.; Colossians 1:12 f. In the latter is implied ἄγνοια καὶ ἁ΄αρτία, and in φῶς: γνῶσις καὶ βίος ἔνθεος (in both, the intellectual and the ethical element are to be thought of together), Gregory Naz. Or. 36.

Regarding the two datives, of which the second is expressed in Latin by cum, see Matthiae, p. 883; and the ποός, in the second clause, is the expression of social relation, like our with. See Bernhardy, p. 265. Comp. Plato, Conv. p. 209 C: κοινωνίανπρὸς ἀλλήλους, Stobaeus, S. 28: εἰ δέ τις ἔστι κοινωνία πρὸς θεοὺς ἡμῖν, Philo, Leg. ad Cai. p. 1007 C: τίς οὖν κοινωνία πρὸς ἀπόλλωνα τῷ μηδὲν οἰκεῖον ἐπιτετηδευκότι, Sirach 13:2.


Verse 15

2 Corinthians 6:15. The five different shades given to the notion of fellowship vouch for the command which the apostle had over the Greek language.

Regarding the use of δέ before a new question with the same word of interrogation, see Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 169.

βελίαρ] Name of the devil (the Peshito has Satan), properly בְּלְיַּעַל (wickedness, as concrete equivalent to πονηρός); hence the reading βελίαλ (Elzevir, Lachmann) is most probably a correction. The form βελίαρ, which also occurs frequently in the Test. XII. Patr. (see Fabricius, Pseudepigr. V. T. I. pp. 539, 587, 619, al.), in Ignatius as interpolated, in the Canon. Ap., and in the Fathers (see Wetstein, critical remarks), is to be explained from the not unfrequent interchange of λ and ρ in the common speech of the Greek Jews. In the O. T. the word does not occur as a name. See, generally, Gesenius, Thesaurus, I. p. 210.

συμφώνησις, harmony, accord, only here in the N T., not in the LXX. The Greeks say συμφωνία and σύμφωνον (with πρός, Polyb. vi. 36. 5; Plat. Lach. p. 188 D); the simple form φώνησις in Pollux ii. 111.

On μερίς, share, comp. Acts 8:21. The two have no partnership with one another, possess nothing in common with one another. The believer has, in Christ, righteousness, peace, etc., all of which the unbeliever has not, and one day will have μερὶς τοῦ κλήρου τῶν ἁγίων, Colossians 1:12. In strict logic τίς μερὶςἀπίστου did not belong to this series of elements of proof, since it contains the proposition itself to be proved, but it has come in amidst the lively, sweeping flow of the discourse.


Verse 16

2 Corinthians 6:16. Comp. 1 Corinthians 10:20. What agreement (Polyb. ii. 58. 11, iv. 17. 8) has the temple of God with idols? how can it reconcile itself with them? Comp. on συγκατάθ.; also Exodus 23:11; Luke 23:51. The two are contraries, which stand negatively related to one another; if the temple of God should come into contact with idols (as was the case, e.g., under Ahaz), it would be desecrate.

ἡμεῖς γὰρ κ. τ. λ.] With this Paul proves that he was not without reason in using the words τίς δὲ συγκατάθεσις ναῷ θεοῦ κ. τ. λ. of the contradiction between the Christian and the heathen character. The emphasis is on ἡμεῖς: for we Christians are (sensu mystico) the temple of the living God.(252)

ζῶντος] in contrast with the dead idols in the heathen temple.

καθὼς εἶπεν θεός] in accordance with the utterance of God: Leviticus 26:12, freely after the LXX., the summary of the divine covenant of promis.

ἐν αὐτοῖς] among them; see below, ἐμπεριπατήσω, walk about in (Lucian, adv. Ind. 6; Ach. Tat. i. 6; LXX.). The indwelling of God in the body of Christians as in His temple, and the intercourse of His gracious rule in it ( ἐμπεριπ.), take place through the medium of the Spirit. See on 1 Corinthians 3:16; John 14:23.


Verse 17

2 Corinthians 6:17. With the foregoing quotation Paul now combines another in keeping with his aim (2 Corinthians 6:14), containing the application which God has made of His previous promise. But this quotation is still freer than the one before, after the LXX. Isaiah 52:11, and the last words, κἀγὼ εἰσδέξομαι ὑμᾶς, are perhaps joined with it through a reminiscence of Ezekiel 20:34 (comp. Ezekiel 11:17; Zechariah 10:8). Osiander and most expositors find in κἀγὼ εἰσδέξ. ὑμ. a reproduction approximately as to sense of the words in Isaiah 52:12 : καὶ ἐπισυνάγων ὑμᾶς κύριος θεὸς ἰσραήλ; but this is, at any rate, far-fetched, and, considering Paul’s usual freedom in joining different passages of the O. T., unnecessarily hars.

αὐτῶν] applies to the heathen.

ἀκαθάρτου μὴ ἅπτεσθε] Just as ἐξέλθετε κ. τ. λ. had referred (aorist) to the separation to be accomplished from the fellowship of heathen life, so this refers, in the sense of the prophetic fulfilment, to the continuing (present) abstinence from all heathen habits (not simply from offerings to idols), and κἀγὼ εἰσδέξ. ὑμ. to their reception into sonship, see 2 Corinthians 6:18. It is correlative to ἐξέλθατε; God wishes to receive those who have gone forth into His paternal house, i.e. into the fellowship of the true theocracy (2 Corinthians 6:18).


Verse 18

2 Corinthians 6:18. Continuation of the promise begun with κἀγὼ εἰσδέξ. ὑμ., and holding forth the holy compensation for the enjoined severance from an unholy intercourse with the heathen. The passage is most probably a free and enlarged quotation from 2 Samuel 7:14. It bears less resemblance to Jeremiah 31:9, or even to Isaiah 43:6. And Jeremiah 31:33; Jeremiah 32:38, are quite out of the question, because there the sonship is not mentioned. Cajetanus conjectured as to a writing now lost, just as Ewald finds, from κἀγώ onwards, a passage now unknown to us; according to Grotius, the words are ex hymno aliquo celebri apud Hebraeos. The freedom of the N. T. writers in using probative passages from the O. T. renders both hypotheses unnecessary; of the latter no instance can be shown in Paul, and in itself it is arbitrar.

κύριος παντοκράτωρ] “ex hac appellatione perspicitur magnitudo promissionum,” Bengel; rather, on account of the specific contents of παντοκ.: the unquestionable certainty of the fulfilment (Romans 4:21; 2 Corinthians 9:8, al.), which no power can hinder. Used only here by Paul (often in the Apocal.), who has, however, taken it from 2 Samuel 7:8, LXX., where λέγει κυρ. παντοκρ. introduces the divine utterance.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 6:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/2-corinthians-6.html. 1832.

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