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Bible Commentaries

The Bible Study New Testament
2 Corinthians 6

 

 

Verse 1

Together with God. Paul sees all the servants of Christ working together with God in the mission of persuading people to let God change them from enemies into friends! Wasted. Grace is free, and salvation cannot be earned by our own efforts. Yet God's act in Christ will be wasted by the one who does not receive it with gratitude! We reach out through faith to seize the sacrifice of Christ, but we must hold firmly to it! We do this through good actions and holy lives, not to add to what Christ has done, but to hold on to be able to receive the promises! There is always a danger that we will let go and fall away! Compare 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 3:4. Do not think God's grace is cheap! Christ-on-the-cross is the price that was paid to buy men for God!!!


Verse 2

Hear. Isaiah 49:8 Septuagint. Johnson understands this prophecy to point to the saving of the Gentiles. Paul uses it to emphasize the fact that we servants of Christ work together with God! In the passage quoted, God was through his servant bringing in divine help. This is the hour! "Fellow-workers, this is the hour; today is the day to be saved! God will help us as we work to convert the Gentiles to Christ! It is urgent to persuade all mankind to accept God's salvation now!!!" [Hour = KAIROS = divinely given opportunity.]


Verse 3

To find fault. Paul lives a holy and pure life, so that no one will find fault with his work. All God's servants must do this! Obstacles. This includes many things. Probably Paul is pointing to the false teachers who used unholy methods (2 Corinthians 4:2).


Verse 4

Instead. The true servant of God must be like his Lord! The false teachers boasted about worldly things. For Paul, they disqualify themselves by this, and destroy any claim to authority. Troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:8. Hardships. 1 Corinthians 4:11. Difficulties. Acts 17:5-8. With great patience. Dedication.


Verse 5

We have. Paul shows a general picture of the things which servants of Christ faced in his day! He describes his own personal experience!!!


Verse 6-7

We have shown ourselves. "This is how we have shown ourselves to be God's servants: by our purity of life and motives, by our knowledge of the Truth, by our patience as we endure suffering, by our kindness toward all, by the Holy Spirit (compare 1 Thessalonians 1:5), by our true love which is unhypocritical, by the fact that we preach the truth, and by the power of God as we correctly use the gifts from the Spirit." As our weapon. Only one who is pure and holy can use righteousness as a weapon! Compare Ephesians 6:10-13. The TEV correctly gives the meaning of the symbolism as: to attack and to defend ourselves. Compare 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.


Verse 8

We are. Paul shows the paradox of his service to Christ. People respond differently to his work of preaching Christ. [MacKnight sees in this the fact that Paul neither becomes conceited nor discouraged.]


Verse 9

As unknown. In this verse Paul seems to contrast outward appearance with actual fact. Some said Paul's sufferings proved he was unknown to God. But in fact, he is known by God (authenticated). Some said he was dead, because he constantly tempted death by the risks he took in proclaiming the Good News! But in fact, he was very much alive! Some saw God's punishment in the calamities which came to Paul. Yet, as he says, we are not killed, and he takes this as being the spanking of a father. [Paul's painful physical ailment (2 Corinthians 12:7) may be part of what he is thinking about here.]


Verse 10

Although saddened. See Hebrews 12:11. We seem poor. The false teachers probably said that Paul's poverty showed God's disfavor! But he follows the example of Christ (2 Corinthians 8:9). He makes others rich spiritually!!! Nothing. He did not have the rank and honor, nor the luxury which the false teachers seized for themselves. But, in Christ, everything was his!!! See 1 Corinthians 3:22.


Verse 11

Dear friends in Corinth! Paul wants them to know that he has spoken frankly to them in the past, and is doing so now! Paul and the others had opened wide their hearts to the Corinthians, and they were still open!!! If there is an obstacle in Paul's relationship with the Corinthians, he is still open to them and he is still their friend!!!


Verse 12

It is you. "You do not love me, otherwise you would have stood up for me against the false teachers! If there is any barrier between us, you have built it!"


Verse 13

I speak now. "You are my spiritual children! I have given myself for you! Will you love me now in return???"


Verse 14

Do not try. Paul has just told them: "Open wide your hearts!" This phrase has a bad meaning in the Law (Deuteronomy 11:16). Too much tolerance would place them in a dangerous situation! Therefore he gives this warning. Paul's warning is: Do not try to work together as equals with unbelievers, for it cannot be done. The rest of this section gives examples. This verse is commonly quoted to forbid marriage with non-Christians. But it would better suit the context to understand the unbelievers to be the false teachers and their followers, and Paul's instruction to mean avoiding fellowship with them. See 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 and notes. Paul asks five questions to show how absurd it would be to form a bond with those who do not share The Faith. Right and wrong? One excludes the other! Light and darkness? Darkness is the absence of light. Paul's opponents at Corinth called themselves "servants of light," but their lives showed their darkness!


Verse 15

Christ and the Devil. It would be unthinkable to expect Christ and the Devil to work together (but some are saying this now)! [Belial is a name for the Devil, which appears in late Jewish literature, especially the Dead Sea Scrolls. It has much the same meaning as the Enemy of Christ.] Believer . . . unbeliever. The Christian has tasted heaven's gift, but the false teachers had renounced it! See Hebrews 6:4-6.


Verse 16

God's temple . . . pagan idols. The Dead Sea Scrolls use idol to mean any temptation to sin. Paul identifies the temple of God as WE! Compare 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 10:14-22 and notes. As God himself. Paul paraphrases Leviticus 26:12; Jeremiah 32:38; Ezekiel 37:27 to show that God now makes his home in the messianic community (church). Compare Ephesians 2:20-22.


Verse 17

And so. Paul paraphrases Isaiah 52:11 to show they must separate themselves from the false teachers who make the messianic community (church) unclean by their unholy conduct and their distorted teaching! And I will accept you. This phrase comes from Ezekiel 20:34. God will accept all who follow him!!!


Verse 18

I will be. Paul paraphrases 2 Samuel 7:14. Paul is saying that this promise is fulfilled in the church (messianic community)! [The Dead Sea Scrolls quote this often, showing that the Qumran community believed the promise came true in them.] Sons and daughters. Sons commonly includes daughters as well. Paul specifically mentions them here, as does Joel's prophecy (see Acts 2:17). Women formed an important part of the church at Corinth.

 


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Bibliography Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 6:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/2-corinthians-6.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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