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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
2 Corinthians 6

 

 

Verse 1

We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

Workers together - with God (Acts 15:4; 1 Corinthians 3:9). Not only as "ambassadors" He is describing his ministry, not exhorting directly.

You also - rather, 'we ALSO (as well as God, 2 Corinthians 5:20) [ parakaloumen (Greek #3870), 2 Corinthians 5:20] plead with you:' 2 Corinthians 6:14-15, on to 2 Corinthians 7:1, is part of this entreaty.

In vain - by making the grace of God a ground for continuance in sin (2 Corinthians 6:3). A life of sin makes the word of reconciliation vain, so far as the sinner is concerned (Hebrews 12:15; Jude 1:4). "The grace of God" is the "reconciliation" provided by God's love (2 Corinthians 5:18-19 : cf. Galatians 2:2).


Verse 2

(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

(For. God's own promise is the ground of our exhortation.

He saith - God the Father saith to the Son, and so to all believers who are one with Him.

Heard thee. In the eternal purposes of my love I have hearkened to thy prayer for the salvation of thy people (cf. John 17:9; John 17:15; John 17:20; John 17:24).

Accepted ... accepted. The Greek of the latter is more emphatic: 'well-accepted' [ euprosdektos (Greek #2144)]. What was "an accepted time" [ kairos (Greek #2540) dektos (Greek #1184)] in the prophecy (Isaiah 49:8; Hebrew, 'in the season of grace') becomes 'the well-accepted time' in the fulfillment (cf. Psalms 69:13). Since it is God's time of receiving sinners, receive ye His grace; accept (2 Corinthians 6:1) the word of reconciliation in His accepted time.

In the day of salvation) - `in a day of salvation' (Luke 4:18-19; Luke 4:21; Luke 19:42; Hebrews 3:7).


Verse 3

Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:

Resuming the connection, 2 Corinthians 6:1, interrupted by the parenthetical 2 Corinthians 6:2. "Giving no offence" (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:32-33), "approving ourselves," and all the other participles down to 2 Corinthians 6:10, are nominatives to 'we also plead with you' (2 Corinthians 6:1), showing the pains he took to influence them by example as well as precept. "Offence" would be given if we were without "patience" and the other qualifications which he therefore "Offence" would be given if we were without "patience" and the other qualifications which he therefore subjoins (cf. Romans 14:13).


Verse 4

But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,

The order of the Greek is, 'In everything, as God's ministers, recommending ourselves' - i:e., that our hearers may receive favourably our message, through our consistency in every respect, not that they may glorify us. Alluding to 2 Corinthians 3:1, We commend ourselves, not, like them, by word, but by deed.

Patience (2 Corinthians 12:12) first; "pureness" next (2 Corinthians 6:6). The heaping together of such varied things implies how in adequate words are to describe the wide compass of objects. External afflictions are described as far as "fastings" (2 Corinthians 6:5); spiritual advantages as far as "by the power of God" (2 Corinthians 6:7); then come contrasts, in which the graces conquer the afflictions. Three triplets of trials exercising "patience" [ hupomonee (Greek #5281), patient endurance] follow it: afflictions [ thlipseesin (Greek #2347), 'tribulations'], necessities, distresses [ stenochooriais (Greek #4730), 'straits']; stripes, imprisonments, tumults; labours, watchings, fastings. The first triplet expresses afflictions generally; the second, those arising from men's violence; the third, those he brought on himself directly or indirectly. All prove his right to exhort them authoritatively, and his fitness to be their example.


Verse 5

In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;

Stripes (2 Corinthians 11:23-24; Acts 16:23).

Imprisonments (2 Corinthians 11:23). He had been, doubtless, elsewhere imprisoned besides at Philippi.

Tumults (Acts 13:50; Acts 14:5; Acts 14:19; Acts 16:22; and recently, 19:23-41).

Labours - in the cause of Christ (Romans 16:12; 2 Corinthians 11:23).

Watchings (2 Corinthians 11:27) - sleepless nights.

Fastings. The context refers to trials, not devotional exercises. Thus, 'foodlessness' probably is the sense (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:11; Philippians 4:12). The usual sense of the Greek is fasts in the strict sense; and in 2 Corinthians 11:27 it is spoken of independently of "hunger and thirst" (cf. Luke 2:37; Acts 10:30; Acts 14:23). However, Matthew 15:32; Mark 8:3, justify the rare sense favoured by the context, foodlessness. Gaussen, 'The apostles combine the highest offices with the humblest exterior: everything in the Church was cast in the mould of death and resurrection-the cardinal principle throughout Christianity.'


Verse 6

By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

By ... by ... - Greek, 'In ... in,' etc.; not the instrument, but the sphere or element in which his ministry moved.

Knowledge - spiritual; in Gospel mysteries, unattainable by reason (1 Corinthians 2:6-16; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18).

Long-suffering ... kindness - associated with "charity" or "love" (1 Corinthians 13:4), as here.

By (Greek, 'in') the Holy Spirit - in virtue of His influences which produce these graces "love unfeigned" being the foremost.


Verse 7

By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

By the word of truth, by the power of God - rather, 'IN ... in,' etc. As to "the word of truth," cf. 2 Corinthians 4:2; Colossians 1:5, and "the (miraculous) power of God," 1 Corinthians 2:4; 2 Corinthians 4:7.

By the armour , [ dia (Greek #1223)] - 'through,' or, 'by means of the armour,' etc.

Righteousness - only the breastplate in Ephesians 6:13-17; here is the whole Christian panoply (cf. 2 Corinthians 10:4).

On the right hand and on the left - offensive weapons for the right hand, defensive for the left. He could, in conscious integrity, attack the bad as well as defend himself from them.


Verse 8

By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 'Through glory and dishonour'-namely, from those in authority-accruing to us present; 'through evil report and good report,' from the multitude, affecting us absent. By means of [as dia (Greek #1223) means in 2 Corinthians 6:7] 'glory' and "dishonour," through which we pass, we 'approve ourselves as the ministers of God' (2 Corinthians 6:4). It is a varied and often rough road through which we pass, but it leads us to victory. Regarded "AS deceivers" by those who, not knowing (2 Corinthians 6:9), dishonour and give us an evil report; AS "true," by those who 'know' (2 Corinthians 6:9) us in the real 'glory' of our ministry. In proportion as the minister has more or less of glory and good report, in that degree has he more or less of dishonour and evil report.


Verse 9

As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;

Unknown, and yet well known - "unknown" in our true character to, and held 'ignoble' by, those who "evil report" of us; "well known" to those who holds us in "good report" (2 Corinthians 6:8): above all, "well known" to God (1 Corinthians 13:12; 2 Corinthians 5:11; 2 Corinthians 11:6).

Dying ... live (1 Corinthians 1:25; 2 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Corinthians 4:10-11; 2 Corinthians 10:1; 2 Corinthians 11:23 : cf. note, 5:5).

Behold breaks through the even tenor of the sentence, and calls attention to something beyond all expectation.

Chastened, and not killed (Psalms 118:18).


Verse 10

As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

The "as" no longer expresses the opinion of adversaries, but the real state of him and his fellow-labourers.

Making many rich - spiritually (1 Corinthians 1:5), after the example of our Lord, who 'by His poverty made many rich' (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Having nothing , [ meeden (Greek #3367), not ouden (Greek #3762), which is objective; subjective, nothing in the opinion of the world]. The few earthly goods we have, moreover, we have as though we had not: as tenants removeable at will, not owners (1 Corinthians 7:30).

Possessing all things , [ katechontes (Greek #2722)] - holding fast in possession (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:21-22). The things of the present and the future are, in the truest sense, the believer's; for he possesses them all in Christ, his lasting possession, though the full fruition is reserved for eternity (Matthew 5:5-10; Matthew 6:33; 1 Timothy 4:8).


Verse 11

O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.

Mouth is open unto you. I use no concealment, as some have insinuated (2 Corinthians 4:2), but all openness of speech to you as to beloved friends. Hence, he adds, "O ye Corinthians" (cf. Philippians 4:15). His enlargement of heart toward them (2 Corinthians 7:3) produced, and in turn was promoted by, his openness of mouth (Ezekiel 33:22) -

i.e., unreserved expression of his desire to commend himself and his office to them (2 Corinthians 6:3-10), that they might accept his message (2 Corinthians 6:1-2). As an unloving man is narrow in heart, so the apostle's heart is enlarged by love, so as to have room for all his converts at Corinth, not only with their graces, but with their shortcomings (cf. 1 Kings 4:29; Psalms 119:32; Isaiah 60:5). Love, like heat, expands.


Verse 12

Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.

Any constraint ye feel is not from want of largeness of heart on my part toward you, but from want of it on your part toward me.

Not straitened in us - i:e., for want of room in our hearts to take you in.

Bowels - i:e., affections (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:15).


Verse 13

Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.

'For (as) a recompence of the same kind ... be enlarged also yourselves.' 'In the same way' as my heart is enlarged toward you (2 Corinthians 6:11), and as "a recompence" for it (Galatians 4:12), I ask love for love.

(I speak as unto my children) - as children would naturally recompense their parents' love with similar love.


Verse 14

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Be ye not - Greek, 'Become not.'

Unequally yoked - `yoked with one alien in spirit' [ heterozugountes (Greek #2086)]. The image is from the symbolical precept, Leviticus 19:19; Deuteronomy 22:10 : cf. Deuteronomy 7:3, forbidding marriages with the pagan; also 1 Corinthians 7:39. The believer and unbeliever are utterly heterogeneous. Too close contact with unbelievers in other relations is included (2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Corinthians 8:10).

Fellowship , [ metochee (Greek #3353)] - share, participation.

Righteousness - the state of the believer justified by faith.

Unrighteousness - rather, as elsewhere [ anomia (Greek #458), lawlessness], 'iniquity:' the state of the unbeliever, the fruit of unbelief.

Light - of which believers are the children (1 Thessalonians 5:5).


Verse 15

And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

Belial. So B g, Vulgate. But C 'Aleph ('), 'Beliar.' Hebrew, 'worthlessness, unprofitableness.' Since Satan is opposed to God, Antichrist to Christ; Belial being here opposed to Christ, must denote all anti-Christian uncleanness.

He that believeth with an infidel - `with an unbeliever.'


Verse 16

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Agreement , [ sungkatathesis (Greek #4783)] - accordance of sentiments (cf. 1 Kings 18:21; Ephesians 5:7; Ephesians 5:11).

The temple of God - i:e., you believers (1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19).

With idols - (cf. Dagon before the ark: 1 Samuel 5:2-4.)

As - `even as God said.' Quotation from Leviticus 26:11-12; Jeremiah 31:33; Jeremiah 32:38; Ezekiel 37:26-27 : cf. Matthew 28:20; John 14:23.

Walk in them - rather, 'among them.' As "dwell" implies God's presence, so "walk," His operation. God's dwelling in the saints may be illustrated by its opposite-demoniacal possession of body and soul.


Verse 17

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

From Isaiah 52:11. Paul, as inspired, gives variations sanctioned by the Holy Spirit.

Be ye separate - `be separated' (Hosea 4:17).

Touch not the (rather, any) unclean thing (2 Corinthians 7:1; Micah 2:10). Touching is more polluting, as implying participation, than seeing.

I will receive you - `to myself' [ eisdexomai (Greek #1523)], as persons heretofore out of doors, but now admitted within (2 Corinthians 5:1-10). Or, as persons heretofore among the enemy, but now received among the Lord's people. With this accords, "come out from among them" - namely, to me. So Ezekiel 20:41; Zephaniah 3:19. In Isaiah 52:12, literally, The Lord will gather you up, as a general brings up the rear of his army, not suffering one straggler to be lost (cf. note there; John 18:9). 'The contact of believers with the world should resemble that of angels, who, when sent from heaven, discharge their errand with the utmost promptness, and joyfully fly back home to the presence of God' (1 Corinthians 5:9-10; 1 Corinthians 7:31).


Verse 18

And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Translate, 'I will be to you in the relation of a Father, and ye shall be to me in the relation of sons,' etc. This is a still more endearing relation than (2 Corinthians 6:16), "I will be their God, and they shall be my people." Compare the promise to Solomon (1 Chronicles 28:6; Revelation 21:3; Revelation 21:7; Jeremiah 31:1; Jeremiah 31:9).

Lord Almighty - The Lord the Universal Ruler ( Pantokratoor (Greek #3841): Hebrew, Shaday (Hebrew #7706)): only found in Revelation. The greatness of the Promiser enhances the greatness of the promises.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 6:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-corinthians-6.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, July 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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