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2 Corinthians 5:1-10

Context
Living by Faith, Not by Sight

5:1 For we know that if our earthly house, the tent we live in, 1  is dismantled, 2  we have a building from God, a house not built by human hands, that is eternal in the heavens. 5:2 For in this earthly house 3  we groan, because we desire to put on 4  our heavenly dwelling, 5:3 if indeed, after we have put on 5  our heavenly house, 6  we will not be found naked. 5:4 For we groan while we are in this tent, 7  since we are weighed down, 8  because we do not want to be unclothed, but clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5:5 Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose 9  is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment. 10  5:6 Therefore we are always full of courage, and we know that as long as we are alive here on earth 11  we are absent from the Lord – 5:7 for we live 12  by faith, not by sight. 5:8 Thus we are full of courage and would prefer to be away 13  from the body and at home with the Lord. 5:9 So then whether we are alive 14  or away, we make it our ambition to please him. 15  5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, 16  so that each one may be paid back according to what he has done while in the body, whether good or evil. 17 

1 sn The expression the tent we live in refers to “our earthly house, our body.” Paul uses the metaphor of the physical body as a house or tent, the residence of the immaterial part of a person.

2 tn Or “destroyed.”

3 tn Or “dwelling place.”

4 tn Or “to be clothed with.”

5 tc ‡ Some mss read “taken off” (ἐκδυσάμενοι, ekdusamenoi) instead of “put on” (ἐνδυσάμενοι, endusamenoi). This alternative reading would change the emphasis of the verse from putting on “our heavenly house” to taking off “our earthly house” (see the following note regarding the specification of the referent). The difference between the two readings is one letter (ν or κ), either of which may be mistaken for the other especially when written in uncial script. ἐνδυσάμενοι enjoys strong support from the Alexandrian text (Ì46 א B C 33 1739 1881), Byzantine witnesses, versions (lat sy co), and Clement of Alexandria. The Western text is the only texttype to differ: D*,c reads ἐκδυσάμενοι, as does ar fc Mcion Tert Spec; F and G read εκλ for εκδ which indirectly aligns them with D (and was surely due to confusion of letters in uncial script). Thus “put on” has the oldest and best external attestation by far. Internal evidence also favors this reading. At first glance, it may seem that “after we have put on our heavenly house we will not be found naked” is an obvious statement; the scribe of D may have thought so and changed the participle. But v. 3 seems parenthetical (so A. Plummer, Second Corinthians [ICC], 147), and the idea that “we do not want to be unclothed but clothed” is repeated in v. 4 with an explanatory “for.” This concept also shows up in v. 2 with the phrase “we desire to put on.” So the context can be construed to argue for “put on” as the original reading. B. M. Metzger argues against the reading of NA27, stating that ἐκδυσάμενοι is “an early alteration to avoid apparent tautology” (TCGNT 511; so also Plummer, 148). In addition, the reading ἐνδυσάμενοι fits the Pauline pattern of equivalence between apodosis and protasis that is found often enough in his conditional clauses. Thus, “put on” has the mark of authenticity and should be considered original.

6 tn Grk “it”; the referent (the “heavenly dwelling” of the previous verse) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

7 sn See the note in 5:1 on the phrase the tent we live in.

8 tn Or “we are burdened.”

9 tn Grk “for this very thing.”

10 tn Or “first installment,” “pledge,” “deposit” (see the note on the phrase “down payment” in 1:22).

11 tn Grk “we know that being at home in the body”; an idiom for being alive (L&N 23.91).

12 tn Grk “we walk.”

13 tn Or “be absent.”

14 tn Grk “whether we are at home” [in the body]; an idiom for being alive (L&N 23.91).

15 tn Grk “to be pleasing to him.”

16 sn The judgment seat (βῆμα, bhma) was a raised platform mounted by steps and sometimes furnished with a seat, used by officials in addressing an assembly or making pronouncements, often on judicial matters. The judgment seat was a common item in Greco-Roman culture, often located in the agora, the public square or marketplace in the center of a city. Use of the term in reference to Christ’s judgment would be familiar to Paul’s 1st century readers.

17 tn Or “whether good or bad.”



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