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2 Corinthians 6

God’s Suffering Servants

6:1 Now because we are fellow workers, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 1  6:2 For he says, “I heard you at the acceptable time, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” 2  Look, now is the acceptable time; look, now is the day of salvation! 6:3 We do not give anyone 3  an occasion for taking an offense in anything, 4  so that no fault may be found with our ministry. 6:4 But as God’s servants, 5  we have commended ourselves in every way, 6  with great endurance, in persecutions, 7  in difficulties, in distresses, 6:5 in beatings, in imprisonments, in riots, 8  in troubles, 9  in sleepless nights, in hunger, 6:6 by purity, by knowledge, by patience, by benevolence, by the Holy Spirit, 10  by genuine 11  love, 6:7 by truthful 12  teaching, 13  by the power of God, with weapons of righteousness both for the right hand and for the left, 14  6:8 through glory and dishonor, through slander and praise; regarded as impostors, 15  and yet true; 6:9 as unknown, and yet well-known; as dying and yet – see! – we continue to live; as those who are scourged 16  and yet not executed; 6:10 as sorrowful, but always rejoicing, as poor, but making many rich, as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

6:11 We have spoken freely to you, 17  Corinthians; our heart has been opened wide to you. 6:12 Our affection for you is not restricted, 18  but you are restricted in your affections for us. 6:13 Now as a fair exchange – I speak as to my 19  children – open wide your hearts to us 20  also.

Unequal Partners

6:14 Do not become partners 21  with those who do not believe, for what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship does light have with darkness? 6:15 And what agreement does Christ have with Beliar? 22  Or what does a believer share in common with an unbeliever? 6:16 And what mutual agreement does the temple of God have with idols? For we are 23  the temple of the living God, just as God said, “I will live in them 24  and will walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 25  6:17 Therefore “come out from their midst, and be separate,” says the Lord, “and touch no unclean thing, 26  and I will welcome 27  you, 28  6:18 and I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,” 29  says the All-Powerful Lord. 30 

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1 tn Or “receive the grace of God uselessly.”

2 sn A quotation from Isa 49:8.

3 tn The word “anyone” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects in Greek were often omitted when clear from the context.

4 tn Other interpretations of the first part of 2 Cor 6:3 are possible. The phrase could also mean, “not putting an obstacle in the way of anyone” (L&N 22.14), or “giving no one in anything a cause to sin” (L&N 88.307).

5 tn Or “ministers.”

6 tn Or “we have commended ourselves by all things.”

7 tn Or “in trouble and suffering.”

8 tn Or “rebellions” (uprisings in open defiance of civil authority).

9 tn Usually κόποις (kopois) has been translated as “labors” or “hard work,” but see Matt 26:10 where it means “trouble”; “distress” (L&N 22.7). In this context with so many other terms denoting suffering and difficulty, such a meaning is preferable.

10 tn Or “by holiness of spirit.”

11 tn Or “sincere.”

12 tn Grk “by the word of truth”; understanding ἀληθείας (alhqeias) as an attributive genitive (“truthful word”).

13 tn Or “speech.” In this context it is more likely that λόγος (logos) refers to Paul’s message (thus “teaching”) than to his speech in general.

14 tn The phrase “for the right hand and for the left” possibly refers to a combination of an offensive weapon (a sword for the right hand) and a defensive weapon (a shield for the left).

15 tn Or “regarded as deceivers.”

16 tn Grk “disciplined,” but in this context probably a reference to scourging prior to execution (yet the execution is not carried out).

17 tn Grk “our mouth has been open to you,” an idiom for openness in communication.

18 tn Grk “You are not restricted by us.”

19 tn The word “my” is not in the Greek text but is implied.

20 tn The words “to us” are not in the Greek text but are implied.

21 tn Or “Do not be mismatched.”

22 sn The Greek term Βελιάρ (Beliar) is a spelling variant for Βελιάλ (Belial, see Judg 20:13 LXX). It occurs only here in the NT. Beliar is a reference to Satan.

23 tc Most witnesses, including some important ones (Ì46 א2 C D2 F G Ψ 0209 Ï lat sy Tert), read ὑμεῖςἐστε (Jumei"este, “you are”) instead of ἡμεῖςἐσμεν (Jhmei"esmen, “we are”) here, but several other early and important mss (א* B D* L P 0243 6 33 81 326 365 1175 1739 1881 2464 co Cl Or) have ἡμεῖςἐσμεν. The external evidence is somewhat in favor of the first person pronoun and verb; the internal evidence weighs in even stronger. In light of the parallel in 1 Cor 3:16, where Paul uses ἐστε (“you are the temple of God”), as well as the surrounding context here in which the second person verb or pronoun is used in vv. 14, 17, and 18, the second person reading seems obviously motivated. The first person reading can explain the rise of the other reading, but the reverse is not as easily done. Consequently, the first person reading of ἡμεῖςἐσμεν has all the credentials of authenticity.

24 tn Or “live among them,” “live with them.”

sn I will live in them. The OT text that lies behind this passage (Lev 26:11-12) speaks of God dwelling in the midst of his people. The Greek preposition en in the phrase en autoi" (“in them”) can also have that meaning (“among” or “with”). However, Paul appears to be extending the imagery here to involve God (as the Spirit) dwelling in his people, since he calls believers “the temple of the living God” in the previous clause, imagery he uses elsewhere in his writings (1 Cor 3:16; Eph 2:21-22).

25 sn A quotation from Lev 26:12; also similar to Jer 32:38; Ezek 37:27.

26 sn A quotation from Isa 52:11.

27 tn Or “will receive.”

28 sn A paraphrased quotation from Ezek 20:41.

29 sn A paraphrased quotation from 2 Sam 7:14 and Isa 43:6.

30 tn Traditionally, “the Lord Almighty.” BDAG 755 s.v. παντοκράτωρ states, “the Almighty, All-Powerful, Omnipotent (One) only of God…κύριος π. (oft. LXX) 2 Cor 6:18.”

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