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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

2 Corinthians 6



Verse 1

Working together with him (συνεργουντεςsunergountes). We are Corinthians-workers, partners with God (1 Corinthians 3:9), in this work of grace.

In vain (εις κενονeis kenon). Into emptiness. The plan of God, the work of Christ on the Cross, the pleas of the ambassador may all be nullified by the recipient of the message.

Verse 2

Behold, now is the acceptable time (ιδου νυν καιρος ευπροσδεκτοςidou nun kairos euprosdektos). Here is another “Pauline parenthesis” (Plummer) as in 2 Corinthians 5:7 by the quotation from Isaiah 49:8. The lxx has δεκτοςdektos (δεκτοιdektoi) verbal of δεχομαιdechomai but Paul employs the double compound (ευ προσ δεκτοςeuprosdektos), well-received. It occurs in Aristophanes, Plutarch, inscription, etc.

Verse 3

Giving no occasion of stumbling in any thing (μηδεμιαν εν μηδενι διδοντες προσκοπηνmēdemian en mēdeni didontes proskopēn). ΠροσκοπηProskopē late word (Polybius, lxx), from προσκοπτωproskoptō to strike against, to stumble. Only here in N.T. Note double negative in the Greek.

That the ministry be not blamed (ινα μη μωμητηι η διακονιαhina mē mōmēthēi hē diakonia). Negative purpose (ινα μηhina mē). First aorist passive subjunctive of old verb μωμαομαιmōmaomai from μωμοςmōmos blot, blemish. One can read with profit J. A. Hutton‘s Warrack Lectures, That the Ministry Be Not Blamed.

Verse 4

But in everything commending ourselves (αλλ εν παντι συνιστανοντες εαυτουςall' en panti sunistanontes heautous). Paul gives a marvellous summary of his argument about the dignity and glory of ministers of Christ as ministers of God (ως τεου διακονοιhōs theou diakonoi) under three aspects, the first with in (ενen) 2 Corinthians 6:3-7, the second with by (διαdia) 2 Corinthians 6:7, 2 Corinthians 6:8, the third with as (ωςhōs) 2 Corinthians 6:9-10. The negative view with ενen we have in 2 Corinthians 6:3, then the positive in 2 Corinthians 6:4-7. Each word carries a story that can be filled in from Paul‘s own life as a preacher with an echo in that of us all.

In distresses (εν στενοχωριαιςen stenochōriais). In tight places (2 Corinthians 12:10). Late word from στενοχωρεωstenochōreō (see note on 2 Corinthians 4:8).

Verse 5

In stripes (εν πληγαιςen plēgais). In blows, wounds (Luke 10:30; Luke 12:48; Acts 16:23, Acts 16:33). Our plague.

In tumults (εν ακαταστασιαιςen akatastasiais). See 1 Corinthians 14:33). Instabilities, often from politics.

In watchings (εν αγρυπνιαιςen agrupniais). In sleeplessnesses, instances of insomnia. Old word, in N.T. only here and 2 Corinthians 11:27. Paul knew all about this.

Verse 6

In love unfeigned (εν αγαπηι ανυποκριτωιen agapēi anupokritōi). Late and rare word (αa privative and υποκριτοςhupokritos from υποκρινομαιhupokrinomai) This is the only love that is worth while (Romans 12:9).

Verse 7

On the right hand and on the left (των δεχιων και αριστερωνtōn dexiōn kai aristerōn). Offensive weapons (οπλωνhoplōn) on the right, defensive on the left. See note on 1 Thessalonians 5:8; note on Ephesians 6:11 for Paul‘s description of the panoply of God and Romans 6:13 for the phrase “weapons of righteousness,” the only kind that will stand the strain. See also Book of Wisdom 5:18ff.

Verse 8

By glory and dishonour (δια δοχης και ατιμιαςdia doxēs kai atimias). Here διαdia is no longer instrument, but state or condition. ΔοχαDoxa here is glory. See note on Romans 9:21; note on 2 Timothy 2:20 for contrast between honour and dishonour (τιμη ατιμιαtimēδια δυσπημιας και ευπημιαςatimia).

By evil report and good report (δυσdia dusphēmias kai euphēmias). Play on the words with prefixes ευduṡ and πημηeu̇ and Δυσπημιαphēmē ΕυπημιαDusphēmia is a late word, only here in N.T. ως πλανοι και αλητειςEuphēmia old and common word, only here in N.T.

As deceivers and yet true (ωςhōs planoi kai alētheis). Paul takes up διαhōs now in place of ενdia which succeeded καιen Note use of Πλανοςkai in sense of “and yet” (adversative). πλαναωPlanos is late word (Diodorus, Josephus) for wandering, vagabond, impostor (cf. πλανοςplanaō to lead astray, used of Christ, John 7:12). In N.T. only here; Matthew 27:63 (of Christ by Pharisees); 2 John 1:7. “In the Clementines St. Paul is expressly described by his adversaries as πλανηνplanos and as disseminating deceit (planēn)” (Bernard). Such slander from one‘s enemies is praise.

Verse 9

As unknown and yet well known (ως αγνοουμενοι και επιγινοσκομενοιhōs agnooumenoi kai epiginoskomenoi). “As ignored (as nonentities, obscure, without proper credentials 2 Corinthians 3:2) and yet fully recognized (by all who really matter as in 2 Corinthians 11:6).”

And behold, we live (και ιδου ζωμενkai idou zōmen). Cf. the hazards of his life (2 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 4:10; 2 Corinthians 11:23). His whole career is full of paradox).

Verse 10

Always rejoicing (αει χαιροντεςaei chairontes). Even in sorrow (2 Corinthians 11:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:16; Romans 5:3-5; Romans 9:2; Philemon 2:18, Philemon 2:27; Philemon 3:1; Philemon 4:4, Philemon 4:15).

Yet making many rich (πολλους δε πλουτιζοντεςpollous de ploutizontes). Old word from πλουτοςploutos (wealth), to enrich. Spiritual riches Paul has in mind as in 1 Corinthians 1:5 (cf. Matthew 5:37).

As having nothing and yet possessing all things (ως μηδεν εχοντες και παντα κατεχοντεςhōs mēden echontes kai panta katechontes). Contrast between μηδενmēden (nothing) and πανταpanta (all things, cf. 1 Corinthians 3:22) and εχωechō (to have) and κατεχωkatechō (to hold down, to hold fast). Play on words (simple and compound) as in 2 Corinthians 3:2; 2 Corinthians 4:8. Climax of Paul‘s panegyric on the Christian ministry. He now resumes the thread of the story broken off in 2 Corinthians 2:14.

Verse 11

Our mouth is open unto you (το στομα ημων ανεωιγεν προς υμαςto stoma hēmōn aneōigen pros humas). Second perfect active indicative of ανοιγωanoigō and intransitive, stand open. He has kept back nothing in his portrayal of the glory of the ministry as the picture of the open mouth shows.

Our heart is enlarged (η καρδια ημων πεπλατυνταιhē kardia hēmōn peplatuntai). Perfect passive indicative of old verb πλατυνωplatunō to broaden, from πλατυςplatus broad. In N T. only here and Matthew 23:5 (cf. phylacteries). Hence his freedom of speech for “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).

Verse 12

Ye are not straitened in us (ου στενοχωρειστε εν ημινou stenochōreisthe en hēmin). The same figure as in 2 Corinthians 6:11. See note on 2 Corinthians 4:8 for στενοχωρεωstenochōreō There is no restraint in me (my heart). My adversaries may have caused some of you to tighten up your affections (σπλαγχναsplagchna for affection as in James 5:11; 1 Peter 3:8).

Verse 13

Now for a recompense in like kind (την δε αυτην αντιμιστιανtēn de autēn antimisthian). No example of this expressive word outside of this passage and Romans 1:27 and later Christian writers. Paul may have found it in use in the Koiné{[28928]}š vernacular or he may have coined it from αντιμιστοςantimisthos remunerating (paying back). There is no verb here to explain the accusative which may be the accusative of general reference or the object of a verb not expressed.

Be ye also enlarged (πλατυντητε και υμειςplatunthēte kai humeis). As I have been (2 Corinthians 6:11). First aorist passive imperative of πλατυνωplatunō f0).

Verse 14

Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers (μη γινεστε ετεροζυγουντες απιστοιςmē ginesthe heterozugountes apistois). No other example of this verb has yet been found, though the adjective from which it is apparently formed, ετεροζυγοςheterozugos (yoked with a different yoke) occurs in Leviticus 19:19 of the union of beasts of different kinds. In Deuteronomy 22:10 we read: “Thou shalt not plough with an ox and an ass together.” Literally, “Stop becoming (μη γινεστεmē ginesthe present imperative, not μη γενηστεmē genēsthe aorist subj.) unequally yoked with unconverted heathen (unbelievers).” Some were already guilty. Marriage is certainly included, but other unions may be in mind. Cf. Ephesians 5:7. Paul gives as the reason (γαρgar) for this prohibition five words in questions to distinguish the contrasts.

Fellowship (μετοχηmetochē). Sharing with and followed by associative instrumental case of δικαιοσυνηιdikaiosunēi (righteousness) and iniquity (ανομιαιanomiāi). A pertinent challenge today when church members wink at violations of laws of the land and laws of God.

Communion (κοινωνιαKoinéōnia). Partnership to light (πωτιphōti dative case) with (προςpros), facing darkness.

Verse 15

Concord (συμπωνησιςsumphōnēsis). Symphony. Late word from συμπωνεωsumphōneō only here and ecclesiastical writers, though συμπωνημαsumphōnēma in the papyri.

Belial (ελιαλBelial). Transliteration of Hebrew word for worthlessness and applied to Satan (Book of Jubilees 1.20) as here. Paul graphically sums up the contrast between Christ and Belial (Satan), the heads of the contending forces of good and evil.

Portion (μεριςmeris). The fourth of the words. Here by “unbeliever” (απιστουapistou) Paul means “disbeliever,” not just an unconverted man who yet approves Christ.

Verse 16

Agreement (συνκατατεσιςsunkatathesis). Fifth of these words. Late word, but common, though here only in N.T. Approved by putting together the votes. In the papyri εκ συνκατατεσεωςek sunkatatheseōs means “by agreement.” On the temple of God and idols see 1 Corinthians 10:14-22. See note on Luke 23:51 for the verb συνκατατιτημιsunkatatithēmi

For we are the temple of the living God (ημεις γαρ ναος τεου εσμεν ζωντοςhēmeis gar naos theou esmen zōntos). We, not temples (Acts 7:48; Acts 17:24; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19).

As God said (κατως ειπεν ο τεοςkathōs eipen ho theos). A paraphrase and catena of quotations, what J. Rendel Harris calls Testimonia (from Leviticus 26:11.; Isaiah 52:11; Ezekiel 20:34; Ezekiel 37:27; 2 Samuel 7:8, 2 Samuel 7:14). Plummer notes that at the beginning “I will dwell in them” (ενοικησω εν αυτοιςenoikēsō en autois) is not in any of them. “As God said” points to Leviticus 26:12; Ezekiel 37:27.

Verse 17

Saith the Lord (λεγει Κυριοςlegei Kurios). Isaiah 52:5; Ezekiel 20:33. Cf. Revelation 18:4.

Unclean thing (ακαταρτουakathartou). Or unclean person. Genitive case is the same for both.

Verse 18

Saith the Lord Almighty (λεγει Κυριος παντοκρατωρlegei Kurios pantokratōr). 2 Samuel 7:8. This use of ειςeis is a Hebraism for Hebrew le instead of predicate nominative. ΠαντοκρατωρPantokratōr (πασ κρατεωpāskrateō Ruler of all) is common in the lxx. Occurs also in the inscriptions and papyri. In the N.T. only here and in Revelation.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 6:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

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