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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 2 Working together, then,
we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says: "In an acceptable time 3
I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you." Behold, now is a
very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
We cause no one to stumble 4
in anything, in order that no fault may be found with our ministry;
5 6 on the contrary, in
everything we commend ourselves as ministers of God, through much endurance, in
afflictions, hardships, constraints,
beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, vigils,
7 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, in a
holy spirit, in unfeigned love,
in truthful speech, in the power of God; with
weapons of righteousness at the right and at the left;
through glory and dishonor, insult and praise.
We are treated as deceivers and yet are truthful; 8
as unrecognized and yet acknowledged; as dying
and behold we live; as chastised and yet not put to death;
as sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as poor yet
enriching many; as having nothing and yet possessing all things.
9 We have spoken frankly to you, Corinthians;
our heart is open wide.
You are not constrained by us; you are
constrained by your own affections.
As recompense in kind (I speak as to my
children), be open yourselves.
10 11 Do not be yoked with
those who are different, with unbelievers. For what partnership do
righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what fellowship does light have with
What accord has Christ with Beliar? Or what has
a believer in common with an unbeliever?
What agreement has the temple of God with
idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said: "I will live
with them and move among them, 12 and I will be their God
and they shall be my people.
Therefore, come forth from them and be
separate," says the Lord, "and touch nothing unclean; then I will
and I will be a father to you, and you shall be
sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty."
1 [1-10] This paragraph is a single
long sentence in the Greek, interrupted by the parenthesis of
⇒ 2 Cor 5:2. The one main verb is "we
appeal." In this paragraph Paul both exercises his ministry of
reconciliation (cf ⇒ 2 Cor 5:20) and describes how
his ministry is exercised: the "message of reconciliation"
(⇒ 2 Cor 5:19) is lived existentially in his
2  Not to receive . . . in vain:
i.e., conform to the gift of justification and new creation. The context
indicates how this can be done concretely: become God's righteousness
(⇒ 2 Cor 5:21), not live for oneself
(⇒ 2 Cor 5:15) be reconciled with Paul
(⇒ 2 Cor 6:11-13;
3  In an acceptable time: Paul
cites the Septuagint text of ⇒ Isaiah 49:8; the
Hebrew reads "in a time of favor"; it is parallel to "on the day
of salvation." Now: God is bestowing favor and salvation at this very
moment, as Paul is addressing his letter to them.
4  Cause no one to stumble: the
language echoes that of 1 Cor 8-10 as does the expression "no longer live
for themselves" in ⇒ 2 Cor 5:15. That no fault
may be found: i.e., at the eschatological judgment (cf ⇒ 1 Cor
5 [4b-5] Through much endurance: this
phrase functions as a subtitle; it is followed by an enumeration of nine specific
types of trials endured.
6 [4a] This is the central assertion,
the topic statement for the catalogue that follows. We commend ourselves:
Paul's self-commendation is ironical (with an eye on the charges mentioned in
⇒ 2 Cor 3:1-3) and paradoxical (pointing mostly to
experiences that would not normally be considered points of pride but are
perceived as such by faith). Cf also the self-commendation in
⇒ 2 Cor 11:23-29. As ministers of God: the same
Greek word, diakonos, means "minister" and "servant"; cf
⇒ 2 Cor 11:23, the central assertion in a similar
context, and ⇒ 1 Cor 3:5.
7 [6-7a] A list of virtuous qualities
in two groups of four, the second fuller than the first.
8 [8b-10] A series of seven
rhetorically effective antitheses, contrasting negative external impressions
with positive inner reality. Paul perceives his existence as a reflection of
Jesus' own and affirms an inner reversal that escapes outward observation. The
final two members illustrate two distinct kinds of paradox or apparent
contradiction that are characteristic of apostolic experience.
9 [11-13] Paul's tone becomes
quieter, but his appeal for acceptance and affection is emotionally charged.
References to the heart and their mutual relations bring the development begun
in ⇒ 2 Cor 2:14-⇒ 3:3 to
an effective conclusion.
10 [⇒ 6:14-⇒ 7:1]
Language and thought shift noticeably here. Suddenly we are in a different
atmosphere, dealing with a quite different problem. Both the vocabulary and the
thought, with their contrast between good and evil, are more characteristic of
Qumran documents or the Book of Revelation than they are of Paul. Hence,
critics suspect that this section was inserted by another hand.
11 [14-16a] The opening injunction to
separate from unbelievers is reinforced by five rhetorical questions to make
the point that Christianity is not compatible with paganism. Their opposition
is emphasized also by the accumulation of five distinct designations for each
group. These verses are a powerful statement of God's holiness and the
exclusiveness of his claims.
12 [16c-18] This is a chain of
scriptural citations carefully woven together. God's covenant relation to his
people and his presence among them (⇒ 2 Cor 6:16)
is seen as conditioned on cultic separation from the profane and cultically
impure (⇒ 2 Cor 6:17); that relation is translated
into the personal language of the parent-child relationship, an extension to
the community of the language of ⇒ 2 Sam 7:14
(⇒ 2 Cor 6:18). Some remarkable parallels to this
chain are found in the final chapters of Revelation. God's presence among his
people (⇒ Rev 21:22) is expressed there, too, by
applying ⇒ 2 Sam 7:14 to the community
(⇒ Rev 21:7). There is a call to separation
(⇒ Rev 18:4) and exclusion of the unclean from the
community and its liturgy (⇒ Rev 21:27). The title
"Lord Almighty" (Pantokrator) occurs in the New Testament only here
in ⇒ 2 Cor 6:18 and nine times in Rev.
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