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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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For we know that if our earthly dwelling, 1
a tent, should be destroyed, we have a building from God, a dwelling not made
with hands, eternal in heaven.
2 For in this tent we groan, longing to be further
clothed with our heavenly habitation
if indeed, when we have taken it off, 3
we shall not be found naked.
For while we are in this tent we groan and are
weighed down, because we do not wish to be unclothed 4 but
to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
Now the one who has prepared us for this very
thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a first installment. 5
6 So we are always courageous, although we know
that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,
for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Yet we are courageous, and we would rather
leave the body and go home to the Lord.
Therefore, we aspire to please him, whether we
are at home or away.
For we must all appear 7
before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense,
according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.
8 Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord,
we try to persuade others; but we are clearly apparent to God, and I hope we
are also apparent to your consciousness.
We are not commending ourselves to you again
but giving you an opportunity to boast of us, so that you may have something to
say to those who boast of external appearance rather than of the heart.
For if we are out of our minds, 9
it is for God; if we are rational, it is for you.
10 For the love of Christ impels us, once we have
come to the conviction that one died for all; therefore, all have died.
He indeed died for all, so that those who live
might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was
Consequently, 11 from now on
we regard no one according to the flesh; even if we once knew Christ according
to the flesh, yet now we know him so no longer.
So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the
old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.
12 And all this is from God, who has reconciled
us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation,
namely, God was reconciling the world to
himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to
us the message of reconciliation.
So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God
were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to
13 For our sake he made him to be sin who did not
know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.
1  Our earthly dwelling: the same
contrast is restated in the imagery of a dwelling. The language recalls Jesus'
saying about the destruction of the temple and the construction of another
building not made with hands (⇒ Mark 14:58), a
prediction later applied to Jesus' own body (⇒ John
2 [2-5] ⇒ 2 Cor
5:2-3 and 4 are largely parallel in structure. We groan, longing: see
the note on ⇒ 2 Cor 5:5. Clothed with our heavenly
habitation: Paul mixes his metaphors, adding the image of the garment to that
of the building. Further clothed: the verb means strictly "to put one
garment on over another." Paul may desire to put the resurrection body on
over his mortal body, without dying; ⇒ 2 Cor 5:2,
4 permit this meaning but do not impose it. Or
perhaps he imagines the resurrection body as a garment put on over the
Christ-garment first received in baptism (⇒ Gal
3:27) and preserved by moral behavior (⇒ Romans
13:12-14; ⇒ Col 3:12; cf
⇒ Matthew 22:11-13). Some support for this
interpretation may be found in the context; cf the references to baptism
(⇒ 2 Cor 5:5), to judgment according to works
(⇒ 2 Cor 5:10), and to present renewal
(⇒ 2 Cor 4:16), an idea elsewhere combined with the
image of "putting on" a new nature (⇒ Eph
4:22-24; ⇒ Col 3:1-5,
3  When we have taken it off: the
majority of witnesses read "when we have put it on," i.e., when we
have been clothed (in the resurrection body), then we shall not be without a
body (naked). This seems mere tautology, though some understand it to mean:
whether we are "found" (by God at the judgment) clothed or naked depends
upon whether we have preserved or lost our original investiture in Christ (cf
the previous note). In this case to "put it on" does not refer to the
resurrection body, but to keeping intact the Christ-garment of baptism. The
translation follows the western reading (Codex Bezae, Tertullian), the sense of
which is clear: to "take it off" is to shed our mortal body in death,
after which we shall be clothed in the resurrection body and hence not
"naked" (cf ⇒ 1 Cor 15:51-53).
4  We do not wish to be unclothed:
a clear allusion to physical death (⇒ 2 Cor 4:16;
⇒ 5:1). Unlike the Greeks, who found dissolution of
the body desirable (cf Socrates), Paul has a Jewish horror of it. He seems to
be thinking of the "intermediate period," an interval between death
and resurrection. Swallowed up by life: cf ⇒ 1 Cor
5  God has created us for resurrected
bodily life and already prepares us for it by the gift of the Spirit in
baptism. The Spirit as a first installment: the striking parallel to
⇒ 2 Cor 5:1-5 in ⇒ Romans
8:17-30 describes Christians who have received the
"firstfruits" (cf "first installment" here) of the Spirit
as "groaning" (cf ⇒ 2 Cor 5:2,
4 here) for the resurrection, the complete
redemption of their bodies. In place of clothing and building, Romans 8 uses
other images for the resurrection: adoption and conformity to the image of the
6 [6-9] Tension between present and
future is expressed by another spatial image, the metaphor of the country and
its citizens. At present we are like citizens in exile or far away from home.
The Lord is the distant homeland, believed in but unseen (⇒ 2
7  We must all appear: the verb
is ambiguous: we are scheduled to "appear" for judgment, at which we
will be "revealed" as we are (cf 2 Cor 11;
⇒ 2:14; ⇒ 4:10-11).
8 [11-15] This paragraph is
transitional. Paul sums up much that has gone before. Still playing on the term
"appearance," he reasserts his transparency before God and the
Corinthians, in contrast to the self-commendation, boasting, and preoccupation
with externals that characterize some others (cf ⇒ 2 Cor
1:12-14; ⇒ 2:14;
⇒ 3:7-⇒ 4:6).
⇒ 2 Cor 5:14 recalls ⇒ 2 Cor
3:7-⇒ 4:6, and sums up
⇒ 2 Cor 4:7-⇒ 5:10.
9  Out of our minds: this verse
confirms that a concern for ecstasy and charismatic experience may lie behind
the discussion about "glory" in ⇒ 2 Cor
3:7-⇒ 4:6. Paul also enjoys such
experiences but, unlike others, does not make a public display of them or
consider them ends in themselves. Rational: the Greek virtue sophrosyne, to
which Paul alludes, implies reasonableness, moderation, good judgment,
10 [14-15] These verses echo
⇒ 2 Cor 4:14 and resume the treatment of "life
despite death" from ⇒ 2 Cor
11 [16-17] Consequently: the death of
Christ described in ⇒ 2 Cor 5:14-15 produces a
whole new order (⇒ 2 Cor 5:17) and a new mode of
perception (⇒ 2 Cor 5:16). According to the flesh:
the natural mode of perception, characterized as "fleshly," is
replaced by a mode of perception proper to the Spirit. Elsewhere Paul contrasts
what Christ looks like according to the old criteria (weakness, powerlessness,
folly, death) and according to the new (wisdom, power, life); cf
⇒ 2 Cor 5:15.21; ⇒ 1 Cor
1:17-⇒ 3:3. Similarly, he describes the
paradoxical nature of Christian existence, e.g., in ⇒ 2 Cor
4:10-11, ⇒ 14. A new creation: rabbis
used this expression to describe the effect of the entrance of a proselyte or
convert into Judaism or of the remission of sins on the Day of Atonement. The
new order created in Christ is the new covenant (⇒ 2 Cor
12 [18-21] Paul attempts to explain
the meaning of God's action by a variety of different categories; his attention
keeps moving rapidly back and forth from God's act to his own ministry as well.
Who has reconciled us to himself: i.e., he has brought all into oneness. Not
counting their trespasses: the reconciliation is described as an act of
justification (cf "righteousness," ⇒ 2 Cor 5:21);
this contrasts with the covenant that condemned (⇒ 2 Cor
3:8). The ministry of reconciliation: Paul's role in the wider
picture is described: entrusted with the message of reconciliation
(⇒ 2 Cor 5:19), he is Christ's ambassador, through
whom God appeals (⇒ 2 Cor 5:20a). In v 20b Paul
acts in the capacity just described.
13  This is a statement of God's
purpose, expressed paradoxically in terms of sharing and exchange of
attributes. As Christ became our righteousness (⇒ 1 Cor
1:30), we become God's righteousness (cf ⇒ 2 Cor
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