2 Corinthians 2:15
Parallel Verses
New International Version
For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

New Living Translation
Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.

English Standard Version
For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,

New American Standard Bible
For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;

King James Bible
For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

International Standard Version
To God we are the aroma of the Messiah among those who are being saved and among those who are being lost.

NET Bible
For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing--

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For we are a sweet fragrance to God in The Messiah among those who have life and among those who perish;

GOD'S WORD® Translation
To God we are the aroma of Christ among those who are saved and among those who are dying.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in those that are saved and in those that perish;

King James 2000 Bible
For we are unto God a sweet fragrance of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:

American King James Version
For we are to God a sweet smell of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:

American Standard Version
For we are a sweet savor of Christ unto God, in them that are saved, and in them that perish;

Douay-Rheims Bible
For we are the good odour of Christ unto God, in them that are saved, and in them that perish.

Darby Bible Translation
For we are a sweet odour of Christ to God, in the saved and in those that perish:

English Revised Version
For we are a sweet savour of Christ unto God, in them that are being saved, and in them that are perishing;

Webster's Bible Translation
For we are to God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:

Weymouth New Testament
For we are a fragrance of Christ grateful to God in those whom He is saving and in those who are perishing;

World English Bible
For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God, in those who are saved, and in those who perish;

Young's Literal Translation
because of Christ a sweet fragrance we are to God, in those being saved, and in those being lost;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

2:12-17 A believer's triumphs are all in Christ. To him be the praise and glory of all, while the success of the gospel is a good reason for a Christian's joy and rejoicing. In ancient triumphs, abundance of perfumes and sweet odours were used; so the name and salvation of Jesus, as ointment poured out, was a sweet savour diffused in every place. Unto some, the gospel is a savour of death unto death. They reject it to their ruin. Unto others, the gospel is a savour of life unto life: as it quickened them at first when they were dead in trespasses and sins, so it makes them more lively, and will end in eternal life. Observe the awful impressions this matter made upon the apostle, and should also make upon us. The work is great, and of ourselves we have no strength at all; all our sufficiency is of God. But what we do in religion, unless it is done in sincerity, as in the sight of God, is not of God, does not come from him, and will not reach to him. May we carefully watch ourselves in this matter; and seek the testimony of our consciences, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, that as of sincerity, so speak we in Christ and of Christ.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 15. - We are unto God a sweet savour of Christ. The undeveloped metaphor involved in these words is that "we and our preaching diffuse to God's glory the knowledge of Christ which is as a sweet savour." The apostles are identified with their work; they were as the incense, crushed and burned, but diffusing everywhere a waft of perfume. St. Paul is still thinking of the incense burnt in the streets of Rome during a triumph - "Dabimusque Divis Tura benignis" (Horace, 'Od.,' 4:2.51) - though his expression recalls the "odour of a sweet smell," of Leviticus 1:9, 13, 17 (comp. Ephesians 5:2); see on this passage the excellent note of Bishop Wordsworth. In them that are saved, and in them that perish; rather, among those who are perishing and those who are being saved (comp. Acts 2:47). The odour is fragrant to God, though those who breathe it may be variously affected by it.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

For we are unto God a sweet savour,.... Here a reason is given, why the savour of the knowledge of God in Christ is made manifest by the ministers of the Gospel, because they themselves are a sweet savour; not that they are so in themselves, for they have the same corrupt hearts and natures, and complain of them as other men; but as having the gifts and graces of the Spirit of God, comparable to fragrant and sweet smelling ointments, Sol 1:3, by which they are enabled to preach the savoury doctrines of the Gospel, and to adorn and recommend them by their exemplary lives and conversations: the allusion is to Aaron and the priests under the law, who were anointed with the anointing oil, which was poured upon their heads, ran down upon their beards, and descended to the skirts of their garments, so that they were all over a perfume, a sweet smell and savour; and so are the ministers of the word, being anointed with that, which the other was typical of. They are said to be a sweet savour

of Christ, because they have their gifts, grace, and Gospel from him, and he is the subject of their ministry; so that this sweet savour of theirs, is not properly theirs, but his, whose person, blood, righteousness, sacrifice, grace, and the fulness of it, as held forth in the Gospel ministry, are sweet and savoury to believers. Moreover, it is "unto God" they are such a savour, not unto men, mere carnal men, for with them they are the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things; but they are grateful and well pleasing to the Lord, as their ministrations make for, and show forth his honour and glory: and this they are

in them that are saved, who are chosen by God unto salvation, for whom Christ has wrought it out, to whom it is applied by the Spirit of God, who are heirs of it, and are kept unto it, and for it, by the power of God, and shall certainly enjoy it: yea, they are a sweet savour

in them that perish, all mankind are, through sin, in a perishing condition: some of them shall never perish; but are, and shall be saved with an everlasting salvation: others will perish in their sins, to which they are abandoned; and what sense the ministers of the Gospel are a savour in these is shown in the following verse.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

15. The order is in Greek, "For (it is) of Christ (that) we are a sweet savor unto God"; thus, the "for" justifies his previous words (2Co 2:14), "the savor of His (Christ's) knowledge." We not only scatter the savor; but "we are the sweet savor" itself (So 1:3; compare Joh 1:14, 16; Eph 5:2; 1Jo 2:27).

in them that are saved—rather, "that are being saved … that are perishing" (see on [2307]1Co 1:18). As the light, though it blinds in darkness the weak, is for all that still light; and honey, though it taste bitter to the sick, is in itself still sweet; so the Gospel is still of a sweet savor, though many perish through unbelief [Chrysostom, Homilies, 5.467], (2Co 4:3, 4, 6). As some of the conquered foes led in triumph were put to death when the procession reached the capitol, and to them the smell of the incense was the "savor of death unto death," while to those saved alive, it was the "savor of life," so the Gospel was to the different classes respectively.

and in them—in the case of them. "Those being saved" (2Co 3:1-4:2): "Those that are perishing" (2Co 4:3-5).

2 Corinthians 2:15 Additional Commentaries
Context
Triumph in Christ
14But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 15For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?…
Cross References
Numbers 15:3
and you present to the LORD food offerings from the herd or the flock, as an aroma pleasing to the LORD--whether burnt offerings or sacrifices, for special vows or freewill offerings or festival offerings--

Song of Solomon 1:3
Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the young women love you!

Ezekiel 20:41
I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will be proved holy through you in the sight of the nations.

1 Corinthians 1:18
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

2 Corinthians 4:3
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.

Ephesians 5:2
and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Philippians 4:18
I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.
Treasury of Scripture

For we are to God a sweet smell of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:

a sweet.

Genesis 8:21 And the LORD smelled a sweet smell; and the LORD said in his heart, …

Exodus 29:18,25 And you shall burn the whole ram on the altar: it is a burnt offering …

Ezekiel 20:41 I will accept you with your sweet smell, when I bring you out from the people…

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us…

Philippians 4:18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus …

in them.

2 Corinthians 4:3,4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost…

Isaiah 49:5,6 And now, said the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, …

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; …

2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all delusion of unrighteousness in them that perish; because …

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