2 Corinthians 5:7
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
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(7) For we walk by faith, not by sight—Better, and not by what we see (or, by appearance). It seems almost sad to alter the wording of a familiar and favourite text, but it must be admitted that the word translated “sight” never means the faculty of seeing, but always the form and fashion of the thing seen. (Comp. Luke 3:22; Luke 9:29; John 5:37.) The fact is taken for granted; and it comes as the proof that as we are, we are absent from the Lord. Now we believe in Him without seeing Him; hereafter we shall see Him face to face. Our life and conduct and our “walk” in this world rest on our belief in the Unseen.

5:1-8 The believer not only is well assured by faith that there is another and a happy life after this is ended, but he has good hope, through grace, of heaven as a dwelling-place, a resting-place, a hiding-place. In our Father's house there are many mansions, whose Builder and Maker is God. The happiness of the future state is what God has prepared for those that love him: everlasting habitations, not like the earthly tabernacles, the poor cottages of clay, in which our souls now dwell; that are mouldering and decaying, whose foundations are in the dust. The body of flesh is a heavy burden, the calamities of life are a heavy load. But believers groan, being burdened with a body of sin, and because of the many corruptions remaining and raging within them. Death will strip us of the clothing of flesh, and all the comforts of life, as well as end all our troubles here below. But believing souls shall be clothed with garments of praise, with robes of righteousness and glory. The present graces and comforts of the Spirit are earnests of everlasting grace and comfort. And though God is with us here, by his Spirit, and in his ordinances, yet we are not with him as we hope to be. Faith is for this world, and sight is for the other world. It is our duty, and it will be our interest, to walk by faith, till we live by sight. This shows clearly the happiness to be enjoyed by the souls of believers when absent from the body, and where Jesus makes known his glorious presence. We are related to the body and to the Lord; each claims a part in us. But how much more powerfully the Lord pleads for having the soul of the believer closely united with himself! Thou art one of the souls I have loved and chosen; one of those given to me. What is death, as an object of fear, compared with being absent from the Lord!For we walk - To walk, in the Scriptures often denotes to live, to act, to conduct in a certain way; see the notes on Romans 4:12; Romans 6:4. It has reference to the fact that life is a journey, or a pilgrimage, and that the Christian is traveling to another country. The sense here is, that we conduct ourselves in our course of life with reference to the things which are unseen, and not with reference to the things which are seen.

By faith - In the belief of those things which we do not see. We believe in the existence of objects which are invisible, and we are influenced by them. To walk by faith, is to live in the confident expectation of things that are to come; in the belief of the existence of unseen realities; and suffering them to influence us as if they were seen. The people of this world are influenced by the things that are seen. They live for wealth, honor, splendor, praise, for the objects which this world can furnish, and as if there were nothing which is unseen, or as if they ought not to be influenced by the things which are unseen. The Christian, on the contrary, has a firm conviction of the reality of the glories of heaven; of the fact that the Redeemer is there; of the fact that there is a crown of glory; and he lives, and acts as if that were all real, and as if he saw it all. The simple account of faith, and of living by faith is, that we live and act as if these things were true, and suffer them to make an impression on our mind according to their real nature; see the note on Mark 16:16.

It is contradistinguished from living simply under the influence of things that are seen. God is unseen - but the Christian lives, and thinks, and acts as if there were a God, and as if he saw him. Christ is unseen now by the bodily eye; but the Christian lives and acts as if he were seen, that is, as if his eye were known to be upon us, and as if he was now exalted to heaven and was the only Saviour. The Holy Spirit is unseen; but he lives, and acts as if there were such a Spirit, and as if his influences were needful to renew, and purify the soul. Heaven is unseen; but the Christian lives, and thinks, and acts as if there were a heaven, and as if he now saw its glories. He has confidence in these, and in kindred truths, and he acts as if they were real. Could man see all these; were they visible to the naked eye as they are to the eye of faith, no one would doubt the propriety of living and acting with reference to them.

But if they exist, there is no more impropriety in acting with reference to them than if they were seen. Our seeing or not seeing them does not alter their nature or importance, and the fact that they are not seen does not make it improper to act with reference to them. There are many ways of being convinced of the existence and reality of objects besides seeing them; and it may be as rational to be influenced by the reason, the judgment, or by strong confidence, as it is to be influenced by sight. Besides, all people are influenced by things which they have not seen. They hope for objects that are future. They aspire to happiness which they have not yet beheld. They strive for honor and wealth which are unseen, and which is in the distant future. They live, and act - influenced by strong faith and hope - as if these things were attainable; and they deny themselves, and labor, and cross oceans and deserts, and breathe in pestilential air to obtain those things which they have not seen, and which to them are in the distant future.

And why should not the Christian endure like labor, and be willing to suffer in like manner, to gain the unseen crown which is incorruptible, and to acquire the unseen wealth which the moth does not corrupt? And further still, the people of this world strive for those objects which they have not beheld, without any promise or any assurance that they shall obtain them. No being able to grant them has promised them; no one has assured them that their lives shall be lengthened out to obtain them. In a moment they may be cut off and all their plans frustrated; or they may be utterly disappointed and all their plans fail; or if they gain the object, it may be unsatisfactory, and may furnish no pleasure such as they had anticipated. But not so the Christian. He has:

(1) The promise of life.

(2) he has the assurance that sudden death cannot deprive him of it. It at once removes him to the object of pursuit, not from it.

(3) he has the assurance that when obtained, it shall not disgust, or satiate, or decay, but that it shall meet all the expectations of the soul, and shall be eternal.

Not by sight - This may mean either that we are not influenced by a sight of these future glories, or that we are not influenced by the things which we see. The main idea is, that we are not influenced and governed by the sight. We are not governed and controlled by the things which we see, and we do not see those things which actually influence and control us. In both it is faith that controls us, and not sight.

7. we walk—in our Christian course here on earth.

not by sight—Greek, "not by appearance." Our life is governed by faith in our immortal hope; not by the outward specious appearance of present things [Tittmann, Greek Synonyms of the New Testament]. Compare "apparently," the Septuagint, "by appearance," Nu 12:8. Wahl supports English Version. 2Co 4:18 also confirms it (compare Ro 8:24; 1Co 13:12, 13). God has appointed in this life faith for our great duty, and in the next, vision for our reward [South] (1Pe 1:8).

That is, we live, and order our conversations, not by sight, or any evidence of sense, but by faith, which is described by the apostle, Hebrews 11:1, to be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. We see nothing here by the eye of sense but mortality, corruption, and misery; but by faith we see another more excellent and glorious state, and we order our life according to our faith, and sight of things that are invisible: or sight here may be taken more strictly for the beatific vision prepared in heaven for the saints. For we walk by faith, and not by sight. Faith is a grace which answers many useful purposes; it is the eye of the soul, by which it looks to Christ for righteousness, peace, pardon, life, and salvation; the hand by which it receives him, and the foot by which it goes to him, and walks in him as it has received him; which denotes not a single act of faith, but a continued course of believing; and is expressive, not of a weak, but of a strong steady faith of glory and happiness, and of interest in it: and it is opposed to "sight": by which is meant, not sensible communion, but the celestial vision: there is something of sight in faith; that is a seeing of the Son; and it is an evidence of things not seen, of the invisible glories of the other world; faith looks at, and has a glimpse of things not seen, which are eternal; but it is but seeing as through a glass darkly; it is not that full sight, face to face, which will be had hereafter, when faith is turned into vision. (For we walk by {e} faith, not by sight:)

(e) Faith, of those things which we hope for, not having God presently in our physical view.

2 Corinthians 5:7. Reason assigned for the ἐνδημοῦντεςκυρίου. For through faith we walk, etc.; faith is the sphere through which we walk, i.e. faith is the element through which our earthly life moves. If we walked διὰ εἴδους, seeing that this presupposes the being together with Christ, we should not be ἐκδημοῦντες ἀπὸ τοῦ κυρίου. The object of faith we must from the whole connection conceive to be the Lord in His glory, whose real form (τὸ εἶδος) we shall only have before us when we are with Him. Comp. Romans 8:17; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; John 17:24; 1 Peter 1:8, al.

διὰ πίστεως] quite in accordance with the Greek phrase διὰ δικαιοσύνης ἰέναι. Comp. περιπατεῖν διὰ τοῦ φῶτος, Revelation 21:24, and the classical expressions πορεύεσθαι διὰ τῶν ἡδονῶν and the like; see, in general, Valckenaer, ad Phoeniss. 402; Heindorf, ad Protag. p. 323 A; Hermann, ad Oed. Col. 905; Bernhardy, p. 235.

οὐ διὰ εἴδους] i.e. not so, that we are surrounded by the appearance, not so, that we have before us Christ, the Exalted One, in His real appearance and form, i.e. in His visible δόξα, and that this glorious εἶδος shines round us in our walk. Comp. John 17:24, and the πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον, 1 Corinthians 13:12. εἶδος never means, as it is mostly explained, vision (not even in Numbers 12:8), but always species. The Vulgate renders rightly: per speciem. See Luke 3:22; Luke 9:29; John 5:37; 1 Thessalonians 5:22; Duncan, Lex., ed. Rost, p. 333; Ast, Lex. Plat. I. p. 607 f.; Tittmann, Synon. p. 119, who, however, with the assent of Lipsius (Rechtfertigungsl. p. 100), wrongly takes it: externa rerum specie captum vivere, so that the meaning would be: “Vita nostra immortali ilia spe, non harum rerum vana specie regitur.” According to this view, different objects would quite arbitrarily be assumed for πίστις and εἶδος; and further, where Paul specifies with περιπατεῖν that by which it is defined, he uses as a prepositional expression not διά, but κατά (Romans 8:4; Romans 14:15, al.), or renders palpable the manner of the walking by ἐν (2 Corinthians 4:2; Romans 6:4, al.), or characterizes it by the dative, as 2 Corinthians 12:18; Galatians 5:16. These reasons tell also in opposition to Hofmann, who explains διά of the walk, which has its quality from faith, etc., and εἶδος of an outward form of the walker himself, in which the latter presents himself as visible.

Regarding the relation of the διὰ πίστεως to the διὰ εἴδους, observe that in the temporal life we have the πίστις, and not the εἶδος, while in the future world through the Parousia there is added to the πίστις also the εἶδος, but the former does not thereby cease, it rather remains eternal (1 Corinthians 13:13).2 Corinthians 5:7. διὰ πίστεως γὰρ κ.τ.λ.: for we walk by faith (cf. John 20:29, and chap. 2 Corinthians 4:18), i.e., in a state of faith (see note on διά with the gen. of attendant circumstances 2 Corinthians 2:4), not by appearance (εἶδος, as the reff. show, must be thus translated = quod aspicitur; but nevertheless the rendering of A.V. and R.V. “not by sight,” though verbally inexact, conveys the sense. cf. Hebrews 11:1, ἔστιν δὲ πίστιςπραγμάτων ἔλεγχος οὐ βλεπομένων, and 1 Corinthians 13:12). The verse is parenthetical and explanatory of the sense in which we are “absent from the Lord”.7. for we walk by faith, not by sight] Cf. ch. 2 Corinthians 4:18 and John 20:29. The word translated sight signifies not the Acts of vision, but the thing seen. Cf. Luke 3:22; Luke 9:29; John 5:37, in two of which passages the word is translated shape, in the third fashion. This is the reason of the statement made in the last verse. We are absent from God, because we are not yet face to face with the heavenly realities, but dimly realize them afar off (1 Corinthians 13:12; Hebrews 11:1).2 Corinthians 5:7. Διὰ πίστεως, by faith) Not to see, is nearly the same as being separated.—γὰρ, for) This refers to ἀπὸ, from [2 Corinthians 5:6, absent from the Lord].—περιπατοῦμεν, we walk) in the world. So πορεύεσθαι, Luke 13:33.—οὐ διὰ εἴδους, not by what appears to the eye [Engl. V. sight]) The LXX. translate מראה, εἶδος, vision, aspect, appearance.[26] See especially Numbers 12:8 : ἐν εἴδει, ΚΑῚ Οὐ ΔΙʼ ΑἸΝΙΓΜΆΤΩΝ, apparently and not in dark speeches; likewise Exodus 24:17. Faith and sight are opposed to one another. Faith has its termination at death in this passage, therefore sight then begins.

[26] Not the act or power of seeing (as ‘sight’ often means): but the thing seen, what presents itself to the eye, the appearance seen.—ED.Verse 7. - For we walk by faith (2 Corinthians 4:18; Hebrews 11:1; Romans 8:25). Not by sight; rather, not by appearance; not by anything actually seen. We do not yet see "face to face" (1 Corinthians 13:12), but are guided by things which "eye hath not seen." By sight (διὰ εἴδους)

The correct rendering is appearance. The word is not used actively in the sense of vision. Faith is contrasted with the actual appearance of heavenly things. Hence the marginal reading of the Rev. should go into the text.

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