2 Corinthians 5:9
Why we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) Wherefore we labour.—Better, we strive earnestly after. The English “labour” is quite inadequate, the Greek expressing the thought of striving, as after some honour or prize. Our ambition is that . . . we may be accepted would be, perhaps, the best equivalent. For “accepted of him” read acceptable, or better, well-pleasing to him: the Greek word implying the quality on which acceptance depends, rather than the act itself.

2 Corinthians

PLEASING CHRIST

2 Corinthians 5:9
.

We do not usually care very much for, or very much trust, a man’s own statement of the motives of his life, especially if in the statement he takes credit for lofty and noble ones. And it would be rather a dangerous experiment for the ordinary run of so-called Christian people to stand up and say what Paul says here, that the supreme design and aim towards which all their lives are directed is to please Jesus Christ. In his case the tree was known by its fruits. Certainly there never was a life of more noble self-abnegation, of more continuous heroism, of loftier aspiration and lowlier service than the life of which we see the very pulse in these words.

But Paul is not only professing his own faith, he is speaking in the name of all his brethren. ‘We,’ ought to include every man and woman who calls himself or herself a Christian. It is this setting of the will of Jesus Christ high up above all other commandments, and proposing to one’s self as the aim that swallows up all other aims, that I may please Him-it is this, and not creeds, forms, opinions, professions, or even a faith that simply trusts in Him for salvation, that makes a true Christian. You are a Christian in the precise measure in which Christ’s will is uppermost and exclusive in your life, and for all your professions and your orthodoxy and your worship and your faith, not one hair’s-breadth further. Here is the signature and the common characteristic of all real Christians, ‘We labour that whether present or absent we may be well-pleasing to Him.’

So then in looking together at these words now, I take three points, the supreme aim of the Christian life; the concentration of effort which that aim demands; and the insignificance to which it reduces all external things.

I. First, then, let me deal with that supreme aim of the Christian life.

The word which is, correctly enough, rendered ‘accepted,’ may more literally, and perhaps with a closer correspondence to the Apostle’s meaning, be translated ‘well-pleasing,’ and the aim is this, not merely that we may be accepted, but that we may bring a smile into His face, and some joy and complacent delight in us into His heart, when He looks upon our doings. That pleasure of Jesus Christ in them that ‘fear Him, and in them that hope in His mercy’ and do His will is a present emotion that fills His heart in looking upon His followers, and it will be especially declared in the solemn, final judgment. We must keep in view both of these periods, if we would rightly understand the sweep of the aim which ought to be uppermost in all Christian people. Here and now in our present acts, we should so live as to occasion a present sentiment of complacent delight in us, in the heart of the Christ who sees us here and now and always. We should so live as that at that far-off future day when we shall ‘all be manifested before the Judgment-seat of Christ,’ the Judge may bend from His tribunal, and welcome us into His presence with a word of congratulation and an outstretched hand of loving reception. Set that two-fold aim before you, Christian men and women, else you will fail to experience the full stimulus of this thought.

Now such an aim as this implies a very wonderful conception of Jesus Christ’s present relations to us. It is a truth that we may minister to His joy. It is a truth that just as really as you mothers are glad when you hear from a far-off land that your boy is doing well, and getting on, so Jesus Christ’s heart fills with gladness when He sees you and me walking in the paths in which He would have us go. We often think about our dear dead that they cannot know of us and our doings here, because the sorrow that would sometimes come from the contemplation of our evil, or of our misfortunes, would trouble them in their serene rest. We know not how that may be, but this at least we do know, that the Man Jesus Christ, who, like those dear ones, ‘was dead, and is alive for evermore,’ in His human nature has knowledge of all His children’s failures, as well as successes, and is affected with some shadow of regret, or with some reality of delight, according as they follow or stray from the paths in which He would have them walk. If it be so with Him it may be so with them; and though it be not so with them it must be so with Him. So this strange, sweet, tender, and powerful thought is a piece of plain prose, that Christ is glad when you and I are good.

Does it need any word to emphasise the force of that motive to a Christian heart that loves the Master? Surely this is the great and blessed peculiarity of all the morality of Christianity that it has all a personal bearing and aspect, and that just as the sum of all our duty is gathered up in the one command, ‘Imitate Christ,’ so the motive for all our duty lies in ‘If you love Me, keep My commandments,’ and the reward which ought to stimulate more than anything besides is the one thought, not, of what I shall get because I am good, but of what I shall give Him by my obedience, a joy in the heart that was stabbed through and through by sorrow for my sake. That we may please Him ‘who pleased not Himself,’ is surely the grandest motive on which the pursuit of holiness, and the imitation of Jesus Christ can ever be made to rest. Oh! how different, and how much more blessed such a motive and aim is than all the lower reasons for which men are sometimes exhorted and encouraged to be good! What a difference it is when we say, ‘Do that thing because it is right,’ and when we say, ‘Do that thing because you will be happier if you do,’ or when we say, ‘Do it because He would like you to do it.’ The one is all cold and abstract. To stand before a man and simply say: ‘Now go and do your duty,’ is a poor way of setting his feet upon a rock and establishing his goings. Duty is not a word that stirs men’s hearts, however it may awe their consciences. It rises up before us like some goddess statuesque and serene, with purity, indeed, in her deep and solemn eyes, but with nothing appealing to our affections in her stern lineaments. But when the thought of ‘You ought’ melts into ‘For my sake,’ and through the dissolving face of the cold marble goddess there shine the beloved lineaments of Him who ‘wears the Godhead’s most benignant grace,’ the smile upon His face becomes a motive that touches all hearts. Transmute obligation into gratitude, and in front of duty and appeals to self put Christ, and all the harshness and difficulty and burden and self-sacrifice of obedience becomes easy and a joy.

Then let me remind you that this one supreme aim of pleasing Jesus Christ can be carried on through all life in every varying form, great or small. A blessed unity is given to our whole being when the little things and the big things, the easy things and the hard things, deeds which are conspicuous and deeds which no eye sees, are all brought under the influence of the one motive and made co-operant to the one end. Drive that one steadfast aim through your lives like a bar of iron, and it will give the lives strength and consistency-not rigidity, because they may still be flexible. Nothing will be too small to be consecrated by that motive; nothing too great to own its power. You can please Him everywhere and always. The only thing that is inconsistent with pleasing Him is the thing which, alas! we do at all times and should do at no time, and that is to sin against Him. If we bear with us this as a conscious motive in every part of our day’s work it will give us a quick discernment as to what is evil, which I believe nothing else will so surely give. If you desire life to be noble, uniform, dignified, great in its minutest acts and solemn in its very trifles, and if you would have some continual test and standard by which you can detect all spurious, apparent virtues, and discover lurking and masked temptations, carry this one aim clear and high above all else, and make it the purpose of the whole life, to be well-pleasing unto Him.

II. Now, in the next place, notice the concentrated effort which this aim requires.

The word rendered in my text ‘labour’ is a peculiar one, very seldom employed in Scripture. It means, in its most literal signification, to be fond of honour, or to be actuated by a love of honour; and hence it comes, by a very natural transition, to mean to strive to gain something for the sake of the honour connected with it. That is to say, it not only expresses the notion of diligent, strenuous effort, but it reveals the reason for that diligence and strenuousness in what I may call {for the word might almost be so rendered} the ambition of being honoured by pleasing Christ. So that the ‘labour’ of my text covers the whole ground, not only of the act but of its motive. The concentration of effort which such an aim requires may be enforced by one or two simple exhortations.

First, let me say that we ought, as Christian people, to cultivate this noble ambition of pleasing Jesus Christ. Men have all got the love of approbation deep in them. God put it there for a good purpose, not that we might shape our lives so as to get others to pat us on the back, and say, ‘Well done!’ but that, in addition to the other solemn and sovereign motives for following the paths of righteousness, we might have this highest ambition to impel us on the road. And it is the duty of all Christians to see to it that they discipline themselves so as, in their own feelings, to put high above all the approbation or censure of their fellows the approbation or censure of Jesus Christ. That will take some cultivation. It is a great deal easier to shape our courses so as to get one another’s praise. I remember a quaint saying in a German book. ‘An old schoolmaster tried to please this one and that one, and it failed. “Well, then,” said he, “I will try to please Christ.” And that succeeded.’

And let me remind you that a second part of the concentration of effort which this aim requires is to strive with the utmost energy in the accomplishment of it. Paul did not believe that anybody could please Jesus Christ without a fight for it. His notion of acceptable service was service which a man suppressed much to render, and overcame much to bring. And I urge upon you this, dear brethren, that with all the mob of faces round about us which shut out Christ’s face, and with all the temptations to follow other aims, and with the weaknesses of our own characters, it never was, is not, nor ever will be, an easy thing, or a thing to be done without a struggle and a dead lift, to live so as to be well-pleasing to Him.

Look at Paul’s metaphors with which he sets forth the Christian life-a warfare, a race, a struggle, a building up of some great temple structure, and the like-all suggesting at the least the idea of patient, persistent, continuous toil, and most of them suggesting also the idea of struggle with antagonistic forces and difficulties, either within or without. So we must set our shoulders to the wheel, put our backs into our work. Do not think that you are going to be carried into the condition of conformity with Jesus Christ in a dream, or that the road to heaven is a primrose path, to be trodden in silver slippers. ‘I will not offer unto the Lord that which doth cost me nothing,’ and if you do, it will be worth exactly what it costs. There must be concentration of effort if we are to be well-pleasing to Him.

But then do not forget, on the other hand, that deeper than all effort, and the very spring and life of it, there must be the opening of our hearts for the entrance of His life and spirit, by the presence of which only are we well-pleasing to Christ. That which pleases Him in you and me is our likeness to Him. According to the old Puritan illustration, the refiner sat by the furnace until he could see in the molten metal his own face mirrored, and then he knew it was pure. So what pleases Christ in us is the reflection of Himself. And how can we get that likeness to Himself except by receiving into our hearts the Spirit that was in Christ Jesus, and will dwell in us, and will produce in us in our measure the same image that it formed in Him? ‘Work out your own salvation,’ because ‘it is God that worketh in you.’ Labour, concentrate effort, and above all open the heart to the entrance of that transforming power.

III. Lastly, let me suggest the utter insignificance to which this aim reduces all externals.

‘We labour,’ says Paul, ‘that whether present or absent, we may be accepted.’ What differences of condition are covered by that parenthetical phrase-’present or absent!’ He talks about it as if it was a very small matter, does he not? And what is included in it? Whether a man shall be in the body or out of it; that is to say, whether he be alive or dead. Here is an aim then, so great, so lofty, so all-comprehensive that it reduces the difference between living in the world and being out of it, to a trifle. And if we stand so high up that these two varieties of condition dwindle into insignificance and seem to have melted into one, do you think that there is anything else that will be very big? If the difference between life and death is dwindled and dwarfed, what else do you suppose will remain? Nothing, I should think.

So if we only, by God’s help, which will be given to us if we want it, keep this clear before us as the motive of all our life, then all the possible alternatives of human condition and circumstance will sink into insignificance, and from that lofty summit will ‘show scarce so gross as beetles’ in the air beneath our lofty station.

Whether we be rich or poor, solitary or beset by friends, happy or sad, hopeful or despairing, young or old, wearied or buoyant, learned or foolish, it matters not. The one aim lifts itself before us, and they in whose eyes shine the light of that great issue are careless of the road along which they pass. Do you enlist yourselves in the company that fires at the long range, and all those that take aim at the shorter ones will seem to be very pitifully limiting their powers.

Then remember that this same aim, and this same result may be equally pursued and attained whether here or yonder. It is something to have a course of life which runs straight along, unbent aside, and not cut short off, by the change from earth to Heaven. And this felicity he only has who, amidst things temporal and insignificant, sees and seeks the eternal smile on the face of his unchanging Saviour. On earth, in death, through eternity, such a life will be homogeneous and of a piece; and when all other aims are hull down below the horizon, forgotten and out of sight, then still this will be the purpose, and yonder it will be the accomplished purpose, of each, to please the Lord Jesus Christ.

My dear friend, remember that in its full meaning this aim regards the future, and points onward to that great judgment-seat where you and I will certainly each of us give account of himself. Do you think that you will please Christ then? Do you think that when that day dawns, a smile of welcome will come into His eyes, and a glow of gladness at the meeting into yours? Or have you cause to fear that you will ‘call on the rocks and the hills to cover you from the face of Him that sitteth on the Throne?’

We are all close by one another; our voices are very audible to each other. Do you learn, Christian people, that the first,-or at least a prime-condition of all Christian and Christ-pleasing life, is a wholesome disregard of what anybody says but Himself. The old Lacedæmonians used to stir themselves to heroism by the thought: ‘What will they say of us in Sparta?’ The governor of some outlying English colony minds very little what the people that he is set to rule think about him. He reports to Downing Street, and it is the opinion of the Home Government that influences him. You report to headquarters. Never mind what anybody else thinks of you. Your business is to please Christ, and the less you trouble yourselves about pleasing men the more you will succeed in doing it. Be deaf to the tittle tattle of your fellow soldiers in the ranks. It is your Commander’s smile that will be your highest reward.

‘Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,

But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes,

And perfect witness of all-judging Jove;

As he pronounces lastly on each deed,

Of so much fame in heaven expect thy meed.’
2 Corinthians 5:9-10. Wherefore we labour Φιλοτιμουμεθα, we are ambitious, (the only ambition which has place in a Christian,) that, whether present in the body, or absent from it, we may be accepted of him Ευαρεστοι αυτω ειναι, to be well-pleasing to him, or to receive the tokens of his favour and approbation. For we must all — Apostles as well as other men, whether now present in the body, or absent from it; appear — Openly, without covering; before the judgment-seat of Christ — Where all hidden things will be revealed, probably the sins even of the faithful, which were forgiven long before: for many of their good works (their humiliation, contrition, godly sorrow, striving against sin, mortification of it) cannot otherwise appear; but this will be done at their own desire, without grief and shame; that every one may receive the things — That is, the due reward of the things; done in his body, whether good or bad — In full proportion to his actions, and the secret springs thereof, which will then be all laid open; and according to the principles from which the Searcher of hearts knows his actions to have proceeded. Some read the latter clause, that every one may receive in the body, (namely, in his body raised,) according to what he hath done. That is, as in the body he did either good or evil, so the body being raised, he is recompensed therein accordingly.5:9-15 The apostle quickens himself and others to acts of duty. Well-grounded hopes of heaven will not encourage sloth and sinful security. Let all consider the judgment to come, which is called, The terror of the Lord. Knowing what terrible vengeance the Lord would execute upon the workers of iniquity, the apostle and his brethren used every argument and persuasion, to lead men to believe in the Lord Jesus, and to act as his disciples. Their zeal and diligence were for the glory of God and the good of the church. Christ's love to us will have a like effect upon us, if duly considered and rightly judged. All were lost and undone, dead and ruined, slaves to sin, having no power to deliver themselves, and must have remained thus miserable for ever, if Christ had not died. We should not make ourselves, but Christ, the end of our living and actions. A Christian's life should be devoted to Christ. Alas, how many show the worthlessness of their professed faith and love, by living to themselves and to the world!Wherefore - (Διὸ Dio). In view of the facts stated above. Since we have the prospect of a resurrection and of future glory; since we have the assurance that there is a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; and since God has given to us this hope, and has granted to us the earnest of the Spirit, we make it our great object so to live as to be accepted by him.

We labor - The word used here (φιλοτιμούμεθα philotimoumetha, from φίλος philos and τιμὴ timē, loving honor) means properly to love honor; to be ambitious. This is its usual Classical signification. In the New Testament, it means to be ambitious to do anything; to exert oneself; to strive, as if from a love or sense of honor. As in English, to make it a point of honor to do so and so - Robinson (Lexicon); see Romans 15:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:1 l. It means here, that Paul made it a point of constant effort; it was his leading and constant aim to live so as to be acceptable to God, and to meet his approbation wherever he was.

Whether present or absent - Whether present with the Lord 2 Corinthians 5:8, or absent from him 2 Corinthians 5:6; that is, whether in this world or the next; whether we are here, or removed to heaven. Wherever we are, or may be, it is, and will be our main purpose and object so to live as to secure his favor. Paul did not wish to live on earth regardless of his favor or without evidence that he would be accepted by him. He did not make the fact that he was absent from him, and that he did not see him with the physical eye, an excuse for walking in the ways of ambition, or seeking his own purposes and ends. The idea is, that so far as this point was concerned, it made no difference with him whether he lived or died; whether he was on earth or in heaven; whether in the body or out of the body; it was the great fixed principle of his nature so to live as to secure the approbation of the Lord. And this is the true principle on which the Christian should act, and will act. The fact that he is now absent from the Lord will be to him no reason why he should lead a life of sin and self-indulgence, anymore than he would if he were in heaven; and the fact that he is soon to be with him is not the main reason why he seeks to live so as to please him. It is because this has become the fixed principle of the soul; the very purpose of the life; and this principle and this purpose will adhere to him, and control him wherever he may be placed, or in whatever world he may dwell.

We may be accepted of him - The phrase used here εὐάρεστοι εἶναι euarestoi einai means to be well-pleasing; and then to be acceptable, or approved; Romans 12:1; Romans 14:18; Ephesians 5:10; Philippians 4:18; Titus 2:9. The sense here is, that Paul was earnestly desirous of so living as to please God, and to receive from him the tokens and marks of his favor. And the truth taught in this verse is, that this will be the great purpose of the Christian's life, and that it makes no difference as to the existence and operation of this principle whether a man is on earth or in heaven. He will equally desire it, and strive for it; and this is one of the ways in which religion makes a man conscientious and holy, and is a better guard and security for virtue than all human laws, and all the restraints which can be imposed by man.

9. Wherefore—with such a sure "confidence" of being blessed, whether we die before, or be found alive at Christ's coming.

we labour—literally, "make it our ambition"; the only lawful ambition.

whether present or absent—whether we be found at His coming present in the body, or absent from it.

accepted—Greek, "well-pleasing."

Having such a hope, yea, not such a hope only, but such an assurance and confidence,

we labour, both actively, doing the will of God, and passively, submitting to the will of God in all afflictive providences; that while we are in the body, and absent from the Lord,

we may be accepted of him; as we know we shall be, when we shall be present with him, in another sense than we now are. Wherefore we labour, that whether present or absent,.... This may be understood either of the ministers of the Gospel in particular, who labour in the word and doctrine, are ambitious, as the word here used signifies, and strive to preach the Gospel, not to please men, but their Lord and master; or of saints in general, who are intent upon this, and whose highest ambition is, that whether living or dying they

may be accepted of him; both persons and services: such who are born again, who are believers in Christ, and truly love him, are earnestly desirous of doing those things which are pleasing to him; and do in the strength of Christ endeavour to perform them. Faith is a diligent, industrious, and operative grace, and makes persons like itself. As none ought to be, so none are more careful to perform good works, or more ambitious to excel others in them, and thereby please their Lord, than believers. And these are the only persons that can please him, for without faith it is impossible to please him; for these act from a principle of love to him, and with a view to his glory; and may they be but accepted of him, living and dying, both in this and the other world, they have the highest favour they can wish for and desire.

Wherefore we {g} labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

(g) And seeing that it is so, we strive to live so, that both in this our pilgrimage here we may please him, and that at length we may be received home to him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 5:9. Therefore, because we εὐδοκοῦμεν κ.τ.λ., 2 Corinthians 5:8, we exert ourselves also. Bengel: “ut assequamur quod optamus.”

φιλοτιμ.] denotes the striving, in which the end aimed at is regarded as a matter of honour. See on Romans 15:20. Bengel well says: “haec una ambitio legitima.” But there is no hint of a contrast with the “honour-coveting courage of the heathen in dying” (Hofmann).

εἴτε ἐνδημοῦντες, εἴτε ἐκδημοῦντες] is either connected with φιλοτιμ. (Calvin and others, including Billroth, Rückert, de Wette, Ewald, Osiander) or with εὐάρεστοι αὐτῷ εἶναι (so Chrysostom and many others, including Castalio, Beza, Estius, Grotius, Bengel, Emmerling, Flatt, Hofmann). The decision must depend upon the explanation. Chrysostom, Calvin, and others, including Flatt and Billroth, supply with ἐνδημ.: πρὸς τὸν κύριον, and with ἐκδημ.: ἀπὸ τοῦ κυρίου. In that case it must be connected with εὐάρεστοι αὐτῷ εἶναι (Chrysostom: τὸ γὰρ ζητούμενον τοῦτό ἐστί φησιν· ἄν τε ἐκεῖ ὦμεν, ἄν τε ἐνταῦθα, κατὰ γνώμην αὐτοῦ ζῆν), not with φιλοτιμούμεθα (Calvin: Paul says, “tam mortuis quam vivis hoc inesse studium”); for they who are at home with Christ are well-pleasing to Him, and, according to Romans 6:7, Paul cannot say of them that they strive to be so. The striving refers merely to the earthly life, and one strives to be well-pleasing to the Lord as ἐκδημῶν ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ, not as ἐνδημῶν πρὸς αὐτόν. For in the case of those who ἐνδημοῦσι πρὸς τὸν κύριον, the continuance of their being well-pleased is a self-evident moral fact. On this account, and because quite an illogical order of the two clauses would be the result (et tunc et nunc!), the whole of Chrysostom’s explanation, and even its mode of connection, is erroneous. The right explanation depends on our completing ἐνδημοῦντες by ἐν τῷ σώματι, and ἐκδημοῦντες by ἐκ τοῦ σώματος; for that τὸ σῶμα is still the idea which continues operative from 2 Corinthians 5:6; 2 Corinthians 5:8, is shown by τὰ διὰ τοῦ σώματος in 2 Corinthians 5:10, an expression occasioned by the very reference to the body, which is before the mind in 2 Corinthians 5:9. Further, we must clearly maintain that ἐκδημοῦντες, in contrast to ἐνδημοῦντες, does not mean: migrating, i.e. dying, but: peregre absentes, being from home (comp. Soph. Oed. R 114: θεωρὸς ἐκδημῶν, a pilgrim from home), just as in 2 Corinthians 5:6 ἐκδημοῦμεν was peregre absumus, and in 2 Corinthians 5:8 ἐκδημῆσαι peregre abesse.[219] Hence we must reject all explanations which give the meaning: living or dying (Calovius, Bengel, Ewald, Osiander, who find the totality of life expressed with a bringing into prominence of the last moment of life), or even: “sive diutius corpori immanendum, sive eo exeundum sit” (Erasmus, Paraphr., Emmerling), to which Rückert ultimately comes, introducing Paul’s alleged illness; while de Wette thinks that Paul includes mention of the departure from life only to show that he is prepared for everything. We should rather keep strictly to the meaning of ἐκδημ., peregre absentes ex corpore (comp. Vulgate: absentes), and explain it: We exert ourselves to be well-pleasing to the Lord, whether we (at His Parousia) are still at-home in the body, or are already from-home out of it, consequently, according to the other figure used before, already ἐκδυσάμενοι, i.e. already dead, so that we come to be judged before Him (more precisely: before His judgment-seat, 2 Corinthians 5:10), not through the being changed, like the ἐνδημοῦντες, but through the being raised up. It is thus self-evident that ΕἼΤΕ ἘΝΔΗΜΟῦΝΤΕς Κ.Τ.Λ. must be attached not to ΦΙΛΟΤΙΜΟΎΜΕΘΑ, but to ΕὐΆΡΕΣΤΟΙ ΑὐΤῷ ΕἾΝΑΙ, as was done by Chrysostom, although with an erroneous explanation.

[219] In this case, however, there is not the contrast: et nunc et tunc, in this and in that life, as Beza, Grotius, and others suppose, connecting it with εὐάρεστοι εἶναι. For with the present well-pleasing the future is obvious of itself. Grotius felt this, and hence, substituting another meaning in the second clause, he explains it: “nunc vitam nostram ipsi probando, tunc ab ipso praemium accipiendo.” See, against this, Calovius.2 Corinthians 5:9-10. WE MUST REMEMBER THE JUDGMENT TO COME.9. we labour] The word implies “una ambitio legitima” Bengel; a strife in which one’s honour is concerned. See Romans 15:20, where the word is translated strive.

whether present or absent] whether at home or from home, Tyndale. The meaning is either (1) whether at home in the body, or absent from it, as in 2 Corinthians 5:6, or (2) at home with God or absent from Him, as in 2 Corinthians 5:8. The latter is preferable, as being in more immediate connection with what precedes. Cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:10.2 Corinthians 5:9. Διὸ καὶ, wherefore also) that we may obtain what we wish.—φιλοτιμούμεθα, we [labour] strive) This is the only φιλοτιμία, or lawful ambition.—εἰτε, whether) construed with we may be [accepted] well-pleasing. ἐνδημοῦντες, being at home) in the body.[27]

[27] Vulg. g and Syr. Versions, Origen Lucif. 151 read ἐκδημ. εἴτε ἐνδημ. But most MSS. and f have the order of Rec. Text.—ED.

The margin of both Ed. has settled the reading εἴτε ἐκδημοῦντες εἴτε ἐνδημοῦντες, inverting the order, as equal to the received reading of the text. But if the critical note (App. Ed. II. p. iv. nro. xiv. p. 896) be compared, the Author seems afterwards to have changed both the order and the meaning of the words, such as the Gnomon shows. For the Crit. Not. has ἐνδημοῦντες, going home, not being at home; and the Germ. Ver. reads Wir mogen in der Fremde seyn, (i.e. ἐκδημοῦντες) oder heimgehen (i.e. ἐνδημοῦντες.)—E. B.

ἐκδημοῦντες departing), i.e. out of the body.

εὐάρεστοι, well pleasing) accepted especially in respect to the ministry.Verse 9. - We labour; literally, we are emulous. This, says Bengel, is "the sole legitimate ambition." The same word occurs in Romans 15:20. Whether present or absent; literally, whether at home or away from home; i.e. whether with Christ or separated from him (as in ver. 8); or, "whether in the body or out of the body" (as in ver. 6). The latter would resemble 1 Thessalonians 5:10, "That whether we wake or sleep we may live with him." We may be accepted of him; literally, to be well pleasing to him. We labor (φιλοτιμούμεθα)

Used by Paul only, here, Romans 15:20 (note), 1 Thessalonians 4:11. Labor is a feeble translation, not bringing out the idea of the end contemplated, as the motive of the toil. Rev., we make it our aim.

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2 Corinthians 5:8
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