2 Corinthians 6:9
As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) As unknown, and yet well known.—In the absence of fuller information as to what disparaging language had been used in reference to St. Paul, it is not easy to appreciate the precise force of the words thus used. Possibly, he had been spoken of as a man of “unknown” or obscure antecedents, and his answer to that taunt is, as in 2Corinthians 1:13-14, that where he was known at all he was recognised as being what indeed he was. He could show even to them, to some of them at least, whether it were not so. In “dying, and, behold, we live” we may trace a reference partly to the “sentence of death” which had, as it were, been passed upon him (2Corinthians 1:9), partly to the malignant exultation with which that fact had been received, or was likely, he thought, to be received by those who hated him. We can picture them as saying, “His course will soon be over; he will not trouble us long;” and his answer to that imagined sneer is that he is still in full energy. What has befallen him has been a chastening and a discipline, but he is not yet, as they fondly thought, “killed” and delivered over unto death.

6:1-10 The gospel is a word of grace sounding in our ears. The gospel day is a day of salvation, the means of grace the means of salvation, the offers of the gospel the offers of salvation, and the present time the proper time to accept these offers. The morrow is none of ours: we know not what will be on the morrow, nor where we shall be. We now enjoy a day of grace; then let all be careful not to neglect it. Ministers of the gospel should look upon themselves as God's servants, and act in every thing suitably to that character. The apostle did so, by much patience in afflictions, by acting from good principles, and by due temper and behaviour. Believers, in this world, need the grace of God, to arm them against temptations, so as to bear the good report of men without pride; and so as to bear their reproaches with patience. They have nothing in themselves, but possess all things in Christ. Of such differences is a Christian's life made up, and through such a variety of conditions and reports, is our way to heaven; and we should be careful in all things to approve ourselves to God. The gospel, when faithfully preached, and fully received, betters the condition even of the poorest. They save what before they riotously spent, and diligently employ their time to useful purposes. They save and gain by religion, and thus are made rich, both for the world to come and for this, when compared with their sinful, profligate state, before they received the gospel.As unknown - As those who are deemed to be of an obscure and ignoble rank in life, unknown to the great, unknown to fame. The idea, I think, is, that they went as strangers, as persons unknown, in preaching the gospel. Yet, though thus unknown they endeavor to commend themselves as the ministers of God. Though among strangers; though having no introduction from the great and the noble, yet they endeavored so to act as to convince the world that they were the ministers of God. This could he done only by a holy life, and by the evidence of the divine approbation which would attend them in their work. And by this, the ministers of religion, if they are faithful, may make themselves known even among those who were strangers, and may live so as to "give no offence." Every minister and every Christian, even when they are "unknown" and when among strangers, should remember their high character as the servants of God, and should so live as to commend the religion which they profess to love, or which they are called on to preach. And yet how often is it that ministers when among strangers seem to feel themselves at liberty to lay aside their ministerial character, and to engage in conversation, and even partake of amusements which they themselves would regard as wholly improper if it were known that they were the ambassadors of God! And how often is it the case that professing Christians when traveling, when among strangers, when in foreign lands, forget their high calling, and conduct in a manner wholly different from what they did when surrounded by Christians; and when restrained by the sentiments and by the eyes of a Christian community!

And yet well known - Our sentiments and our principles are well known. We have no concealments to make. We practice no disguise. We attempt to impose on no one. Though obscure in our origin; though without rank, of wealth, or power, or patronage, to commend ourselves to favor, yet we have succeeded in making ourselves known to the world. Though obscure in our origin, we are not obscure now. Though suspected of dark designs, yet our principles are all well known to the world. No people of the same obscurity of birth ever succeeded in making themselves more extensively known than did the apostles. The world at large became acquainted with them; and by their self-denial, zeal, and success, they extended their reputation around the globe.

As dying - That is, regarded by others as dying. As condemned often to death; exposed to death; in the midst of trials that expose us to death, and that are ordinarily followed by death; see the note on 1 Corinthians 15:31, on the phrase, "I die daily." They passed through so many trials that it might he said that they were constantly dying. "And, behold, we live." Strange as it may seem, we still survive. Through all our trials we are preserved, and though often exposed to death, yet we still live. The idea here is, that in all these trials, and in these exposures to death, they endeavored to commend themselves as the ministers of God. They bore their trials with patience; submitted to these exposures without a complaint; and ascribed their preservation to the interposition of God.

As chastened - The word "chastened" (παιδευόμενοι paideuomenoi) means corrected, "chastised." It is applied to the chastening which God causes by afflictions and calamities; 1 Corinthians 11:32; Revelation 3:19; Hebrews 12:6. It refers here, not to the scourgings to which they were subjected in the synagogues and elsewhere, but to the chastisements which God inflicted; the trials to which he subjected them. And the idea is, that in the midst of these trials, they endeavored to act as became the ministers of God. They bore them with patience. They submitted to them as coming from his hand. They felt that they were right; and they submitted without a complaint.

And not killed - Though severely chastened, yet we are not put to death. We survive them - preserved by the interposition of God.

9. unknown … yet well known—"unknown" in our true character to those who "evil report" of us, "well known" to those who hold us in "good report" (2Co 6:8). Conybeare explains, "Unknown by men, yet acknowledged by God" (1Co 13:12). Perhaps both God and men (believers) are intended as knowing him (2Co 5:11; 11:6).

dying … live—(2Co 1:9; 4:10, 11; 11:23). Compare Gaussen's remark, see on [2314]2Co 6:5. "Behold" calls attention to the fact as something beyond all expectation.

chastened … not killed—realizing Ps 118:18.

As unknown, and yet well known; dealt with by Jews and heathens as persons wholly unknown to them, though we be sufficiently known; or being such whom the world knoweth not, as to our state towards God, and interest in him, though it knows us well enough as to our other circumstances.

As dying, and, behold, we live; so hunted and persecuted, as that we appear every day dying; yet such hath been the power of God’s providence, that we yet live:

As chastened, and not killed; and though our heavenly Father chasteneth us, yet we are not utterly consumed: the apostle alludeth to that, Psalm 118:18: The Lord hath chastened me sore; but he hath not given me over to death. As unknown, and yet well known,.... Not unknown to Father, Son, and Spirit, or to one another, but to the world; and that not with respect to their outward estate, but their spiritual and eternal state; as that they were the chosen of God, the children of God, and born again; they knew not what a life they lived, or what they lived upon; and as they were unacquainted with their inward troubles, they were strangers to their spiritual joys here, and to what they shall partake of hereafter. Moreover, something more may be intended in this word "unknown"; as that they were not owned, esteemed, and approved of by them, but slighted, despised, hated, and persecuted:

and yet well known; to God the Father, who loved them with an everlasting love, chose them in Christ, gave them to him, made a covenant with him on their account, and sent his Son to redeem them, which knowledge of them is special, eternal, affectionate, approbative, and attended with care of them; well known to Jesus Christ, who knows all that are his, specially, distinctly, perfectly, and that from everlasting, bears a strong affection for them, takes great care of them, indulges them with intimate communion with him, and openly owns and acknowledges them as his own; well known to the Spirit of God, who enlightened and quickened them, regenerated and sanctified them, wrought faith and every other grace in them, witnessed their adoption to them, led them into all truth, filled and furnished them with his gifts, and dwelt in them, and abode with them, as the seal and earnest of their future glory; and were well known to the saints, and one another: they loved each other, delighted in each other's company; they knew each other's experiences, joys, and sorrows, and, in some measure, their hearts, and even their spiritual and eternal estate.

As dying, and behold we live. They were as dying men, having the seeds of mortality in them, being subject to diseases, which bring on death; and especially as they carried about with them the dying of the Lord Jesus, were continually exposed to death, and in danger of it, lived in the views of it, had the sentence of it in themselves, and were appointed to it. And "behold", to admiration "we live"; a natural life, which we have from God, depends upon hint, and is preserved by him amidst a thousand dangers and enemies to which it is exposed; and we live a spiritual life, a life of grace from Christ, a life of faith on him, and communion with him.

As chastened and not killed; "chastened" by men, and chastened by God; not in a way of vindictive wrath, but in a fatherly manner; but "not killed", or put to a corporeal death by our persecutors, who have sought to take away our lives, but have not yet been suffered to do it: or by the Lord, by the means of afflictions, the messengers of death; these sometimes bring very near it, and God chastens by them, but does not as yet give over to death, because our time is not yet come, and our work not yet done.

As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 6:9-10. Ἀγνοούμενοι] not: mistaken or misjudged (Flatt, Hofmann, and others), nor yet: people, for whom nobody cares (Grotius), but: people, whom no one is acquainted with (Galatians 1:22); obscure men, of whom no one knows anything. Comp. ἀγνώς and the contrasted γνώριμος, Plato, Pol. ii. p. 375 E; also Demosth. 851. 27.

ἐπιγινωσκ.] becoming well known; comp. on 1 Corinthians 13:12; Matthew 11:27. By whom? Rückert thinks: by God. But without ground in the text, which rather demands the reference to men, as Chrysostom rightly saw: ὡς ἀγν. κ. ἐπιγινωσκ., τοῦτο ἔστι διὰ δόξης καὶ ἀτιμίας, τοῖς μὲν γὰρ ἦσαν γνώριμοι καὶ περισπούδαστοι, οἱ δὲ οὐδὲ εἰδέναι αὐτοὺς ἠξίουν. Hence: as people who are unknown (viz. according to the contemptuous judgment of opponents), and well known (in reality among all true believers).

ἀποθνήσκοντες] The continual sufferings and deadly perils of the apostle gave to his opponents occasion to say: he is on the point of death, he is at his last! Paul considered himself as moribundus (1 Corinthians 15:31), but from what an entirely different point of view! See 2 Corinthians 4:7-15.

καὶ ἰδοὺ ζῶμεν] and, behold, we are in life! We find a commentary on this in 2 Corinthians 4:7 ff. Comp. 2 Corinthians 1:10. The construction often varies so, that after the use of the participle the discourse passes over to the finite verb (Buttmann, neut. Gram. p. 327 f. [E. T. 382 f.]); but here, in the variation introduced with a lively surprise by ἰδού (comp. 2 Corinthians 5:17), there is implied a joyful feeling of victory. “Vides non per negligentiam veteres hoc genere uti, sed consulto, ubi quae conjuncta sunt ad vim sententiae simul tamen distinguere volunt paulo expressius,” Dissen, ad Pind. Isthm. p. 527.

ὡς παιδενόμενοι κ. μὴ θανατ.] a reminiscence, perhaps, of Psalm 118:18; παιδ. is not, however, to be understood of actual chastisements by scourging and the like (Cajetanus, Menochius, Estius, Flatt). This, judged by the analogy of the other clauses, would be too much a matter of detail, and it would be specially inappropriate, because in all the clauses the view of His opponents is placed side by side with the true state of the case. We must rather think of God as the παιδεύων. The sorrowful condition of the apostle gave his opponents occasion for concluding: he is a chastened man! a man who is under the divine chastening rod!

καὶ μὴ θανατ.] In his humble piety he does not deny that he stands under God’s discipline (hence there is here no opposite of the first clause); but he knows that God’s discipline will not proceed to extremity, as His opponents thought; therefore he adds: and not becoming killed! not sinking under this chastening.—2 Corinthians 6:10. In the opinion and judgment of our enemies we are people full of sorrow, poor, and having nothing (starving and penniless wretches!); and in reality we are at all times rejoicing (through our Christian frame of mind, comp. Romans 5:3, and the χαρὰ ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ, Romans 14:17; 1 Thessalonians 4:6), enriching many (with spiritual benefits, 1 Corinthians 1:5; 2 Corinthians 8:9), and having in possession everything (because entrusted with the store of all divine benefits in order to impart them to others). This πάντα κατέχ., like the previous πολλοὺς πλουτίζ., is by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Grotius, Estius, explained in this way, that Paul could have disposed of the property of the Christians, and have enriched many by instituting collections. But such an inferior reference is altogether out of keeping with the lofty tone of the passage, more especially at its close, where it reaches its acme. Comp. also Gemara Nedarim f. 40. 2 : “Recipimus non esse pauperem nisi in scientia. In Occidente seu terra Israel dixerunt: in quo scientia est, is est ut ille, in quo omnia sunt; in quo ilia deest, quid est in eo?” Rückert’s opinion, that in those two clauses Paul was thinking of nothing definite at all, is unjust towards the apostle. Olshausen, followed by Neander, wishes to find the explanation of πάντα κατέχ. in 1 Corinthians 3:22. But this is less suitable to the πολλοὺς πλουτίζ., evidently referring to the spiritual gifts, to which it is related by way of climax.2 Corinthians 6:9. ὡς ἀγνοούμενοι καὶ ἐπιγινωσκόμενοι: as unknown, sc., an obscure person without proper credentials (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:2, 2 Corinthians 10:10), and yet well known (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:6).—ὡς ἀποθνήσκοντες καὶ ἰδοὺ ζῶμεν: as dying (as was doubtless often reported when he was ill; see on 2 Corinthians 1:8 above, and cf. 2 Corinthians 11:23, where he speaks of the continual hazards of his life), and behold we live (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:10, where the death of the body is contrasted with the daily manifestation of the true life).—ὡς παιδευόμενοι καὶ μὴ θανατούμενοι: as chastened, sc., as a punishment for his sins, which had very probably been said of him when the news of his grievous sickness (2 Corinthians 1:8, etc.) reached his foes at Corinth, but not killed. He does not deny that he has been “chastened” (see reff. and cf. chap. 2 Corinthians 12:7-9), but he recalls in thankfulness the words of Ps. 117:18, παιδεύων ἐπαίδευσέν με Κύριος, καὶ τῷ θανάτῳ οὐ παρέδωκέν με.9. as unknown, and yet well known] The passage would be better without the ‘yet’ interpolated by our translators (following Tyndale). St Paul was ‘unknown’ to some, and ‘well known’ to others. Cf. ch. 2 Corinthians 3:1-2, 2 Corinthians 4:2, 2 Corinthians 5:11.

as dying, and behold, we live] See ch. 2 Corinthians 4:10-11. Also Romans 8:36-37; 1 Corinthians 4:9; 1 Corinthians 15:31; Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 2:13; Colossians 3:1-4.

as chastened, and not killed] Cf. Psalm 118:18, which was no doubt in the Apostle’s mind. Also ch. 2 Corinthians 7:4.2 Corinthians 6:9. Ἀγνοούμενοι, unknown) [so that we are either quite unknown and neglected, or we are considered altogether different from what we really are.—V. g.]—Galatians 1:22; Colossians 2:1.—ἐπιγινωσκόμενοι) well known.—[35] ἰδοὺ, behold) suddenly and contrary to hope.

[35] Ἀποθνήσκοντες, dying) 2 Corinthians 11:23.—V. g.Verse 9. - As unknown; literally, as being ignored; as those whom no one cares to recognize. And yet well known. "And becoming fully recognized." "Recognized" by God (1 Corinthians 13:12), and ultimately by all good men (2 Corinthians 11:6), though they might be contemptuously ignored by men. As dying (2 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Corinthians 4:10, 11). Behold. The word calls attention to what seemed like a daily miracle. The paradox of the Greek tragedian -

"Who knows if life be death, and death be life?" which seemed so supremely amusing to Aristophanes and the wits of Athens, became a familiar fact to the early Christians (Romans 8:36; 1 Corinthians 15:31; Ephesians 2:5, 6; Colossians 2:13, etc.). As chastened. The daily Divine education of suffering (Psalm 118:18). Chastened

See 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, and compare Psalm 118:18.

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