2 Corinthians 6
Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
'Chap. 6:1-10.] He further describes his apostolic embassage, as one of earnest exhortation not to receive the grace of God in vain (vv. 1, 2), and of approving himself, by many characteristics and under various circumstances, as the minister of God (vv. 3-10).

1.] συνεργοῦντες, viz. τῷ θεῷ, Whose representatives they were, and Whose grace they recommended. This is implied not only in what went before, but in the τοῦ θεοῦ of our verse itself. Meyer makes it τῷ χριστῷ, referring it to the ὑπὲρ χρ. above: Chrys., Theodoret, Bengel, Olsh., al., ὑμῖν, which certainly would have been expressed, and does not suit the sense, nor Paul’s habit of speaking of the ministry, see 1Corinthians 3:9. Flatt and Emmerling would make the σύν imply, working with our exhortations, aiding them by our example: which sense, though occasionally belonging to σύν and πρός in composition, could hardly have place here without some plainer indication in what went before, of that to which the preposition refers,—and would not suit the καί, which severs συνεργ. from παρακαλ.

The δέ is one of transition, introducing a new feature. Moreover, while working with God, we also exhort, that you (when preaching to you,—or others, when preaching to others: he still is describing his practice in his ministry, not using a direct exhortation to the Corinthians) receive not (‘recipiatis;’—not ‘receperitis,’ ‘that ye will not have received,’ i.e. ‘will not by apostasy shew that ye have received …’ as Erasm., al., and De Wette. This mistake arises mainly from regarding the words as directly addressed to the Corinthians instead of a description of his apostolic practice) the grace of God (i.e. the reconciliation above spoken of) to no purpose (i.e. unaccompanied by sanctification of life; so Chrys., ἵνα … μὴ νομίσωσιν ὅτι τοῦτό ἐστι καταλλαγὴ μόνον, τὸ πιστεῦσαι τῷ καλοῦντι, ἐπάγει ταῦτα, τὴν περὶ τὸν βίον σπουδὴν ἀπαιτῶν. Hom. xii. p. 521.)

2.] Ground of the exhortation: viz. the importance of the present time as the day of acceptance,—shewn by a Scripture citation. For he (God, with whom we συνεργοῦμεν and whose grace we recommend) saith, ‘In an accepted time (Heb. בְּעֵת רָצוֹן, ‘in a season of grace’) I heard thee, and in the day of salvation I helped thee:’ behold (inserted for solemnity—to mark the importance of what follows), now is the favourably accepted time (εὐπρόσδεκτος, a far stronger term than δεκτός, q. d. the very time of most favourable acceptance, said from the fulness of his feeling of the greatness of God’s grace),—behold, now is the day of salvation. ὁ γὰρ ἐν τοιούτῳ καιρῷ ἀγωνιζόμενος, ἐν ᾧ τοσαύτη κέχυται δωρεά, ἐν ᾧ τοσαύτη χάρις, εὐκόλως ἐπιτεύξεται τῶν βραβείων. Chrys. p. 522. The prophecy is one directly of the Lord Jesus, as the restorer and gatherer of his people; and the time of acceptance is the interval of the offer of the covenant to men, conceded to Him by the Father.

3-10.] And this doing, he approves himself as the minister of God by various characteristics, and under manifold circumstances in life.

3.] διδόντες, resumed from συνεργοῦντες, ver. 1: ver. 2 being parenthetic. It, and all the following participles, vv. 9, 10, qualify παρακαλοῦμεν, shewing the pains and caution used by him to enforce this exhortation by his example as well as his precept. So Grot.: ‘ostendit enim, quam serio moneat, qui, ut aliquid proficiat, nullis terreatur incommodis, nulla non commoda negligat.’ But evidently, before the list is exhausted, he passes beyond the mere confirmation of his preaching, and is speaking generally of the characteristics of the Christian ministry.

ἐν μηδενί, in nothing, compare ἐν παντί, below: not, ‘in no man’s estimation,’ as Luther. μηδεμ.,—μηδενί, are not = οὐδεμ.—οὐδενί, but, see on ch. 5:21, subjectively said—we exhort, being such as give, &c.: so 1Corinthians 10:33, ἐγὼ πάντα πᾶσιν ἀρέσκω, μὴ ζητῶν κ.τ.λ.

προσκοπή = σκάνδαλον, or πρόσκομμα, Romans 14:13. μωμηθῇ] μωμᾶσθαι, ‘to reproach’ (see Winer, edn. 6, § 38. 7. a, and Moulton’s note), is one of those deponent verbs which have an aorist passive: so διαλέγεσθαι, βούλεσθαι, δύνασθαι, σπλαγχνίζεσθαι, &c.

The διακονία, the office itself, would be reproached, if cause of offence were found in the character of its bearers.

4.] Meyer well remarks the position of συνιστ. ἑαυτούς. When the words signified ‘to recommend ourselves,’ in a bad sense, ch. 3:1, 5:12,—ἑαυτ. preceded the verb: but here and ch. 4:2, where used in a good sense, and without any stress on ἑαυτούς, it follows the verb. This is only one of continually occurring instances of the importance of the collocation of words with regard to the emphasis.

διάκονοι] not διακόνους: recommending ourselves, as ministers of God should do. The ambiguity of the E. V. might have been avoided by a different arrangement of words: ‘in all things, as the ministers of God, approving ourselves.’

The following datives are a specification of παντί; but not all of the same sort: some signify instruments by which, some, situations in which, some both these. Bengel remarks: “Insignis gradatio. Sequuntur ter tria patienda (i.e. from θλίψεσιν to νηστείαις), quibus patientia (ὑπομονή) exercetur; pressuræ,—plagæ,—labores. Primus ternarius continet genera, secundus, species adversorum: tertia spontanea” (but qu?: see below). So that the ὑπομονὴ πολλή belongs to vv. 4, 5, and ver. 6 goes on to other points.

στενοχ.] See ch. 4:8, note.

5.] On πληγ., see reff.

φυλακ.] At Philippi only as yet, as far as we know from the narrative of the Acts;—but there must have been many other occasions, see ch. 11:23. He may have been imprisoned at Antioch in Pisidia, Acts 13:50, and at Lystra, 14:19 and at Corinth, 18:12, 14: and we cannot tell what may have befallen him during his journeys, Acts 15:41; Acts 16:6; Acts 18:23.

ἐν ἀκαταστ.] in tumults, see Acts 13:50; Acts 14:5,Acts 14:19; Acts 16:22; Acts 17:5; Acts 18:12, and above all, 19:23-41. The sense given by Chrys. (p. 522), al., τὸ μηδαμοῦ δύνασθαι στῆναι ἐλαυνόμενον, is philologically allowable, cf. Demosth. 383. 7, ἀκατάστατον ὥσπερ ἐν θαλάττῃ πνεῦμα, and James 1:8, and Polyb. xxxi. 13. 6, ὑποδεικνύων αὐτοῖς τὴν ἀκαταστασίαν τῆς βασιλείας,—but not found in N. T.

ἐν κόποις] usually, and here, signifies ‘labour in the Lord,’ for his sake, see reff. So also κοπιάω, Romans 16:6, Romans 16:12 (bis), and reff. Chrys., al., interpret it of his manual work, 1Corinthians 4:12; and ἀστατοῦμεν and κοπιῶμεν occurring there together certainly gives some semblance to the view: but see ch. 11:23, where this can hardly be; it is most probable that the weariness of his excessive apostolic labour was in his mind.

ἀγρυπνίαις] Chrys. says, p. 523, τὰς νύκτας ἐν αἷς ἐδίδασκεν. ἢ ὅτι καὶ ἐν αὐταῖς εἰργάζετο. But I would rather believe the ἀγρυπνίαι to have been watchings through anxiety for the churches.

ἐν νηστείαις] This is generally, and by De W. against Meyer, taken to refer to involuntary hunger and thirst. But, as the latter remarks, the word does not appear to be ever so used; and in ch. 11:27, Paul himself distinguishes ἐν νηστείαις from ἐν λιμῷ κ. δίψει. The meaning of fastings must therefore be retained. So Chrys., Theodoret, and Calvin.

6.] The nine preceding datives (see on ver. 4) have expanded ὑπομονῇ. We now resume the main catalogue, with ἐν ἁγνότητι, in purity: which is variously explained: of bodily chastity, Grot.:—of unselfishness, Theodoret, and Chrys., as an alternative (ἢ σωφροσύνην … ἢ τὴν ἐν ἅπασι καθαρότητα, ἢ τὸ ἀδωροδόκητον, ἢ καὶ τὸ δωρεὰν τὸ εὐαγγ. κηρύττειν. ib.):—I prefer the second of Chrys.’s meanings, general purity of character, εἰλικρίνεια,—unblamableness of life, and singleness of purpose.

ἐν γνώσει] knowledge of the Gospel, in a high and singular degree; see 1Corinthians 2:6 ff. So Chrys.: σοφίᾳ τῇ παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ δεδομένῃ.

χρηστότητι] kindness: a kind and considerate demeanour.

ἐν πν. ἁγίῳ] in the Holy Spirit, as the Power by Whom all these motives are wrought. The omission of the article, aft. ἐν, constitutes no objection to this rendering, as Bp. Middleton (in loc.) supposes: cf. διὰ πν. ἁγίου τοῦ δοθέντος ἡμῖν, Romans 5:5,—and the very same words as these, 1Thessalonians 1:5,—in both which places the meaning is undoubted; neither of which, however, is noticed by Middleton. The words do not appear to hold any logical place in the list, any more than ἐν δυν. θεοῦ below.

7. ἐν λόγ. ἀληθ.] is taken by De W., Meyer, al., as subjective,—‘in speaking, or teaching truth’—‘in discourse, the contents whereof were truth:’ but their objection against the sense in the word of truth, = ἐν τῷ λόγῳ τῆς ἀληθείας, as it is expressed Colossians 1:5, is not valid, on account (1) of the government by a preposition, which would make the insertion of the article optional,—(2) of the whole catalogue being anarthrous, which would cause the article to be omitted for uniformity’s sake.

ἐν δυν. θεοῦ] viz. the Power spoken of ch. 4:7,—the power manifested in every part of our apostolic working,—not merely in miracles.

διὰ τ. ὅπλ. τ. δικ.] By means of (ἐν is changed for διὰ, first apparently on account of τὰ ὅπλα, marking them more distinctly as instruments,—and then continued) the weapons of righteousness (belonging to,—or as Meyer, furnished by, the righteousness which is of faith. That panoply, part of which only in the more particular specification of Ephesians 6:13-17, viz. the θῶραξ, is allotted to δικαιοσύνη,—is here all assigned to it.

Some of the ancient Commentators,—Chrys., Œcum., al., and Grot., Estius, al., understand by ὅπλα, ‘instruments,’ as in Romans 6:13, and interpret these instruments to be, situations and opportunities of life, whether prosperous, δεξιά, or adverse, ἀριστερά: but the other interpretation is in better accordance with the Apostle’s habit of comparison,—see ch. 10:4; Ephesians 6:13 ff.; 1Thessalonians 5:8).

τῶν δεξ. κ. ἀριστ.] which are on the right and left: i.e. encompassing and guarding the whole person. Grot., Bengel, and most recent Commentators, even De W. and Meyer, explain it, both righthanded,—i.e. of attack, the sword and spear,—and left-handed,—i.e. of defence, the shield: but it seems to me that this would require: τῶν δεξιῶν καὶ τῶν ἀριστερῶν: whereas now, no article being inserted before ἀριστ., it is implied that the panoply (τὰ ὅπλα) is on both sides (δεξιὰ κ. ἀριστερά) of the person. On the interpretation prosperity and adversity, see above.

8.] Perhaps the instrumental signification of διὰ need not be strictly retained. The preposition, once adopted, is kept for the sake of parallelism, though with various shades of meaning. I would understand it in διὰ δοξ., &c., as in διὰ πολλῶν δακρύων, as pointing out the medium through which. Thus understood, these two pairs in ver. 8 will form an easy transition from instrumental, through medial, to the passive characteristics which follow.

ὡς πλάνοι] From speaking of repute, he passes to the character of the repute. In all these capacities and under all these representations or misrepresentations, we, as ministers of God, recommend ourselves. But in these following clauses a new point is perhaps brought out, viz. the difference of our real state from our reputed one. That this is the case with ὡς ἀποθν. κ. ἰδοὺ ζῶμεν with and all following, is of course clear. But is it so with the two clauses preceding that one? Do they mean, ‘as deceivers, and yet true, as unknown, and yet well known,’ or,—’as deceivers, and as true men, as unknown, and as well known?’ I own I am not clear on this point. The words καὶ ἰδοὺ ζῶμεν may be an indication how the Apostle would have the previous two clauses understood; but they also may be a transition, altering the previous reference of the second member of the clause, now that the subject is no longer matter of rumour, as πλάνοι and ἀγνοούμενοι, but matter of fact, as ἀποθνήσκοντες, and the following. If the latter alternative be taken, the two clauses will serve as a transition to the subsequent ones, thus: having said, διὰ δυσφημίας κ. εὐφημίας, he proceeds ὡς πλάνοι (answering to δυσφ.) καὶ ἀληθεῖς (answering to εὐφ.),—ὡς ἀγνοούμενοι (still having δυσφ. in view,—as ‘unknown,’ of obscure reputation), καὶ ἐπιγινωσκόμενοι (still looking back at εὐφ., seeing that the ἐπίγνωσις would lead to good repute): then, having by the participles of the latter clause expressed more a matter of fact than did the adjectives of the former one, he passes to ὡς ἀποθνήσκοντες, which has no longer its main reference to the repute of others, but to the fact, see ch. 4:7 ff., as exhibited in himself. I confess that on the whole this rendering recommends itself to my mind.

9.] καὶ ἰδοὺ ζῶμεν is much stronger, more triumphant, than καὶ ζῶντες. There is something still of the idea of one reputed dead and found to be alive; though I would not say with Meyer that ὡς ἀποθν. altogether refers to a supposd triumph of his adversaries, “Now it is all over with him! His course is ended!”

ὡς παιδ.] Surely we must now drop altogether the putative meaning of the ὡς. The sense has been (see above) some time verging that way, and in the clauses which follow, the ὡς expresses just what it does in ὡς θεοῦ διάκονοι, viz. ‘quippe qui simus.’

Ps. 117:18, LXX, seems to have been in his mind: παιδεύων ἐπαίδευσέ με ὁ (om ὁ ) κύριος, καὶ τῷ θανάτῳ οὐ παρέδωκέ με …

10.] Here even more clearly than before, the first member of the clause ὡς λυπ. ἀεὶ δὲ χαίρ. cannot express the opinion of his adversaries. For however παιδευόμενος might be wrested to signify ‘a man under the chastisement of God’ as a ground of reproach, λυπούμενος will surely not bear the meaning solcher der nach gemohnlicher menschlicher Unsicht traurig sehn mußte,’ ‘one in such a situation, that according to ordinary human estimation he must be wretched,’ as De Wette,—but must point to the matter of fact, that he is really ‘afflicted.’ See reff.

πτωχοί again can hardly have been a reproach, but sets forth the factas poor men, but enriching (not by distribution of alms, as Chrys., Theodoret, Estius, but by imparting spiritual riches, see 1Corinthians 1:5) many:—as having nothing (in the sense in which οἱ ἔχοντες are ὡς μὴ ἔχοντες, 1Corinthians 7:29,—in the improper sense of ‘to possess’ in which we here use the word—thus, we have nothing, are destitute), but possessing (finally and as our own, our inheritance never to be taken away; in that sense of the word ‘to possess’ which this world’s buyers are not to use—οἱ ἀγοράζοντες, ὡς μὴ κατέχοντες, 1Corinthians 7:30) all things. See a similar ‘possession of all things,’ 1Corinthians 3:22: though this reaches further than even that,—to the boundless riches of the heavenly inheritance.

11-8:1.] Earnest exhortations to separation from unbelief and impurity.

11-13.] These verses form a conclusion to the preceding outpouring of his heart with regard to his apostolic ministry, and at the same time a transition to the exhortations which are to follow.

11.] Our (my) mouth is open (not past: the use of ἀνέῳγα for ἀνέῳγμαι is common in later Greek: see Palm and Rost’s Lex., and ref. 1 Cor. Rückert takes it as past, and renders, ‘I have begun to speak with you, I have not concealed my apostolic sentiments—I cannot shut my mouth, but must go on speaking to you yet further.’ The word seems to refer to the free and open spirit shewn in the whole previous passage on the ministry, in which he had so liberally imparted his inner feelings to them) towards you, Corinthians (καὶ ἡ προσθήκη δὲ τοῦ ὀνόματος φιλίας πολλῆς, καὶ διαθέσεως καὶ θερμότητος· καὶ γὰρ εἰώθαμεν τῶν ἀγαπωμένων συνεχῶς γυμνὰ τὰ ὀνόματα περιστρέφειν, Chrys. Hom. xiii. p. 530 f. See Philippians 4:15; Galatians 3:1, which last is written under a very different feeling),—our (my) heart has become enlarged. These last words are very variously explained. Chrys., Theodoret, Œ, al., understand them of the expansive effect of love on the heart: Luther, Estius, al., of dilatio gaudii, which does not however agree with πλατύνθητε καὶ ὑμεῖς below: nor with the general context, either of what precedes or of what follows: for to refer it to ch. 7:4, as Estius, is evidently far-fetched, the intermediate matter being of such a different character. alii aliter. Meyer holds with Chrys., and refers it to the preceding passage, during which his heart became expanded in love to them. De Wette takes it, ‘I have poured out, enlarged and diffused, my heart to you,’ viz. by speaking thus open-hearted to you. I believe the precise sense will only be found by taking into account the πλατύνθ. κ. ὑμεῖς below, and the occurrence of the expression in the Psalm (reff.: cf. ἐν πλατυσμῷ, ib., ver. 45). Some light is also thrown upon it by χωρήσατε ἡμᾶς, ch. 7:2. The heart is considered as a space, wherein its thoughts and feelings are contained. We have seen the same figure in our expression ‘narrow-minded.’ In order to take in a new object of love, or of desire, or of ambition, the heart must be enlarged: ὁδὸν ἐντολῶν σου ἔδραμον, ὅταν ἐπλάτυνας τὴν καρδίαν μου. The Apostle has had his heart enlarged towards the Corinthians: he could and did take them in, with their infirmities, their interests, their Christian graces, their defects and sins: but they did not and could not take him in (χωρῆσαι αὐτόν): he was misunderstood by them, and his relation to them disregarded. This he here asserts, and deprecates. He assures them of their place in his heart, which is wide enough for, and does contain them; and refers back to this verse in ch. 7:3, thus, προείρηκα ὅτι ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν ἐστε.… He tells them, ver. 12.] that they are not straitened in him, i.e. that any constraint which they may feel towards him, any want of confidence in him and persuasion of his real appreciation of their state and interests, arose, not from his being really unable to appreciate them, and love them, and advise them,—but from their own confined view of him, of his love, his knowledge of and feeling for them.

13.] τὴν αὐτὴν ἀντιμ., as τὸν ὅμοιον τρόπον Jude 1:7, κλισίας, Luke 9:14, not governed by κατά understood, but in fact an accus. of a remoter object, answering in many cases exactly to the further removed of the two accusatives in the double accusative government. The sense seems to be compounded of τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον and ἀντιμισθίαν, In the same manner, as a return for my largeness of heart to you.

ὡς τέκνοις λ. explains ἀντιμισθίαν,—it being naturally expected of children that they should requite the love and care of their parents, by corresponding love and regard.

14-7:1.] Separate yourselves from unbelief and impurity. On the nature of the connexion, Stanley has some good remarks. He now applies to circumstances which had arisen among the Corinthians the exhortation which in ver. 1 he described himself as giving in pursuance of his ministry of reconciliation. The following exhortations are general, and hardly to be pressed as applying only to partaking of meats offered to idols, as Calv., al., or to marriage with unbelievers, as Estius,—but regard all possible connexion and participation,—all leanings towards a return to heathenism which might be bred by too great familiarity with heathens. Become not (‘ne fiatis, molliter pro: ne sitis,’ Bengel: rather, perhaps, as expressing, ‘do not enter into those relations in which you must become’) incongruous yokefellows (the word and idea from ref. Levit. : ἑτερόζυγοι· οἱ μὴ συζυγοῦντες. Grot. explains it, ‘alteram partem jugi trahere,’ but this does not give the force of ἑτερο-:—Theophyl., μὴ ἀδικεῖτε τὸ δίκαιον ἐπικλινόμενοι κ. προσκλινόμενοι οἷς οὐ θέμις: so making the simile that of an unequal balance: but this could hardly be without more precise notification) with unbelievers (Winer explains the construction, edn. 6, § 31. 10, Remark 4, thus, μὴ γίν. ἑτεροζυγοῦντες, καὶ οὕτως ὁμοζυγοῦντες ἀπίστοις: better, as De W., μὴ γίν. ὁμοζ. ἀπίστοις κ. οὕτως ἑτεροζυγοῦντες).

μετοχή] ‘share in the same thing,’ community..

δικαιοσ. is the state of the Christian, being justified by faith: he is therefore excluded from ἀνομία, the proper fruit of faith being obedience.

φωτί, of which we are the children, 1Thessalonians 5:5, and not of darkness.

Meyer remarks, that the fivefold variation of the term to express partnership,—μετοχή, κοινωνία, συμφώνησις, μερίς, συγκατάθεσις, shews the Apostle’s command of the Greek language. The construction of κοινωνία with a dat. and πρός, is illustrated by Wetst. from Stobæus, S. 28, εἰ δέ τις ἔστι κοινωνία πρὸς θεοὺς ἡμῖν,—and Philo, leg. ad Caium, § 14, vol. ii. p. 561, τίς οὖν κοινωνία πρὸς Ἀπόλλωνα, τῷ μηδὲν οἰκεῖον ἢ συγγενὲς ἐπιτετηδευκότι

Henry Alford - Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bible Hub
2 Corinthians 5
Top of Page
Top of Page