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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 6

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary

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Introduction

2 Corinthians 6:1-1

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

UBS4NKJVNRSVTEVNJB
The Ministry of ReconciliationMarks of the MinistryFurther Defenseof His Ministry of ReconciliationFriendship with God Through ChristThe Apostolate in Action
(2 Corinthians 5:11-13) (2 Corinthians 5:11-13)(2 Corinthians 5:11-13)(2 Corinthians 5:11-10)
2 Corinthians 5:11-10
2 Corinthians 6:1-10
Be Holy 2 Corinthians 6:3-10A Warning
2 Corinthians 6:11-132 Corinthians 6:11-12 Corinthians 6:11-132 Corinthians 6:11-132 Corinthians 6:11-13
The Temple of the Living God A Parenthesis on Relations with UnbelieversWarning Against Pagan Influences
2 Corinthians 6:14-1 2 Corinthians 6:14-12 Corinthians 6:14-12 Corinthians 6:14-1

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT THE PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five modern translations. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one main subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. Verse 2 Corinthians 6:1 of this chapter is the crux to the interpretation of the entire chapter. The context involves the believers of the church at Corinth and, therefore, does not involve apostasy (see Special Topic at 1 Corinthians 6:9), but failure to live the Christian life effectively.

B. Beginning in verse 2 Corinthians 6:4 there is a series of prepositions.

1. en with the dative, eighteen times, 2 Corinthians 6:4-7

2. dia with the genitive, three times, 2 Corinthians 6:7-8

3. hôs with present participles, seven times, 2 Corinthians 6:9-10

These seem to involve a description of Paul's ministry as far as the problems and the pressures, both internal and external, as well as the commensurate grace of God.

C. The concluding paradoxes of 2 Corinthians 6:8-10 seem to describe Paul's life, both from the critics' point of view and from God's point of view.

D. The section 2 Corinthians 6:14-1 seems to be out of context. Verse 2 Corinthians 7:2 picks up the terminology and discussion of 2 Corinthians 6:13. This section is very Jewish in nature. It is a warning against identifying oneself too closely with pagan culture. The warnings are from an OT setting (i.e., Jews vs. Gentiles or people of God vs. idolaters). However, Paul is using it in a similar way to 1 Corinthians 10:14-33, where he discusses Christian participation in pagan worship.

This paragraph's seeming disjunction has caused theories of 2 Corinthians being a composite letter from several letters of Paul's sent to Corinth.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. Does 2 Corinthians 6:1 teach that we can lose our salvation?

2. How can a Christian live so as not to put any stumbling blocks in front of others?

3. Why was Paul's life so hard?

4. What does it mean to "be ye separate"?

5. Is salvation absolutely free or does it cost us everything?

Verses 1-10

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 2 Corinthians 6:1-10 1And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain-2for He says, "At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you." Behold, now is "the acceptable time," behold, now is "the day of salvation"-3giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, 4but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, 5in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, 6in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, 7in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, 8by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; 9as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, 10as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.

2 Corinthians 6:1 "working together with Him" This is a present active participle. There is no stated object, but the context implies "with God" (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:20; 1 Corinthians 3:9). Paul uses this same term to describe his co-workers in the gospel (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:24; 2 Corinthians 8:23; 1 Corinthians 16:16; Romans 16:3, Romans 16:9, Romans 16:21), but here the context strongly implies God. What an awesome thought that believers are co-laborers for God (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:5-9).

"we also urge you" Paul used the same verb in 2 Corinthians 5:20. See full note at 2 Corinthians 1:4-11.

"not to receive the grace of God in vain" The infinitive is aorist, which refers to the Corinthian believers receiving Christ. But the "in vain" refers to the purpose of salvation, which is fruitfulness for the Kingdom, not just personal salvation. Paul often used this term to express this expected Kingdom service (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:10, 1 Corinthians 15:14, 1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 2:2; Philippians 2:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:5). This concept is parallel to Paul's use of "walk" in Ephesians (cf. Ephesians 4:1, Ephesians 4:17; Ephesians 5:2, Ephesians 5:15).

2 Corinthians 6:2 "He says" Paul is quoting an OT passage relating to Israel, but by the use of this present active indicative (i.e., says), he shows that the promise is relevant to all times and all peoples. Paul uses this quote as a direct appeal from God to the Corinthian church. Scripture is current and relevant!

"'at the acceptable time'" This is a quote from the Septuagint of Isaiah 49:8 (i.e., one of the Servant poem/songs), which deals with God welcoming and equipping (1) the Messiah and (2) a Messianic community. There is often a tension in Isaiah 40-53 between corporate (i.e., national Israel) and the ideal Israelite King (i.e., Messiah).

"'the acceptable time. . .the acceptable time'" The first is a quote from the Septuagint of Isaiah 49:8, using dektos, but Paul uses a more intensified form (i.e., eurosdektos, cf. Romans 15:16) when he applies this prophecy to the Corinthian situation (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:2b). The Messiah has come and now the invitation to be fully accepted by God has come to them. They must seize the moment. They must be the eschatological Messianic community.

The day of one's salvation is a wondrous, marvelous event, but it is often accompanied by persecution and difficulties (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:4-10).

NASB, NKJV"Behold" NRSV"see" TEV"Listen" NJB"well"

This is the Greek particle idou, which serves to call attention to a truth statement. Paul used it often in 2 Corinthians (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Corinthians 6:2, 2 Corinthians 6:9; 2 Corinthians 7:11; 2 Corinthians 12:14).

"now is 'the day of salvation'" This last sentence in 2 Corinthians 6:2 is Paul's comment on the quote from Isaiah. This can refer to both an individual's invitation to respond to the gospel, as well as to the life of service to the Messianic kingdom.

2 Corinthians 6:3 "giving no cause for offense in anything" This is a strong double negative in Greek. Paul was determined, both in his personal life and ministry, not to put any barriers between himself and the hearers of the gospel (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23). He is using his life to accomplish two things: (1) giving them a model to follow in their ministry and (2) counteracting the charges of the false teachers (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:12).

The only "stumbling block" was Christ Himself (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18-25). The gospel was rejected by

1. the Jews because of a suffering Messiah

2. the Gentiles because of a body resurrection

3. the Corinthian false teachers because of Paul's lack of rhetorical presentation

Because of Satan's blinding (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4) and the tension of the gospel message itself, Paul did not want to do anything to cause people to reject his preaching (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

NASB"so that the ministry will not be discredited" NKJV"that our ministry may not be blamed" NRSV"so that no fault may be found with our ministry" TEV"We do not want anyone to find fault with our work" NJB"so that no blame may attach to our work of service"

The term "our" (cf. NKJV, NRSV, TEV, NJB) is not in the Greek text, which simply has the definite article, "the ministry." This verse is related theologically to 1 Timothy 3:2-10, which asserts that ministers must have no handle for criticism. Believers live and serve for the advancement of the Messianic Kingdom, not personal aggrandizement or personal agendas (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:12). See SPECIAL TOPIC: SERVANT LEADERSHIP at 1 Corinthians 4:1.

2 Corinthians 6:4-7 This is a series of terms introduced by the Greek preposition en. It is repeated eighteen times for emphasis. There are several lists in Paul's writings of the problems that he faced (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:9-13; 2 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 11:23-29). He mentions them to motivate the faithful and depreciate the false teachers' claims. See Special Topic: NT Vices and Virtues at 1 Corinthians 5:9.

GREEK PHRASES WITH EN

NASBNKJVNRSVTEVNJB
v. 2 Corinthians 6:4, hupomonçmuch endurancemuch patiencegreat endurancepatient enduringresolute perseverance
v. 2 Corinthians 6:4, thliphisafflictionstribulationsafflictionstroubleshardships
v. 2 Corinthians 6:4, anagkçhardshipsneedshardshipshardshipsdifficulties
v. 2 Corinthians 6:4, stenochôriadistressesdistressescalamitiesdifficultiesdistress
v. 2 Corinthians 6:5, plçgçbeatingsstripesbeatingbeatenflogged
v. 2 Corinthians 6:5, phulakçimprisonmentsimprisonmentsimprisonmentsjailedsent to prison
v. 2 Corinthians 6:5, akatastasiatumultstumultsriotsmobbedmobbed
v. 2 Corinthians 6:5, koposlaborslaborslaborsoverwhelmedlaboring
v. 2 Corinthians 6:5, agrupniasleeplessnesssleeplessnesssleepless nightswithout sleepsleepless
v. 2 Corinthians 6:5, nçsteiahungerfastingshungerwithout foodstarving
v. 2 Corinthians 6:6, hagnotçspuritypuritypuritypuritypurity
v. 2 Corinthians 6:6, gnôsisknowledgeknowledgeknowledgeknowledgeknowledge
v. 2 Corinthians 6:6, makrothumiapatiencelong sufferingpatiencepatiencepatience
v. 2 Corinthians 6:6, chrçstotçskindnesskindnesskindnesskindnesskindness
v. 2 Corinthians 6:6, pneumati hagiôHoly SpiritHoly Spiritholiness of spiritHoly SpiritHoly Spirit
v. 2 Corinthians 6:6, agatiç anuplkritôgenuine lovesincere lovegenuine lovetrue lovelove free of affectation
v. 2 Corinthians 6:7, logô aletheiasthe word of truththe word of truthtruthful speechmessage of truththe word of truth
v. 2 Corinthians 6:7, dunamei theouthe power of Godthe power of Godthe power of Godthe power of Godthe power of God

2 Corinthians 6:4 "but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God" This is the issue. This is the referent of the phrase "in vain" of 2 Corinthians 6:1. Paul affirms the priority of Kingdom service. All believers are gifted (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:7, 1 Corinthians 12:11) ministers (cf. Ephesians 4:12). The gospel has both an individual focus (i.e., personal salvation) and a corporate focus (i.e., gospel proclamation and gospel service, cf. 1 Corinthians 12:7). See Special Topic: Servant Leadership at 1 Corinthians 4:1.

2 Corinthians 6:6 "in purity" This refers to either (1) the root meaning of this term, singleness of purpose or (2) Paul's moral, ethical lifestyle.

"in patience" This term is often used to refer to patience with people, however, it is also used in the NT to refer to God's character (cf. Romans 2:4; Romans 9:22; 2 Peter 3:9, 2 Peter 3:15).

"in kindness" This term is often translated "a sweetness of spirit." It is the attitude that one would rather be hurt than to hurt others, rather make others feel welcome than to feel welcome themselves.

"in the Holy Spirit" The New English Bible translates this as "gifts of the Holy Spirit." The Jerome Biblical Commentary has "in a holy spirit" (p. 282). The reason that they change the translation is that it is unusual for Paul to mention the person of the Holy Spirit in the midst of a series of descriptive words. I agree that it is referring to Paul's personal spirit of holiness produced by the Holy Spirit, however, one cannot be dogmatic of this because of Romans 9:1; Romans 14:17; Romans 15:16; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:5.

"in genuine love" This same phrase is used in Romans 12:9. Paul uses the same adjective to describe faith in 1 Timothy 1:5 and 2 Timothy 1:5. Peter uses the same adjective with a synonym of agapç, philadelphia in 1 Peter 1:22.

2 Corinthians 6:7 "in the word of truth" It must be remembered that the Hebraic background to this term in not "truth versus falsehood," but "loyalty and trustworthiness," as in interpersonal relationships (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:1 John 8:32; 14:6). See SPECIAL TOPIC: "TRUTH" IN PAUL'S WRITINGS at 2 Corinthians 13:8.

Greek Phrases Introduced with dia

NASBNKJVNRSVTEVNJBNIV
v. 2 Corinthians 6:7, hoplôntçs dikaiosunçsweapons of righteousnessarmor of righteousnessweapons of righteousnessrighteousness as our weaponweapons of uprightnessweapons of righteousness
v. 2 Corinthians 6:8, dozçs kai atimiasglory and dishonorhonor and dishonorhonor and dishonorhonored and dishonoredtimes of honor and disgraceglory and dishonor
v. 2 Corinthians 6:8,dusphçmias kai euphçmiasevil report and good reportevil report and good reportinsulted and praisedill repute and good reputeblame and praisebad report and good report

"the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left" This refers to the provisions of God for our earthly spiritual warfare (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:11; Romans 6:13; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 4:14, Ephesians 4:27; Ephesians 6:10-18; 1 Peter 5:8). It is possible that the right hand refers to offensive weapons and the left hand refers to defensive weapons. See SPECIAL TOPIC: RIGHTEOUSNESS at 1 Corinthians 1:30.

2 Corinthians 6:8 "dishonor" This term is used for a resident losing the rights of citizenship.

Greek Phrases Introduced with hôs

NASBNKJVNRSVTEVNJB
v. 2 Corinthians 6:8, planoi kai alçtheisas deceivers and yet trueas deceivers yet trueas impostors yet trueas liars yet speak the truthtaken for impostors yet genuine
v. 2 Corinthians 6:9, agnooumenoi kai epigninôskomenoias unknown yet well knownas unknown yet well knownas unknown yet well knownas unknown yet known by allas unknown yet acknowledged
v. 2 Corinthians 6:9, apothnçskontes kai idou zômenas dying yet, behold, we liveas dying yet we liveas dying yet we are aliveas dead but we livedying yet we are alive
v. 2 Corinthians 6:9, paideuomenoi kai mç thanatoumenoias punished yet not put to deathas chastened yet not killedas punished yet not killedalthough punished we are not killedscourged but not executed
v. 2 Corinthians 6:10, lupoumenoi aei de chairontesas sorrowful yet always rejoicingas sorrowful yet always rejoicingas sorrowful yet always rejoicingalthough saddened we are always gladin pain yet always full of joy
v. 2 Corinthians 6:10, ptôchoi pollous de ploutizontesas poor yet making many richas poor yet making many richas poor yet making many richwe seem poor but make many people richpoor yet making many people rich
v. 2 Corinthians 6:10, mçden echontes kai panta katechontesas having nothing yet possessing all thingsas having nothing and yet possessing all thingsas having nothing yet possessing everythingwe seem to have nothing yet really possess everythinghaving nothing and yet owning everything

2 Corinthians 6:8-9 "and yet. . .yet" The Greek text has kai, which usually means "and," but in some texts it can mean "and yet" (cf. John 20:29). Remember context determines meaning, not a lexicon.

2 Corinthians 6:10 "sorrowful yet always rejoicing" (cf. Romans 5:3-5; Philippians 2:17-18; Philippians 3:1; Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16)

"yet possessing all things" This series of paradoxes seems to contrast the world's perspective and God's perspective. Believers are heirs of all things through Christ (cf. Romans 8:17, Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 3:21).

Verses 11-13

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 11Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide. 12You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections. 13Now in a like exchange-I speak as to children-open wide to us also.

2 Corinthians 6:11 The two verbs are both perfect tense. Paul has shared the whole, complete gospel truth and its implications with the Corinthian believers in complete openness and honesty.

"O Corinthians" This is one of only three places in Paul's writings that he personally addresses the particular church he is writing (cf. Galatians 3:1; Philippians 4:15). All of these passages show the intensity of the Apostle's heart.

2 Corinthians 6:12

NASB"You are not restrained by us" NKJV"You are not restricted by us" NRSV"There is no restriction" TEV"It is not we who have closed our hearts to you" NJB"Any distress you feel is not on our side"

The noun form of this verb is used in 2 Corinthians 6:4 and 12:10 (cf. Romans 2:9; Romans 8:35). It literally refers to something or someone crowded together into a narrow place, thereby becoming cramped. It was used metaphorically for "straits," "cramped," or "anguish" (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:8; 2 Corinthians 6:12).

NASB, NKJV, NRSV"affections" TEV"closed your hearts" NJB"distress"

This is an OT metaphor from "bowels." The ancients thought the lower viscera or the major organs (i.e., heart, liver, lungs) were the seat of the emotions (cf. Septuagint Proverbs 12:10; Proverbs 26:22; Jeremiah 28:13,51; II Macc. 9:5-6; IV Macc. 2 Corinthians 10:8; Baruch 2 Corinthians 2:17). Paul uses this metaphor often (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Corinthians 7:15; Philippians 1:8; Philippians 2:1; Colossians 3:12; Philemon 1:7, Philemon 1:12, Philemon 1:20).

2 Corinthians 6:13

NASB"Now in a like exchange" NKJV"Now in return for the same" NRSV"In return" NJB"In fair exchange"

In this phrase the main word is antimisthia, which is the term misthos (i.e., recompense based on what a person deserves, cf. 1 Corinthians 3:8, 1 Corinthians 3:14; 1 Corinthians 9:17-18; 1 Timothy 5:18) plus the preposition anti. This form is found only here and in Romans 1:27.

This term can be used in a positive or negative sense; the context must determine. In Romans 1:27; it is negative, but here it seems to be used positively in the sense of Galatians 4:12.

"to children" Paul, like John, addresses his converts as children (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:14, 1 Corinthians 4:17; Galatians 4:19; 1 Timothy 1:2, 1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 2:1; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:10).

"open wide to us also" As Paul stretched his heart to include them, as factious and contentious as they had been, he earnestly desired that they reciprocate. This is aorist passive imperative. Notice the passive idea that they cannot do it themselves, but they must allow God to do it.

Verses 14-18

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 14Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 17"Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate," says the Lord. "And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. 18And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," says the Lord Almighty.

2 Corinthians 6:14

NASB"Do not be bound together with unbelievers" NKJV"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers" NRSV"Do not be mismatched with unbelievers" TEV"Do not try to work together as equals with unbelievers" NJB"Do not harness yourselves in an equal team with unbelievers"

Paul often uses OT agricultural quotes to illustrate Christian truths (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:9; 1 Timothy 5:18) to reflect Deuteronomy 22:10. It is a present imperative with the negative particle, which implies "they were forming" these inappropriate, intimate, interpersonal relationships with unbelievers. The Greek term is a compound of "yoked" (zugeô) and "another of a different kind" (heteros, i.e., different kinds of animals). This verse has been proof-texted in relation to believers marrying unbelievers. However, this text does not seem to be dealing with marriage specifically, although that is surely included in this broader statement. Believers must restrict their most intimate, personal relationships to fellow believers. This helps us fight the pull of fallen culture away from Christ. Faith in Jesus and the indwelling Spirit have caused a sharp and deep cleavage within families, businesses, hobbies, amusements, even churches.

One must take into account passages like 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 1 Corinthians 7:12-16; 1 Corinthians 10:27 to get the theological balance of this truth. We must remember the wickedness of first century pagan culture. This is not an affirmation of monastic living, but an attempt to reduce intimate personal relationship with the fallen world system (cf. 1 John 2:15-17).

"what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness" This same truth is repeated in the cyclical letter of Ephesians (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:7, 2 Corinthians 5:11). Paul's contrast of righteousness with lawlessness shows clearly that in this context righteousness does not refer to imputed righteousness (cf. Romans 4:0; Galatians 3:0), but righteous living (cf. Matthew 6:1). See SPECIAL TOPIC: RIGHTEOUSNESS at 1 Corinthians 1:30.

"fellowship: See Special Topic at 1 Corinthians 1:9.

2 Corinthians 6:15

NASB, NKJV"Belial" NRSV, NJB"Beliar" TEV"the Devil"

This is a Hebrew term (i.e., beli and ya'al, see BDB 116) whose etymology is somewhat in doubt. Beliar is a variant spelling from some Jewish writings. The possible backgrounds are:

1. worthlessness (i.e., a description of evil people, cf. Deuteronomy 13:13; 2 Samuel 23:6; 1 Kings 21:10, 1 Kings 21:13)

2. lawlessness (cf. 2 Samuel 22:5)

3. place from where there is no ascent (i.e., Sheol, cf. Psalms 18:4)

4. another term for Satan (cf. Nahum 1:15; Jubilees 2 Corinthians 1:20; 15:33; and the Dead Sea Scrolls [ex. IQS 2 Corinthians 1:18, 2 Corinthians 1:24; 2 Corinthians 2:5,19])

2 Corinthians 6:16 "Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols" This verse must be compared with 1 Corinthians 3:16, where the local church is called the temple of God. In 1 Corinthians 3:16 there is no article with "temple" (i.e., naos, the central shrine itself). The pronoun "you" is plural, while "temple" is singular, therefore, in this context "temple" must refer to the whole church at Corinth (cf. Ephesians 2:21-22).

The focus of Jewish faith developed into Temple ritual and liturgy (cf. Jeremiah 7:0) instead of personal faith in YHWH. It is not where or when or how one worships, but who one is in relationship with, God. Jesus saw His body as the temple of God (cf. John 2:21). Jesus is greater than the OT Temple (cf. Matthew 12:6). God's activity has moved from a sacred building into a sacred (i.e., redeemed, holy) believers' body.

Idols and believers are fully discussed in 1 Corinthians 8:0 and 10:14-22. These must be mutually exclusive! All roads do not lead to heaven!

"the living God" The covenant name for the God of the OT was YHWH (see Special Topic at 1 Corinthians 2:8), which was a form of the verb "to be." OT authors often used the adjective "living" to reflect the ever-existing, only-existing God. The OT allusions in 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 contain covenant terminology, "I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (cf. Ezekiel 37:27).

The phrase "walk among them" seems to come from Leviticus 26:12. The OT texts in 2 Corinthians 6:16 reflect the new age when YHWH will dwell among His people as was intended in Genesis 2:0 and temporarily and partially occurred during the wilderness wandering period, but will be fully realized in the new heavens and the new earth (cf. Revelation 21-22).

"God said" This is a loose combination of Leviticus 26:11-12 and Ezekiel 37:27 from the Septuagint. In this context Paul is applying these promises originally to covenant Israel to the church who is spiritual Israel (cf. Romans 9:6; Galatians 6:16).

2 Corinthians 6:17 "come out. . .be separate" These are both aorist imperatives. These are allusions to Isaiah 52:11 in the Septuagint. God's people are to disassociate themselves from sinners and unbelievers lest they be caught up in their judgment (cf. Revelation 18:4).

Often today I hear this verse quoted in connection to which denomination one belongs. Let me quote F. F. Bruce in Answers to Questions, "The use of these words to justify ecclesiastical separation between Christians betokens a grotesque failure to read them in their context" (p. 103).

"and do not touch what is unclean" This is a present middle imperative. Believers must not participate in the sinful actions of their respective cultures. As the redeemed we must exhibit and proclaim the new heart and new mind of God's people. Everything has changed in Him!

2 Corinthians 6:18 This verse reflects the truth of many prophets, but most fully, Hosea (or possibly 2 Samuel 7:14). Christianity is a family affair.

"Lord Almighty" This reflects the OT term for God, YHWH (cf. Exodus 3:14), and El Shaddai (cf. Exodus 6:3). In the Septuagint it translates the phrase "Lord of Hosts." See SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY at 1 Corinthians 2:8.

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 6". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/2-corinthians-6.html. 2021.
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