1Now, since we are God’s coworkers, we beg you not to take God’s marvelous grace for granted, allowing it to have no effect on your lives. # 6:1 Or “not to receive God’s grace in vain.” 2For he says,
I listened to you at the time of my favor.
And the day when you needed salvation,
I came to your aid. # 6:2 See Isa. 49:8.
So can’t you see? Now is the time to respond to his favor! Now is the day of salvation! 3We will not place obstacles # 6:3 Or “scandals that cause people to stumble.” in anyone’s way that hinder them from coming to salvation so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4Yet, as God’s servants, we prove ourselves authentic # 6:4 The Aramaic can be translated “reveals our inner souls.” in every way. For example:
We have great endurance # 6:4 The Aramaic can be translated “profound hope.” in hardships and in persecutions. We don’t lose courage in a time of stress and calamity.
5We’ve been beaten many times, imprisoned, and found ourselves in the midst of riots. We’ve endured many troubles, # 6:5 Or “labors.” The Aramaic can be translated “tortures.” had sleepless nights, and gone hungry. # 6:5 Or “fastings.”
6We have proved ourselves by our lifestyles of purity, by our spiritual insights, by our patience, and by showing kindness, by the Spirit of holiness and by our uncritical love for you. # 6:6 The Aramaic can be translated “love without scheming.”
7We commend ourselves to you by our truthful teachings, # 6:7 Or “the word of truth [Gr. logos].” by the power of God working through us, and with the mighty weapons # 6:7 Or “armor.” of righteousness—a sword in one hand and a shield in the other. # 6:7 Or “weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left.” By implication, this would mean a shield and a sword—every warrior’s weapons.
8Amid honor or dishonor, # 6:8 The Aramaic can be translated “cursed” (by others). slander or praise—even when we are treated as deceivers and imposters—we remain steadfast and true.
9We are unknown nobodies whom everyone knows. We are frequently at death’s door, yet here we are, still alive! We have been severely punished yet not executed.
10We may suffer, yet in every season # 6:10 As translated by the Aramaic. we are always found rejoicing. We may be poor, yet we bestow great riches on many. We seem to have nothing, yet in reality we possess all things. # 6:10 What an amazing list of characteristics of true apostolic ministry. These are the virtues that endeared Paul and his ministry companions to the churches and validated his authority as an example to them of God’s true servant.
11My friends at Corinth, our hearts are wide open to you and we speak freely, holding nothing back from you. 12If there is a block in our relationship, it is not with us, for we carry you in our hearts with great love, yet you still withhold your affections # 6:12 Or “tender mercies.” Second Corinthians is Paul’s most intimate and descriptive letter. He writes of his inner feelings here more than in any other letter. from us. 13So I speak to you as our children. Make room in your hearts for us as we have done for you.
The Temple of the Living God
14Don’t continue to team up with unbelievers in mismatched alliances, # 6:14 Paul’s teaching here includes marital, business, and personal relationships. We never abandon our responsibility to reach the world (1 Cor. 5:9–10), but we must steer clear of relationships that will divide our loyalty to Christ. for what partnership is there between righteousness and rebellion? Who could mingle light with darkness? 15What harmony can there be between Christ and Satan? # 6:15 Or “Belial” (the worthless one), a term for Satan. Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What friendship does God’s temple # 6:16 The temple in Jerusalem was still standing when Paul wrote this. have with demons? # 6:16 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “idols.” For indeed, we are the temple of the living God, just as God has said:
I will make my home in them and walk among them.
I will be their God, and they will be my people. # 6:16 See Lev. 26:12; Jer. 32:38; Ezek. 37:27.
17For this reason,
“Come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord.
“Touch nothing that is unclean, and I will embrace you. # 6:17 Or “I will welcome you” (within). See Isa. 52:11; Ezek. 20:41.
18I will be a true Father to you, # 6:18 God himself will assume the role of caring for us and meeting our needs, giving himself eternally to us. See Ps. 103:18; Mal. 1:6.
and you will be my beloved sons and daughters,”
says the Lord Yahweh Almighty. # 6:18 As translated from the Aramaic. See 2 Sam. 7:14; Isa. 43:6. Paul is paraphrasing Old Testament texts, changing phrases and combining them to make his point. Jesus likewise often paraphrased Old Testament verses as he taught the people.