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2 Corinthians 6:11-18

11. O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.

11. Os nostrum apertum est ad vos, O Corinthii, cor nostrum dilatatum est.

12. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.

12. Non estis angusti in nobis, sed angusti estis in visceribus vestris. 600600     “En vos entrailles, ou, affections;” — “In your bowels, or, affections.”

13. Now, for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged. 601601     “Or ie requier de vous la pareille, comme de mes enfans, ou, Or pour nous recompenser de mesmes (ie parle comme ... mes enfans;)” — “But I require the like from you — as from my children, or, But for a recompense to us of the same, I speak as to my children.”

13. Eandem vero remunerationem, nem, ut a filiis, exigo: dilatamini et vos.

14. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

14. Ne ducatis iugum cum infidelibus: quæ enim participatio iustitæ cum iniquitate: quæ communicatio luci cum tenebris?

15. And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

15. Quis consensus Christo cum Belial: aut quo portio fideli cum infideli?

16. And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

16. Quautem conventio templo Dei cum idolis? vos enim estis templum Dei viventis: quemadmodum dicit Deus (Leviticus 26:12,) Habitabo in ipsis, et in medio eorum ambulabo: et ero Deus illorum, et erunt mihi populus.

17. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

17. Quamobrem exite de medio eorum et separamini, dicit Dominus (Ies. lii. 11,) et immundum ne tetigeritis:

18. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

18. Et ego suscipiam vos, et ero vobis in patrem, et eritis mihi in filios et filias, dicit Dominus omnipotens, (Jeremiah 31:9.)


11 Our mouth is opened. As the opening of the mouth is a sign of boldness, 602602     God promised to Ezekiel that he would give him “the opening of the mouth in the midst of the house of Israel,” (Ezekiel 29:21,) which is explained by Gill to mean, “boldness and courage of speech when he should see his prophecies fulfilled.” Paul himself makes use of a similar expression in Ephesians 6:19, “that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly.” — Ed. if you are inclined to connect this with what goes before, the meaning will be this, — “I have ample ground of glorying, and an upright conscience opens my mouth. Your entertaining unfavorable views of us, is not owing to any fault on our part, but arises from your being unfair judges. For you ought to have entertained more favorable views of my ministry, which God has rendered honorable to you in so many ways.” I explain it, however, otherwise; for he says that the reason why his mouth was opened was, that his heart was enlarged Now what is meant by enlargement of heart? Undoubtedly it means the cheerfulness that springs from benevolence. 603603     The same view, in substance, is taken by Chrysostom. — Καθάπερ γὰρ τὸ θερμαῗνον εὐρύνειν εἴωθεν, οὓτω καὶ τὢς ἀγάπης ἔργον τὸ πλατύνειν ἐστί· θερμν<& ga>ρ ἐστιν ἠ ἀρετὴ· καὶ ζέουσα αὕτη καὶ τὸ στόμα ἀνεπέτασε Παύλου καὶ τὴν καρδίαν ἐπλάτυνεν — “For as heat is wont to expand, so it is the part of love to enlarge. For virtue is warm and fervent. It was this that opened Paul’s mouth, and enlarged his heart.” — Ed. It is quite a common figure, to speak of a narrow and contracted heart as denoting either grief, or disgust, while, on the other hand, an enlarged heart is employed to denote dispositions of an opposite kind. Hence Paul here says nothing but what we every day experience, for when we have to do with friends, our heart is enlarged, all our feelings are laid open, there is nothing there that is hid, nothing shut, — nay more, the whole mind leaps and exults to unfold itself openly to view. 604604     “From a tender and considerate regard to the good of the Christians at Corinth, he” (Paul) “had determined not to revisit them, until their unseemly heats and factions were allayed. How was he affected while he waited at Ephesus to receive the tidings of this longed-for but protracted issue? ‘O ye Corinthians! our mouth is opened unto you; our heart is enlarged!’ What a picture of a heart! We see him standing on the shore of the ‘gean Sea, over against Corinth, with his arms extended towards that city, and in the attitude of speaking. We hear the words by which he seeks to relieve his overcharged breast, heaving and ready to burst with the fullness of those desires which he had long felt to come among them, satisfy them of the sincerity of his affection, and replenish their souls with the consolation with which he himself had been comforted. ‘O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open to you, our heart is enlarged! Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now, for a recompense in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.’” — M’Crie’s Sermons, p. 29. — Ed. Hence it is, that the tongue, also, is free and unfettered, does not faulter, does not with difficulty draw up from the bottom of the throat broken syllables, as usually happens when the mind is influenced by a less joyful affection.

12. Ye are not straitened in us That is, “It is owing to your own fault that you are not able to share in this feeling of cheerfulness, which I entertain towards you. My mouth is opened, so that I deal familiarly with you, my very heart would willingly pour itself forth, 605605     “Mon coeur mesme s’ouuriroit volontiers pour vous mettre deuant les yeux l’affection que i’ ay enuers vous;” — “My very heart would willingly open itself up, so as to place before your eyes the affection which I entertain towards you.” but you shut up your bowels.” He means to say, that it is owing to their corrupt judgment, that the things that he utters are not relished by them.

13. Now the same requital He softens his reproof by addressing them kindly as his sons, and also by this exhortation, by which he intimates that he still entertains good hopes of them. By the same requital he means — mutual duty, for there is a mutual return of duty between a father and his sons. For as it is the duty of parents to nourish their children, to instruct them, to direct them by their counsel, and to defend them, so it is the dictate of equity, that children should requite their parents. (1 Timothy 6:4.) In fine, he means what the Greeks call ἀντιπελαργίαν affection exercised in return. 606606     The term ἀντιπελαργία is compounded of αντι over against, and λαργος, a stork. It is employed to denote reciprocal affection, from an interesting peculiarity in the disposition of the stork. “This bird,” says Paxton, in his Illustrations of Scripture, (Edin. 1842,) volume 2, p. 432, “has long been celebrated for her amiable and pious dispositions, in which she has no rival among the feathered race. Her kind benevolent temper she discovers in feeding her parents in the time of incubation, when they have not leisure to seek their food, or when they have become old, and unable to provide for themselves.” The English word stork is derived from στοργὴ, affection, while the Hebrew name for this animal, חסידה, (chasidah,) is derived from חסד (chesed,) beneficence, because, says Bythner, “the stork nourishes, supports, and carries on its back, when weary, its aged parents.” See Calvin on the Psalms, vol. 4, p. 158, n. 2 Calvin, when commenting on 1Timothy 5:4, says, “Ips’ quoque ciconi’ gratitudinem suo exemplo nos docent. Unde et nomen ἀντιπελαργία;” — “The very storks, too, teach us gratitude by their example. Hence the term ἀντιπελαργία — affection in return.” — Ed. “I cherish,” says he, “towards you paternal affection: show yourselves then to be my sons by affection and respect in return.” At the same time there is a particular circumstance that must be noticed, That the Corinthians, having found so indulgent a father, may also show gentleness in their turn, and may requite his kind condescension by their docility, he exhorts them with this view to be enlarged in their own bowels. The Old Interpreter, not having caught Paul’s meaning, has added the participle having, and has thus expressed his own view rather than Paul’s. In our exposition, on the other hand, (which is Chrysostom’s, also,) there is nothing forced. 607607     The rendering of the Vulgate — “Eandem remunerationem habentes;” — “Having the same reward,” — is followed by. Wiclif, (1380,) ye that haw the same reward and also in the Rheims version, (1582,) hauing the same reward. — Ed.

14. Be not yoked As if regaining his authority, he now reproves them more freely, because they associated with unbelievers, as partakers with them in outward idolatry. For he has exhorted them to show themselves docile to him as to a father: he now, in accordance with the rights that belong to him, 608608     “Parlant comme en puissance et authorite de pere;” — “Speaking as with the power and authority of a father.” reproves the fault into which they had fallen. Now we mentioned in the former epistle 609609     See vol. 1, p. 282. what this fault was; for, as they imagined that there was nothing that was unlawful for them in outward things, they defiled themselves with wicked superstitions without any reserve. For in frequenting the banquets of unbelievers, they participated along with them in profane and impure rites, and while they sinned grievously, they nevertheless thought themselves innocent. On this account Paul inveighs here against outward idolatry, and exhorts Christians to stand aloof from it, and have no connection with it. He begins, however, with a general statement, with the view of coming down from that to a particular instance, for to be yoked with unbelievers means nothing less than to

have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,
(Ephesians 5:11,)

and to hold out the hand to them 610610     “Aux infideles;” — “To unbelievers.” in token of agreement.

Many are of opinion that he speaks of marriage, but the context clearly shows that they are mistaken. The word that Paul makes use of means — to be connected together in drawing the same yoke. It is a metaphor taken from oxen or horses, which require to walk at the same pace, and to act together in the same work, when fastened under one yoke. 611611     “Joachim Camerarius, in his Commentary on the New Testament, (Cambridge 1642,) suggests, that ἐτεροζυγοῦντες, may have a reference to a balance, and that Paul — would not have the Corinthians unequally balanced with unbelievers. The verb ζυγοστατειν, as he observes, is employed to denote the adjusting of scales in balance. It seems more natural, however, to understand the word, as Calvin and most other interpreters do, as derived from ἓτερος, (Another,) and ζυγὸς, as meaning a yoke, and as employed by Paul to mean, drawing on the other side of a yoke with another; or, as Beza explains it, “Qui cum sint divers’ conditionis, tamen in eodem opere mutuam operam pr’stant;” — “Those who, while in a different condition from each other, do nevertheless take their corresponding part in the same work.” — Ed. When, therefore, he prohibits us from having partnership with unbelievers in drawing the same yoke, he means simply this, that we should have no fellowship with them in their pollutions. For one sun shines upon us, we eat of the same bread, we breathe the same air, and we cannot altogether refrain from intercourse with them; but Paul speaks of the yoke of impiety, that is, of participation in works, in which Christians cannot lawfully have fellowship. On this principle marriage will also be prohibited, inasmuch as it is a snare, by which both men and women are entangled into an agreement with impiety; but what I mean is simply this, that Paul’s doctrine is of too general a nature to be restricted to marriage exclusively, for he is discoursing here as to the shunning of idolatry, on which account, also, we are prohibited from contracting marriages with the wicked.

For what fellowship He confirms his exhortation on the ground of its being an absurd, and, as it were, monstrous connecting together of things in themselves much at variance; for these things can no more coalesce than fire and water. In short it comes to this, that unless they would have everything thrown into confusion, they must refrain from the pollutions of the wicked. Hence, too, we infer, that even those that do not in their hearts approve of superstitions are, nevertheless, polluted by dissimulation if they do not openly and ingenuously stand aloof from them.

15. What concord has Christ with Belial? As to the etymology of the word Belial, even the Hebrews themselves are not agreed 612612     Beza, when mentioning the different views which have been taken of the etymology of the term Belial, remarks, that some derive it from בלי יעל beli jahal, (not profitable,) or from בלי מועיל beli mohil, (worthless,) and that the term, viewed as having this derivation, is peculiarly appropriate to Satan, as being diametrically opposed to Christ, the Greatest and Best; while Jerome derives it from בלי beli, (not) and עיל hol, (a yoke,) as though you should say — without a yoke, not subject to the yoke. Beza gives the preference to the former etymology, while he observes that the latter is also most appropriate to Satan as an apostate spirit. — The original term Belial is rendered in various instances in the Septuagint παράνομος, lawless. — There is here a slight variation in reading. The Edit. Princ. and the Textus Receptus have Βελίαλ. The Erasmian, Stephanic, and other early editions have Βελίαρ, which has been restored by Bengelius, Matthias, Griesbach, and Tittmann; and justly, for both external and internal evidence are in its favor; it being found in the majority of the MSS., in many early ecclesiastical writers, and Greek Fathers.” — Bloomfield. — Ed The meaning, however, is not doubtful. 613613     “Et assez notoire;” — “And is sufficiently well known.” For Moses takes a word or thought of Belial 614614     Thus in Deuteronomy 15:9, “Beware that there be not a thouqht in thy wicked heart.” The expression made use of is פך-יחיה דבר עם-לבבך בליעל “Lest there be in thine heart a thing of Belial.” The same expression occurs in Psalm 41:9, where David’s enemies represent him as suffering the punishment of detestable wickedness,דבר בליעל a thing of Belial.” — See Calvin on the Psalms, vol. 2, p. 120. — Ed. to mean a wicked and base thought, 615615     “Vne meschante et abominable parolle ou pensee;” — “A wicked and abominable word or thought.” and in various instances 616616     “Souvent en l’Escriture;” — “Frequently in Scripture.” those who are wicked and abandoned to iniquity, are called men, or sons of Belial. (Deuteronomy 13:13; Judges 19:22; 1 Samuel 2:12.) Hence it is, that Paul has employed the word here to mean the devil, the head of all wicked persons. For from what holds good as to the two heads, he comes down without delay to the members: “As there is an irreconcilable variance between Christ and Satan, so we also must keep aloof from partnership with the wicked.” When, however, Paul says that a Christian has no participation with an unbeliever, he does not mean as to food, clothing, estates, the sun, the air, as I have mentioned above, but as to those things that are peculiar to unbelievers, from which the Lord has separated us.

16. What agreement hath the temple of God with idols? Hitherto he has in general terms prohibited believers from associating with the wicked. He now lets them know what was the chief reason, why he had prohibited them from such an association — because they had ceased to reckon the profession of idolatry to be a sin. He had censured that liberty, and had exposed it at great length in the former Epistle. It is probable, however, that all had not yet been gained over, so as to receive the counsel which he had given. Hence it was that he complained of their being straitened in their own bowels — the only thing that hindered their proficiency. 617617     “Ce qui seul empeschoit que son enseignement ne proufitast enuers eux;” — “What alone hindered his teaching from being of advantage to them.” He does not, however, resume that subject anew, but contents himself with a short admonition, as we are accustomed to do, when we treat of things that are well known. At the same time his brevity does not prevent his giving sharp cuts. For how much emphasis there is in that single word, where he teaches that there is no agreement between the temple of God and idols! “It is a sacrilegious profanation, 618618     “C’est vn profanation horrible, et vn sacrilege detestable;” — “It is a horrible profanation, and a detestable sacrilege.” when an idol or any idolatrous service is introduced into the temple of God Now we are the true temples of God. Hence it is sacrilege to defile ourselves with any contamination of idols. This one consideration, I say, should be to you as good as a thousand. If you are a Christian, what have you to do with idols, (Hosea 14:8,) for you are the temple of God?” Paul, however, as I have already in part noticed, contends rather by way of exhortation than of doctrine, inasmuch as it would have been superfluous to be still treating of it, as if it were a thing doubtful or obscure.

As God saith, I will walk. He proves that we are the temples of God from this, that God of old promised to the people of Israel that he would dwell in the midst of them. In the first place, God cannot dwell among us, without dwelling in each one of us, for he promises this as a singular privilege — I will dwell in the midst of you Nor does this dwelling or presence consist merely in earthly blessings, but must be understood chiefly of spiritual grace. Hence it does not mean simply that God is near us, as though he were in the air, flying round about us, but it means rather that he has his abode in our hearts. If, then, any one objects, that the particle in simply means among, I grant it; but I affirm that, from the circumstance that God promises that he will dwell among us, we may infer that he also remains in us. 619619     “I will dwell in them. The words are very significant in the original, ἐνοικήσω ἐν αὐτοῖς, ‘I will indwell in them,’ so the words are. There are two ins in the original, as if God could have never enough communion with them.” — Leigh’s Annotatiots. — Ed. And such was the type of the ark, of which mention is made by Moses in that passage, from which Paul appears to have borrowed this quotation. (Leviticus 26:12.) If, however, any one thinks that Paul had rather in his eye Ezekiel 37:27, the argument will be the same. For the Prophet, when describing the restoration of the Church, mentions as the chief good, the presence of God, which he had himself in the beginning promised by Moses. Now what was prefigured by the ark, was manifested to us more fully in Christ, when he became to us Immanuel 620620     “C’est dire Dieu auce nous;” — “That is to say, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23.) On this account, I am of opinion that it is Ezekiel, rather than Moses, that is here quoted, because Ezekiel alludes at the same time to the type of the ark, and declares that it will have its fulfillment under the reign of Christ. Now the Apostle takes it for granted, that God dwells nowhere but in a sacred place. If we say of a man, “he dwells here,” that will not make the place a temple; but as to God there is this peculiarity, that whatever place he honors with his presence, he at the same time sanctifies.

17. Wherefore come out from the midst of them. This exhortation is taken from Isaiah 52:11, where the Prophet, when foretelling the deliverance, at length addresses the priests in these terms. For he makes use of a circumlocution to describe the priests, when he says, Ye that bear the vessels of the Lord, inasmuch as they had the charge of the vessels, by means of which the sacrifices, and other parts of divine worship, were performed. There can be no doubt that his design is to admonish them, that, while eagerly desirous to come forth, 621621     “Cependant qu’ils sont attendans auec ardent desir le iour de deliuerance;” — “While they are waiting with eager desire for the day of deliverance.” they should be on their guard against any contamination from the many pollutions with which the country 622622     “O — ils estoyent;” — “Where they were.” was overrun. Now this is no less applicable to us, than to the ancient Levites, for if so much purity is required on the part of the keepers of the vessels, how much more in the vessels themselves! 623623     Diodati, in his Annotations, explains the expression ye that bear the vessels of the Lord, (Isaiah 52:11,) to mean — “You sacred officers, to whom only it belongeth to carry the vessels and ornaments of the temple; and thereby are spiritually meant all believers, whereof every one beareth a vessel sacred to the Lord, viz., himself.” — Ed. Now all our members are vessels, set apart for the spiritual worship of God; we are also a royal priesthood. (1 Peter 2:9.) Hence, as we are redeemed by the grace of God, it is befitting that we keep ourselves undefiled in respect of all uncleanness, that we may not pollute the sanctuary of God. As, however, while remaining in this world, we are nevertheless redeemed, and rescued, from the pollutions of the world, so we are not to quit life with the view of departing from all uncleanness, but must simply avoid all participation. The sum is this. “If with a true affection of the heart, we aim at the benefit of redemption, we must beware of defiling ourselves by any contamination from its pollutions.”

18. I will be a Father unto you. This promise does not occur in one passage merely, but is repeated in various instances. Paul has added it with this view, that a recognition of the great honor to which God has exalted us, might be a motive to stir us up to a more ardent desire for holiness. For when God has restored his Church which he has gathered from profane nations, their redemption is attended with this fruit, that believers are seen to be his sons and daughters It is no common honor that we are reckoned among the sons of God: it belongs to us in our turn to take care, that we do not show ourselves to be degenerate children to him. For what injury we do to God, if while we call him father, we defile ourselves with abominations of idols! Hence, the thought of the high distinction to which he has elevated us, ought to whet our desire for holiness and purity.

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