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Chapter 6

6:1 Working together with him [sunergountes]. We are co-workers, partners with God (1Co 3:9), in this work of grace. In vain [eis kenon]. Into emptiness. The plan of God, the work of Christ on the Cross, the pleas of the ambassador may all be nullified by the recipient of the message.

6:2 Behold, now is the acceptable time [idou nun kairos euprosdektos]. Here is another “Pauline parenthesis” (Plummer) as in 5:7 by the quotation from Isa 49:8. The LXX has [dektos] [dektoi] verbal of [dechomai], but Paul employs the double compound [eu, pros, dektos], well-received. It occurs in Aristophanes, Plutarch, inscription, etc.

6:3 Giving no occasion of stumbling in any thing [mēdemian en mēdeni didontes proskopēn]. [Proskopē], late word (Polybius, LXX), from [proskoptō], to strike against, to stumble. Only here in N.T. Note double negative in the Greek. That the ministry be not blamed [hina mē mōmēthēi hē diakonia]. Negative purpose [hina mē]. First aorist passive subjunctive of old verb [mōmaomai] from [mōmos], blot, blemish. One can read with profit J. A. Hutton’s Warrack Lectures, That the Ministry Be Not Blamed.

6:4 But in everything commending ourselves [all’ en panti sunistanontes heautous]. Paul gives a marvellous summary of his argument about the dignity and glory of ministers of Christ as ministers of God [hōs theou diakonoi] under three aspects, the first with in [en] verses 3-7a, the second with by [dia] verses 7b, 8, the third with as [hōs] verses 9-10. The negative view with [en] we have in verse 3, then the positive in verses 4-7a. Each word carries a story that can be filled in from Paul’s own life as a preacher with an echo in that of us all. In distresses [en stenochōriais]. In tight places (12:10). Late word from [stenochōreō] (see on 4:8).

6:5 In stripes [en plēgais]. In blows, wounds (Lu 10:30; 12:48; Ac 16:23,33). Our plague. In tumults [en akatastasiais]. See on 1Co 14:33). Instabilities, often from politics. In watchings [en agrupniais]. In sleeplessnesses, instances of insomnia. Old word, in N.T. only here and 11:27. Paul knew all about this.

6:6 In love unfeigned [en agapēi anupokritōi]. Late and rare word [a] privative and [hupokritos], from [hupokrinomai] This is the only love that is worth while (Ro 12:9).

6:7 On the right hand and on the left [tōn dexiōn kai aristerōn]. Offensive weapons [hoplōn] on the right, defensive on the left. See 1Th 5:8; Eph 6:11 for Paul’s description of the panoply of God and Ro 6:13 for the phrase “weapons of righteousness,” the only kind that will stand the strain. See also Book of Wisdom 5:18ff.

6:8 By glory and dishonour [dia doxēs kai atimias]. Here [dia] is no longer instrument, but state or condition. [Doxa] here is glory. See Ro 9:21; 2Ti 2:20 for contrast between honour and dishonour [timē, atimia]. By evil report and good report [dia dusphēmias kai euphēmias]. Play on the words with prefixes [dus-] and [eu-] and [phēmē]. [Dusphēmia] is a late word, only here in N.T. [Euphēmia], old and common word, only here in N.T. As deceivers and yet true [hōs planoi kai alētheis]. Paul takes up [hōs] now in place of [dia] which succeeded [en]. Note use of [kai] in sense of “and yet” (adversative). [Planos] is late word (Diodorus, Josephus) for wandering, vagabond, impostor (cf. [planaō], to lead astray, used of Christ, Joh 7:12). In N.T. only here; Mt 27:63 (of Christ by Pharisees); 2Jo 1:7. “In the Clementines St. Paul is expressly described by his adversaries as [planos] and as disseminating deceit [planēn]” (Bernard). Such slander from one’s enemies is praise.

6:9 As unknown and yet well known [hōs agnooumenoi kai epiginoskomenoi]. “As ignored (as nonentities, obscure, without proper credentials 3:2) and yet fully recognized (by all who really matter as in 11:6).” And behold, we live [kai idou zōmen]. Cf. the hazards of his life (1:8; 4:10; 11:23). His whole career is full of paradox).

6:10 Always rejoicing [aei chairontes]. Even in sorrow (11:9; 1Th 5:16; Ro 5:3-5; 9:2; Php 2:18,27; 3:1; 4:4,15). Yet making many rich [pollous de ploutizontes]. Old word from [ploutos] (wealth), to enrich. Spiritual riches Paul has in mind as in 1Co 1:5 (cf. Mt 5:37). As having nothing and yet possessing all things [hōs mēden echontes kai panta katechontes]. Contrast between [mēden] (nothing) and [panta] (all things, cf. 1Co 3:22) and [echō] (to have) and [katechō] (to hold down, to hold fast). Play on words (simple and compound) as in 3:2; 4:8. Climax of Paul’s panegyric on the Christian ministry. He now resumes the thread of the story broken off in 2:14.

6:11 Our mouth is open unto you [to stoma hēmōn aneōigen pros humas]. Second perfect active indicative of [anoigō] and intransitive, stand open. He has kept back nothing in his portrayal of the glory of the ministry as the picture of the open mouth shows. Our heart is enlarged [hē kardia hēmōn peplatuntai]. Perfect passive indicative of old verb [platunō], to broaden, from [platus], broad. In N T. only here and Mt 23:5 (cf. phylacteries). Hence his freedom of speech for “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Mt 12:34).

6:12 Ye are not straitened in us [ou stenochōreisthe en hēmin]. The same figure as in verse 11. See on 4:8 for [stenochōreō]. There is no restraint in me (my heart). My adversaries may have caused some of you to tighten up your affections [splagchna] for affection as in Jas 5:11; 1Pe 3:8).

6:13 Now for a recompense in like kind [tēn de autēn antimisthian]. No example of this expressive word outside of this passage and Ro 1:27 and later Christian writers. Paul may have found it in use in the Koinē vernacular or he may have coined it from [antimisthos], remunerating (paying back). There is no verb here to explain the accusative which may be the accusative of general reference or the object of a verb not expressed. Be ye also enlarged [platunthēte kai humeis]. As I have been (verse 11). First aorist passive imperative of [platunō].

6:14 Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers [mē ginesthe heterozugountes apistois]. No other example of this verb has yet been found, though the adjective from which it is apparently formed, [heterozugos] (yoked with a different yoke) occurs in Le 19:19 of the union of beasts of different kinds. In De 22:10 we read: “Thou shalt not plough with an ox and an ass together.” Literally, “Stop becoming [mē ginesthe] present imperative, not [mē genēsthe] aorist subj.) unequally yoked with unconverted heathen (unbelievers).” Some were already guilty. Marriage is certainly included, but other unions may be in mind. Cf. Eph 5:7. Paul gives as the reason [gar] for this prohibition five words in questions to distinguish the contrasts. Fellowship [metochē]. Sharing with and followed by associative instrumental case of [dikaiosunēi] (righteousness) and iniquity [anomiāi]. A pertinent challenge today when church members wink at violations of laws of the land and laws of God. Communion [koinōnia]. Partnership to light [phōti] dative case) with [pros], facing darkness.

6:15 Concord [sumphōnēsis]. Symphony. Late word from [sumphōneō], only here and ecclesiastical writers, though [sumphōnēma] in the papyri. Belial [Belial]. Transliteration of Hebrew word for worthlessness and applied to Satan (Book of Jubilees 1.20) as here. Paul graphically sums up the contrast between Christ and Belial (Satan), the heads of the contending forces of good and evil. Portion [meris]. The fourth of the words. Here by “unbeliever” [apistou] Paul means “disbeliever,” not just an unconverted man who yet approves Christ.

6:16 Agreement [sunkatathesis]. Fifth of these words. Late word, but common, though here only in N.T. Approved by putting together the votes. In the papyri [ek sunkatatheseōs] means “by agreement.” On the temple of God and idols see 1Co 10:14-22. See Lu 23:51 for the verb [sunkatatithēmi]. For we are the temple of the living God [hēmeis gar naos theou esmen zōntos]. We, not temples (Ac 7:48; 17:24; 1Co 3:16; 6:19). As God said [kathōs eipen ho theos]. A paraphrase and catena of quotations, what J. Rendel Harris calls Testimonia (from Le 26:11f.; Isa 52:11; Eze 20:34; 37:27; 2Sa 7:8, 14). Plummer notes that at the beginning “I will dwell in them” [enoikēsō en autois] is not in any of them. “As God said” points to Le 26:12; Eze 37:27.

6:17 Saith the Lord [legei Kurios]. Isa 52:5; Eze 20:33. Cf. Re 18:4. Unclean thing [akathartou]. Or unclean person. Genitive case is the same for both.

6:18 Saith the Lord Almighty [legei Kurios pantokratōr]. 2Sa 7:8. This use of [eis] is a Hebraism for Hebrew le instead of predicate nominative. [Pantokratōr] [pās, krateō], Ruler of all) is common in the LXX. Occurs also in the inscriptions and papyri. In the N.T. only here and in Revelation.

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