2 Corinthians Chapter Six
I. Content of the Chapter
The Minister Who Beseeches Man to Be Reconciled to God
A. Plead with men to catch the acceptable time (v.1-2);
B. Commend oneself as a minister of God (v.3-13):
1. Everything is for the purpose of fulfilling
the ministry of reconciliation (v.3
2. In suffering the tribulations ---- from patience to tumults (v.4b
3. In morality ---- from labors to kindness
4. In the armor of war ---- from the Holy Spirit to the armor of righteousness (v.6b-7);
5. In actions that are seemingly paradoxical (v.8-10);
6. The is wide open heart (v.11-13);
C. Teachings relevant to reconciliation to God (v.14-18):
1. That is of God should not be mixed with that
is of the devil (v.14
2. God only accepts that which has been separated unto Him (v.16b-18).
II. Verse by Verse Commentary
2Cor. 6:1 “We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.”
YLT: “And working together also we call upon that ye receive not in vain the grace of God --”
Meaning of Words: “workers together with Him”: be a fellow-worker, cooperate, help (work) with; “in vain”: empty;
Literal Meaning: “we then, as workers together with Him”, not only Paul has been entrusted by God to fulfill the ministry of reconciliation (see 5:18-20) but also is he the fellow-worker of God (1Cor. 3:9).
“Also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain”, the grace of God is not some irrelevant enjoyment outside of Him but the personal experience that He Himself is our full provision. Therefore, His grace always brings us back to Himself. “Not to receive the grace of God in vain”, it means that we shall neither depart from God Himself nor fall into a condition that is unacceptable by Him (see v.2, 17).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) He who works together with God can do nothing until God starts to work. It is not by gifts or power, but by living with God.
2) If God pleads with men, we will also plead with them. Once we have entered into the feeling of God, His desire will become our desire. This is to be workers together with Him.
3) Paul exhorts believers as a worker together with God. Therefore, his exhortation is also that of God, and we shall receive it in a humble spirit.
4) If Christians only live to himself, he has just received the grace of God in vain. All those who have really known the grace of God will commit themselves unto God willingly.
2Cor. 6:2 “For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
YLT: “for He saith, `In an acceptable time I did hear thee, and in a day of salvation I did help thee, lo, now a well-accepted time; lo, now, a day of salvation,' --”
Literal Meaning: “for He says”, the following words are quoted from the Book of Isaiah (Is.49:8)
“"In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you."” “Have heard”: to help immediately after hearing…; here, it prophesies that Jehovah shall send His “great servant” to release the captives so that they can return. This promise of God has been fulfilled in Christ.
“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” ---- Here, “accepted” means being reconciled to God (see 5:18-20); “salvation”: be delivered from sins and become the righteousness of God in Christ (see 5:21).
Here, the apostle Paul quotes the scriptures in the Old Testament to exhort believers in Corinth not to miss such grace (see Heb. 3:12-15), or give up the faith, or forsake the lifestyle of Christians to follow the customs of infidels, or receive another gospel (see 11:4) to sin against God in the acceptable time.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” The age we are in is just the age in which God accepts and saves men. The gracious door and loving way of God are open now, so we shall do our utmost to preach the gospel, lest no one can receive the salvation after this age.
2) “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” ---- It also indicates that today it is the age of grace and the provision of Christ’s grace should be the primary principle.
3) “Time” and “day” show that there is a timely period of receiving the grace. The opportunity is fleeting. We have only “now” and “today”, for yesterday has already passed away and tomorrow is not in our hands.
4) One shall not think the day of salvation is past, and yet now it is. God stills waits for men to draw near Him. We believers shall catch the opportunities to draw near God and plead with men to be reconciled to God.
2Cor. 6:3 “We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.”
YLT: “in nothing giving any cause of offence, that the ministration may be not blamed,”
Meaning of Words: “offense”: cause of stumbling; “blame”: censure, discredit, crap at;
Literal Meaning: “we give no offense in anything”, “give no offense”: do not give any stumbling to men;
“That our ministry may not be blamed”, “ministry” refers to the ministry of reconciliation (see 5:18), namely, the ministry of the New Testament (see 3:8-9; 4:1). “Be blamed”: be picked fault;
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The condition that is not amenable to reason should be avoided or in any case so as not to hinder men from believing the Lord or leave anything that may easily cause attack or slander.
2) Those who serve God should not only be faithful in works but also take heed of their own testimonies in life. If one desires to obtain remarkable effect in his ministration, he should not have any breach in his life. If he has, he may bring loss to the Lord’s works.
3) He who serves the Lord should not have any leak in his life. It is more important than his academic degree or knowledge. If he becomes a snare to others in life, he will also be blamed by others in service.
2Cor. 6:4 “But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses,”
YLT: “but in everything recommending ourselves as God's ministrants; in much patience, in tribulations, in necessities, in distresses,”
Meaning of Words: “all things”: everything; “commend”: approve, stand near, exhibit; “minister”: attendant, deacon, servant; “much”: altogether, abundant, plenteous; “patience”: cheerful endurance, constancy; “distresses”: calamity, narrowness of room, anguish;
Literal Meaning: “but in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God”, “all things”: various environments and conditions that we are faced with; “ministers of God”: workers or servants of God; “commend ourselves as ministers of God”: to show that they are worthy of the servants of God.
The servants of God in every situation can not only endure and deal with the bad condition but also fulfill the ministry that God entrusts to them by seizing the opportunities in every condition.
“In much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses”, “much patience”: it lays particular stress on the response to man’s oppression; patience shows man’s strength and capacity toward pressure. Though he is often oppressed or persecuted by others, he has strength to endure it without being defeated.
“Tribulations”: it especially refers to the practical difficulty brought by the environment; the true servants of God can not only experience tribulations without losing heart (see 4:8) but also have strength to comfort others (see 1:6).
“Needs”: it puts emphasis on the shortage in materials; though the workers of God may be too impoverished to keep alive, they can still trust in God;
“Distresses”: be in a dilemma, just like the beast snared in the trap. Though the workers of God seem to have no way around, God is their way.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The true “minister of God” will “manifest” the testimony of Christ “in every thing”; “in much patience…until verse ten”, which sum up to twenty-eight aspects. These are true marks of God’s servants as well as God’s requests to them. Therefore, we can measure our spiritual conditions.
2) Whether we are God’s servants is not depended on our experience or eloquence, but our testimony in life. In fact, the servants of God themselves are a testimony.
3) The witness borne by others to us may not be true, and the witness that we ourselves bear orally may also be false. However, our responses, actions and attitudes in various situations have vividly manifested our real conditions.
4) Difficulties can more commend one is the servant of God. The minister of God should work together with God through life (not through gifts). Only the life that has undergone the cross and become as perfect and mature as the Lord can make man more than conquer when dealing with various conditions.
5) A minister of God should experience strict training in his body, soul and spirit so then the particular quality of life of God’s servant will be manifested. If the stature and fullness of the cross of Christ cannot be seen from the life reality of God’s servants, they cannot be called God’s servants.
6) The ministers of God cannot be distracted by things irrelevant to them. Though much pressure is upon them, their hearts toward God are immutable.
7) The way of the servants of God is the manifestation of the cross. They do not escape difficulties and yet manifest the Lord’s life and disposition in difficulties.
8) All endurance is the proof of the apostle (see 12:12). If the workers of the Lord cannot overcome slight oppression or persecution at all, they have to pray to the Lord for sufficient grace to receive endurance.
9) There may be often problems among brothers and sisters in the church. The solution is endurance. He who can endure can provide life.
10) Tribulations can produce endurance, and endurance can be manifested in tribulations. Both of them always appear simultaneously (see Rom. 5:3). Needs and distresses are blessings of God as well as the marks of God’s ministers’ life.
2Cor. 6:5 “in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings;”
YLT: “in stripes, in imprisonments, in insurrections, in labours, in watchings, in fastings,”
Meaning of Words: “fastings”: lack of food;
Literal Meaning: “stripes, imprisonments, tumults”, these three points, together with the above-mentioned four points, are in relation with tribulations. Those which are mentioned in the previous verse ---- “patience, tribulations, needs and distresses” ---- are general tribulations. And “stripes, imprisonments and tumults” in this verse are tribulations caused by others.
Paul is often “stripped” (see 11:23-24) but of no complaint and is often “imprisoned” but still sings praises unto God (see Acts 16:25) and suffers tumults and yet not fear (see Acts 19:30).
“In labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings”, these three points together with the first four points of the next verse relate to moral characters or perseverance; “labor”: the state of working unceasingly; “sleeplessness”: the state of having no sleep; “fasting”: the state of being hungry;
These three points are originally negative experience, but Paul changes them into virtues positively: 1) he had to work in order to make a living (see Acts 18:3), but he changed the labor into helping others; 2) (see 11:27); 3) (see 11:27);
Labors, sleeplessness, fastings are especially in relation to our body. A minister of God should buffet his body and leads it captive (see 1Cor. 9:27) so he can serve God freely with a ready body.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The outside tribulations often manifest our inner heart. When the apostles were beaten, they rejoiced, for they were counted worthy to be dishonored for the name (see Acts 5:40-41).
2) The life of the one who overcomes every difficulty by God must be quiet rich and meaningful.
3) Though bodily exercise is profitable for a little, it has its profit after all. If the bodies of the Lord’s workers are not strong enough, it will be difficult for them to deal with the various conditions in this verse. Therefore, physical exercise shall also not be ignored.
4) The ministers of God have incomparable perseverance that can make the terrible environment produce positive effect (see 1Cor. 4:12-13). It is not “resigning oneself to adversity”, but “overcoming evil with good” (see Rom. 12:21).
2Cor. 6:6 “by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love,”
YLT: “in pureness, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in love unfeigned,”
Meaning of Words: “purity”: cleanness, blamelessness, pureness; “longsuffering”: forbearance, patience; “sincere”: undissembled;
Literal Meaning: “by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness”, “purity” refers to the state of being not covetous; “knowledge”: the state of being not ignorant; “longsuffering”: the state of being patient; “pureness”: the state of being not harsh;
Purity relates to our conscience, and knowledge to our mind, and longsuffering to our will, and kindness to our emotion. Conscience, between the spirit and the soul, is a part of the function of the spirit, and is also in connection with man’s heart. And mind, will and emotion are three functions of soul. The soul of God’s workers should be renewed and transformed unto a degree that all of them will be functioned in the divine service.
“By the Holy Spirit, by sincere love”, the following five points relate to the armors of war. “The Holy Spirit”: the working of the Spirit of God (see 1Cor. 10:11), or the cooperation of man’s spirit that is regenerated; it is indeed that the works of God cannot be done without the Holy Spirit, and man’s service in spirit is also indispensable (see Rom. 1:9).
The first four points in this verse have relations with the exercise of the “soul” of God’s workers. And “the Holy Spirit” relates to the exercise of the “spirit” of God’s workers. The workers of God should be sanctified and live in holiness without blemishes so as to keep their spirits.
“Sincere love”, it refers to the true love (see 2John1; John see 1); there are two meanings: 1) let us not love with word, nor with tongue, but in deed and in truth (see 1John 3:18); 2) the true love of believers is “for the truth's sake” (see 2John 2). Those who do not keep the truth are unworthy of being loved.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The heart of God’s minister should be pure and clean ---- please God only;
2) All the valuable things can be fulfilled through longsuffering, e.g. children- bearing. He who does the planting work or fulfills the ministry of reconciliation needs more longsuffering.
3) The Lord must work with the true servants of God (see Mark 16:20). And the Lord often works with men in Spirit and touches men in Spirit so that men will turn to Him (see John 16:7-8).
4) The life of the ministers of God often makes their bodies painful and their souls afflicted, but their spirits are hallowed unto God. Thus, the spirit, soul and body are wholesome so as to perform their functions.
5) The life of the one who serves the Lord should not be mixed with any unrighteousness. It is not the impression of others on him or the apparent impression given to others, but the reality in life that counts.
6) Before pleading with men to be reconciled to God, the minister himself should be completely reconciled to God unto the union with God. The life and disposition fill in man so sufficiently that all his mind, emotion and will can perfectly manifest the greatness of God.
2Cor. 6:7 “by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,”
YLT: “in the word of truth, in the power of God, through the armour of the righteousness, on the right and on the left,”
Literal Meaning: “the word of truth”: the word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit (see Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12);
“The power of God”, the power of God is great and infinite, but can only enjoy and manifest God’s power in faith (see Rom. 1:16; Eph. 1:19).
“The armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left”, “armor”: the sharp weapon (see Eph. 6:13-17);
“On the right hand and on the left”, weapons on the right hand, such as sword, are offensive weapons; and weapons on the left hand are defensive ones.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) It is of rich significance that Paul mentions “the word of truth” and “the power of God” together. Man’s love may often too “excessive” or “too narrow”. Man may either keep the truth without love (see Eph. 4:15) or love without considering the truth, and both of them are wrong.
2) He who serves the Lord shall not only understand the truth but also be filled with the reality, thus he can proclaim the truth for God and manifest the reality (see 4:2).
3) Thought the power of God is indescribable, it can be manifested on those who believe Him. Man’s faith is a channel of God’s power. The measure of faith decides the capacity of God’s power that will be manifested.
4) The life of God’s ministers for the purpose of fulfilling their ministries is a kind of life filled with spiritual wars. In such spiritual wars, they need the armors of righteousness. That is to say, they take the righteousness of God as the sharp battle weapon (see Matt. 5:6, 10, 20; 6:30).
5) The righteousness of God’s workers manifested in life is the great armor in spiritual wars. Such righteousness can be used in both defending the enemy’s attack and attacking frontally.
2Cor. 6:8 “by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true;”
YLT: “through glory and dishonour, through evil report and good report, as leading astray, and true;”
Literal Meaning: “by honor and dishonor”, “honor”: be respected by men ---- it is from God and those who love God; “dishonor”: be hindered by men ---- it is from the devil and its followers;
“By evil report and good report”, “evil report”: be slandered by men ---- it is from the oppressors and persecutors (see Matt. 5:11); “good report”: be praised by men ---- it is from believers and those who receive the truth preached and taught by God’s servants.
“As deceivers, and yet true”, “as deceivers”: it seems to please or deceive men in speaking, especially in the sight of those who do not believe or those heretics; “and yet true”, it indicates that the motive is true ---- to profit all. Therefore, it is true in the sight of those who love God and love the truth.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The judgment of the world upon Christians is always opposite to that of the Lord. What we cherish is the Lord’s judgment, not that of the world.
2) Men’s opinions and judgments are often wrong. Therefore, men’s views upon us are not important, for what we should really care for is the “reality” of us.
3) The value of the ministers of the New Testament is especially manifested through the honor and dishonor given by those who praise or dispraise them around them. Therefore, the ministers of God need not care for the hostile slander of the opponents but shall take heed of their praise.
4) The conducts of God’s ministers are often beyond understanding. However, such doing is good work for the purpose of keeping the will of God, not bad work that is dark or shameful.
5) We shall bring all kinds of men to believe Christ by different means according to the characteristics of them. Sometimes, it seems to be deceitful in the sight of men in the world and yet it is of perfect sincere motive ---- for the profit of those who hear the gospel.
6) Sometimes, though the servants of God are apparently as wise as serpents, their hearts are as guileless as the doves ---- sincerely true.
2Cor. 6:9 “as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed;”
YLT: “as unknown, and recognized; as dying, and lo, we live; as chastened, and not put to death;”
Literal Meaning: “as unknown, and yet well known”, “as unknown”, it refers to the aspect of not showing off oneself; “and yet well known”, it relates to the aspect of testifying the truth of God.
“As dying, and behold we live”, “as dying”: be in danger of persecution or death (see 1:8-10; 4:11; 1Cor. 15:31); “and behold we live: experience the salvation of God and the risen life of the Lord (se 1:9-10; 4:10-11);
“As chastened, and yet not killed”, “as chastened”: it seems to be as chastened according to the superficial knowledge of the opponents; “and yet not killed”: still live under the sovereignty of God;
2Cor. 6:10 “as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”
YLT: “as sorrowful, and always rejoicing; as poor, and making many rich; as having nothing, and possessing all things.”
Literal Meaning: “as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing”, “as sorrowful”: the sorrow or grief because of entering into the feeling of God, including the sins or failure of one himself, the divisions or destitution in the church, the wickedness or corruption of the world, the blindness of men in the world ---- each one makes him sorrowful (see Matt. 5:4);
“Yet always rejoicing”: rejoice in the Lord (see Phil. 4:4).
“As poor, yet making many rich”, “as poor”: not abundant in material enjoyment; “yet making many rich”: be able to provide many people abundantly in spirit (see Eph. 3:8);
“As having nothing, and yet possessing all things”, “as having nothing”, it seems to be of vanity from the fleshly perspective (Eccl. 1:2); “and yet possessing all things”, and yet everything is preserved in the heavens from the spiritual perspective (see Matt. 6:20; 19:21; Col. 1:5; 1Pet. 1:4).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing”, sorrow and joy are opposite, and yet often appear and exist simultaneously in the experience of Christians. Even though the outside experience often makes us sorrowful, once we return to the spirit and touch the Lord, we will be filled with joy. Oh, what amazing experience that is beyond understanding to men of the world!
2) Though the life of God’s servants is full of difficulties and vexations in the sight of men, they have entered into the reality of life that rejoices in God. God is their aim, their strength, as well as their joy and rest.
3) Though the one who believes God is poor, he can still give in God at any time what he has to others so as to make them rich. Moreover, he also prays in faith to obtain the timely provision of God. Therefore, he seems to have nothing, and yet possesses all things.
4) The word “as” that appears for seven times from verse eight to ten in this chapter and the word “but” appearing four times from verse eight to nine in chapter four have shown the paradoxical condition in Christians as well as the paradox of Christ Himself. This is exactly the condition that God’s disposition and man’s humanity appear in turn. How amazing and how true!
5) The life of God’s servants can be called “the life that adapts to all”, for they live by God’s life “which is a life that adapts to all”.
2Cor. 6:11 “O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open.”
YLT: “Our mouth hath been open unto you, O Corinthians, our heart hath been enlarged!”
Literal Meaning: “we have spoken openly to you”, it means that one speaks frankly and sincerely ---- hold back nothing of what is profitable (see Acts 20:20, 27); speak every word that should be uttered without any reservation.
“Our heart is wide open”, it means that one’s heart is so broad and mind is so wide that he can reserve all believers and forgive their ignorance and infantility.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) If God’s servants desire to bring the believers who have gone astray to be reconciled to God, they need open mouth and wide heart. The open mouth declares the will of God and the wide heart tolerates all those who are of God.
2) The principle of Christians’ fellowship is that they have a wide heart toward one another. Men who have not gone against the truth and everyone or everything that has nothing to do with sins should be accepted in a wide heart. All those who serve the Lord should be able to tolerate and forgive others.
2Cor. 6:12 “You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.”
YLT: “ye are not straitened in us, and ye are straitened in your bowels,”
Meaning: “you are not restricted by us”, it indicates that
the restricted situation of believers in
“But you are restricted by your own affections”, it indicates that they are still infantile in spirit and still as fleshly as babes in Christ (see 1Cor. 3:1). Therefore, they are too restricted to bear others.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) He that is “restricted” may expel the one who is “magnanimous”. And yet he who is “wide” can accept the one who is “restricted” (v.11). It depends on the magnanimity of Christians.
2) Generally speaking, the natural mind of man is too narrow to bear the criticism, opposition or misunderstandings of others. No matter the dissatisfaction or hostility between one another, or the shortage of the spirit of fellowship, it is caused by the narrow mind.
3) He who desires to have a wide heart should be grown up and become mature in life. The infantile spirit must be manifested in the narrow heart.
2Cor. 6:13 “Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open.”
YLT: “and a recompense of the same kind, (as to children I say ,) be ye enlarged -- also ye!”
Literal Meaning: “now in return for the same, you also be open”, “for the same”, it refers to the example that Paul’s heart is wide toward them (see v.11); “in return”: recompense;
speak as to children”, it shows that: 1)
Paul thinks believers in
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) He who is reconciled to God must be reconciled to believers. And reconciliation among believers is treating one another with wide hearts.
2) We should treat others with a magnanimous heart so that in return for the same they will be also wide.
3) The servants of the Lord should have the spirit of the father. Man’s heart can be mostly easily gained in true love, for only the true love shed from one’s inner heart can touch others.
2Cor. 6:14 “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”
YLT: “Become not yoked with others -- unbelievers, for what partaking to righteousness and lawlessness?”
Meaning of Words: “be unequally yoked together with”: yoke up differently, associate discordantly; “lawlessness”: illegality, transgression; “felowship”: intercourse; “communion”: partnership, participation, share;
Literal Meaning: “do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers”, “unequally”: the different sorts can not be mixed up together. Believers and unbelievers are of different sorts ---- their life and disposition and positions before God are entirely different. “Not be unequally yoked together”, in the Old Testament, it is clearly declared that two different kinds of animals cannot be yoked together with each other (Deut. 22:10), for their different natures may produce disorder. It seems that God here especially teaches his people not to be yoked with the Gentiles together through this commandment.
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers”. ---- This is a general principle, according to which Paul lists the following five questions to explain it.
“For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?” “Righteousness”: it indicates that those who have believed the Lord are righteous ---- since they have known Christ the righteous (1John 2:1), they have become the righteousness of God in Him and thus stand in the side of righteousness. “Lawlessness”: it means that those who do not believe the Lord are unrighteous in the sight of God (see Rom. 1:18; 1Cor. 6:1). Believers and unbelievers have no partnership and share nothing.
“And what communion has light with darkness?” “Light”: it suggests that believers of the Lord are children of light (Eph. 5:8), who have the nature of light and the light of the world (Matt. 5:14). “Darkness”: it means that the unbelievers of the Lord (see John 1:5) do not love light but love darkness (John 3:19) and abide in darkness and walk in darkness (John 12:35, 36). Believers and unbelievers have no fellowship or intercourse.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Since there are fundamental differences in belief and life purpose of believers and unbelievers, they are definitely unable to be yoked together. If they are forced to be yoked together, there must be sorrow.
2) “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers”. It clearly tells us that it goes against the word of God if a Christian marries an unbeliever or has partnership with unbelievers in business. This is because the life in both of them is thoroughly different. If they insist on being jointed together, there must be difficulties later.
3) Believers should not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers in not only marriage or business but also in all the intimately cooperative relations.
4) It is the will of God that believers should not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. If we have really been reconciled to God, we shall not disobey His will to hurt Him.
5) Believers and unbelievers walk toward diverse directions ---- one is towards the heavens and the other is toward the world; the former desires spiritual blessings, and the other desires the riches of the world. How can such men that are of different camps go forward with one accord together?
6) Believers and unbelievers are different in opinions, thoughts, moral standard and judgment ---- they are different in all things. If they are unequally yoked together, the yoke will be broken or the believer will be harmfully affected by the unbeliever, for the unbeliever is harder to be affected by the believer.
7) The nature of the life of believers and unbelievers are entirely different, just like water and oil that cannot be mixed together. Today, the so-called “Oneness Movement” in the church has gone beyond the sphere of believers and has included unbelievers. It has disobeyed the teachings of the Scriptures and we believers should not echo it.
8) “For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?” Even though those who are quite morally good do not know what is righteousness. Believers should not profit at others' expense even in the smallest thing. The opinions on righteousness and lawlessness of believers and unbelievers are totally different. If they are yoked together, contradictions are unavoidable. Only when those who are righteous have become lawless, they can have fellowship with those who are of lawlessness.
9) “And what communion has light with darkness?” If a child of God who is deeply spiritual meets another carnal one, he will find it difficult to have fellowship with him, let alone a man of the world who totally lives in darkness and sees no light. A believer who has been shone by the light of God and has been thus revealed has no communion with those who still live in darkness in philosophy and outlooks on life.
10) “Disbelieve” is the tool of Satan’s work. “Lawlessness” is the nature of Satan’s work. And “darkness” is the result of Satan’s work. The purpose of Satan’s work is making men depart from God and leaving them in darkness.
11) Here, it does not mean that Christians can not be in touch with men in the world. And such common relations are not forbidden in the Scriptures (see 1Cor. 5:10; 1Tim. 3:7; 1Pet. 2:12). However, we shall make use of such relationship to bring them to the Lord (Col. 1:28) and let them be the disciples of the Lord (Matt. 28:19).
2Cor. 6:15 “And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?”
YLT: “and what fellowship to light with darkness? and what concord to Christ with Belial? or what part to a believer with an unbeliever?”
Meaning of Words: “Belial”: worthlessness, lawlessness (another name of Satan); “accord”: accordance, concord; “part”: portion, share, participation;
Literal Meaning: “and what accord has Christ with Belial?” “Belial”: it refers to the worthlessness or baseness of Satan. Satan is indeed base. There is no accord of Christ with Satan.
“Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?” Believers have no part with unbelievers.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) “And what accord has Christ with Belial?” We Christians are bought by great price ---- the blood of the Son of God, not by corruptible gold or silver. We shall keep firm the position of Christians. We have the manner of Christians. Men in the world are of Belial. They can do base and shameful many things to profit at others’ expense. However, we Christians are noble, and we are different.
2) “Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?” The former believes, and the latter disbelieves; the former knows God and latter does not; the former relies on God and the latter relies on himself. He who believes God says everything is in the hands of God and yet he who disbelieves says everything is in the hands of man himself. Different actions are on account of the different objects of faith.
2Cor. 6:16 “And what agreement has the
YLT: “and what agreement to the sanctuary of God with idols? for ye are a sanctuary of the living God, according as God said -- `I will dwell in them, and will walk among , and I will be their God, and they shall be My people,”
Meaning of Words: “agreement”: in company with, accord with;
Meaning: “and what agreement has the
“For you are the temple of the living God”. “You” refers to
believers as well as the church. On one hand, the body of believer is the
temple of the living God and the Spirit of God abides in the temple (1Cor.
3:16-17). And on the other hand, the church (all believers) is the
“As God has said”, the following words are comprehensively quoted from these places (Ex. 25:8; 29:45-46; Lev. 26:12; Ezek. 37:27-28).
“I will dwell in them And walk among them”. “Them” refer to the
people of God represented by the people of
“I will be their God, And they shall be My people."” Here, “God” and “My people” reveal that it speaks of the relationship in the kingdom, not in the house of God.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) “And what agreement has the
2) From verse fourteen to sixteen, it is
indicates that there is no compatibility of Christ with that is not of Christ.
God refuses all that is not of Himself (see Let. 19:19) so as to keep the only
noble position of His Son in the universe. Since the church is the “
3) Our God is a living God. The biggest difference of Him from the false god is that He does not stand high above the masses and is separated from those who are of Him. He dwells in and walks among those who are of Him so that we can touch Him, experience Him and enjoy Him personally.
4) Do not be deceived by the world. All those
who are of God should be isolated from those who “do not believe”, or
“unrighteous” or “idols”. Since we are the
2Cor. 6:17 “Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you."”
YLT: “wherefore, come ye forth out of the midst of them, and be separated, saith the Lord, and an unclean thing do not touch, and I -- I will receive you,”
Literal Meaning: “therefore”, the following words are quoted from the Book of Isaiah (52:11; Ezek. 20:34, 41).
“"Come out from among them And be separate, says the
Lord”. “Them” originally
refer to the Gentiles, here it refers to unbelievers; Here Paul especially
calls believers in
“Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you."” “What is unclean”: it is what has been listed above ---- things that are of unrighteousness, darkness, Belial and idols;
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The testimony of Christians is from the reality of “separation”. He that is separated from the world has testimony. Man who is anxious about losing the “chances” of bearing witnesses stoops to compromise and comes to heel before the world and deliberately weakens the separation with the world, thus losing the separation as well as the “power” of bearing witnesses.
2) We who have been saved are the “temple of the living God”. God will “dwell in” and “walk among” us (v.16). Therefore, we shall be separated from the Gentiles. In all our conducts, we shall not have any association with the Gentiles, but shall be sanctified and bear witness to God.
3) We cannot really turn unto God or be reconciled to God until when we have been separated from all those men or things that are not of God.
4) God cannot have fellowship with us if we have not been separated from the world. Many believers have such a failure of establishing the relationship with men and yet losing the fellowship with God.
5) Believers should be especially separated from the worker of the devil (see 2John 10-11). If we are not separated from them, we cannot be truly united with the Lord.
2Cor. 6:18 “"I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty."”
YLT: “and I will be to you for a Father, and ye -- ye shall be to Me for sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.'”
Literal Meaning: “"I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters”, here the words are quoted from these places (2Sam. 7:14; Hos. 1:10; Is. 43:6; Jer. 31:9).
“My sons and daughters”, here Paul does not use “the children of God”, for here it involves the problem of each believer, not of the whole believer. Believers in Christ are children of God without any difference between neither male nor female (Gal. 3:28).
Here, it indicates that if you have been separated from the world for the sake of God and thus suffer affliction and loss, you shall know God has accepted you and be you Father. If you are a brother, God has accepted you as His son. If you are sister, God has accepted you as His daughter. It is relationship in life that is deeper than that between God and the people of God (see v.16).
“Says the LORD Almighty."” “The LORD Almighty”, such word in the New Testament appears all in the Book of Revelation except for this place only. “Almighty” means in the original that a mother provides all the need of her babies by her breast or milk. Therefore, it is better to be translated as “All Sufficient”, which means that whatever you need, God is.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The people of God (see v.16) relates to divine service. And the children of God concerns life and right. Christians are not only the children of God but also the children of God.
2) Son expresses the strong aspect, and
daughter shows the intimate aspect. We are His sons warring for the
3) “Says the LORD Almighty.” When we have come out from the world and have been separated from the world, the Lord will accept us and let us have part in all His sufficiency and fullness.
4) All those who cherish their being accepted by the Lord are those who have been separated from the world. Many people have not got the excellency of the knowledge, for they count also all things to be loss. Once we have forsaken on one side, we will surely receive on the other side. Only when you have come out from the world, will you taste the sweet flavor of the Lord.
5) If we suffer loss for the sake of being seperated from the world, we need not to fear (see Gen. 15:1), for our God is a God who is all-mighty and all-sufficient and all-full. He will become our inheritance and blessing.
III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons
How to Manifest One is the Minister of God?
A. Seven aspects concerning tribulations:
1. Much patience (v.4);
3. Needs (v.4);
4. Distresses (v.4);
5. Stripes (v.5);
6. Imprisonments (v.5);
7. Tumults (v.5);
B. Seven aspects concerning morality:
1. Labors (v.5);
2. Sleeplessness (v.5);
3. Fastings (v.5);
4. Purity (v.6);
5. Knowledge (v.6);
6. Longsuffering (v.6);
7. Kindness (v.6);
C. Five armors concerning war:
1. The Holy Spirit (v.6);
2. The unfeigned love (v.6);
3. The word of truth (v.7);
4. The power of God (v.7);
5. The armor of righteousness (v.7);
D. Nine paradoxical aspects:
1. Honor and dishonor (v.8);
2. Evil report and good report (v.8);
3. As deceivers, and yet true (v.8);
4. As unknown, and yet well known (v.9);
5. As dying, and behold we live (v.9);
6. As chastened, and yet not killed (v.9);
7. As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing (v.10);
8. As poor, yet making many rich (v.10);
9. As having nothing, and yet possessing all things (v.10).
To Manifest that One is the Minister of God in Everything
A. In practical experience ---- in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses (v.4);
B. In environment ---- in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults (v.5);
C. In life ---- in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings (v.5);
D. In morality ---- by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness (v.6);
E. In manifestation ---- by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God (v.6-7);
F. In testimony ---- by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report (v.7-8);
G. The real testimony produced as a result (characteristics) ---- as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things (v.8-10);
The Conditions of Being a Minister of God ---- Long-suffering
A. In much patience ---- the great quality of long-suffering (v.4);
B. In the physical tribulations and mental pressure (v.4-5);
C. In over-laboring, lack of sleep and hunger (v.5);
D. In spiritual growth and conduct (v.6-7);
E. In carelessness of the reaction (v.8);
F. In the evil treatment and persecution of the world (v.9);
G. In satisfaction ---- always like this (v.10);
Paul’s Callings to Believers
A. The first calling ---- our heart shall be wide open (v.11-13);
B. The second calling ---- do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers (v.14-16);
C. The third calling ---- be separated from unbelievers (v.17-18);
D. The fourth calling ---- cleanse oneself and perfect holiness (v.7:1);
Do Not Be Unequally Yoked Together with Unbelievers
A. The general principle ---- do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers (v.14);
B. The first reason ---- righteousness has no fellowship with lawlessness (v.14);
C. The second reason ---- light has no communion with darkness (v.14);
D. The third reason ---- Christ has no accord with Belial (v.15);
E. The fourth reason ---- a believer has no part with an unbeliever (v.15);
F. The fifth reason ---- the
── Caleb Huang《Christian Digest Bible Commentary Series》
Translated by Mary Zhou