SUMMARY.--An Exhortation to Believers.
The Blameless Ministry of Paul and His Fellow-Workers.
Their Endurance of Trials.
Their Unselfish Self-Denial.
An Appeal for Greater Love.
The Intimate Association With Unbelievers Forbidden.
Saints the Temple of God.
1-3. We then. Paul and Timothy especially
and other ministers associated with them.
As workers together. Not only fellow-laborers, but workers with
conclusion of last chapter.
That you receive not the grace of God in vain. The grace (favor)
of God meant is the gospel, the ministry of reconciliation.
To receive it in vain would be to receive it and then fall away.
1 Cor. 15:2.
2. For he saith.Isaiah 44:8.
The prophecy is an offer
of salvation to the Gentiles, to whom the Corinthians belonged. The
point is that God has offered the salvation, but that
now is the accepted time, and it is not safe to neglect it.
3. Giving no offence in any thing. The participle "giving"
refers to "we"
Paul describes the manner of life of himself and fellow ministers. They
were careful that the
ministry be not blamed. It matters not what be the talents of a
minister, if there be no confidence in his purity of life his influence
will be neutralized. Every one should be anxious that his life hinder
not the gospel.
4-10. In all things approving ourselves as ministers of God.
Living lives that show that we are holy ministers, consecrated to God.
Paul next gives some details of the apostolic life.
In much patience. Rather, in steadfast constancy and endurance,
holding out under trials. Some of these trials are now given.
Afflictions. The first three details are general.
5. In stripes. See
In imprisonments. He was imprisoned at Philippi,
In tumults. See
16:22; 19:29; 21:30.
6.Verses 4 and 5
show what Paul suffered at the hands of men. He now tells his manner of
life under such persecution.
In pureness. Living a holy life. Chaste.
By knowledge. His knowledge goes hand in hand with purity of
By the Holy Spirit. Showing forth its influence and power.
7. By the word of truth. By preaching the gospel with power.
By the power of God. Shown in his great activity and unparalleled
By the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.
the left hand was the shield; in the right, the sword. Protected by the
shield of faith,
Paul used the sword of the Spirit.
8. By honor and dishonor. A series of contrasted situations,
nine in number, are now given. Sometimes "honored," sometimes treated
as an outcast; sometimes well spoken of, sometimes slandered.
As deceivers, and yet true. Sometimes represented as artful
impostors, yet true in life, word and deed.
9. As unknown, and yet well known. Obscure in the great,
indifferent world, but well known in the church and to God.
As dying. Always exposed to death, and yet preserved, and having
Chastened, and not killed. See
Though many a blow fell upon him, his life was spared.
10. As sorrowful. His suffering caused him grief, yet he
rejoiced in hope.
Poor. Without worldly wealth, but carrying the riches of Christ
Possessing all things. Compare
1 Cor. 3:21.
11-13. Our mouth is open to you. I speak freely to you, my
Our heart is enlarged. Filled with affection for you.
12. Ye are not straitened in us. Our heart is large enough to
embrace you all. It is you who are straitened; your hearts are confined
so that you do not give me free admission. After the noble portraiture
of what he suffered for them, he proceeds to affectionate entreaty.
13. Now for a recompense. In return for his openness and tender
affection, let there be a reciprocation of his love for them. He speaks
as their spiritual father in paternal tenderness.
14-18. Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers. The figure is
drawn from the prohibition of
Deut. 22:10 and Lev. 19:19.
The meaning is that Christians are not to pair off with unbelievers.
All intimate associations are forbidden. The primary reference is to
intermarriage and to association in heathen festivals. All close
fellowship with unbelievers is included. Saints should choose Christian
alliances and associations.
15. What concord hath Christ with Belial? Belial, a heathen god
like Beelzebub, is used as a synonym for Satan.
As Christ has nothing in common with Satan, how can a believer in him
have a close intimacy with one who is still under the dominion of the
prince of this world?
16. What agreement hath the temple of God with idols? As God's
temple has nothing in common with the idol temple, so the saints are to
be separated from idolators.
For ye are the temple of the living God. The Christian is
himself the sanctuary of the Lord, as is proved by the passage quoted
God dwells in his people as the Shekinah dwelt between the cherubim.
17. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, etc.
A call to Israel to cleanse itself from pagan pollutions.
18. And I 
will be a Father unto you. Quoted from
Jer. 31:1, 9; Isa. 43:6,
and other passages. It is a free combination of the spirit of several
passages. The two passages teach that it is the Divine will that his
worshipers should be separate from the world; that if they are thus
separate he will receive them, and will accept them as his own
Rom. 12:2, and James 1:27.
MARRIAGES.--"The unequal yoking" covers the question of
marriage between Christians and irreligious persons. The whole spirit
of the Bible is against the practice. Marriages of the "sons of God"
with the "daughters of men" caused the sins which brought on the Flood
Alien marriages were forbidden to Israel
(Exod. 34:16; Deut. 7:3, 4);
this was the pit into which Samson fell
to this cause was due the fall of Solomon
(1 Kings 11:1-10);
Ezra made the Jews put away alien wives
and in the discussion of the subject in
1 Corinthians, chapter 7,
the whole implication is that intermarriage with unbelievers was out of
the question. The widow is only allowed to marry a Christian
(1 Cor. 7:39).