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2 Corinthians 6:1-7:1

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

UBS4 NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
The Ministry of Reconciliation Marks of the Ministry Further Defense
of His Ministry of Reconciliation
Friendship with God Through Christ The Apostolate in Action
(5:11-6:13)   (5:11-6:13) (5:11-6:13) (5:11-6:10)
5:11-6:10        
  6:1-10      
  Be Holy   6:3-10 A Warning
6:11-13 6:11-7:1 6:11-13 6:11-13 6:11-13
The Temple of the Living God   A Parenthesis on Relations with Unbelievers Warning Against Pagan Influences  
6:14-7:1   6:14-7:1 6:14-7:1 6:14-7:1

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT THE PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five modern translations. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one main subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. Verse 1 of this chapter is the crux to the interpretation of the entire chapter. The context involves the believers of the church at Corinth and, therefore, does not involve apostasy (see Special Topic at I Cor. 6:9), but failure to live the Christian life effectively.

 

B. Beginning in verse 4 there is a series of prepositions.

1. en with the dative, eighteen times, vv. 4-7

2. dia with the genitive, three times, vv. 7-8

3. hōs with present participles, seven times, vv. 9-10

These seem to involve a description of Paul's ministry as far as the problems and the pressures, both internal and external, as well as the commensurate grace of God.

C. The concluding paradoxes of vv. 8-10 seem to describe Paul's life, both from the critics' point of view and from God's point of view.

 

D. The section 6:14-7:1 seems to be out of context. Verse 7:2 picks up the terminology and discussion of 6:13. This section is very Jewish in nature. It is a warning against identifying oneself too closely with pagan culture. The warnings are from an OT setting (i.e., Jews vs. Gentiles or people of God vs. idolaters). However, Paul is using it in a similar way to I Cor. 10:14-33, where he discusses Christian participation in pagan worship.

This paragraph's seeming disjunction has caused theories of 2 Corinthians being a composite letter from several letters of Paul's sent to Corinth.

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 6:1-10
  1And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain-2for He says, "At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you." Behold, now is "the acceptable time," behold, now is "the day of salvation"-3giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, 4but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, 5in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, 6in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, 7in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, 8by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; 9as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, 10as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.

6:1 "working together with Him" This is a present active participle. There is no stated object, but the context implies "with God" (cf. 5:20; I Cor. 3:9). Paul uses this same term to describe his co-workers in the gospel (cf. 1:24; 8:23; I Cor. 16:16; Rom. 16:3,9,21), but here the context strongly implies God. What an awesome thought that believers are co-laborers for God (cf. I Cor. 3:5-9).

"we also urge you" Paul used the same verb in 5:20. See full note at 1:4-11.

"not to receive the grace of God in vain" The infinitive is aorist, which refers to the Corinthian believers receiving Christ. But the "in vain" refers to the purpose of salvation, which is fruitfulness for the Kingdom, not just personal salvation. Paul often used this term to express this expected Kingdom service (cf. I Cor. 15:10,14,58; Gal. 2:2; Phil. 2:16; II Thess. 2:1; 3:5). This concept is parallel to Paul's use of "walk" in Ephesians (cf. 4:1,17; 5:2,15).

6:2 "He says" Paul is quoting an OT passage relating to Israel, but by the use of this present active indicative (i.e., says), he shows that the promise is relevant to all times and all peoples. Paul uses this quote as a direct appeal from God to the Corinthian church. Scripture is current and relevant!

▣ "'at the acceptable time'" This is a quote from the Septuagint of Isa. 49:8 (i.e., one of the Servant poem/songs), which deals with God welcoming and equipping (1) the Messiah and (2) a Messianic community. There is often a tension in Isaiah 40-53 between corporate (i.e., national Israel) and the ideal Israelite King (i.e., Messiah).

▣ "'the acceptable time. . .the acceptable time'" The first is a quote from the Septuagint of Isa. 49:8, using dektos, but Paul uses a more intensified form (i.e., eurosdektos, cf. Rom. 15:16) when he applies this prophecy to the Corinthian situation (cf. v. 2b). The Messiah has come and now the invitation to be fully accepted by God has come to them. They must seize the moment. They must be the eschatological Messianic community.

The day of one's salvation is a wondrous, marvelous event, but it is often accompanied by persecution and difficulties (cf. 6:4-10).

NASB, NKJV"Behold"
NRSV"see"
TEV"Listen"
NJB"well"

This is the Greek particle idou, which serves to call attention to a truth statement. Paul used it often in 2 Corinthians (cf. 5:17; 6:2,9; 7:11; 12:14).

▣ "now is 'the day of salvation'" This last sentence in v. 2 is Paul's comment on the quote from Isaiah. This can refer to both an individual's invitation to respond to the gospel, as well as to the life of service to the Messianic kingdom.

6:3 "giving no cause for offense in anything" This is a strong double negative in Greek. Paul was determined, both in his personal life and ministry, not to put any barriers between himself and the hearers of the gospel (cf. I Cor. 9:19-23). He is using his life to accomplish two things: (1) giving them a model to follow in their ministry and (2) counteracting the charges of the false teachers (cf. 11:12).

The only "stumbling block" was Christ Himself (cf. I Cor. 1:18-25). The gospel was rejected by

1. the Jews because of a suffering Messiah

2. the Gentiles because of a body resurrection

3. the Corinthian false teachers because of Paul's lack of rhetorical presentation

Because of Satan's blinding (cf. 4:4) and the tension of the gospel message itself, Paul did not want to do anything to cause people to reject his preaching (cf. I Cor. 9:19-23,24-27).

NASB"so that the ministry will not be discredited"
NKJV"that our ministry may not be blamed"
NRSV"so that no fault may be found with our ministry"
TEV"We do not want anyone to find fault with our work"
NJB"so that no blame may attach to our work of service"

The term "our" (cf. NKJV, NRSV, TEV, NJB) is not in the Greek text, which simply has the definite article, "the ministry." This verse is related theologically to I Tim. 3:2-10, which asserts that ministers must have no handle for criticism. Believers live and serve for the advancement of the Messianic Kingdom, not personal aggrandizement or personal agendas (cf. I Cor. 9:12). See SPECIAL TOPIC: SERVANT LEADERSHIP at I Cor. 4:1.

6:4-7 This is a series of terms introduced by the Greek preposition en. It is repeated eighteen times for emphasis. There are several lists in Paul's writings of the problems that he faced (cf. I Cor. 4:9-13; II Cor. 7:5; 11:23-29). He mentions them to motivate the faithful and depreciate the false teachers' claims. See Special Topic: NT Vices and Virtues at I Cor. 5:9.

GREEK PHRASES WITH EN

  NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
v. 4, hupomonē much endurance much patience great endurance patient enduring resolute perseverance
v. 4, thliphis afflictions tribulations afflictions troubles hardships
v. 4, anagkē hardships needs hardships hardships difficulties
v. 4, stenochōria distresses distresses calamities difficulties distress
v. 5, plēgē beatings stripes beating beaten flogged
v. 5, phulakē imprisonments imprisonments imprisonments jailed sent to prison
v. 5, akatastasia tumults tumults riots mobbed mobbed
v. 5, kopos labors labors labors overwhelmed laboring
v. 5, agrupnia sleeplessness sleeplessness sleepless nights without sleep sleepless
v. 5, nēsteia hunger fastings hunger without food starving
v. 6, hagnotēs purity purity purity purity purity
v. 6, gnōsis knowledge knowledge knowledge knowledge knowledge
v. 6, makrothumia patience long suffering patience patience patience
v. 6, chrēstotēs kindness kindness kindness kindness kindness
v. 6, pneumati hagiō Holy Spirit Holy Spirit holiness of spirit Holy Spirit Holy Spirit
v. 6, agatiē anuplkritō genuine love sincere love genuine love true love love free of affectation
v. 7, logō aletheias the word of truth the word of truth truthful speech message of truth the word of truth
v. 7, dunamei theou the power of God the power of God the power of God the power of God the power of God

6:4 "but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God" This is the issue. This is the referent of the phrase "in vain" of v. 1. Paul affirms the priority of Kingdom service. All believers are gifted (cf. I Cor. 12:7,11) ministers (cf. Eph. 4:12). The gospel has both an individual focus (i.e., personal salvation) and a corporate focus (i.e., gospel proclamation and gospel service, cf. I Cor. 12:7). See Special Topic: Servant Leadership at I Cor. 4:1.

6:6 "in purity" This refers to either (1) the root meaning of this term, singleness of purpose or (2) Paul's moral, ethical lifestyle.

▣ "in patience" This term is often used to refer to patience with people, however, it is also used in the NT to refer to God's character (cf. Rom. 2:4; 9:22; II Pet. 3:9,15).

▣ "in kindness" This term is often translated "a sweetness of spirit." It is the attitude that one would rather be hurt than to hurt others, rather make others feel welcome than to feel welcome themselves.

▣ "in the Holy Spirit" The New English Bible translates this as "gifts of the Holy Spirit." The Jerome Biblical Commentary has "in a holy spirit" (p. 282). The reason that they change the translation is that it is unusual for Paul to mention the person of the Holy Spirit in the midst of a series of descriptive words. I agree that it is referring to Paul's personal spirit of holiness produced by the Holy Spirit, however, one cannot be dogmatic of this because of Rom. 9:1; 14:17; 15:16; I Cor. 12:3; I Thess. 1:5.

▣ "in genuine love" This same phrase is used in Rom. 12:9. Paul uses the same adjective to describe faith in I Timothy 1:5 and II Tim. 1:5. Peter uses the same adjective with a synonym of agapē, philadelphia in I Pet. 1:22.

6:7 "in the word of truth" It must be remembered that the Hebraic background to this term in not "truth versus falsehood," but "loyalty and trustworthiness," as in interpersonal relationships (cf. I John 8:32; 14:6). See SPECIAL TOPIC: "TRUTH" IN PAUL'S WRITINGS at II Cor. 13:8.

Greek Phrases Introduced with dia

  NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB

NIV

v. 7, hoplōntēs dikaiosunēs

weapons of righteousness

armor of righteousness

weapons of righteousness

righteousness as our weapon

weapons of uprightness

weapons of righteousness

v. 8, dozēs kai atimias

glory and dishonor

honor and dishonor

honor and dishonor

honored and dishonored

times of honor and disgrace

glory and dishonor

v. 8,dusphēmias kai euphēmias

evil report and good report

evil report and good report

insulted and praised

ill repute and good repute

blame and praise

bad report and good report

▣ "the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left" This refers to the provisions of God for our earthly spiritual warfare (cf. 2:11; Rom. 6:13; Eph. 2:2; 4:14,27; 6:10-18; I Pet. 5:8). It is possible that the right hand refers to offensive weapons and the left hand refers to defensive weapons. See SPECIAL TOPIC: RIGHTEOUSNESS at I Cor. 1:30.

6:8 "dishonor" This term is used for a resident losing the rights of citizenship.

Greek Phrases Introduced with hōs

  NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB

v. 8, planoi kai alētheis

as deceivers and yet true

as deceivers yet true

as impostors yet true

as liars yet speak the truth

taken for impostors yet genuine

v. 9, agnooumenoi kai epigninōskomenoi

as unknown yet well known

as unknown yet well known

as unknown yet well known

as unknown yet known by all

as unknown yet acknowledged

v. 9, apothnēskontes kai idou zōmen

as dying yet, behold, we live

as dying yet we live

as dying yet we are alive

as dead but we live

dying yet we are alive

v. 9, paideuomenoi kai mē thanatoumenoi

as punished yet not put to death

as chastened yet not killed

as punished yet not killed

although punished we are not killed

scourged but not executed

v. 10, lupoumenoi aei de chairontes

as sorrowful yet always rejoicing

as sorrowful yet always rejoicing

as sorrowful yet always rejoicing

although saddened we are always glad

in pain yet always full of joy

v. 10, ptōchoi pollous de ploutizontes

as poor yet making many rich

as poor yet making many rich

as poor yet making many rich

we seem poor but make many people rich

poor yet making many people rich

v. 10, mēden echontes kai panta katechontes

as having nothing yet possessing all things

as having nothing and yet possessing all things

as having nothing yet possessing everything

we seem to have nothing yet really possess everything

having nothing and yet owning everything

6:8-9 "and yet. . .yet" The Greek text has kai, which usually means "and," but in some texts it can mean "and yet" (cf. John 20:29). Remember context determines meaning, not a lexicon.

6:10 "sorrowful yet always rejoicing" (cf. Rom. 5:3-5; Phil. 2:17-18; 3:1; 4:4; I Thess. 5:16)

▣ "yet possessing all things" This series of paradoxes seems to contrast the world's perspective and God's perspective. Believers are heirs of all things through Christ (cf. Rom. 8:17,32; I Cor. 3:21).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 6:11-13
11Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide. 12You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections. 13Now in a like exchange-I speak as to children-open wide to us also.

6:11 The two verbs are both perfect tense. Paul has shared the whole, complete gospel truth and its implications with the Corinthian believers in complete openness and honesty.

▣ "O Corinthians" This is one of only three places in Paul's writings that he personally addresses the particular church he is writing (cf. Gal. 3:1; Phil. 4:15). All of these passages show the intensity of the Apostle's heart.

6:12

NASB"You are not restrained by us"
NKJV"You are not restricted by us"
NRSV"There is no restriction"
TEV"It is not we who have closed our hearts to you"
NJB"Any distress you feel is not on our side"

The noun form of this verb is used in 6:4 and 12:10 (cf. Rom. 2:9; 8:35). It literally refers to something or someone crowded together into a narrow place, thereby becoming cramped. It was used metaphorically for "straits," "cramped," or "anguish" (cf. 4:8; 6:12).

NASB, NKJV,
NRSV"affections"
TEV"closed your hearts"
NJB"distress"

This is an OT metaphor from "bowels." The ancients thought the lower viscera or the major organs (i.e., heart, liver, lungs) were the seat of the emotions (cf. Septuagint Prov. 12:10; 26:22; Jer. 28:13,51; II Macc. 9:5-6; IV Macc. 10:8; Baruch 2:17). Paul uses this metaphor often (cf. II Cor. 6:12; 7:15; Phil. 1:8; 2:1; Col. 3:12; Philemon vv. 7,12,20).

6:13

NASB"Now in a like exchange"
NKJV"Now in return for the same"
NRSV"In return"
NJB"In fair exchange"

In this phrase the main word is antimisthia, which is the term misthos (i.e., recompense based on what a person deserves, cf. I Cor. 3:8,14; 9:17-18; I Tim. 5:18) plus the preposition anti. This form is found only here and in Rom. 1:27.

This term can be used in a positive or negative sense; the context must determine. In Rom. 1:27; it is negative, but here it seems to be used positively in the sense of Gal. 4:12.

▣ "to children" Paul, like John, addresses his converts as children (cf. I Cor. 4:14,17; Gal. 4:19; I Tim. 1:2,18; II Tim. 1:2; 2:1; Titus 1:4; Philemon v. 10).

▣ "open wide to us also" As Paul stretched his heart to include them, as factious and contentious as they had been, he earnestly desired that they reciprocate. This is aorist passive imperative. Notice the passive idea that they cannot do it themselves, but they must allow God to do it.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 6:14-18
 14Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 17"Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate," says the Lord. "And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. 18And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," says the Lord Almighty.

6:14

NASB"Do not be bound together with unbelievers"
NKJV"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers"
NRSV"Do not be mismatched with unbelievers"
TEV"Do not try to work together as equals with unbelievers"
NJB"Do not harness yourselves in an equal team with unbelievers"

Paul often uses OT agricultural quotes to illustrate Christian truths (cf. I Cor. 9:9; I Tim. 5:18) to reflect Deut. 22:10. It is a present imperative with the negative particle, which implies "they were forming" these inappropriate, intimate, interpersonal relationships with unbelievers. The Greek term is a compound of "yoked" (zugeō) and "another of a different kind" (heteros, i.e., different kinds of animals). This verse has been proof-texted in relation to believers marrying unbelievers. However, this text does not seem to be dealing with marriage specifically, although that is surely included in this broader statement. Believers must restrict their most intimate, personal relationships to fellow believers. This helps us fight the pull of fallen culture away from Christ. Faith in Jesus and the indwelling Spirit have caused a sharp and deep cleavage within families, businesses, hobbies, amusements, even churches.

One must take into account passages like I Cor. 5:9-13; 7:12-16; 10:27 to get the theological balance of this truth. We must remember the wickedness of first century pagan culture. This is not an affirmation of monastic living, but an attempt to reduce intimate personal relationship with the fallen world system (cf. I John 2:15-17).

"what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness" This same truth is repeated in the cyclical letter of Ephesians (cf. 5:7,11). Paul's contrast of righteousness with lawlessness shows clearly that in this context righteousness does not refer to imputed righteousness (cf. Romans 4; Galatians 3), but righteous living (cf. Matt. 6:1). See SPECIAL TOPIC: RIGHTEOUSNESS at I Cor. 1:30.

"fellowship: See Special Topic at I Cor. 1:9.

6:15

NASB, NKJV"Belial"
NRSV, NJB"Beliar"
TEV"the Devil"

This is a Hebrew term (i.e., beli and ya'al, see BDB 116) whose etymology is somewhat in doubt. Beliar is a variant spelling from some Jewish writings. The possible backgrounds are:

1. worthlessness (i.e., a description of evil people, cf. Deut. 13:13; II Sam. 23:6; I Kgs. 21:10,13)

2. lawlessness (cf. II Sam. 22:5)

3. place from where there is no ascent (i.e., Sheol, cf. Ps. 18:4)

4. another term for Satan (cf. Nahum 1:15; Jubilees 1:20; 15:33; and the Dead Sea Scrolls [ex. IQS 1:18,24; 2:5,19])

 

6:16 "Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols" This verse must be compared with I Cor. 3:16, where the local church is called the temple of God. In I Cor. 3:16 there is no article with "temple" (i.e., naos, the central shrine itself). The pronoun "you" is plural, while "temple" is singular, therefore, in this context "temple" must refer to the whole church at Corinth (cf. Eph. 2:21-22).

The focus of Jewish faith developed into Temple ritual and liturgy (cf. Jeremiah 7) instead of personal faith in YHWH. It is not where or when or how one worships, but who one is in relationship with, God. Jesus saw His body as the temple of God (cf. John 2:21). Jesus is greater than the OT Temple (cf. Matt. 12:6). God's activity has moved from a sacred building into a sacred (i.e., redeemed, holy) believers' body.

Idols and believers are fully discussed in I Cor 8 and 10:14-22. These must be mutually exclusive! All roads do not lead to heaven!

▣ "the living God" The covenant name for the God of the OT was YHWH (see Special Topic at I Cor. 2:8), which was a form of the verb "to be." OT authors often used the adjective "living" to reflect the ever-existing, only-existing God. The OT allusions in vv. 16-18 contain covenant terminology, "I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (cf. Ezek. 37:27).

The phrase "walk among them" seems to come from Lev. 26:12. The OT texts in v. 16 reflect the new age when YHWH will dwell among His people as was intended in Genesis 2 and temporarily and partially occurred during the wilderness wandering period, but will be fully realized in the new heavens and the new earth (cf. Revelation 21-22).

"God said" This is a loose combination of Lev. 26:11-12 and Ezek. 37:27 from the Septuagint. In this context Paul is applying these promises originally to covenant Israel to the church who is spiritual Israel (cf. Rom. 9:6; Gal. 6:16).

6:17 "come out. . .be separate" These are both aorist imperatives. These are allusions to Isa. 52:11 in the Septuagint. God's people are to disassociate themselves from sinners and unbelievers lest they be caught up in their judgment (cf. Rev. 18:4).

Often today I hear this verse quoted in connection to which denomination one belongs. Let me quote F. F. Bruce in Answers to Questions, "The use of these words to justify ecclesiastical separation between Christians betokens a grotesque failure to read them in their context" (p. 103).

"and do not touch what is unclean" This is a present middle imperative. Believers must not participate in the sinful actions of their respective cultures. As the redeemed we must exhibit and proclaim the new heart and new mind of God's people. Everything has changed in Him!

6:18 This verse reflects the truth of many prophets, but most fully, Hosea (or possibly II Sam. 7:14). Christianity is a family affair.

"Lord Almighty" This reflects the OT term for God, YHWH (cf. Exod. 3:14), and El Shaddai (cf. Exod. 6:3). In the Septuagint it translates the phrase "Lord of Hosts." See SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY at I Cor. 2:8.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 7:1
  1Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

7:1 "having these promises" This is a Present active participle. Paul quoted the OT prophetic words from God as if they currently applied to the Corinthians (cf. 6:2). The OT is also quoted in 6:16-18, showing YHWH's continual desire to have a people who reflect His character. Paul is trying to motivate the Corinthian believers to live godly, separated lives. They have experienced "grace" (cf. 6:1), now they must live in it. This verse is a call to Christlike holiness (cf. Eph. 1:4; 2:10).

▣ "beloved" This phrase is used in Matt. 3:17 and 17:5 as a title for Jesus. Paul uses this same term to describe Jesus' followers (cf. II Cor. 12:19; I Cor. 10:14; 15:58; Rom. 12:19; Phil. 2:12; 4:1). This term speaks of God's established, loyal covenant love (Hebrew, hesed; Greek, agapē) for us in Christ, but here it speaks of Paul's love for this fractious, arrogant, disruptive church.

▣ "let us cleanse ourselves" This is an aorist active subjunctive. The aorist tense is the way Koine Greek affirms an action. It can have many different implications (see D. A. Carson, Exegetical Fallacies, 2nd ed., pp. 68-73). Here it is a call for decisive action (i.e., hortatory subjunctive used as an imperative. The subjunctive mood gives an element of contingency. Believers must cooperate with God in salvation and then cooperate in maturity.

▣ "of flesh and spirit" This speaks of our whole human being. Many people have disallowed this verse as being original because of Paul's technical use of these two terms in other contexts. However, 7:5, when linked with 2:13 (which is the beginning and end of Paul's extended parentheses), used these two terms synonymously. Paul often uses the same terms in different senses (read A Man in Christ by James S. Stewart, Harper and Row).

▣ "perfecting holiness in the fear of God" This is a present active participle. It is theologically true that when we are saved, we are both instantaneously justified and sanctified (cf. I Cor. 1:30, also see SPECIAL TOPIC: NEW TESTAMENT HOLINESS/SANCTIFICATION at I Cor. 1:2). This speaks of our position in Christ. However, we are to live in light of our position. Therefore, we are urged to fulfill our calling by progressive sanctification or Christlikeness (cf. Rom. 8:28-29; Eph. 4:1). This is an ongoing struggle (cf. Romans 7). As salvation is both a free gift and a costly commitment, so too, is sanctification. This same concept is true of believers being called saints (indicative) and then called to be saintly (imperative). I do not believe in the possibility of sinlessness in this life, but I do believe in the appropriateness of believers sinning less and less! This is the theological and practical tension caused by believers being in the Kingdom, but the Kingdom not being consummated (cf. Fee, Stewart, How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth, pp. 131-134).

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. Does v. 1 teach that we can lose our salvation?

2. How can a Christian live so as not to put any stumbling blocks in front of others?

3. Why was Paul's life so hard?

4. What does it mean to "be ye separate"?

5. Is salvation absolutely free or does it cost us everything?

 

Related Topics: Bible Study Methods