My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.



Monday, November 05, 2007

2 Corinthians 6

Mmmmm... yoke...

Summary:
We don't want to trip anyone up. We look good whatever's going on. Nothing can beat us.

We love you, but you are holding back from us. Don't connect yourself with unbelievers. They are dirty. You are clean.

Key verse:
4. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses

My thoughts:
So the word 'yoke' for 'yoking' oneself with unbelievers can be interpreted a few ways. I could mean associate with, or ally with, or go into partnership with, or work with, or marry. Most often I have heard this quoted to show that Christians shouldn't go out with or marry non-Christians, however if your sole reason not to marry a non-Christian is just because of this verse then I would suggest that your faith needs to be more important to you.

Anyway, it's clear from Paul's previous statements to the Corinthians that Paul is not suggesting that to associate or reach out to unbelievers is wrong. He is clearly speaking about some deeper level of connection or alliance.

My interpretation: Churches shouldn't be connected to our nation's secular politcal system. But I'm biased though. In reality, I suspect that Paul had very little knowledge of 21st century New Zealand's political system.

So Paul seems to be defending and building up his ministry before God in this letter. Perhaps there had been some doubt surrounding its validity.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Deane said...

2 Cor 6.14--7.1 is clearly an Essene interpolation. Clearly.

There's an abrupt subject change from 6.13 to 6.14, and a resumption of the subject ("open up your hearts") in 7.2. Six key words are not found elsewhere in the Pauline corpus: heterozugein, metoche, symphonesis, synkatathesis, Beliar, and molosmos. There's three separate Qumranesque dualisms on top of each other: righteousness versus iniquity, light versus dark, and Christ versus Beliar. There's the opposition to idols, and the community self-understanding of being the "Temple of God". There is also a concern for purity in the command to touch nothing unclean. The passage even employs a concatenation of Old Testament texts, just like in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Although "Beliar" only occurs here in the New Testament, the opposition between God and Belial is of course common at Qumran.

The unusually high proportion of Essene traits suggests it derives from an Essene or Essene convert to Christianity.

4:12 pm

 
Blogger Pete W said...

That's actually very interesting, and I almost tend to agree for once! It does seem somewhat out of character!

Are you suggesting that Paul is an Essene? Because you surely are suggesting that some of 2 Corinthians isn't written by Paul...

Paul could, alternatively, be quoting a lost 'scripture' related to Qumran. But we don't recognise the quote because we don't have the text. Just a thought!

7:22 pm

 
Blogger Deane said...

I think it's quite plausibly explained in the way you suggest - that is, he is quoting or at least extensively relying on some Essene source which is now unknown to us. Alternatively though, it's an addition by some later author who put together / edited 2 Cor after Paul. The interruption of 6.13 to 7.2 does tend to support interpreting it as an interpolation. And 2 Cor as a whole is still understood by many commentators as a pastiche of different letters by a later editor--for various complex reasons.

2 Cor 6.14--7.1 does provide one of the more compelling cases of an earlier source suddenly 'intervening' in a NT text. Interesting, commentators had identified 2 Cor 6.14--7.1 as an interpolation long before the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. It was only after the Scrolls were found that the degree of correspondence with Essene literature was fully recognised, and the case made stronger.

7:02 pm

 

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