2 Corinthians 6 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of 2 Corinthians 6)

Verse 1

[1] We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

We then not only beseech, but as fellow-labourers with you, who are working out your own salvation, do also exhort you, not to receive the grace of God - Which we have been now describing.

In vain — We receive it by faith; and not in vain, if we add to this, persevering holiness.

Verse 2

[2] (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

For he saith — The sense is, As of old there was a particular time wherein God was pleased to pour out his peculiar blessing, so there is now. And this is the particular time: this is a time of peculiar blessing. Isaiah 49:8.

Verse 3

[3] Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:

Giving, as far as in us lies, no offence, that the ministry be not blamed on our account.

Verse 4

[4] But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,

But approving ourselves as the ministers of God — Such as his ministers ought to be.

In much patience — Shown, 1.

In afflictions, necessities, distresses — All which are general terms. 2.

In stripes, imprisonments, tumults — Which are particular sorts of affliction, necessity, distress 3.

In labours, watchings, fastings — Voluntarily endured. All these are expressed in the plural number, to denote a variety of them. In afflictions, several ways to escape may appear, though none without difficulty in necessities, one only, and that a difficult one; in distresses, none at all appears.

Verse 5

[5] In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;

In tumults — The Greek word implies such attacks as a man cannot stand against, but which bear him hither and thither by violence.

Verse 6

[6] By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

By prudence — Spiritual divine; not what the world terms so. Worldly prudence is the practical use of worldly wisdom: divine prudence is the due exercise of grace, making spiritual understanding go as far as possible.

By love unfeigned — The chief fruit of the Spirit.

Verse 7

[7] By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

By the convincing and converting power of God - Accompanying his word; and also attesting it by divers miracles.

By the armour of righteousness on the right hand and the left — That is, on all sides; the panoply or whole armour of God.

Verse 8

[8] By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;

By honour and dishonour — When we are present.

By evil report and good report — When we are absent. Who could bear honour and good report, were it not balanced by dishonour? As deceivers - Artful, designing men. So the world represents all true ministers of Christ.

Yet true — Upright, sincere, in the sight of God.

Verse 9

[9] As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;

As unknown — For the world knoweth us not, as it knew him not.

Yet well known — To God, and to those who are the seals of our ministry.

As dying, yet behold — Suddenly, unexpectedly, God interposes, and we live.

Verse 10

[10] As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

As sorrowing — For our own manifold imperfections, and for the sins and sufferings of our brethren.

Yet always rejoicing — In present peace, love, power, and a sure hope of future glory.

As having nothing, yet possessing all things — For all things are ours, if we are Christ's. What a magnificence of thought is this!

Verse 11

[11] O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.

From the praise of the Christian ministry, which he began 2 Corinthians 2:14, he now draws his affectionate exhortation.

O ye Corinthians — He seldom uses this appellation. But it has here a peculiar force.

Our mouth is opened toward you — With uncommon freedom, because our heart is enlarged - In tenderness.

Verse 12

[12] Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.

Ye are not straitened in us — Our heart is wide enough to receive you all.

But ye are straitened in your own bowels — Your hearts are shut up, and so not capable of the blessings ye might enjoy.

Verse 13

[13] Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.

Now for a recompence of the same — Of my parental tenderness.

I speak as to my children — I ask nothing hard or grievous.

Be ye also enlarged — Open your hearts, first to God, and then to us, so 2 Corinthians 8:5, that God may "dwell in you," 2 Corinthians 6:16; 7:1; and that ye may "receive us," 2 Corinthians 7:2.

Verse 14

[14] Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers — Christians with Jews or heathens. The apostle particularly speaks of marriage. But the reasons he urges equally hold against any needless intimacy with them. Of the five questions that follow, the three former contain the argument; the two latter, the conclusion.

Verse 15

[15] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

What concord hath Christ — Whom ye serve.

With Belial — To whom they belong.

Verse 16

[16] And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

What agreement hath the temple of God with idols — If God would not endure idols in any part of the land wherein he dwelt, how much less, under his own roof! He does not say, with the temple of idols, for idols do not dwell in their worshippers.

As God hath said — To his ancient church, and in them to all the Israel of God.

I will dwell in them, and walk in them — The former signifying his perpetual presence; the latter, his operation.

And I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people — The sum of the whole gospel covenant. Leviticus 26:11, etc.

Verse 17

[17] Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

Touch not the unclean person — Keep at the utmost distance from him.

And I will receive you — Into my house and family. Isaiah 52:11; Zephaniah 3:19,20.

Verse 18

[18] And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

And ye shall be to me for sons and for daughters, saith the Lord Almighty — The promise made to Solomon, 1 Chronicles 28:6, is here applied to all believers; as the promise made particularly to Joshua is applied to them, Hebrews 13:5. Who can express the worth, who can conceive the dignity, of this divine adoption? Yet it belongs to all who believe the gospel, who have faith in Christ. They have access to the Almighty; such free and welcome access, as a beloved child to an indulgent father. To him they may fly for aid in every difficulty, and from him obtain a supply in all their wants. Isaiah 43:6.