Living by Faith, Not by Sight
1 For we know that if our earthly house, the tent we live in,sn The expression the tent we live in refers to “our earthly house, our body.” Paul uses the metaphor of the physical body as a house or tent, the residence of the immaterial part of a person. is dismantled,tn Or “destroyed.” we have a building from God, a house not built by human hands, that is eternal in the heavens.
2 For in this earthly housetn Or “dwelling place.” we groan, because we desire to put ontn Or “to be clothed with.” our heavenly dwelling,
3 if indeed, after we have put ontc ‡ Some mss read “taken off” (ἐκδυσάμενοι, ekdusamenoi) instead of “put on” (ἐνδυσάμενοι, endusamenoi). This alternative reading would change the emphasis of the verse from putting on “our heavenly house” to taking off “our earthly house” (see the following note regarding the specification of the referent). The difference between the two readings is one letter (ν or κ), either of which may be mistaken for the other especially when written in uncial script. ἐνδυσάμενοι enjoys strong support from the Alexandrian text (Ì46 א B C 33 1739 1881), Byzantine witnesses, versions (lat sy co), and Clement of Alexandria. The Western text is the only texttype to differ: D*,c reads ἐκδυσάμενοι, as does ar fc Mcion Tert Spec; F and G read εκλ for εκδ which indirectly aligns them with D (and was surely due to confusion of letters in uncial script). Thus “put on” has the oldest and best external attestation by far. Internal evidence also favors this reading. At first glance, it may seem that “after we have put on our heavenly house we will not be found naked” is an obvious statement; the scribe of D may have thought so and changed the participle. But v. 3 seems parenthetical (so A. Plummer, Second Corinthians [ICC], 147), and the idea that “we do not want to be unclothed but clothed” is repeated in v. 4 with an explanatory “for.” This concept also shows up in v. 2 with the phrase “we desire to put on.” So the context can be construed to argue for “put on” as the original reading. B. M. Metzger argues against the reading of NA27, stating that ἐκδυσάμενοι is “an early alteration to avoid apparent tautology” (TCGNT 511; so also Plummer, 148). In addition, the reading ἐνδυσάμενοι fits the Pauline pattern of equivalence between apodosis and protasis that is found often enough in his conditional clauses. Thus, “put on” has the mark of authenticity and should be considered original. our heavenly house,tn Grk “it”; the referent (the “heavenly dwelling” of the previous verse) has been specified in the translation for clarity. we will not be found naked.
4 For we groan while we are in this tent,sn See the note in 5:1 on the phrase the tent we live in. since we are weighed down,tn Or “we are burdened.” because we do not want to be unclothed, but clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
5 Now the one who prepared us for this very purposetn Grk “for this very thing.” is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment.tn Or “first installment,” “pledge,” “deposit” (see the note on the phrase “down payment” in 1:22).
6 Therefore we are always full of courage, and we know that as long as we are alive here on earthtn Grk “we know that being at home in the body”; an idiom for being alive (L&N 23.91). we are absent from the Lord –
7 for we livetn Grk “we walk.” by faith, not by sight.
8 Thus we are full of courage and would prefer to be awaytn Or “be absent.” from the body and at home with the Lord.
9 So then whether we are alivetn Grk “whether we are at home” [in the body]; an idiom for being alive (L&N 23.91). or away, we make it our ambition to please him.tn Grk “to be pleasing to him.”
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,sn The judgment seat (βῆμα, bhma) was a raised platform mounted by steps and sometimes furnished with a seat, used by officials in addressing an assembly or making pronouncements, often on judicial matters. The judgment seat was a common item in Greco-Roman culture, often located in the agora, the public square or marketplace in the center of a city. Use of the term in reference to Christ’s judgment would be familiar to Paul’s 1st century readers. so that each one may be paid back according to what he has done while in the body, whether good or evil.tn Or “whether good or bad.”
The Message of Reconciliation
11 Therefore, because we know the fear of the Lord,tn Or “because we know what it means to fear the Lord.” we try to persuadetn The present tense of πείθομεν (peiqomen) has been translated as a conative present. people,tn Grk “men”; but ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") is generic here since clearly both men and women are in view (Paul did not attempt to win only men to the gospel he preached). but we are well knowntn Or “clearly evident.” BDAG 1048 s.v. φανερόω 2.b.β has “θεῷ πεφανερώμεθα we are well known to God 2 Cor 5:11a, cp. 11b; 11:6 v.l.” to God, and I hope we are well known to your consciences too.
12 We are not trying to commendtn The present tense of συνιστάνομεν (sunistanomen) has been translated as a conative present. ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to be proud of us,tn Or “to boast about us.” so that you may be able to answer those who take pridetn Or “who boast.” in outward appearancetn Or “in what is seen.” and not in what is in the heart.
13 For if we are out of our minds, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you.
14 For the love of Christtn The phrase ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Χριστοῦ (Jh agaph tou Cristou, “the love of Christ”) could be translated as either objective genitive (“our love for Christ”) or subjective genitive (“Christ’s love for us”). Either is grammatically possible, but with the reference to Christ’s death for all in the following clauses, a subjective genitive (“Christ’s love for us”) is more likely. controls us, since we have concluded this, that Christtn Grk “one”; the referent (Christ) has been specified in the translation for clarity. died for all; therefore all have died.
15 And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised.tn Or “but for him who died and was raised for them.”
16 So then from now on we acknowledgetn Grk “we know.” no one from an outward human point of view.tn Grk “no one according to the flesh.” Even though we have known Christ from such a human point of view,tn Grk “we have known Christ according to the flesh.” now we do not know him in that way any longer.
17 So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed awaytn Grk “old things have passed away.” – look, what is newtc Most mss have the words τὰ πάντα (ta panta, “all things”; cf. KJV “behold, all things are become new”), some after καίνα (kaina, “new”; D2 K L P Ψ 104 326 945 2464 pm) and others before it (6 33 81 614 630 1241 1505 1881 pm). The reading without τὰ πάντα, however, has excellent support from both the Western and Alexandrian texttypes (Ì46 א B C D* F G 048 0243 365 629 1175 1739 pc co), and the different word order of the phrase which includes it (“all things new” or “new all things”) in the ms tradition indicates its secondary character. This secondary addition may have taken place because of assimilation to τὰ δὲ πάντα (ta de panta, “and all [these] things”) that begins the following verse. has come!tn Grk “new things have come [about].”
18 And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation.
19 In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given ustn Or “he has entrusted to us.” the message of reconciliation.
20 Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His pleatn Or “as though God were begging.” through us. We plead with youtn Or “we beg you.” on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God!”
21 Godtn Grk “He”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity. made the one who did not know sinsn The one who did not know sin is a reference to Jesus Christ. to be sin for us, so that in himsn That is, “in Christ.” we would become the righteousness of God.