2 Corinthians 5
New English Translation
Living by Faith, Not by Sight
5 For we know that if our earthly house, the tent we live in,[a] is dismantled,[b] we have a building from God, a house not built by human hands, that is eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this earthly house[c] we groan, because we desire to put on[d] our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed, after we have put on[e] our heavenly house,[f] we will not be found naked. 4 For we groan while we are in this tent,[g] since we are weighed down,[h] 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 purpose[i] is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment.[j] 6 Therefore we are always full of courage, and we know that as long as we are alive here on earth[k] we are absent from the Lord— 7 for we live[l] by faith, not by sight. 8 Thus we are full of courage and would prefer to be away[m] from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So then whether we are alive[n] or away, we make it our ambition to please him.[o] 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,[p] so that each one may be paid back according to what he has done while in the body, whether good or evil.[q]
The Message of Reconciliation
11 Therefore, because we know the fear of the Lord,[r] we try to persuade[s] people,[t] but we are well known[u] to God, and I hope we are well known to your consciences too. 12 We are not trying to commend[v] ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to be proud of us,[w] so that you may be able to answer those who take pride[x] in outward appearance[y] 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 Christ[z] controls us, since we have concluded this, that Christ[aa] 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.[ab] 16 So then from now on we acknowledge[ac] no one from an outward human point of view.[ad] Even though we have known Christ from such a human point of view,[ae] 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 away[af]—look, what is new[ag] has come![ah] 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 us[ai] the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making his plea[aj] through us. We plead with you[ak] on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God!” 21 God[al] made the one who did not know sin[am] to be sin for us, so that in him[an] we would become the righteousness of God.
- 2 Corinthians 5:1 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.
- 2 Corinthians 5:1 tn Or “destroyed.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:2 tn Or “dwelling place.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:2 tn Or “to be clothed with.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:3 tc ‡ 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 majuscule script. ἐνδυσάμενοι enjoys strong support from the Alexandrian text (P46 א B C 33 1739 1881), Byzantine witnesses, versions (lat sy co), and Clement of Alexandria. The Western text is the only text-form 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 majuscule 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 reading of the initial text. B. M. Metzger argues against the reading of NA28, 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 autographic.
- 2 Corinthians 5:3 tn Grk “it”; the referent (the “heavenly dwelling” of the previous verse) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 2 Corinthians 5:4 sn See the note in 5:1 on the phrase the tent we live in.
- 2 Corinthians 5:4 tn Or “we are burdened.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:5 tn Grk “for this very thing.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:5 tn Or “first installment,” “pledge,” “deposit” (see the note on the phrase “down payment” in 1:22).
- 2 Corinthians 5:6 tn Grk “we know that being at home in the body”; an idiom for being alive (L&N 23.91).
- 2 Corinthians 5:7 tn Grk “we walk.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:8 tn Or “be absent.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:9 tn Grk “whether we are at home” [in the body]; an idiom for being alive (L&N 23.91).
- 2 Corinthians 5:9 tn Grk “to be pleasing to him.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:10 sn The judgment seat (βῆμα, bēma) 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.
- 2 Corinthians 5:10 tn Or “whether good or bad.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:11 tn Or “because we know what it means to fear the Lord.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:11 tn The present tense of πείθομεν (peithomen) has been translated as a conative present.
- 2 Corinthians 5:11 tn Grk “men,” but ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos) 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).
- 2 Corinthians 5:11 tn 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.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:12 tn The present tense of συνιστάνομεν (sunistanomen) has been translated as a conative present.
- 2 Corinthians 5:12 tn Or “to boast about us.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:12 tn Or “who boast.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:12 tn Or “in what is seen.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:14 tn The phrase ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Χριστοῦ (hē agapē tou Christou, “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.
- 2 Corinthians 5:14 tn Grk “one”; the referent (Christ) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 2 Corinthians 5:15 tn Or “but for him who died and was raised for them.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:16 tn Grk “we know.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:16 tn Grk “no one according to the flesh.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:16 tn Grk “we have known Christ according to the flesh.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 tn Grk “old things have passed away.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 tc 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 text-forms (P46 א B C D* F G 048 0243 365 629 1175 1739 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.
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 tn Grk “new things have come [about].”
- 2 Corinthians 5:19 tn Or “he has entrusted to us.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:20 tn Or “as though God were begging.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:20 tn Or “we beg you.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:21 tn Grk “He”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 2 Corinthians 5:21 sn The one who did not know sin is a reference to Jesus Christ.
- 2 Corinthians 5:21 sn That is, “in Christ.”