2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Call to Holiness. 14 [a]Do not be yoked with those who are different, with unbelievers.[b] For what partnership do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Beliar? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 (A)What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said:
“I will live with them and move among them,[c]
and I will be their God
and they shall be my people.
17 Therefore, come forth from them
and be separate,” says the Lord,
“and touch nothing unclean;
then I will receive you(B)
18 and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”(C)
1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit, making holiness perfect in the fear of God.
- 6:14–7:1 Language and thought shift noticeably here. Suddenly we are in a different atmosphere, dealing with a quite different problem. Both the vocabulary and the thought, with their contrast between good and evil, are more characteristic of Qumran documents or the Book of Revelation than they are of Paul. Hence, critics suspect that this section was inserted by another hand.
- 6:14–16a The opening injunction to separate from unbelievers is reinforced by five rhetorical questions to make the point that Christianity is not compatible with paganism. Their opposition is emphasized also by the accumulation of five distinct designations for each group. These verses are a powerful statement of God’s holiness and the exclusiveness of his claims.
- 6:16c–18 This is a chain of scriptural citations carefully woven together. God’s covenant relation to his people and his presence among them (2 Cor 6:16) is seen as conditioned on cultic separation from the profane and cultically impure (2 Cor 6:17); that relation is translated into the personal language of the parent-child relationship, an extension to the community of the language of 2 Sm 7:14 (2 Cor 6:18). Some remarkable parallels to this chain are found in the final chapters of Revelation. God’s presence among his people (Rev 21:22) is expressed there, too, by applying 2 Sm 7:14 to the community (Rev 21:7). There is a call to separation (Rev 18:4) and exclusion of the unclean from the community and its liturgy (Rev 21:27). The title “Lord Almighty” (Pantokratōr) occurs in the New Testament only here in 2 Cor 6:18 and nine times in Revelation.