2 Cor 4:13-5:10

Paul's attitude towards suffering and death


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But since we have the same Spirit of faith as had the speaker in that which is written, 'I believed, therefore I have spoken', we also believe and therefore speak. 14 For we know that he who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us just as he raised Jesus, and will present us with you before the company of Heaven. 15 You see, all this is for your sake so that grace, having increased through the agency of  the majority, might cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not turn aside. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, yet our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight and momentary affliction of ours is producing for us in extraordinary measure an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. 18 'So we keep our eyes, not on the things that can be seen, but on the things that cannot be seen; for what can be seen is transitory, but what cannot be seen is eternal. 5:1 For we know that if the earthly tabernacle we live in is taken down, we have a building from God, a dwelling not made by human hands, eternal in Heaven. 2 And indeed, this is why we groan, because we long to put on our heavenly dwelling as an overgarment 3 - assuming, of course, that when we have put it on, we are not found to be poorly dressed. 4 Yes indeed, while we are in this tent, oppressed as we are, we groan because we want to be (not stripped, but) clothed over, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now it is God, who for this very reason prevailed with us, who has given us the first instalment, the Spirit. 6 So, since we are always confident, and since we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord 7 - for we comport ourselves by faith, not by outward appearance 8 - we are confident, I say, and all the more determined to get away from the body and be at home with the Lord. 9 So whether at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to him. 10 For we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ so that each one may receive a recompense for the deeds performed during life in  the body, in accordance with those things which were done, whether good or bad.


Ἔχοντες δὲ τὸ αὐτὸ πνεῦμα τῆς πίστεως κατὰ τὸ γεγραμμένον· ἐπίστευσα, διὸ a ἐλάλησα, καὶ ἡμεῖς πιστεύομεν, διὸ καὶ λαλοῦμεν,

a א F G 0186 1175 sy read καί after διό, probably by assimilation to καὶ λαλοῦμεν. [1]

'But since we have the same disposition [2] of faith as [had the speaker in] that which is written, "I believed, therefore I have spoken", we also believe and therefore speak.

The integrity of Paul's letters, and particularly of the Letter of Tears, has been questioned: he has been forced to deny duplicity and dissimulation (1:12-13a). In an extended response, the apostle has now given an account of his task of carrying about in his body, as in an epiphany procession, the image of the crucified Messiah, so spreading the fragrance of the Christ sacrifice wherever he goes (2:14-4:12); and he has concluded this discussion with the words, 'So, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you!' So he raises the question of his attitude towards death. He begins his account with a quotation from Ps 115:1(116:10) LXX, ἐπίστευσα διὸ ἐλάλησα ἐγὼ δὲ ἐταπεινώθην σφόδρα ('I believed, therefore I spoke, but I, I was brought very low', NETS). [3]  Though he follows the LXX, Paul would have been thoroughly familiar with the underlying Hebrew, Psalm 116 (= Pss 114 + 115 LXX), [4] and Psalm 114 LXX has been echoed already in 1:8-11. This Psalm portrays a righteous sufferer who has recently experienced divine deliverance from mortal danger. Psalm 114 LXX begins with an expression of love for the Lord (MT יהוה, Yahweh), 'because the Lord will listen to the voice of my petition' (v. 1, NETS). Yahweh's love motivates the speaker to testify to his experience of deliverance (v. 2), and the Psalm concludes with the confident declaration, 'I will be pleasing before the Lord 'in the country of the living' (v. 9). It seems likely that the apostle understood the words, 'therefore I have spoken' (Psa 115:1) as a reference to Psalm 114 LXX. The concluding verse of Psalm 114 LXX is echoed in 5:9, and the Psalm seems to be in the apostle's mind throughout the subunit. [5]

Paul states that he has the same disposition of faith as had the speaker in the Psalm; because he also believes, he also speaks.[6] The parallel between the setting of the Psalm and the background of 2 Corinthians is clear: like the speaker in the Psalm, as a righteous sufferer Paul has faced mortal danger, has placed his trust in God, and has been divinely delivered. Just as the Psalmist testified to the faithfulness of God in delivering his servant, so the apostle speaks of his own experience as God's servant. As an expression of self-confidence, v. 13 functions rhetorically to indicate the view of an aspect of Paul's character that he would like his readers to adopt: like the Psalmist, in the face of death he trusts in God, and he testifies to God's faithfulness. [7]


εἰδότες ὅτι ἐγείρας τὸν κύριον Ἰησοῦν a καὶ ἡμᾶς σὺν Ἰησοῦ ἐγερεῖ καὶ παραστήσει σὺν ὑμῖν.

a p46 B 629 1175* r vg sa boms Tertullian read τὸν κύριον Ἰησοῦν; 0243 33 630 1739 read Ἰησοῦν; א C D F G K L P Ψ 81 104 365 1175c 1241 1505 1881 2464 Majority Text ar sy bo read τὸν κύριον Ἰησοῦν. The data is difficult to evaluate.

'For we know [8] that he who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us just as [9] [he raised] Jesus, and will present [10] us with you [before the company of Heaven].'

What Paul says in his letters to the Corinthians, he says because he believes: he knows that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise his apostle with his Corinthian converts (1 Cor 15:50-57), and will present him with them before the court of Heaven. [11] The thought recalls Paul's confident assertion that the Corinthians will boast of him, just as he will boast of them, in the Day of the Lord (1:14; cf. Phil 2:16; 1 Thess 2:19-20). In light of 1:14 he evidently anticipates that he will be presented, in company with the Corinthians, as a person of high status. This may also be inferred from 3:18, but his personal confidence would nevertheless have struck a paradoxical note with some of his readers; for his present social status was evidently a source of embarrassment for them, and his opponents ridiculed his manual labour and lowly persona (5:12; 10:10; 11:5-12). [12]


τὰ γὰρ πάντα δι᾽ ὑμᾶς, ἵνα χάρις πλεονάσασα διὰ τῶν πλειόνων τὴν εὐχαριστίαν περισσεύσῃ εἰς τὴν δόξαν τοῦ θεοῦ.

'You see, [13] all this is for your sake so that grace, having increased [14] through the agency of the majority [15], might cause thanksgiving [16] to abound [17] to the glory of God'.

The main clause is straightforward: 'All this' (τὰ πάντα), that is, the Letter of Tears, the Affliction in Asia, and the epiphany procession that has just been described (2:14-4:12), is for the sake of Paul's addressees (δι᾽ ὑμᾶς, cf. 1:6; 4:12). The ἵνα clause needs some analysis, however. There are, in principle, six possible constructions:

    1. πλεονάσασα intransitive, περισσεύσῃ intransitive, διὰ τῶν πλειόνων τὴν εὐχαριστίαν construed with πλεονάσασα: ‘so that grace, having increased on account of the thanksgiving of the majority, might abound to the glory of God'.
    2. πλεονάσασα intransitive: περισσεύσῃ intransitive, διὰ τῶν πλειόνων τὴν εὐχαριστίαν construed with περισσεύσῃ: ‘so that grace, having increased, might, on account of the thanksgiving of the majority (or, of more and more people), abound to the glory of God'.
    3. πλεονάσασα transitive, περισσεύσῃ intransitive, διὰ τῶν πλειόνων construed with πλεονάσασα: ‘so that grace, having increased the thanksgiving through the agency of the majority, might abound to the glory of God’.
    4. πλεονάσασα transitive, περισσεύσῃ intransitive, διὰ τῶν πλειόνων construed with περισσεύσῃ: ‘so that grace, having increased the thanksgiving, might abound through the agency of the majority to the glory of God’.
    5. πλεονάσασα intransitive, περισσεύω transitive, διὰ τῶν πλειόνων construed with πλεονάσασα: ‘so that grace, having increased through the agency of  the majority, might cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God’.
    6. πλεονάσασα intransitive, περισσεύσῃ transitive, διὰ τῶν πλειόνων construed with περισσεύσῃ: ‘so that grace, having increased, might cause thanksgiving to abound through the agency of the majority to the glory of God’.

The following considerations narrow the options:

Against 1 and 2, when a benefactor bestows a benefit, the cultural convention of reciprocity requires that he or she be honoured with hearty thanks; grace calls for thanksgiving. However, reciprocity does not demand that thanksgiving be answered by an increase in grace.

Also against 1 and 2, if διά were intended to govern τὴν εὐχαριστίαν, then the unambiguous construction διὰ τὴν τῶν πλειόνων εὐχαριστίαν would be more likely. [18]

Against 2, 4 and 6, the alliteration πλεονάσασα ... πλειόνων favours taking πλεονάσασα with πλειόνων.

Since option 5 gives the clause structural balance (noun phrase + verb form + prepositional phrase, noun phrase + verb form + prepositional phrase), [19] it is to be preferred.

The expression διὰ τῶν πλειόνων recalls ὑπὸ τῶν πλειόνων (2:6): 'the majority' obediently disciplined the offender in response to the Letter of Tears. It might reasonably be supposed that their continued obedience would result in an increase in grace. The divine purpose in 'all this', then, was that through the action taken by the majority in response to the Letter of Tears, grace might increase and God might then be glorified through abundant thanksgiving.


Διὸ οὐκ ἐγκακοῦμεν, a ἀλλ᾽ εἰ καὶ ἔξω ἡμῶν ἄνθρωπος διαφθείρεται, ἀλλ᾽ ἔσω ἡμῶν  b ἀνακαινοῦται ἡμέρᾳ καὶ ἡμέρᾳ.

a ἐκκακοῦμεν is read by C D2 K L P 0243 33 104 365 630 1175 1241 1505 1739 1881 Maj. However, ἐγκακοῦμεν is the more difficult reading, and has superior attestation: p46 א B D* F G 6 81 326 2464 co.

b K L 629 1241 pm read ἔσωθεν in place of ἔσω ἡμῶν; D1 Ψ 1505 read ἔσωθεν ἡμῶν; P 323 945 read ἔσω. Since the expression τὸν ἔσω ἄνθρωπον occurs in Rom 7:22 (cf. Eph 3:16), ἔσω rather than ἔσωθεν is likely correct. Thrall adds, 'The inclusion of ἡμῶν is also most likely to be correct, since a scribe who wished to create a more exact parallel with the preceding ἔξω ἡμῶν ἄνθρωπος would surely have added ἄνθρωπος as well'. [20]

'Therefore we do not turn aside. [21] Even though [22] our outer person is being destroyed, [23] yet [24] our inner person[25] is being renewed [26] day by day'. [27]

In view of the benefits that his ministry and sufferings bring the Corinthians (vv. 12, 15; cf. 1:6), and his assurance that he will be raised with Christ and presented together with them before the court of Heaven (4:14), Paul draws 'the only logical conclusion' [28] (διό): despite all the hardships of his ministry, he does not turn aside. With this he reaffirms both 4:1 and his identification with the figure of Psalm 116 (cf. Psa 114:9 LXX).

 'Our outer person', ἔξω ἡμῶν ἄνθρωπος, is clearly a reference to Paul's own body (vv. 7, 10, 11). The expression ἔσω ἄνθρωπος, 'the inner person', or 'the person within', also occurs in Rom 7:22, where it is parallel with νοῦς ('intellect'), [29] and is opposed to τὰ μέλη, the (parts of) the body. [30] An almost identical expression occurs in Plato's Republic 9.588a-589b. Plato describes a symbolic image of the human soul (εἰκὼν τῆς ψυχῆς, 9.588b) as consisting of three parts: a many-headed beast, the seat of desire; a lion, the seat of courage; and 'the man within' (ὁ ἐντὸς ἄνθρωπος), the seat of reason. In the virtuous person, the inner person tames the many-headed beast and trains the lion to serve with him. Van Kooten notes that the equivalent expressions ὁ ἔσω ἄνθρωπος, ὁ ἔνδον ἄνθρωπος and ὁ ἐντὸς ἄνθρωπος were used in a number of ways: literally, of the men inside a citadel; medically, of the interior organs within a man; and metaphorically. [31] Until Paul, Plato alone uses the terminology in philosophical discourse; however, though he does not use the terminology itself, the first-century Jew Philo was familiar with Plato's notion of the 'inner man', and he employs it in his own anti-sophistic polemic. It is very likely, therefore, that Paul was familiar with it also. [32] Noting that in 2:17 Paul echoes Plato's anti-sophistic dialogue Protagoras (313d-e), Van Kooten argues that Paul's use of ἔσω ἄνθρωπος is also philosophical and anti-sophistic:

Instead of outward appearance and physiognomy, Paul is concerned with building up a strong inner identity, which takes shape through the metamorphosis resulting in the growth of the inner man. This view is very similar to Alcibiades' praise of Socrates in Plato's Symposium: Socrates is depicted as ugly on the outside, but beautiful on the inside (Plato, Symposium 215a ff, esp. 216d-e, 215a-b. [33]

As Whitmarsh points out, 'Identity [for the sophist] was not an inner being fixed inside the sophist: it was, rather, linked to his public persona, and shifted with his fortunes'; [34] and physical perfection played an important role in the popular evaluation of a sophist (cf. 10:10). Paul wishes to be evaluated, not by sophistic criteria, but by his growing conformity to the image of Christ (cf. 5:12). He does not turn aside from his duty; rather, as he endures the sufferings of his ministry, he is encouraged by the concurrent renewal of his inner man, that is, by his increasing conformity to the character of Jesus. Cf. Rom 8:28-29, in the context of 8:18-25 and 8:35-39, [35] and see the notes on 3:18.


τὸ γὰρ παραυτίκα a ἐλαφρὸν τῆς θλίψεως b ἡμῶν καθ᾽ ὑπερβολὴν εἰς ὑπερβολὴν αἰώνιον βάρος δόξης κατεργάζεται ἡμῖν,

a D* F G (latt sy) add πρόσκαιρον καί before ἐλαφρὸν, almost certainly under the influence of v. 18.

b p46 B syp omit ἡμῶν.

'For this insignificant, [36] momentary [37] affliction [38] of ours is producing [39] for us in extraordinary measure [40] an eternal [41] weight [42] of glory beyond all comparison'. [43]

The ongoing renewal of Paul's 'inner person' has profound, eternal consequences: his affliction is producing for him 'an eternal weight of glory' of such an extraordinary magnitude that, in  comparison, the suffering that attends his ministry is momentary and insignificant (cf. Rom 8:17-18). There is a clear echo of 1:8, [44] Οὐ γὰρ θέλομεν ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν, ἀδελφοί, ὑπὲρ τῆς θλίψεως ἡμῶν τῆς γενομένης ἐν τῇ Ἀσίᾳ, ὅτι καθ᾽ὑπερβολὴν ὑπὲρ δύναμιν ἐβαρήθημεν. Though at the height of this affliction the apostle was 'oppressed so far beyond endurance that we despaired even of life', he now considers 'the lightness of  our momentary affliction' (τὸ παραυτίκα ἐλαφρὸν τῆς θλίψεως) a mere trifle compared with the 'eternal heaviness of glory' [45] that it is producing for him! [46] Hafemann comments, 'This insight and assurance did not come naturally. Paul had to learn this profound truth (cf. 1:8-11), the process of which is itself an essential part of his inward renewal... Just as Paul has grown to trust God to sustain him under the "weight" of his afflictions, so too Paul has come to see that the "weight" of his glory far surpasses that of his afflictions'. [47] The glory Paul speaks of is the glory of Christ reflected ever more brightly in his renewed inner being as he is transformed into Christ's image. The apostle carries about this glorious image in his 'earthen vessel', and the life of Jesus is manifest in his mortal flesh (3:18; 4:4, 6, 7, 10-11). As Savage points out, however, 'His critics fail to see this increasing weight of glory because it is accumulating in his heart (v. 6), a place hidden to their externally minded outlook'; [48] cf. 5:12.


μὴ σκοπούντων ἡμῶν τὰ βλεπόμενα ἀλλὰ τὰ μὴ βλεπόμενα· τὰ γὰρ βλεπόμενα πρόσκαιρα, τὰ δὲ μὴ βλεπόμενα αἰώνια. Οἴδαμεν γὰρ ὅτι ἐὰν ἐπίγειος ἡμῶν οἰκία τοῦ σκήνους καταλυθῇ, οἰκοδομὴν ἐκ θεοῦ ἔχομεν, οἰκίαν ἀχειροποίητον αἰώνιον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.

'So [49] we keep our eyes, [50] not on the things that can be seen, but on the things that cannot be seen; for what can be seen is transitory, [51] but what cannot be seen is eternal'. [52]

Though Paul's sufferings are gradually destroying his body and death is visibly at work in him (vv. 7-12, 16b), he does not brood on his sufferings, nor on his lowly persona; [53] rather, he keeps his focus on his glorious heavenly destiny. His sufferings will come to an end, but the great glory that they are producing for him, though it cannot be seen by mortal eyes, will never fade (v. 17). He fears neither suffering nor death.


Οἴδαμεν γὰρ ὅτι ἐὰν ἡ ἐπίγειος ἡμῶν οἰκία τοῦ σκήνους καταλυθῇ, οἰκοδομὴν ἐκ θεοῦ ἔχομεν, οἰκίαν ἀχειροποίητον αἰώνιον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.

'For [54] we know [55] that if [56] the earthly [57] tabernacle we live in [58] is taken down, [59] we have a building [60]from God, a dwelling [61] not made by [human] hands, [62] eternal [63] in Heaven [64].'

Paul's unflinching courage (v. 16a) and his orientation to the invisible world (v. 18a) are rooted in his knowledge of his eschatological destiny. [65] If his earthly body [66] should be destroyed (before the Parousia), a temporary dwelling belonging to the realm of the visible, he has in Heaven a building from God, a permanent dwelling belonging to the realm of the invisible and the eternal. This heavenly building is further characterized as ἀχειροποίητος, 'not made with (human) hands'. Though the term χειροποίητος, 'made with hands' is attested since Herodotus, its negation ἀχειροποίητος does not occur in the LXX, and is not found in non-Christian sources until the 3rd century AD. [67] The term does occur, however, in a misrepresentation of a Jesus-saying in Mark 14:58, and also in Col 2:12. Besides ἀχειροποίητος, the present verse also has other verbal links with Mark 14:58 (καταλύω, οἰκοδομή / οἰκοδομέω), and it is possible that Paul intends an echo here of an original Logion in which ἀχειροποίητος characterizes Christ's body as Temple (cf. John 2:19). [68] It is at least clear that Paul's οἰκία τοῦ σκήνους is to be understood as a temple or tabernacle, for in addition,

  Paul considered his earthly body a sanctuary (ναός) of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19).
  In 3:16-18 he has compared his fellowship with the indwelling Holy Spirit with Moses' encounters with the pre-incarnate Christ in the Tent of Meeting.
  The imagery of transformation into the glorious divine image (3:18) is echoed in 4:17, recalling 3:16-18 and evoking the OT Tabernacle.

Paul refers to his earthly body as σκῆνος. The cognate term σκηνή, 'a place of shelter, frequently of temporary quarters in contrast to fixed abodes of solid construction, tent, hut' (BDAG s.v. 1), is the usual designation in the LXX for Yahweh's Tabernacle (BDAG s.v. 1bα), with about 75 instances in Exodus alone. Unlike σκῆνος it is never used, in the LXX or elsewhere as a synonym for 'body'. [69]

The heavenly building that will supersede the apostle's earthly body, then, must also be understood as, in some sense, a sanctuary (cf. Phil 3:21).


καὶ γὰρ ἐν τούτῳ στενάζομεν τὸ οἰκητήριον ἡμῶν τὸ ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἐπενδύσασθαι ἐπιποθοῦντες, 3 εἴ γε a καὶ ἐνδυσάμενοι b οὐ γυμνοὶ εὑρεθησόμεθα. 4 καὶ γὰρ οἱ ὄντες ἐν τῷ σκήνει c στενάζομεν βαρούμενοι d, ἐφ᾽ οὐ θέλομεν ἐκδύσασθαι ἀλλ᾽ ἐπενδύσασθαι, ἵνα καταποθῇ τὸ θνητὸν ὑπὸ τῆς ζωῆς.

a εἴπερ is read by p46 B D F G 33 1175 pc; εἴ γε is read by א C K L P and the majority of witnesses. The combination εἴπερ καί is far more common in both Attic and Hellenistic Greek than is εἴ γε καί, and εἴ γε καί is the more difficult reading. [70]

b ἐκδυσάμενοι is read by D*.c F G ar fc Marcion Tertullian Speculum,  and this reading has been adopted by UBS4/NA28; however, ἐνδυσάμενοι has p46 א B C D2 K L P Ψ 0243 33 81 104 365 630 1175 1241 1505 1739 1881 2464 Majority Text lat sy co Clement. Metzger summarizes the thinking of the majority of the UBS committee as follows (though he adds a dissenting note): 'with ἐνδυσάμενοι the apostle’s statement is banal and even tautologous, whereas with ἐκδυσάμενοι it is characteristically vivid and paradoxical (“inasmuch as we, though unclothed, shall not be found naked”)'. [71] F G read ἐκλυσάμενοι, probably a copying error (ΕΚΛ for ΕΚΔ).

c D F G 81 (104) 1505 it vgcl sy Tertullian Ambrosiastor Speculum add τούτῷ by assimilation to v. 2.

 d D*.c F G 1505 substitute the synonym  βαρυνόμενοι for βαρούμενοι.

'And indeed, [72] this is why [73] we groan: [74] because we long [75] to put on our heavenly [76] dwelling [77] as an overgarment [78] 3 - assuming, of course, [79] that when we have put [it] [80] on we are not found [81] to be poorly dressed [82]. 4 Yes indeed, [83] while we are in this [84] tent, oppressed [85] as we are, we groan because [86] we want to be (not stripped, [87] but) clothed over, so that what is mortal [88] may be swallowed up [89] by life'.

V. 2. The knowledge that such a dwelling is stored up for him in Heaven fills Paul with a painful longing, so that he groans. [90] The 'building' metaphor of v. 1 images the permanence of the heavenly dwelling, as contrasted with the fragility and transience of his earthly 'tent'. The imagery now shifts, however, to a clothing metaphor: [91] Paul longs to 'put on' the heavenly dwelling as an overgarment. The verb ἐπενδύσασθαι presupposes an undergarment, which must be identified with the earthly body, covering the 'inner person'. [92] Paul's understanding of the process of the resurrection of the body seems to be most simply explained in terms of a new, three-stage creative act of God at the Parousia. First, deceased believers will be resurrected in their original bodies; [93] then, immediately, they will put on over the recreated body of flesh and blood, as an overgarment, the eternal heavenly dwelling from God, which is stored up for then in heaven. Then, in the twinkling of an eye they will be transformed, becoming immortal. [94]

Paul's understanding of the resurrection had been misunderstood, or misrepresented, in Corinth. As Dale Martin notes,

When upper-class writers speak of popular beliefs about restorations of dead persons to life, they sometimes use the term anastasis (or something similar from the same word group) ... Thus when Paul uses the phrase anastasis nekrōn or the like ([1 Cor] 15:21, 42), it would be natural for the Corinthians to imagine a bringing to life of human corpses along lines familiar from popular myth and folklore ... The term Paul uses for "the dead" would also evoke the primary connotation of "corpse." The bodies raised out of graveyards by magicians are called by Lucian "corpses" (nekroi, Lover of Lies 13), as are the emaciated, unfed, dead bodies that credulous people believe occupy the region below the earth (On Funerals 9; see Menippus 17, 18). The most natural way in which a Greek speaker would have heard Paul's language in 1 Corinthians 15 would have been as a reference to what we would call resuscitation of corpses. [95]

These images of the resuscitation, or rather, the recreation of corpses accurately convey Paul's understanding of the first stage of resurrection, but the second stage requires clarification. In 1 Cor 15:42-43 Paul passes over the process of resurrection and transformation, focusing on the outcome, but it is clear that the recreated body will be both glorious and immortal. He continues, however,

What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable (τὸ φθαρτόν) inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed (πάντες δὲ ἀλλαγησόμεθα), 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable body (τὸ θνητόν) must put on (ἐνδύσασθαι) imperishability, and this mortal body (τὸ θνητόν) must put on immortality. 54 When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." (1 Cor 15:50-54 NRSV)

As Hays rightly observes, 'The metaphor of putting on new and glorious clothes suggests that our mortal bodies will not be abolished but encompassed, somehow taken up into the eschatological life the resurrection'. [96] This imagery of putting on a garment (v. 53, which his readers are certainly expected to recall) is clarified in the present passage as the putting on an overgarment. Before mere mortals ('flesh and blood') [97] can inherit the reign of God, they must first put on, over the perishable body, their imperishable heavenly overgarment, so that they may become immortal. Paul longs for his mortal body to be clothed over with his heavenly dwelling, and the instantaneous transformation of his mortal body, groaning as he waits. The imagery of putting on an overgarment may suggest that the form of the transformed body will in some way reflect the form of the earthly body (cf. Ezek 1:26-28; Phil 3:21). [98]

V. 3. Though Paul does not mention it explicitly in the present letter until v. 10, the Corinthians are already familiar with the notion of the judgment of believers, and particularly of leaders. Some will receive wages for their faithful service. Others will be fined: [99] they will be saved, 'but only as one escaping through the flames' (1 Cor 3:12-15). Paul has stated that the earthly bodies of believers will be raised in glory (1 Cor 15:43a; cf. Dan 12:3), though not all will be raised with equal glory (1 Cor 15:41-42a). Despite the 'eternal weight of glory' that is accruing to him through his sufferings (v. 17), he pauses his argument to warn that he does not take for granted the glory even of his own heavenly robe (cf. Phil 3:12-14). [100] In view of 1 Cor 9:24-27, it is clear hat he does not exempt himself from the warning of 1 Cor 3:12-17. He implies that, should he himself severely damage [101] God's church, by falling into sin and thereby leading others astray, or by some other dereliction of his apostolic duty, then God will ruin [102] him - he will suffer the forfeiture of his eternal reward (cf. Gal 1:8). [103] The verb  εὑρεθησόμεθα implies an eschatological scenario in which Paul's state of dress - i.e. the glory of his heavenly body (cf. 4:17), and therefore his social status in the court of Heaven [104] - will be assessed by others. [105] This encounter must surely be that just mentioned in v. 14b; [106] his readers are reminded that, on the same occasion, their state of dress will also be assessed. 

V. 4. Resuming the thought of 5:2, Paul now stresses again that his longing is for an embodied existence, clothed with his heavenly dwelling. It is not that he wants to be stripped of his lowly body, in which he carries about the dying of Jesus (v. 10); despite his sufferings, he harbours no shameful death wish. Rather, he groans as he willingly endures his many afflictions because he longs for 'what is mortal', that is, his earthly body, to be 'swallowed up by life'. His thought again parallels that of 1 Cor 15:50-54: when his mortal body is clothed with his heavenly garment, his mortal flesh and blood will be swallowed up and transformed into an immortal, 'spiritual' body [107] (1 Cor 15:42-44). The clause ἵνα καταποθῇ τὸ θνητὸν ὑπὸ τῆς ζωῆς, 'so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life', recalls his citation of Isa 25:8a in 1 Cor 15:54b. [108] ' Isa 25:8 reads, 'he will swallow up death forever. Then the Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his [109] people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken' (NRSV). Looking beyond death, Paul longs for the Parousia, when he will receive his final consolation, when the social shame of his lowly bodily existence will finally be ended and he will be glorified. [110]


δὲ κατεργασάμενος ἡμᾶς εἰς αὐτὸ τοῦτο θεός, a δοὺς ἡμῖν τὸν ἀρραβῶνα τοῦ πνεύματος.

a א2 D1 K L 33 81 104 365 1241 1505 Majority Text syh Irv.l. Ambst read καὶ δοὺς, perhaps due to assimilation to 1:22. [111]

''Now it is God, who for this very reason [112] prevailed with us, [113] who has given us the first instalment, [114] the Spirit'.

The participle κατεργασάμενος forms an inclusion with the finite verb κατεργάζεται (v. 17); 4:16-5:5 functions as a subunit within the larger unit 4:13-5:10. 'For this very reason' (εἰς αὐτὸ τοῦτο) must refer back to the main point of v. 4: [115] God has prevailed with (κατεργάζομαι) Paul to endure the suffering and humiliation of the gradual destruction of his body, because he longs for his mortal body to be transformed into a glorious, immortal, spiritual body, like that of the Risen Lord (cf. Phil 3:20-21). Despite the intensity of his sufferings he does not turn aside, because his 'inner person' is being renewed day by day, and his 'insignificant and momentary' sufferings are producing (κατεργάζομαι) for him 'in extraordinary measure an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison' (vv. 16-17).

The second clause, δοὺς ἡμῖν τὸν ἀρραβῶνα τοῦ πνεύματος, explains the apostle's confidence in the divine promise, invoking once more the legal metaphor ἀρραβών (cf. 1:22), which implies a binding contract between God and the apostle. God has undertaken to pay him an agreed price; the agreement is made legally binding by the payment of the first instalment. Once the ἀρραβών has been paid, law requires that in due course the full payment must follow. God, who prevailed with Paul to accept his call to apostolic ministry, with all the sufferings and humiliations that call entailed, has given him the Spirit as ἀρραβών, guaranteeing that, at the Parousia, he will receive the heavenly body that he longs for. It seems likely that his longing arose out of his Damascus road vision of the risen Christ, whose broken, crucified body had been so wonderfully transformed; cf. 4:4, 6; Acts 9:15-18.


Θαρροῦντες οὖν πάντοτε καὶ εἰδότες ὅτι ἐνδημοῦντες ἐν τῷ σώματι ἐκδημοῦμεν ἀπὸ τοῦ κυρίου· 7 διὰ πίστεως γὰρ περιπατοῦμεν, οὐ διὰ εἴδους· 8 θαρροῦμεν a δὲ καὶ εὐδοκοῦμεν μᾶλλον ἐκδημῆσαι ἐκ τοῦ σώματος καὶ ἐνδημῆσαι πρὸς τὸν κύριον.

a א 0243 6 33 81 630 1739 1881 2464 Tertullian read θαρροῦντες, evidently by assimilation to v. 6.

'So, since we are always confident, [116] and since we know that while we are at home [117] in the body we are away [118] from the Lord 7 - for we comport ourselves [119] by [120] faith, not by outward appearance [121] 8 - we are confident, I say, [122] and all the more [123] determined [124] to get away from [125] the body and be at home with the Lord'.

V. 6 Paul now draws a conclusion (οὖν) from 4:16-5:5: in view of the daily renewal of his inner person and the disproportionately immense, eternal weight of glory that is accruing to him through his sufferings, and since the indwelling Spirit guarantees that an immortal body from God awaits him at the Parousia, he is always confident (in the face of suffering and death). He is about to go further: since he knows that as long as he remains in his earthly body he is away from the Lord (for full and uninterrupted communion with Christ is not possible during earthly life; 1 Cor 13:12); but he again breaks off for a parenthesis (cf. v. 3), completing the thought in v. 8.

V. 7 The parenthesis διὰ πίστεωςγὰρ περιπατοῦμεν, οὐ διὰ εἴδους explains (γάρ) Paul's knowledge that while he is at home in the body he is away from the Lord. While he remains in the body, he is unable to commune with the risen and exalted Christ face to face; rather, he lives and conducts his ministry by faith, trusting in the promises of God. [126] However, by his choice of the term εἶδος, which in addition to the sense 'seeing, sight' can mean 'form', 'outward appearance', [127] Paul introduces an intertextual echo, evoking vivid imagery which powerfully reinforces his point. [128] In 3:16-18, he has already alluded to Num 12:8 LXX: in the conduct of his ministry, Moses was privileged to enter regularly the presence of the pre-incarnate Christ. He would speak with him ἐν εἴδει, 'in visible form', [129] and would see the Glory of the Lord. In the Tent of Meeting Moses was, in effect, at home with the Lord. But in their earthly life, new covenant believers are able to contemplate the glory of the risen, exalted Christ only indirectly; they are away from the Lord. The apostle conducts his ministry through faith, not seeing the εἶδος of the Lord. [130]

Verse 7 plays also a second role in Paul's apologetic: it deprives his opponents of another opportunity to ridicule him. In vv. 6, 8 the apostle expresses a longing to die and to be at home with the Lord. But as Vogel points out, 'He who wants to die, but nevertheless stays alive, must be able to justify this, according to the ancient understanding, if he does not want to lose his credibility'. [131] Paul's implied response is that, despite his absence from his heavenly home, through faith he is in fact able to commune with the Lord. He is therefore able to persevere in his minstry, constantly ready to leave his earthly life when it is required of him. A notable parallel is found in Seneca: 'When the day comes to separate the earthly from the heavenly blend, I shall leave the body here where I found it, and shall of my own volition betake myself to the gods. I am not apart from them now,but am merely detained in a heavy and earthly prison'. [132]

V. 8 Having prepared the ground, Paul is now ready to draw the conclusion that he signalled in v. 6: being confident in the face of death, and knowing that while he is at home in the body he is away from the Lord, he is determined more than ever to get away from the body and be at home with the Lord. The repetition of θαρρεῖν underscores his confidence. The task of carrying about in his body the image of the crucified yet risen Messiah is taking its toll. Death is at work in him (4:12); his body is being progressively destroyed (4:16). But God has prevailed with him to accept this (5:5), and he is determined to see it through. The knowledge that only by dying can he enter the visible presence of the Lord to dwell with him forever strengthens him in this determination.

Vogel has shown that, from the perspective of the ancient ethics of dying, Paul's readiness to die, rooted as it is in the temporary nature and imperfection of bodily existence, asserts an attitude which 'would have been prized in the Hellenistic culture as characteristic of an integrated personality'. [133] In claiming to be of good cheer (θαρρεῖν) in the face of death, Paul represents his life and character as virtuous [134] as does, insofar as he intends his death to be by his own volition, his determination to give up his life in the service of the gospel. [135] Paul therefore wishes his readers to understand that his readiness to stand with hem before the judgement of God, knowing that it might well lead to his premature death, was not the reckless act of a fool, as his opponents have alleged (1:17), but a manifestation of his exemplary character. [136]

Paul has previously referred to the present state of deceased believers as 'asleep in Christ' (1 Cor 15:18; cf. 1 Thess 4:14); [137] whereas he speaks here of being 'away from the body and at home with the Lord'. But in both cases his language implies continuity of the believer's relationship with Christ after death, [138] and there is no clear indication of a substantive change in Paul's understanding of  the 'intermediate state' since 1 Corinthians. The apostle is determined to leave his earthly body and to sleep in the Lord's presence until he is awakened at the Parousia. A state of deep, dreamless sleep was considered a positive thing. [139]



διὸ καὶ φιλοτιμούμεθα, εἴτε ἐνδημοῦντες εἴτε ἐκδημοῦντες, εὐάρεστοι αὐτῷ εἶναι.

'So whether at home or away, we make it our aim [140] to be pleasing [141] to him'.

Paul now draws a self-evident conclusion (διὸ καί): [142] he makes it his ambition to be pleasing to the Lord. That is, for the third time, he asserts his determination not to turn aside from his duty (cf. 4:1, 16a). [143] He knows that his continuing obedience in fulfilling his call to apostolic ministry will lead to the fulfilment of his desire to leave his body and be at home with the Lord. Naturally, then, he makes it his ambition to be pleasing to the Lord, whether at home or away. For if he remains faithful and does not turn aside, then when the time comes for him to leave his body and enter a state of sleep in the Lord (1 Thess 5:10), and when he is awoken to put on his heavenly dwelling, he can be confident that he will continue to be pleasing to the Lord. [144]

The verse echoes Psalm 114:9 LXX, εὐαρεστήσω ἐναντίον κυρίου ἐν χώρᾳ ζώντων (NETS, 'I will be well pleasing to the Lord in the country of the living'). [145] Paul identifies with the figure portrayed in the Psalm (4:13), and takes him as his exemplar. Since the speaker, having been delivered from death, is confident that he will be pleasing to Yahweh 'in the land of the living' so Paul, having been delivered from death, makes it his ambition to be pleasing to Christ, whether he requires him to remain 'at home in the body' or to leave his body and reside with his Lord. Danker comments, 'The term [φιλοτιμέομαι] was frequently used in reference to civic-minded people who vied for recognition as people of exceptional quality. By combining the adjective euarestos with the verb philotimeo Paul affirms that he desires to pass audit as a person of exceptional integrity'. [146]


τοὺς γὰρ πάντας ἡμᾶς φανερωθῆναι δεῖ ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ βήματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἵνα κομίσηται ἕκαστος τὰ διὰ a τοῦ σώματος πρὸς ἔπραξεν, εἴτε ἀγαθὸν εἴτε φαῦλον b.

a p46,99 365 lat Cyprian read ἴδια for διά.

b p46 B D F G Ψ K L P Ψ 104 1175 1241 1505 2464 Majority Text Clement read κακόν for φαῦλον. φαῦλον is read by א C 048 0243 33 81 326 365 630 1739 (1881). Since Paul opposes κακός to ἀγαθός in Rom 2:9-10; 3:8; 7:19; 12:21; 13:3; 16:19; cf. 1 Thess 5:15, whereas he opposes φαῦλον to ἀγαθός only here and in Rom 9:11, it is argued that a scribe familiar with Romans would be more likely to substitute κακόν for φαῦλον than vice versa. [147] Though with some hesitation I have accepted the reading φαῦλον, it is in my view rather uncertain.

'For we must all [148] appear before the tribunal [149] of Christ so that each one may receive a recompense for [150] the [deeds performed] [151] during life [152] in  the body in accordance with [153] those things which [154] were done, [155] whether [156] good [157] or bad [158]'.

A further reason for Paul's desire to please the Lord is that 'we all', all believers, must appear before Christ's judgment seat, to be rewarded for what we individually have done. Our deeds in this life will be impartially evaluated in light of their motivations (cf. 1 Cor 4:5), and our reward will be determined by the sum of our deeds. [159] Paul has indicated already that, though his ministry involves him in considerable suffering, his faithfulness is producing 'an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison' (4:17); he has also warned earlier that unfaithfulness in ministry will lead to the loss of reward, even to total loss (1 Cor 3:12-17). The stakes, therefore, could not be higher. In the Greco-Roman world, people of exceptional merit were recognised in public assemblies; [160] Paul looks forward to being recognised, with his Corinthian converts, in the court of Heaven (4:14), where the eternal glory of his spiritual body will signify his honour.

Commenting on the parallel passages 2 Cor 5:10; Rom 2:6; 14:10, Barrett notes, 'The lack of formal consistency (not only between the epistles but within Romans) is not insignificant Christologically. God carries out judgement, but he carries it out through Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ judges, and his judgement is the judgement of God'. [161]

[1] Thrall, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 339 n 1041.

[2] BDAG s.v. πνεῦμα 3c; Eph 4:23; 1 Pet 3:4.

[3] The original Hebrew is a little different from the LXX, which has διό ('therefore') in place of כי ('when', or 'even though'; HALOT s.v. B10, 12).

[4] Every morning at various annual festivals the Temple choir sang the Hallel, Psalms 113-118; Beale and Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament 471.

[5] Wright, Resurrection of the Son God 363.

[6] Thrall, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 338-339.

[7] See Olson, Epistolary Uses of Expressions of Self-Confidence 585; 587 n 5.

[8] εἰδότες - perfect participles are almost always causal (Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics 631.

[9] BDAG s.v. σύν 1bg: ' To the personal object accusative of the verb in the active, σύν adds other persons who are undergoing the same experience'.

[10] BDAG s.v. παρίστημι/παριστάνω 1bb; cf. Sir 23:22-23; Psa 49(50):21 (cf. 1 Clem 35:10); Acts 1:3; 9:41; Col 1:22; 2 Tim 2:15 (Baumert, Täglich Sterben und auferstehen 94-95, 297-99.

[11] Commenting on Paul's application of Psalm 69:9 in Rom 15:3, which he understands to call the Roman Christians to follow the example of Christ in vicarious suffering, Hays rightly states, 'One must have hope to live sacrificially as Jesus did, even in the midst of conflict and suffering, trusting that God wills the community's eschatological unity (vv. 5-6)' (The Conversion of the Imagination 113).

[12] Vogel, Commentatio Mortis 255, points out that the fact that Paul says nothing of eschatological boasting in 4:14, though he has made known that this is his view (1:14), nor of the cordial understanding between apostle and church (1 Thess 2:19f; Phil 2:16) constitutes 'an eloquent silence' (ein beredtes Schweigen).

[13] BDAG s.v. γάρ 2, marker of clarification.

[14] BDAG s.v. πλεονάζω 1.

[15] BDAG s.v. πολύς ̓́ββא.

[16] BDAG s.v. εὐχαριστία 2.

[17] BDAG s.v. περισσεύω 2a.

[18] Baumert, Täglich Sterben 109.

[19] I owe this point to Iver Larsen.

[20] Thrall, Second Epistle to the Corinthians I.348 n 1093.

[21] ἐγκακέω - see note to 4:1

[22] εἰ καί - BDAG s.v. εἰ 6e. Cf. 4:3; 5:16; 7:8, 12.

[23] BDAG s.v. διαφθείρω 1.

[24] BDF §448(5); BDAG s.v. ἀλλά 4a.

[25] The expression ἔσω ἡμῶν [ἄνθρωπος] is usually translated 'our inner man'; however, ἔσω is an adverb, and 'the man within us' is more precise (Van Kooten, Paul's Anthropology in Context 358-359). However, ἔξω is also an adverb, and the corresponding expression 'the man outside us' would be misleading.

[26] BDAG s.v. ἀνακαινόω.

[27] The expression ἡμέρᾳ καὶ ἡμέρᾳ occurs in Ps 67(68):20, where it translates יום יום (BDAG s.v. ἡμέρα 2e.

[28] Fitzgerald, Cracks in an Earthen Vessel 181 who, however, takes οὐκ ἐγκακοῦμεν to mean, 'we do not despair'.

[29] 'the side of life contrasted w. physical existence, the higher, mental part of a human being that initiates thoughts and plans'; BDAG s.v. νοῦς 1a.

[30] As Aune rightly says, 'Even though "the inner person" in Rom 7:22 refers to what the individual ought to be in contrast to what he or she actually is, Paul's use of ἔσω ἄνθρωπος in both passages is basically similar'; Aune, Anthropological Duality in the Eschatology of 2 Cor 4:16-5:10, pages 215-240 in Engberg-Pedersen (ed.), Paul Beyond the Judaism / Hellenism Divide 221.

[31] Van Kooten, Paul's Anthropology in Context 258-62.

[32] Van Kooten, Paul's Anthropology in Context 366-370; quotation from 370. Weissenrieder and Etzelmüller have recently challenged Van Kooten's conclusions; unfortunately  I am currently unable to access their paper.

[33] Van Kooten, Paul's Anthropology in Context 258-64.

[34] Whitmarsh, The Second Sophistic 34; quoted by Van Kooten, Paul's Anthropology in Context 337.

[35] Hafemann, 2 Corinthians 190.

[36] BDAG s.v. ἐλαφρός 1, 'light in weight'; figurative sense, 'easy to bear'.

[37] παραυτίκα, 'pertaining to a point of time immediately subsequent to another point of time'; here Danker suggests, 'slight momentary trouble' (BDAG s.v.).

[38] τὸ ... ἐλαφρὸν τῆς θλίψεως, literally, 'the lightness of the affliction' - the articular neuter adjective serves as an abstract substantive, BDF §263(2); cf. 8:8 (τὸ τῆς ὑμετέρας ἀγάπης γνήσιον, 'the genuineness of your love'); Rom 2:4; Phil 3:8. Harris comments, 'This construction has the effect of highlighting the idea of the adjective, probably in contrast with the following word ν βάρος' (The Second Epistle to the Corinthians 361).

[39] BDAG s.v. κατεργάζομαι 2, 'to cause a state or condition'.

[40] εἰς ὑπερβολὴν. Here εἰς is a marker of degree (BDAG s.v. 3).

[41] BDAG s.v. αἰώνιος s.v. 3.

[42] LSJ s.v. βάρος II.

[43] καθ᾽ ὑπερβολὴν, BDAG s.v. κατά B.5bβ.

[44] Savage, Power Through Weakness 183.

[45] The phrase αἰώνιον βάρος δόξης can be understood and translated in other ways, e.g., 'a tremendous and eternal glory' (GNB, taking βάρος adjectivally), or 'an imperishable weight of glory' (TCNT); see Harris, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians 361f; but the symmetry of Paul's thought favours taking βάρος to be substantive and αἰώνιος in the sense 'eternal'.

[46] The Hebrew כבוד, which in the vast majority of instances the LXX renders with δόξα, can have the sense 'heaviness' (HALOT s.v. כבוד A1).

[47] Hafemann, 2 Corinthians 190.

[48] Savage, Power through weakness 183.

[49] Taking the participle σκοπούντων to express result (e.g. NIV, NLT, HCSB). Since the point of v. 17 is not that Paul's afflictions are light, or that he bears them lightly, but that through them he acquires glory, the participle is unlikely to be conditional or causative (Baumert, Täglich Sterben 136-7); however, the clause could perhaps express attendant circumstances ('meanwhile', NEB; 'while', NASB; 'as', ESV). Thrall comments, 'The genitive absolute construction μὴ σκοπούντων ἡμῶν is not strictly correct according to classical standards, since its subject, ἡμῶν, is identical with the ἡμῖν of v. 17. It is in line, however, with a tendency, found elsewhere (in the NT, the LXX, the papyri, Hermas), to use the absolute construction rather than to use a participial clause attached grammatically to the noun or pronoun in the main sentence to which in sense it refers ... The effect is to give greater independence and significance to the clause' (Second Epistle to the Corinthians 355 n 38; cf. BDF §423(5).

[50] BDAG s.v. σκοπέω, 'pay careful attention to'.

[51] BDAG s.v. πρόσκαιρος.

[52] BDAG s.v. αἰώνιος 3, 'without end'.

[53] While βλέπω can refer to an inner process (e.g. 2 Cor 7:8), it must refer here to physical sight (cf. αὐγάζω, 4:4, where the sense is clearly metaphorical).

[54] BDAG s.v. γάρ 2, marker of clarification.

[55] In line with Paul's practise throughout 2:14-7:4, οἴδαμεν is a literary plural (cf. 4:12, and contrast ἡμεῖς πάντες, 3:18; πάντας ἡμᾶς, 5:10, where the Corinthians are explicitly included).

[56] Here ἐάν is 'used with subjunctive to denote what is expected to occur, under certain circumstances, from a given standpoint in the present, either general or specific'; BDAG s.v. ἐάν 1a. The condition is third class.

[57] BDAG s.v. ἐπίγειος, s.v. 1, 'pertaining to what is characteristic of the earth as opposed to heavenly'.

[58] BDAG s.v. σκῆνος; τοῦ σκήνους is in apposition to οἰκία (BDF §168; ATR 498). In imagery, οἰκία is used of  the body as the habitation of the soul (BDAG s.v. οἰκία  1b). BDAG glosses σκῆνος, 'a temporary abode as opposed to a permanent structure, tent, lodging', but notes that this sense 'is not found in our literature'. The figurative sense, of the human body, emphasizing both its temporary and insubstantial nature, was widespread throughout the Hellenistic world. (Aune, Anthropological Duality in the Eschatology of 2 Cor 4:16-5:10, pages 215-240 in Engberg-Pedersen (ed.), Paul Beyond the Judaism / Hellenism Divide, 224-26).

[59] BDAG s.v. καταλύω 2b, opposite οἰκοδομεῖν,  'destroy, demolish, dismantle'.

[60] BDAG s.v. οἰκοδομή 2b.

[61] οἰκίαν is appositional to οἰκοδομὴν.

[62] BDAG s.v. ἀχειροποίητος.

[63] BDAG s.v. αἰώνιος 3, 'without end'.

[64] BDAG s.v. οὐρανός 2.

[65] 'Sein unbeirrbarer Mut und seine Orientierung an der unsichtbaren Welt wurzeln in seinem Wissen um sein eschatologisches Geschick'; Vogel, Commentatio Mortis 228).

[66] The term σκῆνος commonly has the sense 'body' (LSJ s.v. II; BDAG s.v.; Aune,  Anthropological Duality in the Eschatology of 2 Cor 4:16-5:10, pages 215-240 in Engberg-Pedersen (ed.), Paul Beyond the Judaism / Hellenism Divide 224-26. Michaelis, TDNT 7:381 says, 'The normal use is the transferred one for a body dead or alive, the human body').

[67] BDAG s.v. cites only Ps-Callisthenes 1 ,34, 6.

[68] Harris, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 374, thinks this 'highly probable'.

[69] Michaelis, TDNT 7:381.

[70] Harris, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 368; detailed defence in Thrall, ' "Putting on" or "stripping off" in 2 Corinthians 5:3', pp. 221-37 in New Testament Textual Criticism. Its Significance for Exegesis (FS BM Metzger) 223-29.

[71] Metzger, Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament Second Edition 511.

[72] For this sense of καὶ γάρ see Denniston, The Greek Particles 109 (he renders, 'Yes and' or 'And further'); Baumert, Täglich Sterben 167; 350-80 (Excursus G). Furnish, II Corinthians 266, following Baumert, renders 'Also, indeed'.

[73] BDAG s.v. οὗτος 1aα; s.v. ἐν 9a; Vogel, Commentatio Mortis 240-41.

[74] BDAG s.v. στενάζω 1, 'to express oneself involuntarily in the face of an unbearable circumstance'.

[75] Taking the participle ἐπιποθοῦντες to be causal; BDAG s.v. ἐπιποθέω, 'to have a strong desire for something, with implication of need'.

[76] Paul makes no distinction between οὐρανός and οὐρανοί - cf. ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν (1 Thess 1:10) with ἀπʼ οὐρανοῦ (1 Thess 4:16), in each case in reference to the Parousia. (Harris, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 381).

[77] BDAG s.v. οἰκητήριον.

[78] BDAG s.v. ἐπενδύομαι, 'to put on a garment over an existing garment'.

[79] Or 'if indeed'; BDAG s.v. εἴ 6b; s.v. γέ bα (the ἐκδυσάμενοι variant is assumed in citing the present verse); BDF §439(2).

[80] BDAG s.v. ἐνδύω 2a comments, 'here it is uncertain whether an object is to be supplied, or whether we might translate: when we have dressed ourselves'.

[81] BDAG s.v. εὑρίσκω 2, 'to discover intellectually through reflection, observation, examination, or investigation'.

[82] BDAG s.v. γυμνός 2, 'pertaining to being inadequately clothed' This sense is found in the biblical tradition in association with hunger (cf. Tob 1:17; 4:16; Job 22:6; Isa 58:7; Matt 25:36, 38; Jas 2:15, as an image of destitution; Oepke, TDNT I:773f. Cf. NET, 'if indeed, after we have put on our heavenly house, we will not be found naked'.

[83] γάρ is resumptive (BDAG s.v. γάρ 3), cf. NJB.

[84] σκήνει is anaphoric (cf. 5:1).

[85] BDAG s.v. βαρέω b; construing αρούμενοι with οἱ ὄντες ἐν τῷ σκήνει, following Vogel, Commentatio Mortis 290.

[86] Here ἐφ᾽ seems, to be short for ἐπὶ τούτῳ ὅτι (ATR 604, 722; BDF §§235(2); 294(4); Moulton, Prolegomena 107; Moule, Idiom Book 153; Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics 342; Thrall, Second Epistle to the Corinthians I 380-81, and most interpreters): 'because', 'inasmuch as', 'for this precise reason'. In its other NT instances, Rom 5:12; Phil 3:12; 4:10, the expression also appears to be causal. There are other suggestions, but they have found little support. Baumert argues that the expression is in fact short for ἐπὶ τούτῳ , 'on account of that which' (Täglich Sterben 195), the relative pronoun having been attracted in the usual way to the case of its unexpressed antecedent: ἐπὶ τούτῳ, οὐ θέλομεν κτλ. Hence he renders, 'wir stöhnen vor Belastung aufgrund von denn, was wir nicht willens sind ausziehen, sondern überzuziehen' ('we groan under the burden, on account of that which we do not want to strip off, but rather to clothe over'; Täglich sterben 195; also Excursus I, pp 386-401). Danker thinks ἐφ᾽ is a common commercial metaphor (Sin under Law). Thrall, Greek Particles in the New Testament 94 and Bruce, 1 and 2 Corinthians 203 have suggested that the phrase ἐφ᾽ signifies here 'provided that', as in Classical Greek (against this view see, e.g., Barrett, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 155-56; Furnish, II Corinthians 269; Harris, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 387).

[87] Taking οὐ with ἐκδύσασθαι; cf. NJB, 'not that we want to be stripped of our covering'. Though 'the negative stands as a rule before that which is negated' (BDF §433), there are exceptions to the rule (a nice example is 1 Cor 15:51, πάντες οὐ κοιμηθησόμεθα. If the rule is followed, no one dies). Here, as Bachmann, Der zweite Brief des Paulus an die Korinther 231 rightly observes, the negation `zum regierenden Verbum gezogen [ist], anstatt dahin, wohin sie eigentlich gehört, nämlich zum Infinitiv' ('is drawn from the governing verb to where it really belongs, namely, with the infinitive'). The same phenomen occurs in Paul's favourite idiom, οὐ θέλω ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν (Rom 1:13; 11:25; 1 Cor 10:1; 12:1; 2 Cor 1:8; 1 Thess 4:13); the sense is, 'I want to be not ignorant', i.e., 'I want you to know'. Bultmann, Der zweite Brief an die Korinther 139f; Strachan, The Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians 99; Hughes, Commentary on the Second Epistle to the Corinthians 169; especially Vogel, Commentatio Mortis 291.

[88] BDAG s.v. θνητός.

[89] BDAG s.v. καταπίνω 3.

[90] Vogel comments, 'Just as the "earthen vessels" cannot be understood without the "treasure" within (4:7), and "Death" being effectively in Paul's σῶμα cannot be understood without its addressees getting a share in "Life" (4:12), just as it is not the "outer" man that counts for anything but the "inner" (4:16), nor the temporal θλῖψις but the eternal δόξα (4:17), nor the "visible", but the "invisible" (4:18), so too Paul's externally observable, painful "groaning" has, for its correct understanding, an essential inner aspect: the longing for salvation beyond death ... Where his detractors see only the emotional and affective fallout of an ultimately fatal "case history", Paul speaks of his personal focus on the God-initiated and completed "salvation history". He certainly "groans", but not from pain or despair; rather, from a painful longing for the promised salvation'; Commentatio Mortis 241.

[91] 'Garment' and 'tent' appear as parallel metaphors in Psa 104(103):1-2, 'Praise the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. 2 He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent'. (NIV)

[92] Burkert, 'Towards Plato and Paul: the "Inner" Human Being', in Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the Bible and Culture 59-82, 71, notes the image of the flesh as a garment covering the soul in Empedocles' Katharmoi, in a discussion of the transmigration of souls (DK B 126).

[93] Cf. Hos 6:2; 13:14 LXX; Job 42:17a LXX; Isa 26:19; Dan 12:2-3, 13; 2 Macc 7:9-11, 14, 21-23, 28f, 31-33; 12:43-44; 14:16; for a survey and discussion of resurrection traditions in the OT and post-Biblical Judaism, see Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God 85-206. Cf. also John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15; 2 Clem 9:1, 5.

[94] Cf. 1 Thess 4:14-17, which also envisages a two-stage process.

[95] D. Martin, The Corinthian Body 122-123.

[96] Hays, First Corinthians 275.

[97] In the Greek literature prior to the second century, the expression 'flesh and blood' (σὰρξ καὶ αἷμα) is found only here and in Gal 1:16; Matt 16:17; Sir 14:18; 17:31, in each case as a metonymic idiom for humanity (Johnson, Turning the World Upside Down in 1 Corinthians 15, EvQ 75 (2003) 291-309, 305 n 51). In Gal 1:16; Matt 16:17, it has the nuance of being merely human, as opposed to divine; in Sir 14:18, of frailty/mortality; in Sir 17:31, of spiritual blindness/sinfulness. Johnson points out that that the Gentile readers of Galatians are expected to recognize the idiom.

[98] Contra, e.g., Lindemann, Der Erste Korintherbrief 357.

[99] The building/temple metaphor of 1 Cor 3:9b-17 draws upon ancient construction contracts; the language of pay or wages (μισθός) for work done correctly, and of being fined (ζημιόω) for work that is substandard, belongs to the metaphor. Shanor, Paul as Master Builder.

[100] Moule, St. Paul and Dualism 218 n 39, comments, 'Nobody, to the best of my knowledge, has so far found any evidence to support the view that εἴ γε καὶ (as contrasted with plain εἴ γε) can express confidence rather than doubt'.

[101] The verb φθείρω appears in building contracts with the sense  'cause damage to' (Shanor, Paul as Master Builder 470-471). Cf. also BDAG s.v. φθείρω 2, 'to cause deterioration of the inner life, ruin, corrupt'.

[102] BDAG s.v. φθείρω 1a, 'to ruin financially', as a metaphor for the total loss of one's work, and hence of heavenly reward.

[103] As Harris rightly comments, 'If it be objected that Christians could not be recompensed for sins that have been forgiven, one must recall that even in this life Christians who sin may receive recompense for "deeds performed through the body" (cf. 1 Cor 5:4-5; 11:29-30)'; Second Epistle to the Corinthians 408 n 244.

[104] In Phil 3:21, the opposition τὸ σῶμα τῆς ταπεινώσεως vs. τῷ σώματι τῆς δόξης shows that Paul saw the glory of the spiritual body as a marker of social status.

[105] In the ancient world, total nudity symbolised statuslessness (Vogel, Commentatio Mortis 270-277); should Paul be found to be literally naked, he would be understood to have been stripped of all status. However, in the court of Heaven, even believers who have lost the reward of their labours will have the status of one who belongs to Christ.

[106] BDAG s.v. γυμνός 1, 'pertaining to being without clothes'.

[107] In 1 Cor 15:42-44 the term 'spiritual body' (σῶμα πνευματικόν), as  opposes to 'natural body' (σῶμα ψυχικόν), seems to refer to a body that has been transformed by the Spirit of Christ (πνεῦμα), and which belongs to the realm of Christ. Cf. Johnson, Turning the World Upside Down in 1 Corinthians 15, EvQ 75 (2003) 291-309.

[108] Isa 25:8 is combined with Hos 13:14 in 1 Cor 15:54b-55 by means of gezerah shewah. Paul's source is a non-LXX tradition which seems to be reflected also in Aqila and Symmachus, as well as Theodotion uncial Q; see Heil, The Rhetorical Role of Scripture in 1 Corinthians 247-249.

[109] Following the MT. The antecedent of the pronoun is not defined; most interpreters take it to refer to Yahweh, but it is possible to read 'its', referring to 'all the land'; Watts, Isaiah 1-33 329. 

[110] Although the image of 'swallowing up' (καταπίνω) can be understood in the positive sense of 'assimilation', the negative meaning of total destruction is far more frequent, especially in Septuagintal Greek. The metaphor then refers to 'a total, final releasing process, in the negative sense of a hostile destruction'. (Vogel, Commentatio Mortis 304, quoting Goppelt).

[111] Thrall, Second Epistle to the Corinthians I.385 n 1363.

[112] BDAG s.v. εἰς 4f; s.v. αὐτός 1g.

[113] LSJ s.v. κατεργάζομαι I.2c with accusative personal object. The sense 'prepare' (BDAG s.v. κατεργάζομαι 2), which is commonly assumed, seems to lack lexical support (the only texts cited by BDAG for this sense, Herodotus, VII 6.1, and Xenophon, Mem. II 3.11, are not convincing). See Moule, St Paul and Dualism 215 n 31; Thrall, Second Epistle to the Corinthians I:383 n 1357; Vogel, Commentatio Mortis 307-310.

[114] BDAG s.v. ἀρραβών.

[115] Von Hofmann, Der zweite Brief Pauli an die Korinther 130; cited by Vogel, Commentatio Mortis 310.

[116] BDAG s.v. θαρρέω, 'o have certainty in a matter, be confident, be courageous'. The main verb is εὐδοκοῦμεν (v. 8); θαρροῦντες is resumed by θαρροῦμεν, after the parenthesis of v. 7 (ATR 440). Harris notes that v. 7 'may be termed a parenthesis in the technical sense, since it is complete in itself, is connected with the preceding statement by way of explanation (γάρ), and obstructs the grammatical flow of v. 6'; Second Epistle to the Corinthians 396, citing Winer, A Grammar of the Idiom of the New Testament 561-62, 565.

[117] BDAG s.v. ἐνδημέω.

[118] BDAG s.v. ἐκδημέω 2, 'to be in a strange land'.

[119] BDAG s.v. περιπατέω 2, 'conduct one's life'.

[120] BDAG s.v. διά A3, 'marker of instrumentality or circumstance whereby something is accomplished or effected, by, via, through'.

[121] BDAG s.v. εἶδος 1.

[122]  Here δὲ καί is a fortuitous collocation, not a particle combination; δέ is resumptive. See Denniston, Greek Particles li-liii, 182; ATR 1135; Harris, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 399.

[123] BDAG s.v. μᾶλλον 2, 'for a better reason'. For comparable examples of μᾶλλον qualifying a preceding verb, see Vogel, Commentatio Mortis 339 n 389.

[124] BDAG s.v. εὐδοκέω 1, 'to consider something good and therefore worthy of choice', with infinitive following. Danker suggests 'prefer' here, citing Sir 25:16 and Polybius 18.35.4, but Sir 25:16 has the comparativeand lacks μᾶλλον (συνοικῆσαι λέοντι καὶ δράκοντι εὐδοκήσω ἢ συνοικῆσαι μετὰ γυναικὸς πονηρᾶς), and Polybius, Hist. 18.35.4 seems to be cited in error. Vogel notes also Hermas, Similitudes 5.2.11 (= 55.11), οἱ δὲ ἔτι μᾶλλον συνευδόκησαν γενέσθαι τὸν δοῦλον συνκληρονόμον τῷ υἱῷ αὐτοῦ (they were still more satisfied that the slave should become co-heir with his son)', weighs against the proposed sense (Commentatio Mortis 338-339).

[125] BDAG s.v. ἐκδημέω 1.

[126] Cf. the contrast between seeing (πιστεύειν) and believing (ἰδεῖν) in John 20:29.

[127] BDAG s.v. εἶδος 1.

[128] Cf. the antitheses of 3:3.

[129] The rendering 'by sight' (NIV, NJB, NRS) or 'by seeing' (NLT), is dubious. For this sense BDAG s.v. εἶδος 3 cites three sources: (i) Num 12:8 LXX (ἐν εἴδει); but though the underlying Hebrew, מראה, can mean 'seeing' (HALOT s.v. 1), as Thrall rightly asks, why should the term be rendered by ἐν εἴδει, rather than a participle of an equivalent Greek verb? (Second Epistle to the Corinthians I 388). NETS renders Num 12:8, 'Mouth to mouth I will speak to him, in visible form (ἐν εἴδει) and not in riddles. And he has seen the glory of the Lord'. (ii) The fact that Ps-Clement quotes Num 12:8 in the form στόμα κατὰ στόμα, ἐν εἴδει καὶ οὐ δι᾽ ὁραμάτων καὶ ἐνυπνίων; but Ps-Clement's interpretation of Moses' experience as a dream-like vision sheds little direct light on his understanding of the term εἶδος. (iii) The fact that Severian of Gaabala and Theodoret both interpret 2 Cor 5:7 in this sense. But, despite the fact that they were Greek speakers, their interpretation lacks lexical support, and is not persuasive.

[130] Thrall, Second Epistle to the Corinthians I 357, translates, ''for we live our lives in the sphere of faith, not in the presence of his visible form'.

[131] Vogel, Commentatio Mortis 332.

[132] Seneca, EpMor. 102.22, tr. Gummere. For the notion that after death one ascends to be with the gods (as opposed to the older notion that one descends to Hades), cf. Plato, Phaedo, 63B. Plutarch, De sera numinis vindicta 564E-266A, narrates the myth of Thespius, in which postmortem reward and punishment both take place in the regions above the earth (cited by Aune, Anthropological Duality in the Eschatology of 2 Cor 4:16-5:10, pages 215-240 in Engberg-Pedersen [ed.], Paul Beyond the Judaism / Hellenism Divide, 228).

[133] 'in der hellenistischen Kultur hoch geschätzt wurde als Eigenschaft eines integeren Charakters'; Vogel, Commentatio Mortis 328. Cf. The tenets of the ancient ethics of dying (the ars moriendi) were accepted throughout the Greco-Roman world (ibid. 10-223). Cicero, for example, declares, 'I quit life as if it were an inn, not a home. For Nature has given us an hostelry in which to sojourn, not to abide' (De Senectute 84), and the Jewish Platonist Philo, commenting on Gen 15:13, says, 'God does not grant to the man who loves virtue to dwell in the body as in his own native land, but only to sojourn in it as in a foreign country... But the district of the body is akin to every bad man, and in it he is desirous to abide as a dweller, not as a sojourner'. One who claimed to be of good cheer (θαρρεῖν) in the face of death at the same time represented his life and character as virtuous (Quis rerum divinarum heres sit  267).

[134] Vogel, Commentatio Mortis 317. Plato's Phaedo was foundational to the ancient ethics of dying. In his farewell to his friends and students, just before taking hemlock as required of him by an Athenian court, Socrates says, 'This then is why a man should be of good cheer (θαρρεῖν) about his soul, who in his life has rejected the pleasures and ornaments of the body, thinking they are alien to him and more likely to do him harm than good, and has sought eagerly for those of learning, and after adorning his soul with no alien ornaments, but with its own proper adornment of self-restraint and justice and courage and freedom and truth, awaits his departure to the other world, ready to go when fate calls him'. (Phaedo 114d-115a, Loeb)

[135] Vogel, Commentatio Mortis 342.






[136] Hughes comments, 'there is no question of the Apostle courting death in a spirit of rashness. The wonder and sacredness of the ministry with which he had been entrusted never faded. It was a source of joy and encouragement to him (4:1); and he clearly saw himself as a runner with an earthly course to finish, not to abandon ... and a steward with a ministry to accomplish which he had been given by the Lord Jesus'; Second Epistle to the Corinthians 177.

[137] Paul also refers to death as 'sleep' in 1 Cor 7:39; 11:30; 15:6, 20, 51; 1 Thess 4:13, 15.

[138] Contra Thrall, Second Epistle to the Corinthians I 398.

[139] In comparing death to deep, dreamless sleep Plutarch asks, 'what need is there even to state that the deepest sleep is indeed the sweetest?' (Consolatio ad Apollonium 107D).

[140] BDAG s.v. φιλοτιμέομαι, 'have as one’s ambition, consider it an honor, aspire, with focus on idea of rendering service, with infinitive following''.

[141] BDAG s.v. εὐάρεστος. The term also occurs in Wis 4:10; 9:10; Rom 12:1, 2; 14:18; Phil 4:18; Eph 5:10; Col 3:20; Heb 13:21, in every case with reference to what is acceptable to God; the only exception in LXX/NT is Tit 2:9 (slaves to be acceptable to their masters).

[142] BDAG s.v. διό.

[143] Vogel points out (Commentatio Mortis 352) that there is in v. 9 a 'necessary stylistic streamlining' (notwendigen stilistischen Verschlankung), after the home-away opposition has already been concretized twice by the contrast ῶμα-κύριος.

[144] 'During his present life Paul aims so to act that both now and hereafter he will be pleasing to Christ'; Thrall, Second Epistle to the Corinthians I 393.

[145] The MT is a little different; εὐαρεστήσω renders אתהלך, 'walk' (HALOT s.v. הלךְ hithpael 5). NJB renders, 'I shall pass my life in the presence of Yahweh, in the land of the living'; NRSV, ' I walk before the LORD', NIV, ' that I may walk before the LORD'.

[146] Danker, II Corinthians 75. Commenting on Paul's repetition of ἐνδημέω / ἐκδημέω in association with φιλοτιμέομαι, Danker quotes a decree passed by the public assembly of the city of Iasos in honour of a judge and a clerk sent to them, at their request, by the city of Ephesus. The decree commends both the excellence of their public service and the manner in which they comported themselves during their stay (ibid.; the inscription is cited as no. 16 from Danker's book, Benefactor).

[147] Thrall, Second Epistle to the Corinthians I 397.

[148] τοὺς πάντας ἡμᾶς; the word order implies, 'the sum total of us, without exception'; MHT 201; Barrett, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 160.

[149] BDAG s.v. βῆμα s.v. 3, 'a dais or platform that required steps to ascend ... A magistrate would address an assembly from a chair placed on the structure'.

[150] BDAG s.v. κομίζω 3.

[151] Supplying πραχθέντα; Harris, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 407.

[152] BDAG s.v. διά A2a, 'marker of extension in time'.

[153] BDAG s.v. πρός 3eδ; BDF §239(8); Moule, Idiom Book 53, suggests 'in proportion to'.

[154] Supplying ὰ ἐκεῖνα; BDAG s.v. ὅς 1bα; 'A demonstrative pronoun is frequently concealed within the relative pronoun'.

[155] BDAG s.v. πράσσω 1a.

[156] εἴτε ... εἴτε; BDAG s.v. εἰ 6oβ; BDF §446.

[157] BDAG s.v. ἀγαθός 2a, ' pertaining to meeting a high standard of worth and merit'.

[158] BDAG s.v. φαῦλος s.v. 1, ' pertaining to being low-grade or morally substandard'.

[159] This seems to be the significance of the change to the singular forms ἀγαθὸν and φαῦλον; cf. Plummer, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 158.

[160] Danker, II Corinthians 76.

[161] Barrett, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 160.