2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10

2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
Ash Wednesday ABC


5:20 So we are ambassadorsI for Christ,II since GodIII

Notes on verse 5:20a

I “ambassadors” = presbeuo. 2x in NT. From presbuteros (an elder as one of the Sanhedrin and also in the Christian assembly in the early church); from presbus (old man). This is to be mature. It can also mean to be an elder, representative, or ambassador. Figuratively, it can refer to a preacher.
II “Christ” = Christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
III “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

is making his appealIV through us; we entreatV you on behalf of Christ: be reconciledVI to God. 

Notes on verse 5:20b

IV “making…appeal” = parakaleo. From para (beside, by, in the presence of) + kaleo (to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud) {related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on)}. This is to call to, summon, invite, request, or beg. It can also be exhort or admonish. Also, this can be encourage, comfort, or console. This word has legal overtones and is used of one’s advocate in a courtroom. It is the root of the name of the Holy Spirit “paraclete” is our advocate and comforter.
V “entreat” = deomai. From deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited) This is having an urgent need because one is missing or needing something so it is an earnest appeal or pressing request.
VI “be reconciled” = katallasso. 6x in NT. From kata (down, against, among) + allasso (to change, transform) {from allos (other, another; another of a similar kind or type)}. This is to reconcile, change, or exchange. It is a moment when two parties come together in reconciliation and both parties change as a part of it.

21 For our sake God madeVII the one who knewVIII no sinIX to be sin, so that in him we might becomeX the righteousnessXI of God.

Notes on verse 5:21

VII “made” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
VIII “knew” = ginosko. This is to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn. It is knowledge gained through personal experience.
IX “sin” = hamartia. From hamartano (to miss the mark, do wrong, make a mistake, sin); {from a (not) + meros (a part or share)}. Literally, this means not having one’s share or portion – like not receiving inheritance or what was allotted to you. This word means missing the mark so it is used for guilt, fault, and acts of sin.
X “become” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
XI “righteousness” = dikaiosune. From dikaios (correct, righteous – implies innocent; this is that which conforms to God’s notion of justice, uprightness); from dike (the principle of justice; that which is right in a way that is very clear; a decision or the execution of that decision; originally, this word was for custom or usage; evolved to include the process of law, judicial hearing, execution of sentence, penalty, and even vengeance; more commonly, it refers to what is right); may be from deiknumi (to show, point out, exhibit; figurative for teach, demonstrate, make known). This is judicial or divine approval of character or action. This is righteousness, justice, justness, divine righteousness.

6:1 As we work togetherXII with him, we entreat you also not to acceptXIII the graceXIV of God in vain.XV 

Notes on verse 6:1

XII “work together” = sunergeo. 5x in NT. From sunergos (co-worker, associate, helper, co-laborer or one’s companion during labor); {from sun (with, together with) + ergon (work, task, deed, labor, effort) {from ergo (to work, accomplish, do)}}. This is to work together, help in labor, be a co-worker, to cooperate. This root is where “synergy” comes from.
XIII “accept” = dechomai. This is to warmly receive, be ready for what is offered, take, accept, or welcome. It is to receive in a literal or figurative sense.
XIV “grace” = charis. From chairo (to rejoice, be glad; used to say hello; properly, delighting in the grace of God or experiencing God’s favor); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks. It is the sense of being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit. This can be literal, figurative, or spiritual. It is grace as abstract concept, manner, or action.
XV “vain” = kenos. 18x in NT. Properly, this is something that is empty or void. Hence, it is worthless, foolish, ineffective, morally void, pretentious, unreal, or false.

For he says,XVI

“At an acceptableXVII timeXVIII I have listenedXIX to you,

Notes on verse 6:2a

XVI “says” = lego. This is to speak, say, name, call, command. It is generally to convey verbally.
XVII “acceptable” = dektos. Related to “accept” in v6:1. 5x in NT. From dechomai (see note XIII above). This is favorable, welcome, approved, pleasing.
XVIII “time” = kairos. This is season, opportunity, occasion. The word chronos is used for chronological time. Kairos is used for spiritually significant time – the right time or appointed time.
XIX “listened” = epakouo. 1x in NT. From epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + akouo (listen, hear, understand through hearing). This is to listen with attention.

    and on a dayXX of salvationXXI I have helpedXXII you.”

Notes on verse 6:2b

XX “day” = hemera. Perhaps from hemai (to sit). This is day, time, or daybreak.
XXI “salvation” = soteria. From soter (a savior, deliverer); from sozo (to save, heal, preserve, or rescue; taking someone from danger to safety; delivering or protecting literally or figuratively); from sos (safe, rescued, well). This is deliverance, salvation, preservation, welfare, prosperity, safety.
XXII “helped” = boetheo. 8x in NT. From boethos (helping or helper; one meeting urgent need); perhaps from boe (to cry, shout for aid; mimics the sound of a desperate shout for help with deep emotion); {from boao (cry out, make a distress call, ask for desperately need assistance); from boe (a cry, shout)} + theo (to run). This is running to help someone who has made an urgent call for help – coming to their rescue. Originally, this was used in a military context, but came to apply more generally to assistance in time of intense distress.

Look,XXIII now is the acceptableXXIV time; look, now is the day of salvation! We are puttingXXV no obstacleXXVI in anyone’s way,

Notes on verses 6:2c-3a

XXIII “look” = idou. From eido (to be aware, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
XXIV “acceptable” = euprosdektos. Related to “accept” in v6:1 & “acceptable” in v6:2. 5x in NT. From eu (well done, good) + prosdechomai (to receive, welcome, expect, accept; reception with a warm, personal welcome or active waiting; endurance or patience); {from pros (at, to, toward, with) + dechomai (see note XIII above)}.This is acceptable, welcome, favorable.
XXV “putting” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.
XXVI “obstacle” = proskope. 1x in NT. From proskopto (to kick against, stumble, strike, beat on, surge against like water does, or take offense; to trip up in a literal or figurative sense); {from pros (at, towards, for) + kopto (to cut, strike, cut off; beating the chest to lament and so to mourn)}. This is something that causes stumbling. It could be something that causes a fall, an offense, or something that leads to sin.

so that no fault may be foundXXVII with our ministry,XXVIII but as servantsXXIX of God

Notes on verses 6:3b-4a

XXVII “fault may be found” = momaomai. 2x in NT – both in 2 Corinthians. From momos (literally a spot; figuratively blame, disgrace, flaw, censure); {perhaps from memphomai (to blame, be disgraceful; be rejected due to doing bad things); from mempteos (rejected because one has been condemned)}. This is to blame, slander. It is to recognize a blemish on something/someone and so bring disgrace.
XXVIII “ministry” = diakonia. Perhaps from dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + konis (dust) OR from dioko (to chase after, put to flight; by implication, to persecute or to purse like a hunter after its prey; this can be earnestly pursue or zealously persecute) {related to dio (put to flight)}. This is service, ministry, attending someone, service. It can mean serving someone at a table or otherwise as their servant/slave. It is also used for people who serve/minister in temples, as well as the work of Christian ministry. Figuratively, this word can mean money given for charity. This shares a root with “deacon” and is where the word “diaconate” comes from.
XXIX “servants” = diakonos. Related to “ministry” in v6:3. Perhaps from dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + konis (see note XXVIII above) OR from dioko (see note XXVIII above). This is a servant, minister, waiter, or attendant. It is used for a person who performs a service, including religious service. This is the root of the word “deacon.”

we have commendedXXX ourselves in every way:XXXI in greatXXXII endurance,XXXIII

Notes on verse 6:4b

XXX “commended” = sunistemi. 16x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + histemi (to stand, place, establish, appoint, stand ready, be steadfast). This is to establish, exhibit, demonstrate, stand together, prove.
XXXI “every way” = pas. This is all or every.
XXXII “great” = polus. This is much, often, plenteous – a large number or a great extent.
XXXIII “endurance” = hupomone. From hupo (by, under, about) + meno (to stay, remain, wait, await, continue, abide). This is properly to remain behind or remain under. It implies endurance, patience, steadfastness, and waiting in hope.

afflictions,XXXIV hardships,XXXV calamities,XXXVI 

Notes on verse 6:4c

XXXIV “afflictions” = thlipsis. From thlibo (to press in on and make narrow, rub together, constrict; figuratively to oppress or afflict). This is pressure that hems us in – used often of internal pressure that makes us feel like we have no other options and are confined or restricted. So, this is persecution, affliction, trouble, distress, and anguish. There is a different word, stenoxoria, that refers to external pressure that we feel from what’s going on.
XXXV “hardships” = anagke. 18x in NT. From ana (up, again, anew) + agcho (to press tightly, compress) OR related to agkale (the arm, particularly one that is bent to carry a load). This is necessity
XXXVI “calamities” = stenochoria. 4x in NT. From stenos (narrow, confined) + chora (space, area). This is a narrow space – used figuratively for a difficulty coming from external pressure. It is distress, difficulty, or anguish.

beatings,XXXVII imprisonments,XXXVIII riots,XXXIX

Notes on verse 6:5a

XXXVII “beatings” = plege. From plesso (to pound, strike, flatten; figuratively, cause a calamity). This is a blow, stroke, wound, affliction, plague, calamity.
XXXVIII “imprisonments” = phulake. From phulasso (to guard something so that it doesn’t escape – to watch over it vigilantly; being on guard in a literal or figurative sense); related to phulaks (military guard, sentry, watcher). This is the act of guarding, the person who guards, the place where guarding occurs (i.e. a prison), or the times of guarding (the various watches).
XXXIX “riots” = aktastasia. Related to “commended” in v6:4. 5x in NT. From akatastatos (unstable, unsettled); {from a (not, without) + kathistemi (to appoint, set in order or set in place, constitute, give standing or authority, put in charge); {from kata (down, against, throughout, among) + histemi (to make to stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand by, stand still, stand ready, stand firm, be steadfast)}}. This is literally not able to stand. So, it is instability, confusion, riot, upheaval.

labors,XL sleepless nights,XLI hunger;XLII 

Notes on verse 6:5b

XL “labors” = kopos. Related to “obstacle” in v6:3. 18x in NT. From kopto (see note XXVI above). This is trouble, toil, or labor. This is working to the point of exhaustion or weariness. At base, this refers to a blow that lands so swiftly that one is seriously weakened. Figuratively, this is being greatly tired or working to the point of being without strength.
XLI “sleepless nights” = agrupnia. 2x in NT. From agrupneo (awake, not asleep, vigilant, alert); {from a (not, without) + hupnos (sleep – literal or figurative); {perhaps from hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to)}}. This is sleeplessness or watching.
XLII “hunger” = nesteia. 6x in NT. From nesteuo (to fast, not eat food, to make a religious fast); from nestis (hungry, fasting, fasting for religious reasons); {from ne (not) + the same as esthio (to eat or figuratively to devour or consume like rust); {akin to edo (to eat)}}. This is fasting, hunger. Can be used specifically for the fast done on the Day of Atonement.

in purity,XLIII knowledge,XLIV patience,XLV

Notes on verse 6:6a

XLIII “purity” = hagnotes. 2x in NT. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). This is purity or chastity. It is purity in one’s essence, which is to say, integrity, blamelessness.
XLIV “knowledge” = gnosis. Related to “knew” in v5:21. From ginosko (see note VIII above). This is knowing, knowledge, understanding, wisdom. It is direct knowledge – working knowledge that links theory and application.
XLV “patience” = makrothumia. 14x in NT. From makros (long, long lasting) {from mekos (length); probably related to megas (great or large)} + thumos (passion, wrath; actions emerging from passion or impulse) {from thuo (to rush along, breathe violently, offer sacrifice)}. Properly, this is long-passion or long-suffering – one who waits the needed amount of time before expressing anger. This is also patience, perseverance, and fortitude.

kindness,XLVI holinessXLVII of spirit,XLVIII

Notes on verse 6:6b

XLVI “kindness” = chrestotes. 10x in NT. From chrestos (useful, good, well-fitted, benevolent, kind, gracious; also a name given to slaves in the ancient world); from chraomai (to use, make use of, give what is needed, act in a specific way, request). This is properly useable, good or ready for service – just what one needs to meet real needs. Figuratively, this speaks of moral excellence, strong character, uprightness, kindness, integrity.
XLVII “holiness” = hagios. Related to “purity” in v6:6. See note XLIII above.
XLVIII “spirit” = pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breathe, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.

genuineXLIX love,L truthfulLI speech,LII

Notes on verses 6:6c-7a

XLIX “genuine” = anupokritos. 6x in NT. From a (not, without) + hupokrinomai (to answer, pretend, respond as an actor on stage; figuratively, to lie) {from hupo (by, under, about) + krino (to judge, decide, think good, condemn, determine, pass judgment, stand trial, sue; judging whether in court or in a private setting; properly, mentally separating or distinguishing an issue – to come to a choice or decision, to judge positively or negatively in seeking what is right or wrong, who is innocent or guilty; can imply trying, condemning, punishing, or avenging.)} Properly, this is unhypocritical – not phony. It speaks to actions that are sincere and genuine without guile.
L “love” = agape. From agapao (to love, take pleasure in, esteem; to prefer). This is love, goodwill, benevolence. It is God’s divine love or human love that mirrors God’s love.
LI “truthful” = aletheia. From alethes (true, unconcealed; true because it is in concert with fact and reality – attested; literally, what cannot be hidden; truth stands up to test and scrutiny and is undeniable, authentic). {from a (not, without) + lanthano (unnoticed, concealed)}. Truth is literally that which is not or cannot be concealed. This word covers more than the sense of true versus false. It spoke of truth as that which corresponds to reality – reality as opposed to illusion. Thus, it includes, sincerity, straightforwardness, and reality itself.
LII “speech” = logos. Related to “says” in v6:2. From lego (see note XVI above). This is word, statement, speech, analogy. It is a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying. It could refer to a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words. By implication, this could be a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive. It can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ.

and the powerLIII of God; with the weaponsLIV of righteousness for the right handLV and for the left;LVI 

Notes on verse 6:7b

LIII “power” = dunamis. From dunamai (to be able, have power or ability). This is might, strength, physical power, efficacy, energy, and miraculous power. It is force literally or figuratively – the power of a miracle or the miracle itself.
LIV “weapons” = hoplon. 6x in NT. This is a tool or implement. It can also be armor or weapons in a literal or figurative sense.
LV “right hand” = dexios. Perhaps related to “accept” in v6:1 & “acceptable” and “acceptable” in v6:2. Perhaps from dechomai (see note XIII above). This is right, right side, or the right hand.
LVI “left” = aristeros. 4x in NT. From aristos (best). This is better, used figuratively to refer to the left or left hand side.

in honorLVII and dishonor,LVIII in ill reputeLIX

Notes on verse 6:8a

LVII “honor” = doxa. From dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is literally something that evokes a good opinion – something that connects to our understanding of intrinsic worth. The ultimate expression of this is, of course, God and God’s manifestation. So, this is opinion, honor, and dignity, but also praise, glory, renown, and worship.
LVIII “dishonor” = atimia. 7x in NT. From a (not, without) + time (value, price, honor; honor as it is perceived by another or willingly granted by another; mark or respect, price, precious value, esteem, dignity); {from tio (to honor, pay respect to, value)} OR from tino (to pay a penalty or fine). This is dishonor or disgrace, shame, reproach, or common use. It is something that as seen as having no value.
LIX “ill repute” = dusphemia. 2x in NT. From dus (un- or mis-) + pheme (saying, news, rumor, fame) {from phemi (to say, declare, speak comparatively through contrasts, bring to light); from phao (to shine)}. This is ill-repute, defamation, or the contents of a bad omen.

and good repute.LX We are treated as impostorsLXI and yet are true,LXII as unknownLXIII and yet are well known,LXIV

Notes on verses 6:8b-9a

LX “good repute” = euphemia. Related to “acceptable” in v6:2. “ill repute” in v6:8. 1x in NT. From euphemos (spoken well of); {from eu (see note XXIV above) + pheme (see note LIX above)} This is a good report or praise. It is where “euphemism” comes from.
LXI “imposters” = planos. 5x in NT. This is one who leads astray – wandering, deceiving, misleading, an imposter.
LXII “true” = alethes. Related to “truthful” in v6:7. See note LI above.
LXIII “unknown” = agnoeo. Related to “knew” in v5:21 & “knowledge” in v6:6. From a (not) + noieo (to perceive, think, understand); {from nous (mind, understanding, reasoning faculty, intellect, capacity to reflect); from noos (mind); probably from the base as ginosko (see note VIII above)}. This is unaware not to know. Sometimes it is willful ignorance, but other times it is simply not knowing.
LXIV “are well known” = epiginosko. Related to “knew” in v5:21 & “knowledge” in v6:6 & “unknown” in v6:9. From epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + ginosko (see note VIII above). This is to perceive, discern, acknowledge, recognize, know exactly because of direct interaction.

as dyingLXV and look—we are alive,LXVI as punishedLXVII and yet not killed,LXVIII 

Notes on verse 6:9b

LXV “dying” = apothnesko. From apo (from, away from) + thnesko (to die, be dead). This is to die off. It is death with an emphasis on the way that death separates. It can also mean to wither or decay.
LXVI “are alive” = zao. This is to live literally or figuratively. It is used for life including the vitality of humans, plants, and animals – it is life physical and spiritual and life everlasting.
LXVII “punished” = paideuo. 13x in NT. From pais (child, youth, servant, slave); perhaps from paio (to strike or sting). Properly, this is training or teaching children so it is educate, correct, discipline, and punish. This is the root of “pedagogy.”
LXVIII “killed” = thanatoo. Related to “dying” in v6:9. 11x in NT.  From thanatos (death, whether literal or spiritual; also something fatal); from thnesko (see note LXV above). This is to kill in a literal or figurative sense – subdue, mortify, be apart from.

10 as sorrowfulLXIX yet alwaysLXX rejoicing,LXXI as poorLXXII

Notes on verse 6:10a

LXIX “sorrowful” = lupeo. From lupe (pain, whether physical or mental; grief, sorrow, distress, a heavy heart). This is to be sad, grieve, distress, hurt, feel pain. It can be used for deep pain or severe sorrow as well as the pain that accompanies childbirth.
LXX “always” = aei. 7x in NT. This is ever, always, unceasingly, perpetually, on every occasion.
LXXI “rejoicing” = chairo. Related to “grace” in v6:1. See note XIV above.
LXXII “poor” = ptochos. From ptosso (to crouch or cower as a beggar does). This is poor or destitute – someone who is extremely poor and bowed down because of a long struggle under poverty. Properly, it means bent over so figuratively it is someone who is deeply destitute and lacking tangible resources. This is a beggar – as extremely opposite a wealthy person as possible.

yet making manyLXXIII rich,LXXIV as havingLXXV nothing and yet possessingLXXVI everything.LXXVII

Notes on verse 6:10b

LXXIII “many” = polus. Same as “great” in v6:4. See note XXXII above.
LXXIV “making…rich” = ploutizo. Related to “great” in v6:4. 3x in NT. From ploutos (abundance, wealth, or riches; money, possessions, spiritual abundance, or a valuable bestowment); from polus (see note XXXII above) OR pleo (to sail, voyage); {probably from pluno (to plunge – so to wash); from pluo (to flow)} OR pletho (to fill, accomplish, supply; to fill to maximum capacity). This is to enrich, cause abundance, bring fullness.
LXXV “having” = echo. This is have, hold, possess.
LXXVI “possessing” = katecho. Related to “having” in v6:10. 18x in NT. From kata (down, against, according to, throughout) + echo (see note LXXV above). This is to hold fast, bind, possess, restrain, arrest, suppress. It is to hold down in a literal or figurative sense. It can also be to hold something in one’s memory.
LXXVII “everything” = pas. Same as “every way” in v6:4. See note XXXI above.

Image credit: “Great Faith – Part 4: Gideon – The Prophets” by Rene Pfitzner.

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