Lectionary Year B
June 22, 2003
2 Corinthians 6:1-13

Step IV: Cross-Section

A. Primitive Christianity

(JFC) Luke 4:16-21 reports that Jesus, upon going to Nazareth read, in the synagogue, from Isaiah 61:1f and 58:6, about the time of freedom come to the faithful, and claimed that "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." Acts 14:19, 16:19-24, 19:29f and 21:2fff record some of the mistreatment Paul (and Silas) encountered. Some of the integrity and virtues Paul exemplified are also cited in Romans 12:9 and 13:12, Galatians 5:22f, I Timothy 1:5 and I Peter 1:22, to mention a few. At the conclusion of this lection, 6:11-13, like 7:2f resemble the message in 5:20-6:2. These exemplary sentiments are well remembered through the early developmental years of the church.

B. Old Testament and Judaism

(JFC) Paul seems to be quoting Isaiah 49:8 in the first verse in our pericope at hand "to under score the urgency of immediate acceptance of God's grace", as Price terms it. Of course, the image of salvation/deliverance/liberation occurs frequently in the Old Testament. The event of the Exodus, for example, gets referred to in the Book of Exodus 14:13 and 15:2, many Psalms, e.g., 25:5, 95:1 and 118:14 and Isaiah 49:8. Isaiah 53:4-9, one of the Servant Songs, is cited as an Old Testament poetic rendition of suffering faithfulness, just as Paul expresses in II Corinthians 6:4b-5 and some of the contrasts in verses 6-9. Psalm 119:32 says, "I run the way of your commandments, for you enlarge (platu,nw) my understanding", leading us to believe that following God's calls and Christ's paths gives us insight and enlightens us even toward understanding.

C. Hellenistic World

(JFC) The several dualities mentioned in verses 4b-10 would get these philosophers' attention, surely. They must have appreciated Paul's self-commendation as exemplary of what attitudes they shared as proper in their life style(s). The final admonition in our text could likely appeal to their propensity to speak, talk, open mouths, dialogue, discuss, etc. They would certainly appreciate the possibility of increased understanding as Psalm 119:32 says results from platu,nw.

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