2 Corinthians 5:16-21

2 Corinthians 5:16-21
A Women’s Lectionary 5


16 From now on, therefore, we regardA no one from a human point of view;B even though we once knewC ChristD from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 

Notes on verse 16

A “regard” = eido. This is to know, consider perceive, appreciate, behold, or remember. It means seeing with one’s eyes, but also figuratively, it means perceiving – seeing that becomes understanding. So, by implication, this means knowing or being aware.
B “from a human point of view” = kata + sarx. Literally, “according to flesh.” Sarx may be from saroo (to sweep, cleanse by sweeping); from sairo (to brush off). This is flesh, the body, human nature, materiality, kindred. Flesh is not always evil in scripture (as when it refers to Jesus taking on a human body). However, it is generally used in a negative way for actions made selfishly and not through faith. This can mean animal flesh, i.e. meat, or refer to body in contrast to soul/spirit. Flesh can be a way of talking about how things or people are related or talking about human frailty (physical or moral).
C “knew” = ginosko. This is to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn. It is knowledge gained through personal experience.
D “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.

17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a newE creation:F everything oldG has passed away;H see,I everything has becomeJ new! 

Notes on verse 17

E “new” = kainos. This is not new as in new versus old. This is new in the sense of novel, innovative, or fresh.
F “creation” = ktisis. 19x in NT. From ktizo (to build, create, form, shape; God’s acts of creation); probably akin to ktaomai (to get, purchase, possess). This is creation, creature, or ordinance. It is also used for when a city is founded and creation as origin.
G “old” = archaios. 11x in NT. From arche (origin, beginning, rule; can refer to the power of a magistrate or a king; it is the first thing as being the starting point or the most important); {from archomai (to begin or rule); from archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power)}. This is old, ancient, original. It is where the word “archaic” comes from.
H “passed away” = parerchomai. From para (from beside, by) + erchomai (to come, go). This is pass by, neglect, disregard. Figuratively, it can mean to perish or to become void.
I “see” = idou. Related to “regard” in v16. From eido (see note A above). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
J “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.

18 AllK this is from God,L who reconciledM us to himself through Christ, and has givenN us the ministryO of reconciliation;P 

Notes on verse 18

K “all” = pas. This is all or every.
L “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
M “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.
N “given” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.
O “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.
P “reconciliation” = katallage. Related to “reconciled” in v18. 4x in NT. From katallasso (see note M above). This is reconciliation, returning to favor, atonement.

19 that is, in Christ God wasQ reconciling the worldR to himself, not countingS their trespassesT against them, and entrustingU the messageV of reconciliation to us. 

Notes on verse 19

Q “was” = eimi. This is to be or exist.
R “world” = kosmos. Perhaps from the base of komizo (to carry, convey, recover); from komeo (to take care of). This is order, the world, the universe, including its inhabitants. Literally, this is something that is ordered so it can refer to all creation. It can also refer to decoration in the sense that something is better ordered and, thus, made more beautiful. This is where “cosmos” and “cosmetics” come from.
S “counting” = logizomai. From logos (word, statement, speech, analogy; here, word as an account or accounting; can also be a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying; a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words; by implication, a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive; can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ); from lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is this is to compute or reckon up, to count; figuratively, it is coming to a conclusion or decision using logic; taking an inventory in a literal or figurative sense.
T “trespasses” = paraptoma. From para (by, beside, in the presence of) + pipto (to fall in a literal or figurative sense). This is properly, falling away after having been devout or faithful. So, this is a lapse, sin, slip, transgression, offense. It is a deviation from what is true – it could be accidental or unconscious.
U “entrusted” = tithemi. This is to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense. Properly, it is placing something in a passive or horizontal position.
V “message” = logos. Related to “counting” in v19. See note S above.

20 So we are ambassadorsW for Christ, since God is making his appealX through us; we entreatY you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 

Notes on verse 20

W “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.
X “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.
Y “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.

21 For our sake he madeZ him to be sinAA who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousnessBB of God.

Notes on verse 21

Z “made” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
AA “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.
BB “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.

Image credit: “Jesus – the Holy Mural” at The Way Jesus Christ Christian Church in New Orleans.

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