Tuesday, June 9, 2009

2 Cor 5:14-17

5:14 The phrase here "love of Christ" is more complex than we first realize. Not simply because the word "agape" or "Christos" are in themselves wordfields more than words, but because we have an unclear (as always) genitive. Is it objective gen, ie, the love which has as its object Christ, love for Christ; it is possessive, ie, the love which belongs to Christ, the love belonging to Christ; it is subjective, as in Christ is the subject who does the love, the loving of Christ. Part of what determines the translation of this is figuring out what the verb, "synech-oo" means. This verb means just about anything that relates to stress or dealing with stress: compel, contrain, oppress, torn, closed in, hold together. I think in the context of 2 Cor 5, a more therapeutic translation is helpful: The love from Christ holds us together, we have decided that one died for all (even the proud jerks who make our lives tough), therefore all have died.

5.15 (Note: Paul uses the same words here of living and dying and rising in Romans 6; here though it is without reference to Baptism, but rather the reality of suffering for the believers)

5.16 The translations cover up the dreaded "sarx" here; the "world" or "human" point of view here is simply: kata sarx. Although such language in an individual reading probably confuses the issue, it allows one to see that Paul is not making an isolated argument here, but trying into core concepts he develops perhaps most fully in Romans.

5.17 The word for "pass away," parerchomai, is what is used in "heaven and earth will pass away, but my word shall remain."

5.17 The word for old here is "archaios," ie, archaic.

5.17 The NRSV does funky things with the Greek here. It literally reads: "The old-s (or old things) have passed away. Behold new things have become. In short, it does not really say everything...which may not be a big deal, but Paul is intentional in other places in this section to repeated use the "pas" (he uses this word, which means "all" five times in chapter 5). Saying everything has become new sounds like God did a home improvement project on creation; saying "Behold new things" says God did a new creation.

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