v1-2 - This chapter opens with two stunning assertions:
Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah, but rather than attributing the quote to Isaiah, Paul indicates that those words were spoken by God! This is the amazing truth about scripture: although the words were written by particular men in particular places at a particular time in history, they are also God's Words, universally directed to all people, in all places and at all times.
Paul next authoritatively concludes that the the time and day that Isaiah had prophesied about hundreds of years before had come, putting the letter he wrote that we are now reading on the same level as the Old Testament scriptures. The entire Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, is the Word of God written through men inspired by the Holy Spirit.
v3-13 - This past Sunday, many of us heard from Psalm 145 that our primary function is to commend the Word of God to the next generation. The way to do that, we read in v4, is to commend yourself; that is, live in such a way that nothing life throws at you will detract or side track you from fulfilling your calling to know God's Word well yourself so that you can commend it to others, especially the next generations.
v14-18 - The saying 'unequally yoked (v14)' is often applied to Christians who have gotten married or romantically involved with non believers, which is a union warned against in other parts of the Bible and which often has negative ramifications.
But this phrase applies to far more than just marriage, it applies to every aspect of life. As we've seen, the Corinthians were wanting the benefits of grace, but the lifestyle of pagans, and Paul here says that's not possible. We can and must live and work in harmonious partnership with our non believing neighbors, but as our society becomes more and more godless, we must be more and more active in making sure we are not yoked to it.
Paul reiterates three more times that what Moses and the prophets wrote is what God has said. In these references, which were originally written hundreds of years apart from each other, it becomes clear that God expects His people to "come out from [the world] and be separate (v17)." Would your neighbors, friends, family and co-workers recognize that you are living in such a way that's separate from the world?
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE: One of the passages that Paul quotes from in v17 is Isaiah 52:11. Notice when you read it the slightly different nuance in the translation. In the Old Testament, the passage is translated "come out and be pure," while in the New Testament it's rendered "come out and be separate." There's good reason for these different translations, but both get at what it means to live a holy life - one that's bothe pure and separate.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: Bible: Early in the chapter, Paul quotes an Old Testament verse and says, “Now is the day of …”—what? (See verse 2.)
As society becomes more and more pagan, do you think it will become easier or harder to fulfill the command to separate yourself from it?
Question 1 taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father (v18), who speaks to you through His Word.
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for the strength to come out of the world, purify yourself and be separate from it (v17).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: