2 Corinthians 6:2: Paul’s Eschatological “Now” And Hermeneutical Invitation -- By: Mark Gignilliat

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 67:1 (Spring 2005)
Article: 2 Corinthians 6:2: Paul’s Eschatological “Now” And Hermeneutical Invitation
Author: Mark Gignilliat

2 Corinthians 6:2:
Paul’s Eschatological “Now” And Hermeneutical Invitation

Mark Gignilliat

Mark Gignilliat is Tutor in New Testament and Greek at Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford, Oxford, England.

I. Introduction

Allusions to and citations of the OT are peppered throughout Paul’s most autobiographical of letters, 2 Corinthians. This observation has led Ford and Young to the conclusion that the Paul found in 2 Corinthians is a Paul who has “lived in the Bible.”1 This phrase “living in the Bible” is an apt description of the apostle as he theologizes and reflects on the significance of Jesus Christ and his own particular role to the Gentiles. It is in this capacity that no OT book serves Paul better than Isaiah.2 Our attention, therefore, turns to Paul and Isaiah in 2 Cor 6:2, as we seek to understand the ways in which Paul is living both in the sacred text and in the eschatologically realized moment.

As late as 1989, Jan Lambrecht lamented that “relatively little attention is paid to the Isaiah quotation” in 2 Cor 6:2.3 Commentaries charged on this account include the “recent voluminous commentary of Furnish” coupled with several other commentaries and studies listed.4 Lambrecht sought to correct this oversight with an analysis of 2 Cor 6:2 that took into account both the context of Isa 49:8 and the christological reading Paul gives to the verse. He concludes, “Paul uses Is 49, 8a to show that the Isaian promise of salvation is fulfilled in Christ.”5 More recent accounts of 2 Cor 6:2, and its surrounding context, have emphasized the Isaianic context of the quotation and its implications for Paul’s own self-understanding Observing that Isa 49:8 is found within

the context of the second of the so-called “servant songs,”6 Beale and Webb have concluded that Paul identifies himself with the Servant, that is, Paul has taken on the unique role of the Servant in this passage.7 Thus, Lambrecht’s two stated categories of Pauline motiv...

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