To really know something, we need to study it. Plumbing the depths of our salvation blows my mind!
3 By wisdom a house is built [foundation], and through understanding it is established [framework], 4 through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures [study and experience].
I begin with Psalms 139:23-24 and 73:23-26, and then I move to verses on mastering the mind and the body. This next passage helps me to focus on the future; I hold loosely to the things of this world and tightly to the promises we have:
4 For we groan while we are in this tent, since we are weighed down, because we do not want to be unclothed, but clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment. 6 Therefore we are always full of courage, and we know that as long as we are alive here on earth we are absent from the Lord— 7 for we live by faith, not by sight. 8 Thus we are full of courage and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:4-8
When studying a new passage, it is wise to look at any footnotes that appear in whatever version we are using. This particular version, the New English Translation, includes several Greek definitions for us:
- 2 Corinthians 5:4 sn See the note in 5:1 on the phrase the tent we live in: The expression the tent we live in refers to “our earthly house, our body.” Paul uses the metaphor of the physical body as a house or tent, the residence of the immaterial part of a person.
- 2 Corinthians 5:4 tn Or “we are burdened.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:5 tn Grk “for this very thing.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:5 tn Or “first installment,” “pledge,” “deposit” (see the note on the phrase “down payment” in 1:22).
- 2 Corinthians 5:6 tn Grk “we know that being at home in the body”; an idiom for being alive (L&N 23.91).
- 2 Corinthians 5:7 tn Grk “we walk.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:8 tn Or “be absent.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:9 tn Grk “whether we are at home” [in the body]; an idiom for being alive (L&N 23.91).
- 2 Corinthians 5:9 tn Grk “to be pleasing to him.”
So, to read it again with these definitions included would be:
4 For we groan while we are in this tent since we [our earthly house] are weighed down [burdened] because we do not want to be unclothed, but clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose [this very thing] is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment [pledge, deposit, down payment]. 6 Therefore we are always full of courage, and we know that as long as we are alive here on earth [at home in the body] we are absent from the Lord— 7 for we live [walk] by faith, not by sight. 8 Thus we are full of courage and would prefer to be away [absent] from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So then whether we are alive [at home] or away, we make it our ambition to please him [be pleasing to him; I read it as us knowing what right living is pleasing to him and living that way, for He is always pleased with us and rejoices over us with singing!].
It sounds like the Amplified Version. Well, that’s really what it is! I looked up the AMP and this is how it phrased it:
4 For while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened [often weighed down, oppressed], not that we want to be unclothed [separated by death from the body], but to be clothed, so that what is mortal [the body] will be swallowed up by life [after the resurrection]. 5 Now He who has made us and prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the [Holy] Spirit as a pledge [a guarantee, a down payment on the fulfillment of His promise]. 6 So then, being always filled with good courage and confident hope, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]— 8 we are [as I was saying] of good courage and confident hope, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 9 Therefore, whether we are at home [on earth] or away from home [and with Him], it is our [constant] ambition to be pleasing to Him. Anything in italics has been added so that the English language makes sense, but we must remember that they are not part of the original text and have been “tainted,” so to speak, by human interpretation. The previous sentence is a prime example of just such.
Here’s the point of the passage concerning my Time with the Lord. I hold lightly to the things of his world and tightly to His promises. I gain strength and courage (it was mentioned twice) from passages like this one for times of trial and testing (in circumstances, not from the Lord). I use them when practicing patient endurance by focusing on what is to come. I remember that I am part of a great cloud of witnesses that have already gone on before me. In these things I have hope. The better I know these passages, the greater (clearer, stronger) my hope is.
This morning, as you prepare for church, may you focus on the Lord and what He has for us today (mercy and grace) and on what He has for us in the future (being with Him in glory).
Abba, thank You for all You have provided for us in written form. But, I don’t want to just know about You; I want to know YOU. Please reveal Yourself to me in whatever fashion You choose, whether it’s the Bible, music, Bryan my pastor, a friend–even an enemy! I know when I hear Your voice, so I will be listening for You. “Speak to my heart, Lord Jesus, speak that my soul may hear.” Amen.