2 Corinthians 6:12-13

12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us.
13 As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.

2 Corinthians 6:12 in Other Translations

KJV
12 Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.
ESV
12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections.
NLT
12 There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us.
MSG
12 We didn't fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way.
CSB
12 You are not limited by us, but you are limited by your own affections.

2 Corinthians 6:12-13 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO 2 CORINTHIANS 6

The apostle having given a commendation of the Gospel in the latter part of the preceding chapter, does in this address the ministers of it that were at Corinth, under the character of fellow labourers, and by way of entreaty, that they would be careful to make it appear that they had not received neither the Gospel of the grace of God, nor gifts to minister it, in vain, 2Co 6:1 and in proof of the Gospel being a ministry of reconciliation, and a doctrine of free grace and salvation, which carry in them so many arguments why it should not be received in vain, the apostle in 2Co 6:2 cites a passage out of Isa 49:8 by which it appears, that the Gospel dispensation is a time of acceptance, and of salvation; and which he accommodates to the then present time in which he lived; and is true of the whole intermediate time between the sufferings and death of Christ, which was the time in which he was helped and succoured, and his second coming, when all the elect will have been gathered in: after which he proceeds to give directions how to conduct without offence, that so no blame and reproach might fall upon the ministration of the Gospel, 2Co 6:3 and proposes himself, and other faithful ministers, as examples to them, who had approved themselves as the ministers of God by their patient bearing all kind of afflictions for the sake of Christ, and his Gospel, of which a particular enumeration is given in 2Co 6:4,5 and by the exercise of various other graces, virtues, and gifts bestowed upon them, and which were illustrious in them, of which there is a particular detail in 2Co 6:6,7 though by reason of the different lights in which they were viewed by men, as well as the different appearances they made, and the different things that might be said of them, either through misrepresentation or ignorance, or as under different considerations, many very strange and enigmatical things are predicated of them, 2Co 6:8-10 which can only be unriddled by their being possessors of the Gospel of Christ, and being partakers of the grace of God. And next the apostle addresses the members of the church at Corinth; and to make way for the exhortations he had to deliver to them, and that they might be taken in good part by them, he expresses his great regard to them; how free he was to communicate anything that might be profitable to them, and how much his heart was enlarged with love to them, 2Co 6:11 that there was no straitness of Spirit in him towards them, though there was so much in them towards him, 2Co 6:12. Wherefore he entreats them, as his children, that as he had shown paternal love to them, they would also express filial affection and obedience to him, 2Co 6:13 and then he enters upon his exhortation to have no communion with ungodly persons; and which he confirms by five arguments taken from the disagreement of righteousness and unrighteousness, of light and darkness, of Christ and Belial, of a believer and an unbeliever, and of the temple of God and of idols, 2Co 6:14-16 by which he suggests, that as the proper characters of wicked men are unrighteousness, darkness, Belial, unbelievers, and idols, or idolaters; so the names of saints were righteousness, light, Christ, believers, and the temple of God; and in proof of the latter, he produces some passages out of Le 26:11,12, Eze 36:26,27 and in the words of the prophet Isa 52:11 he calls upon the Corinthians to quit the company of sinful and unclean men, to separate from them, and have nothing to do with them in things criminal and sinful; and for their encouragement to regard such an exhortation, the promises of God are mentioned; as that he will receive such persons into his protection, and will behave as a father towards them, and treat them as his sons and daughters, 2Co 6:17,18.

2 Corinthians 6:12-13 In-Context

10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you.
12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us.
13 As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

Cross References 2

  • 1. S 1 Thessalonians 2:11; 1 Corinthians 4:14
  • 2. 2 Corinthians 7:2
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