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 2nd CORINTHIANS 6:14 through 7:1

A verse by verse Bible Study



 A Preacher in his Study





"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."  2nd Corinthians 6:14-7:1




The first line of verse 14 is astounding in its implications!

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers"

The verb "be" is a present middle imperative of "ginomai" and means to become.  Here the Corinthians specifically and all believers generally are being commanded not to be something!  And whatever it is that we are NOT TO BE, we are NOT TO BE that constantly!  Ongoing action, habitual living is here required!

"Unequally yoked" translates "heterozugeo" and means "linked together with another person or thing of a different kind than you!"

"Unbelievers" are those who are "apistos," individuals with no faith!  No belief!  "A" means without and "pistos" means faith!

When one is saved ... a "break" occurs!  A drastic "change!" He or she is no longer to be intimately associated with the things of the past, the wicked things of by-gone days! Things "unlike" what he or she, the new Christian, is becoming!

This verse introduces a pretty "rough" section of Scripture.  Paul spares no punches here!  We all probably know preachers who would not "touch" this Text any more!  It's too "controversial!"  But here goes Paul, under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit too!

But do notice this.  Just before beginning our "touch not" paragraph here, Paul has laid the foundation by being kind and gentle to the Corinthians, showing them his love.  These words, "O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged," simply mean "I love you" in our language today.  They are taken from 2nd Corinthians 6:11, our immediate context!

Then, immediately after Paul explodes this "separation" sermon on them, he says "Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man."  That means he is coming to visit them soon ... and expects a kind welcome!  2nd Corinthians 7:2

Wise preaching, Paul!

The best way the Corinthians could "show their love" to Paul and "widen their hearts" to this Man of God ... was to separate themselves from sin!

"Be ye also enlarged" Paul says in 2nd Corinthians 6:13, "open your hearts to us!"  Love us as we love you!

By the way, when Paul says "do not" here, it likely means they were already doing it, associating with heathen practices!

But Paul's command not to be unequally yoked here isn't original with him!  No!  Read with me Leviticus 19:19.  "Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee."  There's the principle of separation!

Then note Deuteronomy 22:10.  "Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together."  Now that's an unequal yoke!

The worldly crowd, unbelievers, are a different "kind" than the saints of God!

You would be mixing saved with lost ... clean with dirty ... right with wrong ... heaven with hell!  It just will not work!

Mind you, these people are religious, but lost!

"Stay away from them" thunders the Apostle!

I would not advise a Christian to enter business partnership with a lost man ... or a backslider either for that matter!

Nor would I ever counsel a saved man or woman to marry a lost mate!

I would not recommend a saved person join some ungodly club or society either! 

Amos asked "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?"

Answer: No!

Folks, walk with God!

Not with unbelievers!


                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The Apostle has just issued a blunt command:  "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers."

Now he follows that command with a series of five supporting questions!

"What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?"

"What communion hath light with darkness?"

"What concord hath Christ with Belial?"

"What part hath he that believeth with an infidel?"

"And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?"

Look at those nouns of "association!"

"Fellowship," in Greek "metoche," is interesting.  It means being a "partaker" in something.  A partner!  "Meta" can mean "in the midst of" and "echo" means "to have or to hold!" 

"Communion" is that which one shares in "common" with another! "Koinonia" is derived from the root that means "one who shares."

"Concord" gives us an English word, borrowed from Greek of course, "symphony!"  Giving the "same sound" or the "same voice!"

And "part" ("meris") means one's portion or share or allotment in a matter! If you have a share in something ... you're part of it!  (Does this include wicked stocks on Wall Street?  I mean something like the liquor industry?)

Then "agreement" enters the picture.  "Sugkatathesis" means "to place or put" ("tithemi") ... "down" ("kata") which intensifies the term ... and "with" ("sun") others!

Sounds pretty involved, doesn't it?

We Christians are beyond doubt here forbidden to associate in any way with unrighteousness, "anomia" meaning lawlessness!  Literally, no law! Breaking the Law of God, His Commandments!

The saints of God, being the "light of the earth" according to Jesus, must not be linked to "darkness" ... "skotos," meaning shadiness!

And "Belial," used only here in the New Testament, means "worthless," a code name for wicked idol worship!  Who would mix Christ and this?

And the Believer ("pistos") just can't worship with an unbeliever ("apistos")! See Paul's "play on words?" In such a bond the Holy Spirit would not mediate!

"Idols," in Greek "eidolon," means an image one adores!

Just as in Old Testament days it would have been an abomination to bring a filthy old idol into the Temple of God, a deadly abomination ... so in New Testament days it would be unacceptable to bring the Temple of God (a believer's body, filled with the Holy Spirit) into a heathen place of worship!

What exposition Paul here supplies to further illuminate his opening command!

Here it all is again:  "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?"  2nd Corinthians 6:14-16a

Pretty plain!

So ... why do professing believers still maintain membership in dead liberal churches that long ago quit preaching the Word of God in power?

Why do so-called Christians mix with others who drink liquor and talk filthy and question Jesus?

So why do many maintain partnerships in worldly organizations, those with  blatantly unsaved rebels?

Why do we all not "break" allegiance with that which opposes our Lord and Saviour?

Why indeed?

I think such action is called "disobedience!"

                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




With five powerful piercing questions, Paul has prodded the people to "turn from idols!"

To be "separated" from the corrupt world system in which they lived.

This is not a strange theme for Paul either.  He preached it often.  He remembered to the Thessalonians:  "Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God."  1st Thessalonians 1:9

Or, earlier, to the Corinthians:  "But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat."  (1st Corinthians 5:11)  Now, that's separation! Don't even eat with them!

Then Paul introduces a glorious truth!  "For ye are the temple of the living God."  2nd Corinthians 6:16

That was never individually said of Old Testament Believers!

They had to go to the Temple to properly worship the Lord!  God did not live IN them!  True, the Holy Spirit could come upon them ... but just as easily depart from them too!  (There's a big difference between the Holy Spirit being "upon" you and "within" you!)

But now ... since Jesus has come and shed His precious Blood, being physically buried and raised again the third day ... things are different!

Since Pentecost the Holy Spirit has come ... in a new and special way!

He indwells each saint of God!

Listen to Paul write these same Corinthians:  "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"  1st Corinthians 6:19

Our verse again:  "For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." 

The noun used here for "temple" is "naos" and means the most sacred part of the House of God!  The very sanctuary! 

Wow, that's amazing!

The Paul quotes Leviticus 26:11-12, where God says: "And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.  And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people."

What God wanted to do for a nation (Israel) corporately in the Old Testament days, He now does for a body (the Church) corporately and for an individual (the believer in Jesus Christ, one saved by Grace) personally in these last days!

God promises to "dwell" with us!  The verb "enoikeo" means to make one's "house" ("oikos") inside ("in") a person!  God, through His Holy Spirit, abides within each truly born-again individual!

And the Lord will furthermore "walk" ("emperipateo") ... to make a path ("pateo") within ("em") and all around ("peri") a person ... He walks within us!

He, the Creator and Redeemer and Sustainer and All Sufficient One, will be our God!  Our personal Saviour!  Our Deliverer!  Our Protector!  Our Guide! Our Provider! 

And we shall be His "people!"  The noun "laos" here does not mean some exclusive wealthy elite element of society, but people from every tribe and every nation and every corner of earth!  Common people, old sinners ... saved by Grace!

What a verse!

God living within a Believer!

Talking to him and walking with him and caring for Him ...with the added blessing of reciprocation!  We can respond!  We can love Him in return!

BUT ... do notice that this blessing of such sweet fellowship and communion is only mentioned in its fullest extent ... to those who have broken any unequal yokes and have separated from past idols and have parted from the filth of the world!

For, you see, to remain contaminated ... to practice iniquity will surely spoil such intimate sweetness with the Lord!

The Holy Spirit is easily grieved and quenched!

Yes, the Lord definitely asks us to give up some things!

But, in their place, He comes with precious harmony and peace!

Remember the words to the great hymn:  

"And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known"


This is especially true of those who have broken the "unequal yokes" of the world it seems!

What a challenge!

What an inspiration!

What a reward!

How, in the face of such wonder, can the world any longer have any "pull" in a Believer's heart?

Dear friend, separate thyself!

                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The Lord here makes a promise to His "separated" people!

Three times He says "I will!"

If we are NOT unequally yoked with unbelievers ... God guarantees:

     *  "I will dwell in them!"

     *  And ... "I will be their God!"

     *  And ... "I will receive them!"

What glorious promises these are!

Today, as we examine verse 17, we shall watch Paul masterfully use Old Testament Texts to strengthen New Testament Truths!

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you."  2nd Corinthians 6:17

We have here three commands ... and one great promise!

"Come out" translates "exerchomai" ("ex" or "ek" really means "out of" and "erchomai" just means "to come) and frames it as an imperative verb!  It's a command from God!

Come out of and away from that morass called sin!

"Be ye separate," still an imperative, is derived from one word, "aphorizo." The verb "horizo" means to mark or limit with a boundary line! The English word "horizon" is rooted here!  And the prefix "apo" means "off or away from" something!  "Be ye separate" requires our drawing a line and stay away from it!  Keeping oneself apart from iniquity!

"Touch not" is "haptomai," meaning "to fasten" to something!  Don't be "stuck" to sin!  Don't even touch it!  This one is similar to Paul's "Abstain from all appearance of evil" in 1st Thessalonians 5:22.

But the result of such "unlikness" to the world ... to such avoiding of "unclean" things is ... a specific reward from God!

By the way, "unclean" translates "akathartos," not washed! 

What is the reward God promises to the non-contaminated person?

To the one who has separated himself from all known perversion?

God says, "I will receive you!"

This verb, "eisdechomai," means "to take in" or "to accept in one's favor!" It usually suggests delight in the receiving process too!  God is actually thrilled when we abstain from sin!

This is the only time I can locate this verb in the Bible!  It is hapax ... thereby rendering special significance and uniqueness to the promise God has just issued!

I suspect God is here saying that He reserves His Very Best ... for those who live particularly pure lives.  Such living is only empowered of course by the Holy Spirit of God!

Do YOU want to please your Heavenly Father today?

Then, stay out of sin!

Don't meddle with it at all!

This was a lesson that many of the Corinthians still had to learn!

How about us?

                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

P. S. --- I told you earlier that Paul quoted the Old Testament in this great 17th verse.  He did.  Read with me Isaiah 52:11.  "Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD." Paul sure knew his Bible! And the Holy Spirit, Who inspired the Text anyway, always links Scripture with Scripture!




If the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ are willing to separate themselves form the world, the Lord makes some very specific and encouraging promises to them!

Among those are:  “And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”  2 Corinthians 6:18

What a privilege this is!  God … as my personal Heavenly Father!

Now in one sense He is our Father … because He created us!  At least that’s what Malachi 2:10 suggests.  “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?"  No, I am not teaching some kind of liberal “Fatherhood of God” doctrine concerning all humanity.  I do not believe in “universalism.”  Those who die rejecting Christ will die lost and spend eternity in Hell.

But I can’t change what Malachi said either.  Nor do I want to do so, for that matter!

Then ... in another much deeper sense ... God is our Father because we are saved! We, at the new birth, became the sons of God!  “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God,” says 1 John 3:1.  Born into His family!

Yet, according to this 2nd Corinthians verse (6:18), there is yet an even deeper sense of being a “child” of God!  Some folks, you know, are “closer” to their Fathers than others.

The most intimate relationships … child with Father … occur when that son or daughter obeys the Fathers and delights in the Father and guards himself exclusively from shame or disgrace, respecting the family name!

That child is one of which the Father might often say, “I am very well-pleased with him or her!”

I think that’s the kind of relationship Paul is describing here!

This “sons of God” status is rarely found in the Old Testament at all! It’s primarily a New Testament doctrine!  It is definitely “our Father, Which art in Heaven” ground!  Yet Paul does here in verse 18 seem to be alluding to 2 Samuel 7:14 where God promises David some things concerning Solomon his son:  “I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men.”

And Hebrews 1:5 may apply these very words to Christ too!  “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?” By the way, if so, we here have some linkage between Solomon and Jesus!  Even the “daughters” get Old Testament mention too!  Isaiah 43:6 thunders:  “I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth!”

These promises here to the “separated” ones are made by “the Lord Almighty!”  This is the only time Paul ever uses the term “Almighty” in reference to God!  But John loves this Name!  In the Book of Revelation he uses it eight times!  It, “pantokrator,” means “powerful ruler over all!”

Think of it! 

Being that "close" to the Almighty God, our Creator and Redeemer and Provider and Protector ... and so much More!

There are just certain promises that belong to those who give God their very best!

Philippians 4:19 is one, for example.  It is only written to those who have given sacrificially to help extend the cause of Christ Jesus!  At least that's the "context" in which it is found! Only then, after such amazing generosity, Paul says … “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”


Friend, no vestige of the world is worth the lost of these promises:  “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

Thank you, Lord!

                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




In 2nd Corinthians 7:1 Scripture says:  "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

I realize that we have "skipped" into a new chapter!  We have examined 2nd Corinthians 6:14-18, but I believe 7:1 has "linkage" to  our paragraph as well.

"These promises" mentioned by verse 1 of chapter 7 are enumerated in verses 16 and 17 and 18 of chapter 6. 

IF we will be "separate" from the world, if we will break any "unequal yokes" there, the Lord will: dwell with usWalk in us!  And be our God! And receive us!  Then He will be a Father to us! Also He will make us His sons and daughters!

Several great promises ... to those who "come out from the filth of the world!"

When Paul calls the Corinthians, who have recently been opposing him and giving him trouble, "dearly beloved" he uses the Greek noun "agape" in his title!  That's the deepest level of love known in Scripture!  Even to those who were unkind to him ... Paul still has love, the love of God!

To "cleanse" oneself uses the verb "katharizo."  At first the word meant to sweep or wash away dirt from a floor.  Then it came to mean the washing of a body.  Then it came to mean moral cleansing.  "Katharizo" has given us the English word "catharsis" for those of you who are in the medical field.  Here the verb is written as a subjunctive.  That means it is expressing Paul's desire or longing for the Corinthians! They have not yet necessarily so cleansed themselves it seems!  Paul is preaching to them!

The pronoun "themselves" is clearly in the Text too.  It could have been implied or supplied in other ways, but here it is written, "eautou."  This is for added emphasis.  Paul is talking to the Corinthians themselves!

"Filthiness" translates "molusmos," a stain or spot.  "Melas" just means black as in a black spot on a white shirt.  This has the same effect as a white spot on a black shirt!  The garment is ruined!

Filthiness of the "flesh" ("sarx") could mean sexual sins or failure to separate from certain forms of worldliness.

And filthiness of the "spirit" ("pneuma") could mean sins like anger or bitterness that defile the soul.

These great promises should aid us in overcoming any "connections" with the world that "yoke" us to its downward pulls! 

"Perfecting" holiness uses the verb "epiteleo," meaning "to complete or fulfill or reach the goal or mature" in a process!  It is an intensive verb, as is seen by the addition of the prefix "epi." 

And "holiness" is "hagiosune," purity in this sense: set apart from iniquity!

Then Paul adds one more incentive to breaking all those "yokes" with the world ... "the fear of God!" 

Many positive blessing await the one who separates from sin!

But one negative motivation is now listed!

Not to break such unequal yokes may invoke the chastening hand of God!

Disassociate with sin ... for fear of displeasing God!

Leave it alone ... lest you grieve the Holy Spirit!

Come out from among them ... or face the possibility of many unanswered prayers!  Psalm 66:18 says:  "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:"

Distance yourself from the filth of the world ... so as not to be ashamed when you see Him, the Saviour!  "And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming."  1st John 2:28

Paul has said enough!

It these truths do not propel us to separate from the world ... something is wrong, bad wrong, in our spiritual lives!

I pray that today the Lord will grip someone's heart and they will have to make a BREAK with some link that's been maintained with the wicked things of the past!


                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell








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