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"Reconcile yourselves to God." An unusual interpretation of 2 Corinthians 5:20 in its context

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Chapter Summary

After a solemn introduction in 2 Corinthians 5:20 Paul addresses the Corinthian community with the aorist imperative passive καταλλάγητε which is invariably translated into English as &t;be reconciled&t;. There seems to be a far-reaching consensus that the human activity that is commanded by Paul in imperative is limited to the acceptance of God's gift of reconciliation that Paul had elaborated upon in 5:18-19. This chapter focuses on &t;mystery&t; of καταλλάγητε in 2 Cor. 5:20d. It undertakes a grammatical analysis of aorist passives in general. It then discusses the meaning of the aorist passive forms of διαλλάσσω and καταλλάσσω in Greek literature. Finally, it turns to an interpretation of 2 Cor. 5:20d in its immediate context. This analysis stresses that in 2 Cor. 5:14-21 as elsewhere Paul does not speak about human activity without having stated God's initiative. If human persons are active, they were enabled by God for such activity.

Keywords: καταλλάγητε; Corinthians; God; Greek literature; human activity; interpretation; Paul; reconciled



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