Criswell Theological Review 4.1 (1989) 57-76.

          Copyright © 1989 by The Criswell CollegeCited with permission. 



                 DEATH, DISCIPLESHIP,


               2 COR 5:1-10-ONCE AGAIN


                                            Roy METTS

                         Criswell College, Dallas, TX 75201



                                  I. Background and Issues


New Testament scholarship commonly maintains with dogmatic

tenacity that Paul anticipated the end of world history ("this age";

hz,.ha MlAOfhA) and the consummate inauguration of "the age to come"

(MlAOfhA xBAha) within his own lifetime1 even though he proclaimed that

the salvific realities of the coming Age proleptically had been inaugu-

rated in the person and work of Christ, from whom NT eschatology

derives its meaning and in whom there has arrived an interruption of

and irruption into Jewish expectations. In fact, it is said,


            Ever since the eschatological understanding of the New Testament re-

            placed the idealistic interpretation, we can and must determine the

            various phases of earliest Christian history by means of the original

            imminent expectation of the parousia, its modifications and its final



            1 J.D. G. Dunn (Unity and Diversity in the New Testament [London: SCM, 1977]

345-46) observes the imminent parousia in Thessalonians; denies it for 1 Corinthians,

Romans, Philippians; detects no urgency in Colossians and identifies no reference to it

in Ephesians.

            2 E. Kasemann, New Testament Questions of Today (London: SCM, 1969) 236-37.

But W. C. van Unnik ("Luke-Acts, a Storm Center in Contemporary Scholarship,"

Studies in Luke-Acts [ed. L. E. Keck and J. L. Martyn; Nashville: Abingdon, 1966] 28)

demurs: "Has the delay of the parousia really wrought that havoc that it is sometimes

supposed to have done? In the light of the history of early Christianity this effect of the

Parousieverzogerong is highly overrated. The faith of the early Christians did not rest

on a date, but on the work of Christ."




Hence, proceeding with a developmental hypothesis, many, observ-

ing the nature of Paul's eschatological proclamation in Thessalonians

of an imminent parousia which he and the majority of his readers

would live to see, detect in 1 Corinthians a slight modification from

the majority to the minority being alive with him at the advent,3

though "he has not yet freed himself from the inherited incubus of

Pharisaic eschatology."4 In these two initial stages of development,

Paul has moved from the common Jewish expectation of a fleshly

body resurrection (1 & 2 Thessalonians) to the concept of a spiritual

body resurrected at the parousia (1 Corinthians 15).5 At stage three,

2 Corinthians and Romans, Paul has altered both the (1) scope of the

kingdom and (2) time of the resurrection, which now follows as an

immediate sequel to death--an implication of 1 Cor 15:34-39--with

the resurrection body acquired at death now manifested, not received,

at the parousia. Hence, the shift has been "from an apocalyptic to a

non-apocalyptic form of eschatology";6 or, accepting Colossians and

Ephesians as representative of a fourth stage, from apocalyptic to

hellenistic mysticism.7


            3 Cf. C. K. Barrett, "New Testament Eschatology," SJT 6 (1953) 136-54.

            4 A. M. Hunter, Paul and His Predecessors (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1961) 100.

            5 H. A. Guy, The New Testament Doctrine of the Last Things (London: Oxford

University Press, 1948) 117.

            6 J. A. T. Robinson, Jesus and His Coming: The Emergence of a Doctrine

(Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1958) 161. At the opening of his essay "The Structure of

Pauline Eschatology: II Corinthians v. 1-10," (Paul and His Recent Interpreters [Grand

Rapids: Eerdmahs, 1961], 35-48), E. Ellis observes, "Since the days of Pfleiderer,

II Cor. v. 1-10 has been commonly regarded as showing a hellenization of Paul's

eschatology, or in today's language, a transition from a futuristic to a realized. . .


            7 However, for the determinative significance of apocalyptic for Pauline thought,

see J. C. Beker, Paul the Apostle: The Triumph of God in Life and Thought (Phila-

delphia: Fortress Press, 1980; idem, Paul’s Apocalyptic Gospel: The Coming Triumph

of God (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1982) 76. "The center of Paul's thought is to be

located in his christologically determined future apocalyptic." With this, cf. G. R.

Beasley-Murray, "New Testament Apocalyptic--A Christological Eschatology," Rev

Exp 72 (1975) 317-30. E. Kasemann, Perspectives on Paul (tr. M. Kohl; London: SCM,

1971) 123-34; idem, New Testament Questions Today, 108-37; 236-51). Especially see

the following by G. E. Ladd, The Presence of the Future (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,

1968); "The Place of Apocalyptic in Biblical Religion," EvQ 30 (1958) 75-85; "The

Revelation and Jewish Apocalyptic," EvQ 29 (1957) 94-100; and especially his "Why

Not Prophetic-Apocalyptic," JBL 76 (1957): 192-200, wherein he concludes that pro-

phetic and apocalyptic are not as antithetical as commonly ascertained, and although

the eschatology of Jesus was indeed apocalyptic, he nevertheless recovered the positive

prophetic assessment of this present age. But L. Morris cautions (Apocalyptic [Grand

Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972] 97), that apocalyptic does not constitute an appropriate

medium for the gospel, for "granted that both the incarnation and the end are impor-

tant, both cannot be the really significant thing. For the apocalypses there is a concen-

tration on the future. In Christianity there is the recognition that the incarnation, with




            Although this evolutionary approach to ascertaining the semantic

intent of Paul's eschatological language still knows its advocates,8 many

present-day scholars find promise for explicating Paul's varied and

different eschatological language in the different polemical situations of

his epistles.9 Historical reconstructions of a polemical communication

situation, it is contended, promise a more adequate heuristic for

the Pauline corpus, and especially for explaining the variety

in his eschatological language.

            But even here it becomes essential to determine the legitimacy of

(at times almost disparate) historical reconstructions of the Corinthian

context that would specifically account for the language of 2 Cor 5:1-

10.  In para 5:1-5, Paul's intricate argument from a developed pneu-

matology might suggest his opponents emphasized receiving the gift


the atonement as its high point, is the most important event of all time. P. Furnish (II

Corinthians [AB 32A; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1984] 294), rejecting the anthro-

pological and ecclesiological backgrounds for 2 Cor 5:1-10, and stressing the impor-

ance of apocalyptic for discerning Paul's eschatological language comments, "The

interpretation most congenial to the context is the one that understands Paul's image

against the background of Jewish and early Christian apocalyptic traditions."

            8 M. Harris (Raised Immortal: Resurrection and Immortality in the New Testa-

ment [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983] 255 n. 2) offers a brief survey of proponents of

he view that Paul has changed his eschatology.

            9 See R. P. Martin, 2 Corinthians (WBC 40; Waco, TX: Word, 1986) 100-2;

M; Conzelmann and A. Lindemann, Interpreting the New Testament: An Introduction

the Principles and Methods of N. T. Exegesis (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1988)

87 -88. Historical reconstruction of a polemical communication situation does not

require the author's continuing retranslation of the kerygma into the language of the

new situation until the original authorial intent submerges in a sea of conflicting

eschatological expressions in a single letter due to changing situations or shifting

theological motifs, contra J. Baumgarten (Paulus und die Apokalyptik, WMANT 44

[Neukirchen- Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1975] 225, who, regarding resurrection,

writes that "Paulus bringt seine Zukunfts-Erwartung stets konkret und je nach Situation

und Intention-differenziert sowie ohne Bemuhung urn systematische Einheitlichkeit

zur Sprache." See also C. F. D. Moule, "The Influence of Circumstances on the Use of

eschatological Terms," JTS 15(1964) 1-15. Cf. R. Funk, "The Hermeneutical Problem

and Historical Criticism," in The New Hermeneutic: New Frontiers in Theology (2

vols.; ed. J. M. Robinson and J. B. Cobb (New York: Harper & Row, 1964) 2.164-67.

the implausible reconstruction of J. C. Hurd (The Origin of First Corinthians [New

York: Seabury, 1965]) who traces Paul's departure from early apocalypticism by

methodologically combining the evolutionary approach of C. Buck and G. Taylor

(Saint Paul: A Study of the Development of His Thought [New York: Scribners, 1969])

and the chronological interests of J. Knox (Chapters in the life of Paul [Nashville:

Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1950]). Hurd attempts to demonstrate through a radical, histori-

cal reconstruction of the communication situation of the Corinthian church that Paul's

radical reversals and representations of the gospel thoroughly confused them and

evoked the 1 Corinthian correspondence. Hence, a perusal of this correspondence

proves that Paul had actually departed from the authentic gospel more greatly than

they, in Hurd's view.



of the Spirit through the fulfillment of the law; and their other tenet,

the inferiority of gentiles to the Jew, might account for motifs within

the section constituent (4:7-5:10). Within the overall discourse this

reconstruction accounts for less, especially other important motifs

within section 4:7-5:10.10 Additionally, the hypothesis of Hellenistic

“divine men" (qei?oi a@ndrej) who show their celestial nature by charis-

mata, visions, miracles, and ecstatic speech11 meets the fate of the

reconstruction depicted above, as does the thesis that they were

Jewish-Christian preachers who respected the law and regarded Jesus

as qeoi?oj a]nh<r, “a divine man."12 Georgi sees 2 Cor 5:1-10 as a Pauline

rectification of these opponents in a language sympathetic with Corin-

thian gnostics, but 2 Corinthians 5 cannot be explained as a polemic

against gnosticism.

            Explaining Paul's opponents everywhere as Jewish-Christian

gnostics, W. Schmithals13 argues that 1 Corinthians 15 expresses Paul's

misunderstanding of his opponents' eschatological expectation of

bodiless existence beyond death, and in 2 Corinthians 5 he still does

not comprehend their hope. Rather, Paul argues that belief in in-

corporeal existence is an absurdity, In 2 Cor 5:6-8, Paul's polemic

surfaces against the gnostic aberration that the eschaton has arrived.14

Furthermore, the disparate conclusions entertained by the schol-

arly community regarding the communication situation and the se-

mantic content of 2 Cor 5:1-10 immediately dispel any optimism that

the exegetical task is less than difficult. First, some have proposed that

it is a “watershed in Pauline eschatology”15 since Paul had definitely

shifted from an imminent parousia expectation accompanied by

superinvestiture with a body (1 Corinthians 15), to a position in

2 Corinthians 5 of death before the parousia and the possibility of an

intermediate existence. Others have maintained with equal enthusi-

asm that from the chapters the structure of a Pauline eschatology may

be adduced.16 R. F. Hettlinger17 argues that 2 Corinthians 5 represents


            10 Cf. H. Schoeps, Paul: The Theology of the Apostle in the Light of Jewish

Religious History (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1961); see C. K. Barrett, The Second

Epistle to the Corinthians (HNTC; New York: Harper, 1972).

            11 R. Fuller, A Critical Introduction to the New Testament (London: Duckworth,


            12 D. Georgi, The Opponents of Paul in Second Corinthians (Philadelphia: For-

tress, 1980).

            13 W. Schmithals, Paul and the Gnostics (Nashville: Abingdon, 1972).

            14 Ibid., 223-27.

            15 M. J. Harris, "2 Corinthians 5:1-10: Watershed in Paul's Eschatology?" Tyndale

Bulletin 22 (1971) 32-57.

            16 E. Ellis, Paul and His Recent Interpreters (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1961)


            17 F. Hettlinger, "2 Corinthians 5:1-10" SJT 10 (1957) 174-94.




a brief, aberrant departure from Paul's parousia expectation to which

he comfortably returned in Phil 4:6, following his thought-provoking

brush with death in Asia (2 Cor 1:8-9). Moreover, to Bultmann18 it

comprises a digression in Paul's thought, is on the periphery of his

theology, and has nothing to do with his apostolic ministry.

            From the title it may be concluded that this article maintains that

the nature of Paul's ministry does figure into the discourse strategy of

this semantic unit. Furthermore, including death in the title seems at

first an audacious, indefensible, a priori judgment on the author's part

even though traditional exegesis has long recognized its presence

(along with resurrection and other anthropological and apocalyptic

motifs belonging to the semantic domain of death, although they are

not present among the non-metaphorical lexical concepts in the

surface structure).

            Finally, the title indicates the methodological employment of a

model of discourse analysis as a possible way forward in the exegeti-

cal task. The textlinguistic theory employed in this analysis recognizes

a fundamental distinction between surface structure (phonology, lexi-

con, and grammar; the forms of a language that are language specific)

and deep structure (semantic structure, which is universal), which

corresponds to the "expression--plane/context--plane" bifurcation of

Hjelmslev, the semantic/surface hierarchies of generative semantics,

and the semantic stratum/morphotactics of stratificational grammar.

            Stratificational textlinguistic theory, as developed by I. Fleming,

(l) envisions a universal deep structure which includes both the

communication situation (pragmatics) as well as the semantic stratum;

(2) assigns stratal status to phonology and grammar; (3) differentiates

the various kinds of communication elements unique to that stratum;

and (4) attempts to relate the elements of each stratum by means of

realization relationships. Every stratum includes constructions consist-

ing of one to numerous constituents at that level. Fleming's string-

constituent analysis in the tactics, consisting of constructions that have

part constituents ([1] position or function, [2] which in turn is

filled by a stratal distribution class, reflecting the influence of Pike's

earlier two-cell, slot-class tagmemes) distinguishes her model from

the immediate-constituent analysis models practiced variously by

Pike, Longacre, and most tagmemic grammarians.19


            18 See R. Bultmann, The Second Letter to the Corinthians (Minneapolis: Augs-

burg, 1985).

            19 I. Fleming, Field Guide to Communication Situation, Semantic and Morphemic

Analysis (2 vols.; Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1977); idem, Some Basic

Concepts and Constraints for a Stratified Communication Model (Dallas: Summer

Institute of Linguistics, n.d.).




            The textlinguistic theory developed by J. Beekman, J. Callow,

and M. Kopesec,20 owing much in theoretical development to Flem-

ing's model will be adapted to the exegetical concerns of this paper.21

Hopefully, this model of semantic structure analysis (SSA)-at least as

one heuristic-may provide a way forward in the debate over the

technical and highly interrelated exegetical and theological issues

pertinent to this paper.

            Strictly honoring the linear and hierarchical structure of the text

calls for analyzing propositions, configurations of propositions, and

the paragraphs which they comprise, as well as units of thought, or

concepts--one of which is nuclear, through which the others are role

related. Concepts combine to form propositions in order to com-

municate processes, experiences, actions, and states, yielding two

types, event and state propositions which employ the illocutionary

perspective of statement, command, or exhortation. However, our

space-limited procedure, along with meeting exegetical and theologi-

cal objectives, will not allow a complete semantic analysis of all

morphosyntactic construction types, nor does it--as is conventionally

done in the employment of this theory--permit a display of all lower

levels of propositional embedding within the paragraph structure and

of all the levels of thematicity. This is done only where the author

feels it serves the purpose of this paper.


II. Higher Level Discourse Constituents and 5:1-10: SDC 4:7-5:10

            (Section); (Role: Grounds 2 of 2:14-3:6).


THEME: By continuously bearing witness to faith and by not losing

heart (even though we suffer), we (exc) make it our constant ambi-

tion to please the Lord, for we (inc) must all appear before the

judgment seat of Christ.

            The compositional character of this opening division indicates

that semantic unit 5:1-10 could be erroneously construed, as a com-

posite unit functioning in some semantic role within the larger cop-

figuration, 4:7-5:10. However, as most translations and commentaries


            20 J. Beekman, J. Callow, and M. Kopesec, ed., The Semantic Structure of Written

Communication, (5th rev.; Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1981).

            21 See the popular exposition of this theory in M. L. Larson, Meaning-Based

Translation: A Guide to Cross-Language Equivalence, (Lanham, MD: University Press

of America, 1984). Early developmental stages can be traced in J. Beekman and

J. Callow, Translating the Word of God, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1974). Excellent

from the same theoretical orientation is W. Pickering, A Framework for Discourse

Analysis (Summer Institute of Linguistics Publications in Linguistics 64; Dallas: Summer

Institute of Linguistics and UTA, 1980). P. Cotterell and M. Turner (Linguistics and

Biblical Interpretation [Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1989] 188-229) have an excel-

lent discussion but misinformed chapter title, "Sentences and Sentence Clusters," which

reflects morphotactics, not semantic structure, though their development is accurate,



SC4:7-12       SC4:13-15     SC4:16-18     SC5:1-5          SC5:6-10

para                   para                   para             para                   para


conc                CONTRA           HEAD          ampl                PURPOSE

           MEANS                              RESULT


                                                            Grounds 2 OF 2:14-3:6


                                                Fig. 1

SC=Section Constituent                               para = paragraph

conc= concession                                         HEAD (all caps = most prominent; can

CONTRA = contraexpectation                     function in more than one role con-

MEANS (all caps = most prominent)          currently)

SDC= Sub-Division Constituent                  amplif =


properly attest, 5:1-10, as a stretch of text, comprises two semantic

paragraphs: para 5:1-5 and para 5:6-10. This is assumed because of

limitations in this paper, but viewed from the perspective of the

analytical features of meaning (1. unity; 2. internal coherence, which

is indicated by [a] referential coherence: grammatico-lexical indi-

cators, etc:, sameness of semantic domain, and sameness of experi-

ential domains; [b] situational coherence; [c] structural coherence;

and 3. prominence), the propriety of this decision is commended.

            The same analytical features determine the compositional char-

acter of 4:7 -5:10, which constitutes a semantic Section, the immediate

constituent of a construction (configuration) which is itself composi-

tionally a Sub-Division (SD). The role of the Section indicates the

semantic function it has in the relational structure of its Sub-Division.

Theme (Longacre's macroproposition) derives from the analysis of

the relational structure of propositions and the weighting of one role

over another in communication relations.

The Constituent Organization and Relational Structure of SDC 4:7-

5:10 (Section)

            Hopefully, this analysis will serve as an adequate reference for

the subsequent discussion even though at this point conclusions with-

out proofs are given in order to preserve the linear and hierarchical


but without due recognition of K. Barnwell (Introduction to Semantics and Translation

[2nd. ed.; Horleys Green, England: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1980]) in their

discussion of possible simultaneity of a subsidiary cause-effect relation in condition-

Consequence configurations.




development of the information content. However, as can well be

imagined, not all conclusions nor all proofs can be included (these

will follow in a subsequent paper) since this represents an attempt to

adapt a model of textlinguistic theory as a heuristic for the exegetical

and theological issues of 2 Cor 5:1-10, while maintaining sensitivity to

the linear organization and hierarchical structure of SDC 4:7 -5:10

within which para 5:1-5 realizes the role of amplification of para 4:16-

18, and para 5:6-10 is thematically prominent as PURPOSE to its


            Paul is maintaining, according to this analysis of the semantic

structure, that though God has entrusted the treasure of the gospel to

fragile human vessels (para 4:7-12), yet contrary to what might be

expected (by his opponents), by keeping his faith in God (pisteu<omen)

he is compelled (even in suffering) to bear testimony to his faith (para

4:13-15) and so refuses to lose heart (para 4:16-18). By so maintaining

a ministry of faith, proclamation, and perseverance, he intends, in

fact, he is ambitious to please the Lord since he must surely give an

account (of his ministry, as will his opponents; cf. NEB: "We must all.

have our lives laid open"--at which time the true nature of their

ministry will also be revealed) at the judgment seat of Christ.

            In completely dismantling the argument set forth by Bachmann

for the structural integrity of 5:9-6:10 as a distinct semantic unit,

Fumish22 notes Paul's insistence, accompanied by a sustained, polemi-

cal tone, on the validity and rectitude of his apostolic ministry

throughout 4:7-5:8. Moreover, instead of continuing a digression,23

SDC 4:7-5:10, realizes the semantic role of a second argumentative

grounds for SDC 2:14-3:6, and these two semantic sections combine

with grounds one (SDC 3:7-4:6 [Section]), to form Sub-Division.

2:14-5:10, which realizes the role of grounds for Sub-Division 5:11-

6:10. Hence, Paul's discourse strategies in Division Constituent 2:14-

6:10, through the employment of logical cause-effect communication

relations, reveal an argumentative tone.


Information Content and Constituent Character

            The concession-CONTRAEXPECTATION communication rela-

tion between paras 4:7-12 (conc) and 4:13-15 (CONTRA) sets the

argumentative tone of 4:7-5:10, anticipates the redundant employ-

ment of this set of communication relations, and begins Paul's devel-

opment of the progressively deteriorating condition of corporeal

existence. Within concession para 4:7-12, Paul reasons that God has


            22 P. Furnish, II Corinthians (AB 32A; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1984) 304.

            23 R. P. Martin, 2 Corinthians (WBC 40; Waco, TX: Word, 1986) 114.




entrusted the treasure of the gospel to earthen vessels (mortal beings)

even though they are subject to external pressure (qlibo<menoi, v 8),

inner consternation (a]porou<menoi, v 8b), interpersonal conflict (diw-

ko<menoi, v 9) and excessive danger (kataballo<menoi, v 9b). Then em-

bedded within the main topic and comment of para 4:16-18 (HEAD),

to which para 4:7-12 and para 4:13-15 realize a MEANS role, is a

concession-CONTRAEXPECTATION configuration presenting the

second stage in Paul's presentation of corporeal disintegration: "Even

though our physical nature is wasting away, nevertheless, our spiritual

nature is being renewed day by day." Hence, Paul has moved (1) from

fragile earthen vessels as treasure chests of divine truth, (2) to the

progressive deterioration of physical existence, (3) to physical death

and its implications in para 5:1-5 and para 5:6-10.

            Within para 4:13-15, ei]do<tej, a cognitive orienter, and its CON-

TENT (the o!ti clause), realize a truncated reason proposition em-

bedded within the RESULT (lalou?men) proposition and lying off the

main event line. Oi@damen, 5:1, brings this proleptic anticipation of it

onto the main event line with its content as focal topic and comment,

which with the grounds configuration at 5:5 realizes the theme of para

5:1-5. The content of ei]do<tejo!ti o[ e]gei<raj to>n ku<rion  ]Ihsou?n kai>

h[ma?j . . . --should be suggestive, if not determinative of the perlocu-

tionary (purpose) function of 5:1-5: death, resurrection, and life in the

interim. Moreover, parasth<sei su>n u[mi?n would then anticipate the

role judgment (5:10) plays in the thematic topic and comment (5:9) of

para 5:6-10. Further, in fact, Paul views his testimony to faith and the

gospel (lalou?men, 4:13) even in the midst of suffering, as an eschato-

logical event (Isa 49:8//2 Cor 6:1, 2)-not a parading of charismatic

endowment—which is inseparable from the gift of the Spirit (cf. 5:5,

the a]rrabw?na tou? pneu<matoj).


III. SC5:1-5 (Paragraph) (Role: amplification of para 4:16-18).

THEME:  We (inc) have confidence of an abiding relationship (with

God) that shall result in resurrection, because God has given us the

Spirit as a guarantee of what is to come.

The Consituent Organization and Relational Structure of SC 5:1-5


            Fig. 2 represents the informational and relational structure of

most of the semantic propositions whose nuclei are realized in the

surface structure by participles and finite verbs. On the node that

joins P7 -PI0, no node label appears because both the construction

introduced by ei] ge kai> (P7, v 3) as well as the kai> ga>r construction

(P8-P10, v 4) are taken as embeds within stena<zomen (P4, v 2). The






former construction realizes a reason function to stena<zomen (P4,

v 2a) which plays a dual role, hence the role labeled HEAD. It is the

RESULT of P7 (ei@ ge kai>), but at the same time it is clarified by

amplification (P8-PI0). The RSLT (RESULT) role of P4, stena<zomen,

is however not to be confused with the role of the entire configuration

(P4-P6) of which it is a constituent and which serves as RESULT to

P7 (v 3), the reason proposition realized by the ei@ ge kai> construction.

At this lower level, then, in the semantic hierarchy, P4 realizes

RESULT to P5- P6, the reason configuration consisting of the orienter

(P5) and its CONTENT (P6).

            The constituent propositions of para 5:1-5 then combine to real-

ize configurations at the next level in the semantic hierarchy. These

collocate compatibly in relational structure until the entire configura-

tion of propositions (P4-PI0) introduced by kai> ga>r (v 2) is em-

bedded within P1-P3 and realizes an amplification relation to the

HEAD configuration, P1-P3 (v 1).

            In both amplification units introduced by kai> ga>r (vv 2, 4), the

kai> continues the amplification role introduced by ga>r at the onset of

this paragraph. The lowest node in the inverted hierarchical tree of

Fig. 2 indicates that the configuration of constituents introduced by

ga>r (5:1) realizes the semantic role of amplification. And if this is true,

the constructions introduced by kai> ga>r yap both at 5:2 and 5:4, upon

meeting semantic data for justification, may in fact realize amplifica-

tion roles, and the kai> in each case continues this initial function of

ga>r (5:1). Concepts within amplification units advance the informa-

tion content of the HEAD proposition by restatement of old informa-

tion, the introduction of new information, and by realizing either

time, manner, or locative case roles within their case frame. In P8(4a),

introduced by kai> ga>r, stena<zomen referentially restates the nucleus of

P4(2a), stena<zomen.

            In fact there is tail-head linkage that exists between 5:1, where

ai]w<nion ("eternal"; sg.) narrows to a specific example the ai]w<nia

(“eternal”, pl.) of 4:18. In turn, the generic proposition realized by the

participial construction, ta> de> mh> blepo<mena ai]w<nia ("the eternal things

that are not seen," 4:18), is clarified by a forefronted specific configu-

ration that consists of two contrastive propositions: o[ e@cw h[mw?n a@n-

qrwpoj diafqei<retai ("our outer nature is gradually decaying," 16a),

and a]lla> o[ e@sw h[mw?n a]nakainou?tai ("but our inner nature is being

renewed," 4:16b). Generic propositions ordinarily precede specific

ones and are naturally more prominent unless only one specific occurs

following them. Here there is only one SPECIFIC, and it is fore-

fronted to mark it as well. Hence, theme derivation for para 4:16-18

must factor the SPECIFIC into the macrostructure of its paragraph,

which is then clarified by amplification in para 5:1-5.



            As mentioned above, P7 (rsn) introduced by ei@ ge kai>  (v 3),

embeds within P4 (RSLT), whose nucleus is stena<zomen (v 2). Usually

P7 is construed to express either doubt or assurance regarding Paul's

desire for superinvestiture (to receive his resurrection body at the

imminently expected parousia without the intervention of death, since

he supposedly faces an interim of bodiless existence if death over-

takes him before Jesus returns) and is interpreted to modify tnl-

poqou?ntej (P5), "longing:"

            P10(4c) is realized by the construction introduced by e]f ] &$

pressing the reason for the groaning of P8(4a), the RESULT. Some

(e.g., Thrall) maintain that this implies Paul's fear of nakedness in a

disembodied state since he is groaning under a great burden (barou<-

menoi) because (e]f ] &$) he does not want to be unclothed (e]kdu<sasqai).

Consequently she renders it as a condition proposition, so that groan-

ing is legitimate to the believer on the condition that at death further

incorporation into the body of Christ takes place instead of divesti-

ture of somatic existence.24

            The particle de> (v 5), within this discourse configuration (para

5:1-5) does not analyze, under this theory, either as an adversative or

as a continuative conjunction. Rather, after succeeding amplification

configurations introduced by kia> ga>r, the de< construction realizes in

the information structure a topic switch to the nominalized participle,

katergasa<menoj, functioning in the subject tagmeme and realizing the,

role of Identified. The purpose (i!na) proposition preceding the de<

construction likewise is characterized by the topicalization of death

(qnhto>n) by the passive finite verb, katapoq^?, "death is swallowed

up." Since death is now topicalized, the implication is that it has been

previously present in some role in the semantic structure of the previ-

ous propositions. The presence of the i!na clause in v 4 drawing the

argument to conclusion with a purpose, the topicalization of the

nominalized participle, and the uncertainty of the anaphoric point of

attachment for ei]j au]to> tou?to "for this very purpose"--all point to a

referential point of attachment prior to 5:4.

            But the most outstanding feature of P11 (v 5) that highlights it

and permits an anaphoric reference prior to v 4, is that the nucleus of

P11(5) is realized by a stative verb, the most salient in expository dis-

course. No finite verb form is expressed in the surface structure, so the

third person singular, e]stin, is understood with qeo<j; as subject comp-

liment while the nominalized katergasa<menoj, the truncated nucleus

of an event proposition, realizes the role of Identified in the subject


            24 M. E. Thrall, Greek Particles in the New Testament (NTTS 3; Grand Rapids:

Eerdmans, 1962) 94.



tagmeme. This, together with the above evidence, and the colloca-

tional compatibility of a GROUNDS role for P11 with the CON-

CLUSION (HEAD) stated in PI-P3, commend this analysis.

            Yet the occurrence of this stative proposition, when coupled with

the observation that the same occurs in 5:9, 10 (P11, P12) of para

5:6-10, means that within these two paragraphs Paul is reaching a

possible peak (climax) in SPC 2:14-6:10 (Div). Something is going on

grammatically to highlight the information content of para 5:1-5 and

para 5:6-10, possibly as pre-peaks to 5:11-21. If this is true, then

Blomberg's conclusion that Paul has employed chiasmus to outline

2 Cor 1:12-7:16,25 with 5:11-21 (the middle member of an unbalanced

chiasmus and hence the most prominent information) functioning as

the theological climax, warrants commendation.


Morphotactics and Possible Semantic Realizations

            The different denotations of the concepts that combine to form

the propositional content collaborate with the many possibilities of

compatibility in collocating the communication relations of the pro-

positions to make the task of understanding 2 Cor 5:1-5 an extremely

difficult one. An exegetical roll call however reveals that the majority

of scholarship recognizes 5:1 as the crux interpretum. The issues

raised at the onset of para 5:1-5 interact at all levels in the semantic

hierarchy either coloring, prejudicing, or determining meaning. For

example, one of the most controversial concepts is oi]kodomh>n (v 1).

The process component of oi]kodomh>n may be nuclear in 5:1-a usual

denotation for it, since it is employed of the process of edifying the

church (Rom 14:19; 15:2; 1 Cor 14:3, 4, 12; 2 Cor 12:19). Since kata-

luq^? denotes the process of dismantling, the opposite would be the

process of erecting. This imagery may have suggested Calvin's inter-

pretation that oi]kodomh>n is the blessed state of the soul after death,

the beginning of this building, with its completion lying in the glory

of the final resurrection.26

            Although the evidence of exegetical tradition is weighted in favor

of a synonymity of denotation for oi]kodomh>n = oi]ki<a ai]w<nion = oi]kh-

th<rion, not only may kataluq^? suggest marked prominence on the

process component in oi]kodomh>n, but Paul's intentional choice of

oi]khth<rion, a housing metaphor stressing the permanency of the

eschatological residence, may be a discourse clue to the denotation of

oi]kodomh>n as a process term. Moreover, if the phrase “the eternal


            25 See in this issue, C. Blomberg, "The Structure of 2 Corinthians 1-7."

            26 J. Calvin, The Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians (CNTC 10: Grand

Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964) 67.




things not seen" (4: 18) realizes a generic statement of the forefronted,

emphatically marked SPECIFIC (4:16b), and the positive contrast,

the process of the renewal of the inner man (o[ e@sw h[mw?n a]nakai-

nou?tai), is thematically prominent, then it is this meaning and the out-

come of it that receive amplification in para 5:1-5. Hence, oi]kodomh>n

may express the process of transformation because of the work of the

indwelling person of the Holy Spirit (P11 realizes the role of Grounds

to Paul's Conclusion, P1-P3) who guarantees the resurrection of the

body. Thus, present transformation through the work of the Spirit

proleptically anticipates future transformation, and the Holy Spirit

guarantees continuity between the somatic existence of this age and

that of the age to come.

            Furthermore, several possible referents for katalhuq^? are also

suggested: (1) death before the parousia, (2) the dismantling, or

destruction of the body at the parousia, or (3) the process of dying. If

kataluq^? (P2) refers to death before the parousia, is e@xomen (P3) to

be interpreted as a descriptive present or as a futuristic present? If its

rhetorical function is descriptive, then oi]kodomh>n can denote one of

several referents: (1) body, (2) mansion, (3) a symbol of new age

existence, or (4) collective reality, e.g., the body of Christ.27 If oi]ko-

domh>n refers to mansion and e@xomen is descriptive, then Paul is saying

that one's home in heaven presently exists to be possessed at death. If

the referent is body, however, and e@xomen again is construed descrip-

tively, then the body presently exists, probably in heaven, for investi-

ture at death. If oi]kodomh>n does refer to a presently existing

body to be inherited at death, is this body an interim one, or an

eternal one? If it is permanent, then what is the significance of Paul's

expectation of the parousia and the resurrection hope? Is it for mani-

festation of the eternal body previously acquired at death? But if the

body is a temporally intermediate one between death and resurrec-

tion when the glorified eternal body is received, then how can Paul

qualify it as ai]w<nion "eternal," and does this not relinquish the parou-

sia to a role of secondary importance?

            If katalhuq^? refers to death before the parousia and e@xomen is a

futuristic present, then Paul avows the certainty of future possession

of the resurrection body at the parousia. What then is the state of

existence of the believer between death and resurrection? Soul-sleep?

Annihilation? Bodiless existence? If, however, one interprets the

anthropology of Paul as unequivocally monistic (holistic, monadic),

the incorporeal intermediate life is excluded. On the other hand, a

dualistic anthropology permits the bodiless existence of man as soul.

So anthropology influences exegesis.


            27 See Harris, "2 Corinthians," 349.




            Yet again, if kataluq^? refers to "dismantling" at the parousia,

does it mean destruction of the present body, or does it, in conjunc-

tion with the eschatological hope, parallel the denotation of the alla-

gn?nai of I Corinthians 15, since it appears that Paul's clothing imagery

in 2 Cor 5:2-4 develops the transformation motif of I Cor 15:53-54?

If it can only be used of destruction of the body, then in what sense

can Paul anticipate the parousia which in I Cor 15:51 means a change

of corporeal existence for the believer? In fact, kataluq^? can refer to

the death of believers before the parousia and cover as well the

transformation at the Advent.

            But does not the construction introduced by e]a>n (P2, v 1b) guar-

antee the probability that Paul would die before the parousia, and so

indicates a shift from his previous eschatological expectation of super-

investiture at the parousia to a present expectation of death? Inter-

preters suggest that e]a>n with the subjunctive modality of kataluq^?

expressing probability is a way forward, since it confirms that Paul

changed his mind from an imminent resurrection at the parousia

(I Corinthians 15) to the probability of death before the parousia

(2 Corinthians 5). Yet Boyer's analysis28 with Carson's caution29 assesses

the significance of this construction more accurately than older gram-

mars. Boyer's research determines that in the NT, third-class condi-

tional constructions constitute a formulaic mode of expressing all

future contingency, all implied notions of probability of fulfillment

having vanished: So Paul expresses that a dismantling (lata;iq^?) will

take place, either at the parousia, which will mean a]llagh?nai, or in

death before.

            Moreover, e]n tou<t& (p (v 2) is just as controversial, with suggestions

ranging from (I) an anaphoric referent to skh<nouj; (5:1), to (2) a

temporal orienter rendered "meanwhile" (Hughes, NIV), to (3) a

cataphoric reference to the content of P6, e]pendu<sasqai, the gram-

matical object of e]pipoqou?ntej. Does the groaning (P4) that realizes

the RSLT of the desiring (P5) refer to groaning because of tent-life

existence (e]n tou<t&=skh<nouj) or an eschatological groaning of

anticipation produced within the believer by the eschatological pres-

ence of the Holy Spirit who is not only the guarantee of future

consummation, but the proleptic participation (a]parxh<) in and the

foretaste of end-time, salvific benefits? The groaning is eschatological

in anticipation of e]pendu<sasqai, superinvestiture at the parousia, and

is in fact produced by it-all resulting from Paul's experience of the

Holy Spirit as a person within who guarantees that when death


            28 J. L. Boyer, "Third (and Fourth) Class Conditions," Grace Theological Journal

3 (1982) 163-75.

            29 D. L. Carson, Exegetical Fallacies (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984) 80-82.





dismantles (P2) his present earthly dwelling, the ultimate outcome of

the present process of inward transformation carried on by the Spirit

will be corporeal existence in a resurrected, glorified body (P3).

       ]Ependu<sasqai (P6) does not carry a synonymity of denotation

to e]ndusa<menoi (v 3; Nestle-Aland 26th ed. and UBSGNT attest to the

questionable e]kdusa<menoi), but refers to Paul's eager desire for his

Lord to return, not just to experience superinvestiture because of

some morbid fear of death and bodiless existence, but because of the

eschatological anticipation of a fuller experience at the eschaton since

the present experience produced by the Spirit is only foretaste. This

present experience of the spirit began with Paul's conversion (e]ndusa<-

menoi, v 3). He groans (P4) for that day of e]pendusa<sqai (P6) since (ei@

ge kai>) he is guaranteed eschatological vindication (ou] gumnoi>; P7)30

and approval of his ministry (ou] gumnoi>) because of the work of the

Spirit in his life and ministry, something his opponents cannot claim.

            P8 further clarifies Paul's groaning by amplification with the

introduction of barou<menoi (P9) as the reason for his groaning. Since

para 5:1-5 comprises an amplification of para 4:16-18, it is best to

interpret P9, which realizes a reason to P8 (RSLT) both of which are

constituent propositions of an amplification configuration, in light of

ba<roj do<chj "the load of glory" in para 4:16-18, v 17. Consequently,

his life is one of Holy Spirit-inspired, eschatological groanings

accompanied by a pervasive divine glory in the midst of obstacles.

Even though the substructure of Pauline theology may be eschato-

logical, holy history, it is pneumatology that determines Paul's per-

sonal eschatology.


            IV. SC 5:6-10 (Paragraph); (Role: Purpose of 4:7-5:5)

Theme: Even though we (exc) are persistently courageous (while at

home in the body), yet because we (exc) really prefer to be at home

with the Lord, we (exc) make it our constant ambition to please him.

For we (inc) must all have our lives exposed before his tribunal.

The Constituent Organization and Relational Structure of SC 5:6-10


            It is apparent from the node generating para 5:6-10, that the role

of PURPOSE of 4:7-5:5 does not meet the usual role expectation of a

consecutive paragraph introduced by ou#n. The anticipated communi-

cation relation between para 5:1-5 and para 5:6-10 would be some


            30 See D. Wenham, "Being Found on the Last Day: New Light on 2 Peter 3:10 and

2 Corinthians 5:3," NTS 33 (1987) 477-79; E. E. Ellis, Paul and His Recent Interpreters

(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1961) 35-48.



specific set of cause-effect communication relations and in all prob-

ability, grounds-HEAD best realizes that role relation. That is, qar-

rou?men, "we are confident," (P6, v 8) realizes the Conclusion which

Paul draws from the previously assured hope of a resurrection body

(P1-P3; v 1 of para 5:1-5) and the presence within him of the Holy

Spirit as a guarantee of present transformation and ultimate acquisi-

tion of all God has prepared for him.

            If, however, the process of theme derivation employed in this

model of textlinguistic theory has determined that the most salient

information is P10(v 9)-P11(v 9), "We (exc) make it our constant

ambition to please him," then Paul would be avowing that his ambi-

tion to please the Lord is based upon his assurance of a resurrection

body (P1-P3 v I of para 5:1-5) and his present possession of the Holy

Spirit (P11; v 5 of para 5:1-5). Neither is entirely wrong; the latter

collocating more readily as an evidential grounds for Paul's consum-

ing desire to please the Lord. Can either, however, suggest completely

satisfactorily the cause of Paul's consumed life? The problem is more

acute when oi]kodomh>n "building" is read as a symbol of new-age

existence (Furnish), collective reality (Ellis, J. A. T. Robinson, and

Thrall), the heavenly temple, or the heavenly mansion (R. V; G.

Tasker, and C. Hodge).31

            So the evidence of "we (inc)" participant reference and the

collocational problem between the macroproposition (theme) of para

5:1-5 and that of para 5:6-10 suggest the possibility of an anaphoric

referent prior to para 5:1-5, especially since the latter embeds within

4:16-18 as amplification. Yet, the conclusion that para 5:6-10 realizes

the PURPOSE of 4:7-5:5, as previously attested in the thematic state-

ment of SDC 4:7-5:10 (cf. Fig. I), does not preclude a secondary

communication relation between paragraphs 5:1-5 and 5:6-10, be-

cause of the vast networking of communicatipn relations that exist

within a discourse. The task of visually mapping all of them is at best

difficult. Moreover, 4:7-4:17 parallels para 5:6-10 with "we (exc)"

participant reference, but 4:18-5:5, inclusive of para 5:1-5, departs

the pattern of "we (inc)" inclusive language. Sameness of participant

reference achieved by lexical concepts is an analytical feature of

meaning indicating referential coherence. The least, then, that can be

said of this is that although SDC 4:7-5:10 (Section) comprises a

cohesive semantic unit, there is greater density that exists between the

"we (mc)" units.

            The participle qarrou?ntej P1 (v 6a), occasions an anacoluthic

construction to highlight P6 (v 8), qarrou?men, "we are confident," and


            31 Cf. Harris, 2 Corinthians, 349 D. 1.



serve as an intensifier--"we are truly confident." Further, it occurs at

sentence onset and, interestingly, while functioning as a forefronted

contracted proposition intensifying qarrou?men, returns with a positive

affirmation of confidence to the negative statement of the same in

4:16, ou]k e]gkakou?men, "we refuse to lose heart." With para 5:6-10, it

will be recalled, Paul returns to the "we (exc)" participant reference

that characterizes 4:7-4:17. If in the networking of communication

relations that serves discourse structure, Paul intends to clarify addi-

tionally his previous negative statement because of the amplification

given to the theme of para 4:16-18 by para 5:1-5, he may now be

stating the positive contrast, which is more naturally prominent in-

formation in a clarification relation of positive-negative contrast.

Again, this marks the prominence of para 5:6-10 in the relational

structure of SDC 4:7-5:10.

            Both e]ndhmou?ntej (v 9a) and e]kdhmou?ntej (v 9b) are anaphoric

references to vv 6 and 8, continue the lexical cohesion of this con-

figuration of propositions, and clarify by summation across semantic

unit boundaries the corresponding statements to which they point.

Hence, e]ndhmou?ntej (v 9a) = P3 (e]ndhmou?ntej e]n t&? sw<mati, v 6a)

= P4 (e]kdhmou?ntej a]po> tou? kuri<ou, v 6b); and e]kdhmou?ntej (v 9b)

= P8 (e]kdhmh?sai e]k tou? sw<matoj, v 8b) = P9 (e]kdhmh<sai pro>j to>n

ku<rion,v 8b). To the cohesion realized by lexical evidence and rela-

tional structure is added the syntactic device of step parallelism (vv 6,

8). Realizing the RSL T role in the HEAD configuration, P4 dramati-

cally contrasts with Paul's preference, realized on the main event line

by the cognitive orienter eu]dokou?men (P7, v 8) and its positive Con-

tent, P9 (e]ndhmh?sai pro>j to>n ku<rion). He backgrounds his present

temporal existence by an event proposition realized by e]ndhmou?ntej

(v 6 = P3 = P4 = v 9a) embedded as a temporal orienter in P4 to call

attention to his present corporeal existence as life away from the

Lord, while esteeming somatic existence as the sole medium of min-

istry, relationships, and ultimate accountability.

            P11 (9b), eu]a<restoi au]t&? ei#nai, "to please him", a nominalized

infinitival construction with a stative nucleus, is embedded in the

object tagmeme of filotimou<meqa ("we make it our goal," NIV) and

realizes the CONTENT role. Grammatical verb catenations often

appear skewed to the semantic hierarchy when the grammatical ob-

ject tagmeme is filled by an abstract noun or an event participle so

that the finite verb realizes the semantic attribute, and the grammati-

cal object encodes the event nucleus. Stative infinitival clauses, it

appears, realize in a skewed relationship to the semantic stratum, the

anticipated subject of an ambient proposition. In this example, Paul's

perlocutionary function is to mark as prominent the importance of



"pleasing" the Lord, and the present tense finite verb realizing the

nucleus of P12 (v 10) attributes intensity to Paul's consuming ambi-

tion. Paul is saying, "To give the utmost satisfaction to my master is

the consuming ambition of my life."

            P12 resumes with Paul's return to "we (inc)" participant reference

with marked prominence by forefronting h[ma?j before the event

proposition (P12) realized in the surface structure by the aorist pas-

sive infinitive fanerwqh?nai. This nominalized infinitive construction in

turn fills the subject tagmeme of the ambient proposition realized by

dei?. By topicalizing the event proposition realized by the infinitive

construction, sentence focus is on the disclosure of the believers'

conduct by Christ as judge. Judgment for deeds done through the

body restricts the period of accountability to "while at home in the

body," involves compulsory attendance for believers, precludes any

further possibility of pleasing the Lord by actions in an intermediate

state of existence, and serves as a motivational reason (P12-P13) for

Paul's persistent efforts at pleasing the Lord (P10-P11).





This material is cited with gracious permission from:

The Criswell College

4010 Gaston Ave. 

Dallas, TX   75246


Please report any errors to Ted Hildebrandt at: