Wednesday, 2 September 2015
You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. 2 Corinthians 6:12
Paul just exclaimed in the preceding verse that the hearts of the apostles were wide open to those in Corinth. In contrast to this, he says, “You are not restricted by us.” The sense of this is that though their hearts were wide, allowing room enough for loving the entire congregation, there was a restricting of the hearts of the Corinthians which wasn’t allowing for the same affections towards the apostles.
Instead he says, “…but you are restricted by your own affections.” In this, he means that they were the cause of their own closing of heart towards the apostles. It had nothing to do with the apostles at all, but was a chronic problem with their own congregation. Through their own errors and misapplications of what Paul and the others had instructed them, they had gotten off the proper path of doctrine. This caused a conflict to arise between the two parties and had thus caused them to withhold their affections from being as broad as they should be.
For the word “affections,” Paul uses the Greek word splagchnon. In years past, some older translations, such as the KJV, use the unfortunate word “bowels” to translate it. This is a regrettable and actually meaningless way of translating the Greek. Albert Barnes explains the proper rendering of this word –
“The word used here (σπλάγχνα splangchna) commonly means in the Bible the tender affections. The Greek word properly denotes the upper viscera; the heart, the lungs, the liver. It is applied by Greek writers to denote those parts of victims which were eaten during or after the sacrifice – Robinson (Lexicon). Hence, it is applied to the heart, as the seat of the emotions and passions; and especially the gentler emotions, the tender affections, compassion, pity, love, etc. Our word “bowels” is applied usually to the lower viscera, and by no means expresses the idea of the word which is used in Greek.”
It is always good to remember that being captivated by one translation will inevitably lead to bondage of thought. It is far better to put away nonsense teachings that one version is the only one which should be used and to study with diligence what the true intent of the original languages is.
Life application: Often, our hearts will become hard to other Christians because of our own faulty doctrine. When this occurs, it is always wise to evaluate ourselves and what we believe, knowing that we could be in the wrong. Paul shows the Corinthians this so that they will lovingly reach out in order to be corrected and returned to a state of true fellowship with others.
Lord God, there are many, many divisions within the church which have been caused by sloppy doctrine or by the bondage of sticking to one translation of the Bible which is faulted in its translation. How can we overcome these things? I know that it is by studying to show ourselves approved and correcting our misperceptions of what You are telling us. Help me to always search for the truth in Your word and apply it to proper doctrine so that I can break down the walls of division and divisiveness. Amen.