2 Cor. 6:2 now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation
The doctrines of Paul are the same as found elsewhere in the scriptures. In 2 Corinthians 6, we find a few examples in which Paul references important doctrines, almost in passing, without expounding on them. We will examine these examples (v. 2, 6, 18) because this pattern reoccurs throughout Paul's writings. The first example is from verse 2, 'now is the day of salvation.' The Book of Mormon version of this concept may be more familiar to us, 'For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors' (Alma 34:32).
2 Cor. 6:3 giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed
"When my sister was in the Young Women program, she, like many girls then and now, enjoyed talking with her friends and being silly whenever she had a chance. On one occasion a teacher finally got fed up and told her, 'Leave the class and don't come back until you can behave.' My sister left and never did come back. That was 30 years ago.
"As Proverbs 18:19 reminds us, 'A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city.' It is so easy to offend someone-and so dangerous! The Apostle Paul, knowing how a thoughtless action or comment could affect a member's attitude about the Church, urged us to give 'no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed' (2 Cor. 6:3).
"...This leads us to the other side of the issue: we have a responsibility to avoid taking offense and to freely forgive, even when we have not been asked to do so. One of the most frequently reported reasons for Church inactivity is 'Someone offended me.' We need to exercise patience with others. If we allow ourselves to be offended, any excuse will do." (Denise Turner, "If Any Man Offend Not," Ensign, Aug. 1998, 46-47)
2 Cor. 6:4-6 the ministers of God [serve] by pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness
Our second example of Paul teaching the doctrines of the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants is found in these verses. Herein he lists the qualities of those called to the ministry, much like the more commonly quoted passage in the D&C, 'O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength...Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence' (DC 4:2,6).
2 Cor. 6:8-9 Paul Paraphrased
"When we preach the gospel, we are honored by the believers and dishonored by the unbelievers. Both good and evil reports are circulated about us as if we're deceivers, but we are not. Rumors circulate that we are unknown and preach our own doctrine, but we are well known to you. You may hear that we are dying, yet we are alive; you may hear that we are chastened, yet we have not been killed."
2 Cor. 6:10 poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things
The gospel is more important than all the money in the world. Perhaps we could ask the lame man at the gate what he thinks. Remember him? It was to him that Peter said, 'Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength' (Acts 3:6-7). Traveling as a missionary, Paul was always poor, but how many were made rich by his preaching? As to material things, he had nothing, yet he possessed all he needed and more.
"...when you do good things the Lord rewards you for them. He is the best paymaster that I know of.
"...In the mission field one missionary said, 'I would not take a million dollars for the experience of my mission.' Another missionary, who had played on the BYU basketball team which won the intermountain championship, said, 'The boys literally carried us around on their shoulders, the biggest day of my life-until I came into the mission field. But I wouldn't trade one night like this, bearing witness of the truth, for all the basketball games I have ever played.'" (December 6, 1961, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1961, p. 7-8.)
"I heard a missionary up in Oregon giving the report of his mission. He himself was a convert to the Church, and he came down with his fist on the pulpit, and he said, 'I wouldn't take a check tonight for a million dollars for the experience of my mission.' I sat back of him, and I said to myself, 'Would you take a million dollars for your first mission in the little land of Holland?' And I began counting the families that I'd been instrumental in bringing into the Church. What kind of a man would I be if I were to sell them out of the Church for a million dollars? I wouldn't do that for all the money in the world!" ("The Joy of Serving a Mission," Ensign, Nov. 1978, 33)
Vaughn J. Featherstone
"There are other experiences. Once as I was leaving a conference, a sweet family stopped me. They knew a nonmember man who was having severe problems, and they wondered if we would give him a blessing. We dropped by his apartment. In the living room were two pieces of furniture, a bean bag and a stereo set-and nothing else. A little girl, nine, was taking care of her father because the mother, when she heard her husband had cancer, had abandoned him and the girl and her younger brother. The girl took us down the hallway into his room, and there on the bottom of the two bunks we saw this man, six feet tall, sixty-seven pounds. We administered to him, feeling he would not live. But we felt impressed to bless him with the thing that would be of most worth to him: that his son and daughter would be protected, that angels would walk through this life with them, that they would be protected when he wasn't there to do it any longer. You can't buy those kinds of experiences for all the money in the world." ("Where Following Him Can Lead Us," Ensign, Feb. 1981, 8)
2 Cor. 6:12 ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in you own bowels
"As used in scripture, the word bowels very often refers to the center of pity or kindness. When we feel love or compassion for someone or something, we usually experience pain within. 'Let thy bowels be full of charity towards all men' (D&C 121:45) means, 'Demonstrate a Christlike love for others.' As used here the word bowels is part of a larger expression, 'ye are straitened in your own bowels' It is simply Paul's way of telling the Corinthians that they had not been restricted by any lack of affection on his part but rather by their own failure to show a proper love and compassion. Similar uses of the word in the New Testament are found in Philippians 1:8; 2:1; Colossians 3:12; and 1 John 3:17." (Institute Manual, The Life and Teachings of Jesus & his Apostles, 2nd ed., p. 303)
2 Cor. 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers
Mark E. Petersen
"...the Apostle Paul said: 'Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers . . .' (2 Cor. 6:14.)
"What are we to do then? Shall we bring upon ourselves the unhappiness of a divided household? Shall we profit by the voice of experience and marry within our own faith?...The obvious answer to everyone is, marry within your own faith. If you are a Presbyterian, marry a Presbyterian. If you are a Catholic, marry a Catholic. If you are of the house of Judah, marry within your own faith. If you are a Mormon, marry a Mormon.
"But to the Latter-day Saints we have something still further to say. Not only should the Latter-day Saints marry Latter-day Saints, but also the Latter-day Saints must marry Latter-day Saints within a Latter-day Saint temple. Just as God has his mode of baptism, so he has his mode of marriage. Should a Latter-day Saint ever reject God's mode of baptism? Then why should a Latter-day Saint ever reject God's mode of marriage?
"Marriage is intended by the Lord to last forever, eternally, as President Richards says, 'to be projected out into the eternities.' That takes temple marriage. It brings together two Latter-day Saints of faith and devotion. If they will be united, if they will come and participate in the great saving blessing of a temple marriage, if they then will live the gospel and keep sacred their marriage covenant, they need never worry about divorce because of religious or other serious differences in the home, nor need they ever fear that death itself will serve as a divorce court, and break the bonds which were made for time only." (Conference Report, April 1958, Third Day-Morning Meeting 106-107.)
Spencer W. Kimball
"For marriages performed outside the temples, the threat of divorce is much greater. In a study of our own groups, we found that there was only one divorce in every 16 marriages of those who were sealed in the temple, while there was one divorce in every 5.7 marriages of those who were not. This means that the temple-sealed person has about two and one half times better chance of having a happy marriage than one who is not. (Personally, I think the likelihood is much greater than that!) The happiness that comes to those people affords them joy and peace and gives them and their children a start, in the spiritual way, toward exaltation." ("The Importance of Celestial Marriage," Ensign, Oct. 1979, 4)
Ezra Taft Benson
"If someone wants to marry you outside the temple, whom will you strive to please-God or a mortal? If you insist on a temple marriage, you will be pleasing the Lord and blessing the other party. Why? Because that person will either become worthy to go to the temple-which would be a blessing-or will leave-which could also be a blessing-because neither of you should want to be unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14)." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 351.)
"We met this young lady...she came up here to the 'Y,' and I suppose that her parents felt just like all your parents, that it would be the place where she could find a good, faithful Latter-day Saint as a companion. She started keeping company with a young man who had been baptized a member of the Church, but he was not active in the Church. Then he finally got serious and he proposed to her. Do you know what she said? She said, 'I will never marry a man who does not honor his priesthood and his membership in the Church, I am going to be able to point to my children and say, `You follow your father.` '
"Their courtship ended right there. He was not willing to pay the price...My, how you admire a girl who knows what it takes to find happiness in this world.
"You remember what the Apostle Paul said, 'Be ye not unequally yoked together. . . ' (2 Cor. 6:14 .)
"Just so you can see the contrasts when I was president of the Hollywood Stake down in California, I sat in my office one day, and a young lady came in...'Well,' she said, 'I fell in love. I fell in love with a Catholic boy, and I loved him so much that I didn't think it would make any difference to the Lord how I served him as long as I served him. So I married him, and we were married by his priest. I agreed to raise my children in the Catholic Church.' She said, 'Now we have three children. I have gone with him to his meetings. The other day I told him that I was the biggest hypocrite in the world, that I didn't believe a thing that was going on in his church, that I knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and the kingdom of God had been established again on the earth.' She said, 'I don't know what is going to become of you or me or the children, but I'm going back to my Church.'
"Well, now, brothers and sisters, you cannot run away from the Lord. The only way to be sure of happiness is that you lay the right foundation on which to build a life of happiness. That is what your parents are praying for." (October 29, 1963, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1963, p. 5.)
Spencer W. Kimball
"Many times, women have come to me in tears. How they would love to be able to train their children in the gospel of Jesus Christ! But they are unable to do so because of religious incompatibility with a nonmember husband. How they would like to accept for themselves positions of responsibility in the Church! How they would like to pay their tithing! How they would appreciate going to the temple for their own endowments and to do work for the dead! How they wish they could be sealed for eternity and have the promise of having their own flesh and blood, their children, sealed to them for eternity! Sometimes it is men in this predicament. But they have locked the doors, and the doors have often rusted on their hinges." (The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], .241)
2 Cor. 6:15 what concord hath Christ with Belial?
Bruce R. McConkie
"Belial is one of the names of Satan and has particular reference to the fact that he is the personification of evil and lawlessness. The literal meaning of the term is worthlessness with an especial connotation of recklessness and lawlessness." (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], 78.)
2 Cor. 6:16 ye are the temple of the living God
See commentary for 1 Cor. 3:16-17.
Hugh B. Brown
"Virtue is protected by modesty and should garnish the thoughts and adorn the lives of our people, young and old, that we may be known for our decency, propriety, culture, and integrity. Let our thoughts, words, dress, and general deportment indicate our belief in the sanctity of the body as the temple of God even as Paul declared it to be: '... 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 Abundant Life [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965], 73.)
First Presidency Message
"You who have observed the law of chastity have kept the temples of God undefiled. You can stand unabashed before the Lord. He loves you. He will bestow honor and reward upon you. Every overcoming of temptation brings strength and glory to the soul. May the Lord continue to bless and prosper you in all your works of righteousness." (James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-75), 6: 175.)
2 Cor. 6:18 I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters
The Corinthians already understood this concept, so Paul did not elaborate. However, this is the third example (see v. 2-6) of a doctrine briefly referenced by Paul, which is nonetheless very important and clearly taught in the Book of Mormon, 'And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters' (Mosiah 5:7).
Historically, Paul may be the most misinterpreted of all the authors in the scriptures. Yet, he taught the same doctrines that we find in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. The fact that he only briefly mentions many important concepts indicates that he had previously expounded on these principles in depth among the Corinthians. Therefore, in his epistles, he makes only brief mention, knowing their level of understanding. This is crucial to understanding Paul. Otherwise, we will be like the 'unlearned and unstable', who wrest the scriptures 'unto their own destruction' (2 Pet. 3:16).