2 Corinthians 4:13: Evidence in Paul That Christ Believes. - Journal of Biblical Literature

2 Corinthians 4:13: Evidence in Paul That Christ Believes.

By Journal of Biblical Literature

  • Release Date: 2009-06-22
  • Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines


My interest in this text stems initially from its bearing on the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] debate. 2 Corinthians 4:13 is not generally discussed in this connection in any detail, usually being mentioned briefly in passing, if at all, (1) by the debate's protagonists, although on one level this is understandable. The ambiguous constructions in 2 Cor 4:13 are not [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] genitives. But this neglect is unfortunate, because this verse may offer clear evidence not merely of Jesus acting faithfully, but of his doing so as the subject of the verb. It is a common complaint by opponents of "the faithfulness of Christ" motif in Paul that Christ is never the subject of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in a Pauline text, from which observation it supposedly follows that Paul could not therefore be suggesting Christ's own faithfulness when he uses the cognate substantive in a genitive construction such as [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. (2) If Paul had intended this meaning, the objection runs, then he would have supplied us with at least one instance of Christ as the subject of the verb [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]--so [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] or some such. (3) Hence the potential relevance of 2 Cor 4:13. I suggest that here Christ is the directly implicit subject of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]--and not once, but twice, also drawing the cognate substantive into this orbit of meaning. This is a useful conclusion, if it can be established (although the underlying argumentative situation here is more complex than first meets the eye (4)). The following analysis takes place in two main phases. First, I will carefully consider 2 Cor 4:13 itself, which is a subtle and complex text. Second, I will consider its contexts in a series of widening circles--the immediately following v. 14, which is part of the same sentence by way of a participial construction, then the preceding context, especially 2 Corinthians 4, then the following context, especially ch. 5.