What Does It Mean To Be Unequally Yoked?
Given the literary and cultural/historical context of 2 Corinthians 6:14, Paul is most likely telling the Corinthian church not to become partners with those who were engaging in idol feasts in pagan temples — for they (the church) are the temple of the Living God (cf. 1 Cor 3:16, 6:19).
Though few worship idols at pagan temples in our society today, there are several idols that are worshiped which are not carved out of stone (e.g., money, power, sexual immorality, self, etc.). As in the first century, we in the 21st century should not engage in nor join others in idolatrous practices.
As one scholar puts it:
…a person cannot both walk with God and participate in idolatrous worship, believers must separate themselves from idolatry.1
Considering the potentially controversial nature of this subject, I open the presentation — first presented at a Bible Study on November 11, 2018 at Alpha Baptist Church — with some lighthearted but important points about how indispensable context is when it comes to determining meaning.
Please view the slides below; sources are on the last slide and also at the bottom of this page.
Barnett, Paul. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997.
Belleville, Linda L. 2 Corinthians. Vol. 8. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996.
Davis, James A. “1-2 Corinthians.” In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, 3:958–97. Baker Reference Library. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1995.
Garland, David E. 2 Corinthians. Vol. 29. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999.
Guthrie, George H. 2 Corinthians. Edited by Robert W. Yarbrough and Robert H. Stein. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2015.
Hafemann, Scott J. 2 Corinthians. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2000.
Hafemann, Scott J. “Corinthians, Letters to The.” Edited by Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid. Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.
Harris, Murray J. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians: A Commentary on the Greek Text. New International Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Milton Keynes, UK: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.; Paternoster Press, 2005.
Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.
Kidner, F. Derek. “Isaiah.” In New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, edited by D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, and G. J. Wenham, 4th ed., 629–70. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994.
Kruse, Colin G. “2 Corinthians.” In New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, edited by D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, and G. J. Wenham, 4th ed., 1188–1205. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994.
Kruse, Colin G. 2 Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 8. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1987.
Ryken, Leland, Jim Wilhoit, Tremper Longman, Colin Duriez, Douglas Penney, and Daniel G. Reid. Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000.
Strauss, Mark L. BI181 Introducing Bible Translations. Logos Mobile Education. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014.
Witherington, Ben, III. Conflict and Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995.
Also, a few of the examples of idioms are from: http://www.scholastic.com/printables/promosite/pdfs/0439237785_e039.pdf