For we walk by faith, not by sight. -2 Corinthians 5:7
Meaning of 2 Corinthians 5:7
Apostle Paul’s second letter to the church of Corinths is called 2 Corinthians in the New Testament. The verse of Corinthians 5:7, ‘For we walk by faith, not by sight’ means Christ’s followers do everything with confidence in God instead of their own. Paul talks about how preaching the truth of Christ to the world brought Paul and his co-workers a lot of suffering. He continues to talk about how they strive and contend for the faith in the rest of the letter. They never quit their duty and talk about living with courage. Paul and the church believed that after they died, they would be resurrected like Christ. Paul also believed that they would enter heaven for all the suffering they endured. Paul sums it up in 2 Corinthians 5:7 that Christians must make a habit of living by the assurance that God will guide them.
Interpretations of 2 Corinthians 5:7
The verse 2 Corinthians 5:7 is most often used as a reference to speak over faith and trust in God. Many churches use this verse frequently to express the relevance of living by God’s word and avoiding fear or doubt. The following are a few interpretations of the verse.
Interpretation #1 Faith in God is enough for success
The meaning of the verse, “For we walk by faith, not by sight” means the reader or Christian doesn’t have to put much effort into their work and just believes in God, which is enough to succeed in life. In this interpretation, the reader can take this verse as an excuse to prevent working hard. They believe in waiting for God to do a miracle. The reader or the believer believing this version starts believing that once they have studied, they can pass the exam without actually putting much effort. Also, if a person starts a business, they believe that they can gain success or profits without putting effort into marketing.
Interpretation #2 God craves attention and thus is selfish
Another interpretation of the verse, “For we walk by faith, not by sight” shows God’s personality as a selfish creator. A person might believe that as God is the creator, His children must completely depend on Him. Hence a Christian prefers to work on their own assumptions that God is obviously self-centered and thus always craves the attention of His followers. People in the modern world believe in living life on their own terms and conditions. Thus asking His followers for complete trust without allowing them to work on their own also means that people do not have the freedom to choose.
Interpretation #3 God can test people’s faith through their works
In this interpretation, a person believes that every challenge they go through is a test. God testing his subjects or His followers is mentioned in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. For example, God asks the prophet Moses to lift the staff and divide the red sea as a test of his faith. This also implies when Jesus feeds the five thousand people. So, the meaning of the verse “For we walk by faith, not by sight“ here is God wants to test people’s faith through their deeds. This is believed by Christians and even non-Christians. However, the reader chooses to remain faithful and persevere in impressing God through their work in order to win the test.
Interpretation #4 Christians or believers must always wait for God’s instructions
Another interpretation of the phrase, “For we walk by faith, not by sight” is that Paul might be saying that believers need to await God’s instructions before making decisions. The author may have believed that humans make many decisions in their life that they regret later. So, perhaps God doesn’t trust a person to operate their life based even if they follow the commandments from the Bible. The churches also encourage the believers to consult or take counsel with the leaders of the church. In turn, they consult God in prayer and offer suggestions. In this version, the church leaders may or may not entirely be honest about God’s guidance and lead the believer to lose faith.
Interpretation #5 Undying Faith in God and human effort must go hand-in-hand
In this last interpretation, which is used by traditional churches, the Christians are taught to believe that nothing is impossible for God, and they should keep their total faith in Him. However, the person must also continue to put effort into their work. It could be their education, job, or business, the person must work harder and leave the results to God. Hence, the meaning of the verse, “For we walk by faith, not by sight” is that strength and faith in God should be equally done. Paul does not say that man should avoid work and blindly wait on God to achieve something.
Historical Background of 2 Corinthians 5:7
2 Corinthians is the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians. It was written in Macedonia around 55 A.D. The letter is believed to have been written after Paul visited Corinth, as it refers to a disruption among the Christians, during which Paul was insulted, and his apostolic authority was challenged. Due to this event, Paul decided never to set foot in Corinth again in person. Instead, he wrote an intervening letter and sent a fellow worker Titus to deliver this letter.
Literary Devices in 2 Corinthians 5:7
The verse has only 8 words but comes with some significant literary devices. Here are some of the literary devices in 2 Corinthians 5:7.
Proverb – The verse 2 Corinthians 5:7 is a powerful verse to be used as a proverb because of its truth. By quoting the verse ‘For we walk by faith, not by sight.’ the speaker can encourage the reader or listener to be confident in their endeavor, so they can achieve the goals. The verse also points to having faith in God.