2 Corinthians 5:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 5:14, NIV: "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died."

2 Corinthians 5:14, ESV: "For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;"

2 Corinthians 5:14, KJV: "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:"

2 Corinthians 5:14, NASB: "For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;"

2 Corinthians 5:14, NLT: "Either way, Christ's love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life."

2 Corinthians 5:14, CSB: "For the love of Christ compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: If one died for all, then all died."

What does 2 Corinthians 5:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Some of Paul's detractors may have been suggesting he and his co-workers were out of their minds. Paul used the phrase "beside ourselves" to suggest that level of insanity (2 Corinthians 5:13). It's to be expected that a non-believer would think it insane for Paul to keep doing the very thing that brought him pain and suffering (1 Corinthians 2:14). Despite all the danger, they simply would not stop preaching about the gospel of Christ to as many people as they could.

Now Paul answers firmly that he is not crazy. Instead, he is compelled to act by the "love of Christ." That is, Christ's love for him and for others is so motivating that Paul cannot bring himself to respond to it in any other way. He is driven—compelled—to keep telling others about it. In some sense, Paul may even be saying that Christ's love literally controls his choices. Christ's love has essentially taken Paul captive to do Christ's work on earth, no matter what Paul may have considered doing otherwise. Because of Christ's love for him and the world, Paul must continue.

Paul and his co-workers for the gospel are absolutely convinced of one simple truth: One has died for all and therefore all died. By this, Paul means that Christ has died to pay for the sins of all humanity and His death has become the death required for all to pay for their personal sin. In a spiritual sense, all who trust in Christ died with Him when He died. Paul is describing what Bible scholars call "substitutionary atonement." Christ, as the perfect sacrifice for sin, died in our place to atone for our sin. His substitution for us makes it possible for us to be forgiven for our sin by God's grace through our faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9).