2 Corinthians 5:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 5:4, NIV: "For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life."

2 Corinthians 5:4, ESV: "For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life."

2 Corinthians 5:4, KJV: "For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life."

2 Corinthians 5:4, NASB: "For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life."

2 Corinthians 5:4, NLT: "While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it's not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life."

2 Corinthians 5:4, CSB: "Indeed, we groan while we are in this tent, burdened as we are, because we do not want to be unclothed but clothed, so that mortality may be swallowed up by life."

What does 2 Corinthians 5:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul is describing life on this side of eternity as living in a tent. That tent is our current body, which is flimsy, temporary, dying, and ravaged by sin. The experience of life in these tents is a burden that brings "groaning." Paul wrote in Romans 8:18–23 that all of creation experiences this groaning, including believers, unbelievers, and even nature itself. We all labor under this sense that something is missing or that we are missing something. We feel the "groaning" desire that it come to an end.

Paul adds that he does not want to leave his body in order to live as some bodiless spirit. Nor does he want to cease to exist entirely. Some respond to the pain of existence and separation from God in this way. Paul, though, wants not to be "unclothed" by a body but to be "further clothed" with an endless, perfect body untouched by sin. He wants the dying, mortal part of himself, his body, to be swallowed up by endless life in an eternal body.