What does 2 Corinthians 5:8 mean?
ESV: Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
NIV: We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
NASB: but we are of good courage and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
CSB: In fact, we are confident, and we would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
NLT: Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.
KJV: We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
NKJV: We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
Verse Commentary:
This is a poignant, soul-baring moment from the apostle Paul. He is not suicidal, but he is honest about his deepest desires. He would rather be with the Lord than in his mortal, burdened, groaning, dying body. For the first time in this chapter, he describes being in his future, eternal body with Christ as being "at home." He is utterly convinced that it is where he is headed. Heaven is where he is meant to be forever. Paul's faith that the glory of his eternal life will far outweigh and outlast the suffering of earthly life makes him want that life more than this one. Of course it does. How could it not?

That same faith, though, gives him courage. Knowing his eternal fate is secure gives him fearlessness to keep going in this life. It emboldens Paul to stay on the path God has called him to. He is not actively seeking death; he is simply ready to go whenever God calls him home. Until then, he will keep working at what God has given him to do in the here and now.
Verse Context:
Second Corinthians 5:1–10 continues Paul's teaching from the previous chapter. The glory of eternity with Christ is far weightier than any suffering experienced in our temporary bodies in this life. Paul longs to occupy his eternal body, described as a permanent house built by God Himself. Knowing that is coming, Paul has the courage to risk even more suffering in order to continue the mission to preach the gospel. His one goal in this life is to please Christ. He knows that every Christian will face judgment by Christ, not to decide one's eternal destiny, but to receive what is due for our works while living in these temporary bodies.
Chapter Summary:
Why does Paul endure so much suffering for preaching about Christ? He continues here his discussion of eternity, comparing our earthly bodies to living in a tent. Paul would rather live in the eternal body God has prepared for those who trust in Christ, free from the groaning and burden that afflicts everyone here. With that to look forward to, he preaches with courage that all in Christ are new creations. In Christ, God is reconciling people to Himself, not counting their sin against them. Paul implores everyone to be reconciled to God in this way through faith in Christ.
Chapter Context:
Second Corinthians 5 follows Paul's confident declarations in the previous chapter. His suffering, though severe, is only a light, momentary affliction preparing him for eternal glory beyond all comparison. He would rather occupy his eternal body, which gives him the courage to continue his mission to preach the gospel that God is reconciling people to Himself, forgiving their sin, through faith in Christ. Those in Christ become a new creation. He concludes by imploring all to be reconciled to God, which he continues to do in the following chapter.
Book Summary:
Second Corinthians returns to similar themes as those Paul mentioned in his first letter to this church. Paul is glad to hear that the church in Corinth has heeded his advice. At the same time, it is necessary for Paul to counter criticisms about his personality and legitimacy. Most of this text involves that subject. The fifth chapter, in contrast, contains comforting words which Christians have quoted often in times of hardship. Paul also details his expectations that the church in Corinth will make good on their promise to contribute to the needs of suffering believers in Jerusalem.
Accessed 7/17/2024 1:19:12 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.