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2 Corinthians 6:14 and its subsequent verses seem like something of an abrupt interlude in the middle of Paul's appeal to the Corinthians to open their hearts to him and his associates. What's the intended application here - how does separating themselves from unbelievers relate to the immediate context of Paul appealing to them over their closed hearts? In essence, how are verses 14-18 intended to strengthen his surrounding argument?

v14-18 is the section between the first and second bold highlights below:

2 Corinthians 6:11-7:2 (ESV)

We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also. Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

7:1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one.

Related question: 2 Corinthians 6:14 - What Does "Unequally Yoked" Mean?

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    One could answer your question, but I am not sure it would meaningful. The ESV translation is not terribly faithful to the original. Paul does not say that his heart is "wide open", but rather that his mouth is open and his heart is enlarged (not the same thing). He is not speaking of open and closed hearts. – user15733 Dec 10 '16 at 23:28
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1. Question Restatement

How does Paul's arguments regarding holiness, strengthen his plea for the Corinthians to "Make Room" for them?


2. Answer - Removing "Other Affections" + "Holiness" = Unrestrained Relationships :

In Context, Paul was asking the Corinthians to "make room for them", but pointed to the Corinthians' other affections, showing how much they were constraining their relationships.

NASB, 2 Corinthians 6:12 - You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections. ... 14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers;

Paul argued that other partnerships with the world and unbelievers is never profitable. So, Paul was asking the Corinthians to become "holy", and to clear out these "worldly" affections to make room for them.

By pointing to their "other affections" restraining their relationship, and how "holiness" is necessary, Paul believed they could pursue an "unrestrained relationship".

In other words, Paul seems to be pointing to his jealousy, or God's (probably both):

NASB, 2 Corinthians 11:2 - For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.

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I want us to keep in mind what the great apostle Paul is dealing with in the first part of this letter. It is inferred in chapter 5 verses 11-15 that Paul and his companions are acting irrationally by putting themselves at great risk and for that reason they must not be true apostles of Jesus. Paul defends himself and his position by stating that his mission is to live for Christ even if it means death. He then pleads with the congregation in 6:1-13 for them to see that his actions are done out of love for them and it is they that should open their hearts and receive the grace of God. Paul wants those that are being influenced by the false apostles to know they are out of step with what he is teaching as well as what he is living. That's the meaning of being unequally yoked. (putting a yoke on two different animals and trying to make them walk together is impossible, Paul's solution to them is v.17, come out from among them) Paul's words in 7:1-2 show that is what Paul is trying to do.

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