Paul moves from "house" and "tent" to being "clothed" and "naked". Are these all one metaphor?

[2Co 5:1-5 NASB] (1) For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2) For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, (3) inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. (4) 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. (5) Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.

1 Answer 1


Mixing metaphors is quintessentially Paul. He does it a lot! Look at 1 Cor 3 where we see a parade of metaphors including:

  • Mother-hood (v1)
  • Food (v2)
  • farming (v6-8)
  • Building (v9-11)
  • Industrial smelting of metals (v12-15)
  • Jewish temple (v16, 17)

This is all with the one discussion about divisions in the Christian community.

2 Cor 5:1-4 is another example where Paul uses metaphors of building/housing and clothing, etc. Again, this is within the same argument.

One more example will suffice. In Rom 3-6, Paul develops the theology of the Atonement where he uses numerous metaphors such as, legal (Justification/acquittal), Accounting (credited as righteous), slavery (redemption/manumission), Family reconciliation, Jewish sacrifices, etc, etc.

  • Multiple metaphors is not the same as a mixed metaphor: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mixed%20metaphor I'm concerned with house and clothing/nakedness being used in the same sentence, in 2 cor 5:2 "clothed with our dwelling from heaven". Is it a mistranslation?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jul 11, 2019 at 0:16
  • It is not a mis-translation. I 2 Cor 5:2 we have ἐπενδύσασθαι (ependysasthai = clothed), and, οἰκητήριον (oikētērion = dwelling/house). It is definitely a mixed metaphor. Thus, Paul actually says that he longs to be clothed with a heavenly house. I presume that he is discussing the new body as described in 1 Cor 15:49-55.
    – user25930
    Commented Jul 11, 2019 at 2:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.