2 Corinthians 8:9:
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. [ESV]
9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. [KJV]
9 for ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that because of you he became poor -- being rich, that ye by that poverty may become rich. [YLT]
The words rich, poor and poverty appear 4 times in total in 2 Cor 8:9. The first half of the verse states that Jesus was at some point rich, but for our sake decided to become poor. The second half states that, as a consequence, Jesus' state of poverty enabled us to become rich.
- The word rich is used twice in the verse, first to describe the original state of Jesus (though he was rich), and second to describe the final state of the believer (so that you by his poverty might become rich). What is meant by rich in both cases? Is rich used with the exact same meaning twice? Does the believer become rich in the exact same way that Jesus was originally rich?
- What is meant by poor and poverty? My personal thoughts on these words include that:
- they indicate the opposite of rich and, therefore, we have to make sure that our interpretation of poor and poverty is semantically consistent with our interpretation of rich,
- it is clear that Jesus experienced a transition from rich to poor at some point, and
- Jesus' poverty enables his disciples (in a cause-effect sense) to become rich, so there is something special and powerful about Jesus' poverty (whatever that means).
- (Meta question) Is it possible to answer questions 1 and 2 unambiguously? If not, can we at least narrow down our choices to a few candidate interpretations of the words rich, poor and poverty, ranked from most to least likely?
Addendum - an example of what I'm looking for.
I by no means claim this to be the correct interpretation, but one possibility would be to define rich as being divine (i.e. having divine, glorified attributes) and poor and poverty as being human (i.e. having a sinful, Adamic, fallen nature). If we disambiguate the words in this way, one could paraphrase 2 Corinthians 8:9 as follows:
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was in a divine, glorified state [pre-mortal existence], yet for your sake he became human [incarnation], so that you by his humanness [culminating in his crucifixion] might be able to reach a divine, glorified state [in the resurrection].