There is a verse in Second Corinthians that has put my mind into quiet contemplations. I will quote the old King James Bible for this verse, since in this case, I prefer the way that it is translated in this version. In particular, there is a singular word in that verse that I wish to consider. In part, the verse reads like this: “For the love of Christ constrains us” (2 Corinthians 5:14).
What interests me about this verse is the word constrains (or constraineth, if you prefer the 1611 version). Other newer translations of the Bible interpret the word in this verse, “control” or “compel.”
“The love of the Lord controls us; the love of the Lord compels us.” Either of these words is also probably a fair translation of the word that Paul wrote, but I think that the word constrains better communicates what Paul was saying.
In our day, we often use the word constrain to speak of something that we wish to keep in check or to hold it together. In our thinking, this is not necessarily a positive word. We do not like the idea of constraints being placed on our lives. We instead value our freedom.
This meaning that we place on the word actually also seems also to be close to the meaning of the Greek word that the Apostle Paul used in writing this verse. Why then, should Paul say that Christ’s love would constrain us?