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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - 2CORINTHIANS 1
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    CHAPTER 1

    2Co 1:1-24. THE HEADING; PAUL'S CONSOLATIONS IN RECENT TRIALS IN ASIA; HIS SINCERITY TOWARDS THE CORINTHIANS; EXPLANATION OF HIS NOT HAVING VISITED THEM AS HE HAD PURPOSED.

    1. Timothy our brother--When writing to Timothy himself, he calls him "my son" (1Ti 1:18). Writing of him, "brother," and "my beloved son" (1Co 4:17). He had been sent before to Macedonia, and had met Paul at Philippi, when the apostle passed over from Troas to Macedonia (compare 2Co 2:12, 13; see on 1Co 16:10, 11).
    - in all Achaia--comprising Hellas and the Peloponnese. The Gentiles themselves, and Annæus Gallio, the proconsul (Ac 18:12-16), strongly testified their disapproval of the accusation brought by the Jews against Paul. Hence, the apostle was enabled to labor in the whole province of Achaia with such success as to establish several churches there (1Th 1:8; 2Th 1:4), where, writing from Corinth, he speaks of the "churches," namely, not only the Corinthian, but others also--Athens, Cenchrea, and, perhaps, Sicyon, Argos, &c. He addresses "the Church in Corinth," directly, and all "the saints" in the province, indirectly. In Ga 1:2 all the "churches" are addressed directly in the same circular Epistle. Hence, here he does not say, all the churches, but "all the saints."

    3. This thanksgiving for his late deliverance forms a suitable introduction for conciliating their favorable reception of his reasons for not having fulfilled his promise of visiting them (2Co 1:15-24).
    - Father of mercies--that is, the SOURCE of all mercies (compare Jas 1:17; Ro 12:1).
    - comfort--which flows from His "mercies" experienced. Like a true man of faith, he mentions "mercies" and "comfort," before he proceeds to speak of afflictions (2Co 1:4-6). The "tribulation" of believers is not inconsistent with God's mercy, and does not beget in them suspicion of it; nay, in the end they feel that He is "the God of ALL comfort," that is, who imparts the only true and perfect comfort in every instance (Ps 146:3, 5, 8; Jas 5:11).

    4. us--idiomatic for me (1Th 2:18).
    - that we may . . . comfort them which are in any trouble--Translate, as the Greek is the same as before, "tribulation." The apostle lived, not to himself, but to the Church; so, whatever graces God conferred on him, he considered granted not for himself alone, but that he might have the greater ability to help others [CALVIN]. So participation in all the afflictions of man peculiarly qualified Jesus to be man's comforter in all his various afflictions (Isa 50:4-6; Heb 4:15).

    5. sufferings--standing in contrast with "salvation" (2Co 1:6); as "tribulation" (distress of mind), with comfort or "consolation."
    - of Christ--Compare Col 1:24. The sufferings endured, whether by Himself, or by His Church, with which He considers Himself identified (Mt 25:40, 45; Ac 9:4; 1Jo 4:17-21). Christ calls His people's sufferings His own suffering: (1) because of the sympathy and mystical union between Him and us (Ro 8:17; 1Co 4:10); (2) They are borne for His sake; (3) They tend to His glory (Eph 4:1; 1Pe 4:14, 16).
    - abound in us--Greek, "abound unto us." The order of the Greek following words is more forcible than in English Version, "Even so through Christ aboundeth also our comfort." The sufferings (plural) are many; but the consolation (though singular) swallows up them all. Comfort preponderates in this Epistle above that in the first Epistle, as now by the effect of the latter most of the Corinthians had been much impressed.

    6. we . . . afflicted . . . for your consolation--exemplifying the communion of saints. Their hearts were, so to speak, mirrors reflecting the likenesses of each other (Php 2:26, 27) [BENGEL]. Alike the afflictions and the consolations of the apostle tend, as in him so in them, as having communion with him, to their consolation (2Co 1:4; 4:15). The Greek for "afflicted" is the same as before, and ought to be translated, "Whether we be in tribulation."
    - which is effectual--literally, "worketh effectually."
    - in the enduring, &c.--that is, in enabling you to endure "the same sufferings which we also suffer." Here follows, in the oldest manuscripts (not as English Version in the beginning of 2Co 1:7), the clause, "And our hope is steadfast on your behalf."

    7. so shall ye be--rather, "So are ye." He means, there is a community of consolation, as of suffering, between me and you.

    8, 9. Referring to the imminent risk of life which he ran in Ephesus (Ac 19:23-41) when the whole multitude were wrought up to fury by Demetrius, on the plea of Paul and his associates having assailed the religion of Diana of Ephesus. The words (2Co 1:9), "we had the sentence of death in ourselves," mean, that he looked upon himself as a man condemned to die [PALEY]. ALFORD thinks the danger at Ephesus was comparatively so slight that it cannot be supposed to be the subject of reference here, without exposing the apostle to a charge of cowardice, very unlike his fearless character; hence, he supposes Paul refers to some deadly sickness which he had suffered under (2Co 1:9, 10). But there is little doubt that, had Paul been found by the mob in the excitement, he would have been torn in pieces; and probably, besides what Luke in Acts records, there were other dangers of an equally distressing kind, such as, "lyings in wait of the Jews" (Ac 20:19), his ceaseless foes. They, doubtless, had incited the multitude at Ephesus (Ac 19:9), and were the chief of the "many adversaries" and "[wild] beasts," which he had to fight with there (1Co 15:32; 16:9). His weak state of health at the time combined with all this to make him regard himself as all but dead (2Co 11:29; 12:10). What makes my supposition probable is, that the very cause of his not having visited Corinth directly as he had intended, and for which he proceeds to apologize (2Co 1:15-23), was, that there might be time to see whether the evils arising there not only from Greek, but from Jewish disturbers of the Church (2Co 11:29), would be checked by his first Epistle; there not being fully so was what entailed on him the need of writing this second Epistle. His not specifying this here expressly is just what we might expect in the outset of this letter; towards the close, when he had won their favorable hearing by a kindly and firm tone, he gives a more distinct reference to Jewish agitators (2Co 11:22).
    - above strength--that is, ordinary, natural powers of endurance.
    - despaired--as far as human help or hope from man was concerned. But in respect to help from God we were "not in despair" (2Co 4:8).

    9. But--"Yea."
    - in God which raiseth the dead--We had so given up all thoughts of life, that our only hope was fixed on the coming resurrection; so in 1Co 15:32 his hope of the resurrection was what buoyed him up in contending with foes, savage as wild beasts. Here he touches only on the doctrine of the resurrection, taking it for granted that its truth is admitted by the Corinthians, and urging its bearing on their practice.

    10. doth deliver--The oldest manuscripts read, "will deliver," namely, as regards immediately imminent dangers. "In whom we trust that He will also (so the Greek) yet deliver us," refers to the continuance of God's delivering help hereafter.

    11. helping together by prayer for us--rather, "helping together on our behalf by your supplication"; the words "for us" in the Greek following "helping together," not "prayer."
    - that for the gift, &c.--literally, "That on the part of many persons the gift (literally, 'gift of grace'; the mercy) bestowed upon us by means of (that is, through the prayers of) many may be offered thanks for (may have thanks offered for it) on our behalf."

    12. For--reason why he may confidently look for their prayers for him.
    - our rejoicing--Greek, "our glorying." Not that he glories in the testimony of his conscience, as something to boast of; nay, this testimony is itself the thing in which his glorying consists.
    - in simplicity--Most of the oldest manuscripts read, "in holiness." English Version reading is perhaps a gloss from Eph 6:5 [ALFORD]. Some of the oldest manuscripts and versions, however, support it.
    - godly sincerity--literally, "sincerity of God"; that is, sincerity as in the presence of God (1Co 5:8). We glory in this in spite of all our adversities. Sincerity in Greek implies the non-admixture of any foreign element. He had no sinister or selfish aims (as some insinuated) in failing to visit them as he had promised: such aims belonged to his adversaries, not to him (2Co 2:17). "Fleshly wisdom" suggests tortuous and insincere courses; but the "grace of God," which influenced him by God's gifts (Ro 12:3; 15:15), suggests holy straightforwardness and sincere faithfulness to promises (2Co 1:17-20), even as God is faithful to His promises. The prudence which subserves selfish interests, or employs unchristian means, or relies on human means more than on the Divine Spirit, is "fleshly wisdom."
    - in the world--even in relation to the world at large, which is full of disingenuousness.
    - more abundantly to you-ward-- (2Co 2:4). His greater love to them would lead him to manifest, especially to them, proofs of his sincerity, which his less close connection with the world did not admit of his exhibiting towards it.

    13. We write none other things (in this Epistle) than what ye read (in my former Epistle [BENGEL]; present, because the Epistle continued still to be read in the Church as an apostolic rule). CONYBEARE and HOWSON think Paul had been suspected of writing privately to some individuals in the Church in a different strain from that of his public letters; and translates, "I write nothing else to you but what ye read openly (the Greek meaning, 'ye read aloud,' namely, when Paul's Epistles were publicly read in the congregation, 1Th 5:27); yea, and what you acknowledge inwardly."
    - or acknowledge--Greek, "or even acknowledge." The Greek for "read" and for "acknowledge" are words kindred in sound and root. I would translate, "None other things than what ye know by reading (by comparing my former Epistle with my present Epistle), or even know as a matter of fact (namely, the consistency of my acts with my words)."
    - even to the end--of my life. Not excluding reference to the day of the Lord (end of 2Co 1:14; 1Co 4:5).

    14. in part--In contrast to "even to the end": the testimony of his life was not yet completed [THEOPHYLACT and BENGEL]. Rather, "in part," that is, some of you, not all [GROTIUS, ALFORD]. So in 2Co 2:5; Ro 11:25. The majority at Corinth had shown a willing compliance with Paul's directions in the first Epistle: but some were still refractory. Hence arises the difference of tone in different parts of this Epistle. See Introduction.
    - your rejoicing--your subject of glorying or boast. "Are" (not merely shall be) implies the present recognition of one another as a subject of mutual glorying: that glorying being about to be realized in its fulness "in the day (of the coming) of the Lord Jesus."

    15. in this confidence--of my character for sincerity being "acknowledged" by you (2Co 1:12-14).
    - was minded--I was intending.
    - before--"to come unto you before" visiting Macedonia (where he now was). Compare Note, see on 1Co 16:5; also see on 1Co 4:18, which, combined with the words here, implies that the insinuation of some at Corinth, that he would not come at all, rested on the fact of his having thus disappointed them. His change of intention, and ultimate resolution of going through Macedonia first, took place before his sending Timothy from Ephesus into Macedonia, and therefore (1Co 4:17) before his writing the first Epistle. Compare Ac 19:21, 22 (the order there is "Macedonia and Achaia," not Achaia, Macedonia); Ac 20:1, 2.
    - that ye might have a second benefit--one in going to, the other in returning from, Macedonia. The "benefit" of his visits consisted in the grace and spiritual gifts which he was the means of imparting (Ro 1:11, 12).

    16. This intention of visiting them on the way to Macedonia, as well as after having passed through it, must have reached the ears of the Corinthians in some way or other--perhaps in the lost Epistle (1Co 4:18; 5:9). The sense comes out more clearly in the Greek order, "By you to pass into Macedonia, and from Macedonia to come again unto you."

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