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1. Timothy our brother. Lit., the brother. Compare 1 Cor. i. 1. Well known in the Christian brotherhood. When Paul writes to Timothy himself he calls him son" (Bengel). Timothy appears, not as amanuensis, nor as joint-author, but as joint-sender of the epistle.
Achaia. See on 1 Cor. xvi. 15.
3. The Father of mercies (o pathr twn oiktirmwn). Equivalent to the compassionate Father. Compare the phrases Father of glory, Ephesians i. 17; spirits, Heb. xii. 9; lights, Jas. i. 17. Oijktirmov mercy, from oiktov pity or mercy, the feeling which expresses itself in the exclamation oi oh! on seeing another's misery. The distinction between this and eleov, according to which oijktirmov signifies the feeling, and eleov the manifestation, cannot be strictly held, since the manifestation is often expressed by oijktirmov. See Sept., Psalm xxiv. 6; cii. 4; cxviii. 77.
All comfort (pashv paraklhsewv). The earliest passage in the New Testament where this word comfort or its kindred verb is applied to God. Compare paraklhtov comforter, advocate, of the Holy Spirit, in John xiv. 16, 26, etc. All is better rendered every: the God of every consolation.
4. In all our tribulation - in any trouble (epi pash th qliyei hmwn - en pash qliyei). Note the nice use of the article: all our tribulation, collectively; any or every trouble, specifically. In is literally upon; the trouble forming the ground of the comfort. So in hope, Rom. iv. 18; v. 2. We ourselves are comforted. An illustration of the personal character which pervades this epistle. Paul had been oppressed with anxiety concerning the reception of his first epistle by the Corinthian Church, by the delay of tidings, and by his disappointment in meeting Titus. The tidings, when at last they did arrive, aroused his gratitude for the wholesome effect of his rebuke upon the Church, and his indignation at the aggressions of the Judaizing teachers. With these feelings mingled his anxiety to hasten, in the Corinthian Church, the contribution for the poor saints in Judaea. This second letter therefore bears the marks of the high tension of feeling which finds expression in frequent personal allusions, especially to his afflictions. 139
5. Sufferings of Christ. Not things suffered for Christ's sake, but Christ's own sufferings as they are shared by His disciples. See Matthew xx. 22; Philip. iii. 10; Col. i. 24; 1 Pet. iv. 13. Note the peculiar phrase abound (perisseuei) in us, by which Christ's sufferings are represented as overflowing upon His followers. See on Col. i. 24.
6. And whether we be, etc. The MSS. differ in their arrangement of this verse. The main points of difference may be seen by comparing the A.V. and Rev. The sense is not affected by the variation.
8. We would not have you ignorant. See on Rom. i. 13.
Came to us in Asia. Rev., better, befell. The nature of the trouble is uncertain. The following words seem to indicate inward distress rather than trouble from without, such as he experienced at Ephesus.
Were pressed out of measure (kaq uperbolhn ebarhqhmen). Rev., better, were weighed down, thus giving the etymological force of the verb, from barov burden. For out of measure, Rev, exceedingly; see on 1 Corinthians ii. 1.
We despaired (exaporhqhnai). Only here and ch. iv. 8. From ejx out and out, and ajporew to be without a way of escape. See on did many things, Mark vi. 20.
9. Sentence of death (apokrima tou qanatou). Apokrima, occurs only here in the New Testament, and not in classical Greek nor in the Septuagint. In the latter the kindred words have, almost uniformly, the meaning of answer. Josephus used it of a response of the Roman senate. Sentence, which occurs in some inscriptions, if a legitimate rendering at all, is a roundabout one, derived from a classical use of the verb ajpokrinw to reject on inquiry, decide. Rev., therefore, correctly, answer of death. The sense is well given by Stanley: "When I have asked myself what would be the issue of this struggle, the answer has been, 'death."' Doth deliver (ruetai). The correct reading is rJusetai will deliver, Rev. 11. Persons (proswpwn). Face is the usual rendering of the word in the New Testament. Even when rendered person the usage is Hebraistic for face. See on Jas. ii. 1 There is no reason for abandoning that sense here. The expression is pictorial; that thanksgiving may be given from many faces; the cheerful countenances being an offering of thanks to God.
13. Read - acknowledge (anaginwskete - epiginwskete). The word-play cannot be reproduced in English.
14. In part (apo merouv). Referring to the partial understanding of his character and motives by the Corinthians.
15 Before (proteron). Rather, first of all. Instead of going first to the Macedonians, as he afterward decided. See 1 Cor. xvi. 5.
Second benefit (deuteran carin). Benefit is, literally, grace. Not a mere pleasurable experience through Paul's visit, but a divine bestowal of grace. Compare Rom. i. 11. Second refers to his original plan to visit Corinth twice, on his way to Macedonia and on his return.
17. Did I use lightness (th elafria ecrhsamhn). Rev., shew fickleness. Elafria, lightness, only here in the New Testament.
18. As God is true (pistov o Qeov). Not to be taken as a formula of swearing. He means that God will answer for him against the charge of fickleness by the power and blessing (benefit) which will attend his presence. Hence the meaning is: faithful is God (in this) that our speech, etc.
19. Was not (ouk egeneto). Rather, did not prove to be, in the result. In Him was yea (nai en autw gegonen). Lit., yea has come to pass in Him. He has shown Himself absolutely the truth. Compare John xiv. 6; Apoc. iii. 7, 14.
20. All (osai). Wrong. As many as.
Are yea, etc. Making this the predicate of promises, which is wrong. The meaning is that how many soever are God's promises, in Christ is the incarnate answer, "yea!" to the question, "Will they be fulfilled?" Hence Rev., correctly: How many soever be the promises of God, in Him is the yea.
And in Him Amen (kai en autw to amhn). The correct reading is: dio kai dij aujtou to ajmhn Wherefore also through Him is the Amen. In giving this answer in His person and life, Christ puts the emphatic confirmation upon God's promises, even as in the congregation the people say Amen, verily. In Him is in His person: through Him, by His agency. By us (di hmwn). Through our ministration. Christ, in and through whom are the yea and the amen, is so proclaimed by us as to beget assurance of God's promises, and so to glorify Him.
Of the Spirit. Not the foretaste or pledge of the Spirit, but the Spirit Himself in pledge of the fulfillment of the promises. By a common Greek usage the words are in apposition: the earnest which is the Spirit.
23. I call God for a record (ton Qeon epikaloumai). Rev., better, witness. A common classical idiom. Compare Plato: "Next will follow the choir of young men under the age of thirty, who will call upon the God Paean to testify to the truth of these words" ("Laws," 664). Homer: "For the gods will be the best witnesses" ("Iliad," xxii., 254). Compare Romans i. 9; Gal. i. 20; Philip. i. 8; 1 Thess. ii. 5, 10; Genesis xxxi. 50, Sept. This particular form of expression occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. The verb is often translated appeal, as Acts xxv. 11, 12. Also to call upon, in the sense of supplication, Rom. x. 12, 13, 14; 1 Corinthians i. 2.