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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible
2 Corinthians 2

 

 

Introduction

Satan Takes Advantage Of Some

- 2 Corinthians Two -

Paul had a strong desire to visit Corinth. However, he did not want it to be a sorrowful visit. He knew that if he visited Corinth and the problems were not corrected that it would be a sorrowful time for him and for the brethren there also. If Paul had visited Corinth and found them in a state of confusion and unfaithfulness he would have felt himself called on to exercise the severeity of discipline. He wanted to avoid that if at all possible.

Paul wanted to help the church to understand how they should treat the brother that had been immoral. Church discipline had worked and it had its desired effect. The church had carried out proper discipline against this sinning brother and he had repented of his wickedness. Now they must be careful to forgive him and to be an encouragement to him. Paul wanted the brother forgiven so that he would not become discouraged and then Satan could easily take advantage of the situation again. Satan is always busy looking for those that he can gain some advantage over.

Paul expressed a deep concern for Titus. He left Troas where there was a great "open door" to go on to Macedonia to search for him. In 2 Corinthians 7:5-7 we learn that Paul did find Titus and that he was safe. "For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more." Paul was so thankful for how, (1) God had blessed his work, (2) delivered Titus to him safely, and (3) proven that he was an apostle of Jesus Christ. He said, "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place." He viewed himself and his work as "a sweet savour of Christ."


Verses 1-4

Trying to avoid sorrow - 2 Corinthians 2:1-4 : Paul so much wanted to visit Corinth again. However he did not want it to be a painful visit. Just the writing of First Corinthians had caused Paul pain in writing and it caused these brethren pain in being brought face to face with sin and error. Paul would be so sad to have to come to Corinth if the brethren did not correct the wrongs that were going on there. He would feel sad but the brethren would also be saddened by the severeity of corrective apostolic discipline.

Paul wanted the brethren to have ample time to profit from the first letter. There is sorrow in wrong doing. Both the evil doer and the one doing the rebuking feel a deep sadness. The only way for the one that is rebuking the wrong to find joy is for the sinful person to repent. That is why Paul delayed in going to Corinth. He wanted them to have time to meditate on his letter and to correct their sinful situations. He did not desire to make them feel sad when they brought him so much joy. Like a loving parent Paul wrote to show his concern and love with reference to their spiritual welfare.


Verses 1-6

God comforts His people - 2 Corinthians 1:1-6 : Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, and his co-worker Timothy joined together in sending this epistle. They wrote to God"s church in Corinth and to all of God"s people in Achaia. This letter was actually the result of Paul"s first letter. It provided much comfort and some correction to the church. We must never forget the meaning of the expression "the church." According to the Bible there is one church and the pattern for this church is laid out in the New Testament. Paul prayed that God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ would bless these brethren with peace.

God was described as "the God of all comfort." (2 Corinthians 1:3) God the Father is a merciful God, who always gives His people comfort. The nature of God is seen along with His character. The Father and the Son cannot be the same person. God is declared to be the Father of Christ. So the "Jesus Only" idea many is simply not true. There is Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Many Christians have faced severe persecution. However, God comforts His people when they are in trouble. He does that so that they might share that same comfort with others when they are in trouble. These brethren shared both in the horrible sufferings of Christ and in the amazing comfort given by God. Paul found hope and strength in suffering. The assurance that Paul could find consolation in spite of his suffering would result in consolation for the Corinthian brethren. They could know that they would be comforted and saved even in troubled times.


Verses 5-11

Lest Satan get an advantage - 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 : Paul realized that he was not the only one that had been made to feel bad by the fornicator in the church. Here Paul does not mention specifically the man or the sin because the brother had repented. Even part of the brethren at Corinth had brought Paul grief by endorsing the fornicator. Paul did not want to make this too big of an issue because the man had repented and the church had largely accepted the first epistle and corrected their actions.

Paul now exhorted the brethren to receive this brother back into the fellowship of the church. They had pointed out the wrong he did; he repented and therefore that was punishment enough for what he had done. The entire church was involved in the discipline process and the entire church must be involved in the forgiveness. When Christians sin and then repent the church should forgive and comfort them, so they will not give up in despair. The brother must have no doubt of the love of the church for him and that he has been forgiven.

Paul desired the Corinthians to follow the instructions he had written. He, as an apostle, had the authority of Christ. Both by that authority and by his own hearts desire he had forgiven the penitent brother. If the brother was not received back by the church it might push him back into the world and that would give Satan an advantage over the church. Satan has all kinds of plans, purposes and schemes to get people back into the world. Beware!


Verse 12-13

Paul"s search for Titus - 2 Corinthians 2:12-13 : When Paul reached Troas he found a great open door for evangelism. Troas was an important port city along the Aegean Sea. It was situated in northwestern Asia Minor. Paul traveled through Troas several times. It was during a night vision there that a man pleaded with him to come to Macedonia to help them. Paul was disappointed that he did not find Titus at Troas. He had expected to meet him there and receive a report of how the brethren at Corinth had reacted to the first epistle.

The disappointment that Paul felt caused him to cut his visit short and go to Macedonia. In they faced all kinds of obstacles. He said "we Macedonia there was no chance to rest. There were troubled by enemies and troubled by fears." God encouraged and cheered Paul by sending Titus to him. Paul was cheered by seeing Titus. He was cheered even more when Titus reported to him how sorry Corinth was over the mess they had made in the church. He was also blessed when he found out how concerned they were for him personally. Even the most faithful need encouragement.


Verses 14-17

Christians triumph in Christ - 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 : Paul was very discouraged at not finding Titus. However he did not allow this to turn him away. He was always grateful that God makes it possible for Christ to lead to victory. God helped Paul spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere. This knowledge was like the pleasingly fragrant smell of perfume. Those that are being saved inhale the aroma of the gospel and they are saved. Sadly, some inhale the gospel and to them it has a bad smell and leads them to a horrible death.

Paul was sufficient for the work of preaching the gospel because he was an inspired apostle of Jesus Christ. Many, in order to get rich, corrupt the word of God by preaching some other message. Paul was fit to do this work because he and those with him were God"s sincere messengers. He is not one that corrupts the word of God. Paul delivered God"s pure message to the people. He did not preach it mixed with human tradition. He spoke by the power of Christ and he spoke the message with God as witness.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 2:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/box/2-corinthians-2.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, December 7th, 2019
the First Week of Advent
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