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2 Corinthians 1

Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy ScriptureOrchard's Catholic Commentary

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Verse 1

2 CORINTHIANS INTRODUCTION

A. Events between the Two Epistles —The troubles which occasioned the First Epistle are described in the Introduction to it. The letter was written at the height of these troubles, in the spring of some year between a.d. 54 and 57. The Second Epistle was written a few months later. St Paul’s assistant Titus was sent to Corinth as Paul’s envoy with, or shortly after, the First Epistle, armed with special powers for dealing with the crisis. The effect of the letter, backed by Titus’s words, was profound. Many well-meaning Corinthians had been dazzled and confused by the specious language of the False Apostles (see 1 Cor Introd. C), and Paul’s long absence had dimmed the impression made by his former visit. But now the stern warnings of letter, joined to its marvellous eloquence, brought them back, as it were, into his very presence. Their old loyalty and reverence were rekindled. His enemies were not silent however, for it is probably now that three offensive statements of theirs were heard: (1) ’His letters indeed are impressive and vigorous but his appearance is undignified and he is contemptible as a speaker’ (2 Corinthians 10:10). (2) From the words in 2 Corinthians 1:12-14 (see notes) we gather that they said something like this: ’Paul writes about every subject except the one which he has most at heart—his desire to turn you against us and to destroy our influence. It is a shifty and dishonest letter.’ There was a grain of truth in the first part of this, which made it dangerous (1 Cor Introd. F). (3) They called Paul fickle and irresponsible (2 Corinthians 1:17) because he had again postponed his visit to Corinth and was going to Macedonia first.

But the time for intrigue and slander had gone by. A considerable number (probably a majority) had been brought to their senses by Paul and Titus, and refused to listen to Paul’s enemies. They promised to correct all the abuses of which he had written. The man who had contracted the unlawful marriage was excommunicated. Titus was received with the greatest respect and humility, and was able to start the collection for the Palestinian Christians (2 Corinthians 8:6). He then set out for Asia by way of Macedonia. But a section of the Corinthians remained hostile to Paul, friends of the False Apostles, and men who would not give up the dangerous compromise with paganism, which the False Apostles had at least connived at. While Paul was at Ephesus in great suspense about the result of the letter, new troubles had broken out at Ephesus itself (2 Corinthians 1:8-10). This must be the pagan outbreak described in Acts 19:23-40, caused by Demetrius’s agitation among the shrine-makers, and culminating during the great feast of Artemis (Diana) in May of the same year. Perhaps an attack of his chronic malady occurred also. After the disorders, he left Ephesus to await Titus at Troas (2 Corinthians 2:12). But anxiety and perhaps illness so oppressed him that he left a half-founded church there and crossed to Macedonia. Here, probably at Philippi, he caught Titus on his way and heard the good news. His joy was immense (2 Cor 7). Assured of the substantial loyalty of the Corinthians, he now felt able to deal plainly with the rebels there, and soon afterwards wrote the Second Epistle in order to carry the re-conquest of Corinth a step further.

B. Structure and Composition —Although the language throughout the letter shows signs of careful choice and deliberation, the structure is certainly odd, and this oddness is by no means confined to chh 10-13, as is sometimes said. Paul must have had two distinct objects in the letter: (1) To seal his reconciliation with the majority of the Corinthians, who had now reaffirmed their loyalty to him. (2) To make an outspoken attack on the defiant minority, to denounce their leaders, and by threats or appeals to win over as many of this party as possible. We may briefly call these two purposes Reconciliation and Controversy.

But St Paul’s recent experience (intense misery and triumphant use of it for good) had stamped on his mind a new and overwhelming impression of the meaning of the Cross for the Christian and the Apostle, the paradox of power in and through suffering, and this thought is so dominant throughout the epistle that his two immediate purposes are not only seen in its light, but are sometimes eclipsed by it. We may call this the Paradox.

He had decided that his controversial purpose must involve something resembling self-laudation, and this was no doubt one reason why he shrank from it and postponed the main controversial passage to the end, although in several earlier passages he seems to be on the point of embarking on it (1:12-20; 4:1-6; and above all 6:11-7:3).

Two feelings therefore, the mighty impression of recent events and distaste for the task of self-assertion, have so much interfered with the plan which he no doubt had in his mind, that this letter is the most confused of all the Pauline epistles. The postponement of the great denunciatory passage to the end is only one instance of this: the long digression in the story of his meeting with Titus (2:14 to 7:4) is at least equally extraordinary, so is the abrupt passage 6:11-7:3 which many radical critics want to cut out as spurious or misplaced. Indeed the first six chapters are the least orderly in the letter, much less so than chh 10-13. In some places the disorder is our gain: the great digression in the first half contains some of the grandest passages in the epistle.

The distribution of the three chief subjects may be seen from this list: Reconciliation: 1:23-2:13; 7:4-16. Controversy: 1:12-22; 2:17-3:3; 4:1-6; 5:11-13; 6:11-7:3; 10:1-11:29; 12-11-13:10. Paradox: 1:3-11; 2:14-16; 4:7-15; 6:3-10; 11:30-12:10. The paradox, as it figures prominently in both parts of the letter, gives it a real measure of unity, and also gives it its chief spiritual value.

C. Other Views about Intermediate Events —A new theory which arose during the last century was first made widely known in England by J. H. Kennedy’s book in 1900 (§ 864b). For brevity’s sake we may call it Kennedy’s theory. It has been accepted wholly or partly by many scholars, both Catholic and Protestant. In Section B above I have noted and tried to account for Paul’s postponement of his denunciation of the False Apostles to the end of the letter. The comparative calm of the first nine chapters is succeeded by four chapters of reproaches, irony, threats, and appeals. It is something unique in Paul’s letters. Kennedy offers a different explanation, namely, that the Second Epistle is not one letter but two, which by mistake have been joined together in the wrong order: chh 10-13 are a severe letter which has lost its beginning, and chh 1-9 are a ’letter of reconciliation’ written after the severe letter. We therefore have three letters to Corinth: (a) Our First Epistle, (b) chh 10-13 of our Second Epistle, (c) chh 1-9 of our Second Epistle.

Further arguments for this theory are: (1) If2 Cor 1-9 belong to a third letter, then the letter referred to in 2 Corinthians 2:4 and 7:8-12 is not the First Epistle but the severe letter (i.e.2 Cor 10-13). It is argued that the First Epistle is not nearly severe enough to fit the terms used in these two places. (2) An individual offender is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 and 7:12. It is said that the language used is inappropriate for the incestuous man of 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 (to whom it is traditionally applied) and must mean somebody who had been guilty of a personal offence or insult to Paul, and that this further implies that important events had taken place since the First Epistle. (3) This suggestion of intermediate events seems to be corroborated by five passages in the Second Epistle (mostly in chh 10-13) which seem to indicate that Paul had paid a recent visit to Corinth

and had met with opposition and disappointment there. This visit would be between the First Epistle and the severe letter, and the offender mentioned in 2 Cor chh 2 and 7 may well be somebody whom he had then met at Corinth.

Therefore, according to Kennedy’s theory, the intermediate events may be summarized thus: ’About the time when the First Epistle was written, a party opposed to Paul (whoever they were) was gaining influence at Corinth, encouraged by some visiting missionaries. When this Epistle was read at Corinth, the opposition became open rebellion, in which a large proportion of the church was involved. Paul, on hearing of this, sailed from Ephesus to Corinth. He failed to quell the rebels, and one of them distinguished himself by some offensive act or words. After a short and stormy visit, Paul returned to Asia, and wrote a stern letter, the bulk of which is preserved in 2 Cor chh 10-13. He condemned the chief offender (this passage is now lost), denounced the visitors, and said he would shortly return and would excommunicate all who had not submitted. On hearing this letter, which was brought by Titus, the majority returned to their allegiance to Paul, and the offender was excommunicated. The visitors departed, if they had not gone already, and Titus was able to re-start the collection, which had been dropped. On hearing this news, Paul wrote a letter to Corinth, consisting of 2 Cor chh 1-9’.

This theory has three main items: (1) Paul wrote an intermediate letter. (2) Our 2 Cor is divisible, and chh 10-13 are the intermediate letter. (3) Paul paid an intermediate visit to Corinth. 884a

The theory contains nothing which is irreconcilable with Catholic doctrine. It offers a simple and complete solution to one vexatious question (the character of 2 Cor chh 10-13) and on that ground one could wish to see it proved. But it raises serious new difficulties as will be seen. Fifty years ago, however, there seemed a fair hope that further investigation might both increase the evidence for it and reduce the difficulties in its way. This hope has been disappointed. Painstaking investigation by many scholars has failed to add anything noteworthy to the case as stated by Kennedy, while the objections to it appear, after mature consideration, stronger than ever. It is now unlikely that any more evidence will be found. Kennedy’s theory seems destined to remain an unproved hypothesis for ever. It has had half a century to establish itself and has failed to do so. It seems best to reject it in favour of a view which is at least equally arguable and has the support of tradition. Several scholars (especially Allo among Catholics, and Goudge, Menzies, etc., among non-Catholics) accept the first and third points of the theory, but not the second. But these two parts are at least as difficult to prove as the second, and in fact the whole theory is a unity and is essentially an attempt to explain the difficulty of 2 Cor chh 10-13—the second point is its chief attraction, without which it would never have gained such wide support. Without this, the raison d’être of the theory is gone. It seems best to reject it as a whole. We will briefly examine each part. The Question of an Intermediate Severe LetterCannot the letter referred to in Epistle II be Epistle I? Catholic tradition till this century has held that it can be, and this view is upheld by some very eminent nonCatholic scholars such as B. Weiss and Zahn. But all supporters of Kennedy’s theory deny it:

(1) From 2 Corinthians 2:4 we learn that the letter was written ’in much tribulation and anguish of heart . . . with many tears’. It is said that this is hardly applicable to our Epistle I. But there are two passages (chh 4 and 9) which may well have been written in anguish and tears. St Paul wept more readily than northerners do—see Philippians 3:18 and Acts 20:19, Acts 20:31. (2) From 2 Corinthians 7:8-11 we gather that the earlier letter was a stern and sharp-toned one. It is absurd to say that the First Epistle cannot be described as sharp and severe. On at least eight distinct subjects, beginning at the first chapter and ending with the fifteenth, Paul reprimands and censures his readers. Some of his expressions may almost be called ferocious. What modern bishop would venture to use language like 4:21; 5:2; 11:5-6; 11:23? If this is not severity, it is hard to say what is. It is true there are quiet passages like chh 7 and 12, and the two great poetical ones which have a perfect serenity (chh 13 and 15: 35-58) but half the letter has the note of reproof.

(3) In 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 an individual wrongdoer is mentioned immediately after the ’severe letter’, and in 7:12 an individual seems to be mentioned as having been the partial cause of the letter. It is said that both passages clearly mean somebody who had wronged Paul personally, and therefore cannot refer to the incestuous person of 1 Corinthians 5:1-9, who is the only individual plainly mentioned in Epistle I. But (a) It is not clear that both passages of Epistle II refer to the same person. (b) The second may well refer to one of Paul’s slanderers—see note on 2 Corinthians 7:12. (c) In the first passage Paul protests that they must not regard the offence as particularly directed against himself, and to take his denial as a proof that it was so directed seems highly precarious reasoning. There seems no good reason why the case of 1 Cor 5 should not be the one referred to. (See notes on 2 Corinthians 2:5-11.)

It seems therefore permissible to believe that the letter alluded to in Epistle II is none other than Epistle I. D 2. Is the Second Epistle one letter or two? —The objections against dividing the letter may be briefly stated thus:

1. There is no external evidence whatever in favour of dividing the letter. There is no sign in any manuscript or in any early writer that the two portions had ever existed in separation from one another. From its very first publication therefore the letter was in its present form.

2. There is a real though not obvious unity of theme. It is the thought of the conjunction of grandeur and suffering in the apostolic office. This thought is explicit enough in the first part, but it is with us all through the last chapters also and emerges clearly in 11:30-12:10 (see B supra).

3. Although the idea of peace and reconciliation is no doubt prominent in the first half, the sky is by no means unclouded: there are repeated signs that the trouble is not over, that there are still things to be set right. They occur in nearly every chapter. (See the notes on 1:12-2:3; 2:17-3:3; 4:2-5; 5:11-12; 5:20-6:2; 6:11-7:3; 8:20-21.) In particular 6:117:3 is noteworthy. These passages do form a preparation for chh 10-13. They are rumblings of a coming storm.

4. St Clement of Rome, writing about a.d. 96, shows himself familiar with the First Epistle, but unacquainted with the Second. It seems likely therefore that the First Epistle was in circulation about a.d. 80 or earlier, while the Second was published many years later. The delay could only have been due to some fear that misunderstanding or discredit might arise from chh 10-13. But there could have been no possible objection to the publication of chh 1-9 if it was a separate letter. Must we conclude that the two letters were already mutilated and attached well before a.d. 80? That is not easy to believe.

5. If the offender of 2 Corinthians 2:4-11 is not the incestuous man of 1 Cor 5, he must be somebody mentioned in the lost portion of the ’severe letter’. Again, if the change of route mentioned in 2 Corinthians 1:15-16 is not the same as that of 1 Corinthians 16:5, this change must also have been mentioned in the lost first portion of the ’severe letter’. But these reasons would lead us to believe that whole passages, not merely a few lines, had been lost—a difficult view when we consider the probability that these letters were frequently read to the church.

6. The accidental combination of two documents generally leaves much more tangible clues than we have here. But if we once admit the possibility of editorial changes in order to harmonize the two parts, then the authenticity of every passage in the epistle is brought under suspicion.

7. From 2 Corinthians 7:14 we gather that Titus’s recent visit to Corinth was either his first visit or his first one as Paul’s envoy. But 12:18 refers to some visit of Titus as Paul’s envoy. If 12:18 belongs to an earlier letter than 7:14 it contradicts the plain meaning of 7:14.

8. Several small peculiarities of language are more common in each of the two portions of this epistle than they are in the epistles of St Paul in general, e.g. the phrase ?? pa?t?.

9. It is not necessary to suppose that the last four chapters are addressed to the rebellious minority. They are aimed at this minority, and this is made sufficiently clear at the beginning (in 10:2, see note). After that the ’you’ would naturally be taken as meaning more particularly those who were still defiant, though it is not apparently confined to these till near the end of ch 12—perhaps because a much larger number had once erred.

D 3. The Question of an Intermediate Visit —Did Paul ever visit Corinth between his first long stay and the writing of Epistle II, and if so, when? No such visit is mentioned in Acts, but Acts is not an exhaustive history. The two questions must be considered separately. (1) Was there an intermediate visit? The answer to this depends on the interpretation of seven sentences in the two epistles. No less than five of these (1 Corinthians 16:7; 2 Corinthians 2:1; 2 Corinthians 12:14; 2 Corinthians 12:21; 2 Corinthians 13:1) are more or less ambiguous, and can be interpreted either as implying or as not implying such a visit. See the commentary on these verses. Of the remaining two passages, one (2 Corinthians 1:15-16) seems definitely against the visit, and the other (2 Corinthians 13:2) seems just as definitely in favour of it (see commentary). Evidence could hardly be more equally balanced. Either view seems possible, but if there was a visit, several of the above passages would show that it was connected with painful memories of some sort. (2) If we assume a visit, was it before or after Epistle I? If we place it before, there is no great difficulty, but if after Ep. I, then we are practically forced, it seems to me, to accept the account given of it by Kennedy (883i) which is improbable in the highest degree. How can we believe: (1) That Paul was defied to his face, not by a party but by the whole Corinthian church. (2) That Paul ran away from his rebellious converts or at least gave all the appearance of doing so. (3) That having retreated from Corinth he wrote a letter on the lines of chh 10-13, full of threats about his next visit. (4) That this letter subdued those whom his audible words had failed to move. (5) That Titus succeeded where Paul had failed. We conclude that if there was an intermediate visit, it took place some time before Epistle I (the view of Lightfoot, Sanday, and Zahn), perhaps a year or two before it, and was occasioned by some temporary trouble which was quickly and completely settled and has left no record in the New Testament. There must have been many such unchronicled troubles.

E. Value of the Epistle —Its doctrinal value is much smaller than that of the First Epistle. It is however of great historical interest, its spiritual teaching is immensely valuable, and for the biography of St Paul it is perhaps the most important of all his epistles. As to doctrine; the theme of the union of the church to Christ is here modified by the additional thought of the relation of the Christian minister (especially the apostle) to both, his authority and the conditions for its fruitful exercise. We may again recall St Thomas’s words that the letter is about the Christian ministry, good and bad. There are important passages too on the purpose and meaning of the Mosaic Law and on the resurrection. Chapters 7 to 9 are of considerable historical value, but for the history of Paul himself the whole epistle is most interesting. Not only does it contain many facts about the Corinthian crisis, but also about his previous life (11:16-12:19). In addition, the lively feeling which here is given free and ready expression endows the letter with a pictorial or dramatic quality beyond any other epistle (e.g. 1:23f.; 3:1; 6:11; 7:2; 10:10; 11:1; 11:11; 12:11). Unfortunately we have not the key to all the allusions and this uncertainty often repels the casual reader. As a spiritual work the epistle is surpassed by none. Its insistent theme is the efficacy of suffering in union with Christ. It is true that Paul is speaking more particularly of the sufferings of an apostle, but the principle is in fact the foundation of all Christian sanctity. This theme appears at the beginning (1:5) and remains with us to the end (13:4). Coming from the apostle’s deepest conviction it retains an indestructible freshness. Two passages are of outstanding eloquence (4:7-12 and 6:3-10), but perhaps the most impressive of all is the autobiographical statement (12:7-10). We must also mention the magnificent passage on the hope of immortality (4:16-5:9) and the tender affection of the two reconciliation passages (1:23-2:11; 7:5-16).

F. Short Synopsis —1:1-11. Salutation, and the lesson of recent events.

1:12-22. Answer to two recent calumnies.

1:23-2:13. The previous letter and the repentant sinner.

2:14-3:3. Affirmation of Paul’s Apostolic commission.

3:4-6:10. A picture of the True Apostle. The Apostolic office is superior to the ministry of the Mosaic Law (3:4-18). The Apostles are outspoken and fearless by God’s power, though weak and afflicted 4:1-15). They can look confidently beyond death 4:16-5:10). Paul again protests his sincerity and the greatness of the Apostolic mission (5:11-6:2) and concludes with a splendid passage on the strength-inweakness manifested in the Apostles (6:3-10).

6:11-7:3. Urgent appeal to the disobedient members.

7:4-16. Titus’s report and St Paul’s joy at the reconciliation.

8 and 9. Arrangements for the collection for Jerusalem.

10 to end of letter, Paul vindicates himself against the False Apostles and gives a last warning to the rebellious. After defending himself against some mean slanders (10:1-11) he asserts that his opponents are braggarts and intruders and roundly denounces them as ’false apostles’ (10:12-11:15). He then makes his ’boast’ about his sufferings for Christ (11:16-29) and mentions his visions and his infirmity (11:3012:10). He speaks of his coming visit, makes a last appeal to obstinate sinners, and threatens severe measures against those who will not listen to it (12:1113:10).

13:11-13. Conclusion.

Verses 2-24

I 1-III 3 Recent Events and St Paul’s Comments — It is not the events themselves but their inner meaning, the eternal truths behind them, that fill St Paul’s mind, and above all, the truth that God’s power operates through human weakness and suffering: this appears in every Christian life but most startlingly in that of the apostles. This is the grand law of strengthin-weakness, the theme which dominates the whole epistle, cf. § 883e and the notes on 1:3-7; 4:7-15 6:2-10; 12:9-10.

I 1-2 Salutation—1. ’Timothy’, His name is joined to Paul’s in the salutation of five other letters. He was well known at Corinth for, when little more than a boy, he had been with Paul during his long stay there.

3-11 Thoughts suggested by his Recent Agony — 3. ’Comfort’. The same Greek root-word (pa?a?a???, etc.) is unfortunately translated by three different words (consolation, comfort, exhortation) in the next verses. Better to keep consolation and console throughout. The word is far more common in this epistle than in any other. Here at the very beginning (3-7) he sets forth the law of victorious suffering forcibly and clearly, joined with that of the union of the faithful to Christ. Christ, the apostles, and all the faithful, share the same sufferings, which by this union become a means of consolation and power, not only to the sufferer but also to others.

4. ’Us’. In this passage the ’we’ seems to mean all the apostles. In the epistle as a whole ’we’ very often means Paul only.

5. ’Our comfort’ probably means both the consolation he felt and that which he could impart.

6. ’Whether . . . whether’. Not successive but simultaneous, two aspects of the same thing. It is the joy in suffering that is the secret of his power. ’Consolation’: omit clause beginning: ’or whether we be exhorted’ which has crept in by mistake and read: ’it is for your consolation which operates in endurance’, etc. He implies that they too have sufferings. We do not know what these were. Compare 1 Corinthians 10:13.

7. ’That our hope’. etc.: ’And our hope for you is steadfast’. He is now looking farther, to the supreme consolation of heaven. ’The sufferings’: Christ’s and Paul’s.

8. It is only now that he mentions the terrible experience which had occasioned his previous words. The riot at Ephesus, when he and his friends were in danger of death from a furious mob, must be a part of the ordeal, Ac 19, and § 883e. ’Strength’ of man, not of God, as we see in a moment. ’were weary’: despaired of life.

9. ’But we received (or perhaps passed) sentence of death on ourselves (i.e. he felt convinced that life was over, and bowed to God’s will), that we might not rest our confidence in ourselves’, etc. The words confident and confidence are unusually common in this epistle.

11. ’Withal’: also. ’this gift’: ’the blessing or mercy’. He is thinking chiefly of future mercies of God, which he knows he will need (at his visit to Jerusalem perhaps). ’Many . . . many’: the prayers of a multitude, being answered, end in a multitude of thanksgivings.

12-22. He now answers two recent calumnies, which were probably put forward by his enemies at Corinth when the First Epistle was read there, § 883b.

12-14 That his Letters were not straightforward — 12. ’Glory’: ’pride’ or ’proud boast’. ’Simplicity’: ’with God-given honesty and sincerity’. ’Carnal wisdom’: ’worldly wisdom In the grace’, etc.: ’trusting only in God’s mercy’. ’Conversed’: ’lived’.13-44. ’For we write nothing to you except what you acknowledge as true, and I hope you will acknowledge it always, as you have practically acknowledged in regard to us that we are your pride, as you yourselves will be our pride in the day of the Lord Jesus’. It seems likely that in regard to 1 Cor Paul’s enemies had said that he cared little about the faults which he explicitly condemned in it, and that its main purpose was to undermine their own power—a terribly plausible lie because it contained an element of truth. ’In part’: ’more or less’. ’In the day’: i.e. at His second coming.

15-22 That Paul had been fickle and inconsiderate — —Great and natural disappointment was felt by the Corinthians when they found on reading , Cor 16:5 that he had delayed his visit again and was going to Macedonia first. (Note on 1 Corinthians 16:5, 1 Corinthians 4:18, and § 867e.) His enemies said that this change of plan (which may well be the second change) showed that he was both fickle and careless of the feelings of the Corinthians.

15. ’Before’: i.e. originally, some time before 1 Cor was written. ’A second grace’: a second blessing—which the apostle’s presence would be certain to bring. The natural meaning of these words would be that Paul had never been to Corinth since his first long visit. We cannot possibly attach these words to the proposed visit on his return from Macedonia (see next verse) for in that case their right place is in the middle of v 1G, after ’come to you’. Nor can ’second’ mean ’double’ either in Greek or in English, § 884g.

16. ’Pass by you’: ’to take you on my way to Macedonia’: he meant to cross by sea from Ephesus to Corinth, then go overland to Macedonia. ’Brought on my way’: they would escort him to the port and provide him with some necessaries, cf. the same phrase in 1 Corinthians 16:6, 1 Corinthians 16:11.

17. ’Use lightness’: act in a capricious, fickle manner. ’According to the flesh’, i.e. to suit his own comfort or vanity. ’That there’, etc.: ’So that with me it is "Yes, Yes and No, No."’,i.e. so that I am the sort of man who says ’Yes’ today and ’No’ tomorrow. In the next few verses also it is best to substitute Yes for It is and No for It is not.

18. So ’As surely as God is faithful, our language to you was not Yes-and-No’. It is a kind of oath: as truly as God is faithful to his promises, so Paul also does not promise lightly, or change his plan without strong reason.

19. ’For the son of God . . . was not Yes-and-No, but in him there has been only Yes’,i.e. the gospel which Paul had preached was as unchangeable as Christ himself. ’Sylvanus’: the full form of the name Silas. Silas had been with Paul at Corinth, Ac 18.

20. ’For he is the Yes to all the promises of God’. God’s promises (of a Saviour, etc.) are all fulfilled in Christ. ’Therefore’, etc.: ’Therefore it is in Him (in virtue of his redemptive act) that the Amen is pronounced by us to the glory of God’. It was already the custom to end a prayer with some words of praise followed by Amen, cf.Apoc 3:14.

21. The thought is enlarged: as the apostles reflect God’s own constancy, so the faithful also are God’s and partake in his steadfast strength. ’Confirmeth’: ’keeps us steadfast’. ’Anointed’: very likely he is thinking of baptism.

22. ’Sealed’. The seal was used to mark something as a man’s property: God has marked the faithful as his own. He may refer to baptism or to confirmation. ’The pledge of the Spirit’, i.e. the pledge consisting of the Holy Spirit. The presence of the Spirit (what we usually call sanctifying grace) is the pledge (i.e. the first instalment) of eternal life, cf.Ephesians 1:14, ’the Holy Spirit . . . who is the pledge of our inheritance’.

23-II 4 The True Reason for his Change of Plan — His delay in coming was not a selfish whim, but due to a desire to win more of them back to repentance and loyalty, that he might find fewer to punish when he came.

23. i.e. I call God to look into my soul and to bear me witness that, etc. ’To spare you’: he was determined to excommunicate those whom he found still defiant, cf. 13:2. ’I came not’: ’I gave up the thought of coming’. ’Not because . . . stand’: the last words mean that their faith was sound (cf. 8:7), and therefore did not need correction but could be strengthened and made into ’joy and peace in believing’ (Romans 15:13); and for this purpose he offers himself as their helper, not their master.

Bibliographical Information
Orchard, Bernard, "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 1". Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/boc/2-corinthians-1.html. 1951.
 
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