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Friday, July 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 7

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

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Verses 1-16

VII 1. A milder tone. But the content of the verse is very serious for ’defilement of flesh and spirit’ seems clearly to imply that some Christians, after conversion, had been guilty of both pagan worship and pagan unchastity. 2. He now returns to the subject of mutual confidence. ’Receive us’: ’Make room for us’ (in your hearts), do not, shut the door against us, cf. 6:12. ’We have injured . . .’: three sentences which either deny false accusations or denounce the False Apostles or perhaps both. 3. ’We have said before’ seems to refer to 3:2 above.

4-16 Titus’s Report on his Visit to Corinth, and St Paul’s Joy —He now takes up the narrative of recent events just where he had dropped it at 2:13 (q.v.) and then puts aside, for the moment, every thought except that of his immense happiness because the majority of the Corinthians had proved loyal to him. in the hour of crisis. It is the tender joy of the prodigal’s father, or of the shepherd, a joy that seems almost to make light of the sin.

4. Probably: ’I speak with great frankness to you, I speak with great pride about you . . . after all our tribulation’. Note the ease with which ’I’ becomes ’we’ and vice versa throughout the epistle.

5. Continuation from 2:13. There he spoke of his spirit, here of his flesh, but in these passages both words seem to mean the whole man, though they often are opposed terms. ’Combats’: we do not know what troubles this refers to. 6. ’the humble’: ’the miserable or helpless’.7. Relating’: meaning practically ’for he related your desire to see Paul aud to please him. ’Your mourning’ their sorrow for their transgressions.

8-9. Another picture of severity inspired by true charity, as in 2:2. ’If I did repent . . .’, i.e. when Titus first related their bitter contrition, Paul feared he had been too severe in the First Epistle, but later he felt that the good accomplished was well worth the pain.

’For a time’: God does not desire the pain of contrition to last after it has served its purpose. ’Unto penance’: ’in a way that led to repentance’. ’According to God’: ’In God’s way’, the spiritual, supernatural way, not ’according to man’ or ’according to the flesh’—Paul’s regular expressions for life lived on the natural or worldly level. ’Damage’: that they might be gainers, not losers, by his severity. But it may mean ’that we may not need to inflict punishment on you’. 10. Penance steadfast unto salvation’: a slight play on words ’Repentance not to be regretted and leading to salvation’. But possibly it means: ’a better mind leading to a salvation which cannot be bettered’. ’The sorrow of the world’, e.g. the torture of jealousy, offended pride, disappointed ambition, etc.

11. ’Carefulness’: ’ What keen zeal or energy) it has inspired in you’. ’Defence’: i.e. pleas in defence of their conduct as far as it was innocent. ’Indignation’ against the guilty ones among them, and probably in particular against the False Apostles. ’Fear’ of Paul’s anger, ’Desire’ to see him. ’Revenge’: ’retribution, infliction of punishment’ on notorious offenders, such as the incestuous man. ’To be undefiled’: he cannot mean that they have proved that they never were to blame, but either that they were rid of the fault now or that a large number of them had been guilty of apathy and thoughtlessness rather than malice.

12. ’For his sake . . .’ It is not likely, on the whole, that this refers to the incestuous marriage. The one who suffered wrong is very likely Paul himself, as the victim of slander, and the author of the wrong will then be some outstanding person among the False Apostles’ party. Or the singular is used for a class or group of persons: ’the wrongdoers’. In any case the not is best taken as not so much, for the correction of individuals certainly was one object of his letter. He must mean that his chief purpose was to regain the majority. ’Our carefulness’. This gives an easy meaning, but some of the best manuscripts read: ’in order that your devotion to us might be made apparent to yourselves in God’s sight’, i.e. petty human considerations had misled them, but his letter forced them to search their consciences, to look at the matter from God’s standpoint, to choose between Paul and his enemies: they discovered that they must side with Paul.

13. ’Therefore:’ ’That is why we are consoled’. ’In our consolation:’ Perhaps ’over and above our own consolation’. The ’all’ here and in v 15 must not be pressed, in view of 6:11-7:3. It is what he wishes and appeals for, rather than a present fact.

14. ’Whatever words of praise I spoke to him of you’. The natural conclusion from this is that Titus had not previously been to Corinth. ’As we have spoken . . .’: Very condensed: ’The kind words which I spoke to Titus about you have proved true in spite of my own fears. Believe then that there is equal truth (i.e. honesty and faithfulness) in every word I have ever said to you (in spite of my severity and other men’s slander)’.

15. ’Bowels’: ’his kindness or sympathy’.

Bibliographical Information
Orchard, Bernard, "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 7". Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/boc/2-corinthians-7.html. 1951.
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