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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 1

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Verse 1

02 Corinthians 1:1

Book Comments

Walking Thru The Bible



Author: The Apostle Paul

Date: A.D. 57

Occasion: After writing 1 Corinthians, Paul found it necessary to make a hurried, painful visit to Corinth, since the problems that occasioned the first letter had not been resolved (2 Corinthians 2:1; 2 Corinthians 12:14; 2 Corinthians 13:1-2). Following this visit, he wrote the church a severe and sorrowful letter, to which he refers in 2 Corinthians 2:4 but which has not been preserved for us by the Holy Spirit. Titus delivered that letter.

Paul was unable to wait for Titus’ return and proceeded to Macedonia where Titus meet him with the good news that the church had accepted Paul’s letter with positive results. From Macedonia Paul wrote 2 Corinthians and followed it up with his final recorded visit to the church (Acts 20:1-4).

Purpose: The purpose of this letter was threefold: [1] to express joy at the favorable response of the church to Paul’s ministry (ch. 1-7); [2] to remind the disciples of their commitment to make an offering for the Christians in Judea (ch. 8-9); and [3] to defend Paul’s apostolic authority (ch. 10-13).

Basic Message of Paul’s "Second Corinthians"

1. The Ministration of Righteousness vs. Ministration of Death

In chapter three, Paul set forth a section of teaching which contrasts the ministration of righteousness (the new covenant) with the ministration of death (the old covenant).

2. Gospel in Earthen Vessels

In chapter four, Paul set forth the principle which pertains to the means by which the gospel in communicated. He said: "We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not of ourselves." This is illustrated in Acts 9:11 when the Lord sent Ananias to tell Saul what to do to have his sins forgiven rather than the Lord telling Saul Himself.

3. The Unequal Yoke

In chapter six, Paul called for the Corinthian Christians to break with heathenism, and he set forth the teaching on being "unequally yoked." He asked: "...What fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? or what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement hath a temple of God with idols?..."

4. Things Honest

In chapter eight, Paul set an example of how every Christian must provide for things honest in the sight of all men.

5. The Grace of the Macedonian Churches

In chapters eight and nine, Paul paid tribute to the gracious

giving of the churches of Macedonia and shared the great principle of sowing and reaping. Those churches of Macedonia were overwhelmed with afflictions and deep poverty, yet they gave liberally to help their brethren in Judea.

6. Observations Relative to Charges Against Paul

Second Corinthians gives more details and greater insight into the personality and integrity of the apostle Paul than is given any other apostle or disciple of the entire New Testament. A person has but to read Second Corinthians to know that Paul traveled more, suffered more, and sacrificed more than any other apostle.

7. Conclusion

Second Corinthians has been difficult for many to understand, but the difficulty is removed when we realize that Paul wrote for the benefit of three parties--the loyal party, the license party, and the Judaizing party.

In no place are more church problems raised and settled than are raised and settled in Paul’s two epistles to the Corinthians.

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Charges Against Paul

The opposition parties filed certain charges against Paul:

1. The opposition parties charged Paul with cowardice in not coming to Corinth as he said he would do. Paul answered this charge in 2 Corinthians 1:15-17.

2. The opposition parties charged that Paul’s letters were weighty and terrifying, but that his physical appearance was weak and uninviting. (2 Corinthians 10:10). Paul was prepared to demonstrate his superior power not only by letter, but also in presence as well.

3. The opposition parties charged that Paul had great boldness, but that his speech was rude and simple. (2 Corinthians 11:6). Paul admitted he was not eloquent but emphasized that he was not simple in knowledge.

4. Those in opposition to Paul charged that he was consciously inferior, and for this reason he abstained from taking support from Corinth for his labors. (2 Corinthians 11:7-8). Paul knew by whom he had been called to the apostleship; and he knew why he had abstained from accepting support from the Corinthians.

5. The opposition parties charged that Paul’s descent as a true Hebrew was a matter to be questioned. Paul’s defense: "Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself) I more; in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths oft" (2 Corinthians 11:22-23). I In short, this charge against Paul was ridiculous (2 Corinthians 11:22-23).

6. The opposition parties charged that Paul’s alleged escape from Damascus was preposterous. In his defense Paul called upon God as a witness: (2 Corinthians 11:31-33). This charge, too, was ridiculous

An Outline of 2 Corinthians

Salutation - 1:1-2

I. The Personal Concerns of the Apostle - 1:3-2:13

1. The Purpose of His Suffering in Asia - 1:3-11

2. The Reasons for His Change of Plans - 1:12-2:4

3. The Advice Concerning the Offender - 2:5-11

4. The Apostle’s Anxiety about News from Corinth - 2:12, 13

II. The Glory of the Gospel and Its Ministry - 2:14-6:10

1. The Seal of His Apostleship - 2:14-17

2. Superiority of the New Ministration to the Old - 3:1-11

3. The Consequent Boldness of the New Ministers - 3:12-4:6

4. The Trials and Triumphs of the Apostle - 4:7-5:10

5. The Apostle’s Motives, Message & Ministration - 5:11-6:10

III. The Appeal for Separation and Reconciliation - 6:11-7-16

1. For Separation - 6:11-7:1

2. For Reconciliation - 7:2-4

3. Be Assured of his joy over their repentance? - 7:5-16

IV. The Collection for the Poor Christians at Jerusalem - Ch 8,9

1. Principles for Giving - 8:1-6

2. Purposes for Giving - 8:7-15

3. Policies in Giving - 8:16-9:5

4. Promises in Giving - 9:6-15

V. The Vindication of Paul’s Apostolic Authority 10:1-12:18

1. Paul’s Conduct - 11:1-15

2. Paul’s Sufferings - 11:16-33

3. Paul’s Vision - 12:1-10

4. Paul’s Unselfishness - 12:11-18

VI. Concluding Remarks - 12:19-13:14

1. Appeal for Repentance - 12:19-21

2. Statement of Plans - 13:1-10

3. Greetings and Benediction - 13:11-14

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If Any Man Be In Christ

2 Corinthians 5:17

I. IN CHRIST We Have Some Initial Blessings--

1. We have the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7)

2. There is sanctification in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 6:17)

3. There is salvation in Christ (2 Timothy 2:10).

4. There is blessings of being a "new creature" 2 Corinthians 5:17.

II. The Continuous Blessings of Being IN CHRIST--

1. The cleansing blood of Christ (1 John 1:7-9)

2. Joy in Christ in midst of suffering (Acts 5:42)

3. Consolation in Christ (Philippians 2:1)

4. Blessing of new home when this one is over (2 Corinthians 5:1)


He Has Been Baptized Into Christ--

1. Galatians 3:26-27

2. 1 Corinthians 12:13

3. Romans 6:4-6

To turn this around, if we are not baptized into Christ, then we are not in Christ!

IV. After Being Baptized INTO CHRIST,

We Have The Responsibility of Staying In Christ--

1. The one baptized into Christ Has the responsibility of abiding in Christ. John 15:1, John 15:14.

2. We have the responsibility of faithfully observing all His commandments (Matthew 28:20; James 1:22).


1. If any man be in Christ he has the hope of heaven when he dies. (2 Corinthians 1:7; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Colossians 1:5; Colossians 1:23).

2. Many think they are in Christ when they are not.

They have never been "born" into him. (John 3:1-7; 1 Peter 1:23).

3. Many think they are "still" in Christ, but they’re not.

They are not abiding faithfully in him (2 John 1:9).

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1) For a good introduction to 2Corinthians, see Rex Turner Sr., p. 136, The Living Message of the Books of the New Testament.

2) For one lesson see Mears, "What the Bible Is All About."

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Verse Comments

2 Corinthians 1:1

Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus - "Apostle" was "one sent" or an ambassador. In this case, Paul is an ambassador (with credentials) or a credential representative for Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 5:20)

Cf. 2 Corinthians 1:21, Paul had been "anointed", (cf. Acts 13:1-4) or called to preach the gospel. cf. also 2 Corinthians 1:22, God had put His seal on Paul.

by the will of God -- It was God Himself that called Paul to be an Apostle. Acts 9:15; 1 Corinthians 1:1. Paul’s apostleship was not by human appointment or authority. Galatians 1:11-12; 1 Corinthians 9:1-6; 2 Corinthians 11:22-33; 2 Corinthians 12:1-12.

This speaks to Paul’s authority and inspiration.

and Timothy our brother -- The name of Timothy is associated with Paul’s in the Epistles to the Philippians and Colossians. From the former Epistle to the Corinthians 1 Corinthians 16:10, we learn that Paul had sent Timothy to the church at Corinth, or that he expected that he would visit them. Paul had sent him into Macedonia in company with Erastus Acts 19:21-22, intending himself to follow them, and expecting that they would visit Achaia.

From the passage before us, it appears that Timothy had returned from this expedition, and was now with Paul.

Timothy is referred to again in 2 Corinthians 1:19 as one of three ministers who had preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them.

Corinth ... the whole of Achaia -- Paul wished this letter to be widely read by the saints in the area. cf. Romans 16:1.

Achaia, in the largest sense, included the whole of Greece. Achaia proper, however, was the district or province of which Corinth was the capital. See note on 2 Corinthians 9:2.

Verse 2

2 Corinthians 1:2

Grace to you -- This is Paul’s usual salutation; see the Romans 1:7 note; 1 Corinthians 1:3 note.

peace from God our Father -- Grace refers to the love of God in action with peace its result.

Some assert that "peace" reflects a Hebrew term "shalom". It is possible that Paul knew this combination of terms from the Aaronic blessing of Numbers 6:24-26.

Note that Paul calls God "Father" in sucessive verses, 2 Corinthians 1:2-3.

Grace is the favor of God, and peace the bleassing of being restored to God’s favor abter being opposed to Him.

Verse 3

2 Corinthians 1:3

Blessed [Praised] -- Paul usually formed a prayer of thanksgiving for the recipients of his letter, but in this letter the prayer ("eulogy" G2128) is directed to God.

Blessed - The Greek word translated “blessed” (eulogetos) occurs eight times in the New Testament mostly in Paul’s writings. It always occurs with the person of God. It expresses both gratitude and adoration (cf. Ephesians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3).

the God -- This prayer of praise, vv. 3–11, describes God in three ways: (1) He is the Father of Jesus; (2) He is the Father of all mercy; and (3) He is the God of all comfort!

Father of mercies -- Paul’s language is similar to the usual Jewish liturgical prayer from the synagogue prayer that called for God to treat the sinful individual with kindness, love, and tenderness (Romans 12:1; cf. 2 Samuel 24:14; Psalms 103:13-14; Micah 7:18-20).

mercies -- The word mercies (oiktirmon) means compassion, pity, and mercy. It means looking upon people in need and having compassion and mercy upon them.

Note that God is not just the God of mercies but the Father of mercies. His very nature and behavior toward us is that of a Father. He is a Father who is merciful and compassionate, and who showers His mercies and compassions upon us.

Note that the word mercies is plural. God does not show mercy just once, nor just here and there. God showers His mercies upon us continuously (see Romans 12:1; Philippians 2:1; Colossians 3:12; Hebrews 10:28).

God of all comfort, -- The Greek word Paul uses here, paraklēsis, occurs 10 times in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7. It typically refers to encouragement or consolation given to someone who is suffering or in mourning (Matthew 5:4).

The word comfort (parakleseos) means to be by the side of another; to relieve and support; to give solace, consolation, and encouragement. But there is always an underlying meaning of strength, an enablement, a confidence.

Paul was saying that God came to him in the middle of his sufferings and troubles to strengthen him and give him courage and boldness (2 Corinthians 1:4-10).

Verse 4

2 Corinthians 1:4

comforts us -- see previous verse, 2 Corinthians 1:3. “The present tense of the verb shows that this God of ours comforts us constantly and unfailingly, not spasmodically and intermittently; and He does so in all our affliction, not just in certain kinds of affliction." Hughes, p. 12.

us -- The “us” implies here, not only Paul and Timothy, but also the Corinthians, who are one with them in a bond of Christian unity.

afflictions [tribulation; troubles;] -- This term refers to crushing pressure, because in Paul’s life and ministry there was always something attempting to weaken him, restrict or confine his ministry, or even crush out his life.

But no matter what confronted him, Paul knew God would sustain and strengthen him (2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Romans 8:31-38; cf. Philippians 1:6).

comfort those who are in any affliction, -- Comfort from God is not an end in itself. Its purpose is that believers also might be comforters. God used Paul to return to them with a strengthening message after he himself had received divine strengthening, 2 Corinthians 1:6; (2 Corinthians 6:1-13; 2 Corinthians 12:6-11; cf. Luke 22:31-32).

...no gift is bestowed upon any one to keep to himself. If Paul is encouraged by God, it is not only for his own sake, but that he may be able to impart to others the encouragement which he has received. (1 Corinthians 10:23, 1 Corinthians 14:5, 1 Corinthians 14:12)

Verse 5

2 Corinthians 1:5

share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, -- Christ suffered persecutions from the religious leaders of His day, (Luke 19:47; John 5:18; John 7:19)

the sufferings of Christ -- that is, the very kind of sufferings which Christ Himself bore.

abound in us] Rather super-abound unto us. The Greek reads, εις (into, unto, to, towards, for, among) G1519 PREP ημας us G2248 P-1AP.

The word translated abound means to exceed, be over and above (Matthew 5:20, Matthew 14:20).

Thus the meaning of the passage is that the sufferings of Christ overflow to us and that thus we are made partakers of them. See Matthew 20:22; Mark 10:38; Galatians 2:20; Hebrews 13:13.

For (2 Corinthians 4:11-12) our sufferings for Christ’s sake arise from the same cause as His, namely the opposition of darkness to light, of death to the life that is imparted by Him to His members.

Such passages as 2 Corinthians 4:10; Colossians 1:24, carry the idea a step further, and represent Christ as suffering in His members, by virtue of His union with them. So also Matthew 25:40, Matthew 24:45; Acts 9:4; Galatians 6:17; Philippians 3:10. - CBSC 2Co

Verse 6

2 Corinthians 1:6

we -- The first person plural pronoun “we” distinguishes Paul and his coworkers from “you,” the Corinthian believers.

afflicted [distressed; troubled; troubles] --

your comfort -- 2 Corinthians 1:4; Paul proposes that his personal affliction has tangible results for the Corinthians and others like them.

Paul also maintains that the comfort he receives from Christ also benefits believers like the Corinthians.

if we are comforted -- The overflow of Christ’s comfort for Paul further overflows into the lives of believers “for your comfort.”

patiently endure -- The doctrine that the patient endurance of affliction tends to promote salvation, is every where taught in the Bible; Romans 5:3-5.

The word translated "which produce" means to effect or make something happen.

Verse 7

2 Corinthians 1:7

hope ... unshaken -- We have a confident expectation that you will be enabled to bear your trails and you will be sustained by your Christian hope.

share in our sufferings, -- It is evident from this, that the Corinthians had been subjected to trials similar to those which the apostle had endured. It is not known what exactly these afflictions were.

Verse 8

2 Corinthians 1:8

not have you ignorant -- similar phrases from Paul, Romans 1:13; 1 Corinthians 12:1; 2 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:13; Paul wishes them to be fully informed.

Asia -- The term “Asia” is often used to denote that part of Asia Minor of which Ephesus was the capital.

in Asia, -- Although it is impossible for us to know exactly what it was that befell Paul in Asia, likely it is referring to the riot at Ephesus in Acts 19:30-31. But there were other trials Paul suffered as well (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:24-27).

The plot of the Jews against him when he was about to go to Macedonia, Acts 20:3, however occurred while he was in Greece.

despaired of life itself. -- This indicates how desperate Paul thought the situation at Ephesus was, Acts But even then he had hope of the resurrection, 2 Corinthians 1:9.

Verse 9

2 Corinthians 1:9

felt we had received the sentence of death. -- The word for “sentence” is a technical term that indicated the passing of an official resolution, in this case the death sentence. Paul was so absolutely sure he was going to die for the gospel - MSB

rely not on ourselves -- When one reaches the "bottom" he learns not to rely on self, but on God.

God who raises the dead. -- Paul may be thinking of: (1) OT examples of people God brought back to physical life (cf. 1 Kings 17:17-22; 2 Kings 4:32-37); or (2) OT theological statements (cf. Deuteronomy 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:6; 2 Kings 5:7); or (3) his discussion of resurrection in 1 Cor. 15?

By this reference to raising the dead, there is brought into view the passage in Hebrews 11:19, in which Abraham’s offering of Isaac was enabled through his confidence that God was able to raise the dead, giving incidental support to the view that the author of Hebrews and the author of this passage are one and the same person. - Coffman Commentaries

Verse 10

2 Corinthians 1:10

delivered -- Paul credits God for his rescue from the tragic situation at Ephesus (Acts 19:23-31).

deliver -- This term is used three times in v. 10. This follows the OT sense of physical, social, emotional, spiritual deliverance. Paul used this term several times (cf. Romans 7:24; Romans 11:26; Romans 15:31; 2 Corinthians 1:10; Colossians 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:2; 2 Timothy 3:11; 2 Timothy 4:17-18). He really thought that he was going to die at Ephesus (cf. vv. 8–10). (Utley)

and He will deliver us. -- Confident that God will deliver again when necessary. When Paul needed deliverance, cf. 2 Corinthians 1:8-9.

On him we have set our hope -- Paul’s steadfast hope and assurance was in God, 2 Timothy 1:12.

he will deliver us again -- Paul confidently expects God to deliver him from persecution. He recognizes that God’s deliverance will not be for his own sake, but for the sake of believers and those who have not yet heard the gospel message (see Philippians 1:21-26; 2 Timothy 4:17).

Verse 11

2 Corinthians 2:11

help us by prayer -- Paul often requested the prayers of the recipients of his letters. Paul had a deep conviction of the efficacy of intercessory prayer (Romans 15:30-31; Philippians 1:19; Philemon 1:22).

Paul wanted the faithful Corinthians to know he needed their prayers then and in the future (cf. Ephesians 6:18; James 5:16).

for the blessings [gift] granted us -- Paul believed the prayers of the saints for him would result in blessings to others for which they would be thankful to God.

Prayer’s duty is not to change God’s plans, but to glorify Him and give thanks for them.

given by many persons [NKJV] -- "persons is literally “face” (prosōpon) Paul uses this term often in II Corinthians (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 3:7 [twice], 2 Corinthians 3:13, 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Corinthians 4:6; 2 Corinthians 5:12; 2 Corinthians 8:24; 2 Corinthians 10:1, 2 Corinthians 10:7; 2 Corinthians 11:20). It may be an OT allusion to the standard physical position of prayer with head lifted, which exactly fits this context. - Utley

Verse 12

2 Corinthians 1:12

For our boast [glorying] -- Paul was always true and faithful to his conscience. Paul often used this word (boasting), and it can also be rendered “proud confidence.” Used negatively, it refers to unwarranted bragging about one’s own merits and achievements; but Paul used it positively to denote legitimate confidence in what God had done in his life (cf. Jeremiah 9:23-24; Romans 15:18; 1 Corinthians 1:31; 1 Corinthians 15:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:12-17).

conscience - The soul’s warning system, which allows human beings to contemplate their motives and actions and make moral evaluations of what is right and wrong. (cf. Romans 2:14-15)

In order to work as God designed it, the conscience must be informed to the highest moral and spiritual level and best standard, which means submitting it to the Holy Spirit through God’s Word (cf. Romans 12:1-2; 1 Timothy 1:19; 2 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 10:22). Paul’s fully enlightened conscience exonerated him completely (cf. Acts 23:1; Acts 24:16; 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Timothy 3:9; 2 Timothy 1:3). But ultimately, only God can accurately judge a man’s motives (1 Corinthians 4:1-5). - MSB

we have behaved -- Paul sought to maintain integrity in ministry to prevent the gospel from losing credibility.

He was especially sensitive to the issue of financial support in the regions of Macedonia and Achaia; he did not want others to perceive him as a peddler or ordinary philosopher (2 Corinthians 2:17; 1 Corinthians 9:1-12; Philippians 4:14-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:9).

behaved with simplicity and godly sincerity, -- Paul preached and acted out of sincere pure motives without deceit, nothing was hidden.

not by earthly wisdom -- Wisdom that is based on worldly, human insight (see James 3:15).

This also describes the way Paul preached the gospel, not after the wisdom of men, but in the power of the Spirit.

It may be that Paul is refuting charges against him, probably by the incestuous man, which was the cause of great pain the church at Corinth.

by the grace of God, -- God grace (favor) that connected Paul to the Corinthians, brought them both blessings.

supremely [abundantly] so toward you. -- The Corinthians brothers should be amply aware of his behavor among them.

This either refers (1) to the special proofs the Apostle had given the Corinthians of his singleness of purpose and avoidance of fleshly wisdom, or (2) to the fact that he had remained longer at Corinth, and so had additional opportunities of displaying those qualities; or it has reference perhaps (3) to his self-abnegation in refusing to receive his maintenance at the hands of his Corinthian converts. (see 1 Corinthians 9:8-10.) - CBSC

Verse 13

2 Corinthians 1:13

anything other than what you have read -- Nothing has changed. You are fully acquainted with the truth.

Paul’s continuing flow of information to the Corinthians was always clear, straightforward and understandable, consistent, and genuine. Paul wanted them to know that he was not holding anything back, nor did he have any secret agenda (2 Corinthians 10:11). He simply wanted them to understand all that he had written and spoken to them. (MSB)

read and acknowledge -- It is impossible to give the full sense of this passage in English. In the first place there is the play upon ναγινώσκετε and πιγινώσκετε, after a fashion usual with St Paul, and next there is the fact that ναγινώσκω has a double meaning, to recognize, know accurately (as in Xen. Anab. v. viii. 6), and to read. The word translated ‘acknowledge’ signifies to know thoroughly either (1) by examination, comparison, reasoning, or (2) by intuition. Here the former idea is predominant. - CBSC

and I hope you will full acknowledge -- Paul connects “the future for which he hopes, with the past of which he knows.” - Meyer.

end [NKJV] - Does the term telous in this context mean “complete” (TEV, NJB, NIV) or “end” (NASV, NKJV, NRSV)? Both make sense. If “complete” (completely in contrast to partially) it would link up with the first part of 2 Corinthians 1:14. If “end” it would parallel “the day of our Lord Jesus” at the last of verse 2 Corinthians 1:14. - Utley

Verse 14

2co 1.14

partially acknowledge us, -- how?

on the day -- The judgment day that Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians 5:10.

you will boast of us -- This makes us think that, yes, we will know each other in heaven.

They would rejoice in having Paul as their teacher and guide, and Paul would rejoice that they had been saved by his ministry.

Paul: "it will be an occasion of abundant and eternal thanksgiving to God that you were converted by our labors."

Verse 15

2 Corinthians 1:15

And in this confidence -- Paul planed to visit the Corinthians agains and was confident that they would receive him favorablely.

I intended to come to you before [first] -- Paul seems to refer to the time when he wrote his first epistle as it was his earnest wish, as he stated in that letter, to visit them again, 1 Corinthians 16:5. In this he seems to have been disappointed and now proceeds to explain the reasons why he had not visite them as first planned.

have a second benefit [second experience of grace ] -- Paul coming again to them would bring God’s favor on them on them again, a second time. As his first visit some miraculous gifts had been bestowed upon them by the laying on of the apostle’s hand, perhaps even more miraculous gifts could come from a second visit. (Acts 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 12:1; 1 Corinthians 12:7-8; 2 Timothy 1:6; Hebrews 6:2).

The word used here χάρις charis is that which is commonly rendered grace, and means probably favor, kindness, good-will, beneficence; and especially favor to the undeserving. Here it is evidently used in the sense of gratification, or pleasure. And the idea is, that they had been formerly gratified and benefitted by his residence among them; he had been the means of conferring important favors on them, and he was desirous of being again with them, in order to gratify them by his presence, and that he might be the means of imparting to them other favors. - BN

Verse 16

2 Corinthians 1:16

to pass by way of you -- Paul’s plan is here expressed. It may not always be what God works out.

It seems Paul wanted to come by Corinth on his way to Macedonia, and then come back to them and be helped by them, probably in travel expenses, on his way to Jerusalem, perhaps with a collection for the poor saints there. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2.

have you send me -- With their good will, encouragement, approval, and material support for his journey back to Judea.

Macedonia -- The Roman province north of Corinth, also located in modern Greece. Paul founded churches in the Macedonian cities of Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea.

Verse 17

2 Corinthians 1:17

when I was planning this -- When Paul had formed his travel plans.

did I do it lightly? [vacillating] -- Was I not sure, but often changing my mind? Paul’s plans were according to the flesh, he was not vacillating on purpose. He did not deceive them, saying one thing to one and then another to someone else at the same time.

The word ἐλαφρια elaphria G1644 (from ἐλαφρός elaphros G1645) means properly lightness in weight. Here it is used in reference to the mind, as denoting inconstancy, changeableness, or fickleness. Paul denies this.

This charge had been probably made that he had made the promise without any due consideration, or without any real purpose of performing, it; or that he had made it in a trifling and thoughtless manner. By the interrogative form here, he sharply denies that it was a purpose formed in a light and trifling manner. - BN

Verse 18

2 Corinthians 1:18

as God is faithful -- Paul’s promises were sincerely made, and there was no deception whatever. Just as God keeps his promises, so will Paul. He was not fickle with his word.

Perhaps Paul is here stating that He’s sure God will allow Him another visit to them at Corinth.

our word - Margin, “preaching” (ὁ λόγος ho logos. This may refer either to his preaching, to his promises of visiting them, or his declarations to them in general on any subject.

our word to you -- Paul’s word was sincere and not fickle. Paul’s preaching of the Gospel did not change. He did not change the message; it was not one message to one, and a different message to another. He did not vacillate.

Verse 19

2 Corinthians 1:19

we proclaim -- The Gospel "we" preach was always the same, no matter who preached it.

Silvanus and Timothy and I, -- These were with Paul in the founding of the church at Corinth; and the very fact of their having preached the truth that is in Christ Jesus made it morally impossible for them to have engaged in the kind of petty deceptions alleged against him by his foes. - Coffman Commentaries

Silvanus -- This is the same person identified as Silas in Acts 15:32, Acts 15:40, who was one of the prophets of the early church, and also a companion of Paul on the second missionary tour. He was with Paul in jail at Philippi and throughout that exciting tour.

not Yes and No, -- "Yea and nay" continues to be used here as an idiom of fraud and deception. In Christ there is neither fraud nor deception; but in him is yea; and in this context "yea" is an idiom for utmost truth, sincerity and integrity. - Coffman

Verse 20

2 Corinthians 1:20

the promises -- All the promises of God are sure and faithful. cf. 2 Peter 3:9.

Amen -- God will not only honor his promises, which are invariably true; but he will sum them up with a heavenly Amen. God’s word is the last word. God is the Amen; but so also is Christ. "These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness" (Revelation 3:14). - Coffman Commentaries

Amen -- We utter "Amen", or Yes, 2 Corinthians 1:19, to the preaching down to God’s glory.

Verse 21

2 Corinthians 1:21

establishes us with you -- He who makes us firm (ὁ βέβαιῶν ἡμᾶς ho bebaiōn hēmas); that is, he who has confirmed us in the hopes of the gospel, and who gives us grace to be faithful, and firm in our promises. The object of this is to trace all to God, and to prevent the appearance of self-confidence, or of boasting. Paul had dwelt at length on his own fidelity and veracity.

has anointed us, -- We need to remember Paul had been called (anointed) to be an apostle, 2 Corinthians 1:1.

It was customary to anoint kings, prophets, and priests on their entering on their office as a part of the ceremony of inauguration. The word “anoint” is applied to a priest, Exodus 28:41; Exodus 40:15; to a prophet, 1 Kings 19:16; Isaiah 61:1; to a king, 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Samuel 15:1; 2 Samuel 2:4; 1 Kings 1:34. It is applied often to the Messiah as being set apart, or consecrated to his office as prophet, priest, and king - that is, as appointed by God to the highest office ever held in the world.

us -- 1) Is Paul referring to himself and the preachers with him, or 2) to himself and the Corinthian brethren?

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 Three things in these verses - (1) the anointing; (2) the sealing; and (3) the giving of the earnest are all references to one action, that of conversion - by which the believer is united with Christ "in Christ." - Coffman Commentaries

So in 1 John 2:27, “But the anointing which ye have received abideth in you,” etc. The anointing which was used in the consecration of prophets, priests, and kings, seems to have been designed to be emblematic of the influences of the Holy Spirit, who is often represented as poured upon those who are under his influence Proverbs 1:23; Isaiah 43:4; Joel 2:28-29; Zechariah 12:10; Acts 10:45, in the same way as water or oil is poured out. And as Christians are everywhere represented as being under the influence of the Holy Spirit, as being those on whom the Holy Spirit is poured, they are represented as “anointed.” They are in this manner solemnly set apart, and consecrated to the service of God. - BN

Verse 22

2 Corinthians 1:22

put his seal on us -- God’s seal of the Holy Spirit was in Paul’s and his companion’s heart, 2 Corinthians 1:19. 1) The Spirit-led life they lived was evidence; and 2) the gifts of the Holy Spirit that enabled them to heal and do miracles. These were the evidential credentials God gave his apostles, Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:3-4. (cf. Ephesians 3:17.)

The laying on the apostles’ hands passed these gifts to others Acts 8:14-19; Romans 1:11.

seal -- The earnest (or token) of the Holy Spirit is identified with "the Holy Spirit of promise" (Ephesians 1:13) and is the invariable inheritance of all who obey the gospel of Christ. - Coffman Commentaries

One bearing the spirit of Christ in their hearts, being Christ-like, and obeying the Father’s will, showing the form of God-likeness in their lives has the guarantee itself of God’s promises.

The eternal spirit that God has put within us is the guarantee of eternal life. Some will be with God in heaven eternally, and others will be in everlasting hell with the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:41; Matthew 25:46.

Verse 23

2 Corinthians 1:23

call God to witness -- Paul affirms an oath before God assuring them of the reason he had not already come to visit Corinth.

The reason he had not come was to spare them, Paul didn’t want another painful meeting with them.

What had been "painful"? 2 Corinthians 2:1-5 Five times, once in each verse he speaks of the "pain."

2 Corinthians 1:23 (CSBBible) I call on God as a witness, on my life, that it was to spare you that I did not come to Corinth.

About the same time he sent the First Epistle by the shorter sea route to Corinth, perhaps by the hands of Titus and another of his companions (2 Corinthians 12:18), to whom was also given the duty of organising the collection (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). - A Commentary on the Holy Bible: The One Volume Bible Commentary.

Verse 24

2 Corinthians 1:24

Not that we lord it over -- Paul was not a dictator, but labored to give them a joyful, steadfast faith in Christ that would produce a joyful life.

The happy blessed life is that lived according to the direction that God in His Holy Spirit directs us. God provides us the answers to life’s great questions. How can I live a happy joyful life that reaps the most life here now has to offer, and that which the future eternal life offers.

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 1". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/2-corinthians-1.html. 2021.
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