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2 Corinthians 7

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Verse 1

Having therefore these promises -- The promises referred to in 2 Corinthians 6:17-18; the promise that God would dwell among us, that he would be our God and that he would be to us a Father.

let us cleanse ourselves -- Let us purify ourselves. Paul was not afraid to bring into view the truth that Christians themselves have a part in the work of salvation.

from all filthiness [defilement] of the flesh- - The noun used here (μολυσμὸς molusmos) occurs only here in the New Testament. The verb occurs in 1 Corinthians 8:7; Revelation 3:4; Revelation 14:4, and means to stain, defile, pollute, as a garment; and the word used here means a soiling, hence, defilement, pollution, and refers to the defiling and corrupting influence of fleshly desires and carnal appetites.

and spirit -- By “filthiness of the spirit,” the apostle probably means all the thoughts or mental associations that defile the man. Jesus in Matthew 15:19 speaks of evil thoughts, etc. that proceed out of the heart, and that pollute the man.

bringing holiness to completion -- This word (ἐπιτελοῦντες epitelountes, G2005) means properly to bring to an end, to finish, complete. The idea here is, that of carrying it out to the completion. Holiness had been commenced in the heart, and the exhortation of the apostle is, that they should make every effort that it might be complete in all its parts

in the fear of God -- Out of fear and reverence of God. From a regard to his commands, and a reverence for his name. The idea seems to be, that we are always in the presence of God and we should be awed and restrained by a sense of his presence.

Verse 2

Make room [receive] in your heart for us -- The word used here (χωρήσατε chōrēsate, G5562) means properly, give space, place, or room; and it means here evidently, make place or room for us in your affections; that is, admit or receive us as your friends.

Tyndale renders this: “understand us.”

we have wronged no man- - We have done injustice to no man. This is given as a reason why they should admit him to their full confidence and affection. It may be that he had been charged with injuring the incestuous person by the severe discipline which he had found necessary to inflict on him; note, 1 Corinthians 5:5.

Paul could not have made this solemn declaration unless he was certain he had lived a very blameless life; compare Acts 20:33.

we have corrupted no man -- This means that he had corrupted no man in his morals, either by his precept or his example. The word (φθείρω phtheirō, G5351) means in general to bring into a worse state or condition, and is very often applied to morals.

we have defrauded no man -- We have taken no man’s property by cunning, by trick, or by deception. The word πλεονεκτέω pleonekteō, G4122, means literally to have more than another, and then to take advantage, to seek unlawful gain, to circumvent, defraud, deceive. The idea is, that Paul had taken advantage of no circumstances to extort money from them, to overreach them, or to cheat them.

Verse 3

I do not say this to condemn you, -- I do not speak this with any desire to reproach you. I do not complain of you for the purpose of condemning, or because I have a desire to find fault, though I am compelled to speak in some respect of your lack of affection and liberality toward me.

for I said before -- In his first letter, 2 Corinthians 7:11-12;

that you are in our hearts, -- We are so much attached to you; you have a place in our affections.

to die together and to live together. -- If it were the will of God, we would be glad to spend our lives among you, and to die with you; an expression denoting most tender attachment.

This was an affirmation of Paul’s love in the idiom known to all times and peoples. Ruth the Moabitess spoke her love to her mother-in-law, "Where thou lodgest, I will lodge .... Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried" (Ruth 1:16,17 ). - Coffman

A similar well-known expression occurs in Horace:

Tecum vivere amem. tecum obeam libens.

Odes, B. III. IX. 24.

With the world I live, with the world I die.

Verse 4

I am acting with great boldness toward you; -- This verse seems designed to soften the apparent harshness of what he had said 2 Corinthians 6:12, as well as to refer to the plainness which he had used all along in his letters to them. He says, therefore, that he speaks freely; he speaks as a friend; he speaks with the utmost openness and frankness; he conceals nothing from them.

I have great pride in you; -- I have great occasion to commend and praise you, and I do it freely. He refers here to the fact that he had boasted of their liberality in regard to the proposed collection for the poor saints of Judea 2 Corinthians 9:4.

I am filled with comfort. -- By the good news brought by Titus, and learning to be content in all his situations. (2 Corinthians 7:6-7, 2 Corinthians 7:9, 2 Corinthians 7:13; 2 Corinthians 1:4).

In all our affliction, -- Tribulations, 2 Corinthians 1:4.

I am overflowing with joy. -- The word used here occurs nowhere else in the New Testament except in Romans 5:20. It is a word which Paul evidently compounded (from ὑπὲρ huper and περισσεύω perisseuō), and means to superabound over, to superabound greatly, or exceedingly. (G5248)

It is a word which would be used only when the heart was full, and when it would be difficult to find words to express its conceptions. Paul’s heart was full of joy; and he pours forth his feelings in the most fervid and glowing language. I have joy which cannot be expressed.

Verse 5

For when we were come into Macedonia -- For the reasons which induced Paul to go into Macedonia; see the notes on 2 Corinthians 1:16; compare the notes, 2 Corinthians 2:12-13.

our bodies had no rest -- We were exceedingly distressed and agitated. We had no rest. Paul next states the causes. He was worried sick over this church (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:12-13.

we were afflicted [troubled] at every turn -- This verse is a brief summary of the problems Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians 1:4-10; 2 Corinthians 4:7-12; and 2 Corinthians 6:3-10.

fighting without -- Probably he here refers to fierce opposition, which he met there from Pagans, Jews, and false brethren.

and fear within. -- Titus had not come to him as he had expected, at Troas 2 Corinthians 2:13, and he felt the deepest anxiety in regard to him and to the success of his letter to the Corinthians.

Verse 6

But God, who comforts the depressed [the cast down], comforted us -- What a wonderful title for God-" the One who continually comforts" (present active participle). See full note on comfort at 2 Corinthians 1:4-11.

the coming of Titus -- Paul rejoiced in Titus’ arrival in Macedonia; in seeing him and his report of the successful reception of Paul’s letter, and Titus’ own state of mind.

Titus’ name is mentioned 9 times in this epistle. 2 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 7:6; 2 Corinthians 7:13-14; 2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 8:16; 2 Corinthians 8:23; 2 Corinthians 12:18.

Verse 7

and not by his coming only -- Paul was delighted to see Titus and have his anxieties relieved, but even more comforted with the good news he brought.

but also by the comfort [consolation] wherewith he was comforted in you -- Titus had been kindly treated, and he had seen the effect produced by the letter which Paul had desired. Titus had been much comforted by his visit to Corinth, and this was a source of additional joy to Paul.

as he told us of your longing [earnest desire] -- Either to rectify what was miss, or to see Paul himself. Their desire may be to comply with Paul’s commands.

your mourning -- Probably produced by Paul’s letter. Their deep repentance over the sins which had prevailed in the congregation.

your zeal [fervent mind] for me -- This signified their great attachment to Paul/

so that I rejoiced still more. -- Paul not only rejoiced at Titus’ coming but from the account he conveyed to Paul.

Verse 8

For even if I made you grieve with my letter, -- In the first epistle Paul had reproved them for their divisions and sin being tolerated in the church. That epistle produced pain as reproof generally does.

I do not regret it -- While the letter was painful for Paul to write, it had produced a good effect on the church at Corinth, thus Paul was happy about that.

though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, -- The letter grieved Paul to write it knowing it would cause grief on their part. The idea of "repentance" here is not in the sense that the word is usually understood in connection with sin. Here the idea is that while Paul regretted the grief the letter would cause he did not regret sending it. It is not to be understood that Paul thought he had done anything wrong.

The word (μεταμέλομαι metamelomai) denotes properly to change one’s purpose or mind after having done anything (Robinson); or an uneasy feeling of regret for what has been done without regard either to duration or effects - Campbell.

though only for a while. -- Paul was afraid the first letter would cause overwhelming sorrow instead of a true healthy repentance that would result in a restored fellowship.

Utley says "sorrow. . .regret. . .repentance" are three very significant Greek terms used in verses 2 Corinthians 7:8-11, to describe grief, sorrow and repentance. He goes on in this passage to give the distinctive meaning of these words. (See Utley’s commentary.)

Verse 9

2 Corinthians 7:9

Now, I rejoice, not because you were grieved [made sorry] , -- I have no pleasure in giving pain to anyone, or in witnessing the distress of any.

but because you were grieved [sorrow led to] into repenting. -- It was not a sorrow which led you to be angry at him who had reproved you for your errors - as is sometimes the case with the sorrow that is produced by reproof; but it was a sorrow that led to a change and reformation.

It was sorrow that was followed by a putting away of the wrong which had been the occasion for Paul’s reproof. The word rendered here as “repentance” (μετάνοιαν metanoian) is a different word from that which, in 2 Corinthians 7:8. The word used here is strongly theological and not only involves a change of attitude, but a change of action (cf. Mark 1:15; Acts 3:19; Acts 20:21).

For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. -- Paul wanted to be a blessing to this church and not a hindrance in any way. However, the church must receive Paul’ reproof, and they had.

Their sorrow had worked its course properly, it had not caused damage, but worked for their good.

Verse 10

For godly sorrow [grief] -- “Sorrow according to God” (Ἡ γὰρ κατὰ Θεὸν λύπη Hē gar kata Theon lupē). That is, such sorrow as has respect to God, or is according to his will, or as leads the soul to him.

For a sorrow that doesn’t led one back to God, but led in the wrong direction, see Judas in Matthew 27:3-5.

produces repentance -- Produces a change that leads to a reformation of life.

that leads to salvation -- Repentance that produces a change of direction for one’s life and now turn to obey Christ and the gospel and follow God’s plan for the way to walk in life that honors and brings praise to God. Acts 2:38; 2 Peter 3:9; Luke 3:8;

"leading to salvation" Repentance is one of the necessary elements of salvation. Repentance was mentioned as a requirement by John the Baptist (cf. Matthew 3:2), Jesus (cf. Matthew 4:17), Peter (cf. Acts 2:38), and Paul (cf. Acts 26:20). Repentance is turning from sin and faith is turning to Christ; both are required (cf. Mark 1:15; Acts 3:16; Acts 3:19; Acts 20:21). I have come to believe there are several normative requirements for a mature salvation: repentance, faith, baptism, obedience, service, and perseverance. - Utley

without regret [not to be repented of] -- There is no occasion to mourn over such repentance and change of life. There will be no reason for regretting it, and it will never be regretted.

whereas worldly grief [sorrow] produces death. -- This is a sorry, not producing a change, but a sorry about the consequences of not changing. Consider the rich young ruler’s sorrow in Matthew 19:22; Mark 10:22.

Many think this is speaking for a despair, that produces death of the body. Either through misery and deadly sickness, or suicide. Cf. Matthew 27:3-5.

Antithesis with the sorrow which is according to God (A.V., godly sorrow). Sorrow which is characteristic of the world; grief for the consequences rather than for the sin as sin. - VWS

Verse 11

For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, [ESV] -- NIV: "See what this godly sorrow has produced in you:" For see in your own case the happy effects of godly sorrow. See the effects which it produced;

what earnestness, -- "carefulness" (σπουδήν spoudēn, G4710). This word properly denotes “speed, haste;” then diligence, earnest effort, forwardness. Here it is evidently used to denote the diligence and the great anxiety which they manifested to remove the evils which existed among them.

what eagerness to clear yourselves, -- (ἀπολογίαν apologian, G627). Apology, defence. This word properly means a plea or defense before a tribunal , a group, or someone; Acts 22:1; 2 Timothy 4:16.

The word here properly means “apology, or defense," for what had been done; and it probably refers here to the effort which was made by the godly part of the church to clear themselves from blame in what had occurred.

Tyndale renders it, “Yea, it caused you to clear yourselves.”

what indignation, -- G24; Indignation against the sin, and perhaps against the persons who had drawn down the censure of the apostle.

what fear, [alarm; reverent; afraid;] -- G5401; Fear lest the thing should be repeated. Fear lest it should not be entirely removed. Or it may possibly refers to the anxiety that the evil matter be corrected, and to the dread of having any vestige of the evil remaining among them.

"Fear" usually means showing reverence toward God, who is the One most offended by sin. Repentance leads to a healthy fear of the One who chastens and judges sin. (MSB)

what longing, [vehement desire] -- This may mean their fervent desire to do the right thing, or their anxious desire to see Paul again. It is used in this latter sense in 2 Corinthians 7:7.

It seems more probable that Paul refers to their anxious wish to remove the sin, since this is the topic under consideration. The point of his remarks in this verse is their indignation against the sin, and their deep grief that sin had existed and had been tolerated among them.

what concern, [zeal] -- They were zealous to remove the sin, (or some think zealous to show their attachment to Paul). They set about the work of reformation in great earnest.

what readiness to see justice done. [ punishment; revenge] -- The idea is, that they immediately set about the work of inflicting punishment [justice) on the offender. The word used here (ἐκδίκησις ekdikēsis, G1557) probably denotes “maintenance of right, protection;” then it is used in the sense of avengement, or vengeance; and then of penal retribution or punishment; see Luke 21:22; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 2:14.

Tyndale renders this: “it caused punishment.”

"what avenging of wrong" The literal term is "vengeance," but it is used in the sense of meting out justice. There has been some divergence of opinion among scholars as to what exactly this verse is referring. Some assert that (1) it refers to 1 Corinthians 5:5, while others believe (2) it refers to the factions or false teachers (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:12). - Utley

At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. -- The sense of this is, “You have entirely acquitted yourselves of blame in this business.”

The apostle does not mean that none of them had been to blame, or that the church had been free from fault, for a large part of his first epistle was occupied in reproving them for their faults in this business (1 Corinthians 5:1-7). But he means that by their zeal and their readiness to deal with the problem when pointed out, they had removed all further blame, and had pursued an appropriate course.

Verse 12

2 Corinthians 7:12

So although I wrote to you ... -- In this verse Paul states the main reason why he had written to them on the subject. It was not principally on account of the man who had done the wrong, or for the one who had been injured; but it was from tender anxiety for the whole church,

Paul wrote that he was not concerned about disciplining the offending brother and ameliorating the situation of the injured party. But this was apparently a Semitic way of saying that they were not his primary concern (Luke 14:26 gives another example of exclusivism as a way of stating priorities).

one who did the wrong -- Some think this refers to the leader of the mutiny in the Corinthian church (see note on 2 Corinthians 12:7). (MSB)

May refer to the person who opposed Paul and questioned his apostolic authority (see 2 Corinthians 2:5-8). (FSB)

It is doubtful that “the injured party” refers to the incident in 1 Corinthians 5:1 because no offended party was mentioned there. Possibly Paul was the injured party (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:5), but if so it was a curiously oblique self-designation (cf. Mark 14:51; John 13:23).

one who suffered the wrong -- May refer to Paul himself if the wrong doer was one of the false teachers.

but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed ... -- Paul wrote mainly to show his deep interest which he had in the church at large, and that his anxiety for them would not suffer by the misconduct of some of its members.

2 Corinthians 7:12 seems to be a Hebrew idiom of comparison, not a negative statement (cf. The Jerome Biblical Commentary, p. 283).

before God -- "in the sight of God." ESV. All of the Corinthians’ actions are done before an all-seeing God, before whom Paul also carries out his ministry (2 Corinthians 2:17; 2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 12:19). (ESVSB)

Verse 13

2 Corinthians 7:13

We are comforted -- The word "comfort" in this passages means "happy" or to be made glad, or consoled. Paul was happy that they treated Titus in a good way.

The NKJV translates it that Paul was happy because they were made happy with Titus’s visit.

Most modern editors punctuate as follows: ‘Therefore we were comforted. And in addition to (or in consequence of) our comfort we rejoiced a very great deal more at the joy of Titus,’ ‘our’ being read for the ‘your’ of the A. V. - CBSC

Titus -- Titus’ name is mentioned 9 times in about 8 verses in this epistle. 2 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 7:6; 2 Corinthians 7:13-14; 2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 8:16; 2 Corinthians 8:23; 2 Corinthians 12:18.

we rejoiced still more -- Titus had been kindly received, and hospitably entertained, and had become much attached to the saints at Corinth. This was to Paul an additional occasion of joy; see 2 Corinthians 7:7.

we rejoiced even much more for the joy of Titus because his spirit has been refreshed by you all -- The church treated Titus well (i.e., he was refreshed, perfect passive indicative). Apparently Paul was worried about this because of the treatment that Timothy had received earlier.

Notice Paul is using "spirit" as a synonym of the person of Titus, not just an aspect (i.e., body, soul, spirit, cf. Elwell’s Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, pp. 676-680).

by you all -- Paul’s words here signal a victory in Corinth.

"By you all" (in this 2 Corinthians 7:13), combined with "everything" (2 Corinthians 7:14), "all" (2 Corinthians 7:15), and "in all things" (2 Corinthians 7:16), indicates that the entire church responded to Titus’ appeal and is now loyal to Paul. -- Floyd V. Filson, The Interpreter’s Bible (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1953), Vol. X, p. 362.

These expressions by Paul, however, are hyperbole. As will be seen in 2 Cor. 10 , there were still pockets of resistance and much wrong-doing still remaining at Corinth. - Coffman

Verse 14

boasts I made to him -- Apparently Paul had spoken favorably to Titus about the Corinthians. He probably expressed his belief that he would be kindly received.

I was not put to shame -- Because the Corinthians has lived up to the high expectation Paul had of them and about which he had boasted to Titus. A part of Paul’s boasting may have been about their generosity; Paul now leads into the matter of a collection which he was about to make for the poor saints in Jerusalem.

everything we said was true -- Paul practiced no disguise, all that he said to them turned out to be true.

even so our boasting before Titus has proved true -- Everything Paul has said to Titus about the Corinthians turned out to be true. Paul’s commendation to Titus of the Corinthians had been right on the mark.

Verse 15

And his affection for you -- Titus had become deeply and tenderly attached to the Corinthians. His affection for them had been increased by his visit.

affection -- "inward affection" (σπλάγχια splangchia, Margin, bowels) see the note on 2 Corinthians 6:12. It denotes here: deep, tender attachment, or love.

as he remembers -- Titus’ reflection on the Corinthians’ obedience to God and to Paul’s teaching enhanced his opinion of them.

how you received them -- While Titus may have been skeptical of how he would be received, the warm and hospitable reception they have him was very favorable.

fear and trembling -- Titus saw what a fear there was doing wrong and the reverence they had toward God. Theirs was a healthy fear of judgment (See 2 Corinthians 7:15; Ephesians 6:5; Philippians 2:12; for Paul’s use of this phrase). [Mark in Mark 5:33]

Verse 16

I rejoice ... -- The address of this part of the Epistle, says Doddridge, is wonderful. It is designed, evidently, not merely to commend them for what they had done, and to show them the deep attachment which he had for them, but in a special manner to prepare them for what he he was about to say in the following chapter, respecting the collection which he had so much at heart for the poor saints at Jerusalem.

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 7". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. 2021.