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Bible Commentaries

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

2 Corinthians

- 2 Corinthians

by William Baxter Godbey

SECOND CORINTHIANS

PROLOGUE

After Paul had sailed from Asia, perhaps in June, landing in Macedonia and spending the summer and the most of the fall peregrinating the country and preaching not only in the cities of Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea, but doubtless innumerable other rural towns and villages throughout Northern Greece, somewhere up in that country and during that period he wrote this letter. Your postscript dates it at Philippi, as the first epistle. I believe this to be another mistake. Instead of both of them being written at Philippi, I know the first one was written at Ephesus, for the letter says so, and the second was written somewhere up there in Macedonia, and I know most probably from Berea, from the fact that Paul would be apt, after an absence of three years, first to go around among the churches throughout the whole country, and then avail himself of the rest while he dictates the letter to an amanuensis. As Philippi was the first city he reached, it is hardly probable he stopped there to write. As Berea is the last prominent city in his south- bound journey, it is more probable that he halted there and wrote the letter, some time in August or September, sending it on before him in time for its perusal and appreciation before his arrival in December. What was the end in view of which he wrote this epistle? It is really a continuation of the castigatory, admonitory and advisory themes communicated in the first epistle, having already been encouraged by the report of Timothy, whom he had sent to preach to them and prevail on them to receive and obey his first letter. Still not satisfied with the extent of their information, and determined, if possible, to correct all the irregularities, heresies, abuses and departures from the precepts he had inculcated while with them, he writes again in order to perfect all these reformations and reclamations which they had already begun under the influence of the first letter, the preaching of Timothy and others. In this second letter he gives especial prominence to the contributions for the relief of the Jerusalem saints. While the close analogy between the two will enable us to make more rapid progress in the exegesis, this letter is replete with beautiful and bright sun-bursts along the line of spiritual truth, revelatory of Christian experience in the twofold aspect of regeneration for the sinner and sanctification for the believer; meanwhile the deeper doctrines of glorification receive some touches unsurpassed elsewhere in the Pauline epistles.

APOLOGUE

This epistle is notable for special illumination on a number of grand salient truths prominent in the gracious economy; e. g., regeneration in its relation to sanctification is especially clear and lucid. Sanctification is exceedingly prominent and abundantly corroborated by Paul’s personal testimony. Glorification is most clearly and beautifully elucidated. The transfiguration receives a very elegant exegesis. The duty and the privilege of Christian giving is more elaborately expounded than elsewhere in the New Testament, while elucidation of infirmities and revelations is transcendent.