Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, July 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 2

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1

1) "But I determined this with myself," (ekrina de hemante touts) "But I decided (come to a judgment) in myself or of my own accord," as a matter of mature wisdom, James 1:5.

2) "That I would not come again to you in heaviness," (to me palin en lupe pros humas elthein) "not to come again to you all in grief," in a state of grief or hurt despond, in emotional heaviness. It appears that Paul paid a second visit to Corinth from Ephesus because of distressing moral conditions in the Corinth church, to which he alluded in 1 Corinthians 5:9 after which he wrote to them "to keep no company with fornicators." This is a letter to the Corinth church, a lost letter, to which this reference in the above passage refers. 2 Corinthians 7:11; 2 Corinthians 12:14; 2 Corinthians 13:1; 2 Corinthians 13:10.

Verse 2

1) "For if I make you sorry," (ei gar ego lupo humas) "For if I grieve you all," or cause you to be emotionally disturbed, hurt; Paul had a good purpose in making erring brethren to sorrow, that they might repent of their wrong, 2 Corinthians 7:9.

2) "Who is he then that maketh me glad," (Kai tis ho euphrainon me) "Then who is the (one) making me (to be) glad;" Repentance for wrong, on the part of sinning brethren, caused Paul to be glad; for he knew this was the way of restoration to God’s favor, 1 John 1:9.

3) "But the same which is made sorry by me?" (ei me ho lupoumenos eks emou) "Except or if not that one being grieved by or through me?" The answer to the “who" question implies "no one", except you when you repent, as in Mark 10:26.

Verse 3

1) "And I wrote this same unto you," (kai egrapsa touto auto) "and I wrote this very thing", (to you all,) 1 Corinthians 5:9; 1 Corinthians 16:5.

2) "Lest, when I came, I should have sorrow," (hina me elthon lupen scho) "In order that I might not have grief when I come" or "for this reason," that he might not have grieving shame for their moral fall.

3) "From them of whom I ought to rejoice," (aph’ hon edei me chairein) "From those (about) whom it becomes me to rejoice;" Paul had no selfish wish to escape shame or pain for wrong done by Corinthian brethren, but he yearned to find them rather ready to hear the gospel than disciplinary reproof.

4) "Having confidence in you all," (pepoithos epi pantas humas) "Having confidence in you all," or holding faith in them, that they would correct the evil by confession and turning from sin before he arrived, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; James 5:16.

5) "That my joy is the joy of you all," (hoti he eme chara panton humon estin) "That my joy is or (exists as) your joy," in the Lord. In spite of the factions in the Corinth church, Paul thought of them as his friends, 1 Corinthians 3:14; 1 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Corinthians 13:13.

Verse 4

1) "For out of much affliction." (ek gar polles thlipseos) "For out of much trouble, affliction, or tribulation;" 2 Corinthians 11:12.

2) "And anxiety of heart" (Kai sunoches kardias) and anxious care of heart," shaken emotions; Revelation 2:1-7; Revelation 3:1-3; Revelation 3:19. Love always calls to repentance for wrong.

3) "I wrote unto you with many tears," (egrapsa humin dia pollon dakruon) "I wrote to you through many tears," often weeping, while writing that former letter. Reproof and correction of children for wrong, in the spirit of love, is helpful, though it be grievous for a moment, Hebrews 12:11.

4) "Not that ye should be grieved" (ouch hina eupethete) "not in order that you all should be grieved," (as I was), 2 Corinthians 10:8. He both visited and wrote chiding remarks for their error, that they might be edified or built up in the Lord.

5) "But that ye might know the love," (alla ten agapen hina gnote) "But in order that you all might know the love," the deep affections he had for their spiritual growth and maturity.

6) "Which I have more abundantly unto you,” (hen echo perissoteros; eis humas) "which I hold more abundantly to you all-" See Acts 20:3-4 for allusions to this second (hastily made) visit to the brethren. Fatherly chastisements are proofs of fatherly love, care, and affections.

Verse 5

1) "But if any have caused grief," (ei de tis lelupeken) But if anyone has grieved," referring to the incestuous fornicator, 1 Corinthians 5:1. The name of the young man who had taken his father’s wife was suppressed with a rare delicacy of feeling and consideration.

2) "He hath not grieved me," (ouk eme lelupeken) "He has not grieved me," caused sorrow or regret to me, that is to me only.

3) "But in part," (alla apo merous) "but from (in) part, fragmentarily; The idea is that Paul was not requiring the church to discipline the fornicator for his sake, personally, but also because of his hurt to the church’s influence, 1 Corinthians 5:13.

4) "That I may not over charge you all," (hina me epibaro pbritas humas) "in order that I may not be burdensome (to) all of you," or press heavily upon you all to put the incestuous fornicator out of your fellowship or membership so that the reputation of the church in the community would not be held in shame, 1 Corinthians 5:1-13.

Verse 6

1) "Sufficient to such a man," (kikanon to toiouto) "Enough for such a one," person - the known offending fornicator, incestuous young man in their church who had been excluded, based on his prior advice, 1 Corinthians 5:1-5; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Corinthians 5:9; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 5:13.

2) "Is this punishment," (he epitimia hauta) "(Is) this punishment," deprivation of membership, or censure, as Paul also instructed the Roman and Thessalonian churches, Romans 16:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:14. The suggestion is that the punishment inflicted should now be remitted and the guilty young man forgiven.

3) "Which was inflicted of many," (he hupo ton pleionton) "(which was) by the many," or by the masses, the majority inflicted. The whole church acted in "putting away the wicked one" from among them for a time. The action was not by a secret disciplinary committee, a matter unknown to New Testament churches. Votes were congregational in nature by the "church ye", not by a "preacher ye", or "committee yes", Acts 1:23-26; Romans 14:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:14. Church discipline or excommunication was done by the church for constructive disciplinary, not mere punitive purposes.

Verse 7

1) "So that contrariwise," (hoste tounantion) "So (that) on the contrary," instead of continuing the harsh discipline of non-fellowship, avoidance, and non-company in church participation, forgiveness should be extended.

2) "You ought rather to forgive him and comfort him" (mallon humas charasathai kai parakalesai) "You would rather (instead) forgive and show comfort," take him alongside in fellowship again, to show grace, to encourage and to restore to usefulness, Galatians 6:1; Matthew 18:18.

3) "Lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up, " (me pos ho toioutos katapothe) "lest such a one should be swallowed up,” overcome, or driven to deprivation by despair and his possible witness to Christ be forever lost, rather than restored, as David’s testimony was, Psalms 51:7-13.

4) "With overmuch sorrow," (te perissotera lupe) "by more abundant (or exceeding) grief," more than emotionally he could bear. Peter fell under remorse for sin and reproof of His Lord, but he also arose- and tried again, became more useful to the Master, Matthew 26:75; 2 Corinthians 7:10-11; John 21:15-19.

Verse 8

1) "Wherefore I beseech you," (dio parakalo humas) "Wherefore I beseech or exhort you all;" I call you alongside for fellowship advice, council, and instruction.

2) "That ye would confirm your love toward him," (kurosai eis auton agapen) "To confirm to him (your) love," reestablish him in your love and fellowship company or circle of worship, and service. Show him practical kindness, Ephesians 4:32.

Verse 9

1) "For to this end also did I write," (eis touto gar kai egrapsa) "For it was to this end also I wrote;" for this purpose I wrote you, to stir you to mercy as well as to discipline; mercy too is a Christian virtue, Matthew 5:7.

2) "That I might know the proof of you," (hina gno ten dokimen humon) "In order that I might recognize the proof (evidence) of you;" Matthew 5:15-16; Matthew 6:14-15.

3) "Whether ye be obedient in all things," (ei eis panta hupekooi este) "whether you all are obedient in all things;" the keeping of the things of Christ, as delivered by Paul, 1 Corinthians 11:1-2; James 1:22; John 15:14.


"As he who stands by and sees another commit murder without giving an alarm is accounted accessory to the murder; or as he who sees a blind man running into a pit, in which he is drowned, and makes no effort to save him, is guilty of death; so is he who sees his brother kill his soul without an effort to prevent it."

- Cawdray

Verse 10

1) "To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also," (ho de ti charizesthe kago) "Indeed to whom ye forgive anything, I also forgive;" Paul did not hold a grudge or malice or anger in his heart toward an erring brother; He was willing to forgive an offender.

2) "For if I forgave anything, to whom I forgave also” (kai gar ego ho kecharismai ei ti) "For indeed if I have forgiven anything, what I forgave;" If they were willing to forgive an offender and put the offence behind after a certain period of church discipline, so was he – Ephesians 4:30-32. The forgiven person was to become a restored friend, John 15:13-14,

3) "For your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ." (kecharismai di’ humas en prosopo christou) "I have forgiven it in the person of Christ, on account of you all;" on account of the welfare of the Corinth church and the testimony of Jesus Christ, as if Christ were standing before them, face to face, 2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 8:21.

Verse 11

1) "Lest Satan should get an advantage of us," (hina me pleonektethomen hupo tou satana) "In order that we are not taken advantage of by Satan;" Lest Satan should drive sinners to despair and capture by robbery the total influence and usefulness of a brother who has fallen in wrong.

2) "For we are not ignorant of his devices." (ou gar autou ta noemata agnooumen) "For we are not ignorant of his designs," ulterior motives, manipulations, etc. to destroy the influence and potential usefulness of a fallen saint; we are not to be overly severe in kind or duration of discipline over a fallen saint any more than with an erring child, lest Satan take advantage, 1 Peter 5:6-11; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 2 Corinthians 11:14.

Verse 12

1) "Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel," (elthon de eis ten Troada eis to evangellion tou Christou) "Moreover when I came to Troas in the gospel of Christ;" came on his journey from Ephesus to Troas, Acts 16:8-11; Acts 20:1-2; 1 Corinthians 16:5-9; 2 Timothy 4:13. It was here Paul once left his coat and books where he had expected to meet Titus and an unnamed brother.

2) "And a door was opened unto me of the Lord," (kai thuras moi aneogmenes en kurio) "and a door of opportunity had been opened to me, by (the) Lord;" though there were many adversaries, a matter Paul had, with maturity, come to take for granted, 1 Corinthians 16:9; 2Ti 3-12.

Verse 13

1) "I had no rest in my Spirit." (ouk escheka anesin to pneumati mou) "I (have) had no rest to my spirit;" disposition or mind, as a man, Paul was disturbed and disappointed when he did not make contact with Titus as he had longed to do in Troas.

2) "Because I found not Titus my brother," (to me eurein me titon ton adelphon mou) "when I did not find my brother Titus."

3) "But taking my leave of them, (alla apotaksamenos autois) "But saying (bidding) farewell to them," the disciples, the church at Troas, Acts 20:1-6.

4) "I went from thence into Macedonia," (ekselthon eis Makedonian) "I went out (forth) of my own accord into Macedonia," as a matter of consecrated choosing, personal choice, a judgmental decision as used in Acts 16:10; Acts 20:1; 2 Corinthians 8:17.

Verse 14


1) "Now thanks be unto God," (to de theo charis) "But thanks to God, ’ a ’doxology of praise into which Paul drifted from the main topic, until 2 Corinthians 6:11.

2) "Which always causeth us to triumph in Christ," (to pantote chriombeuonti hemas ento Christo) "The one (who) always (is) leading us to triumph, victory or to overcome in Christ," 1 Corinthians 15:57; Romans 8:28; Revelation 12:10-11.

3) "And maketh manifest the, savour of his knowledge," (kai ten osmen tes gneseos autou phanerountu) "and who is manifesting the fragrance (pleasantness) of the knowledge of him," through obedient light-bearing, witnessing, and perseverance in the work of the master, Matthew 5:13-16; Acts 1:8; Galatians 6:9. During a triumph after battle in ancient times sweet spices were strewn in the streets.

4) "By us in every place," (di’ humon en panti topo) "Through us in every locality," place or area. The "us" refers to Paul and his companions in travel, in every locality they traveled, first and, in a secondary sense, the doxology seems to embrace the triumphant view that all believers who are found doing God’s will are a fragrant manifestation of His salvation and life in every locality; 1 John 5:4; Revelation 12:10-11.

Verse 15

1) "For we are unto God," (hoti esmen to theo) "For we are to or toward God;" an instrument of God in bringing the message of salvation, redemption, recovery of the souls and lives of lost men to Christ, as missionaries and laymen.

2) "A sweet savour of Christ," (Christou euodia) "a sweet smell (fragrance or pleasantness) of Christ;" as a pleasant, approved, or satisfying offering of self to Him, as a pleasant sweet offering with fragrant spices, Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

3) "In them that are saved," (en tois sozomenois) "In those being saved," "being now in a saved or delivered state or condition." - The verb (saved) is here used in the passive state or condition, meaning existing in those who are saved, Ephesians 2:8.

4) "And in them that perish." (kai entois apolumenois) "and in those being now in a perishing (lost) state or condition;" though God gave His Son that the perishing" might not perish, John 3:16.


All depends upon man himself. The sun brings life to some branches and death to others. If a branch is on the tree, and the tree is properly rooted in the soil, the sun will bring life to it; but, if the branch be amputated, the sun will wither it to death. It is the same sun, and the branches have grown in the same forest, or even on the same tree; and yet the shining of the sun means life to the one and death to the other. It is precisely so with the gospel: if a man will not put himself in the right relation to it, it will be his utter destruction,


Verse 16

1) "To the one we are the saviour of death unto death," (ois men osme ek thanatou eis thanaton) "to the latter (the unsaved, we are) an odor (smell) or aroma out of death unto death," a smell of death, stifling toward death; the Jews termed this an "aroma of evil," to death, 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 1:22; 1 Corinthians 1:24; John 9:39-41; John 3:19; John 15:22.

2) "And to the other the savour of life unto life," (ois de osme ek zoes eis zoen) "to the former (those saved) a fragrance, smell or aroma out of life unto life," to those believing Christ arose, is alive, to give life, sustain men who believe in eternal life, life evermore, John 10:27-29; John 5:24.

3) "And who is sufficient for these things," (kai pros tauta tis hikanos;) "and who (is) competent to or toward (performance of) these things?" of being a bearer of the message of eternal triumph or eternal ruin, defeat? He later explains "not that we are sufficient of ourselves -but our sufficiency is (exists from) God," 2 Corinthians 3:5.

Verse 17

1) "For we are not as many," (ou gar esmen hos oi polloi) "For we are not as the many masses, or majority;" many ordinary false teachers they met, perverters, distorters, and corrupters of the Word of Truth, 2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.

2) "Which corrupt the Word of God," (kaplieuontes ton logon tou theou) "hawking (circus-talking) the Word of God," religious hucksters, who make merchandise, commercialism of the Word of God, adulterate and corrupt it, Colossians 2:8; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 2 Peter 2:12-22.

3) "But as of sincerity," (all’ hos eks elikrineias) "But in contrast as of sincerity," not a sideshow, as entertainment, or personal gain did they present the Word of God, Romans 1:14-16.

4) "But as of God," (all’ hos ek theou) "But, in contrast to the hawkers false prophets and hucksters, we present the Word of God as out of the very mouth of God," 1 Corinthians 14:37; Galatians 1:11-12.

5) "In the sight of God speak we in Christ," (katenanti theou en Christo laloumen) "We speak before God in Christ;" with respect to Christ as the Son of God; Paul spoke as if God were looking on, listening to what was being preached about His Son. Being "in Christ," new creatures, children of God and commissioned missionaries, in full review of our Lord and Master we speak, bear witness or testify, 2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Corinthians 5:20-21.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 2". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/2-corinthians-2.html. 1985.
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