Bible Commentaries

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

2 Corinthians 1

Verse 1

. Timothy, it appears, had been sent to Corinth to confirm the faithful in the doctrine which they had received from St. Paul. After he had fulfilled this commission, he returned to St. Paul, and gave him an account how they had behaved, and what good effects his first letter had produced. He styles him brother, to conciliate to him the esteem and respect of the Corinthians. This epistle is not merely addressed to the Corinthians, but to all Achaia, of which Corinth was the capital. (Estius) --- Others think that Timothy had left Corinth before St. Paul's first epistle had arrived thither; and that this determined St. Paul to send Titus with another disciple thither. See 2 Corinthians xii. 18. From him St. Paul had the consolation to learn the happy effects produced by his first letter. See 2 Corinthians vi. 7. 11.

Verse 4

Wherewith we also are exhorted by God. The Latin interpreter sometimes translates the same Greek word by exhorted, sometimes by comforted: so the sense may be, with which we are comforted by God. (Witham) --- St. Paul knew that his former letter had afflicted them exceedingly; here he comforts them by telling them that God had filled him with consolation in order to comfort them. The Greek rather signifies, by the consolation with which we are comforted. Either explanation is sufficiently clear, though the latter is stronger. We may here remark the great tenderness St. Paul had for the Corinthians, since he here insinuates that he had received comfort from God merely to communicate it to them. (Calmet)

Verse 5

. Paul here styles his own sufferings, the sufferings of Christ, to shew that Christ take part, and suffers in all his members. (St. John Chrysostom) --- Though it is generally understood to signify the sufferings undergone for Christ. (Estius) --- If we consider the very intimate union that exists between Jesus Christ, who is the head, and every one of the living members of his body, that is, the Church, that whatever any one suffers, for the cause of truth, Christ is said to suffer, as the Lord said to Saul, why persecutest thou me? and that whatever is given to any indigent brother in the name of a disciple, Christ receives as given to himself, can we want any further proof of the excellence and power of good works, which begin and terminate in charity? (Haydock)

Verse 6



In the Greek we only read, Greek: eite de thlibometha, uper tes umon paraklesewos, kai soterias, tes energoumenes en upomone ton auton pathematon, on kai emeis paschomen eite parakaloumetha, uper tes umon parakleseos kai soterias.

Verse 8



Ita ut tæderet nos etiam vivere, Greek: oste exaporethenai. See St. John Chrysostom, Greek: om. B. p. 550.

Verse 9

The sentence. Literally, the answer of death, by which death seemed unavoidable; and this God permitted to teach us not to trust, or confide, in ourselves, but in him only, &c. (Witham)

Verse 11



Ut ex multorum personis, ejus, quæ in nobis est donationis, per multos gratiæ agantur pro nobis. The Greek is clearer, Greek: ina ek pollon prosopo, ton eis emas charisma, dia pollon eucharistethe uper emon.

Verse 12



Sinceritate Dei, Greek: eilikrineia Theou, so montes Dei, i.e. magni.

Verse 13

What you have read, in my former letter, or letters, and known by my preaching: this he says, to clear himself from the accusation of his adversaries, that his words, preaching, and promises were not to be regarded, saying different things at different times, and promising to come to them, which he had not done. (Witham)

Verse 17

When, therefore, I had a mind, and purposed to come to you, did I use levity? was it an effect of levity, of a fickle mind, and of a want of sincerity? or do I purpose and promise things according to the flesh, to human motives and interest, which make me say, and unsay again, so that in me is yes and no? (Witham)

Verse 18

But God is faithful: The sense seems to be, as God is faithful, or I appeal to God, who is faithful, that in what I have preached to you, there is not yes and no; my doctrine concerning the faith in Jesus Christ, is and was always the same. Whether I, or Silvanus, or Timothy preached the Son of God, that is, what we taught concerning the Son of God, was not yes and no, was not first one thing, and then another; but in him was yes only, that is, in him, and his doctrine, which we have taught, all is yes, firm, and unchangeable. --- And all the promises of God, of sanctification and salvation, made to us in him, by his merits and grace, are equally yes, certain, and infallible; and therefore by him, and his promises are Amen to God, must needs be true, unto our glory, will turn to the salvation and glory of his elect in heaven. (Witham)

Verse 19

It is, was in him. There was no inconstancy in the doctrine of the apostles, sometimes, like modern sectaries, saying, It is, and at other times saying, It is not. But their doctrine was ever the same, one uniform yea, is Jesus Christ, one Amen, that is, one truth in him. (Challoner)

Verse 20

doctrine which the apostle delivered to them was not ambiguous, doubtful, or contradictory, first one thing, then another; on the contrary, it was such, that the apostle could say, (ver. 14.) we are your glory. --- Amen. All the promises made by God, with regard to Christ, are fulfilled in him; therefore we may say Amen, and give glory to God, through Jesus Christ, who hath fulfilled all his promises. (Calmet) --- One of the distinctive marks, as the holy fathers affirm, between separatists and Catholics is; the former are fond of innovation, changes, and reform, the latter are scrupulously tenacious of what has been delivered from the beginning. See St. Irenæus, lib. i. chap. 18.; Tertullian, de præscript.; St. Basil, ep. 12. Vine: Lyr. See also Les Variations, by Bossuet.

Verse 21

-22 must needs be true, because he is God, who hath confirmed us with you, both us and you in Christ, in the faith, and grace of Christ crucified, who hath anointed us with divine graces, who hath sealed us, as it were, by an indelible character, in the sacraments of baptism, and confirmation, and ordination, when we were made ministers of Christ, who in this manner hath given the pledge (5) of his holy Spirit in our hearts, a sufficient pledge and earnest of his graces in this life, and of the glory he has prepared for us in the next. (Witham) --- By these texts, and Ephesians iv., the Catholic Church teaches, that we are anointed and consecrated to the service of God, and sealed with a spiritual and distinctive mark, called by divines, a character, (see St. Jerome in Ephesians iv.; St. Cyril, cateches. 17.) which, as it is indelible, can never be iterated. The same is true of confirmation, and holy orders. See St. Augustine, cont. Parm. chap. xiii. & Conc. Tarrac. chap. vi.

Verse 22



Pignus spiritus, Greek: ton arrabona. That by receiving the earnest, says St. John Chrysostom, p. 662, you may be assured to receive the whole.


Verse 23

as to my not coming to you, I call God to witness, that I only deferred my coming out of kindness to you, that I came not hitherto to Corinth, to spare you, when by reason of the disorders among you, I must have been forced to use severities against those who were not yet reformed. --- Not that we lord it over your faith, nor desire to treat God's faithful with severity, or by shewing the power that God hath given us: but we rather desire to be helpers and promoters of your joy, that we may rejoice together with you in God. And now I have this greatest comfort to hear that you stand steadfast and firm in the faith of Christ. (Witham)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.