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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 7

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Verses 1-99

7:1. Here again, as between 1. and 2., and between 3. and 4., and between 4. and 5., and between 5. and 6., the division between the chapters is not well made. As the οὐν shows, 7:1 belongs closely to what precedes. It closes the digression which warns the Corinthians against fellowship with heathen modes of life; and then we have a resumption of the tender appeal in which his beloved converts are implored to make some response to the frankness with which he has opened his heart to them.

1. Ταύτας οὖν ἔχοντες τὰς ἐπαγγελίας. Ταύτας comes first with emphasis; ‘These, then, being the promises which we have.’ They are so incalculably precious, and so sure to be fulfilled if they are properly met.

ἀγαπητοί. With us this affectionate address has become almost a canting expression in sermons, and it means very little. But the Apostle is not prodigal in his use of it, and with him it means a great deal; twice in 1 Cor. (10:14, 15:58), once again in 2 Cor. (12:19); twice in Phil. (2:12, 4:1); once in Rom. (12:19).

καθαρίσωμεν ἑαυτούς. He again softens the severity of his words, as in ώς τέκνοις λέγω (v. 13); this time by including himself among those who need cleansing. Baptism cannot be repeated, and earnest Christians would not need a repetition of it; but all in their walk through life become soiled and need frequent cleansing (John 13:10). He who looks for a fulfilment of the gracious promises must strive to be καθαρὸς ὅλος. If we are to have God to dwell in us, we must purify the dwelling. If we are to have Him as a Father, we must strive to acquire some likeness to Him. The verb is not peculiar to Bibl. Grk. It occurs in Josephus (Ant. xi. v. 4) and is found in inscriptions (followed by�Hebrews 9:14) in much the same sense as in this verse, of the necessity for purification before entering a holy place. Deissmann, Bib. St. p. 216. Cf.�

ἀπὸ παντὸς μολυσμοῦ. ‘From every kind of defilement.’ The noun implies an evil stain, foul pollution; in LXX in connexion with idolatry (1 Esdr. 8:80 [84]; 2 Macc. 5:27; cf. Jeremiah 23:15). In the Testaments (Symeon 2:13) we have�

σαρκὸς καὶ πνεύματος. Man may be defiled in either flesh or spirit, and in either case there must be cleansing. The two together sum up human nature, and the intercommunion of the parts is so close, that when either is soiled the whole is soiled. St Paul is using popular language covering the material and immaterial elements in man, and it is manifest that he is not under the influence of the Gnostic doctrine that everything material is ipso facto evil. He says that the flesh must be cleansed from every kind of pollution. Gnostics maintained that it was as impossible to cleanse flesh as to cleanse filth. In either case the only remedy was to get rid of the unclean matter. See P. Gardner, Religious Experience of St Paul, p. 165. He quotes Reitzenstein; “All the different shades of meaning which πνεῦμα has in Paul’s writings may be found in the magic papyri … Paul has not developed for himself a peculiar psychology, and a mystic way of speaking in accordance with it, but speaks in the Greek of his time” (Die Hellenistischen Mysterienreligionen, pp. 42, 137). Epictetus (Dis. ii.13) has a similar thought; “When you are conversing with others, know you not that you are exercising God? Unhappy man, you carry God about with you, and know it not. You carry Him within you, and perceive not that you are polluting (μολύνων) Him with unclean thoughts and filthy acts. If an image of God were present, you would not dare to do any of the things which you do. But when God Himself is present within and sees all, you are not ashamed of thinking such things and doing such things, ignorant as you are of your own nature and subject to the anger of God.” Nestle’s proposal to take only σαρκός with μολυσμοῦ and transfer καὶ πνεύματος to�1 Corinthians 7:34). It is uncritical dogmatism to assert that St Paul would never have used such an expression as ‘defilement of flesh and spirit.’ See on v. 5.

ἐπιτελοῦντες ἁγιωσύνην. The mere cleansing oneself from defilement is not enough. It is right that the unclean spirit should be cast out; but the place which he has occupied must be filled with such things as will make it impossible for him to return; there must be a process of self-consecration always going on. This is the meaning of ‘bringing to completeness (8:6, 11; Philippians 1:6) a state of holiness’ (1 Thessalonians 3:13; Romans 1:4). Cf. Zechariah 4:9. In LXX,�Leviticus 18:11) we are told that the saints who enter Paradise will eat from the tree of life, καὶ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης ἔσται ἐπʼ αὐτοῖς. Here it is the divine quality of ἁγιωσύνη that fits Christians to become God’s sanctuary and to have Him as their Father.

ἐν φόβῳ Θεοῦ. Not in the fear or love of men. The ἐν may mark either the sphere in which the perfecting of holiness takes place or the means by which it is accomplished; cf. ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ, ἐν τῇ παρακλήσει (v. 7). ‘The fear of God’ or ‘the fear of the Lord’ is repeatedly given in O.T. as the principle of a good life; so esp. in Psalms (2:11, 5:7. etc.) and Proverbs (1:7, 1:29. 13, etc.). It is the whole duty of man (Ecclesiastes 12:13). “He who tries to do any good thing without the fear of the Lord,” says Herveius, “is a proud man.” Cf. v. 11; Romans 3:18; Acts 9:31, Acts 9:10:2, Acts 9:35. In Ephesians 5:21 what is said in O.T. of Jehovah is in a remarkable way transferred to Christ, ἐν φόβῳ Χριστοῦ.

2-4. The return to the affectionate appeal in 6:11-13 is as sudden as the digression at 6:14. He has concluded the warning against what would hinder complete reconciliation and gladly resumes tender language. χωρήσατε ἡμᾶς goes back at once to πλατύνθητε καὶ ὑμεῖς. It shows still more clearly what he means by their opening wide their hearts; they are to open them to him.

2. χωρήσατε ἡμᾶς. Capite nos (Vulg.), Accipite nos (Beza). The latter is better, but dots not give the exact sense. ‘Make room for us’ in your hearts is the meaning. ‘Not all men have room for the saying,’ that it is not good to marry (Matthew 19:11). Cf. Mark 2:2, and οὐκ ἐχώρει αὐτούς γῆ κατοικεῖν ἅμα (Genesis 13:6).* The asyndeton throughout these verses is expressive of the eagerness with which he dictates the telling sentences. He rapidly negatives reasons which might make them hesitate to open their hearts to take him in.

οὐδένα ἠδικήσαμεν. The οὐδένα comes first in each case with emphasis, and the aorists imply that there has not been a single case in which he has wronged, ruined, defrauded, any of them. Evidently he had been accused or suspected of something of the kind; but here again we are in ignorance as to the facts to which he alludes. Cf. 4:2 and οὐκ ἐκ πλάνης οὐδὲ ἐε�1 Thessalonians 2:3). We have a similar protest in the Apostle’s speech at Miletus (Acts 20:26, Acts 20:27); cf. 1 Samuel 12:3; Numbers 16:15. Those who think it improbable that he is alluding to charges actually made by the Corinthians take the words as playfully ironical, or as a hit at the Judaizing teachers, who had injured the Corinthians with their corrupt doctrine and perhaps lived in Corinth at their expense. See on 4:2.

οὐδένα ἐφθεἰραμεν. ‘We ruined no one,’ a vague expression, which we cannot define with certainty. It may refer to money, or morals, or doctrine. Calvin is too definite; corruptela quae fit per falsam doctrinam, which may or may not be right. He might be said to have ruined people who had had to abandon lucrative but unchristian pursuits. The Judaizers declared that his doctrine of Christian freedom was thoroughly immoral and some of his disciples, who misinterpreted his teaching, gave the freedom an unchristian and immoral meaning.

οὐδένα ἐπλεονεκτήσαμεν. ‘We took advantage of no one.’ ‘Defrauded’ (AV) is too definite, as implying financial dishonesty; and we are not sure that there is any such allusion in any of the three verbs. If 10-13 is part of a letter written before this letter, ἐπλεονεκτήσαμεν may refer to 12:17, 18. Excepting the difficult passage 1 Thessalonians 4:6, the verb is peculiar to 2 Cor. in N.T., and in LXX it is rare; πλεονεζία is more freq. in both LXX and N.T. See Trench, Syn. § xxiv. With the rhetorical repetition of οὐδένα comp. that of κἀγώ in 11:22, and of μή πάντες (seven times in all) in 1 Corinthians 12:29, 1 Corinthians 12:30.

3. πρὸς κατάκρισιν οὐ λέγω. ‘It is not for condemnation that I am saying this.’ He does not wish to find fault with any one; they must not think that; he is merely defending himself. This seems to show that in v. 2 he is answering accusations which had actually been made, either by some Corinthians or the false teachers. In spite of what people say of him, there is no reason why they should not open their hearts to take him in. Cf. πρὸς ἐντροπὴν ὑμῖν λέγω (1 Corinthians 6:5).

προείρηκα γάρ. He has not said these words before or anything that is exactly equivalent to them; indeed in 4:12 he has said what is very different. But he has spoken of the bonds of affection which bind him to them, and he now speaks of these ties in a very emphatic way. Cf. 13:2; Galatians 1:9; Gal_3 Macc. 6:35.

ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν ἐστὲ εἰς τὸ συναποθανεῖν καὶ συνζῆν. ‘Ye are in our hearts to share death and to share life’; i.e. ‘You are in our hearts, whether we die or live.’ The general meaning is clear enough, but, as in Romans 8:39, there is a rush of emotion which does not allow the Apostle to choose his words carefully. He probably means that neither death nor any experience in life can extinguish his affection for them; but he may mean that he is ready to share either death or life with them. He will (if need be) die with them, and he cannot live without them. This is the mark of a good shepherd (John 10:12). Perfecta charitas profectum vel detrimentum aliorum credit esse suum (Herveius). It is evident that here St Paul is including his colleagues in the ἡμῶν. In v. 2, as in vv. 11, 12, Timothy and others may have dropped out of sight, but here, if ἡμῶν meant himself only, he would have said ἐν τῇ καρδια. See on 3:2, and Lightfoot on 1 Thessalonians 2:4, where we have a similar case. Probably he includes others in all four verses. The interchanges between ‘I’ and ‘we’ in vv. 2Ti_4 are quite intelligible. We cannot infer from ‘dying’ preceding ‘living’ that dying with Christ in faith in order to live with Him is meant (5:15). The reason for putting ‘dying’ first is not clear; but it may point to his being ἐν θανάτοις πολλάκις (11:23). In Athenaeus, vi. 249 (quoted by Wetstein), the more usual order is observed; τούτους δʼ οἱ βασιλεῖς ἔχουσι συζῶντας καὶ συναποθνήσκοντας.

πρὸς κατ. οὐ λέγω (א B C P) rather than οὐ πρὸς κατ. λέγω (D E F G K L), which is an obvious correction. B omits. ἐστε. συνζῆν (א B* C D E F G) rather than σοζῆν (B3 K L P).

4. πολλή μοι παρρησία πρὸς ὑμᾶς κ.τ.λ. Note the alliteration, of which St Paul is fond, esp. with the letter π. It is probable that παρρησία here means ‘confidence’ (1 Timothy 3:13; Hebrews 10:19), rather than ‘boldness of speech’ (3:2). ‘Great is my confidence respecting you; great is my glorying on your behalf.’ * The confidence is the result of their obedience and affection as reported by Titus, and this feeling of confidence manifests itself in glorying. He is very proud of them and is not afraid to say so, for they will not come short of his praise. He has told them (v. 12) that they ought to glory on behalf of their teachers, and he tells them (here and 8:24) that he is ready to glory respecting his converts. Καύχησος (see on 1:12), παράκλησις (see on 1:3), and θλίΨις (see on 1:4) are specially freq. in this Epistle, and the frequency should be marked in translation.

πεπλήπωμαι τῇ παρακλήσει. ‘I am filled with the comfort’; ‘I was then and I am still’ (perf.). The usual constr. is with the gen. (Acts 2:28, Acts 2:13:52; Romans 15:13; etc.); but the dat. occurs in late Greek; ὁ βασιλενῦς χαπᾷ πεπληρωμένος (3 Macc. 4:16). Cf. 2 Macc. 6:5, 7:21; Romans 1:29.

ὑπερπερισσεύομαι τῇ χαρᾷ. ‘I am overflowing with the joy.’ A double climax; ‘overflowing’ is more than ‘filled,’ and ‘joy’ is more than ‘comfort.’ The article should probably be translated; it points to the comfort and the joy caused by the report brought by Titus. The compound verb is very rare; only here and Romans 5:20; not in LXX. We have similar alliterations with π in 8:22, 9:5, 13:2.

ἐπὶ πάση τῇ θλίΨει. ‘Amid all my affliction.’ The ἐπί does not mean that the affliction was the basis of the comfort and joy, a paradox (12:10) which here would have no point; but that, in all his great trouble, he was able to have abundant comfort and joy. He at once goes on to explain the cause of this happiness.

En qualiter affectos esse omnes pastores conveniat (Calvin).

7:5-16. The Reconciliation Completed

This part of the chapter is all of one piece; but for convenience we may divide it into three, according to the subject matter. The Apostle speaks first of his longing for the arrival of Titus, and of his relief at the tidings which he brought (5-7), especially about the great offender and the Apostle’s painful letter (8-12); and finally he speaks of the joy of Titus at being able to bring such good tidings (13-16).

The close parallel with the description of Timothy’s mission to Thessalonica, and the Apostle’s anxiety, followed by joy at the happy result (1 Thessalonians 3:1-9), should be noted.

5 For indeed, even after I had got as far as Macedonia, my poor suffering frame found no relief, but at every turn I found something to distress me; round about me were bitter conflicts for and against me, within, me were haunting fears as to how it would all end. 6 I was almost in despair; but God, who is ever ready to comfort the depressed, comforted me then by the arrival and company of Titus. 7 Yes, and not only by his arrival and company, but also by the comfort, with which you comforted him in his intercourse with you; for he gave a most welcome report of how you longed for reconciliation with me, how you lamented the trouble that you had caused, how eagerly you espoused my cause; so that this still further increased my joy.

8 Because, although I know that I gave you pain by the letter which I sent you, I cannot bring myself to regret it. When I saw that that letter gave you pain, although only for a season, I was inclined to regret it; 9 but now I am very glad,—not glad because you were pained, but because your pain issued in repentance. For you were pained in God’s way and not in the world’s way, and it was His will that you should not be the worse for anything that we did. 10 For the pain which is directed in God’s way leads to a repentance whose fruit is salvation, a repentance which can never be regarded with regret; whereas the pain which the heathen world inflicts on those who belong to it works out into moral ruin. 11 For see! it was this very thing, your being pained in God’s way, and not anything else, which did so much for you. See what earnestness it worked out in you, how keen you were to clear yourselves from just reproach, how indignant with the chief offender, how alarmed as to what the consequences might be, how eager for my forgiveness and return, how zealous in condemning evil, how stern in punishing it. In every one of these points you put yourselves right and purged yourselves from complicity in this distressing matter. 12 So then, although I did not let things slide but wrote severely to you, it was not in order to get the wrong-doer punished, nor yet to have the wronged man avenged. No, I wrote in order to bring out clearly before you all what a genuine interest you do take in us; I wrote as in God’s sight, with a full sense of responsibility. 13 It is this right conduct of yours and my own consciousness of having meant well that is such a comfort to me.

But over and above our own comfort we were the more exceedingly glad at the gladness of Titus; for refreshment and repose have come to his spirit, thanks to all of you. 14 For I told him how I gloried in you, how proud I was of you, and I have had no reason to be ashamed of what I said. You have not come short of my commendation of you. Just as all that we said to you was said in truth, so all that we said before Titus in praise of you has turned out to be quite true. 15 And he feels as we do. His inmost heart goes out the more abundantly towards you, as often as he recalls the ready obedience of all of you, and how timidly and nervously anxious you were in the reception which you gave him. 16 I am indeed glad that in every particular I can be of good courage in respect of you.

5. καὶ γὰρ ἐλθόντων ἡμῶν εἰς Μακεδονίαν. ‘For indeed when we were come into Macedonia.’ He is going back to 2:13, where he tells us that even the excellent opening for preaching the Gospel which he found at Troas could not keep him there, because of his intense anxiety about Corinth, and so he crossed to Macedonia in order to meet Titus the sooner and learn how the Corinthians had taken his rebukes. So that we may regard the whole of 2:14-7:4 as a digression. The fact that it exists makes the hypothesis that 6:14-7:1 is a digression all the more probable. It is St Paul’s way to dart off to some important side-topic and then return to what he had previously been saying. He would probably land at Philippi. But coelum non animum mutat; he is just as feverishly anxious in Macedonia as he had been in Troas.

οὐδεμίαν ἔσχηκεν ἄνεσιν ἡ σὰρξ ἡμῶν. In 2:13 he says οὐκ ἔσχηκα ἄνεσιν τῷ πνεύματί μου. If there were any reason for wishing to get rid of either that passage or this, we should be told by some critics that it is impossible that St Paul, who elsewhere opposes σάρξ and πνεῦμα, can have written both. See above on μολυσμοῦ σαρκὸς καὶ πνεύματος (v. 1). Language was made for man, not man for language. The use of words in a technical sense does not bar the writer from using them elsewhere in a popular sense. Here ἡ σάρξ is the sphere, not of sin, but of suffering. Intense anxiety affects both flesh and spirit. In both passages we have the perf.; cf. 1:9; Romans 5:2. In all four places we might have expected the aor., and hence the reading ἔσχεν here. See on 1:9 and 2:13. For ἄνεσιν see on 2:13; also Index IV.

ἐν παντὶ θλιβόμενοι. ‘In every way pressed,’ as in 4:8. He was experiencing every kind of tribulation. The participle without any verb is irregular, but intelligible and not rare; cf. 9:11, 11:6, and other instances quoted in Moulton, p. 182. Here παρεκλήθημεν might be understood, but it is not required. Ἐν παντί is very freq. in 2 Cor., and often first with emphasis; 6:4, 9:8, 11:6, 9. What follows explains ἐν παντί: the pressure was both external and internal.

ἔξωθεν μάχαι. What these conflicts in Macedonia were we cannot tell; Chrysostom thinks they were with unbelievers. The asyndeton is impressive, as in vv. 2-4.

ἔσωθεν φόβοι. The conflicts would produce fears as to the issue, but his chief fears, as the context shows, were about the state of things at Corinth. Mental perturbations, Augustine points out, are not wrong. “The citizens of the Holy City of God, who live according to God in the pilgrimage of this life, fear and desire, grieve and rejoice. … That fear of which the Apostle John says, ‘Perfect love casteth out fear,’ is not of the same kind as that which the Apostle Paul felt lest the Corinthians should be subdued by the subtlety of the serpent; for love is susceptible of this fear, yea, love alone is capable of it (De Civ. Dei, xiv. 9).

ἔσχηκεν (א C D E L P) rather than ἕσχεν (B F G K), a correction, because the perf. seemed to be out of place. C F G, Latt. Syrr. have ἔσχ after ἄνεσιν.

6.�Isaiah 49:13, τοὺς ταπεινοὺς τοῦ λαοῦ αὐτοῦ παρεκάλεσεν. Cf. Isaiah 40:1, Isaiah 40:11, Isaiah 51:3, Isaiah 40:12, Isaiah 61:2, Isaiah 66:13.

ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ Τ. ‘By the arrival and company of T.’ The word implies not only the coming but the staying; a παρουσία lasts some time. Deissmann (Light from the Anc. East, pp. 372, 382) has shown that it was a technical term to denote the visit of a potentate or his representative, and hence its ready transfer to the Second Advent. No such meaning attaches to it here. St Paul is not suggesting that the return of Titus to him was of an official character, but perhaps he desires to intimate that the coming meant a great deal to himself. The ἐν is instrumental rather than local, it gives the means rather than the sphere of the comforting; cf. ἐν φόβῳ Θεοῦ (v. 1).

7. ἐφʼ ὑμῖν. The exact meaning of this is uncertain; perhaps ‘over you’ is safest, indicating that the Corinthians were the basis of the comfort. Comp. the parallel passage, 1 Thessalonians 3:7.

ἀναγγέλλων ἡμῖν. ‘While he told us.’ The actual making of his report was a comfort to Titus. In strict grammar we ought to have�

ἐπιπόθησιν. We have to conjecture the object of this ‘longing’; to be on good terms once more with the Apostle may be right, or perhaps to see him again. The noun is very rare in Bibl. Grk. (v. 11; Ezekiel 23:11), but ἐπιποθεῖν occurs in all groups of the Pauline Epp. and is not rare in Lxx.

ὀδυρμόν. ‘Lamentation’ (Matthew 2:18) for having caused so much distress.

ζῆλον. ‘Zeal’ (v. 11, 9:2) for the Apostle against those who had attacked him, or eagerness to carry out his wishes. Trench, Syn. § xxvi. For the exclusively Pauline ὑμῶν between the art. and the noun (thrice in this verse) see on 1:6 and 12:19.

ὥστε με μᾶλλον χαρῆναι. The μᾶλλον may be understood in several ways. (1) ‘So that I rejoiced still more’; the meeting with Titus delighted him; the report that Titus gave of the Corinthians increased his delight. (2) ‘So that I rejoiced rather than was merely comforted.’ (3) ‘So that I rejoiced instead of being distressed.’ The first is best. The threefold ὑμῶν throws light on the meaning. It was the Corinthians’ longing, the Corinthians’ lamentation, the Corinthians’ eagerness which inspired Titus with such joy. Previously the longing, lamentation, and eagerness had been St Paul’s, and it was a delight to his emissary to find similar feelings in the Corinthians. With characteristic tact the Apostle attributes his own happiness to the comfort which the Corinthians had given to Titus and which Titus had communicated to him. He does not tell the Corinthians that he had doubted as to how they would take his letter, and how great had been his anxiety as to its possible effect. The position of μᾶλλον and the contents of v. 13 favour (1) rather than (2) or (3).

8. ὅτι εἰ καὶ ἐλύπησα ὑμᾶς ἐν τῇ ἐπιστολῇ, οὐ μεταμέλομαι. ‘Because, though I made you sorrowful (see on 2:2) in my letter, I do not regret it.’ That he pained them by what he wrote is treated as a fact; εἰ καί rather than καὶ εἰ: see on 4:3. The difference between μεταμέλομαι (Matthew 21:30, Matthew 21:21:32, Matthew 21:27:3; Hebrews 7:21 from Psa_109[110]:4) and μετανοέω (12:21; Acts 2:38, Acts 2:3:19; etc.) is fairly represented by the difference between ‘regret’ and ‘repent,’ but no hard and fast line can be drawn, such as that the former refers to transitory feelings respecting details, while the latter implies moral choice affecting the whole life. Either verb is used either way. But, as the derivations show, μετανοέω has the richer and more serious meaning. Trench, Syn. § lxix.

εἰ καὶ μετεμελόμην. See crit. note below. Whether we read βλέπω or βλέπων, we may take νῦν χαίρω as the aposdosis of εἰ καὶμετ., and treat what lies between as a parenthesis. This is somewhat awkward when written, but might easily be given in dictation. ‘Though I was inclined to regret it—I see that that letter, though but for a time, made you sorrowful— now I rejoice.’ We may put it more smoothly thus; ‘I see that that letter gave you pain, though only for a while; at the time I was inclined to regret having written it, but now I am very glad.’ Ἐκείνη puts the letter away from him; it is remote from his present attitude. It is quite clear that he had written a letter about which he had had misgivings and regrets; he could have wished that he had not written it. It is difficult to agree with those who think that he could ever have had such feelings about 1 Corinthians. Could he for a moment have regretted having written such a letter? There must have been another letter of a much more painful character. See on 1:17, 2:3, 9. If 2 Cor. 10—13. is part of that letter, it is easy to point to passages which he might sometimes wish that he had never written.*

The arrangement given above is that of Tisch., WH., and the American Revisers, but RV. gives it no recognition, perhaps because of its apparent awkwardness. AV capriciously renders ἐπιστολή first ‘letter’ and then ‘Epistle,’ and treats ἐλύπησεν as a perf., as if the pain still continued, which the Apostle certainly did not mean to imply.

πρὸς ὥραν. The pain will not last; there is nothing that need rankle; the present letter will entirely extinguish it. Galatians 2:5 and Philemon 1:15 show that the expression may be used of either a short or a long time, either a few minutes or several months. The main point is that an end is certain. Cf. πρὸς καιρόν (1 Corinthians 7:5; Luke 8:13), πρὸς ὀλίγον (1 Timothy 4:8), and πρὸς καιρὸν ὤρας (1 Thessalonians 2:17). It is possible that εἰ καὶ πρὸς ὥραν ἐλύπησεν ὑμᾶς should be taken together, ‘although it pained you for a season,’ and that the sentence is left unfinished. Perhaps some such words as ‘has had excellent effects’ ought to have followed. However we unravel the confused constr., the general sense is clear.

After ἐν τῇ ἐπιστολῇ D* E* F G, d e f g add μου. B inserts δέ between at and καί. א D2 E F G K L P, f g Syrr. Copt. inserts γάρ after βλέπω. In all three cases we may omit. Lachmann and Hort would follow Vulg. (videns) and read βλέπων, βλεπω̄ having been read as βλεπω. Videns, like the insertion of γάρ, may be an attempt to smooth the constr.

Only to those who believe in verbal inspiration in the most rigid sense, could this verse cause any difficulty, other than that of reading and constr. There is no need even to ask the question, “How could an inspired Apostle ever regret what he had written?” Such questions belong to views about Holy Scripture which criticism has demonstrated to be untenable. The Apostle himself would scarcely have understood what such a question meant. If he did, he might ask, “Do you suppose that I never make a mistake?”


ἐλυπήθητε γὰρ κατὰ Θεόν. ‘For you were made sorrowful in God’s way’; i.e. as God would have you sorrowful; not “owing to the grace of God,’ ‘thanks to His help.’ Cf. Romans 8:27; Rom_4 Macc. 15:2. ‘God’s way’ is opposed to man’s way and the devil’s way.

ἵνα ἐν μηδενὶ ζημιωθῆτε ἐξ ἡμῶν. Such was God’s intention; ‘that in nothing ye might suffer loss (1 Corinthians 3:15; Luke 9:25) at our hands.’ If he had not urged them to change their course, that would have been great loss to them and great blame to him. God did not will either his negligence or their loss. It is unnatural to make ἵνα depend upon�

10. μετάνοιαν εἰς σωτηρίαν�Romans 11:29 Vulg. has sine paenitentia for�Romans 1:16, Romans 1:10:1, Romans 1:10; Philippians 1:19; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15), but nowhere does he weaken σωτηρία by giving it an epithet.

ἡ δὲ τοῦ κόσμου λύπη θάνατον κατεργάζεται. ‘But the sorrow of the world worketh out death.’ The Revisers adopt the reading κατεργάζεται (see below), but make no difference between it and ἐργάζεται, and Vulg. has operatur in both places; ἡ κατὰ Θεὸν λύπη ‘works’ or ‘promotes’ σωτηρία, ἡ τ. κόσμου λ ‘works out’ or ‘produces’ θάνατον Cf. Romans 7:13.* Perhaps the reference is chiefly to sorrow for sin, and Cain, Esau, and Judas may be illustrations of the wrong kind of sorrow. But we need not confine the verse to that. Sorrow for worldly losses and troubles does not lessen them; indeed sorrow for sickness may aggravate the disease and prevent recovery; but sorrow for sin may cure the sin. Affliction which is not taken as discipline, but resented as unreasonable, hardens and deadens the soul: submission to God’s will brings peace. Moreover, men regret the sorrow which they feel for worldly losses, but they do not regret the sorrow which cures sin. Cf. ἔστιν αἰσχύνη ἐπάγόσα ἁμαρτίαν, καὶ ἔστιν αἰσχύνη δόξα καὶ χάρις (Ecclus. 4:21). In the Testaments (Gad 5:7) there seems to be a reminiscence of this passage; ἡ γὰρ κατὰ θεὸν�

ἐργάζεται (א* B C D E P 37) after�

ἐκδίκησιν. Avenging, in punishing the offender, about which there had been difficulty (2:6). It is placed last, possibly for that reason, or possibly because St Paul does not now regard it of great importance. Enough had been done to vindicate the authority which had been outraged. Ἐκδικησῖ is from ἔκδικος (1 Thessalonians 4:6; Romans 13:4) through ἐκδικέω (10:6; Romans 12:19). Hort (on 1 Peter 2:14) says, “In both Lxx and N.T. ἐκδίκησις stands for both ‘avenging’ or ‘vindication,’ and, as here, for ‘vengeance,’ ‘requital.’ This sense is specially abundant in Ecclus.” Bengel and Meyer arrange the last six items in pairs, dealing respectively with the shame of the Church, feeling towards the Apostle, and treatment of the offender. But the grouping is perhaps fanciful:�

ἐν παντὶ συνεστήσατε ἑαυτούς. ‘In everyone of these points ye approved yourselves.’ See on v. 5. He acquits them of all responsibility for the offence which was committed. At first they had been to blame. By not protesting against the outrage they had seemed to acquiesce in it, but all this had been put right by their reception of Titus and submission to Paul’s letter.

ἁγνοὺς εἶναι τῷ πράγματι. ‘To be pure in the matter,’ to be purged from all complicity in it, because they no longer felt any sympathy with it. St Paul does not say γενέσθαι but εἶναι: he does not wish to hint that they had not always been ἁγνοί. Ἁγνός marks predominantly a feeling, and καθαρός a state (Westcott on 1 John 3:3). The indefinite τῷ πράγματι points to a disagreeable subject which he does not care to specify; the Corinthians know all about the unhappy business. Neither the use of this vague term (1 Thessalonians 4:6) nor ἁγνούς (11:2) is any argument for the incredible identification of this oftender (2:5) with the incestuous Corinthian (1 Corinthians 5:1).

After λυπηθῆναι, א3 D E K L P, d e Vulg. add ὑμᾶς. א* B C F G 17, g omit. κατειργάσατο (א B3 C G K L P) rather than κατηργάσατο (B* D E). Before ὑμιν, א3 C F G P, f g Vulg. Syrr. read ἐν. א* B D E L K omit. א B C D* F G, f g omit the ὲν before τῷ πράγματι, which is probably an insertion to ease the construction.

12. ἄρα εἰ καὶ ἔγραψα ὑμῖν. ‘So then, although I did write to you.’ The subject seems to be closed, and yet the Apostle does not end here. The excellent results of the mission of Titus and St Paul’s intense joy have been fully described, but something more is added as a sort of explanatory appendix. He goes on to explain why he wrote the letter which has borne such good fruit. There was one point in which it had partially failed, for the Corinthians had not treated the offender in the way in which he had expected; they had been more lenient than he had perhaps suggested. But he has assured them that he is content with what was done and does not desire anything further (2:5 f.); and he now tells them that his main object in writing was not to get the offender punished, or the person who was offended righted, but to give them an opportunity of showing how loyal they really were to himself. We may regard it as almost certain that the person offended was himself. His whole treatment of τὸ πρᾶγμα is in harmony with this view. This is another allusion to the severe letter.

The ἄρα here is equivalent to ὤστε with a finite verb; ‘so then,’ ‘accordingly,’ ‘consequently.’ In class. Grk. it is almost invariably sub joined to another word, as in 1 Corinthians 7:14; Romans 7:21; Galatians 3:7; etc., and is hardly ever placed first, as here; 1 Corinthians 15:18; Romans 10:17; Galatians 5:11.

οὐχ ἕνεκεν τοῦ�Hosea 6:6) does not prohibit sacrifice; it affirms that mercy is much the better of the two. Cf. Mark 9:37; Luke 10:20, Luke 14:12, Luke 23:28. Here St Paul does not mean that he had no thought of the offender or the offended person in writing; he means that they were not the main cause of his doing so. His object was to get the Corinthian Church out of the false position in which it was in reference to himself. That was the thing for which he chiefly cared, and in comparision with that all other ends were as nothing. Cf. 1 Corinthians 1:17. Is it possible to believe that the letter to which allusion is here made Isa_1 Corinthians?

It is still less possible to believe that τοῦ�1 Corinthians 5:1. St Paul would hardly have regarded such a sin as a personal injury to an individual; it was a monstrous injury to the whole of the Corinthian Church. But there is a stronger reason than this. If ὁ�1 Corinthians 5:2). What is said about forgiving the offender (4:5 f.) is strangely worded, if he was an offender of such heinousness.

It is possible that ὁ�

ἀλλʼ ἕνεκεν τοῦ φανερωθῆναι τὴν σπουδὴν ὑμῶν τὴν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν πρὸς ὑμᾶς. Not for either of these ends, ‘but in order that your earnestness on our behalf might be made manifest unto you.’ If the same translation is to be given to ἕνεκεν in all three places, we may say, ‘not in order to punish the wrong-doer, not yet in order to avenge the wronged, but in order, etc.’ The main object was to get the Corinthians to realize their true state of mind respecting the Apostle. In the friction and excitement of the recent crisis they had fancied that they could part from him with a light heart; but his letter showed them what casting him off would mean, and they found that the ties which bound them to him could not be so easily broken. They cared for him too much for that. ‘Unto you’ is simpler and more telling than ‘among you’ or ‘with you’ (1 Thessalonians 3:4) for πρὸς ὑμᾶς. It was unto themselves that this revelation had to be made; they did not know the state of their own hearts till the shock of the letter came. With ὑμῶν … πρὸς ὑμᾶς comp. 1:11.

ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ. Placed last with emphatic solemnity, as in 4:2 (see the last note there). The words are to be taken with ἔγραψα: he wrote with a deep sense of responsibility. God would judge of his reason for writing and of the words which he said.

In this verse we twice have in MSS. the common confusion between ἡμεῖς and ὑμεῖς. The reading of Vulg., sollicitudinem nostram, quam pro vobis habemus, and of T.R., τ. σπουδὴν ἡμῶν τ. ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν is inconsistent with the context. He did not write to manifest his zeal for them, but to bring out their zeal for him. The σπουδή in this verse is the same as in v. 10. B C D2 E K L P, e Syrr. Copt. have τ. σπ. ὑμῶν τ. ὑπὲρ ημῶν.

13. διὰ τοῦτο παρακεκλήμεθα. ‘For this cause (because our good purpose was accomplished in bringing your loyalty to light) we have been and are comforted.’ These words, with a full stop after them, should have, been given to v. 12. Chrysostom ends a Homily with them, and he begins another (16.) with the words which follow. A teacher is comforted by the progress of his pupils, a spiritual ruler by the loyalty of the ruled; and spiritual rule is the highest of all arts.

Ἐπὶ δὲ τῇ παρακλήσει ἡμῶν. ‘But over and above our personal comfort.’ The δέ is certainly rightly placed here (see below), and it bars the rendering of Luther, Beza, and AV, which takes ἐπὶ τ. π. with the preceding παρακεκλημεθα, reading ὑμῶν for ἡμῶν, ‘we were comforted in your comfort.’ This does not fit the context.

περισσοτέρως μᾶλλον ἐχάρημεν ἐπὶ τῇ χαρᾷ Τίτου. ‘My own comfort was great; in addition to it came the more abundant joy at the joy of Titus.’ The strengthening of the comparative with a pleonastic μᾶλλον is not rare; μᾶλλον περισσότερον ἐκήρυσσον (Mark 7:36); πολλῷ γὰρ μᾶλλον κρεῖσσον (Philippians 1:23). It is found in class. Grk. Blass, § 44. 5; Wetstein on Philippians 1:23. In 12:9 μᾶλλον does not strengthen ἥδιστα, but belongs to καυχήσομαι.

ὅτι�1 Corinthians 16:18; see note there). In Philemon 1:7, Philemon 1:20 we have τὰ σπλάγχνα for τὸ πνεῦμα. “The compound�Matthew 11:28). For�Matthew 16:21; also Luke 7:35, Luke 7:17:25; James 1:13). Blass, § 40. 3. This πάντων ὑμῶν is repeated in v. 15. The whole Corinthian Church had had a share in making this happy impression on Titus, and he was deeply grateful to them for it. The Apostle is careful to let them know this, because Titus is to return to them to carry out the arrangements for the collection for the poor at Jerusalem (8:6, 16).

δέ is certainly to be retained after ἐπί, and to be omitted after περισσοτέρως, with א B C D F G K L P, Latt. Goth. The insertion after περισς. has very little authority. A few cursives and Arm. omit δέ altogether. F K L, Copt. have τῇ παρακλήσει ὑμῶν, another confusion of the two pronouns, as in v. 12.

14. ὅτι εἴ τι αὐτῷ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν κεκαύχημαι, οὐ κατῃσχύνθην. ‘For if in anything I have gloried to him on your behalf, I was not put to shame.’ This is added in explanation of the great relief which the conduct of the Corinthians had been to Titus. Titus had accepted the mission to Corinth with serious misgivings; his overtures might be rejected with contempt and violence. St Paul had praised the Corinthians to him, and had assured him that the strained situation would pass, because they were thoroughly sound at heart. St Paul is now able to tell them that his praise of them had been completely justified by their subsequent conduct. He was ‘not put to shame’ (RV) by being proved to be utterly mistaken about them. Titus had found that the Apostle’s high estimate of them was correct. The Corinthians were rightminded people who knew how to listen to reason and respect authority. He had told them to welcome and obey Titus, and they had done so; and this had quite won Titus’ heart. For κεκαύχημαι see on 9:2.

ὡς πάντα ἐν�1 Corinthians 6:1, 1 Corinthians 6:6; Mark 13:9; Acts 25:9. The introductory�

πἄντα (א B D E K L P, Latt.) rather than πάντοτε (C F G, g Copt.). C D E P, Latt. have ὑμῖν ἐν�

15. καὶ τὰ σπλάγχνα αὐτοῦ. ‘And so his heart goes out to you the more abundantly,’ i.e. still more than before he came to you and had this happy experience.* They received him as the Galatians received St Paul (Galatians 4:14), in spite of the stern letter which he brought. Hence his affection for them when he recalls it all. Cf. αἱ καρδίαι αὐτῶν εἰς πονηρίαν (Daniel 11:27, Theod.).

τὴν πάντων ὑμῶν ὑπακοήν. These words indicate that Titus had very definite demands to make, and that compliance with them was universal. There was no thought of rebellion against the Apostle or his delegate.

μετὰ φόβου καὶ τρόμου. This strong expression suggests something more than that they were afraid that they could not do enough to please him. St Paul himself had confessed to having had this feeling when he first begun his work in Corinth (1 Corinthians 2:3), and in him it meant a nervous anxiety to do his duty.* No other N.T. writer uses the phrase, and this seems to be its meaning in the four places in which it occurs. The other two are Ephesians 6:5 and Philippians 2:12, where see Lightfoot. In Ephesians 6:5 this ‘fear and trembling’ is opposed to ‘eye-service’ In Isaiah 19:16, ἐν φόβῳ καὶ ἐν τρόμῳ means actual terror.

16. χαίρω ὅτι ἐν πάντι θαρρῶ ἐν ὑμῖν. A joyous conclusion to the whole section (6:11-7:16), added impressively without any connecting particle. The οὖν, ‘therefore’ (AV) is one of those freq. insertions made by scribes and translators (here Goth. Arm.) for the sake of smoothness, and such smoothness generally involves weakness. It does not much matter how we take ὅτι, whether ‘I rejoice that, ’ or ‘I rejoice because.’ The translation of θαρρῶ is more important; ‘I am of good courage’ (RV), as in 10:1, 2, rather than ‘I have confidence’ (AV). If 10-13. is part of the painful letter which preceded 1-9., this verse may refer to 10:1, 2. There he is of good courage in standing out against some of them; here he is of good courage about the present obedience of all of them, and (as he hopes) about their readiness to help in raising money for the poor at Jerusalem. This verse prepares the way for the request which he is about to urge in 8. and 9. Their past good works and present loyalty give him courage in pressing this matter upon them. See on 1:23, 2:3, 9, 4:2, 5:13, 7:2 for other instances in which these first nine chapters seem to refer to passages in the last four. Whatever may be the truth about this or any other possible reference, the Apostle’s mood and judgment must have changed extraordinarily, if, after dictating these verses (13-16), he dictated 12:20, 21 as part of the same letter.

ἐν ὑμῖν. ‘Concerning you’; cf.�Galatians 4:20); lit. ‘in your case.’ Others explain that the root of the courage or the perplexity is in them, and translate ‘through you.’ The difference is not very great.

The reconciliation between the Apostle and the Corinthians is now complete; and with this verse the first main division of the Epistle (1:12-7:16) ends. Sicut sapiens medicus jam paene sanata vulnera lenissimis medicamentis curabat, ut prioris increpationis usura sanaretur (Herveius).

Before leaving this chapter we must notice once more its exuberant and passionate tone. The Apostle “lets himself go,” and can hardly find language in which to express his appreciation of the present attitude of the Corinthians towards himself and Titus, and his consequent joy over them and over the joy which they have produced in Titus. Words expressive of comfort, rejoicing, glorying, boldness, and courage occur with surprising frequency, as if he could not repeat them too often. We have παρακαλέω four times, παράκλησις thrice, χαίρω four times, χαρά twice, καύχησις twice, καυχάομαι and παρρησία and θαρρῶ once each. With regard to the good conduct of the Corinthians we have ζῆλος twice, σπουδή twice, μετάνοια twice, φόβος twice, together with ὑπακοή and other terms of approbation. And all this is within the compass of fifteen, or rather of thirteen verses. It is all the more necessary to notice this because of the very marked change of tone which is at once evident directly we leave this part of the Epistle and begin to study the next two chapters. The change of subject causes a sudden cessation of this overflowing enthusiasm and generosity of language. So far from letting himself go, the Apostle manifestly feels that he is treading on delicate ground, and that he must be cautious about what he says and the language in which he says it. The Epistle is full of rapid changes of feeling, perhaps caused in some cases by breaks in the times of dictating. Here it is the new subject that causes the change.

* The proposal has been anticipated by Augustine (De Doc. Chris. iii.2), who points it out as possible, but does not adopt it.

* Several of the Latin commentators, misled by Capite nos, take this as meaning mente capite, intelligite, ‘Consider what I say.’ Others interpret, ‘Consider me, take me as an example.’ The Greek cannot mean this. Theophylact is right; δέξασθε ἡμᾶς πλατέως καί μή στενοχορώμεθα ἐν ὑμῖν. Bengel expands ήμᾶς thus; vestri amantes, vestra causa laetante.

אԠא (Fourth century). Codex Sinaiticus; now at Petrograd, the only uncial MS. containing the whole N.T.

B B (Fourth century). Codex Vaticanus.

C C (Fifth century). Codex Ephraemi, a Palimpsest; now at Paris, very defective. Of 2 Corinthians all from 10:8 onwards is wanting.

P P (Ninth century). Codex Porfirianus Chiovensis, formerly possessed by Bishop Porfiri of Kiev, and now at Petrograd.

D D (Sixth century). Codex Claromontanus; now at Paris. A Graeco-Latin MS. The Latin (d) is akin to the Old Latin. Many subsequent hands (sixth to ninth centuries) have corrected the MS.

E E (Ninth century). At Petrograd. A copy of D, and unimportant

F F (Late ninth century). Codex Augiensis (from Reichenau); now at Trinity College, Cambridge.

G G (Late ninth century). Codex Boernerianus; at Dresden. Interlined with the Latin (in minluscules). The Greek text is almost the same as that of F, but the Latin (g) shows Old Latin elements.

K K (Ninth century). Codex Mosquensis; now at Moscow.

L L (Ninth century). Codex Angelicus; now in the Angelica Library at Rome.

* information respecting the commentator is to be found in the volume on the First Epistle, pp. lxvi f.

* Cf. Τόε στήσεται ὲν παρρησιᾳ ὀ δίκαιος (Wisd. 5:1): λάβετα σκῦλα καὶ μετὰ παρρησίας (1 Macc. 4:18): also Hebrews 3:6, Hebrews 4:16, Hebrews 10:35

* “We must remember that we have not the letter in its entirety. Are not the passages which he most repented those have disappeared?” (Rendall, The Epp. of St. Paul to the Corinthians, p. 69).

d d The Latin companion of D

e d The Latin companion of E

f d The Latin companion of F

g d The Latin companion of G

* It is remarkable that μετανοια occurs only four times in the Pauline Epistles, twice in these two verses and once in Romans 2:4 and 2 Timothy 2:25, while μετανοέω occurs only in 2 Corinthians 12:21. This does not imply “the almost complete ommission of the twin Rabbinic ideas of repentance and forgiveness” (C. G. Montefiore, Judaism and St. Paul, p. 75). These words are rare, but the thought of forgiveness, such as he himself had won, is often present as reconciliation to God.

† Superest ne rursus prauinciae, quad damnasse dicitur, placeat, aeatque pxnitmtiam poenitentias suae (Plin. Ep. vii. 10).

* See the Essay and the Sermon on these words by F. Paget, The Spirit of Discipline, pp. 1 f. and 51 f.

37 37. (Evan. 69, Acts 69, Rev_14. Fifteenth century). The well-known Leicester codex; belongs to the Ferrar group.

† A steady reformation is a more decisive test of the value of mourning than depth of grief" (F. W. Robertson).

17 17. (Evan. 33, Act_13. Ninth century). Now at paris. “The queen of the cursives” and the best for the Pauline Epistles; more than any other it preserves Pre-Syrian readings and agrees with B D L.

* Bousset says with reason; so gibt diese Wendung nur dann einen er traglichen Sinn, wenn man annimt, dass Paulus selbst der Betroffence sti.

* But it is possible that περισσοτέρως is simply ‘very abundantly’ and implies no comparison with any other occasion.

* “In the same spirit with which a young man of character would work who was starting in business on capital advanced by a friend” (Denney).

Bibliographical Information
Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 7". International Critical Commentary NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/icc/2-corinthians-7.html. 1896-1924.
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