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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

2 Corinthians 2

Verse 1

2 Corinthians 2:1 . Ἔκρινα δὲ ἐμαυτῷ , But I determined for myself ) so far as I myself am concerned, for my own advantage. The antithesis is, to you in this ver.: comp. 2 Corinthians 1:23 . δὲ , but ) This is an antithesis to not as yet , 2 Corinthians 1:23 . πάλιν , again ) This is construed with come; not with, come in heaviness ( sorrow ) : he had formerly written in heaviness , he had not come. ἐν λύπῃ , in heaviness (sorrow) twofold; for there follows, for if I make you sorry , and, if any one have caused grief [sorrow, 2 Corinthians 2:5 .] This repetition (anaphora [11] ) forms two antithetic parts, the discussion of which elegantly corresponds to each respectively, I wrote that you might know [ 2Co 2:4 ]; I wrote that I might know , 2 Corinthians 2:9 ; [the joy] of you all; [overcharge] you all , 2 Corinthians 2:3 ; 2 Corinthians 2:5 .

[11] See Append. The frequent repetition of the same word to mark the beginnings of sections.

Verse 2

2 Corinthians 2:2 . Λυπῶ , I make you sorry ) either when present with you, or by letters. καὶ τίς ἐστιν , and who is ) The if has an apodosis consisting of two numbers, and who [ καὶ τίς ], and I wrote [ καὶ ἔγραψα ]: both, and, i.e. as well, as also. εὐφραίνων με , that maketh me glad ) by the sorrow of repentance. εἰ μὴ , unless ) It affords me no pleasure to have struck with sorrow by my reproofs the man, who now gives me joy by his repentance. I would rather it had not been necessary. ὁ λυπούμενος , he, who is made sorry ) He indicates the Corinthians, but more especially him who had sinned. ἐξ ἐμοῦ , by me ) ἀφʼ ὧν , from whom , in the following verse. These particles differ thus: ἀπὸ [coming from , or on the part of] applies to something more at large; ἐξ [ out of , by means of], to something more within; comp. 2Co 3:5 ; 1 Thessalonians 2:6 .

Verse 3

2 Corinthians 2:3 . Καὶ ἔγραψα , and I wrote ) He shows that he had this intention at the time, when he sent his first epistle, in which he had promised a visit, an intention which he explains at 2 Corinthians 2:1 . ἀφʼ ὧν , from whom ) as from sons. ὅτι , that ) The joy of Paul itself is desirable not for his own sake, but for the sake of the Corinthians.

Verse 4

2 Corinthians 2:4 . Ἐκ γὰρ , for out of ) I wished to stir you up before I went to you, that afterwards it might not be necessary. Anguish of heart produced tears, much anguish produced many tears . The Corinthians might have seen the marks of tears on his letter, if he himself wrote it a proof of anguish. οὐ ἵνα ), not so much that , etc. The fruit of sorrow is not sorrow, but the fruit of love is love. λυπηθῆτε , you should be grieved ) He is easily made sorry, who is admonished by a friend himself weeping. τὴν ἀγάπην , love ) The source of sincere reproof and of joy derived from it. γνῶτε , you might know ) according to my faithful admonition. περισσοτέρως εἰς ὑμᾶς , more abundantly to you ) who have been particularly commended to me by God, Acts 18:10 .

Verse 5

2 Corinthians 2:5 . Τὶς , any ) He now speaks mildly; any one and any thing , 2 Corinthians 2:10 . In both epistles Paul refrained from mentioning the name of him, of whom he is speaking. οὐκ ἐμὲ λελύπηκεν , he hath not grieved me ) i.e. , He has not made me lastingly grieved [I am not now so disposed towards him] ἀλλʼ ἀπὸ μέρους , only in part ) he has occasioned me sorrow. ἐπιβαρῶ , be heavy upon [ overcharge ]) a weightier expression, than I make sorry , 2 Corinthians 2:2 .

Verse 6

2 Corinthians 2:6 . Ἱκανὸν ) Neuter, in place of a substantive; it is sufficient for such a one , so that no more can be demanded of him: ἱκανὸν , a forensic term. It is the part of Christian prudence to maintain moderation. A considerably long time intervened between the writing of the two epistles. ἐπιτιμία , reproof ) In antithesis to forgive , as also, to comfort , 2 Corinthians 2:7 . τῶν πλειόνων , by many ) not merely by those, who ruled [the bishops and ministers.] The Church at large bears the keys.

Verse 7

2 Corinthians 2:7 . Χαρίσασθαι ) This word has the meaning of an indicative, whence he is rather forgiven; and the indicative is a very mild form of exhortation: 2 Corinthians 12:9 ; Matthew 26:18 , note.

Verse 8

2 Corinthians 2:8 . Κυρῶσαι , to confirm ) the κῦρος is connected with love, not with sorrow. The majesty of the ecclesiastical government and discipline consists in love. It is this, which reigns. קם , LXX., κυροῦσθαι , Genesis 23:20 ; Leviticus 25:30 .

Verse 9

2 Corinthians 2:9 . Καὶ ἔγραψα ) not only I write, but I also did write . τὴν δοκιμὴν , the proof ) whether you are genuine, loving, obedient sons. [12] εἰς πάντα , in all things ) in reproof [ 2Co 2:6 ], and in love .

[12] See Titus 1:4 .

Verse 10

2 Corinthians 2:10 . Τὶ , any thing ) He speaks very gently of the atrocious, but acknowledged sin. χαρίζεσθε , ye forgive ) He has no doubt, but that they will do what he wrote at 2 Corinthians 2:7 . καὶ ἐγὼ , I also ) He modestly subscribes assent to the act of the Corinthians, and regards himself, as it were in the same category with them. εἲ τι κεχάρισμαι , if I forgave any thing ) The matter is limited by if any thing , in order that Paul may show his willingness to follow up the forgiveness granted to the sinner by the Corinthians. From the present I forgive , the past immediately results, I have forgiven , while Paul is in the act of writing these things. διʼ ὑμᾶς , for your sakes ) namely, I forgave . ἐν προσώπῳ Χριστοῦ , in the presence [but Engl. Vers., person ] of Christ ) in the face of [before] Christ, 1 Corinthians 5:4 . ἵνα μὴ πλεονεκτηθῶμεν , lest we should be defrauded [lest an advantage be gained over us.]) The loss of a single sinner is a common loss; therefore he said for your sakes . ὑπὸ τοῦ Σατανᾶ , by Satan ) to whom Paul delivered or was about to deliver the sinner; 1 Corinthians 5:5 . Satan not only devised to destroy the flesh, but the soul: and he seeks an opportunity of doing a very great injury by means of sorrow .

Verse 11

2 Corinthians 2:11 . Οὐ γὰρ , for not ) True ecclesiastical prudence. Those who have the mind [referring to νοῦς contained in νοήματα ] of Christ are not ignorant of hostile devices and attempts. νοήματα and ἀγνοεῖν are conjugates.

Verse 12

2 Corinthians 2:12 . Καὶ ) even although [Engl. Ver., and ]. Paul would have willingly abode at Troas. θύρας , a door ) Nevertheless Paul did not sin, in departing, inasmuch as it remained free to him to do so. ἄνεσιν , rest ) His spirit first began to feel the want of it, then the flesh, 2 Corinthians 7:5 . He was desirous of knowing how the Corinthians had received his former epistle. τῷ πνεύματι , in spirit ) He perceived from this, that it was not imperatively necessary to avail himself of that door . Τίτον , Titus ) who was about to come from you.

Verse 13

2 Corinthians 2:13 . Εἰς Μακεδονίαν , to Macedonia ) where I would be nearer and might be sooner informed [ what was the fruit of my former epistle to you . V. g.] These topics are continued at 2 Corinthians 7:2 ; 2 Corinthians 7:5 : and a most noble digression is here introduced in respect to events, which had in the meantime occurred and sufferings which had been endured by him elsewhere: the benefit of which he makes to flow even towards the Corinthians, whilst he hereby prepares the way for a defence against the false apostles.

Verse 14

2 Corinthians 2:14 . Τῷ δὲ Θεῷ , but [now] to God ) Although I have not come to Corinth, I did not remain at Troas; nevertheless there is no want of the victory of the Gospel even in other places: The modal expression is added [Append. on Modus, i.e. with expression of feeling, not a mere categorical proposition]; Thanks be unto God . πάντοτε , always ) The parallel follows, in everyplace . θριαμβεύοντι ἡμᾶς ) who shows us in triumph , not as conquered, but as the ministers of His victory; not only the victory, but the open ‘showing’ of the victory is denoted: for there follows, Who maketh manifest . The triumph forcibly strikes the eyes; the savour , the nostrils [sense of smell.] τὴν ὀσμὴν , the savour ) The metaphor is taken from all the senses to describe the power of the Gospel. Here the sight (of the triumph) and its savour occur. αὐτοῦ , of Him ) of Christ, 2 Corinthians 2:15 . φανεροῦντι , who maketh manifest ) a word, which often occurs in this epistle, and refutes the suspicions of the Corinthians [towards the apostle.] So 1 Corinthians 4:5 .

Verse 15

2 Corinthians 2:15 . Εὐωδία ) a sweet savour, i.e. , powerful, grateful to the godly, offensive to the ungodly. The savour of Christ pervades us, as the odour of aromatics pervades garments. ἐν ) in the case of . σωζομένοις · ἀπολλυμένοις , in them, who are saved; in them, who perish ) To which class each may belong, is evident from the manner in which he receives the Gospel. Of the former class he treats, 2Co 3:1 to 2 Corinthians 4:2 ; of the latter, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 . ἀπολλυμένοις , in them that are perishing ) 2 Corinthians 4:3 .

Verse 16

2 Corinthians 2:16 . Ὀσμὴ θανάτου , the savour of death ) They reckon us [and our Gospel message] as a thing dead; hence they meet with death as the natural and just consequence. οἷς δὲ , whilst to the former ) who are being saved. This verse, if we compare the antecedents and consequents, has a chiasmus. [13] καὶ πρὸς ταῦτα τίς ἱκανός ; and who is sufficient for these things? ) Who? i.e. but few, viz., we. This sentiment [idea] is modestly hinted at, and is left to be perceived and acknowledged by the Corinthians; comp. the next verse. Paul asserts at considerable length both his own sufficiency ( ἱκανότητα ) and that of the few in the following chapter, and repeats this very word, 2 Corinthians 2:5-6 , of that ch., so that his adversaries seem either expressly or in sense [virtually] to have denied, that Paul was sufficient .

[13] See App.

Verse 17

2 Corinthians 2:17 . Οἱ πολλοὶ , the many ) so 2 Corinthians 11:18 . הָרַבִּים , 1 Kings 18:25 . The article has force; the many, most men, ἄοσμοι , void of savour: comp. Philippians 2:21 . καπηλεύοντες [cauponantes]) corrupting [adulterating for gain]; men who do not make it their aim to show forth as much virtue [as much of the power of the Gospel] as possible, but to make gain by it. These men speak of Christ, but not as “from [of] God,” and “in the sight of God.” κάπηλοι , [caupones], vintners, select their merchandise from different quarters; they adulterate it; they manage it with a view to profit. The apostles deal otherwise with the word of God; for they speak as of God, and as of sincerity, and so as to approve themselves unto God. δολοῦντες , adulterating, 2 Corinthians 4:2 [Engl. Vers., handling deceitfully], is a synonymous expression, and also ἐμπορεύεσθαι , to make merchandise of, 2 Peter 2:3 . ἐξ εἰλικρινείας , of sincerity) We give our whole attention to [our whole aim is] the word of God by itself. ἀλλʼ ὡς ἐκ , but as of) a gradation [ascending climax], but being repeated; as is explanatory. [14] κατενώπιον ΛΑΛΟῦΜΕΝ , in the sight of God we speak ) So decidedly, ch. 2 Corinthians 12:19 . We always think, that God, from [sent by] whom we speak, is present to the speakers; we do not care for men. ἐν , in ) Our discourse, which we hold in Christ, is given and directed from above. λαλοῦμεν , we speak ) We use the tongue; the power belongs to God.

[14] The Germ. Ver., however, omits both the particle ὡς before ἐξ εἰλικρινείας and the particle ἀλλʼ before ὡς ἐχ Θεοῦ , although the omission has by no means been approved of by the margins of both Ed. E. B.

ABCD ( Λ ) read the ὡς after ἀ λλ ’ (or ἀλλὰ in B), in the first ἀλλʼ ὡς : G fg Vulg. Memph. Iren. omit it. In the second ἀλλʼ ὡς , ABCD ( Λ ) support the ἀλλʼ . G fg Vulg. (Fuld.), later Syr. Iren. omit it. ED.

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 2". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.