Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 7

Bengel's Gnomon of the New TestamentBengel's Gnomon

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Verse 1

2 Corinthians 7:1 . Καθαρίσωμεν , let us cleanse ) This is the last part of the exhortation, set forth at 2 Corinthians 6:1 , and brought out ib . 2 Corinthians 7:14 . He concludes the exhortation in the first person. The antitheses are the unclean thing , 2 Corinthians 6:17 , and filthiness in this passage. The same duty is derived from a similar source, 1 John 3:3 , Revelation 22:11 . μολυσμοῦ , filthiness) Filthiness of the flesh , for example, fornication, and filthiness of the spirit , for example, idolatry, were closely connected among the Gentiles. Even Judaism, occupied, as it is, about the cleanness of the flesh, is now in some measure filthiness of the spirit. Holiness is opposed to the former; the fear of God , promoting holiness (comp. again 1Co 10:22 ) to the latter. πνεύματος , of spirit ) Comp. Psalms 32:2 ; Psalms 78:8 . ἐπιτελοῦντες , perfecting ) even to the end. It is not enough to begin; it is the end that crowns the work. The antitheses are ἄρχομαι , ἐπιτελέω , I begin, I finish , ch. 2 Corinthians 8:6 ; 2 Corinthians 8:10-11 ; Galatians 3:3 ; Philippians 1:6 . ἁγιωσύνην , holiness ) corresponds to be ye separated , ch. 2 Corinthians 6:17 . ἐν , in ) he does not say, and [perfecting] the fear . Fear is a holy affection, which is not perfected by our efforts, but is merely retained. [ The pure fear of GOD is conjoined with the consideration of the most magnificent promises, ch. 2 Corinthians 5:11 ; Hebrews 4:1 . V. g.]

Verse 2

2 Corinthians 7:2 . Χωρήσατε ἡμᾶς , receive us ) The sum of what is stated in this and in the tenth and following chapter. ἡμᾶς ) us , who love you and rejoice for your sake, receive also with favour our feelings, words, and actions. οὐδένα ἠδικήσαμεν , οὐδένα ἐφθείραμεν , οὐδένα ἐπλεονεκτήσαμεν ) He lays down three things by gradation, the first of which he treats from 2 Corinthians 7:4 , by repeating the very word ἀδικεῖν , at 2 Corinthians 7:12 ; the second from ch. 2 Corinthians 10:1 , by repeating the very word φθείρειν , at ch. 2 Corinthians 11:3 ; the third from ch. 2 Corinthians 12:13 , by repeating the very word πλεονεκτεῖν , ib . 2 Corinthians 12:17 . I have marked however the beginning of the paragraph at 2Co 7:11 of the chapter quoted. The point of transition [to the discussion of πλεονεκτεῖν ] may be referred to what goes before or to what follows after 2 Corinthians 7:11 [ i.e. , may be fixed in the context before or after 2Co 7:11 ]. The discussion of the clause itself, οὐδένα ἐπλεονεκτήσαμεν begins at 2 Corinthians 7:13 . This then is what he means to say: There is no reason, why you should not receive us [favourably: capiatis ]: for we have injured no man, by our severity producing an absorbing grief [referring to ch. 2 Corinthians 2:7 , “lest such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow”]; nay, we have not even made a man worse by a too haughty mode of acting: nay, we have not even defrauded any man for gain; in everything we have consulted you and your interests: comp. 2 Corinthians 7:9 ; and that too, without any reward. Whilst he declares, that he had been the occasion of no evil to the Corinthians, he intimates, that he had done them good, but very modestly keeps it as it were out of sight.

Verse 3

2 Corinthians 7:3 . Οὐ πρὸς κατάκρισιν , not [ for condemnation ] to condemn you ) He shows that he does not say, what he has said at 2 Corinthians 7:2 , because he supposes that the Corinthians dislike Paul and his colleagues, but that he speaks with a paternal spirit, ch. 2 Corinthians 6:13 : and in order to prove how far he is from entertaining that supposition, he calls it a condemnation , thus humbling himself anew. προείρηκα , I have said before ) ch. 2 Corinthians 6:2 . γὰρ , for ) The reason why he himself does not condemn them, and why they ought to receive the apostle and his associates [2 Corinthians 7:2 “Receive us .”] ἐν καρδίαις , in our hearts ) So Philippians 1:7 . εἰς τὸ συναποθανεῖν καὶ συζῇν , to die and live with you ) ch. 2 Corinthians 1:6 , 2 Corinthians 4:12 . The height of friendship.

Verse 4

2 Corinthians 7:4 . Παῤῥησία , boldness of speech ) 2 Corinthians 7:16 , ch. 2 Corinthians 6:11 . ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν , in behalf of you ) to others, the antithesis is πρὸς ὑμᾶς , to [toward] you . παρακλήσει , with comfort ) concerning which, see 2 Corinthians 7:6-7 : concerning joy , 2 Corinthians 7:7-8 ; 2 Corinthians 7:16 : concerning both, 2 Corinthians 7:13 : comfort relieves [‘refreshes,’ 2Co 7:13 ], joy entirely frees us from, sorrow. ὑπερπερισσεύομαι , I exceedingly [over and above ] abound ) above [ ὑπὲρ ] all adversity. θλίψει , in [‘tribulation’] affliction ) of which, 2 Corinthians 7:5 , θλιβόμενοι , [‘troubled’] afflicted . To this belong all those trials which he has mentioned at ch. 2 Corinthians 4:7-8 , 2 Corinthians 6:4-5 .

Verse 5

2 Corinthians 7:5 . Σὰρξ , flesh ) This is used in a large sense; weigh well the word φόβοι , fears . θλιβόμενοι ) [troubled] afflicted , viz., we were. ἔξωθεν , without ) on the part of the Gentiles. ἔσωθεν , within ) on the part of the brethren, comp. 1Co 5:12 , 2 Corinthians 4:16 .

Verse 6

2 Corinthians 7:6 . Τοὺς ταπεινοὺς , the humble [ them that are cast down ]) for those that are exalted and puffed up , do not receive [are not capable of] comfort.

Verse 7

2 Corinthians 7:7 . Ἀναγγέλλων ) bringing back word to us who were waiting for him. This is the meaning of the compound verb. The nominative [in its construction] depends on παρεκλήθη , he was comforted: the sense also refers to the words, ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ , by his coming . τὴν ὑμῶν ἐπιπόθησιν , your earnest desire ) towards me. τὸν ὑμῶν ὀδυρμὸν , your mourning ) concerning yourselves, because you had not immediately punished the sin. τὸν ὑμῶν ζῆλον , your zeal [ fervent mind ]) for saving the soul [spirit] of the sinner. These three expressions occur again, 2 Corinthians 7:11 . A syntheton [37] is added to each of them: but here he deals with them more moderately, and for the sake of euphemism [end.] puts earnest desire in the first place, and uses the expression mourning , not indignation . ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ , for my sake [not as Engl. toward me ]) Because the Corinthians showed a “fervent mind,” Paul was relieved from the exercise of that fervour. ὥστε με μᾶλλον , so that I rather [“the more”]) An imperceptible transition. I had not so much consolation, as joy: joy is rather to be desired than consolation, 2 Corinthians 7:13 [ μᾶλλον ἐχάρημεν ].

[37] See the Append. The combination of two words which are frequently or emphatically joined together.

Verse 8

2 Corinthians 7:8 . Ἐν τῇ ἐπιστολῇ ) in the letter , he does not add, my: presently after, he removes himself further from it, when he adds, ἐκείνη , that [same epistle.] εἰ καὶ ) although: Paul had wished to remove, if possible, sorrow from the repentance of the Corinthians. He uses this particle thrice in one verse; also at 2 Corinthians 7:12 . Observe his paternal gentleness, he all but deprecates [his having caused them sorrow]. βλέπω , I perceive ) from the fact itself. εἰ καὶ , although ) in this clause, ὅτι ἡ ἐπιστολὴ ἐκείνη εἰ καὶ πρὸς ὥραν ἐλύπησεν ὑμᾶς , the words εἰ καὶ should have a comma either before and after them, or else neither before nor after them. The apostle explains the reason, why he does not repent of having caused sorrow to the Corinthians. The letter, he says, has made you sad only for a time, or rather not even for a time. Whence also Chrysostom in his exposition repeats the words, ὅτι πρὸς ὥραν ἐλύπησεν ὑμᾶς , in such a way as to omit εἰ καὶ . The particle εἰ καὶ , put absolutely, expresses much feeling [Valde morata est. end.] Sextus πρὸς ἀστρολόγον , says, Μεθʼ ἡμέραν οὐδὲν τῶν προειρημένων δυνατόν ἐστι παρασημειοῦσθαι , μόνα δὲ , εἰ καὶ ἄρα , τὰς τοῦ ἡλίου κινήσεις . By day none of the things previously mentioned can possibly be observed, but only the motions of the sun, if indeed even those; wherein εἰ καὶ ἄρα , as Devarius properly remarks, takes away the concession, that had been made , namely, that the motions of the sun only can be observed; if only , says he, viz., even the motions of the sun can be observed. See Devar. on the Gr. particles, in the instance, εἰ καὶ , also in the case of ἀλλʼ εἴπερ , and ἀλλʼ εἰ ἄρα , and Budaei Comm. L. Gr. f. 1390, ed. 1556, and, if you please, my notes on Gregor. Neocaes. Paneg., p. 174, on εἰ put absolutely. Luther very appropriately translates it Vielleicht . Others, without observing the force of the particle, have wondrously tortured this passage, which is most full of the characteristic ἦθος [end.] of the apostle. The οὐδὲ πρὸς ὥραν , Galatians 2:5 , is a kindred phraseology.

Verse 9

2 Corinthians 7:9 . Νῦν χαίρω , I now rejoice ) The now forms an epitasis; [38] not only do I not repent , that you had brief sorrow, but I even rejoice , because it has proved salutary to you. εἰς μετάνοιαν , unto repentance) Unto here determines the kind of sorrow . κατὰ Θεὸν , [after a godly manner] according to God) according to here signifies the feeling of the mind, having regard to and following God. There is no sorrow with God; but the sorrow of penitents renders the mind conformable to God; comp. κατὰ , according to , Romans 14:22 ; Col 2:8 ; 1 Peter 4:6 . So in Philostr. in Heroicis, p. 665, κατὰ θεὸν ἥκω , I am come here under divine auspices . ἐν μηδενὶ , in nothing ) This is consonant with that feeling, under which the apostle also speaks, 2 Corinthians 11:9 , ἐν πάντι , in everything . ζημιωθη ̄ τε , ye might suffer loss or damage ) All sorrow which is not according to God , is damaging , and deadly, 2 Corinthians 7:10 .

[38] i.e . He had already said, I rejoiced , in 2 Corinthians 7:7 : and here in 2 Corinthians 7:9 , now , added to the same word I rejoice , augments its force. See Append. ED.

Verse 10

2 Corinthians 7:10 . Μετάνοιαν ἀμεταμέλητον , repentance not to be repented of ) From the meaning of the primitive word, μετάνοια belongs properly to the understanding; μεταμέλεια to the will; because the former expresses the change of sentiment, the latter, the change of care [solicitude], or rather of purpose. Whence Thomas Gataker , Advers. misc. posth., c. 29, where he treats very accurately of these words signifying repentance, closes a long dissertation with this recapitulation: We have thus a series not completely, but exactly delineated, by which that feeling from its first origin, as it were by certain degrees and advances, is at length brought on, as Septimius would say, to its proper maturity. In the first place , censure or punishment is inflicted [animadversio], a proceeding which is termed by the Hebrews שוב לב for שות לב : from this arises acknowledgment of error, and μετάνοια , reformation [resipiscentia, coming to a right state of mind]. Δυσαρέστησις or λύπη , dissatisfaction with one’s self and sorrow, follow this μετάνοια , that which is explained by the Hebrew, נחם , penitence. The consequence of this, where it has become efficacious, καὶ γνησία , genuine, is שוב , conversion, ἐπιστροφὴ , μεταμέλεια , which finishes and crowns the work, since it brings in quite a new mode of living, instead of the old.” Such are his views. Furthermore, on account of the very close relationship between the understanding and the will, μεταμέλεια and μετάνοια occur together, and both the nouns and verbs are promiscuously used even by philosophers, and they correspond in the LXX. with the single Hebrew word נחם ; in both μετὰ signifies after. Whence Plato in the Gorgias, ταῦτα προνοήσασι μὲν , δυνατά · μετανοήσασι δὲ , ἀδύνατα . These things are possible to them that think beforehand, but impossible to those that think afterwards. Synesius, Ep. iv., τῷ ἐπιμήθει , φασὶν , τὸ μὲν μέλειν οὐκ ἦν , τὸ δὲ μεταμέλειν , ἐνῆν . It is said, that Epimetheus had no care at the time, but that he afterwards had care. [39] Both these words are therefore applied to him, who repents of what he has done, and of the counsel which he has followed, whether his penitence be good or bad, whether it be on account of something evil or good, whether accompanied with a change of future conduct or not. If we consider their use however, μεταμέλεια is generally a term midway between good and bad [ μέσον , indifferent [40] ], and is chiefly referred to single actions; but μετάνοια , especially in the New Testament, is taken in a good sense, by which is denoted the repentance [regret on account] of the whole life, and, in some respects, [loathing] of ourselves, [41] or that whole blessed remembrance of the mind [the mind’s review of the past, and of its own state heretofore] after error and sin, with all the affections entering into it, which suitable fruits follow. Hence it happens, that μετανοεῖν is often put in the imperative, μεταμελεῖσθαι never; but in other places, wherever μετάνοια is read, μεταμέλεια may be substituted: but not vice versa . Therefore, Paul distinctly uses both words in this passage, and applies to μετάνοιαν εἰς σωτηρίαν the term ἀμεταμέλητον , because neither he can regret, that he had occasioned this μετάνοιαν , repentance , to the Corinthians, nor they, that they had felt it. εἰς σωτηρίαν , to salvation ) all the impediments to which are thus removed. κατεργάζεται , worketh ) Therefore sorrow is not repentance itself, but it produces repentance; that is, carefulness ( σπουδήν ), 2 Corinthians 7:11 . ἡ δὲ ) but the mere sorrow of the world, etc., of which I was not a promoter among you. τοῦ κόσμου ) of the world , not merely, according to the world (answering to the epithet of λύπη , viz., ἡ κατὰ θεὸν ). [ Such was the sorrow of Ahab in the case of Naboth. Now and then the malignant powers of darkness also mingle themselves with it, as in the case of Saul. In such cases, even the innocent cheerfulness of children, or the singing of birds, or the frisking of calves sometimes move their indignation . The sorrow of the world, such as this, is not less to be avoided than the joy of the world. The world experiences joy at their social feasts, for the rest of the time they are generally under the dominion of sorrow. V. g.] θάνατον , death ) chiefly of the soul, which is evident from the antithesis [‘salvation’].

[39] Epimetheus was fabled, in contrast to Prometheus , to have had no thought , but to have had after thought when too late. ED.

[40] Μεταμέλεια is often used of the remorse and regret of such a one as Judas. Μετάνοια of the true penitent. ED.

[41] Repentance of ourselves is not English, and does not suggest any very clear idea. I think the author meant to apply it to our original depravity, which to believers is the subject of confession and lamentation before God. This may be considered as a species of repentance, and seems to agree with the qualifying phrase in some respects . TR.

Verse 11

2 Corinthians 7:11 . ʼ Ιδού , behold ) Paul proves this from their present experience. ὑμῖν , to you ) The Dative of advantage; comp. 2 Corinthians 7:9 , at the end. σπουδὴν , carefulness ) Σπουδαῖον , is said of whatever of its kind is good, sound, and vigorous. A beautiful passage in the 2d book of Aristotle’s Eth. Nicom. c. 5, furnishes an illustration, ἡ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ ἀρετὴ τόν τε ὀφθαλμὸν σπουδαῖον ποιεῖ καὶ τὸ ἔργον αὐτοῦ · ὁμοίως ἡ τοῦ ἵππου ἀρετὴ , ἵππον τε σπουδαῖον ποιεῖ , καὶ ἀγαθὸν δραμεῖν , κ . τ . λ . “The vigour of the eye renders both the eye and its action excellent, in like manner the vigour of the horse renders the horse excellent and well fitted for running,” etc.; so that τὸ σπουδαῖον is τὸ εὐ ἔχον , and is opposed to τῷ φαύλῳ , ib. c. 4. Therefore σπουδὴ signifies activity, diligence; and in the present case expresses the principal characteristic of repentance, when it seriously enters into the soul, a characteristic which καταφρονηταὶ , despisers , are devoid of, Acts 13:41 . Six special characteristics presently follow this ‘carefulness;’ and this one is again mentioned at 2 Corinthians 7:12 . The same word is also at ch. 2Co 8:7-8 ; 2 Corinthians 8:16-17 ; 2 Corinthians 8:22 . ἀλλὰ ἀπολογίαν , κ . τ . λ ., but, clearing of yourselves ) But makes an emphatic addition [Epitasis]. Not only this, which I have said, but also, etc. Some of the Corinthians had behaved well, others not so well in that affair; or else even all in one respect had been blameless, in another, had been culpable; from which cause it was that various feelings arose. They had taken up the clearing of themselves [ ἀπολογίαν , self-defence ] and a feeling of indignation , in respect to themselves; they had fear and vehement desire , in respect to the apostle; zeal and revenge , in respect of him, who had been guilty of the sin. Comp. in this threefold respect 2 Corinthians 7:7 , note, and 2 Corinthians 7:12 , note. ἀπολογίαν , clearing of yourselves [ self-defence ]) inasmuch as you did not approve of the deed. ἀγανάκτησιν , indignation ) inasmuch as you did not instantly restrain it. ἀγανάκτησιν is used here with admirable propriety. It denotes the pain, of which a man has the cause in himself, for example in dentition; for E. Schmidius compares with this passage that from Plato, κνῆσις καὶ ἀγανάκτησις περὶ τὰ οὖλα , itching and pain about the gums . φόβον , fear ) lest I should come with a rod. ἐπιπόθησιν , vehement desire ) to see me. ζῆλον , zeal ) for the good of the soul of him, who had sinned. ἀλλʼ ἐκδίκησιν , but revenge ) against the evil , which he had perpetrated, 1 Corinthians 5:2-3 . ἐν παντὶ ) in all the respects, which I have stated. συνεστήσατε ἑαυτοὺς , you have approved yourselves to me ) you have given me satisfaction. ἁγνοὺς εἶναι , to be clear) To be is a mild expression for to have become; for they had not been quite clear , 1 Corinthians 5:6 . A mutual amnesty is expressed in this and the following verse. πράγματι , in the matter ) He speaks indefinitely, as in the case of an odious occurrence.

Verse 12

2 Corinthians 7:12 . Οὐχ ἓνεκεν τοῦ ἀδικήσαντος ) Whatever I have written, I have written it, not for the sake of him, who did the wrong . He calls him τὸν ἀδικήσαντα , whom he calls, ch. 2 Corinthians 2:5 , τὸν λελυπηκότα . He now varies the term because the expression, to make sorry , he said concerning himself, 2 Corinthians 7:8-9 ; and he now dismisses this very sorrow . Inasmuch as you Corinthians have done what was just respecting him, who had committed the sin, by your zeal and revenge , I acquiesce. οὐδὲ ἕνεκεν τοῦ ἀδικηθέντος , nor for the sake of him, who suffered wrong ) The singular for the plural by euphemism. The Corinthians had suffered wrong , ch. 2 Corinthians 2:5 ; and their clearing of themselves , and indignation put it now in Paul’s power to acquiesce also on their account. Others explain it as referring to the offended parent, 1 Corinthians 5:1 . τὴν σπουδὴν ἡμῶν , our care ) Comp. 2 Corinthians 2:4 . ἐνώπιον , in the sight of ) Construed with φανερωθῆναι , that it might be manifested .

Verse 13

2 Corinthians 7:13 . ʼ Επὶ τῇ παρακλήσει ὑμῶν , on account of your comfort ) which followed that very sorrow . περισσοτέρως [42] μᾶλλον , more abundantly rather [ exceedingly the more ]) That feeling rather [ μᾶλλον ] takes the name of joy than comfort; and the joy was, περισσοτέρως , mor abundant , than the comfort . So μᾶλλον with the superlative, 2 Corinthians 12:9 : μᾶλλον for δὲ [43] [autem], yea and , is put here with striking effect.

[42] Tischend. and Lachm. stop thus: διὰ τοῦτο παρακεκλήμεθα . ἐπὶ δὲ τῇ παρακλήσει , etc. The δὲ is put after περισσοτέρως by Rec. Text. But after ἐπὶ by BCD( Λ ) G fg Vulg. ED.

[43] The omission, however, of the particle δὲ both in the margin of the 2d Ed. and in the Germ. Ver., is thought to be not quite so certain. E. B.

Verse 14

2 Corinthians 7:14 . Κεκαύχημαι , οὐ κατῃσχύνθην , I have boasted, I am not ashamed ) ch. 2 Corinthians 9:4 , 2 Corinthians 12:6 . πάντα , all things ) He suitably refers to ch. 2 Corinthians 1:18 .

Verse 16

2 Corinthians 7:16 . Ἐν παντὶ , in every thing ) This is applicable in the antecedent and consequent [in the context which precedes and that which follows]. He says, if I reprove you, you take it well; if I promise for you, you perform what is promised. So he prepares a way for himself with a view to what follows in 2Co 8:1 and 2 Corinthians 10:1 , where the very word θαῤῥῶ , I have confidence , is resumed. ἐν ὑμῖν , in you ) on your account.

Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 7". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.