2 Corinthians 1:1. Paul — and Timothy our brother. It was proper that Timothy should be named, he having been specially sent to Corinth. — With all the saints which are in Achaia; in which peninsula the christians were now multiplied. Corinth was then also the capital, and the seat of the Roman government, having a ready communication with the country.
2 Corinthians 1:2. Grace be to you. This is much the same as in 1 Corinthians 1:3. Romans 1:7. These benedictions comprise the love of Christ, peace with God, and all the comforts of the Holy Ghost.
2 Corinthians 1:3. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who sent his only-begotten Son into the world, to remove our guilt and misery by his superabundant grace, and give us a plenitude of consolation. St. Peter, using the same words, brightens them by the adjection, that he had begotten us again to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Christ is not named here as in anywise distinct from the Father, but purely in regard of his mediatorial offices, and in conformity to the holy prophets, who declare him to be the servant of the Father, to gather the tribes of Israel; the covenant God of his people, the light of the gentiles, and the salvation of God to the ends of the earth. Isaiah 49:6.
2 Corinthians 1:5. As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth, by internal solace and tokens of the divine presence, and most extraordinary openings of providence for our deliverance. He names this to support the Corinthians in all the storms and rebukes of the wicked, which they also had to endure.
2 Corinthians 1:6. It is for your consolation, or for your encouragement.
2 Corinthians 1:8. Our trouble which came to us in Asia. This is recorded in Acts 19:34, when the silversmiths and the populace of Ephesus rushed into the theatre to occupy good seats, the better to see us devoured by the lions, not doubting of our condemnation, being charged with saying that Diana was no goddess. — What displays of providence in Paul’s deliverance, at this and at other times! 2 Corinthians 11:33.
2 Corinthians 1:11. Ye also helping together by prayer for us. The deliverance of Peter was a most evident answer to prayer, by which we learn that the church should at all times, especially under the pressure of heavy calamities, address the throne of grace with fervent importunity.
2 Corinthians 1:12. Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we do devote life in conformity to our call; that we preach Christ to all, warning every man, and have the blood of no man’s soul on our conscience. Those must be clean who bear the vessels of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 1:15. That ye might have a second benefit: χαρις, grace. The gospel itself is grace and truth shining on the world. The apostle had been three years at Corinth, and in Achaia. He had also visited Corinth a second time; but that being on a journey, is not counted here. It is noticed however in 2 Corinthians 12:14, where the apostle says, Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you.
2 Corinthians 1:18. As God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. This affirmation is equivalent to an oath. Our word to you, and promise to come, are like the gospel we preach.
2 Corinthians 1:19-20. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us — was not yea and nay; words which may be true, or may not be true. But in him was yea; for all the promises of God in him are yea and amen. In the Son of God we have certainty. There is no nay in any of his promises; ask, and ye shall receive. They are all amen, a word which designates truth on the part of God, as in Isaiah 65:16, and the assent of men, saying, amen in prayer. The gospel, full of promises, is declared that all may embrace the truth.
2 Corinthians 1:21. Now he which establisheth us with you in Christ is God. The church is built on Christ, the Son of God, the sure foundation, the rock of ages laid in Zion. On this rock we are built; we rest on a Father’s love, we rely on the promises which are as he is, “the Amen; the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” Revelation 3:14. Why then, oh Arian, dost thou seek in vain to undermine our foundation. Thou art destroying thy own soul, in order to destroy others. All who read that “the Word was God,” and that “the Son of God, Jesus Christ,” is the Saviour of men, will believe what they read.
And hath anointed us, with an unction from the Holy One; that is, with a measure of the anointing of Christ at the Jordan, to pray and preach with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. This alone is the real consecration. The Spirit of Jehovah is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek. Isaiah 61:1. See the Reflections on 1 Samuel 16.
2 Corinthians 1:22. Who hath also sealed us, with the Holy Spirit of promise, as in Ephesians 1:13. This Spirit effectuates the work of regeneration in our souls, and restores us to the image of God, so that we bear his name on our foreheads. Revelation 14:1. This is the seal by which the Lord knows those that are his. 2 Timothy 2:19.
And given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. This word is happy; it seems to be the same in all languages. Hebrew, ערבוןairabon. Greek, αρραβων. Syriac, gnerabon. French, arrhes. Portuguese, arras. The Spanish and Italian are nearly the same; and all the northern tongues correspond with the English, the Welsh, and the Irish. The fact is, the word was new in all those tongues, and it was conveyed to them by the missionaries, as all other biblical names were. It designates the “earnest” of every divine enjoyment, corresponding with the foretaste of the feast, and the firstfruits of the harvest. Assuredly there is a reality in religion. The sixth collect after Trinity sunday is in unison with this statement.
2 Corinthians 1:23-24. To spare you I came not as yet to Corinth. Our Stephen Langton is again called to an account for separating these two verses from the following chapter. They designate the hallowed zeal of Paul, that he would not spare offenders in the church; yet in the words which follow he softens the rebuke.
The former epistle was written to rectify deviations from the doctrine and discipline of Christ, which had crept into the church of Corinth during the apostle’s absence. But here he writes full of grace and comfort to an afflicted people. The epistle opens with a torrent of apostolic benedictions, of paternal love and ministerial consolation. The sentiments of grace swelling his bosom, flowed as a fountain to refresh the parched lands. The rebukes in the former letter were presently followed by aspects of grace from the Father of mercies.
St. Paul recites the severity of the persecution which he and his colleagues had sustained in Asia, but it is with a view to animate the suffering Corinthians. He also adds, that as their sufferings for Christ had abounded, so their consolations had abounded also. At all times they walked in the comforts of the Holy Ghost; and in the hour of conflict, heaven was liberal in supporting their minds with the wine of the Father’s kingdom. Thus the apostles were established in the Lord. But we alas, when a trial comes too often, our comforts fly, because Satan has the advantage in the onset by stirring up the remains of corruption, and by inducing us to look, like Peter, at the waves till we sink. Let us pray for sanctifying and establishing grace. Let us pray that we may look to the promises for support, and at the examples of victory, that we may anticipate a conquest, and glory in tribulation for the Lord.
The experience which the apostles acquired in Asia, and the confidence from past helps that God would never withhold the requisite aid, enabled them to comfort others. Yes, and not with fine speeches only, but with an example in sustaining and vanquishing every species of trouble for the testimony of Christ. These athletics could indeed say, that the promises were all yea to praying saints, and that they were on God’s part all amen. The Hebrew word implies that they were true, firm, and steadfast.
The holy apostles and their suffering converts were established in Christ by the promises, and became like the oak more enrooted by the tempest. Faith presently clothes itself with the strength of God, and overcomes the world.
Believers, being kings and priests, they were also anointed with all the gifts and graces of the Spirit to magnify the love of God to man. They were likewise sealed with the same Holy Spirit. This word has so many glosses, that there is some doubt which of them was the apostle’s identical idea. It is promised to seal on our hearts the grace of regeneration, the name and the image of God.
Believers who are sealed with the Spirit, have the earnest of heaven in their hearts. The peace, the love, the joy which the saints now inherit are not dissimilar from those which they have in heaven; they differ only in the measure. Here we have the streams, there they have the ocean. Here we see through a glass darkly, there they see face to face. “And all the enjoyment above consists in the rapturous gaze.”
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 1". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany