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2 Corinthians 1

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Verse 1

2Co 1:1

2 Corinthians 1:1

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus—This is Paul’s title of au­thority, and in all his epistles but five he uses it. To the Philippians he uses only the “servants of Christ Jesus” for him­self and Timothy. To the Thessalonians there is no title of authority given. To Philemon he calls himself “a prisoner of Christ Jesus.” If there is any question of his authority he lays strong emphasis on his apostleship. Jesus chose “twelve, whom also he named apostles.” (Luke 6:13). They were sent forth by Jesus on the business of the kingdom. Though not one of the twelve, Paul was chosen and sent by Jesus Christ no less than they. (Acts 9:15-16; Acts 22:14-15; Acts 26:16-18; Galatians 1:1). On this he insists with great emphasis. In the Corinthian church certain evil workers had been opposing. He calls them “false apostles, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into apostles of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:13).

through the will of God,—Because of these “false apostles” he lays great stress on his credentials. He is an apostle of Christ, not self-appointed, but under God’s appointment.

and Timothy our brother,—In these introductory phrases Paul unites with his own name that of Timothy. [Of all Paul’s fellow laborers Timothy was the most precious to his heart. It was under the preaching of Paul that he became a Christian and soon became active in the Lord’s work, so that a few years later when Paul was on his second missionary journey and again visited Lystra he found him “well reported of by the brethren.” (Acts 16:2). Already the voice of proph­ecy had indicated that he was destined to special service. (1 Timothy 1:18; 1 Timothy 4:14). Paul therefore determined to take him with him, and since then he had been Paul’s closest compan­ion. By his own presence and preaching he had aided in es­tablishing the church at Corinth. He was with Paul at Ephe­sus, whence he was sent to Corinth to correct abuses there (1 Corinthians 4:17), yet for some reason there was a possibility that he might not reach there (1 Corinthians 16:10); but in any event he was with Paul in Macedonia when this epistle was written. He had ability, vigor, and moral courage. His sincerity and sympathy won the affection of Paul, who calls him “my true child in faith” (1 Timothy 1:2); and testifies that his service had been “as a child serveth a father, so he served with me in fur­therance of the gospel” (Philippians 2:22).]

unto the church of God which is at Corinth,—The church as God ordained it is a company of obedient believers bound to­gether by faith in Jesus Christ to encourage and strengthen each other, and spread the gospel through the world. A com­mon faith in Christ is the strongest and most permanent bond of union among men. The mission of the church on earth is to unite the believers in Christ in one body, each member seeking his own highest good in promoting the good of others, and the crowning glory of God in saving sinners.

with all the saints—All Christians are called saints, or sanc­tified ones, in that they are all set apart to the service of God. The church at Corinth were all addressed as saints, although some of them were unworthy. There are degrees of sanctifi­cation, just as there are degrees of Christian knowledge and fidelity to Christ. The growth in sanctification and holiness is to be attained by a study of, and obedience to, the word of God. An increase in knowledge and fidelity is to be gained by a constant and persistent study of God’s will and a daily effort to bring oneself into obedience to that will.

that are in the whole of Achaia:—[One of Paul’s methods in his evangelistic work was to reach the surrounding country from some city as a strategic center. As early as A.D. 48, at Antioch in Pisidia, on his first missionary tour, it is said: “The word of the Lord was spread abroad throughout all the region.” (Acts 13:49). Doubtless all Achaia in a similar way heard the word of the Lord, resulting in many becoming Christians. There were Christians at Athens (Acts 17:34), and at Cenchreae (Romans 16:1). Although the epistle is ad­dressed to the church at Corinth, Paul includes in the saluta­tion all the Christians in the province of which Corinth was the capital. They were certainly associated with the brethren in Corinth in some intimate way and must have known some­thing of the difficulties that had arisen there.]

Verse 2

2Co 1:2

2 Corinthians 1:2

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.—This is the usual prayer to God for grace to be with them, and the peace that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ bestows on them that serve him. [Grace and peace are comprehensive words. They are rich in histori­cal associations. The priestly benedictions (Numbers 6:22-26) were similar in thought; but they have been wonderfully en­riched in the dispensation of God’s love through Christ. In him grace is included in all God’s gracious giving. It is his consummation of the unspeakable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15), and of all the blessings that come to man through him. On the other hand, peace is the harmony and satisfaction which come into a life that has accepted God’s grace, is reconciled to God, and rests in the assurance of the forgiveness of sin. In this sense Jesus Christ is the peacemaker. Grace and peace sum up all the blessings in Christ, the wealth of God’s gracious giving, the re­sults of man’s full acceptance.]

Verse 3

2Co 1:3

2 Corinthians 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,—[The word “blessed” here expresses gratitude and adora­tion. The phrase is equivalent to praised be God, or is an ex­pression of thanksgiving. It is the usual formula of praise (Ephesians 1:3), and shows entire confidence in God, and joy in him.]

the Father of mercies and God of all comfort;—Paul felt that God was especially full of mercy and comfort to him at this time, in that he had comforted him and them in tribula­tions and afflictions that they had undergone at Ephesus (Acts 19:23), and in the troubles at Corinth. They had terminated favorably to him.

Verse 4

2Co 1:4

2 Corinthians 1:4

who comforteth us in all our affliction,—[His affliction was the ground of God’s comforting him. He was one of the most afflicted of men. He suffered from hunger, cold, naked­ness, stripes, imprisonments; from perils by the sea and land; from robbers, from the Jews and the heathen, so that his life was a continued death or as he expressed it, “I die daily.” (1 Corinthians 15:31). Besides these external afflictions he was ov­erwhelmed with the “anxiety for all the churches.” (2 Corinthians 11:28). In the midst of all these, God not only sustained him, but filled him with such a heroic spirit that he actually rejoiced in being thus afflicted. He says: “I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” This state of mind and heart can be experienced only by those who are filled with the love and devotion to Christ that they re­joice in everything, however painful to themselves, whereby his glory and honor are promoted.]

that we may be able to comfort them that are in any afflic­tion,—God had given Paul comfort so that he would be en­abled to comfort others in need of comfort, in the same way that God had comforted him.

through the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.—When this state of mind exists no afflictions can equal the consolations by which they are attended, and there­fore it is added that he was enabled to comfort those who were in any kind of affliction for the cause of Christ, by the comfort wherewith he was comforted of God.

Verse 5

2Co 1:5

2 Corinthians 1:5

For as the sufferings of Christ abound unto us,—[Paul was called to experience the same sufferings which Christ en­dured (Acts 9:15-16); and to suffer in his cause, and in the promotion of the same object. The sufferings which he en­dured were in the cause of Christ and his gospel; they were endured in endeavoring to advance the same object which Christ sought to promote; and were substantially of the same nature. They arose from opposition, contempt, persecution, trial, and want, and were the same as those to which the Lord Jesus himself was subjected during the whole of his public life.]

even so our comfort also aboundeth through Christ.—[The opposition, the persecution, and the cruelties he endured in the cause of Christ were like those which Christ endured, and he submitted to them as a servant of Christ, and one who by faith was identified with Christ. If then, in virtue of this vital union, he had an abundant share in the sufferings of his Lord, he was sure that through the same union with Christ he was receiving an abundant supply of divine comfort.] As we suf­fer with Christ, suffer as his servants, the consolations that come from Christ will be bestowed on us as his servants. If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him. (2 Timothy 2:12).

Verse 6

2Co 1:6

2 Corinthians 1:6

But whether we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation;—The afflictions he had undergone for them would work out their comfort. [Those who suffer for Christ’s sake and with Christ’s people, God never fails to comfort, “if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him.” (Romans 8:17). It is not of suffering as suffering that Paul here speaks, for there is no tendency in pain to produce holiness. It is only of suffering endured for Christ and in a Christ-like manner that it is connected with salvation, or that it tends to work out for those who suffer an eternal weight of glory.]

or whether we are comforted, it is for your comfort,—If he was comforted, it would bring comfort to them, which com­fort was wrought out for them through their learning to en­dure affliction for Christ’s sake, by seeing what he endured, and how he was comforted in it.

which worketh in the patient enduring of the same suffer­ings which we also suffer:—[The sufferings of the Corin­thians with those of the apostle, because they sympathized with him in his afflictions, because they in a measure suffered as he did, and because their sufferings were “the sufferings of Christ,” in the same sense that his were—they were incurred because those who suffered were Christians.]

Verse 7

2Co 1:7

2 Corinthians 1:7

and our hope for you is stedfast;—He knew if they par­took of the afflictions they would share in the consolations.

knowing that, as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so also are ye of the comfort.—[Those who share in our sorrows share in our joys. There are two ideas apparently united here. The one is that the sufferings of the apostle were also the sufferings of the Corinthians because of the union between them. The other is, that his readers were in their measure ex­posed to the same kind of sufferings. In this two-fold sense they were joint partakers of the same joys and sorrows.]

Verse 8

2Co 1:8

2 Corinthians 1:8

For we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concern­ing our affliction which befell us in Asia,—Between the writ­ing of the first epistle and this one, Paul had undergone a ter­rible onslaught made on him at Ephesus by the devotees of the goddess Diana, led by Demetrius, the silversmith. (Acts 19:23-41).

[The hostility of Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen, prompted as it was by selfish interests, and the ease with which the mob was collected are enough to account for the deadly peril to which reference is here made. And we can well conceive it prompting some immediate and desperate and well-planned attempt to kill Paul. That Paul felt the danger is proved by his sudden departure (Acts 20:1) from Ephesus; whereas, a short time earlier, the number of his adversaries had been a reason for his remaining in Ephesus until after Pentecost had prevailed against him (1 Corinthians 16:8-9).]

that we were weighed down exceedingly, beyond our power, insomuch that we despaired even of life:—He saw no way of escape from death, so in his own mind, he was doomed to death. The danger was so great that he despaired of life.

Verse 9

2Co 1:9

2 Corinthians 1:9

yea, we ourselves have had the sentence of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead:—His escape was as though delivered from the dead; just as Abraham is said to have acted when “he that had gladly received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; even he to whom it was said, In Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God is able to raise up, even from the dead; from whence he did also in a figure receive him back.” (Hebrews 11:17-19).

Verse 10

2Co 1:10

2 Corinthians 1:10

who delivered us out of so great a death, and will deliv­er:—Though he had been delivered from instant and a fearful death with which he was threatened, the danger was not over. The plots of his enemies followed him wherever he went, but God’s deliverance assured him that he would deliver still.

on whom we have set our hope that he will also still deliver us;—He trusted God still to deliver him from all enemies. [He had been thus far preserved in a most remarkable manner, and his faith led him to the conviction that the Lord would continue to interpose in his behalf until his great purpose con­cerning him should be fully accomplished.]

Verse 11

2Co 1:11

2 Corinthians 1:11

ye also helping together on our behalf by your supplica­tion;—The Corinthian disciples had prayed for him, and so helped through their prayers, and he trusted that they would still pray for him.

that, for the gift bestowed upon us by means of many,—The deliverance had come through the help of the prayers of many. When one places himself in harmony with the divine law, he puts himself in the place in which he receives all good. He stands where all favoring currents meet; hence Paul says: “We know that to them that love God all things work to­gether for good.” (Romans 8:28). It is in securing this harmonious working of the elements of grace and nature for good that prayer comes in to effectually aid and bless the work. For this reason Paul speaks of those who out of ill will to­ward him preached Christ to add affliction to his bonds. Of their action, he says: “I know that this shall turn out to my salvation, through your supplication and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:19). This shows that the prayers of God’s children enter into the workings of God’s laws and bring good to the person in whose behalf they are offered. God’s providences are the results of the working of his laws. The spiritual and natural laws work in harmony for the good of those who love and honor God. To honor God is to obey his laws; to dishonor him is to refuse that obedience. In the spiritual world as in the material, man has it in his power to thwart and hinder the working of his laws, because God has made man with freedom to obey or disobey God. The law of harmony runs through all of God’s dealings with man. When Christ said, “According to your faith be it done unto you” (Matthew 9:29), he recognized this law. Faith, the only faith that God recognizes as anything but mockery, leads to compliance with the law. Hence, if a man’s faith is strong he confidently and faithfully complies with the law of God, the blessings will be abundant. If his faith is weak, his com­pliance will be imperfect and careless and the blessings will be few.

thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf.—Thanks would be given by many for his deliverance, for all who prayed for deliverance would give thanks that deliver­ance had been effected. [No one ever had more of the spirit of gratitude than Paul. In his epistles he frequently exclaims “thanks be unto God.” (Romans 6:17; Romans 7:25; 1 Corinthians 15:57; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 8:16; 2 Corinthians 9:15). And it seems that to him it was very much desired that a chorus of thanksgivings should be ascending constantly unto God. That which accomplished that end gave him much joy. He counted on the fact that all those who had prayed for his deliverance would render thanks unto God for his deliverance and so another worthy outcome of his troubles would be achieved.]

Verse 12

2Co 1:12

2 Corinthians 1:12

For our glorying is this,—[Paul had been exposed to death. He had been in a situation where he had no hope of life. Then the ground of his glorying and of his confidence was that he had lived a holy life. He had not been actuated by fleshly wisdom, but had been animated and guided by the will of God. His aim had been simple, and his purpose holy. He had the testimony of his conscience that his motives had been right, and he had, therefore, no concern about the result. A holy life through Jesus Christ will enable one always to look calmly into the future.]

the testimony of our conscience,—Though he might be slan­dered, yet he had the approval of his conscience which had been enlightened by the word of God, and its decisions were correct. Whatever charges might be brought against him, he knew what had been the aims and purposes of his life; and the consciousness of upright aims, and such a course as the word of God prompted, sustained him. An approving conscience is of inestimable value when we are falsely accused, and when we are in immediate expectation of death.

that in holiness and sincerity of God,—[The holiness and sin­cerity of which God is the author and gives. Paul uses such expressions as “the peace of God” (Philippians 4:7; Colossians 3:15) and “joy of the Holy Spirit,” meaning the peace or joy of which God or the Holy Spirit is the author, and is bestowed through the provisions made in the gospel. There is a specific differ­ence between spiritual graces and moral virtues, although they are called by the same names. Love, joy, peace, long- suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control, when fruits of the Spirit, differ from moral vir­tues designated by the same terms, as many external things, though similar in appearance, often differ in their inward na­ture. A devout Christian and a moral man may be very much alike in the eyes of men, though the one is of God and the other of the flesh. Paul here means that the virtues which distinguished his deportment in Corinth were not merely forms of his own excellence, but “the fruit of the Spirit,” man­ifested in a life sincerely devoted to God.]

not in fleshly wisdom—[Not by the principles of cunning and expediency which often characterize men of the world. As used here, the flesh means the perverted human nature, as it is now distinguished from the spiritual. “But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you.” (Romans 8:9). As human nature has been cor­rupted by and perverted by sin, natural and fleshly necessarily involves more or less of the idea of corruption. The natural man, carnal mind, fleshly wisdom, all imply that idea more or less. The fleshly wisdom, therefore, is that kind of wisdom which the man of the world exhibits, wisdom guided by prin­ciples of self-interest.]

but in the grace of God,—This is in contrast with fleshly wisdom. Paul lived his whole life in the sphere of God’s grace, which led him to straightforwardness and sincere faith­fulness to his promises (verses 17-20), even as God is faithful to his promises.

we behaved ourselves in the world,—Even among the unbe­lievers, both Jews and Gentiles, he always acted as seeing him who is invisible.

and more abundantly to you-ward.—[Since his conduct in his relations to the Corinthians had been of the kind de­scribed, he makes a special claim on them for their prayers. It would have been hypocrisy to ask their prayers for him had he been conscious of pursuing a crooked policy. But con­scious as he was that he had but one object in view through­out his whole apostolic work, though maligned by self-seeking enemies, he could freely ask them to unite with him in prayer for his deliverance from the perils by which he was then sur­rounded, and the anxieties which were well-nigh weighing him down.]

Verse 13

2Co 1:13

2 Corinthians 1:13

For we write no other things unto you, than what ye read or even acknowledge,—The same sincerity and honesty that characterized his life was characteristic of his letters. The meaning of his words was always obvious and plain, and there is no other meaning than that which is on the surface. They had their own knowledge of him to confirm what he said of the purity of his life, and they recognized him as a true apostle of Jesus Christ.

and I hope ye will acknowledge unto the end:—He hoped they would continue to own him as an apostle, and his teach­ings to be the truth of God. [Should this bright hope be real­ized, then in the day of the Lord Jesus it will be the glorying of the Corinthians that they had the apostle Paul as their spir­itual father, and the glorying of Paul that the Corinthians were his spiritual children.]

Verse 14

2Co 1:14

2 Corinthians 1:14

as also ye did acknowledge us in part.—A portion of the church believed him to be sincere and consistent, though there was a faction that denied it.

that we are your glorying, even as ye also are ours,—They had acknowledged him when he first went among them to preach, and then he was honored by them; they gloried in him as a teacher from God, as he gloried in them as the fruit of his apostleship.

in the day of our Lord Jesus.—He would glory in them as the fruits of his labor and the seal of his apostleship. [A sim­ilar passage is: “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of glorying? Are not even ye, before our Lord Jesus at his com­ing? For ye are our glory and our joy.” (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20). In both cases our minds are lifted to that great presence which Paul constantly anticipated; and as we stand there our judgments of each other are seen in their true light. No one will rejoice then that he has made evil out of good, that he has cunningly perverted the simple actions of others into evil de­signs, that he has set the saints at variance; the joy will be for those who have loved and trusted each other, who have borne each other’s infirmities and labored for their healing. The mutual confidence in all the faithful in Christ will then, after all its trial, have its exceeding great reward.]

Verse 15

2Co 1:15

2 Corinthians 1:15

And in this confidence—In reliance on the mutual re­spect and affection which existed between them, he was confi­dent that they would recognize his sincerity, and receive him with joy, and be benefited by his coming.

I was minded to come first unto you,—[His original inten­tion was to go direct from Ephesus to Corinth before going into Macedonia; instead of this, he had gone first to Mace­donia (1 Corinthians 16:5), and would thus see Corinth only once, on his way south, whereas had he gone first to Corinth, he would have paid them a double visit at this time—on his way to as well as from Macedonia.]

that ye might have a second benefit;—A second benefit from his teaching and presence. He probably thought of be­stowing other and greater gifts on them to further aid them in their Christian life. [The importance of the church of Cor­inth, its central position, made it very important that he should give them as much as possible of his personal supervi­sion.]

Verse 16

2Co 1:16

2 Corinthians 1:16

and by you to pass into Macedonia, and again from Mac­edonia to come unto you, and of you to be set forward on my journey unto Judaea.—He desired them to set him forward on his way to Judaea. In those days when there were no estab­lished modes of traveling, it was customary for the friends of the traveler in one city to send him forward to the next, or at least to escort him on the way. (Acts 15:3; Acts 20:38; Acts 21:5; Romans 15:24). This office of friendship Paul was willing and desirous to receive at the hands of the Corinthians. He was not alienated from them. And his purpose to seek this kind­ness from them was proof of his confidence in their affection for him.]

Verse 17

2Co 1:17

2 Corinthians 1:17

When I therefore was thus minded, did I show fickle­ness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh,—Paul had let them know his purpose; had failed to carry it out, and some of them had charged him with fickle­ness, and some of them claimed that he showed he was afraid to come as he had promised, and this failure to fulfil his prom­ise proved that he was not an apostle.

that with me there should be the yea yea and the nay nay?—Their contention was that he would affirm and deny the same thing; that, like an unprincipled politician, there was no dependence to be placed in his word; that he was so head­strong that when he said he would, he would do it whether best or not, that he was so uncertain that he would break a promise from a mere whim; that he had no fixed principle; and that he was variable and whimsical.

Verse 18

2Co 1:18

2 Corinthians 1:18

But as God is faithful, our word toward you is not yea and nay.—His word to them did not rest on fleshly whims, but on the will of God. [The connection between this verse and the following shows that reference is made to the word preached concerning Jesus Christ and he argues that as his preaching to them was in all sincerity, so might naturally be regarded all of his expressed purposes concerning them.]

Verse 19

2Co 1:19

2 Corinthians 1:19

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timothy,—These persons are likely mentioned because Paul refers to his first visit to Corinth when they were his fellow workers. (Acts 18:5).

was not yea and nay, but in him is yea.—Christ was not yea and nay, variable and changeable. His yea meant yea—was unchangeable. [Those who accepted Christ found him to be “the way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6). He had been made unto them “wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Christ had not been manifested among them and experienced by them to be uncertain, but he proved himself to be all that was affirmed of him, and continued to be all they had been led to expect.]

Verse 20

2Co 1:20

2 Corinthians 1:20

For how many soever be the promises of God, in him is the yea:—For all the promises of God are “yea,” are certain, and will be sure unto the end. [The Judaizers, against whom Paul’s reasoning in this epistle is chiefly directed, might see “the yea yea” of the fulfilment of all the promises as “nay” for all the uncircumcised. With Paul the promises of God were all “yea” where Gentiles as well as Jews were embraced. In Christ is full salvation for all who accept him.]

wherefore also through him is the Amen,—Amen here means all the promises which are made to men through Jesus Christ the Redeemer shall be certainly fulfilled. They are promises which are confirmed and established, and which by no means fail; but the blessings are assured only to those who give them the “amen” of a practical acknowledgement.

unto the glory of God through us.—[Paul rejoiced that his ministry and that of his fellow laborers contributed to the glory of God, which is identified with the recognition and ap­propriation by men of his goodness and faithfulness in Jesus Christ.]

Verse 21

2Co 1:21

2 Corinthians 1:21

Now he that establisheth us with you in Christ,—[God had established Paul in Christ. Therefore fickleness, duplic­ity, or deceit was impossible. Observe, too, that he does not assert his truthfulness because of his apostleship, but because of his devotion to Christ, for he associates with himself Sylvanus, Timothy, the Corinthian Christians, and all believers. He does not claim for himself any steadfastness in Christ, or any trustworthiness as dependent upon it, which is not possi­ble to other faithful believers. It is their calling as Christians to be steadfast in Christ. Such steadfastness God is ever seeking to impart through the gospel, and in striving to attain it, every Christian can appeal to him for help. If Christians are letting God have his way with them in this respect, they can be depended upon for conduct in keeping with the good­ness and faithfulness of God, into which they have been con­firmed by him. ]

and anointed us,—Kings, prophets, and priests were anointed when inaugurated in their several offices; to anoint may therefore mean to qualify by divine influence, and thereby to authorize anyone to discharge the duties of any office. In the synagogue at Nazareth the Lord applies to him­self the prophecy of Isaiah 61:1-2—“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor.” (Luke 4:18). In speaking of Jesus at the house of Cornelius, Peter said: “God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power.” (Acts 10:38). Christians are in like manner spoken of as having “an anointing from the Holy One” which abides in them. (1 John 2 20, 27). At the conclusion of Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, those who heard “were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:37-38). In the passage before us, when Paul says, “and anointed us,” he means that the anointing of the Spirit is common to all Christians.

is God;—God it is who confirms and anoints bis people. It is worth noticing that in the New Testament the act of anoint­ing is never ascribed to anyone but God.

Verse 22

2Co 1:22

2 Corinthians 1:22

who also sealed us,—A seal guarantees genuineness, pro­claims ownership, is a warrant of safety, and is an impress of likeness. The abiding presence of the Spirit in the heart is a sign that we belong to God. (2 Timothy 2:19).

and gave us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.—[The earnest is that part which is paid down at the making of the contract, the seal of the bargain, and as a pledge that all that is promised will be paid. This giving of the Spirit in our hearts is, therefore, the seal of God’s promise of everlasting life, and the pledge of the fulfillment of that promise. Clearly, then, in addition to all that was extraordinary and miraculous in con­nection with the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pente­cost, there was a bestowal of the Spirit of God, as an earnest of the heavenly inheritance to which they were now made heirs; and the fullness of the divine fellowship through the Spirit; such as had not been known before. Thus, the three blessings—the anointing, the sealing, and the pledging of the future—are only different forms or representations of the work of the Spirit.]

Verse 23

2Co 1:23

2 Corinthians 1:23

But I call God for a witness upon my soul, that to spare you I forbare to come unto Corinth.—Instead of its being fick­leness or fleshly impulse with him, he calls God to witness that he failed to come directly from Ephesus to Corinth that he might spare them. He delayed his coming to give them opportunity to change their course, and that he through his epistle and the messengers he sent might induce them to change their course before his arrival.

Verse 24

2Co 1:24

2 Corinthians 1:24

Not that we have lordship over your faith,—He did not claim the right or desire to rule or dictate their faith. [To the Galatians he said: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema.” (Galatians 1:8). Faith comes by hearing the word of God. When we believe that, it is not man whom we believe. Therefore faith is not subject to man, but to God alone. The apostles were the instrumen­talities through whom the Holy Spirit spoke; what they spoke they could not change or modify in any respect. What they preached was not under their control. They were as much subject to that which they preached, and as much bound to believe and practice it, as were other men.]

but are helpers of your joy:—He wished to help them reach a condition that his coming would be a source of joy and not of grief to them.

for in faith ye stand fast.—The only ground of acceptance was faith in Christ. Nothing stronger can be said of anyone’s faith than that he stands in it; in it he stands justified before God. “Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom also we have had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand.” (Romans 5:1-2).

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Corinthians 1". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/2-corinthians-1.html.
 
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