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the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 7

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

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Verse 1

2Co 7:1

2 Corinthians 7:1

Having therefore these promises, beloved,—Having the promise of God’s indwelling, his favors, and that they should be his sons and daughters, he exhorts them to cleanse them­selves from all defilement.

let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spir­it,—Our flesh is defiled when our hands and feet and bodies do the bidding of sin; our spirits, when we contemplate sin with pleasure. Paul warns his readers, not only against all actual contact with sensuality, but also against that consent of the spirit which often defiles the inner life even where there is no outward sin. [The work of purification is frequently re­ferred to as the work of God (Acts 15:9; Eph. 5; 26), but it is plainly taught that this can be done only as those who are cleansed cooperate with him in its accomplishment, for the ex­hortation is; “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13). If God’s love as manifested through Christ does not arouse and direct us; if it does not create in us the desire for holiness, and the perseverance to attain it, it is because we refuse to hear and obey him.]

perfecting holiness—We must go forward in faithful obedi­ence to perfect ourselves in a holy life. [This does not mean simply to practice, but to complete, to carry to perfection.]

in the fear of God.—To do these things we must look to God with reverence and fear. [All contact with impurity is in us a defilement of the temple of God and an insult to the ma­jesty of him who dwells therein. Therefore, fear as well as hope should prompt us to abstain from all sin.]

Verses 1-16

2Co 7:

2 Corinthians 7:5

For even when we were come into Macedonia our flesh had no relief,—Here he resumes the narrative which was bro­ken off at 2:13. The sudden thanksgiving there is explained here. Titus, whom he had expected to meet him at Troas, had arrived and brought with him cheering news. He was sadly in need of it. His flesh had no rest until he received the news from Corinth, so that up to that moment the strain had continued. [Flesh as used here is not the seat of sin, but the seat of natural emotions, as dread, anxiety, and fear.]

but we were afflicted on every side;—What the troubles were which surrounded him he does not say, but he implies that they were of two kinds.

without were fightings, within were fears.—The fights with­out were probably assaults upon himself, or upon the churches, of the nature of persecution; the fears within, his anxieties about how his letter would be received at Corinth. The condition of the church there might well give him dark forebodings.

Verse 2

2Co 7:2

2 Corinthians 7:2

Open your hearts to us:—This refers to the request in 6: 11-13, and he admonishes them to enlarge their hearts with love toward him, and to accept his instructions.

we wronged no man,—He had led no man into sin. [These sudden and unexplained denials must have been prompted by charges against him. Some might have thought that by his strict moral teaching, which required abandonment of idolatry and all unjust gains, he had inflicted loss on his readers. Apparently such an accusation had been laid to his charge.]

we corrupted no man,—The word used here means that he had corrupted no one’s morals by his example or arts of se­duction; or that he had corrupted no man’s faith by false teaching.

we took advantage of no man.—He had taken advantage of no man to make gain or to defraud. He was specially careful to avoid all occasion of all suspicion as to the disposition of the money which he had raised from the churches for the re­lief of the destitute disciples in Judea (2 Corinthians 8:10; 2 Corinthians 8:20), and it is quite likely that the false teachers were ready to insinuate that he appropriated the money to his own use (2 Corinthians 12:16-17).

Verse 3

2Co 7:3

2 Corinthians 7:3

I say it not to condemn you:—He did not tell them this to reproach or condemn them for having been estranged in their feelings for him, but because he loved them and wished their highest good, and where there is such abundance of affection there is no room for condemnation.

for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die to­gether and live together.—He had already told them that his love for them was so earnest and so strong that his heart yearned to live and die with them. So he desired their confi­dence and love. [To have persons so in one’s heart that he is ready to die with them, that he has no desire to live without them is one of the strongest tokens of love.]

Verse 4

2Co 7:4

2 Corinthians 7:4

Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying on your behalf:—Because he loved them he could speak freely to them. He had boasted of them to others. He had great rejoicing over them in view of the course they had pursued and of the report he had now received concerning them.

I am filled with comfort, I overflow with joy in all our afflic­tion.—They had so changed their course that it filled his heart with comfort, and in the deep afflictions that were upon him, gave him joy. Titus, whom he had sent to see how they were, had returned and brought a good report.

Verse 6

2Co 7:6

2 Corinthians 7:6

Nevertheless he that comforteth the lowly, even God, comforted us by the coming of Titus;—While in this harassed state of mind. God, who remembers to comfort the dejected and dispirited, comforted him by the coming of Titus who brought a good report from Corinth.

Verse 7

2Co 7:7

2 Corinthians 7:7

and not by his coming only, but also by the comfort where­with he was comforted in you,—Titus had apparently gone himself with a sad and apprehensive heart to Corinth; he had been away longer than he had anticipated, and in the interval Paul’s anxiety had risen to anguish; but in Corinth his recep­tion had been unexpectedly favorable, and when he returned he was able to cheer Paul with a consolation which had al­ready gladdened his own heart.

while he told us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced yet more.—Paul was not only com­forted, his sorrow had been turned into joy, as he heard Titus tell of the longing of the Corinthians to see him, and their mourning over the pain they had given him by retaining in their fellowship the incestuous man, and of their eagerness to make amends tor their conduct, which caused him to rejoice the more. [The word your has a certain emphasis which sug­gests a contrast. Before Titus went to Corinth, it was Paul who had been anxious to see them, who had mourned over their moral laxity, who had been passionately interested in cleansing the church he had founded; now it is they who are full of longing to see him, of grief, and moral earnestness; and it is this which explains his joy. The conflict between the powers of righteousness in one great passionate soul and the powers of evil in a lax and fickle community has ended in favor of the righteous; Paul’s vehemence has prevailed against Corinthian indifference, and made it vehement in all good affections, and he rejoices now in the joy of his Lord.]

Verse 8

2Co 7:8

2 Corinthians 7:8

For though I made you sorry with my epistle, I do not regret it: though I did regret it (for I see that that epistle made you sorry, though but for a season),—This explains why he rejoiced on account of their sorrow. It was not that they sorrowed, but that their sorrow was a godly sort that led them to repentance. The significance of this report from them by Titus was not in the fact of their hurt, but in the fact of their repentance. His epistle in spite of his fears had pro­duced the desired effect.

Verse 9

2Co 7:9

2 Corinthians 7:9

I now rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye were made sorry unto repentance; for ye were made sorry after a godly sort,—[Their repentance was a change of will produced by sorrow for sin which led to a reformation. A change of will produced by other considerations than sorrow for sin, or which fails to produce a change of conduct, is cer­tainly not the repentance of which the apostle spoke.]

that ye might suffer loss by us in nothing.—The infliction of pain is, for the time, a damage or loss, unless it be compen­sated for by subsequent advantage, but instead of producing any injury, the reproof had resulted in the greatest spiritual good. Note the loving interest in these words concerning the temporary pain as having no right to occasion the least dis­tress unless there was absolute need.

Verse 10

2Co 7:10

2 Corinthians 7:10

For godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation,—A godly sorrow is produced by faith in God, a sorrow that seeks to please God, to turn from sin to God, so leads to salvation. [God sees sin not only in its consequences, but in itself—a thing infinitely evil, even if the consequences were happiness to the guilty instead of misery. So sorrow for sin is to see sin as God sees it. It is when we let the light of God’s truth shine into our hearts and consciences that we may have wholesome sorrow that worketh repentance and salvation and life.]

a repentance which bringeth no regret:—Such a repentance is not to be regretted as it brings only good.

but the sorrow of the world worketh death.—The sorrow of the world is a sorrow from worldly considerations, fleshly mo­tives. This brings no salvation, but only death. A man steals, he may sorrow for it because he had dishonored God and done wrong to his fellow man. This sorrow would lead to repentance toward God and undo the wrong to man and would save him; but he might sorrow from a worldly motive because it brought on him disgrace, and he might sorrow and cease to steal, and even make restitution in order to gain a good name that he might defraud others. This is worldly sor­row that needs to be turned from because it works death. [Moral and spiritual death, a death which being put in con­trast with salvation as the fruit of genuine repentance means eternal death. In the case of many beside Judas, when the sor­row of the world works despair, existence is felt to be intoler­able, and self-destruction sends them to their own place. (Acts 1:25).]

Verse 11

2Co 7:11

2 Corinthians 7:11

For behold, this selfsame thing, that ye were made sorry after a godly sort,—This is an appeal to their own case to show the happy effects of godly sorrow.

what earnest care it wrought in you,—It led them to an ear­nest care as to their course, which stands in striking contrast with their former indifference.

yea what clearing of yourselves,—They showed great solici­tude to free themselves, as far as could be done from blame, and to remove the evil from among them.

yea what indignation,—Indignation that such a thing should have taken place among themselves, and that they had toler­ated it so long.

yea what fear,—Fear of what measures Paul might take, if he should come among them “with a rod.” (1 Corinthians 4:21).

yea what longing,—[They dreaded his chastisements, yet longed for his coming, whether to receive the merited correc­tion or a restoration to favor through contrition.]

yea what zeal,—They set about the work in great earnest­ness to make up for their past indifference.

yea what avenging!—The avenging of those who had led them into wrong.

In everything ye approved yourselves to be pure in the mat­ter.—In everything they had shown that they had repented, and were forgiven in the matter. [Not free from blame, but thoroughly in earnest, straightforward and thoroughgoing in the case. This passage is instructive as presenting a clear ex­hibition of the intimate nature of the fellowship in Christ. One member committed an offense. The godly sorrow which the apostle describes was the sorrow of the church. The ef­fects which that sorrow wrought was common to the church as such. The believers are one body in Christ Jesus, and “we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and severally members one of another” (Romans 12:5), “and whether one member suffereth, all the members suffer with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26), is a matter of common experience.]

Verse 12

2Co 7:12

2 Corinthians 7:12

So although I wrote unto you, I wrote not for his cause that did the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered the wrong,—Among expositors it is a question as to whether the refer­ence is to Paul and his enemy, or to the incestuous man and his father mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5:1. I think it quite likely re­fers to the incestuous man.

but that your earnest care for us might be made manifest unto you in the sight of God.—He did not write to them out of feeling toward him that did the wrong, nor for him that suffered the wrong; but that his earnest care, that they might stand right before God, might be manifest. On their standing before God, their eternal salvation depended. The personal feeling of himself, or others, compared with this was a small matter.

Verse 13

2Co 7:13

2 Corinthians 7:13

Therefore we have been comforted:—Inasmuch as they heard him and turned to God and found comfort, he had been comforted in them.

and in our comfort we joyed the more exceedingly for the joy of Titus, because his spirit hath been refreshed by you all.—Paul’s joy had been enhanced by the joy of Titus, whose spirit instead of being depressed by his visit to them, as he feared, was refreshed and strengthened by their course. [Evidently Titus had accepted Paul’s commission with misgiv­ings. He had spoken encouragingly to Titus of the Corin­thians, and he is delighted that their reception of him had shown that his confidence was justified.]

Verse 14

2Co 7:14

2 Corinthians 7:14

For if in anything I have gloried to him on your behalf, I was not put to shame;—He had praised them to Titus, and he had not been put to shame by their showing that they were not worthy of the praise he had bestowed upon them. [He cannot refrain from a passing allusion to the charges of pre­varication discussed in the first chapter (verses 15-19); he not only tells the truth about them as Titus had seen, but he has always told the truth to them.]

but as we spake all things to you in truth,—All he had said concerning them had proved to be true.

so our glorying also which I made before Titus was found to be truth.—[Though spoken incidentally, yet the revelation to the Corinthians that Paul had spoken of them in terms of commendation must have convinced them of his love for them. This is one of the objects, as appears from the whole epistle, he had much at heart.]

Verse 15

2Co 7:15

2 Corinthians 7:15

And his affection is more abundantly toward you, while he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.—And the true spiritual love of Titus for them was increased when he remembered how gladly they received him with fear and trembling lest they had departed from the word of God.

Verse 16

2Co 7:16

2 Corinthians 7:16

I rejoice that in everything I am of good courage con­cerning you.—His confidence in them as Christians had been completely restored by Titus and that caused him true joy.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Corinthians 7". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/2-corinthians-7.html.
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