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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 1

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New TestamentRobertson's Word Pictures

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Verse 1

And Timothy (κα Τιμοθεος). Timothy is with Paul, having been sent on to Macedonia from Ephesus (Acts 19:22). He is in no sense co-author any more than Sosthenes was in 1 Corinthians 1:1.

In all Achaia (εν ολη τη Αχαια). The Romans divided Greece into two provinces (Achaia and Macedonia). Macedonia included also Illyricum, Epirus, and Thessaly. Achaia was all of Greece south of this (both Attica and the Peloponnesus). The restored Corinth was made the capital of Achaia where the pro-consul resided (Acts 18:12). He does not mention other churches in Achaia outside of the one in Corinth, but only "saints" (αγιοις). Athens was in Achaia, but it is not clear that there was as yet a church there, though some converts had been won (Acts 17:34), and there was a church in Cenchreae, the eastern port of Corinth (Romans 16:1). Paul in 2 Corinthians 9:2 speaks of Achaia and Macedonia together. His language here would seem to cover the whole (ολη, all) of Achaia in his scope and not merely the environment around Corinth.

Verse 2

Identical with 1 Corinthians 1:3 which see.

Verse 3

Blessed (ευλογητος). From old verb ευλογεω, to speak well of, but late verbal in LXX and Philo. Used of men in Genesis 24:31, but only of God in N.T. as in Luke 1:68 and chiefly in Paul (2 Corinthians 11:31; Romans 1:25). Paul has no thanksgiving or prayer as in 1 Corinthians 1:4-9, but he finds his basis for gratitude in God, not in them.

The God and Father (ο θεος κα πατηρ). So rightly, only one article with both substantives as in 2 Peter 1:1. Paul gives the deity of Jesus Christ as our Lord (Κυριου), but he does not hesitate to use the language here as it occurs. See 1 Peter 1:3; Ephesians 1:3 where the language is identical with that here.

The father of mercies (ο πατηρ των οικτιρμων) and God of all comfort (κα θεος πασης παρακλησεως). Paul adds an item to each word. He is the compassionate Father characterized by mercies (οικτιρμων, old word from οικτειρω, to pity, and here in plural, emotions and acts of pity). He is the God of all comfort (παρακλησεως, old word from παρακαλεω, to call to one's side, common with Paul). Paul has already used it of God who gave eternal comfort (2 Thessalonians 2:16). The English word comfort is from the Latin confortis (brave together). The word used by Jesus of the Holy Spirit as the Comforter or Paraklete is this very word (John 14:16; John 16:7). Paul makes rich use of the verb παρακαλεω and the substantive παρακλησις in this passage (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). He urges all sorrowing and troubled hearts to find strength in God.

Verse 4

In all our affliction (επ παση τη θλιψε ημων). Θλιψις is from θλιβω, to press, old and common word, as tribulation is from Latin tribulum (roller). See on Matthew 13:21 and 1 Thessalonians 1:6. The English affliction is Latin afflictio from ad-fligere, to strike on.

That we may be able to comfort (εις το δυνασθα ημας παρακαλειν). Purpose clause with εις and the articular infinitive with the accusative of general reference, a common idiom. Paul here gives the purpose of affliction in the preacher's life, in any Christian's life, to qualify him for ministry to others. Otherwise it will be professional and perfunctory.

Wherewith (ης). Genitive case of the relative attracted to that of the antecedent παρακλησεως. The case of the relative here could have been either the accusative ην with the passive verb retained as in Mark 10:38 or the instrumental η. Either is perfectly good Greek (cf. Ephesians 1:6; Ephesians 4:1). Personal experience of God's comfort is necessary before we can pass it on to others.

Verse 5

The sufferings of Christ (τα παθηματα του Χριστου). Subjective genitive, Christ's own sufferings.

Abound unto us (περισσευε εις ημας). Overflow unto us so that we suffer like sufferings and become fellow sufferers with Christ (2 Corinthians 4:10; Romans 8:17; Philippians 3:10; Colossians 1:24).

Through Christ (δια του Χριστου). The overflow (περισσευε) of comfort comes also through Christ. Is Paul thinking of how some of the Jewish Christians in Corinth have become reconciled with him through Christ? Partnership with Christ in suffering brings partnership in glory also (Romans 8:17; 1 Peter 4:13).

Verse 6

Whether (ειτε)

--or (ειτε). The alternatives in Paul's experience (afflicted θλιβομεθα, comforted παρακαλουμεθα) work out for their good when they are called on to endure like sufferings "which we also suffer" (ων κα ημεις πασχομεν). The relative ων is attracted from neuter accusative plural α to genitive case of the antecedent παθηματων (sufferings).

Verse 7

Our hope for you (η ελπις ημων υπερ υμων). The old word ελπις, from ελπιζω, to hope, has the idea of waiting with expectation and patience. So here it is "steadfast" (βεβαια, stable, fast, from βαινω, to plant the feet down).

Partakers (κοινωνο). Partners as in Luke 5:10.

Verse 8

Concerning our affliction (υπερ της θλιψεως ημων). Manuscripts read also περ for in the Koine υπερ (over) often has the idea of περ (around). Paul has laid down his philosophy of afflictions and now he cites a specific illustration in his own recent experience.

In Asia (εν Ασια). Probably in Ephesus, but what it was we do not know whether sickness or peril. We do know that the disciples and the Asiarchs would not allow Paul to face the mob in the amphitheatre gathered by Demetrius (Acts 20:30). In Romans 16:4 Paul says that Prisca and Aquila laid down their necks for him, risked their very lives for him. It may have been a later plot to kill Paul that hastened his departure from Ephesus (Acts 20:1). He had a trial so great that "we were weighed down exceedingly beyond our power" (καθ' υπερβολην υπερ δυναμιν εβαρηθημεν). Old verb from βαρος, weight, βαρυς, weighty. First aorist passive indicative. See on 1 Corinthians 12:31 for καθ' υπερβολην (cf. our hyperbole). It was beyond Paul's power to endure if left to himself.

Insomuch that we despaired even of life (ωστε εξαπορηθηνα ημας κα του ζηιν). Usual clause of result with ωστε and the infinitive. First aorist passive infinitive εξαπορηθηνα, late compound for utter despair (perfective use of εξ and at a complete loss, α privative and πορος, way). There seemed no way out.

Of life (του ζηιν). Ablative case of the articular infinitive, of living.

Verse 9

Yea (αλλα). Confirmatory use as in 2 Corinthians 7:11, rather than adversative.

The answer of death (το αποκριμα του θανατου) This late word from αποκρινομα, to reply, occurs nowhere else in N.T., but is in Josephus, Polybius, inscriptions and papyri (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 257; Moulton and Milligan's Vocabulary), and always in the sense of decision or judgment rendered. But Vulgate renders it by responsum and that idea suits best here, unless Paul conceives God as rendering the decision of death.

We ourselves have had within ourselves (αυτο εν εαυτοις εσχηκαμεν). Regular perfect of εχω, to have. And still have the vivid recollection of that experience. For this lively dramatic use of the present perfect indicative for a past experience see also εσχηκα in 2 Corinthians 2:13 (Moulton, Prolegomena, p. 143f.; Robertson, Grammar, p. 896f.).

That we should not trust in ourselves (ινα μη πεποιθοτες ωμεν εφ' εαυτοις). A further purpose of God in affliction beyond that in verse 2 Corinthians 1:4. "This dreadful trial was sent to him in order to give him a precious spiritual lesson (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)" (Robertson and Plummer). Note periphrastic perfect active subjunctive of πειθω, to persuade.

In (επ), upon, both ourselves and God.

Verse 10

Out of so great a death (εκ τηλικουτου θανατου). He had considered himself as good as dead.

Delivered (ερυσατο)

--will deliver (ρυσετα). Old verb ρυω, middle, ρυομα, draw oneself, as out of a pit, rescue. So Paul faces death without fear.

On whom we have set our hope (εις ον ηλπικαμεν). Perfect active indicative of ελπιζω. We still have that hope, emphasized by ετ ρυσετα (he will still deliver).

Verse 11

Ye also helping together on our behalf (συνυπουργουντων κα υμων υπερ ημων). Genitive absolute with present active participle of late compound verb (συν and υπουργεω for υπο and εργον). Paul relied on God and felt the need of the prayer of God's people.

By means of many (εκ πολλων προσωπων). Προσωπον means face (προσ, οπς). The word is common in all Greek. The papyri use it for face, appearance, person. It occurs twelve times in II Corinthians. It certainly means face in eight of them (2 Corinthians 3:7; 2 Corinthians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Corinthians 8:24; 2 Corinthians 10:1; 2 Corinthians 10:7; 2 Corinthians 11:20). In 2 Corinthians 5:12 it means outward appearance. It may mean face or person here, 2 Corinthians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 4:6. It is more pictorial to take it here as face "that out of many upturned faces" thanks may be given (ινα--ευχαριστηθη first aorist passive subjunctive) for the gift to us by means of many (δια πολλον). It is indeed a difficult sentence to understand.

Verse 12

Glorying (καυχησις). Act of glorying, while in verse 2 Corinthians 1:14 καυχημα is the thing boasted of.

The testimony of our conscience (το μαρτυριον της συνειδησεως ημων). In apposition with καυχησις.

Sincerity of God (ειλικρινεια του θεου). Like δικαιοσυνη θεου (Romans 1:17; Romans 3:21), the God-kind of righteousness. So the God-kind (genitive case) of sincerity. Late word from ειλικρινης. See on 1 Corinthians 5:8.

Not in fleshly wisdom (ουκ εν σοφια σαρκικη). See on 1 Corinthians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 2:4; 1 Corinthians 2:13. Paul uses σαρκικος five times and it occurs only twice elsewhere in N.T. See on 1 Corinthians 3:3.

We behaved ourselves (ανεστραφημεν). Second aorist passive indicative of αναστρεφω, old verb, to turn back, to turn back and forth, to walk. Here the passive is used as in late Greek as if middle.

More abundantly to you-ward (περισσοτερως προς υμας). They had more abundant opportunity to observe how scrupulous Paul was (Acts 18:11).

Verse 13

Than what ye read (αλλ' η α αναγινωσκετε). Note comparative conjunction η (than) after αλλ' and that after αλλα (other things, same word in reality), "other than." Read in Greek (αναγινωσκω) is knowing again, recognizing. See on Acts 8:30.

Or even acknowledge (η κα επιγινωσκετε). Paul is fond of such a play on words (αναγινωσκετε, επιγινωσκετε) or paronomasia. Does he mean "read between the lines," as we say, by the use of επ (additional knowledge)?

Unto the end (εως τελους). The report of Titus showed that the majority now at last understood Paul. He hopes that it will last (1 Corinthians 1:8).

Verse 14

As also ye did acknowledge us in part (καθως κα επεγνωτε ημας απο μερους). Gracious acknowledgment (second aorist active indicative of επιγνωσκω) to the original Pauline party (1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:4) that he had seemed to care so little for them. And now in his hour of victory he shows that, if he is their ground of glorying, they are his also (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:19; Philippians 2:16).

Verse 15

Confidence (πεποιθησε). This late word (LXX Philo, Josephus) is condemned by the Atticists, but Paul uses it a half dozen times (2 Corinthians 3:4 also).

I was minded to come (εβουλομην ελθειν). Imperfect, I was wishing to come, picturing his former state of mind.

Before unto you (προτερον προς υμας). This was his former plan (προτερον) while in Ephesus to go to Achaia directly from Ephesus. This he confesses in verse 2 Corinthians 1:16 "and by you to pass into Macedonia."

That ye might have a second benefit (ινα δευτεραν χαριν σχητε). Or second "joy" if we accept χαραν with Westcott and Hort. This would be a real second blessing (or joy) if they should have two visits from Paul.

Verse 16

And again (κα παλιν). This would have been the second benefit or joy. But he changed his plans and did not make that trip directly to Corinth, but came on to Macedonia first (Acts 19:21; Acts 20:1; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 2:12).

To be set forward by you (υφ' υμων προπεμφθηνα). First aorist passive infinitive of προπεμπω. Paul uses this same verb in Romans 15:24 for the same service by the Roman Christians on his proposed trip to Spain. The Corinthians, especially the anti-Pauline party, took advantage of Paul's change of plans to criticize him sharply for vacillation and flippancy. How easy it is to find fault with the preacher! So Paul has to explain his conduct.

Verse 17

Did I shew fickleness? (μητ αρα τη ελαφριαι?). An indignant negative answer is called for by μητ. The instrumental case of ελαφρια is regular after εχρησαμην from χραομα, to use. Ελαφρια is a late word for levity from the old adjective, ελαφρος, light, agile (2 Corinthians 10:17; Matthew 11:30). Here only in N.T.

Purpose (βουλευομα). Paul raises the question of fickleness about any of his plans.

Yea yea (Να να)

--nay nay (ου ου). See a similar repetition in Matthew 5:37. It is plain in James 5:12 where "the yea" is "yea" and "the nay" is "nay." That seems to be Paul's meaning here, "that the Yea may be yea and the Nay may be nay."

Verse 18

Is not yea and nay (ουκ εστιν να κα ου). He is not a Yes and No man, saying Yes and meaning or acting No. Paul calls God to witness on this point.

Verse 19

Was not Yea and Nay (ουκ εγενετο να κα ου). "Did not become Yes and No."

But in him is yea (αλλα Να εν αυτω γεγονεν). Rather, "But in him Yes has become yes," has proved true. So Paul appeals to the life of Christ to sustain his own veracity.

Verse 20

In him is the yea (εν αυτω το Να). Supply γεγονεν from the preceding sentence, "In him was the Yea come true." This applies to all God's promises.

The Amen (το Αμην). In public worship (1 Corinthians 14:16).

Verse 21

Establishes (βεβαιων). Present active participle from βεβαιος, firm. An apt metaphor in Corinth where confirmation of a bargain often took place (βεβαιωσις) as Deissmann shows (Bible Studies, p. 109) and as verse 2 Corinthians 1:22 makes plain.

Anointed (χρισας). From χριω, to anoint, old verb, to consecrate, with the Holy Spirit here as in 1 John 2:20.

Verse 22

Sealed us (σφραγισαμενος ημας). From σφραγιζω old verb, common in LXX and papyri for setting a seal to prevent opening (Daniel 6:17), in place of signature (1 Kings 21:18). Papyri examples show a wide legal use to give validity to documents, to guarantee genuineness of articles as sealing sacks and chests, etc. (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 238; Moulton and Milligan's Vocabulary).

The earnest of the Spirit (τον αρραβωνα του πνευματος). A word of Semitic origin (possibly Phoenician) and spelled both αραβων and αρραβων. It is common in the papyri as earnest money in a purchase for a cow or for a wife (a dowry). In N.T. only here; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:14. It is part payment on the total obligation and we use the very expression today, "earnest money." It is God, says Paul, who has done all this for us and God is Paul's pledge that he is sincere. He will come to Corinth in due time. This earnest of the Spirit in our hearts is the witness of the Spirit that we are God's.

Verse 23

But I call God for a witness upon my soul (Εγω δε μαρτυρα τον θεον επικαλουμα επ την εμην ψυχην). Solemn attestation, "calling heaven to witness is frequent in literature from Homer onwards" (Plummer). Thus God is described above (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:10; Romans 1:9; Galatians 1:20; Philippians 1:8).

To spare you (φειδομενος υμων). Present middle participle (causal rather than final) of φειδομα, old verb, to hold back, to spare. Ablative case υμων.

Verse 24

We have lordship over (κυριευομεν). Old verb from κυριος, to be lord of or over. See Luke 22:25.

Helpers of your joy (συνεργο της χαρας υμων). Co-workers (1 Corinthians 3:8) in your joy. A delicate correction to present misapprehension (επανορθωσις).

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/2-corinthians-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.
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