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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

2 Corinthians 1

Verse 1

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

In all Achaia (εν οληι τηι Αχαιαιen holēi tēi Achaiāi). 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” (αγιοιςhagiois). 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 (οληιholēi 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 (ευλογητοςeulogētos). From old verb ευλογεωeulogeō 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 τεος και πατηρho theos kai patēr). So rightly, only one article with both substantives as in 2 Peter 1:1. Paul gives the deity of Jesus Christ as our Lord (ΚυριουKuriou), 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 οικτιρμωνho patēr tōn oiktirmōn) and God of all comfort (και τεος πασης παρακλησεωςkai theos pasēs paraklēseōs). Paul adds an item to each word. He is the compassionate Father characterized by mercies (οικτιρμωνoiktirmōn old word from οικτειρωoikteirō to pity, and here in plural, emotions and acts of pity). He is the God of all comfort (παρακλησεωςparaklēseōs old word from παρακαλεωparakaleō 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 παρακαλεωparakaleō and the substantive παρακλησιςparaklēsis 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 (επι πασηι τηι τλιπσει ημωνepi pasēi tēi thlipsei hēmōn). ΤλιπσιςThlipsis is from τλιβωthlibō to press, old and common word, as tribulation is from Latin tribulum (roller). See note on Matthew 13:21 and note on 1 Thessalonians 1:6. The English affliction is Latin afflictio from ad-fligere, to strike on.

That we may be able to comfort (eis to dunasthai hēmas parakalein). Purpose clause with eis 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 (εις το δυνασται ημας παρακαλεινhēs). Genitive case of the relative attracted to that of the antecedent ειςparaklēseōs The case of the relative here could have been either the accusative ηςhēn with the passive verb retained as in Mark 10:38 or the instrumental παρακλησεωςhēi 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 πατηματα του Χριστουta pathēmata tou Christou). Subjective genitive, Christ‘s own sufferings.

Abound unto us (περισσευει εις ημαςperisseuei eis hēmas). 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 Χριστουdia tou Christou). The overflow (περισσευειperisseuei) 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 (ειτεeite) - or (ειτεeite). The alternatives in Paul‘s experience (afflicted τλιβομεταthlibometha comforted παρακαλουμεταparakaloumetha) work out for their good when they are called on to endure like sufferings “which we also suffer” (ων και ημεις πασχομενhōn kai hēmeis paschomen). The relative ωνhōn is attracted from neuter accusative plural αha to genitive case of the antecedent πατηματωνpathēmatōn (sufferings).

Verse 7

Our hope for you (η ελπις ημων υπερ υμωνhē elpis hēmōn huper humōn). The old word ελπιςelpis from ελπιζωelpizō to hope, has the idea of waiting with expectation and patience. So here it is “steadfast” (βεβαιαbebaia stable, fast, from βαινωbainō to plant the feet down).

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


Verse 8

Concerning our affliction (υπερ της τλιπσεως ημωνhuper tēs thlipseōs hēmōn). Manuscripts read also περιperi for in the Koiné{[28928]}ลก υπερhuper (over) often has the idea of περιperi (around). Paul has laid down his philosophy of afflictions and now he cites a specific illustration in his own recent experience.

In Asia (εν Ασιαιen Asiāi). 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” (κατ υπερβολην υπερ δυναμιν εβαρητημενkath' huperbolēn huper dunamin ebarēthēmen). Old verb from βαροςbaros weight, βαρυςbarus weighty. First aorist passive indicative. See note on 1 Corinthians 12:31 for kath' huperbolēn (cf. our hyperbole). It was beyond Paul‘s power to endure if left to himself.

Insomuch that we despaired even of life (hōste exaporēthēnai hēmas kai tou zēin). Usual clause of result with κατ υπερβοληνhōste and the infinitive. First aorist passive infinitive ωστε εχαπορητηναι ημας και του ζηινexaporēthēnai late compound for utter despair (perfective use of ωστεex and at a complete loss, εχαπορητηναιa privative and εχporos way). There seemed no way out.

Of life (αtou zēin). Ablative case of the articular infinitive, of living.

Verse 9

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

The answer of death (το αποκριμα του τανατουto apokrima tou thanatou) This late word from αποκρινομαιapokrinomai 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 (αυτοι εν εαυτοις εσχηκαμενautoi en heautois eschēkamen). Regular perfect of εχωechō 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 εσχηκαeschēka in 2 Corinthians 2:13 (Moulton, Prolegomena, p. 143f.; Robertson, Grammar, p. 896f.).

That we should not trust in ourselves (ινα μη πεποιτοτες ωμεν επ εαυτοιςhina mē pepoithotes ōmen Ephesians' heautois). A further purpose of God in affliction beyond that in 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 πειτωpeithō to persuade.

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

Verse 10

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

Delivered (ερυσατοerusato)

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

On whom we have set our hope (εις ον ηλπικαμενeis hon ēlpikamen). Perfect active indicative of ελπιζωelpizō We still have that hope, emphasized by ετι ρυσεταιeti rusetai (he will still deliver).

Verse 11

Ye also helping together on our behalf (συνυπουργουντων και υμων υπερ ημωνsunupourgountōn kai humōn huper hēmōn). Genitive absolute with present active participle of late compound verb (συνsun and υπουργεωhupourgeō for υποhupo and εργονergon). Paul relied on God and felt the need of the prayer of God‘s people.

By means of many (εκ πολλων προσωπωνek pollōn prosōpōn). ΠροσωπονProsōpon means face (προσ οπςprosιναευχαριστητηιops). 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 (δια πολλονhinȧ̇eucharistēthēi first aorist passive subjunctive) for the gift to us by means of many (dia pollon). It is indeed a difficult sentence to understand.

Verse 12

Glorying (καυχησιςkauchēsis). Act of glorying, while in 2 Corinthians 1:14 καυχημαkauchēma is the thing boasted of.

The testimony of our conscience (το μαρτυριον της συνειδησεως ημωνto marturion tēs suneidēseōs hēmōn). In apposition with καυχησιςkauchēsis

Sincerity of God (ειλικρινειαι του τεουeilikrineiāi tou theou). Like δικαιοσυνη τεουdikaiosunē theou (Romans 1:17; Romans 3:21), the God-kind of righteousness. So the God-kind (genitive case) of sincerity. Late word from ειλικρινηςeilikrinēs See note on 1 Corinthians 5:8.

Not in fleshly wisdom (ouk en sophiāi sarkikēi). See 1 Corinthians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 2:4, 1 Corinthians 2:13. Paul uses sarkikos five times and it occurs only twice elsewhere in N.T. See note on 1 Corinthians 3:3.

We behaved ourselves (ουκ εν σοπιαι σαρκικηιanestraphēmen). Second aorist passive indicative of anastrephō 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 (perissoterōs pros humas). They had more abundant opportunity to observe how scrupulous Paul was (Acts 18:11).

Verse 13

Than what ye read (αλλ η α αναγινωσκετεall' ē ha anaginōskete). Note comparative conjunction η (than) after αλλall' and that after αλλαalla (other things, same word in reality), “other than.” Read in Greek (αναγινωσκωanaginōskō) is knowing again, recognizing. See note on Acts 8:30.

Or even acknowledge (ē kai epiginōskete). Paul is fond of such a play on words (anaginōsketeη και επιγινωσκετεepiginōskete) or paronomasia. Does he mean “read between the lines,” as we say, by the use of αναγινωσκετε επιγινωσκετεepi (additional knowledge)?

Unto the end (επιheōs telous). 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 (κατως και επεγνωτε ημας απο μερουςkathōs kai epegnōte hēmas apo merous). Gracious acknowledgment (second aorist active indicative of επιγνωσκωepignōskō) 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 (πεποιτησειpepoithēsei). 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 ελτεινeboulomēn elthein). Imperfect, I was wishing to come, picturing his former state of mind.

Before unto you (προτερον προς υμαςproteron pros humas). This was his former plan (προτερονproteron) while in Ephesus to go to Achaia directly from Ephesus. This he confesses in 2 Corinthians 1:16 “and by you to pass into Macedonia.”

That ye might have a second benefit (ινα δευτεραν χαριν σχητεhina deuteran charin schēte). Or second “joy” if we accept χαρανcharan 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 (και παλινkai palin). 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 (υπ υμων προπεμπτηναιhuph' humōn propemphthēnai). First aorist passive infinitive of προπεμπωpropempō 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? (μητι αρα τηι ελαπριαιmēti ara tēi elaphriāi̇). An indignant negative answer is called for by μητιmēti The instrumental case of ελαπριαιelaphriāi is regular after εχρησαμηνechrēsamēn from χραομαιchraomai to use. ΕλαπριαElaphria is a late word for levity from the old adjective, ελαπροςelaphros light, agile (2 Corinthians 10:17; Matthew 11:30). Here only in N.T.

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

Yea yea (Ναι ναιNai nai)

- nay nay (ου ουou ou). 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 ναι και ουouk estin nai kai ou). 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 ναι και ουouk egeneto nai kai ou). “Did not become Yes and No.”

But in him is yea (αλλα Ναι εν αυτωι γεγονενalla Nai en autōi gegonen). 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 αυτωι το Ναιen autōi to Nai). Supply γεγονενgegonen from the preceding sentence, “In him was the Yea come true.” This applies to all God‘s promises.

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

Verse 21

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

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

Verse 22

Sealed us (σπραγισαμενος ημαςsphragisamenos hēmas). From σπραγιζωsphragizō 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 πνευματοςton arrabōna tou pneumatos). A word of Semitic origin (possibly Phoenician) and spelled both αραβωνarabōn and αρραβωνarrabōn 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 τεον επικαλουμαι επι την εμην πσυχηνEgō de martura ton theon epikaloumai epi tēn emēn psuchēn). 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; Philemon 1:8).

To spare you (πειδομενος υμωνpheidomenos humōn). Present middle participle (causal rather than final) of πειδομαιpheidomai old verb, to hold back, to spare. Ablative case υμωνhumōn f0).

Verse 24

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

Helpers of your joy (συνεργοι της χαρας υμωνsunergoi tēs charas humōn). Corinthians-workers (1 Corinthians 3:8) in your joy. A delicate correction to present misapprehension (επανορτωσιςepanorthōsis).

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.