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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

2 Corinthians 7

Verse 1

These promises (ταυτας τας επαγγελιας). So many and so precious (2 Peter 2:4 επαγγελματα; Hebrews 11:39).

Let us cleanse ourselves (καθαρισωμεν εαυτους). Old Greek used καθαιρω (in N.T. only in John 15:2, to prune). In Koine καθαριζω occurs in inscriptions for ceremonial cleansing (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 216f.). Paul includes himself in this volitive aorist subjunctive.

From all defilement (απο παντος μολυσμου). Ablative alone would have done, but with απο it is plainer as in Hebrews 9:14. Μολυσμος is a late word from μολυνω, to stain (see on 1 Corinthians 8:7), to pollute. In the LXX, Plutarch, Josephus. It includes all sorts of filthiness, physical, moral, mental, ceremonial, "of flesh and spirit." Missionaries in China and India can appreciate the atmosphere of pollution in Corinth, for instance.

Perfecting holiness (επιτελουντες αγιοσυνην). Not merely negative goodness (cleansing), but aggressive and progressive (present tense of επιτελεω) holiness, not a sudden attainment of complete holiness, but a continuous process (1 Thessalonians 3:13; Romans 1:4; Romans 1:6).

Verse 2

Open your hearts to us (χωρησατε ημας). Old verb (from χωρος, place), to leave a space, to make a space for, and transitive here as in Matthew 19:11. He wishes no further στενοχωρια, tightness of heart, in them (2 Corinthians 6:12). "Make room for us in your hearts." He makes this plea to all, even the stubborn minority.

We wronged no man (ουδενα ηδικησαμεν). A thing that every preacher ought to be able to say. Cf. 2 Corinthians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:3; Acts 20:26.

We corrupted no man (ουδενα εφθειραμεν). We ruined no one. "It may refer to money, or morals, or doctrine" (Plummer). He is answering the Judaizers.

We took advantage of no man (ουδενα επλεονεκτησαμεν). That charge was made in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 4:6) which see for this late verb and also on 2 Corinthians 2:11. He got the best of (note πλεον more in the root) no one in any evil way.

Verse 3

Not to condemn you (προς κατακρισιν ου). "Not for condemnation." Late word from κατακρινω, found in Vettius Valens, and here only in N.T.

To die together and live together (εις το συναποθανειν κα συνζηιν). "For the dying together (second aorist ingressive active infinitive of συναποθνησκω) and living together (present active infinitive)." One article (το) with both infinitives. You are in our hearts to share death and life.

Verse 4

I overflow with joy in all our affliction (υπερπερισσευομα τη χαρα επ παση τη θλιψε ημων). A thoroughly Pauline sentiment. Περισσευω means to overflow, as we have seen. Hυπερ περισσευω (late word, so far only here and Byzantine writers) is to have a regular flood. Vulgate superabundo.

Verse 5

When we had come (ελθοντων ημων). Genitive absolute with second aorist active participle of ερχομα. Paul now returns to the incident mentioned in 2 Corinthians 2:12 before the long digression on the glory of the ministry.

Had no relief (ουδεμιαν εσχηκεν ανεσιν). Perfect active indicative precisely as in 2 Corinthians 2:13 which see, "has had no relief" (dramatic perfect).

Afflicted (θλιβομενο). Present passive participle of θλιβω as in 2 Corinthians 4:8, but with anacoluthon, for the nominative case agrees not with the genitive ημων nor with the accusative ημας in verse 2 Corinthians 7:6. It is used as if a principal verb as in 2 Corinthians 9:11; 2 Corinthians 11:6; Romans 12:16 (Moulton, Prolegomena, p. 182; Robertson, Grammar, pp. 1132-35).

Without were fightings (εξωθεν μαχα). Asyndeton and no copula, a parenthesis also in structure. Perhaps pagan adversaries in Macedonia (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:32).

Within were fears (εσωθεν φοβο). Same construction. "Mental perturbations" (Augustine) as in 2 Corinthians 11:28.

Verse 6

Cormforteth (παρακαλων). See on 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 for this word.

The lowly (τους ταπεινους). See on Matthew 11:29. Literally, low on the ground in old sense (Ezekiel 17:24). Low in condition as here; James 1:9. In 2 Corinthians 10:1 regarded as abject. In this sense in papyri. "Humility as a sovereign grace is the creation of Christianity" (Gladstone, Life, iii, p. 466).

By the coming (εν τη παρουσια). Same use of παρουσια as in 1 Corinthians 16:7 which see. See also 2 Corinthians 7:7; 2 Corinthians 10:10.

Verse 7

Wherewith (η). Either locative case with preceding εν or instrumental of the relative with παρεκληθη (first aorist passive indicative). "The manner in which Paul, so to speak, fondles this word (παρακαλεω) is most beautiful" (Vincent).

In you (εφ' υμιν). Over you, upon you.

Your longing (την υμων επιποθησιν). Late word from επιποθεω (επ, directive, longing towards, yearning). Only here in N.T.

Mourning (οδυρμον). Old word from οδυρομα, to lament. Only here in N.T.

So that I rejoiced yet more (ωστε με μαλλον χαρηνα). Result expressed by ωστε and the second aorist passive infinitive of χαιρω with accusative of general reference.

Verse 8

Though (ε κα). If also. Paul treats it as a fact.

With my epistle (εν τη επιστολη). The one referred to in 2 Corinthians 2:3.

I do not regret it (ου μεταμελομα). This verb really means "repent" (be sorry again) which meaning we have transferred to μετανοεω, to change one's mind (not to be sorry at all). See Matthew 21:30; Matthew 27:3 for the verb μεταμελομα, to be sorry, to regret as here. Paul is now glad that he made them sorry.

Though I did regret (ε κα μετεμελομην). Imperfect indicative in the concessive clause. I was in a regretful mood at first.

For I see (βλεπω γαρ). A parenthetical explanation of his present joy in their sorrow. B D do not have γαρ. The Latin Vulgate has videns (seeing) for βλεπων.

For a season (προς ωραν). Cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:17. It was only "for an hour."

Verse 9

Now I rejoice (νυν χαιρω). Now that Titus has come and told him the good news from Corinth (2 Corinthians 2:12). This was the occasion of the noble outburst in 2 Corinthians 2:12-6.

Unto repentance (εις μετανοιαν). Note the sharp difference here between "sorrow" (λυπη) which is merely another form of μεταμελομα (regret, remorse) and "repentance" (μετανοια) or change of mind and life. It is a linguistic and theological tragedy that we have to go on using "repentance" for μετανοια. But observe that the "sorrow" has led to "repentance" and was not Itself the repentance.

After a godly sort (κατα θεον). In God's way. "God's way as opposed to man's way and the devil's way" (Plummer). It was not mere sorrow, but a change in their attitude that counted.

That ye might suffer loss by us in nothing (ινα εν μηδεν ζημιωθητε εξ υμων). Purpose clause with ινα and first aorist passive subjunctive of ζημιοω, old verb to suffer damage. See on Matthew 16:26. This was God's intention and so he overruled their sorrow to good.

Verse 10

For godly sorrow (η γαρ κατα θεον λυπη). "For the sorrow according to God" (God's ideal, verse 2 Corinthians 7:9).

Worketh repentance unto salvation a repentance without regret (μετανοιαν εις σωτηριαν αμεταμελητον εργαζετα). This clause alone should have prevented the confusion between mere "sorrow" (λυπη) as indicated in μεταμελομα, to regret (to be sorry again) and "change of mind and life" as shown by μετανοιαν (μετανοεω) and wrongly translated "repentance." The sorrow according to God does work this "change of mind and life" unto salvation, a change "not to be regretted" (αμεταμελητον, an old verbal adjective of μεταμελομα and α privative, but here alone in N.T.). It agrees with μετανοιαν, not σωτηριαν.

But the sorrow of the world (η δε του κοσμου λυπη). In contrast, the kind of sorrow that the world has, grief "for failure, not for sin" (Bernard), for the results as seen in Cain, Esau (his tears!), and Judas (remorse, μετεμεληθη). Works out (perfective use of κατ-) death in the end.

Verse 11

This selfsame thing (αυτο τουτο). "This very thing," "the being made sorry according to God" (το κατα θεον λυπηθηνα, articular first aorist passive infinitive with which αυτο τουτο agrees and the proleptic subject of the verb κατειργασατο.

Earnest care (σπουδην). Diligence, from σπευδω, to hasten. Cf. Romans 12:11.

Yea (αλλα). Not adversative use of αλλα, but copulative as is common (half dozen examples here).

Clearing of yourselves (απολογια). In the old notion of απολογια (self-vindication, self-defence) as in 1 Peter 3:15.

Indignation (αγανακτησιν). Old word, only here in N.T. From αγανακτεο (Mark 10:14, etc.).

Avenging (εκδικησιν). Late word from εκδικεω, to avenge, to do justice (Luke 18:5; Luke 21:22), vindication from wrong as in Luke 18:7, to secure punishment (1 Peter 2:14).

Pure (αγνους). Kin to αγιος (αζω, to reverence), immaculate.

Verse 12

But that your earnest care for us might be made manifest (αλλ' εινεκεν του φανερωθηνα την σπουδην υμων την υπερ ημων). So the correct text, not "our care for you." Easy to interchange Greek υμων (your) and ημων (our). Usual construction with preposition ενεκεν and genitive of articular infinitive with accusative of general reference.

Verse 13

We joyed the more exceedingly (περισσοτερως μαλλον εχαρημεν). Double comparative (pleonastic use of μαλλον, more, with περισσοτερως, more abundantly) as is common in the Koine (Mark 7:36; Philippians 1:23).

For the joy of Titus (επ τη χαρα Τιτου). On the basis of (επ) the joy of Titus who was proud of the outcome of his labours in Corinth.

Hath been refreshed (αναπεπαυτα). Perfect passive indicative of αναπαυω. Cf. 1 Corinthians 16:18 for this striking verb.

Verse 14

If--I have gloried (ει--κεκαυχημα). Condition of first class. On this verb see 1 Corinthians 3:21; 2 Corinthians 5:12.

I was not put to shame (ου κατηισχυνθην). First aorist passive indicative of καταισχυνω. Paul had assured Titus, who hesitated to go after the failure of Timothy, that the Corinthians were sound at bottom and would come round all right if handled properly. Paul's joy is equal to that of Titus.

In truth (εν αληθεια). In the sharp letter as well as in I Corinthians. He had not hesitated to speak plainly of their sins.

Our glorying before Titus (η καυχησις επ Τιτου). The two things were not inconsistent and were not contradictory as the outcome proved.

Verse 15

Whilst he remembereth (αναμιμνησκομενου). Present middle participle of αναμιμνησκω, to remind, in the genitive case agreeing with αυτου (his, of him).

The obedience of you all (την παντων υμων υπακουην). A remarkable statement of the complete victory of Titus in spite of a stubborn minority still opposing Paul.

With fear and trembling (μετα φοβου κα τρομου). He had brought a stern message (1 Corinthians 5:5) and they had trembled at the words of Titus (cf. Ephesians 6:5; Philippians 2:12). Paul had himself come to the Corinthians at first with a nervous dread (1 Corinthians 2:3).

Verse 16

I am of good courage (θαρρω). The outcome has brought joy, courage, and hope to Paul.

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 7". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.