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Saturday, July 20th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 1

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

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Verse 1

2Co 1:1. Much of this epistle will reflect the results of Paul's first letter to the church at Corinth. Because of the conditions in that church due to the habits of the Gentile citizens of the country, it will be well for the reader to reread the "general remarks" offered at the beginning of the first epistle. The apostleship of Paul was supported both by Jesus and his Father. With such a weighty endorsement, the epistle to the church should have the most respectful consideration from those to whom it is addressed. It was sent directly to the church in Corinth, which was the Roman capital of Greece, and the salutation included all the saints (disciples) in Achaia, the name the Romans gave to Greece. For comments on Church of God, see those on Rom 16:16, in volume 1 of the New Testament Commentary, and those on 1Co 1:2.

Verse 2

2Co 1:2. For comments on this verse, see 1Co 1:3.

Verse 3

2Co 1:3. A father and son could not be the same individual, and God is declared to be the Father of Christ. This refutes a false teaching in the world that Jesus is "the very and eternal God." It also exposes another heresy known in religious circles by the name of "Jesus Only." God and Christ are one in purpose and goodness, but are two separate persons. Father and God of mercies and comfort simply means that all such blessings come from Him.

Verse 5

2Co 1:5. Jesus was in Heaven clothed with a spiritual body when Paul was writing this epistle, hence He could not literally undergo personal sufferings. But the church is His body in another spiritual sense and is subject to sufferings, and in that manner He may well be said to suffer with the faithful disciples. Besides this, Heb 4:15 says that Christ can "be touched with the feelings of our inirmitives," and in this sense He is also able to suffer with the saints. By the same token, the faithful disciples will share in the triumph of their Master over all trials and hardships experienced for the sake of righteousness.

Verse 6

2Co 1:6. The afflictions heaped upon Paul in his defence of the Gospel, should be a source of consolation to the Corinthians, in that they would have an encouraging example of saving faith that is put to the test. That is, it will be thus effectual (will have that effect) provided they are willing to withstand that same kind of sufferings if called upon to do so. The assurance that Paul could find consolation in spite of his sufferings, would result in consolation for the Corinthians. This is the same thought that is set forth in 2Co 1:4.

Verse 7

2Co 1:7. Paul's hopefulness in regard to the Corinthian brethren was based on their general attitude toward the Gospel. We shall later learn that they reacted favorably to the first epistle, hence it was reasonable to hope for their continued devotion to the Lord, even though great tribulations might come upon them.

Verse 8

2Co 1:8. The apostle has been making general references only to his difficulties, but now he makes a more direct mention of them. He names Asia, but the specific place in that district where they occurred was Ephesus, where he "fought with beasts" (1Co 15:32).

Verse 9

2Co 1:9. Sentence of death. Paul was so certain that he would die that he resigned himself to his fate. He was enabled to take such an attitude because of this trust in God which raiseth the dead.

Verse 10

2Co 1:10. The event did not turn out as Paul feared, for God took a hand in it and gave him the victory over the beasts. This gave him renewed faith in the power and goodness of God in delivering him from other conditions that threatened him.

Verse 11

2Co 1:11. Paul believed in the benefits of prayer and asked the brethren to pray for him, that he might continue to overcome his trials. In that case he would stimulate others to thank God for divine favors bestowed on the apostolic labors.

Verse 12

2Co 1:12. Among the reasons that would cause Paul to rejoice would be that of a good conscience. Simplicity and sincerity mean virtually the same thing, except Paul modifies the latter with the word godly. A man might be conscientious or honest, and yet not be satisfactory to God. (See Act 23:1 Act 26:9; Rom 10:1-2.) Hence the apostle wished that his motives would all be directed by the will of the Lord. The word conversation in the King James Version comes from a number of Greek words, but with the exception of Php 3:20, every instance means "manner of life," and not merely one's speech. Paul desired to live properly toward all men in the world, and such a life had been manifested more abundantly toward the Corinthian brethren because of his extended labors among them. (See Act 18:1-11.)

Verse 13

2Co 1:13. In Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians (1Co 2:1-4), he declared that his oral speech was within the realm of simple language. He here continues that manner in his writing, so the brethren may read with understanding and hence be able to acknowledge the truth conveyed to them.

Verse 14

2Co 1:4. Paul regarded himself and all other Christians who were having persecutions for the sake of righteousness as "companions in tribulation" (Rev 1:9). The preceding verse says that all comfort comes from God, hence he is the One who enabled the apostle to pass his comfort on to others.

Verse 15

2Co 1:15. This confidence refers to the state of cooperation mentioned in the preceding two verses. Second benefit is said with regard for the spiritual gifts that an apostle can bestow on Christians.

Verse 16

2Co 1:16. Paul's plans included a visit into Macedonia, another Greek country lying north of that in which Corinth was located. He intended going to Corinth first, then making his journey into Macedonia as a sort of "side trip," after which he would come back to Corinth, from which place he would expect to be assisted onward toward Judea by the church; but 1Co 16:5-7 shows he changed his plans.

Verse 17

2Co 1:17. Did I use lightness? The last word means "fickleness," and Paul wonders if the Corinthians would accuse him of that when he changed his plans; the form of his question implies a negative answer. Neither does he admit that he was moved by any fleshly interest in what he was doing. Yea yea, nay nay describes a person who is not certain what he wants to do, and the apostle denies being such a person.

Verse 18

2Co 1:18. As God is true is a phrase used for comparison, meaning that what Paul is about to affirm is just as true as the thought in the italicized phrase. Word . . . not yea and nay. Paul's preaching was not the wishy-washy kind; when he said "yea" or "nay," he meant it.

Verse 19

2Co 1:19. Paul was serving and preaching for the Son of God, and hence he could not consistently manifest a fickle spirit in his preaching. In him was yea. The promises and other statements coming from Jesus were always positive, leaving no room for doubt that He always meant what He said and would make His word good. Silvanus and Timotheus are other forms for Silas and Timothy.

Verse 20

2Co 1:20. This verse is virtually a repetition of the preceding one, with the added information that Jesus is to be regarded as reliable, because He is working in harmony with the Father. The promises are amen., which means they are backed up by the authority of Heaven, and are all to the glory of God.

Verse 21

2Co 1:21. Stablisheth denotes to confirm or strengthen a person in his work. Paul gives God the credit for such support Which he and the brethren in Corinth were enjoying in Christ.

Verse 22

2Co 1:22. Earnest means a pledge or foretaste of a more complete favor yet to come. Such an assurance was bestowed in miraculous measure upon the apostle.

Verse 23

2Co 1:23. Call God for a record. Paul knew that God was a witness of everything that he or any other man did or thought. He then would certainly not make a statement that was not true. Came not as yet refers to Paul's change of plans, cdmmented upon at verses 16, 17. By this change, his visit to Corinth was delayed until they had more time to reflect on the epistle that, he had sent to them, which was followed by their correction of many of the evils that were in their practices. By such a reformation, the congregation was "spared" the severe chastisement that he would have thought necessary, had he arrived before they made the corrections.

Verse 24

2Co 1:24. The severity that is implied in the preceding verse does not mean that the apostle was a tyrant over their faith, but yet he was bound to insist on their adapting their conduct to the will of the Lord however firm it might be.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 1". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/2-corinthians-1.html. 1952.
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