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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
2 Corinthians 7

 

 

Verse 1

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Cleanse ourselves. This concludes the exhortation (2 Corinthians 6:1; 2 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Timothy 2:21; 1 John 3:3; Revelation 22:11), and ought to be attached to 2 Corinthians 6:1-18.

Filthiness - "the unclean thing" (2 Corinthians 6:17).

Of the flesh - for instance, fornication, prevalent at Corinth (1 Corinthians 6:15-18).

And spirit - as idolatry, direct or indirect (1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 8:1; 1 Corinthians 8:7; 1 Corinthians 10:7; 1 Corinthians 10:21-22). The spirit (Psalms 32:2) receives pollution through the flesh, the instrument of uncleanness. "Flesh and spirit:" the whole man, outward and inward.

Perfecting holiness. Cleansing away impurity is a positive step toward holiness (2 Corinthians 6:17). It is not enough to begin: the end crowns the work (Galatians 3:3; Galatians 5:7; Philippians 1:6).

Fear of God - often conjoined with the most glorious promises (2 Corinthians 5:11; Hebrews 4:1). Privilege and promise go hand in hand.


Verse 2

Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.

Receive us - with enlarged hearts (2 Corinthians 6:13).

We have wronged ... corrupted ... defrauded no man (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:9) - the ground on which he asks their reception of him in their hearts. We wronged none by punishing him who did wrong (2 Corinthians 7:12). This he proceeds to treat. We have corrupted none-namely, by beguilements, while preaching "another gospel," as the false teachers (2 Corinthians 11:3-4). This he treats from 2 Corinthians 10:1. We have defrauded none by 'making a gain' of you (2 Corinthians 8:19-20; 2 Corinthians 12:14-17). This he treats from 2 Corinthians 12:13. Modestly he leaves them to supply the positive good which he had done; suffering all things himself that they might be benefited (2 Corinthians 7:9; 2 Corinthians 7:12; positive good which he had done; suffering all things himself that they might be benefited (2 Corinthians 7:9; 2 Corinthians 7:12; 2 Corinthians 12:13).


Verse 3

I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you.

In vindicating myself, I do not accuse you, as though you suspected me of such things (Menochius) - as though you were guilty of such things; for I speak only of the false apostles (Estius). Rather, 'as though you were ungrateful' (Beza).

I have said before - in 2 Corinthians 6:11-12.

Die and live with you - the height of friendship. I am ready to die and live with and for you (Philippians 1:7; Philippians 1:20; Philippians 1:24; Philippians 2:17-18 : cf. as to Christ, John 10:11).


Verse 4

Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.

Boldness of speech - arising from love. But Olshausen, 'bold joyful hope' [ parreesia (Greek #3954)] (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:11).

Glorying of you. Not only do I speak with unreserved openness to you, but I glory (boast) greatly to others in your behalf, in speaking of you.

Filled with comfort - at the report of Titus (2 Corinthians 7:6-7; 2 Corinthians 7:9; 2 Corinthians 7:13; 2 Corinthians 1:4).

Exceeding joyful - Greek, I overabound with joy.

Our tribulation - described in 2 Corinthians 7:5; also in 2 Corinthians 4:7-8; 2 Corinthians 6:4-5.


Verse 5

For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.

Greek, 'For also' (For 'even'). This verse is thus connected with 2 Corinthians 2:12-13, "When I came to Troas ... I had no rest in my spirit:" so 'also' now, when I came to Macedonia, my "flesh" had no rest (he, by the term "flesh" implying here not sin but human weakness, excepts his spiritual consolations) - from "fightings" with adversaries "without" (1 Corinthians 5:12), and from fears for the Corinthian believers "within" the Church, as he knew not what effect his letter had produced (2 Corinthians 2:12); also fearing "false brethren" (2 Corinthians 11:26). Compare 2 Corinthians 4:8; Deuteronomy 32:25, to which he alludes.


Verse 6

Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;

Greek order, 'But he that comforteth those cast down [ tapeinous (Greek #5011): those feeling spiritual need] comforted us, even God.' Those of a high spirit are not susceptible of such comfort. The pagan regarded high spiritedness [megalo-psuchon] as a virtue; Christianity first dignified "lowliness" (Matthew 11:29).


Verse 7

And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.

When he told us - Greek, 'telling us.' We shared in the comfort Titus felt in recording your desire (2 Corinthians 7:13). He rejoiced in announcing the good news; we in hearing it.

Earnest desire - Greek, 'longing desire after' me [ epipotheesin (Greek #1972)]; both to see and to please me.

Mourning - over your own remissness in not having immediately punished the sin, (1 Corinthians 5:1, etc.)

Fervent mind - Greek, 'zeal' (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:11; John 2:17).

Toward me , [ huper (Greek #5228)] - 'for my sake.' They in Paul's behalf showed the zeal against sin which Paul would have shown had he been present.

Rejoiced the more - more than at the mere coming of Titus; or, 'more than I sorrowed before' (Olshausen).


Verse 8

For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

With a letter - Greek, 'in the letter'; namely, the first letter.

I do not repent, though I did repent. Translate, 'I do not regret it, though I did regret it.' The Greek regret [ metamelomai (Greek #3338)] and repent [ metanoeo (Greek #3340)] are distinct. Paul was almost regretting, through parental tenderness and doubt of the result, his having by rebukes grieved the Corinthians; but now that he has learned from Titus the salutary effect produced on them, he no longer regrets it.

For I perceive ... - explanatory of 'I did regret it,' and parenthetical ('for I perceive that that letter did make you sorry, though But for a season') (2 Corinthians 2:2).


Verse 9

Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.

Now I rejoice - Whereas "I did repent," having made you sorry by my letter, I rejoice NOW, not that ye were caused sorrow, but that your sorrow resulted in repentance.

Ye sorrowed - as before, "ye were made sorry."

After a godly manner - literally, 'according to God,' according to the mind of God; such as leads one to feel the grievousness of sin as being against God, and to seek to be made conformable to God (Psalms 51:4; Romans 14:22; 1 Peter 4:6).

That - Greek order, 'to the end that (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:9) ye might in nothing receive damage from us.' This, under God, was my aim in 'making you sorry'-namely, that the sorrow, being "after a godly manner," might not "damage," but greatly benefit you (2 Corinthians 7:10).


Verse 10

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. Worketh ... worketh. In the best Greek reading ['Aleph (') B Delta, ergazetai (Greek #2038), the first verb: C G, katergazetai], 'worketh (simply) ... worketh out.' "Sorrow" is not repentance, but when "godly," "worketh" it -

i.e., tends to it (the same Greek; Romans 13:10). The "sorrow of the world" (that felt by the worldly) 'worketh out' (Greek), as its result at last (note, 2 Corinthians 4:17) (eternal) death.

Repentance ... not to be repented of. There is not in the Greek this play on words, so that the word qualified is not "repentance" merely, but 'repentance unto salvation,' 'never to be regretted,' however attended with "sorrow" at the time. "Repentance" implies coming to a right mind; 'regret' implies merely uneasiness of feeling, as the remorse of Judas (Matthew 27:3 : Greek, 'stricken with remorse;' not as English version, "repented himself"); so that, though always accompanying, is not always accompanied by repentance. "Repentance" remove the impediments to "salvation" (to which "death" - namely, of the soul-is opposed). "The sorrow of the world" is not at the sin, but at its penal consequences; so that the tears of pain are no sooner dried up, than the pleasures of ungodliness are renewed:, also sorrow such as the world feels at worldly losses, disappointments, etc. So Pharaoh (Exodus 9:27-30) and Saul (1 Samuel 15:23-30). Compare Isaiah 9:13; Revelation 16:10-11. Contrast David's "godly sorrow" (2 Samuel 12:13) and Peter's (Matthew 26:75).


Verse 11

For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Confirmation of 2 Corinthians 7:10 from the Corinthians' own experience.

Carefulness - solicitude [ spoudeen (Greek #4710)], 'diligence:' opposed to their past negligence.

In you - so C G g, Vulgate. But B Delta 'Aleph (') omit "in:" 'for you.'

Yea - not only "carefulness," BUT ALSO [ alla (Greek #243)] "clearing of (apology for) yourselves" - namely, to me anxiety to show you disapproved of the deed.

Indignation - against the offender.

Fear - of the wrath of God, and of sinning anymore (1 Corinthians 4:2; 1 Corinthians 4:19-21).

Vehement desire - longing for restoration to my favour through amendment [ epipotheesin (Greek #1972), as in 2 Corinthians 7:7]. "Fear" is in spite of one's self. 'Longing desire' is spontaneous, and implies love. "Desire" for the presence of Paul is included, as he had given them the hope of it (1 Corinthians 4:19; 1 Corinthians 16:5).

Zeal - for right and for God's honour against wrong.

Revenge , [ ekdikeesin (Greek #1557)] - 'exacting of punishment' (1 Corinthians 5:2-3). In all - the respects just stated.

Clear , [ hagnous (Greek #53), chaste] - 'pure;' namely, from complicity.

Approved - Greek, 'commended yourselves.' Whatever suspicion of complicity rested on you (1 Corinthians 5:2; 1 Corinthians 5:6) through former remissness, you have cleared off by your present strenuousness in reprobating the deed.


Verse 12

Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.

Though I wrote unto you - `making you sorry' (2 Corinthians 7:8).

Not for - i:e., not so much for: this was subordinate to my main aim, your edification.

His cause that suffered wrong - the father whose wife the incestuous son had. The father, therefore, was alive.

That our care for you ... So B, Vulgate. But C Delta read 'that YOUR care for US might be made manifest (so Greek) unto you,' etc. But the words, 'unto you,' thus would be obscure. Alford explains it: 'He wrote in order to bring out their zeal on his behalf (i:e., to obey his command), and make it manifest to themselves in God's sight.' But 2 Corinthians 2:4, "I wrote ... that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you," accords with the object for which he wrote according to the English version reading here. His writing was not so much for the sake of the individual offender, or the offended, but from his 'earnest care for the welfare of the Church.


Verse 13

Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.

'Aleph (') B C Delta G f g, Vulgate [ de (Greek #1161) after epi (Greek #1909), and omitted after perissoteroos (Greek #4056); and heemoon (Greek #2257) for humoon (Greek #5216)], read, 'Therefore (Greek, 'for this cause,' because our aim is attained) we have been (not "were") comforted; yea (Greek, 'but'), in (or [ epi (Greek #1909)], besides this) OUR comfort we exceedingly the more joyed for the joy of Titus,' etc. (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:7.)


Verse 14

For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth.

Any thing - i:e., at all.

I am not ashamed - `put to shame,' namely, by learning from Titus that you did not realize the high character I gave of you.

As ... all things ... in truth, even so our boasting ... is found a truth - as our speaking in general to you was true (2 Corinthians 1:18), so our particular boasting Before Titus concerning you is now, by his report, proved to be true (cf. 2 Corinthians 9:2). B reads expressly, 'concerning you:' this is the sense even if "our" [ heemoon (Greek #2257) for humoon (Greek #5216)] be read as 'Aleph (') Delta G f g, Vulgate. As I can boast of not having disappointed you in all things that I spake as a preacher, so you have not disappointed the expectations which I boasted I had concerning you.


Verse 15

And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.

His inward affection - literally, bowels (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:12; Philippians 1:8; Philippians 2:1).

Obedience (2 Corinthians 2:9).

Fear and trembling - with trembling anxiety to obey my wishes, fearful lest there should be ought in yourselves to offend him and me (2 Corinthians 7:11 : cf. 1 Corinthians 2:3).


Verse 16

I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.

Therefore. Omitted in 'Aleph (') B C Delta G, Vulgate. The conclusion is more emphatic without it.

That I have confidence in you in all things - Greek, 'that in everything I am of good courage in the case of you,' as contrasted with my former misgivings.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 7:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-corinthians-7.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, September 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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