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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
2 Corinthians 1

 

 

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Verses 1-11

2 Corinthians 1:1-11. Salutation and Introduction.

2 Corinthians 1:1 f. Timothy, whose approaching visit to Corinth had been announced in 1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 16:11, is now again in Paul's company, and joins with him in salutation to all "God's people in Greece" (cf. 2 Corinthians 9:2).

2 Corinthians 1:3-11. Thanksgiving for Divine comfort, leading (2 Corinthians 8) to a fuller account of his sufferings. Paul does not hesitate to speak of the Father as the God of our Lord Jesus Christ (see Ephesians 1:3, 1 Peter 1:3), to whom as Son our Lord was subordinate (1 Corinthians 15:26 ff.*). Like every other benefit, Paul receives God's comfort as a trust, enabling him to minister comfort to others. He is so truly one with Christ that his sufferings are really an extension of the sufferings of Christ (see Colossians 1:24); and he is so truly one with his converts that the comfort he receives flows out in comfort for them, so that, whichever form his experience takes, it confirms his assurance regarding them; his sufferings and his consolation in Christ alike issue in consolation (and salvation) for the Corinthians.

For they must know that he had passed through a period of terrible disaster and suffering in the province of Asia. Either the riot at Ephesus (Acts 19:23) had involved Paul and his companions in greater danger and suffering than we should gather from Acts, or he had undergone some other persecution of which we have no record (2 Corinthians 11:24-27). He had looked death in the face. His courage had all but given way. But he had learnt once more God's power to deliver, and knows that He will yet deliver (Psalms 9:10). It is their part so to co-operate with him in prayer that the prayer of many may turn to the thanksgiving of many in view of yet further bestowal of Divine mercy.


Verses 12-14

2 Corinthians 1:12 to 2 Corinthians 2:17. Paul Seeks to Remove Misunderstandings between Himself and the Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 1:12-14. He has no hesitation in thus asking for their prayers, for he is conscience-clear in all his relations with the Corinthians. This is a proud claim he makes. And he has been accused of overweening self-appreciation. But his claim rests on the witness of a good conscience. It was not by human diplomacy that he had been actuated in his conduct, but by utter straightforwardness in dependence on God's grace. This was true in general, but if possible more evident in his relations with Corinth. What they found in his letters was what he really meant. And if they had failed wholly to understand these, he hoped that further consideration would make them clear. For when misunderstanding was finally cleared away at the coming of Jesus Christ, they would perceive what he knew already, that they had reason to rejoice before God for the apostle, as he had to rejoice for them.


Verses 15-22

2 Corinthians 1:15-22. But had he not laid himself open to a charge of fickleness? Had he not led them to expect that he would ere this have paid them another visit, returning through Corinth from Macedonia, and taking from Corinth his final departure to Juda when he went to convey the money collected for the poor Christians at Jerusalem. It was not true that in abandoning that plan he had showed himself one whose word was not to be trusted. It was true that while the confidence he has just referred to was unshaken, he had made and announced this plan. And he had not laid his plans, as men too often do, so that their "Yea" is lightly turned to "Nay." God is to be relied on, and the message delivered by His messengers has always been direct and unambiguous. For there was no ambiguity about Christ, who had been the subject of the apostle's preaching. On the contrary, all the promises of God had received confirmation in Him. Whenever the Corinthians say "Amen" ("So it is") to any or all of these promises, they set their seal to the genuineness of the message, and so to the sincerity of the messenger. And they must remember that both parties, the apostle and the church, are absolutely made over to Christ, and that by God Himself. For it is God who has anointed them for service, and sealed them in baptism and given them in the Spirit the pledge of final and complete salvation. Between parties which were connected in a relationship like that there could be no question of bad faith.


Verse 23-24

2 Corinthians 1:23 to 2 Corinthians 2:4. Paul now states the real and sufficient reason for his apparent vacillation. He had already paid a visit to Corinth (cf. 2 Corinthians 13:2) which had been full of pain to himself as well as to others. It had become only too probable that another visit would lead to even sadder experiences. In fact, it was "to spare" them that he had not fulfilled his promise. Not that it was true, as some said, that he wished to "dictate" to them in matters of faith. Far from that, the object of himself and his fellow-workers was simply to cooperate with the church in cultivating their joy. In respect of their faith they were fully established.

Was it likely that the apostle would come a second time to cause pain, when the very people he would pain would be the people on whom he depended for joy? Instead of coming he had sent a letter (the "lost epistle"), in which he probably explained why he was not coming, as well as dealt faithfully with their want of loyalty to himself. By that letter he had hoped to bring them into such a frame of mind that he might exchange sorrow for joy, and once more that joy would not be for himself alone, but shared by them and him. That letter had been written in what was little less than an agony of pain and anxiety—a description which cannot be applied to our "First Epistle"—and yet its purpose was not to give pain but to prove the reality of Paul's affection.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 1:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/2-corinthians-1.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, December 8th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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