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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
2 Corinthians 7

 

 

Verse 1

2 Corinthians 6:14 to 2 Corinthians 7:1. These verses appear plainly out of place. They break what is otherwise a close connexion between 2 Corinthians 6:13 and 2 Corinthians 7:2 : they introduce a new and very different subject, and they have a very different tone from what precedes and follows. They are best regarded as a scrap from another letter written by Paul to Corinth, possibly a fragment of the letter referred to in 1 Corinthians 5:9, which has accidentally crept into the sheets on which our letter was preserved. They contain an urgent, even passionate, demand for complete separation from the heathen, especially in their idolatrous practices. In a series of sharp questions Paul flashes scorn on every attempt to serve two masters, Christ and "Belial," that is the devil (or, possibly, Antichrist, Proverbs 6:12*). The last of these questions reminds him that Christians are meant to be God's temple; and he exposes the source and the significance of that conception by means of a series of quotations from OT, the first being freely reproduced from Ezekiel 37:27, the rest combined from Isaiah 52:11, Ex. 20:34, and 2 Kings 7:14. The description of God as "the Almighty" occurs in NT only here and in Rev. Men who rest in these promises seek to purify themselves (cf. 1 John 3:3) in "flesh and spirit"—these words being used in the simple untechnical sense, as in 1 Corinthians 7:34 ("body and spirit").


Verses 2-4

2 Corinthians 7:2-4. With 2 Corinthians 7:2 Paul returns to the thought of 2 Corinthians 6:13. "Make wide your hearts. . . . Make room in them for us." The sentences which follow are full of changing emotion, as he indignantly repudiates charges that have been made against him, stays the possible retort that he is condemning the Corinthians, asserts once more the undying fellowship between him and them, and concludes on a triumphant note of confidence and joy.


Verses 5-16

2 Corinthians 7:5-16. Agonising Anxiety has been Cancelled by Abundant Joy.—The cause of his anxiety had been in part the condition of affairs in the church at Corinth, but even more the measures he had taken to deal with it, followed by torturing doubt as to how these would be received by the Corinthians. Someone had behaved outrageously. Someone had been outraged. There can be no doubt that it was Paul who had suffered, though whether he was personally present or what was the nature of the outrage we cannot tell. What made it serious was that the Corinthians had not repudiated the insult to their friend. Stung by their fickleness, and moved by fear lest they should fall away altogether from himself and the gospel, Paul had written a letter so severe that from the moment he despatched it, probably by the hand of Titus, he was torn with anxiety lest it should have the very opposite effect to what he desired. When he had met Titus in Macedonia, it was to hear news so unexpectedly good that he was lost in thankfulness and joy. They had repented. They had "inflicted punishment" (2 Corinthians 2:6) on the offender. They had shown by their treatment of Titus both the genuineness of their repentance and their loyal affection for the apostle. All this Paul rehearses with almost breathless thankfulness, and explains (2 Corinthians 7:12) that the deepest consequences (and so, intention) had been their discovery "in the sight of God" of the reality of their attachment to Paul.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 7:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/2-corinthians-7.html. 1919.

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